10 Things Not To Say To A Formula Feeding Mom
I am a huge breastfeeding proponent, but more importantly I am a proponent of moms doing what is best for their families. I was able to nurse my oldest child for well over a year before fully weaning, but I didn’t have the same luck with my younger two babies and at a certain point (due to a medical issue) I had to switch to formula.
It was hard enough handling the fact that I felt like such a failure, at least the first time around, so what I didn’t appreciate was the concern-trolling I got from other parents. Sometimes it wasn’t even masked in concern. It was downright judgement. And it SUCKED.
Whether you tried breastfeeding and eventually switched to formula, or you knew formula was best for you right off the bat, no one wants or needs to hear a bunch of judgey, sanctimommy bullshit about it. Bullshit like…
1. “Did you try (insert breastfeeding tip du jour here)?”
Whether someone has tried whatever tip you’re throwing at them or not, I think this question is pretty rude unless they are asking for specific advice. Especially if you are using the phrase to hide the fact that you think they didn’t try hard enough. If you’re just being a sanctimommy then maybe you need to STFU. If you’re being genuine then I still say proceed with caution.
2. “Formula will make your baby fat!”
My first reaction to hearing this one was to roll my eyes so far into the back of my head that they detach and explode, but I figured I would look into it. Turns out there is a study that suggests that one particular type of formula may cause increased weight gain in infants. One kind. Not all kinds. (You can read more here). Regardless, it’s none of your damn business.
3. “You have such big BOOBS! You should have TONS of milk!”
This is one I received A LOT, because I am, um, let’s just say WELL endowed. Except milk supply wasn’t even my issue, and breast size has absolutely nothing to do with it. People, please STOP saying this to people. As Red Forman would say, you’re only making yourself look like a dumb ass.
4. “Why have a baby if you’re not going to give them the very best?”
This one make me ragey as hell. In my situation I had to stop in order to take a life saving medication, but even if had been my choice all along, so what? The idea that some people equate formula feeding with negligence or child abuse makes me furious. Obviously breast is preferable, but it isn’t always feasible, and insinuating that formula feeding makes someone a bad mom just makes you a bad person. Douche.
5. “You must not have tried hard enough.”
First of all, unless you are either this woman’s baby or this woman’s BOOBS, then maybe you should stop making assumptions. You probably have no clue what the issue is (if there even is one). Maybe they didn’t make enough milk. It’s possible that they’re like me and they had to stop for medical reasons. Perhaps they went back to work and our shitty maternity rights made it too hard. OR maybe they just didn’t want to! Regardless of why, telling her she didn’t try hard enough helps no one. Unless you’re going for asshole of the year award.
6. “Don’t you care about your baby’s health?”
This one sends me into troll mode. “NOPE. I also plan to get her addicted to crack by age five. Because I’m a GIVER.”
7. “Well, I breastfed my little Quinoa for XX months JUST FINE.”
Aren’t you just the BEES KNEES? Seriously though, this answer is never appropriate. It makes you look like a self-righteous jerk. Which, in all honesty, you probably are if you think this is helpful in any way.
8. “Only two percent of moms truly have valid medical excuses not to breastfeed.”
Okay, real talk. There is a lot more that goes into nursing than simply the physical ability to produce milk. Working moms face their own challenges, not to mention PPD, complications with childbirth or c-sections, sexual dysfunction, the feelings of one’s partner, etc. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, and no one should be shaming a woman for making what she feels is the best choice for her child and her family. We’ve all heard the statistics, so stop trying to be a walking Wikipedia.
9. “How are you going to bond?”
This is classic concern trolling. You don’t have to breastfeed your baby in order to bond with them. Hell, if I bonded with every person who…nah, I won’t go there. But seriously, if this were an issue, then how would fathers bond? And don’t give me that crap about how fathers don’t bond as deeply with their kids, because NO. How would adoptive mom who don’t or can’t induce milk production bond? This question is ridiculous and you know it.
10. “No medication is worth the health of your BABY.”
Yes, because taking a life saving medication is so SELFISH, right? I mean, even if my kids end up an orphan, at least they will be better protected from ear infections! How terrible of me to not want to get sick and die! I will stop making proactive medical decisions about myself right away!