Knock It Off With ‘Breast Is Best’ Already

Author John Battaglini

Posted Mar 26, 2023

Reads 3.4K

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Stop formula shaming. If you're a parent, doubt you've made it through the early months without feeling the profound pressure of the message "breast is best." From well-meaning friends to multiple hours spent in newborn classes to posters on the birthing ward walls to social media platforms, it's everywhere. Even during the recent baby formula shortage, unsolicited comments about "finding formula" and posts about how "formula feels like a tiny knife cut" were all too common.

For some parents, breastfeeding comes with ease and joy. For others, it's a struggle that sky-high stress levels and the sudden realization that their 5 lb, 14 oz wiggly screamy hungry beautiful kid looked vaguely familiar coupled with doom scenarios courtesy of an internet troll sway them towards finding formula. And then there are those who couldn't produce enough milk or get a good latch despite all their efforts — leading to postpartum mood disorders and a decrease in milk supply (FYI: stress can do that). These parents often feel intense guilt and sadness as they clock pump times or make the decision to exclusively formula feed.

So what are the actual health benefits of chestfeeding?

The health benefits of chestfeeding are numerous and have far-reaching effects on both the baby and mother. For babies, breast milk provides protection against autoimmune-related diseases such as eczema, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and type 1 diabetes. According to Dr. Winter-Feldman, breast milk contains antibodies that help prevent these diseases from developing.

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In addition to protecting the baby, breastfeeding offers modest levels of protection for the mother including reducing the risk of heart disease, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and thyroid cancer. Breastfeeding has also been linked to lower rates of high blood pressure and diabetes (Dr. Del Castillo-Hegyi). While some argue that these health benefits could be attributed to lifestyle behaviors or socioeconomic status differences between breastfeeding households and non-breastfeeding households, properly controlled studies have shown that formula-fed babies do not receive the same health benefits as those who are chestfed.

Unfamiliar with "Breast is Best"? Let's explore!

You may have seen the phrase "breast is best" printed on pamphlets at your OBGYN's office, or maybe you've heard it thrown around in conversations with other moms shopping in the formula aisle. Yeah, 9999 percent of us have probably heard this phrase before, but what does it really mean? Essentially, it means that breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to both mother and baby, and is the recommended method of feeding infants by major medical organizations. Unfortunately, this phrase has also been used to shame mothers who cannot or choose not to breastfeed, leading to what is now known as "formula shaming".

Why Giving Someone the "Side Eye" is More Than Just a Look

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Side eyes are more than just a look, and they can be harmful to those who receive them. Formula feeding is a personal decision, and it's not anyone else's place to judge or shame someone for their choice. Giving someone the side eye can make them feel judged and ashamed, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and even postpartum depression. It's important to support and uplift all parents, regardless of how they choose to feed their children.

Here's Why I Opted for Formula Rather Than Anything Else

Being a new mom is tough enough without being told how to feed your baby. For me, formula literally saved my life. I was struggling with postpartum depression and breastfeeding was not helping. Hearing stories about other moms who were struggling too, made me feel less alone in this journey. While some moms may choose breastfeeding or pumping as their preferred feeding method, it's important to remember that everyone's journey is different and possibly mine may not have been successful without formula. So let's stop the formula shaming and support every formula-feeding parent out there!

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As a society, we need to stop formula shaming. It's time to acknowledge that every parent has the right to make their own parenting choices without being shamed or judged. When we shame parents for their choice to use formula, we are sending a message that they are not good enough and that they have failed in some way. This can make new parents feel legitimately sad and unsupported at a time when they need encouragement the most. We all need to do better by recognizing that every family's circumstances are unique, and no one should be made to feel ashamed of their parenting choice.

"Wow, That Was Super Inappropriate"

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Formula feeding moms often face criticism from society and other moms who believe that breastmilk is the only way to go. The worst kind of criticism comes in the form of formula shaming, which impacts not only the mother but also her child. Imagine a person literally telling you that your baby could have died if you had breastfed them instead of using formula. These actions shaming formula feeding moms are not only hurtful but can be damaging as well. We need to support super inappropriate behavior towards these mothers and instead promote acceptance of feeding choices for all families.

Why I Struggle with Loving My Own Baby

I know I'm not the only one who struggles with loving their own baby. As a new parent, it can be overwhelming to navigate the world of feeding your child. Whether you're a foster parent, single dad, transgender or physically unable, there are so many factors that can affect how you feel about feeding your baby. For some of us, it's simply a matter of trying to survive the early days of having a sick baby who needs formula to thrive. For others, it's a more complex issue that requires support and understanding from those around us. But no matter what our individual situations may be, we all deserve to be respected and supported in our efforts to feed and care for our babies in the best way we know how.

Understanding Communication: Don't Miss a Word

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Stop formula shaming is a topic that needs to be addressed with kindness and truth. It is important to understand that every parent wants what is best for their child, and sometimes that means using formula. We must stop shhhh-ing mothers who use formula and instead offer support and understanding. Communication is key in this situation, so let's not miss a word and come together as a community to lift each other up.

Optimize your Baby's Feeding with 'Fed Is Best'

Formula-shaming moms can be a real issue for families who have struggled with breastfeeding. The matter-of-factly breast is a freaking privileged thing, and not every mom can do it. In fact, in many parts of the developing world, plain water is given to babies when breast milk isn't available - this leads to malnutrition and infant deaths. In the United States, we are lucky to have access to safe alternatives and should embrace them if needed.

I've met moms who were so heartbroken about their inability to produce enough breast milk that they felt like they were letting their baby starve. The truth is, breastfeeding formula is a perfectly acceptable way to raise happy healthy kids. Fed Is Best is an organization that emphasizes the importance of feeding your baby enough - whether that's through breast milk or formula. So let's stop with the formula shaming and focus on what really matters - making sure our babies are well-fed and thriving.

Respect My Privacy: Why Some Information Doesn't Concern You

It's no secret that people feed their babies differently. Whether it's breastmilk, formula, or a combination of both, it's a personal choice that should be respected. Unfortunately, some individuals feel the need to shame those who don't follow their preferred method of feeding. This behavior is not only rude but completely unnecessary. Each child and parent are unique and have different needs and circumstances that influence their decision on how to feed their baby. There are literally thousands of reasons why someone may choose to use formula, and it's not anyone else's business to judge or shame them for it. So let's all respect each other's privacy and support one another in our journey as parents.

Share Your Thoughts: Leave Your Comments Here!

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"Stop Formula Shaming" is an important topic that needs to be discussed more often. As a society, we should not judge or shame mothers who choose to feed their babies formula instead of breast milk. Every mother has the right to decide what is best for her and her baby. It's time to stop the stigma around formula feeding and support all mothers, regardless of how they choose to nourish their child. Let's create a safe space where every mother can feel comfortable sharing her thoughts and experiences without fear of judgement or criticism.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it time to retire the phrase 'breast is best'?

Yes, it's time to retire the phrase 'breast is best' as it creates unnecessary pressure on mothers and can make formula-feeding parents feel guilty. A more inclusive and supportive approach is needed that acknowledges all feeding methods can be equally beneficial for babies.

Who can help with breastfeeding and formula feeding?

Lactation consultants, pediatricians, and nurses can all provide guidance with breastfeeding and formula feeding.

Is 'breast is best' the answer to the backlash against breastfeeding?

"Breast is best" is not the answer to the backlash against breastfeeding. While breast milk has many benefits, every mother's situation is unique and formula can be a safe and healthy alternative. It's important to support all mothers in their feeding choices without judgment.

How do I get help with baby formula?

There are several ways to get help with baby formula, including talking to your pediatrician, reaching out to local food banks or WIC offices, and checking for coupons or discounts from formula manufacturers.

Is “breast is best” a public health campaign?

Yes, "breast is best" is a public health campaign that promotes the benefits of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers.

John Battaglini

John Battaglini

Writer at RHTB

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