As a formula feeder, you’re probably imagining my thoughts on National Breastfeeding Week to be anything but positive. A week that promotes breastfeeding? Surely that excludes me in every way? Some will be of the opinion that I have no right to voice my thoughts on the matter – but I do.
Babies are more than bottles or breasts. Babies are more than the milk they’re fed, or the teat they get it through. They’re more than the arguments over EBF vs. expressing vs. mix feeding vs. formula feeding. They’re more than patronizing suggestions of nipple shields and La Leche League. They’re more than dirty looks in cafes, and requests to ‘do that in the bathroom instead’. They’re more than midnight cluster feeds, and they’re more than standing in the kitchen at 3am, waiting for the kettle to boil and the bottle to sterilise.
Happy, healthy, successful babies are not made by the milk that drink.
Those babies are made with love. They’re made with encouragement. They’re made with care and attention and happiness. They’re made with people around them who want the best for them. They’re made with breast milk and with formula, one or the other or combinations of the two.
They’re made by having happy caregivers who feel that their choices are supported.
So I’m using NBW to celebrate babies being fed. However it’s done, if it is being done then you are doing great. I will never advocate for a breastfeeding mother being made to feel uncomfortable for feeding. I will also never stand for a formula-feeding mother being made to feel inferior. Formula is inferior to breast milk, we get that. But FF mothers are not inferior to those who BF. Their babies are not inferior now, and will not be in the future.
To all mothers and parents everywhere, however you came to have parental responsibility and however you feed your baby, I stand by you. Less shame, more support – for ALL mothers.