My mom formula fed me.
She did this because she was told it was the best decision for me. This was really common, if you breastfed 30 years ago you were consider a tree hugger!
I turned out just fine. I hardly ever got sick as a kid, I was put in the “enhanced class” growing up and have always maintained a healthy weight.
But, when I have a baby I will be breastfeeding them.
Because I have learned through years of education that breastfeeding is the healthiest choice for both mom and baby.
I’m not alone in this goal. In fact, in Canada most families go into a birth planning to breastfeed. Unfortunately, a lot aren’t able to fulfill that goal.
Don’t get me wrong, FED is best. But, it drives me nuts that families are presented with breastfeeding and formula like they are equivalent.
They are not.
Breastfeeding is the physiologically normal way to feed a baby.
Breastfeeding has so many benefits for babies; from decreased risk of obesity and diabetes, to orofacial development, to better immune function.
There are also benefits to mom! Decreased risk of cancers and heart attack, for starters.
Not to mention that there is no waste, and it is FREE!
Breastfeeding has everything a baby needs. Formula is a medicine.
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Like all medicines, it is necessary for some people, but it is not meant to replace physiology.
A huge part of the problem is that a lot of families assume that breastfeeding will be easy. It’s the most natural thing in the world isn’t it?
Maybe breastfeeding would come naturally, if we all grew up seeing our mothers and aunts and sisters and friends breastfeeding their children. Talking openly about their struggles.
But we don’t.
Instead, I’ve seen so many new mothers struggle trying to latch and feed their newborn. Often feeling like a failure because they can’t figure it out.
Then a doctor makes them feel worse because baby isn’t gaining well and they feel pressured into giving their baby formula. I’ve seen many new mamas completely devastated by this!
The first line of treatment should be to ensure that baby is breastfeeding well! Quality, informed help help exists. Parents should get access to help early, before they run into problems.
Our healthcare system is failing families by not providing this care.
Our society has medicalized pregnancy and birth, and it has medicalized how we feed our babies, too. But, breastfeeding and formula are not equal.
It is not a one or the other choice.
I’m not saying this to shame people for formula feeding. Formula is life-saving.
I’m saying it because families need to make INFORMED choices about the health of their babies.
So, when I decide to have a baby, I plan on breastfeeding. I don’t think it will come naturally, but I’m committed to making it work.