My hands were clenched in fists of rage…
-Don McClean’s American Pie
It was early in the morning and scrolling through my Facebook feed, when I came across an article written by Mayim Bialik of The Big Bang Theory and Blossom heyday on Kveller. If you haven’t read it and want to you can read the original article, here.
While I truly do not want to restate the article itself, please note that I have always had a soft spot for Mayim, as I did indeed faithfully watch Blossom weekly as a fan of that show being a teen similar in her age at the time this show ran. Back then it was like I was hanging out with a good friend in my home when I viewed.
Plus, I still am crushing on her nowadays as the by-the-book and science-laced girlfriend, Amy Farrah Fowler of quirky, Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory.
So, I clicked on the link to see what the article was referring to, as I was curious to what my ‘bestie’ (Mayim’s, Amy Farrah Fowler has coined this term perfectly) was dishing.
While I was reading, my hands were indeed clenched and rage (“Get Ready to Be Mad” – The first line from her article – You are damn right!) was bubbling to the surface (Thus, the aforementioned Don McClean mention).
As with any dear friend, I sincerely have to agree to disagree with the essence of her words or overall message and had to compose my thoughts in a letter you will find below, that has very little to do with this war against breastfeeding versus formula feeding nor the viral Similac commercial she is railing against here, but much more about a time when I was a new mom and also these outside factors that do come into play when I had to make this terribly, difficult decision to not breastfeed (I am still laden with this guilt many years after the fact).
Without further ado my letter:
Sorry, but as much as you claim scientific studies have proven that breast milk and formula aren’t the same and that you aren’t trying to put down those who had to formula feed for forces outside of their control, your words still cut deep to this mother, who considered you a friend for years now.
See, I was a mom, who did formula feed for reasons outside of my control.
Let me set the scene for you, because as I read your words, I was instantly transported back almost 6 years ago, right after I gave birth to my first daughter, Emma.
Before I gave birth mind you, I was all for breast feeding having bought into all the scientific studies being an educated woman with a master’s degree in math education. I, instinctively, am wired to see logic and science in through all my educational training, but then the unthinkable happened to me after I did indeed give birth.
Emma was allergic to both lactose and soy proteins, too.
I didn’t know this, of course, when I registered for the latest and greatest Medella breast pump that was suggested
pushed upon me when registering at Babies R Us for my baby registry or when I read up all about what breast feeding entailed beforehand that I could find.
I truly was naive, indeed following what science dictated, as well as what was spoon fed to me at this time.
Then, all of my previous notions came crashing down, when I did indeed give birth to my daughter late, Friday night in July 2009 and everything changed in the blink of an eye.
It was very early the next morning. I was jumping out of my skin with excitement to see and hold her again, when I had just had my first daughter finally brought back to me newly cleaned up from her earlier delivery where I had previously having bonded with the appropriate body to chest time in the delivery room. This beautiful and perfect, little baby girl now all swaddled in this striped pink and blue blanket in a pink beanie hat to match was handed over to me.
The first person to approach me, at this time, was a hospital lactation consultant as my baby had trouble latching from the first moments after delivery only hours earlier.
She was to make all this better and get me breastfeeding like a champ in no time (her words).
It was all business though and I wasn’t even allowed to enjoy those early morning moments with my little girl.
For about 20 minutes of trying, my baby screamed bloody murder and no matter what position this lactation consultant tried in her book of tricks, she wouldn’t latch.
I was told, she would come back in about an hour, because my baby just might not yet be hungry.
This went on (off and on) for about 9 hours of my baby fighting profusely and the consultant conceding defeat each time, only to return more determined.
The last straw came when this same consultant got a bit rough with my baby, because in her words, “Babies are like chickens and pretty resilient!”
My husband took one look at our precious baby girl’s tiny, little head, which now had the lactation’s hands imprinted telling me, “Get a bottle and call it a day!”
Once I did give in and do this (mind you the nursing staff must have been on skeleton crew that night as I had to walk down to the nursery and get a bottle of formula myself only having pushed out my daughter less then 12 hours earlier by this point), she guzzled down the whole 2 oz bottle.
She was indeed hungry and there was my first failed attempt at breastfeeding with a baby that stubbornly wouldn’t latch.
bullied strongly advised by the same lactation nurse to try to have my pump brought in so I could pump (at the very least) as breast is still best and to try to limit formula as much as possible.
All of this mind you occurred while, I was completely mentally and physically exhausted from labor, delivery and all else that comes with having a baby only hours earlier, as well as at a time when I should have been bonding and enjoying the earliest moments of my first born child’s life.
But I continued to do as I was told by a hospital consultant that knew better (I was only a new mom who knew nothing) being paid for her expertise and fast forward to the first night of bringing home my two day old baby, who screamed all night from 11 pm to 3 am non-stop all the while using expressed milk from my pump and trying not to supplement with formula, even though my milk wasn’t completely in and at full supply.
This went on each and every night for the first few weeks of her life with us getting very little, if at all sleep.
Finally, she was about a month old and my husband’s colleague mentioned to him in passing that she may be actually allergic to lactose (mind you the hospital nor my pediatrician at the time ever even thought to share this notion with us). However, his co-worker proceeded to share that Similac Alimentum formula, which is a hypo-allergenic formula not containing the lactose protein, as an alternative that helped save him and his wife many sleepless nights.
I still will never forget the first night, we tried this formula and she actually didn’t scream after a feeding for the first time ever. It was a miracle in plain English for our ears and tired eyes.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t perfect and she still cried at times (What baby doesn’t cry at all?), but she definitely wasn’t screaming out in pain anymore.
By the way, I am simply one mom, who had outside forces contribute to ‘breast not being best’ for us and this is just my story from my past experience as a first time mom to a little girl, who had issues with lactose.
I know there are many other stories, as when I shared this on my Facebook page this same morning after reading and raging, I got all sorts of responses from fellow moms, who had their own own outside forces’ tale to share and tell.
I am in no way sticking up for Similac, their highly debated/criticized commercial or any formula company or even knocking those moms, who can and are able to breastfeed in sharing this, Ms. Bialik. I again honestly couldn’t care less about the video, you again were slamming to make your point.
I only care here about my own, past experience, where breast milk (or any lactose protein) physically made my baby sick with gut wrenching pain and being a mom I didn’t want to see my baby suffer (what mom would?).
Bottom line, I did what was best for my once hurting baby then (and will always now too as she is growing up) and will not be apologizing to you or anyone else anytime soon nor will I be buying what you may have thought you were trying to convey in your article. You also said you didn’t want to open up any old wounds, well check-mate and on the record you did!I will always do what is best for even now as she is growing up…
This isn’t about slamming a formula company, because selling formula doesn’t undermine breastfeeding for moms like myself who cannot breastfeed a child allergic to breast milk. Again, sometimes the ends have to justify the means. What should I have done? Let my baby suffer with each feeding just so I could give her the ‘best with my breast’?
Trust me when I say, I know the bottom line for any company (Similac included) is the god almighty dollar (This former business major knows that a profit is what it is all about and am again not here to defend Similac), but maybe the next time before you speak will remember (or even walk a mile in someone else’s shoes) this mother’s words that those outside forces for many moms (myself included) that make them have to turn to formula that for us (and again myself included), because breast might not always be the best.
Your bestie, who agrees to disagree on this.
Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
Both of my boys were bottle fed from day one. I never wanted to breastfeed, and that was MY decision. And ya know what? They’re just fine…..
Exactly my point totally a mom’s decision and shouldn’t have to be told or guilted into doing anything they don’t want to do or even can’t do either.
Tara Newman says
Seriously, fists clenched. I am glad you were able to write this because I can’t even. Just another example of women ripping apart women because of their own fears, insecurities, and judgements. I didn’t breast feed – and I honestly don’t care what anyone thinks about it.
Tara, I think we are pretty much on the same page here and I truly finally am at that point in my life, where I too really don’t care what anyone thinks. Back when it was happening, I beat myself up for it for quite sometime, but when I read this article the other morning, I just couldn’t hold it in any longer. I had to speak up and couldn’t suppress the urge. It was like I finally just had to let it all out and admit it feels good to once and for all speak my mind on this. Just been a long time coming.
Nellie @ Brooklyn Active Mama says
Hey Janine, I agree with you 200%. I had surgery and because of it I was unable to properly breastfeed my children so they were formula fed. I gave them the little that I did pump but for the most part it was formula. I think a lot of people don’t realize that there can be handicaps in breastfeeding and the main point is we all want the absolute best for our children as mothers.
Thank you Nellie and that is my point. I just don’t understand why moms need and feel the urge to rip others mother apart of put them down for their decision in how they do feed their babies. I mean I get the scientific stance on this, but in the end it is a personal decision that no one has the right to make another mom feel bad for – at all.
Liza Hawkins says
I’m sorry; that sounds like it was a really tough time for you. 🙁
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Thanks Liza. It truly was and this article reminded me of it, but also made me realize I still was pretty raw from it even after all these years. So, I am just hoping I could finally put some of that to rest by getting it off my chest.
Seana Turner says
Breastfeeding didn’t work for me either. We had similar allergies, but more importantly, I had issues and was put on a medication which wasn’t safe for nursing… for many weeks. Whole generations have been raised on formula, so let’s respect each others’ choices. No two situations are the same!
Seana, well put and couldn’t agree more. Plus thank you for sharing your experience here, too.
Ginny Marie says
I am a big breastfeeding advocate, but I do know where you’re coming from because I struggled to feed my Lily because I was limited to one breast due to my breast cancer surgery years before Lily was born. I breastfed her and had to supplement with formula so that she had enough to eat. Those first few weeks of being a first time mom were very challenging, to say the least!
One of the things I found interesting in the article was that while Mayim feels strongly about breastfeeding as medically sound, some commenters pointed out that she doesn’t vaccinate her children when the medical profession strongly recommends vaccinations. Hmm.
I know Christa, I saw some of the comments when I glanced at the bottom page and very interesting indeed, which I assume is a whole other mommy war that could be construed out of this one, as well.
Ginny Marie says
Yes, that’s true. We have a local measles outbreak that has everyone concerned, especially the parents of my little students.
I know it is truly scary about the measles and I thank god both my girls are vaccinated for it and I, myself, had to be re-vaccinated after having Emma as my immunity had apparently worn off after all these years.
Kathy Radigan says
Bravo!! You know 49 years ago, when I was born my mother made the outrageous (at the time) choice to breastfeed me. Her friends told her she was a barbarian and her parents and in laws were horrified. Why would a woman who could bottle feed do such a thing? A lot has changed! !
Motherhood is tough enough without us letting a company’s ad divide us. I think the whole idea is to have a healthy and happy baby and mom. If that means breast, great, if it means bottle, great!!! Love your letter!!! xoxo
Kathy, you said a mouthful and like we discussed on Facebook, for me, I couldn’t agree more. It truly depends on the mother and baby, too as to what works best on this by far. Thank you again always xoxo.
This is such an amazing story – and I’m so sorry you went through this and your poor girl. My little one was allergic to milk and that caused most of our issues. There shouldn’t even be mommy wars – we all have to do what’s best for us and our kids! I shared!
Kristen, I can’t thank you enough for your kind words and for also sharing my article. I am sorry you too had milk allergies. Once again, I truly do agree that it is what works best for moms and babies, too.
The breast feeding argument always gets me. I choose not to breast feed and at 4 years old my son is happy and healthy and those days are long behind us, but people still ask if I did. I feel like it’s no ones business but the parents as to what they do.
Julia, I couldn’t agree more and definitely is a personal choice that is no one’s business, but moms (ours). Thank you for sharing with me.
Susanne/The Dusty Parachute says
Oh man, I had a tough time with breastfeeding too, but since it was my issue, not the babies (shooting pains that made me cry and kick the coffee table for the first 2 minutes of latching that lasted for weeks) I somehow powered through it. If it was my baby going through that pain and not me, there is no doubt I would have switched to formula. With my 2nd I did supplement with formula due to low production at first. It’s such a gift to have that alternative and choice.
Susanne, I totally agree and if it were just me most likely would have kept on and dealt with my own issues, but still do appreciate that their is am alternative for us moms and from my own experience can not knock the formula companies, such as Similac for the reasons and more. Thank you for sharing with me, too.
Susanne Lewis Kerns says
Everyone has their opinions on what the ‘right’ thing is. Some people they just can’t see the other side until they’re personally presented with a situation where it’s a necessity. She’s fortunate that she didn’t have to deal with a baby with allergies, but I’m guessing she would have been grateful for a formula alternative if she did.
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Susanne, perfectly said and I really do agree. It really boils down to walking a mile in another’s shoes and not casting stones.
The Imp says
Amen. I started writing a comment, and it was turning into a freaking post, so I’ll just stick with, I totally understand. I come from a different angle, having nursed four babies, and then, due to a disability, being unable to nurse the last two. The accusations from other women, finding that out…mind blowing. *sigh*
I have been there with replies myself before and totally get that. As for what you went through. First off, thank you for sharing with me and second off, this is what irks me most is that you had to justify what you did for two of your children. So not right on any level – ever! And I am truly sorry you ever did. You are right totally mind blowing and ticked me off just reading that for you. Hugs and really huge thank you for sharing with me today!! You are awesome 🙂
Marcia @ Menopausal Mother says
I so agree with you on this! My daughter had a lot of problems when she tried breast feeding and finally switched over to the bottle. I know she felt guilty about it but I assured her everything was going to be fine. And it was. Good for you for sticking to your instincts!
Marcia, good for you too and seriously thank you for telling me this. You are an amazing mom and all your children are just lucky to have you as a mom!! Thank you my friend, thank you 🙂
Good for you, Janine. From the heart and told like it is. A pleasure to read this.
Happy Weekend….we made it!
Thank you Bill and not going to lie, I wrote my heart out here and just couldn’t help it from all pouring out. So, glad you enjoyed reading and Happy Weekend to you, too! So glad we did finally make it 🙂
Karyn @picklesINK says
AMEN. Thank you for writing this. For me it was only 4 years ago and still too raw to blog about. Suffice it to say, Blossom can get off her high horse and kiss my ass.
Karen, again I am so sorry that you too had nursing issues and know the feeling of it being too raw. It took me 6 years after the fact almost to finally write about it. And as far as Blossom, you had the best rebuttal I have heard all day! So, thank you for that and so much more 🙂
Jen Kehl says
Although Isaiah was adopted, so I didn’t even have a choice, it turned out he was allergic too. And those first few weeks of regular formula were a nightmare of screaming, spitting up and rashes.
My pediatrician always says, “I trust the mom, no one knows her child better.” Is amazing, and I didn’t feel badly for a second. I am always amazed when people make these blanket statements and don’t think of who will get hurt.
I am also not sure why breast is best, Isaiah has an off the charts IQ, is as healthy as any breast-fed kid, and growing just fine. So you know what? If Similac wants to take credit for that they can!
Jen, I know Isaiah is one bright little guy, so love how you said about Similac – definitely made me smile. But still like you not sure why anyone would think it OK to make over-generalizations and think that it would be alright by definitely not thinking before they speak as to who they may hurt or offend either. Just don’t get it. And thank you so much for sharing with me, too 🙂
Thank you! Thank you for posting this! I tried. I tried with both of my babies and guess what, both times, my body was never able to produce enough milk. The doctor’s have now said that is was caused by my PCOS and the level of testosterone in my body. So, both of my children ended up formula fed and you know what, they got the nutrition that they needed. That’s all that matters in the end. My kids are alive, healthy and thriving, just like breast fed kids.
Aww, thank you Echo and agree all that matter are that both your kids are doing just fine and totally thriving. So, really appreciate you sharing your story with me 🙂
How ironic. You wrote a post today about when breastfeeding is NOT best, and I wrote one about when breast IS best! Crazy. Yes, I agree with you. I had a hell of a time breastfeeding all of my kids. It just did not come easily. I gave up on the actual breast feeding and just pumped for a few months with my son. Did the same thing with Jelly Bean – and for even longer because she too was allergic to milk and soy. I eliminated all of those things from my diet and kept on pumping. I wanted to try again with the twins, but never got the chance.
For full term, healthy babies, there’s really no reason why we force women when they are miserable to breastfeed. the ONE and only advantage is immunities.
But in preemies, nothing in the world can convince me that breast is not best. You’ll see why when you read my post! 🙂
Love your letter, love your passion.
Alexa, first off sorry for the caps on my response on your post. I just realized it after I hit send as the dog jumped on my lap right before and must have hit the cap lock. But love the irony of us writing about the same topic in essence and again just shows we are definitely friends, who were thinking alike today. Thank you seriously for sharing on your blog and more here with me, too today 🙂
lisacng @ expandng.com says
I didn’t read Mayim’s article but from how you reacted, I probably shouldn’t read it because I also had a tough time with breastfeeding my first. *I* felt so guilty (1) because I had a C-section and (2) because we weren’t breastfeeding well. My son’s lips were so chapped and cracked in the hospital because he was dehydrated from my lack of milk/bad technique. And my husband was like, “let’s just do what’s best for him. he needs a bottle!” I hated him for that, at the time. Anyways, it took me about a year to heal from the pain and guilt of not being able to breastfeed (and exclusively pumping was waaaaay too much for me). I really wish that people would stop taking sides on the breast milk vs. formula. Stop pitting them against one another. Formula companies, stop saying you’re as good as breast milk. You are different. That is all. Breast feeding crazies, stop saying that if we don’t breast feed our babies will be sicker and stupider. It ain’t true! My BF-ed son gets more sick than my formula daughter and he IS smart.
Lisa, it sounds like we have a lot in common on this and will say that I think we both do know the reality of formula versus breast milk, but again what it boils down to is the the case by case scenarios as with what happened with your son and what to me with Emma. Again, just wish (I know it is just wishful thinking, but still) that both sides would get that this isn’t about which is better, but what works for the baby and mom, too. Thank you so much for indeed giving me a bit of background on what you went through here and seriously do appreciate it.
Diane Roark says
What a terrible story! I just wonder if my baby with colic has a problem with lactose. His stomach still today gives him trouble all the time. I have honestly never heard of a baby being allergic to breast milk. I am sure a lot of other mothers have never heard of this.
Thanks so very much for sharing!
Diane, might very well have been and even today Emma she can have dairy/milk, but too much will constipate her. So, I am always watching her intake just to be careful. But still happy I could share and thank you, too for sharing!! 🙂
you from my post, I’m with you. I had three months of breast infections, three months where I was consistently sick and at one point I almost collapsed over my son in bed…thankfully I texted my neighbors/friends for help. They were able to help and I finally decided it was enough.
He was never going to latch on, I was producing too much milk and pumping was making me sick…too sick to be a mom. Was it really worth it? Was this the mom he needed. The guilt was strong, because of judgmental moms like Mayim. After weeks, and I mean weeks of letting my milk dry up and dealing with even more infections, I was finally free. I was healthy and finally could be the mom I was meant to be.
I f I had another, there is no way on God’s green earth I would breast feed, NOPE..it’s not meant to be. I am all about organic and NON-GMO foods, but I would have to make a sacrifice and feed my him/her formula…in order for him/her to have a healthy and happy mom.
Karen, thank you again for reiterating what you told me on Facebook and again I am so sorry that you had too go though any of this. I am with you and even though I did have a second with Lily, I couldn’t even attempt breastfeeding as all I went through only 16 months earlier with Emma broke something inside of me. So, I do get it completely and again you are right that our babies deserved happy, healthy moms and if formula feeding helps with this then so be it!
Melissa Imp C says
Left you a comment. I totally get it. <3
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Just saw it. Off to reply and thank you for sharing with me today!!! <3
I don’t understand all the judgment that goes on between moms – breastfeeding, staying at home, discipline methods…you do what’s right for you, and don’t worry about anyone else. Great letter – I hope it made you feel a little better to write it!
Dana, it really did and got to be honest today has been a great day since I shared this finally. Not sure if it is coincidence or not, but still never more happy that I did get this off my chest. So, thank you for saying what you said here to me today.
Oh, I am so with you on this one, Janine! I have not read Mayim’s letter, but knowing a little bit about her parenting style I can just imagine what it says. As you know, I was told Eve had a dairy intolerance and since I was breastfeeding I had to be off dairy, which presented some challenges. We were concerned at one point that she also had a soy intolerance, at which point I was going to have to reevaluate if it made sense for me to continue breastfeeding. She also slowed down considerably with her weight gain a couple months in so we started supplementing breastmilk with the Alimentum, which I was very thankful exists.
You should never be made to feel guilty for doing what’s best for YOUR BABY and YOU! I commend all moms who work their hardest to take care of their children. I could care less if you breastfeed, bottle feed, pump and feed, whatever. Some people also really need to get off their high horse 😉 Thank you for sharing your story, I am behind you 110% on this one!
Bev, again thank you so much and seriously cannot say this more. From the bottom of my heart, I not only appreciate you reminding me of all you went through with Eve (I do remember you sharing about this on your blog, too) and for your support, too. 🙂
Karyn Pickles says
ALL of this. I haven’t managed to wrap my head around writing a rebuttal yet. In 3 years I still haven’t blogged about my nursing struggles. Thank you.
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Karyn, I really was so enraged that it came spilling out and I am sorry you too had nursing struggles, but got to tell your comment was by far the best so far I got today and thank you for making me smile on that last line! My pleasure to be able though to write my rebuttal and share it here today, too!
Kelly Suellentrop says
This can be such an emotional topic. So many mothers have felt the same feelings as you. When it comes down to it, you know what is best for you and your baby, and it is nobody else’s business
Jen Kehl says
I commented on your blog. Right tere with you!
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Aww, thanks again Jen and totally just replied back, too 🙂
Vicky Willenberg says
I think what makes me most sad about all the breast vs formula talk is that we as formula mothers feel as though we need to explain ourselves- myself included. In the sat few years I’ve had enough. I no longer explain, rationalize or defend. My answer was once “I used formula with my youngest bc he was so jaundice- like had to be returned to the hospital at day 3 for 3 days jaundice- and I never produced enough milk and pumping 15 minutes got me one ounce, And, and, and…” My answer now is clear and unapologetic- “I used formula because I’m the mom & I made the best decision for my family.” Bam! That’s it. I’m sorry it was so rough for you- I can relate and wish very much I had had the confidence in my decision making that I have now. 😉
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Vicky, again I cannot thank you enough for saying it just as it is and I am so with you on also wish I felt this confident when I was going through this. God, hindsight is definitely 20-20 on this!!!
Vicky Willenberg says
Exactly!! W are so young and naive and trusting of those we believe to be “experts/professionals”. The hospital where I had both my boys didn’t even have formula, pacifiers or a nursery to give mom a bit of rest. And they only gave a bottle if you pumped. Who can pump after only 2 days postpartum? Many women haven’t even had their milk come in yet!!
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Vicky, that is insane and I know who could pump after 2 days. I know from experience and pretty much all I got was colostrum when I was instructed to do this and trust me that wasn’t enough to feed my hungry baby by far. But still, i was so trusting and naive, too. Like I said, I truly wish I knew then what I know now.
Vicky Willenberg says
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says
I didn’t read her article and I did breastfeed all three of my girls, BUT I almost gave up on my oldest. My milk didn’t common until she was a full 5 days old. I went back and forth to the lactation consultants every day, even after we had gone home from the hospital. They gave me some contraption to literally tape to my nipple so the baby would get formula but still be sucking on my nipple to stimulate milk production. It truthfully took four hands to make the thing work – me holding the baby and positioning her & my husband positioning this tube thing and releasing a clip to let the formula flow. Honestly, I woke up that 5th morning and told my husband that I would go tot the lactation appointment that day and, if nothing changed, I was giving up on breastfeeding. My baby was hungry and I was going to feed her one way or another. Fortunately, my milk cam in that day and we proceeded with breastfeeding, but it was painful and I spent weeks dealing with sore, cracked nipples. My youngest daughter was so big, that, although the nursing was pretty easy, my milk supply simply couldn’t keep up and I had to supplement with formula. Anyway, long story short, before I had kids I was totally on board with your bestie’s point of view – breast is best and anything else is lazy, not trying hard enough, etc. Now, that I am a mom who has experienced it, I know that is not true and that most moms are just doing what works – whether it is formula or breast – and that it is not my place to judge them no matter what.
Lisa, I know and I was totally on board with my bestie’s thoughts, too before kids, but just like you motherhood and my own personal experiences, not unlike your own have softened me and changed my stance on this for sure. Thank you so much and I agree it is not the place of anyone to judge formula or breast milk no matter what!
I had a hard time breastfeeding and at times back then I felt very guilty. Reiko was a very hungry baby all the time and I’d be knocked out every time during breastfeeding. I only did so for a month and realized I shouldn’t be guilty for bottle-feeding. It’s not like I starved him. I just gave him what he exactly needs. I always believe that as moms and parents, there’s really no one size that fits all. We all do what works for us best.
Rea, I couldn’t agree more and us moms definitely do what works best for us and our babies by far. And also totally agree that no one size fits all by far here. Thank you my friend for sharing, too 🙂
Sarah Nenni Daher says
Wow, just wow. I like her but am getting darn sick of hearing her pass judgement on others. It’s not about education with her, it seems.
What pains me isn’t a family’s choice to use formula or breastfeed because, like you say, it boils down to what is best for the little ones. What is bothering me so very much about all of this is that we all feel the need to justify or defend our choices to the detriment of others’. Where did this come from? Why are we “all up in each others’ business?” in the first place and passing judgement on one another?
That’s what makes me terribly sad about the “mommy wars.” In my opinion, being a parent is hard and we should be saying, “Holy cow – you managed to a) make a baby, b) nurture it beyond infancy, and c) love it unconditionally. Good – expletive – job!” At least that what I want someone to say to me, regardless of the fact I stuck the kid on my boob for the first couple years of her life. In the end, that won’t matter worth a nugget of fool’s good.
Great write up, Janine – glad I found you.
Sarah, I love what you had to say here and I know we should be celebrating the fact that as moms we do in fact do the best not only to bring our babies into the world, but raise and nurture them, too. So, I honestly cannot agree with you more if I tried. I am really glad that you found me, too and thank you so much for wonderful words that you added here today. Honestly, very much appreciate it!! 🙂
Rabia @TheLiebers says
I’m sorry you had such a rough time in the beginning. My lactation consultant was a sweet old Mennonite lady and she was amazing! She never pushed anything and helped me to feel confident in what I was doing. I wish people would lay off the pressure, though. As long as your baby is getting fed!
Rabia, I am so glad your lactation consultant was so kind and amazing. I think that does help and would make a huge difference in my book. Even if in the end Emma’s allergies would have negated me from breast feeding, a more positive experience with the original consultant might have made me feel less bitter to the overall original experience. And I do very much agree that as long as your baby is fed and not being starved then that is all that matters.
Lindsay Klein says
What any woman does with her body and her baby is HER business and her right;) You go girl. I actually dealt with something today in the medical field….Long story short I do not like taking any form of medication, but I have an injury that upsets me daily…I teach yoga, I take yoga, and Im in pain……Its basically advil in a prescribed form and Im more of a “nature” kind of healer, but sometimes yes we need to throw in the towel on whatever we are fighting for, and know technology does have its strong points and there are a million trillion people in this world that benefit from it on a daily basis…Just continue to be a mom like you did from day one, you had a heart and you cared and wanted the best for baby.
Lindsay, we are more alike then you know and I am truly very much all for natural healing and barely take anything even an aspirin for pain, but like you I had to concede when the pain is awful, like I do get migraines from time-to-time and will take something then. Thank you so much for weighing in and so very much appreciate you and your friendship always 🙂
Wow, I hadn’t read Mayim’s article. I try very hard to stay away from “moviestar” opinions. I am glad you wrote this and shared it. There is no one perfect way to parent and by sharing your story you will help other nervous and concerned mothers looking for answers that aren’t coming from less than helpful lactation specialists and outside sources. Hugs and good job my friend!
So do I, Jen, but it came across my feed the other morning and like I said I just couldn’t resist. And in the end, I got more then I bargained for and just had to speak my mind for better or worse. Hugs back to you, too 🙂
Jill Ginsberg says
You did absolutely everything right for your daughter and thank goodness you were willing to open your mind to other options. It’s those little tips such as the one your husbands co-worker gave you about lactose that can make such a profound and positive difference.
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Thank you so much Jill and I know I am still so thankful for my husband’s co-worker for sharing about Alimentum and milk allergies, because even as much as I had read up still was a bit clueless about this back then.
Rachael Koenig Lubarsky says
I made the decision to stop breastfeeding with both my sons – the first after a week of crying over it and feeling like a failure and the second after three days of doing the same. It was painful, my breasts were the size of water-buffalos – I couldn’t even SEE my children over those monsters! – and I knew if I was not able to successfully do it, they would feel my stress and anxiety. How does that help me bond with my newborns? It wasn’t for me, but I still feel like a jerk about it. I felt bullied and lectured to by nurses and lactation consultants on top of the stress of comparing myself to my own mother – who breastfed me for two years! A generation or two ago, it was considered classier to bottle-feed and thousands of people grew up healthy and fine. You have to do what feels right to you, as a mother, but also as a PERSON.
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
Rachael, I know the feeling so well and first off thank you for sharing what you went through both times. Second off, I couldn’t agree more that we moms definitely have to do what feels and is RIGHT for us. So, I am just sorry that you did get treated poorly for this decision and again I can totally relate as this is what happened to me, as well back then.
April G says
I’m torn on this subject. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad that they didn’t want to or couldn’t breastfeed. But I also think there’s a lot of misconceptions about the ease or the ability to breast feed. I find it unfortunate to have someone make someone feel bad about a perfectly logical decision.
April, I can understand you being torn. For me, I knew it wasn’t easy by any means, but I also had a baby with milk allergies and no amount of trying and continuing with breast feeding would make a difference for the outcome with Emma as she was allergic and this was just reality in our lives.
First of all, sorry it was ME that introduced you to the article. Second, Mayim is historically perpetuating the mommy wars in my opinion. While I respect her right to choose what is right for her family, she is a very outspoken public figure that likes to write controversial posts.
Anyway, I breastfed kid #1 with no problems. Kid #2 came along and had allergies to dairy and soy. I eliminated those from my diet and breastfed for 14 months. Kid #3 had major acid reflux and blood in his stool. I eliminated everything but meat and veggies for 5 months. Then, I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was heartbreaking because I wanted to SO bad, but I know it was absolutely the right thing to do. I was a better mom because of it, and the very first night he was on Alimentum, he slept for 6 hours straight (after being up every 1.5 hours at 5 months old!!) Anyway, off soapbox. Every mom should feel encouraged in whatever her decision is. 🙂 Great post!
No apologies necessary and Meredith, I actually want to thank you for sharing it, because it helped me put into words what has been haunting me for almost 6 years now. I actually do feel quite a bit better and lighter (as crazy as it sounds) after indeed writing this. That said, your third experience sounds very similar to my own with Emma and how it was night and day sleep wise after only one night on Alimentum. And yes I truly agree that all moms should be encouraged with whatever choice she does make on this. Thank you again, Meredith 😉
Eubanks Eutopia says
I thought her article was pretty stupid too. YES it’s a formula commercial. We didn’t know it until the very end, and even so, we can appreciate the sentiment. I BF’d my 2 bio babies, and they both self weaned before they were a year old. I have no idea why, but I went with formula from then until their 1st birthday. NBD!!! They are healthy and super intelligent and confident and wonderful young ladies now! <3
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
I know it was just a formula commercial and definitely there was no need for her rant and very much agree with you. And thank you for sharing with me, too
Kristine Sonnett Kauflin says
You know, the funny thing is that I think there is judgment no matter which you choose. I breastfed my son and now my daughter exclusively and I constantly have to justify doing it and answer questions about when I will stop.
Confessions of A Mommyaholic says
I just wish that either choice didn’t have to come any form of judgement and sorry you have felt this, too.
Aunt Gloria says
Good for you Janine. Auntie Anne reminds me that they discouraged breast feeding when she had her babies….and all you kids did just fine! Now they are pressuring women to breast feed and then feel guilty if they don’t. Well…..the decision should be the woman’s and like you, decide what works best for the baby. Right now breast feeding is in vogues….next year, who knows? Women need to decide what works for them. Thank goodness you found the solution for Emma.
Thank you so much to both of you and Auntie Anne is right from all I have heard, breastfeeding back then was totally discouraged and then some. Now, it seems to be the opposite, but still I am indeed glad that I found what worked best for Emma. Hugs and love you both!!!
My DIL had such a hard time in the beginning. She’s a social worker, tough as nails… but she let the lactose coach bully and prod and aggravate her to tears over and over again. Now, don’t get me wrong, nothing against the coaches here at all!! I’m just stating what I saw happening. Finally my DIL gave the baby milk she pumped in a bottle. The little one never did latch on for months and months. She did when she got a few months older. My DIL has more resilience than me, I’d have been right there w/your husband… ‘give her a bottle and call it a day.’ And the one thing in your post that had my fists clenching was the chicken reference. Really??? -_-
Aww, Rosey, I am truly sorry for your DIL’s experience and that is what I don’t understand why many of these consultants seem to take stance of being so rough about training women in the beginning how to breastfeed. Thank though for sharing and the chicken reference still upsets me, as well.
I breastfeed, mainly because I can and I’m lazy. But I don’t care what other mothers do, as long as the children get fed. Good for you for standing by your decision.
Thank you so much Alison and like you I would never judge another mom on this as this truly is a personal decision.
Stories like this probably don’t bother me as much as the moms but I still get irritated by some of the self righteous crap that people throw around about raising kids.
People are different and there are relatively few black and white statements that people can make with any accuracy about parenting. We all have to pick what works best for our kids.
Jack, you said this perfectly and I agree there really is no black and white, but more shades of gray when it comes to parenting. Thanbks for weighing in.
What an ordeal for you and Emma!! I’m so glad that you finally realized that she needed a special formula.
This issue is lone that I feel is personal to each situation and I will never understand why others feel entitled to pass judgment. I only breast fed Jordan for 4 months – that was enough for me. With Hunter I planned to go longer but my milk supply didn’t cooperate and I stopped again between 3 & 4 months. I had one friend who judged my choice a lot – she though I should have gone to a year at least.
Thank you Kim and I am sorry that your friend judged your with Hunter. I really just don’t get what makes others think they do have the right and it does very much bother me that that this does indeed happen more often than not.
Carrie Groneman says
I am so grateful we have choices and I believe each woman has an obligation to do what is best for HER family, not what others say. Thanks for the post my friend. Carrie, A Mothers Shadow
Thank you so much Carrie and I truly agree with you on this.
It will never cease to amaze me that moms care so much about what other moms do. WHO CARES???? Do what is right for you and your family and stop pushing your beliefs on everyone else. It’s your choice to do whatever you want in your home with your kids. Period.
Allie, I know it really does boggle my mind still and I am with you on, “Who Cares” and moms really just should be more concerned with doing what is right for their own kids, not anyone else’s, period!
I remember once when my formula feeding friend said about me, “Tamara is a better mom than I am because she exclusively breastfeeds.”
I was so stunned. I shouted back, “No! I’m just more poor!” (formula is expensive, as you know)
I’m a BIG advocate in babies.. you know.. eating something. Formula is here for a reason. It’s a gift, really, because our lives would be scary without it. Would we be giving our babies sugar cow’s milk??
I was lucky because breastfeeding worked well for me. It was hard with Scarlet, but we soldiered on. Des had a sensitive stomach from being on antibiotics at birth so at first I did worry he had that protein allergy but in the long run, he didn’t.
If he had? I can’t lie. I don’t know that I could have given up all dairy.. I’m not a saint.
Tamara, I am no saint either and you comment so made me smile. I got to tell you that the formula was actually covered through insurance as it was a prescription for an allergy believe it or not.
Janine, I went and read her post and I watched the video. I can see why you and others would have a strong reaction. I remember when I quit breastfeeding my twins after a few days – mainly because I was so mad at the doctors attitude towards me and “how I was doing it wrong” her exact words were, “you’re doing it wrong, who told you to do it that way?” Hands clenched in fists of rage…that was the least of it. I quit right on the spot. While I can’t say I haven’t thought I maybe should have given it another shot I also don’t feel an ounce of guilt about using formula. I don’t understand why some feel the need to criticize another for their choices. Each of us is just trying to make the best choice for our family. Period.
Stephanie, you said it perfectly and it really is what works best for your own family and nothing more or less here. Thank you so much for sharing with me and sounds like we had a similar experience with this from the get go, too.
The Pinterested Parent says
I did nurse , but it was no picnic. Like you, the nurses made me feel horrible as I had a very difficult time feeding in the hospital. One nurse actually threw down a diaper in front of me & showed me these pink crystals in Mai’s diaper which she said showed that she was dehydrated and I wasn’t feeding her well enough. I was hysterically crying. I was trying my best. I had two bouts of mastitis & several breast issues. It was no picnic. In between my many issues & a hospitalization for the first case o f mastitis, Mai was formula fed. There is definitely this whole mommy war thing going on. Pointing fingers, judgments & name calling. I think it is very sad. I am not innocent, I have heard judgments come out of my mouth & I feel shamed after. There are some bad mothers out there. It is tru, but most of us are just moms trying to do the best that we can, we will stumble, we will falter & we will make choices that work the best for us. In the end as long as our kids are loved & thriving everyone else can take their opinions & shove them up their asses. Oops did I say that. Love you Janine. You are a great mom.
Aww, I love you tons too and you are an amazing mom, too. I am sorry you were treated this way by that nurse and I really am not sure why others feel the need to make us moms feel any less for stuff like this. Hugs to you!!!
I love you for this! I breastfed my kids for as long as I could but not right after they came out (they were also mixed fed til they decided they didn’t want mommy’s boobs right before they turned 1 year old). They were purely bottle fed during the first few days. The first born had to be brought home ahead, I stayed at the hospital for a couple more day due to bleeding and clearly, he can’t be without milk until I get home so formula it was. The little girl had to be given formula too because my milk did not come in until the 3rd day after I gave birth. And no mother in her right mind would wait for 3 days before feeding her baby! There.
Jhanis, I love you for sharing this and couldn’t agree more with you!! Thank you, my friend.
I hate to see women divided over issues like this. We need to all do what we believe and feel is best for our own families and then let others do the same. I appreciate you sharing the discussion on the Thursday Blog Hop…but I hope it will not cause further divisions between women. Honestly, who cares what the actress thinks. You made your own decision and you are at peace with it. She can do and think what she wants.
Thanks Pam and I held this in for quite a few years, so personally it made me feel better to finally release my hurt and disappointment in writing this on my own site.
Robin @ The Golden Rule Kids says
Agree it isn’t nobody business if you or do not or why or why not. I just think we live in the days of to many people judging every decision a mother makes it is sad. Thanks for sharing this what a great post!
Thank you Robin and I agree that it is just sad. Not really sure why anyone does feel they need to judge and wish that this would finally indeed get laid to rest letting all moms just make the decision that is best for their families.
I love this post. I breastfed my son, but was unable to breastfeed my daughter because of medication I was taking at the time. I took some subtle (and not so subtle) heat about the bottle feeding. (And, the first month of breastfeeding my son was a nightmare, because he was allergic to cow’s milk, I didn’t know that, and I was guzzling milk like crazy, thinking I was doing a good thing… He screamed–a LOT. He’s 24 now and doesn’t scream.) Hopefully we moms (and everyone else, for that matter), will try “walking a mile in someone else’s shoes” more often. While I don’t trust corporate marketing, with all of its meticulous manipulation (especially pharmaceutical companies–don’t get me started!), I hope that we can all respect each other’s individual situations and decisions more, and support, rather than judge each other.
Pam, I am so with you on this and truly hope that we can all support each other rather then judge. Thank you so much for sharing with me and sounds like you did a great job with your kids!! 😉
Zully Hernandez says
Such an important post. There is so much stigma attached to the breastfeeding debate. Which is so sad because when it comes down to it, it’s up to what works best for mom and baby.
Thank you Zully and I very much agree with you on this, too.