Don't Hate, Advocate

I suppose this is sort of a follow up to my last post, though I never really intended to follow up on it. Yet again, I am unpleasantly surprised by people. 

Everyone has an opinion about something, and these days everyone has an opinion about everyone else. When it comes to parenting? We have extra opinions. I suppose it's because we think that what we're doing is the best thing ever, for everyone. While whatever decision you're passionate about may be the best thing for your family it may be the worst decision for someone else's family. Or heck, it may not even be possible at all. 

Yesterday, a good blogger friend of mine posted about her recent experience with a breastfeeding group. Ya'll, I was blown away. I still am, in fact. (If you want to take a moment and click over, I'll understand.)  

I'm going to admit something that will probably make some people upset: I have a knee-jerk reaction to bottle feeders, too. There is a small part of me that cringes every time I see a baby with a bottle in his/her mouth. Mostly it's because I don't understand why on earth someone wouldn't want to breastfeed their baby. I'll spare you the inner-monologue I have every time, because it's not really worth it. Because in the end I know that there are many factors that go into a mom's - a family's - decision to not breastfeed. Maybe she couldn't nurse and pumps instead, maybe she couldn't produce milk at all, maybe the baby is adopted, maybe she was on necessary medication that would harm the baby if she were to breastfeed, or maybe she had DMER and the very thought of nursing again made her ill. There are any number of reasons. Unless we know the person, we'll never know the reasons. And all of this just made me wonder....what's the point?

By somehow taking offense at the fact that some people feed their kids with bottles, what are we hoping to gain? By bashing women - moms - who bottle feed, what exactly is our goal? To make them feel bad? To educate? To make them want to breastfeed? How is this helping?

If you've been following me anytime during the last 3 years you know I'm nothing if not an advocate for breastfeeding. I think breastfeeding is awesome and you'll never convince me otherwise. I think it's the best food for baby (because, hello, it was designed to be!) and I think the health benefits for moms are awesome, too. Is it hard? Heck yeah. It takes a lot of time and effort in the beginning, and sometimes a lot of pain, too. But more often than not, it's totally worth it and for many, many reasons. That's why I think waiting until you're past the newborn stage to call it quits on breastfeeding, but again, that's my personal opinion.

Before I had babies - like way before - I was pretty determined to not breastfeed. I thought it was weird, and why the heck would I want to share my body after I'd just grown a person for 9 months?! I'd also never been exposed to breastfeeding...ever. My brother and I were bottle-fed, the babies I watched were bottle-fed, my mom's friends bottle-fed their babies, and the list continues. Of course I thought it was weird!

Thankfully, some friends and my SIL were there later on to share the benefits of breastfeeding with me and my whole view changed. Now, I find it important to try and bring some sort of education to people about breastfeeding -- why it isn't weird or gross, why it's beneficial for moms and babies, etc. But here's the thing: 

If we look down our noses at women/families 
who choose to bottle-feed, we'll never succeed 
in our goal to make breastfeeding normal.

Who will want to breastfeed when they think that all women who do so are just a bunch of snobby, rude know-it-alls? Who will want to breastfeed when they know that if they turn to a bottle for any reason, the nursing mama masses will crucify them? Who will stand beside the nursing moms when someone calls us out for nursing in public without a cover?

We can't make a difference in normalizing breastfeeding, or breastfeeding education with this 'anti-bottle' mentality. We just can't. You can't reach people with that kind of nastiness. When it comes to parenting, we need to just leave each other alone. You don't live in that person's house; you don't know what their life is like. You can't judge their motives from the outside.

So moms, let's just stop. Just say 'NO' to the temptation of bashing, name-calling, hate-mongering, fear-mongering, or whatever. It's not helping you, and it's most certainly not helping anyone else. You think breastfeeding is awesome? That's great. Tell them how awesome you think it is, and why. You think bottle feeding is the best thing since sliced bread? Fantastic! Tell them why it's great for you. Then proceed to trade epic blow-out stories, or share in the woes of sleepless nights. 

We're all just doing the best we can for our babes. 
It's time we recognize that in the faces of others, too.


  1. Yep, all of us mama's need to lift one another up! Parenting is hard enough without all the judginess and mommy-wars!

  2. Oh, yes! Encouragement goes much farther than condemnation!

  3. Some of us would love to feed our babies but when they are not thriving because your milk isnt good enough. It is the bottle or our baby suffers. Well done all you wonderful feeding moms.