Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Is this horse dead yet?

I contributed to an article today on Small Fry.
About the "aren't we done with this yet" argument of breast feeding vs. bottle feeding.

The first time I ever fed Georgia a bottle.  I'd rather talk about how awesome her hair was…from day one.

In full disclosure--I have never felt guilt about bottle feeding, no one has ever made a snide comment to me about it….really (because pretty much everyone knows how we've built our family), I have never felt like I was missing out on something because we had to bottle feed, and I truly, truly, truly, could care less how moms choose to feed their children when they are infants.  I've never really waded into this argument before because I honestly don't care about it that much.  I do however, find it absurd that many of my friends have been made to feel bad in some capacity if they did in fact choose to bottle feed over breast feed.  I mean….absurd with a capital A.

I think it's a moms choice and it should be made based on what will make them a better mom; feel sane, bond with their children (spoiler--a lot of moms I've talked to say that breast feeding actually worked against bonding with their children), gel with their schedule, and help them to focus on loving their baby like crazy.  And what makes you a better mom is only something that is known by 'the mom.'

Here's the full contribution that I gave to Small Fry in answer to the question, "Why did you choose to bottle feed?"  (They were interested in my perspective as an adoptive mom specifically.)

As an adoptive mom, I realize that I do have the option to breast feed if I were to take the appropriate hormones and vitamins--however, that is a rarely chosen feeding route for most adoptive moms and given the emotions and sometimes tricky relationships that exist within adoption--especially domestic as many are now (thankfully) open, bottle feeding is definitely the typical go-to.  

One of the things that has struck me the most about the bottle feeding/breast feeding chatter in the breast feeding community is that there is very little recognition of how families are built differently.....resulting in a need to feed differently.  Commercials on TV, articles in parenting magazines, pamphlets in doctors office (some of the most guilt inducing), and conversations at the park, play groups, and lunch dates with other moms that you might not know very well all completely turn a blind eye to the fact that breast feeding really isn't that viable of an option for all moms--and not just because they have a low milk supply.  

When you see a commercial on TV there is always a clause that goes something like this, "but IF you have to bottle feed....this formula will do."  The idea of providing your child something that will just "do" doesn't feel good to any mom and it's a fairly insulting line to tout.  Articles that guide bottle-feeding moms in the different kinds of formula to try, when a switch might be necessary, which formulas work better for colic or reflux simply don't exist--because that would mean promoting bottle feeding and not breast feeding. And it goes on.........

What I think all bottle feeding moms wish is that there would be equal representation in feeding discussions for bottles and breast--and equally positive.  One wouldn't be mentioned without the other and the conversation certainly wouldn't start with, "Well....if you have to bottle feed.....".  I often hear that if you bottle feed you can eliminate allergies and other sicknesses for your child--I think it's safe to say that we all know enough kids who were bottle fed that have zero allergies and are healthy as a horse and enough kids who were breast feed that are allergic to everything and have chronic colds to know that doesn't hold the same weight that it used to.  Can we completely throw it out? Of course not.  But bottle fed moms are weary of that being thrown in their faces as well.  

There are so many other crucial conversations to have in regards to raising children--ones that really determine what kinds of adults we are raising for the world....and those are the ones I wish more moms would focus their energy on.  

There are a lot of other great stories in the post on Small Fry today--check it out if you'd like.  But really, aren't we all weary of this discussion?  Why are we still having it?  I honestly don't understand why it matters.  Why aren't we talking about ways to instill more respect in our children as a collective society, healthy ways to make friends, why we don't bully, how to share appropriately, how to set healthy boundaries in relationships, why principles matter, and what a work ethic is? 

And I know--those things happen a bit later (but not that much later) than the bottle or the breast that you offer to your infant minutes after they're born….but aren't they infinitely more important to spend hours talking about in the year 2015 than the latter?  

Please say yes.  

My sister feeding Crosby a bottle.  Thanks for the break Aunt Enna. Let's also talk about her amazing hair.  See….so many other things to talk about. 

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