In honor of world breastfeeding month, I have written a two-part series on my relationship with breastfeeding. Part one talks about my breastfeeding relationship with my kids. For Part Two, I will discuss my relationship with non-breastfeeding mothers. Here I want to honor the bottle-feeding mothers.
"While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for every baby." ~Amy Spangler
I absolutely believe that breastfeeding is the right choice for every baby and even, in contradiction to the quote above, the right choice for every mother. While intended as a reference, I have read Dr. Jack Newman’s The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers from cover to cover and agree with Dr. Newman that with enough patience and support, there is a solution to every breastfeeding challenge.
However, I also understand that in a society where mother’s are given bottles at baby showers, breast pumps have made it to the needs list and formula comes in as many flavors as does ice cream, that breastfeeding isn’t always going to be the final choice for every mother and baby.
Do I feel more awkward seeing a bottle in a baby’s mouth than getting a glimpse of an undisclosed breast? Yes, I do. Do I wish my breastfeeding-challenged mommas could utilize the wisdom of the perfect lactation consultant for hours, days and weeks in the comfort of their own homes? Yes, I do. Do I want to boast a 100 percent breastfeeding statistic for my birth clients? Yes, I do.
Do I think a momma who has chosen not to breastfeed just didn’t try hard enough. No, I do not. Do I make her feel less than and guilt her for her choice? No, I do not. Do I decide her love and passion for her child aren’t as full for not breastfeeding? No, I do not.
I have seen mommas caress their blooming bellies as they look forward to meeting their new babies. I have seen mommas sweat, groan and celebrate as they birth their babies. I have seen mommas balance like a tight-rope walker as they try to understand their new role as parents and figure out how to take care of the new life in their hands. I know they want the best for their babies and whether bottle feeding or breastfeeding, are working through sleep deprived days and healing bodies to feed and nurture their children.
While I still believe breast is best, that doesn’t mean bottle is bad and I champion my mothers on both sides of the coin. You spent 9 months of your life growing an entire human being, hours birthing and have committed the rest of your life to raising a respectable citizen of this world.Each day that you awaken in the morning, be that 3 a.m., 5 a.m. and/or 9 a.m., and have enough mental clarity to crawl into the appropriate bed when the sun goes down, is a success.
So take pride that you, momma, in one form or another, fed your baby yesterday are likely feeding your baby right now and will do it again tomorrow.
Photo courtesy of Katelyn Goslin and Amanda Buffington.