Why Does A Cheer For Breastfeeding Always Involve A Boo For Bottles?

14 August 2014

Why Does A Cheer For Breastfeeding Always Involve A Boo For Bottles?

Olivia Wilde breastfeeds her son in her latest shoot [US Glamour]

By Maria Lally

Clicking onto a recent story about Olivia Wilde tweeting a picture of herself breastfeeding I immediately thought two things. One, good for her. And two, wait for the anti-bottle comments…

And I didn’t have to wait long. Responding to the 30-year-old actress’s picture, one reader commented: ‘I pity the ones who have a problem with it, as they probably had a bottle of formula full of chemicals shoved in their mouth when they were born.’

And it’s here that I get mad. Because while I think breastfeeding is great (as are all the pictures of Olivia, Gisele and Miranda Kerr publicly breastfeeding which helps end the stigma still surrounding it), I think formula is pretty amazing too. I also think that any snide, judge-y comments about bottle feeding are just as bad as any snide, judge-y comments from some awful person who asks a nursing mum to leave a café.

After all, why is it OK to criticise those who judge breastfeeding mums and at the same time, and with a staggering lack of self-awareness, judge those who formula feed?

Because here’s the thing about mothers: we’re doing our best. How we feed our babies is irrelevant, nobody’s business and most definitely not a sign of how good a mother we are.

For the record, I formula fed my first daughter and breastfed my second. So I’m not anti-breastfeeding – far from it, because I did it myself for months. What I am is anti-formula bashing.

My first birth was long and traumatic. In all honesty I felt bloody awful in the weeks following Sophia’s birth. She was a big hungry baby who fed every two hours, day and night. I felt overwhelmed, shattered and broken. Eventually I gave her a bottle of formula and life transformed. We both became calmer, happier and slept more.

Rosie’s birth on the other hand was quick and straightforward. We both slept for eight hours straight the night she was born and I happily breastfed her for months.

Both girls are now happy, bright four and one-year-olds and any guilt I felt about how I fed Sophia is long gone. Except for when I read stupid comments like the one above which come across as sisterly in their ‘breast is best, you go girl’ way, but are actually anything but.

Because you know what’s even better than breast? Leaving women alone to make their own bloody decisions.

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