Thursday, July 9, 2015

Breastfeeding vs. Bottle feeding...STOP already!

I follow a lot of different groups: preemie groups, stay-at-home parent groups, mom groups, special needs groups. One of those topics that gets thrown around every so often is the breastfeeding versus bottle feeding. Why? Because of several different reasons. Sometimes a moderator will ask the question as, "Did you breastfeed or bottle feed and why?" But usually the question is just posed as "Breast or Bottle?" And then you tend to have 3 different opinions: the moms who can breastfeed and advocate it and say it's easy; the moms who chose not to breastfeed; and the moms who tried but couldn't do it and wound up bottle feeding. But the whole argument needs to end.

God gave women (and every other mammal) a way to feed their babies. He gave them breasts (in some form). Therefore, it is safe to assume that breastfeeding is best. I don't disagree with this. But there are times when breastfeeding is not an option. Let me give you three examples:

1. My mom couldn't breastfeed me because she was on antibiotics. The antibiotics would have crossed the barrier into the breast milk, therefore giving me antibiotics I didn't need and could have harmed me.

2. I tried to breastfeed my son, but he wouldn't latch and we later found out he was tongue tied. I tried and tried to get him to latch, but after 3 days of trying, I opted for him to be formula fed because he was STARVING. He had chapped lips because the poor kid was getting dehydrated!

3. My daughter was never physically breastfed but was on breast milk for the first two months of her life. She was tube fed and eventually bottle fed breast milk. She was born premature and I couldn't be there for every feeding. But at two months old, she developed a milk protein allergy and was eventually switched to formula. 

Did any of these situations make us bad moms because we didn't breastfeed? No!

Yes, I think the whole idea of people being put-off by breastfeeding moms who do it in public is ridiculous! Whether they chose to cover up or not is their own choice! They are feeding their child! Get over it! What a lot of people don't realize is that breastfeeding mamas who are able to exclusively breastfeed, not pump and introduce a bottle of breast milk, they are literally TIED to their baby 24/7. Usually, at some point, moms have to go back to work or some other circumstance happens and this means they are going to pump and introduce a bottle of breast milk to their baby. Another thing that people don't realize is that breastfed babies can to take longer to sleep through the night. They will wake up for the middle of the night feeding a lot longer than a bottle fed baby. So breastfeeding moms are likely to be more sleep deprived.

But here's the thing that gets me. No one asks WHY moms bottle feed. They just ASSUME that it was a choice. Well, maybe it wasn't. Breastfeeding is HARD! Some moms and babies get it right away. Others have to work really hard at it. Think about it. If it was easy would there be lactation consultants?

And then there are those kiddos who are tube-fed and have a g-tube (or a j-tube) for whatever reason. I know of a couple people who have tubies kids. Some are tube-fed due to an oral aversion. These kids won't put things in their mouth. They work hard with feeding therapy and occupational therapy to overcome this aversion because, honestly, no one WANTS their child to have a tube. I also know a couple of kids who HAVE to have a g-tube for medical reasons. They have disorders that cause them to need nutrition constantly.

So, really, please stop arguing over which is better. Don't judge another mama. You know know what their situation was like. Please don't tell a mama that she was wrong to bottle feed, or so was wrong to breastfeed until 2. I admire the moms who were able to breastfeed. It was something I wasn't able to do. In the end, it doesn't matter how the kiddos were fed as babies. All that's going to matter is that they are loved.

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