BF vs AF: I think they are all amazing mummies

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2012
BF vs AF: I think they are all amazing mummies
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Wed, 02-29-2012 - 7:56pm

Whether a woman decides to breastfeed or not, I think she is still an amazing woman. What I feel is important is that she is informed and given advice on all of her choices.

In this post:

http://thesimplethingsinlife2012.blogspot.com/2012/02/simple-thought-on-breastfeeding.html

I discuss why I think all women are amazing mummies whichever method of infant feeding they choose!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Wed, 02-29-2012 - 8:38pm

>>this message goes to health professionals and other women, who judge those mothers who do not breastfeed their infants.<<

Who are these alleged professionals and others who "judge" formula feeders? Women who breastfeed in public (on airplanes, in restaurants, etc) and women who show pictures of their infants feeding (on Facebook) are judged, as evidenced by news reports and Facebook policies. What evidence is there that women who choose formula are challenged?

I'm not sure what your point about criteria for being a "fantastic" mother are. What, IYO, does feeding choice have to do with evaluating how good a mother one is? Could you expand on how you use feeding choice to evaluate the worthiness of a mother?

>>Every woman has the right to make a choice.<<

Absolutely.

>>in cases where women have chosen not to breastfeed, [making an] informed choice,,, we should support them.<<

Agreed. This has been stated repeatedly by the pro-breastfeeding posters on this board.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Wed, 02-29-2012 - 10:48pm
nisupulla wrote:

>>this message goes to health professionals and other women, who judge those mothers who do not breastfeed their infants.<<

Who are these alleged professionals and others who "judge" formula feeders? Women who breastfeed in public (on airplanes, in restaurants, etc) and women who show pictures of their infants feeding (on Facebook) are judged, as evidenced by news reports and Facebook policies. What evidence is there that women who choose formula are challenged?

I have to agree that there are many people nudging BF'rs then FF'rs. I also think it's important to recognize that a medical professional advising a patient what is the best choice health-wise when it comes to feeding a baby is not judging in and of itself. Yes, their are ways that they can inform a mother that would cross the line to judging but I think to many people falsely label them as judging merely because they make the effort make sure the mom is fully informed when she expresses that she is planning to FF. Some seem people seem to be arguing for the right of moms to make completely uniformed decisions about infant feeding without there doctor saying anything about the health-risks of formula. But the reality is that being informed on the risks of formula does not prevent anyone from choosing to FF and if knowing the truth about formula's risks does make some moms feel guilty for wanting to CHOOSE that option when they are perfectly capable of BF'ing then that is not the concern of their doctor. They can either decide to BF, or find a way for BF'ing to work for them if their concerned it might not, or find a way to be able to live with the decision to choose the riskier feeding choice. As i said recently on this board, not all mommy guilt is unjustified or a bad thing and thus I don't see it as the responsibility of the mom or baby's doctor to alleviate or help the mom avoid when it's not it's them intentionally trying to guilt the mom.

I'm not sure what your point about criteria for being a "fantastic" mother are. What, IYO, does feeding choice have to do with evaluating how good a mother one is? Could you expand on how you use feeding choice to evaluate the worthiness of a mother?

I agree with you here as I too don't see how properly feeding your child whether it be by BF'ing or FF'ing automatically makes one amazing mother. A mom could abuse their baby but properly feed and they would not become an amazing mother simply because the properly fed their baby (BF or FF). It's reminds me of the people who on Youtube and blogs who include the disclaimer "I don't care how you feed your baby as long as you feed your baby.". On the surface it sounds like their are saying that I could feed my children nothing but ice cream and Kool-Aid and they wouldn't care since I was feeding my baby. What I assume they really mean is "I don't care if your BF or FF so long as you feed your baby.".

>>Every woman has the right to make a choice.<<

Absolutely.

I agree too and I have never advocated taking away the moms choice. That does not mean I agree that I think every women has the right to make an uninformed choice. I don't see being being told the truth about formula takes away her choice to FF in anyway.


>>in cases where women have chosen not to breastfeed, [making an] informed choice,,, we should support them.<<

Agreed. This has been stated repeatedly by the pro-breastfeeding posters on this board.

I agree here too but with a major caveat. It's important to be clear that there is a difference between supporting her right to FF and agreeing that here choice to FF was the right one for her baby health-wise. I don't have to agree with a mothers choice to FF to support her choice to FF, even by pure choice. I would feel the same way about someone who disagreed with my choice BF my child a number of years beyond his first birthday. Others don't have to agree with my choice to extended BF to support my right to make that choice. The same applies to people who give birth outside hospitals such in birthing centers or home births. If a women decides she is not comfortable birthing outside a hospital due to her perceiving the risks as to high then that is here choice and hat does not mean she doesn't support others right to feel otherwise and choose a birthing center or home birth..

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Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
Thu, 03-01-2012 - 12:30pm
giliane15 wrote:

Whether a woman decides to breastfeed or not, I think she is still an amazing woman. What I feel is important is that she is informed and given advice on all of her choices.

welcome

Welcome to the debate board. It's wonderful to see you posting here and I hope that you will stick around and post more often.

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I can't agree that all women are amazing moms. I have met some wonderful Formula-feeding moms, and some terrible breastfeeding moms. I have met some great breastfeeding moms and some really bad formula feeding moms. I have met moms who were great when their babies were infants, but when their children got older, they became bad mothers.

I don't think how you feed your baby has anything to do with how good of a mother you are.

I also have found that some women are not open to being informed, nor do they welcome advice on all of their choices.

And if mom has already switched, is there a point in having a "confidential discussion with them to ensure that they did an informed choice"? Perhaps while they are pregnant, but not once baby is here, unless she is willing to listen and you are willing to be there every step of the way while she relactates.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2012
Thu, 03-01-2012 - 6:30pm
that is my point . . . that the infant feeding method does not make a mother better or worse. When I referred to judgement, sure there is no evidence, maybe I am the only one who have witnessed it (hopefully and probably not), I have met women who feel guilty about artificial feeding because they feel as if they are 'bad' mothers simply because they did not breastfeed. Why do they feel like this? I am not sure but I have met cases were they have been told that they should have tried BF because it is the best for the baby, and that they can switch to BF so they can provide the best for their baby and because of this they feel judged. They feel like worse mothers, and basically that is why I wrote what I wrote to remind them that they are still amazing. I might have been misunderstood though?
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-16-2010
Fri, 03-02-2012 - 12:47pm

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Sure. They can. They can also feel like the other person is just trying to be helpful, or whatever. They can own whatever feeling they want.

I've been told that I should have tried to make my own baby food. I've been told that I should have used cloth diapers. I've been told that I should have waited to go back to work until my baby was weaned. I've been told that I should have stopped breastfeeding when my baby was no longer a baby (for the record, I nursed my first until he was 6. My current nursling is 3 1/2 and is going strong). I've been told lots of things about lots of topics by lots of people, and I know that's not going to end. There's still school choice, lunches, aftercare, babysitters, extracurricular activities, manners, discipline, TV and technology overload, dating, college, etc. etc. etc. People in general just like to talk. They like to share their experiences and sometimes they like to make themselves feel better about their own choices, good or bad. Sometimes they are judging, sometimes that's good and sometimes that's bad.

Kevali


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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Fri, 03-02-2012 - 2:10pm

This is a post that I made in a recent thread. It applies here, too. I will put my thoughts together and post again later. Welcome to the debate!:

Guilt just doesn't capture the emotion, IMO.

Try this on: You have been crippled in a serious accident. Your physicians and physical therapists explain that learning to walk again would involve months of extremely painful and difficult work with no guarantee of success. They help you adjust to life in a wheelchair, and support you through the difficulties that result. Twenty years later, when your legs have withered beyond all hope, you meet someone whose accident matched your own. "It was difficult," she says. "It was three months of sheer hell. But I've been walking every since." Would you feel guilty?

Women to whom I posed this scenario told me they would feel angry, betrayed, cheated. They would wish they could do it over with better information. They would feel regret for opportunities lost. Some of the women said they would feel guilty for not having sought out more opinions, for not having persevered in the absence of information and support.....we do not feel guilty about having been deprived of a pleasure. The mother who does not breastfeed impairs her own health, increases the difficulty and expense of infant and child rearing, and dismisses one of life's most delightful relationships. She has lost something basic to her own well-being. What image of the satisfactions of breastfeeding do we convey when we use the word "guilt"?

Let's rephrase, using the words women themselves gave me: "We don't want to make bottlefeeding mothers feel

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Fri, 03-02-2012 - 6:47pm
kevali2010 wrote:

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Sure. They can. They can also feel like the other person is just trying to be helpful, or whatever. They can own whatever feeling they want.

I've been told that I should have tried to ....... etc

There are always going to be people who will tell you how to run your life. You can think through your own decisions and the reasons for them carefully and know you have done the very best you can under the circumstances. And if you have done that, you will generally find that you are able to internally say to yourself that what they are saying does not make you feel guilty or affect you.

You can be a person who worries about what everyone says as well. Believe me, I live in a small town and the small-town gossip can be annoying. But if you let it get to you, you would never be able to make a decision, as you would always be worrying about what other people might think and say about it.

You can be a person who makes decisions, and then worries later about what others think, and possibly feels judged, because you may even realise you did not make the best decision you could have at the time. But that is not the fault of the person saying stuff. It needs to be acknowledged that if you realise later you could have made a better decision, it is you that owns that. Regret is certainly something that could come into play here. Guilt could also come into play if you now understand that you did not make a well-thought out decision with as much information as you could get at the time. Guilt may well be appropriate, as you did not do as well as you could have. But own it. Acknowledge that the guilt is more about you than what others have said. And make up your mind to learn from this and do better with future decisions.

I agree with the others that feeding choice does not make a good parent. Or a bad one. I think that's inherent. :)

Having seen over many years children from all kinds of backgrounds - there is a lot more than feeding choice involved. Hey, there are children I teach who would not even be getting sufficient good meals each day.

Teresa

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-05-2012
Fri, 03-02-2012 - 8:53pm
thanks for your input girls, I do admire and agree with you. Sometimes a word of advice or even a comment which means no harm, sends thousands of emotions, regrets, anger, disappointment and so much. I think maybe if one feels guilty about a choice they made, maybe they feel that they did a wrong choice deep down? otherwise they won't feel guilty in the first place? what do you think? =)
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
Fri, 03-02-2012 - 10:17pm
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I think we have to make it clear here that we are talking only about those that BF or FF and do so with at least the belief that they are doing so correctly. If someone is BF'ing or FF'ing in a knowingly BF'ing or FF'ing their baby improper/unsafe manner or is feeding a substance to their baby that they know is not recommended due to being nutritionally inappropriate or potentially unsafe to feed a baby such home-made formula, Kool-Aid, Soda, cow's milk, gruel, etc. then they could. If your knowingly not properly feeding your infant despite having the option of doing so then I do think your a bad mother. If your unfortunate enough to not be able to BF but also happen to be someone where access to safe formula is not easily available to you due to lack of finances, government welfare, clean water, or even just access to formula in generally even if you could afford it and prepare it safely (such as in a war torn country, for example). Just feeding your child some sort of substance does not automatically give you a passing grade as a mother when it comes to feeding your baby. I think we have to be careful and not just assume then when we talk infant feeding that everyone just assumes we are referring to BF'ing vs FF'ing. There are still a good number of mothers worldwide who feed foods/liquids to their babies that are not considered nutritional adequate or safe for babies to be consuming, especially if it's their primary diet. It's like when people point out that the the bottle in a picture of a mom or dad bottle-feeding could be a bottle of EBM rather then formula. Those more in touch with the fact that some mothers do indeed pump and have others feed BM in a bottle, especially those of use who have done that ourselves. The reality though for most people out there is that when they see a bottle of a milk-like substance they assume it's formula not EBM. Few will consider that it could be BM in the bottle. I see the same thing with regard to infant feeding as too many people fail to realize that not every mom feeds their infant properly or feeds BM or formula as the main part of their infants diet, even if I'd agree that the majority does. I think the same rule needs to apply when it comes to the decision to FF. We cannot simply assume that the mom who has made the decision to FF has made an informed decision that truly was best for their baby or that even if their decision was fully informed that it will turn out to be best for their infant. All moms are human and thus all are capable of making bad choice when it comes to feeding though I think that of they choice was made in the genuine belief it was best then it needs to be treated differently then that which was made without regard to whether it was best such as for completely selfish reasons.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008
Sat, 03-03-2012 - 1:53am
giliane15 wrote:
thanks for your input girls, I do admire and agree with you. Sometimes a word of advice or even a comment which means no harm, sends thousands of emotions, regrets, anger, disappointment and so much. I think maybe if one feels guilty about a choice they made, maybe they feel that they did a wrong choice deep down? otherwise they won't feel guilty in the first place? what do you think? =)

This is quite a likely scenario, I would think. Even if the reasons why a mother who wanted to breastfeed but she ended up FF were things she found difficult at the time, if she did have her heart set on BF, and did not have the info to overcome a difficulty she may have had, it is possible to feel guilty. She had done what she thought was the research, tried what she believed was best, and was foiled somehow in the process.

On the other hand, I do not think the guilt would be as prevalent among mothers who choose to formula feed from the outset, or who have a mindset that BF is only important - for the colostrum - or for a few weeks - or for a couple of months. In their own mind, they have achieved what they feel is good.

Teresa

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