NEWS: Formula Feeding as a "choice"

Community Leader
Registered: 10-01-2010
NEWS: Formula Feeding as a "choice"
Sun, 07-29-2012 - 1:51pm

If you made the "choice", were you choosing to use formula - or were you really choosing not to breastfeed?

Do you say, "I support a woman's choice to feed her baby however she likes"? I have never been comfortable with that sentence...

Formula Feeding as a "choice"


Nurtured Child alluded to this in her blog when she wrote that, "In trying to conform and be accepted into a patriarchal society, women have learned to ignore their instincts for mothering.  Those who are still able to hear their instincts are not supported in trying to follow them.  Why are we as women so desperate to ignore our own biology in order to fit into an outdated model of what society should be?"

A choice laced with fear

She has a good point. The choice to formula feed is made in a climate in which women harbour mistrust, disdain, and even fear of their bodies. Like those who dare not leave the house without camouflaging their faces with makeup, when feeding their babies many women believe nature needs a constant helping hand. As women we seldom have confidence in our bare naked selves. Our natural state is to be is feared, seen as faulty and insufficient.

On the topic of rejecting nature, someone called 'Sam' left a fascinating comment on one of my previous articles (here). Her comment is worth reproducing in its entirety:

"Breastfeeding is not a "choice". You can "choose" NOT to breastfeed, but breastfeeding is just the normal thing to do next, once the baby is born. It's like saying you "choose" to placenta-feed. Nope, while the baby is in utero your body just gets on with it and the baby is nourished. There is no "decision" involved. Then the baby comes out and breastfeeding is a continuation of that. You can "choose" to disrupt that continuum. That is your right. Let's just be honest about it and call it what it is."


Next time you find yourself muttering the hyper-clichéd words, "I support a woman's choice to feed her baby however she likes", stop and think. Your choice rhetoric: 

  • • obscures the fact that formula feeding is a deviation from the norm.
  • contributes to the illusion that breast milk and formula are on an even keel.
  • weakens legal protection for breastfeeding ('choices' are weaker than 'rights').
  • fuels Mother Vs Mother dialogue ('The Mommy Wars').
  • relieves formula companies, health professionals and poor support systems of their responsibility (instead all responsibility is placed on the choice-maker).
  • discourages individual social responsibility.
  • sees women as weak and unable to field criticism.
  • shuts down debate, discussion, activism and progress.

Click to read the really long article: