A CBC article just released talks about a new campaign, one that I think is desperately needed. It’s called ‘Fed Is Best,’ and it’s designed to combat the constant shaming and demonization of parents who formula feed their children. I’ve written about my thoughts on breastfeeding vs formula in my post Breastmilk, Formula, and Good Parents, and I have a few more words to share in light of the new ‘Fed Is Best’ campaign.
It really pisses me off when mothers are attacked for doing what works best for them, their children, and their families. Some women choose not to breastfeed, and some women simply can’t. There are a million reasons for both of these scenarios, and hundreds of thousands of mothers suffer dearly for it. Society tells us mothers must breastfeed; they are attacked on social media and in public when it’s discovered that they’re using formula, and this has to stop. Mothers who decide to formula feed may do so for any number of reasons. Most of them probably struggle with that decision, and it’s no-one’s right to pass negative judgment. Women who can’t breastfeed are unable for any number of reasons as well, in many cases they can’t pump either. I know firsthand that many of these women develop severe anxiety. The shaming that goes on over this is hideous.
If you’ve ever shamed a mother for formula feeding, shame on you. If you have too much class to shame anyone, but harbour negative feelings toward mothers who formula feed, do some research. Many healthy, well-rounded, intelligent people who have close bonds to their parents were formula fed. Many years ago, infants were fed a mixture of water and evaporated milk (*gasp*), and a large number of them are still alive and healthy today!
The ‘Breast Is Best’ mantra that has been pushed now for a couple decades is a complete farce in my opinion. It’s fine to recommend breastfeeding as the optimal option, I have no problem admitting it is, but formula is a perfectly suitable, well-researched and regulated substitute.
Speaking as someone supporting a partner going through these difficulties, it’s hard enough for a Mom to accept an inability to provide what she wants to. So hard in fact that it can contribute to severe anxiety, manic episodes, sleep deprivation, and even psychosis. How callous and blatantly ignorant do you have to be to outright shame a woman whose situation you know nothing about? The stigma has to stop, and in order for that to happen the ‘Breast Is Best’ posters have to come down. What’s important is that our babies are fed and healthy. What’s important is that they grow and flourish. Let’s create a culture around parenting that promotes positivity and freedom of choice. I firmly stand behind ‘Fed Is Best,’ and I’m going to promote it at every opportunity.