Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Breast may not always be best

Hooray for Gisele Bundchen - apparently breastfeeding her baby helped her keep her figure! I suppose there's some truth there, I breastfed both of mine and unfortunately I got to keep my figure too (it's just not one anyone would really want to keep ;-)

Seriously though, to say that all mother's should be 'forced' to breastfeed, as she is apparently suggesting, is ridiculous. Yes, we all know breast is best, but not all of us can. It's great if you have a staff and don't have to work 9-5 Monday-Friday, or more. I think the staff and being a professional model probably had more to do with Gisele keeping her figure, but it's her story, so far be it from me to question...). The reality is though that not many new mom's have the luxury of staying home with their babies for the first year (or even 3 months). I know that's why we have breastpumps, but not everyone can pump enough milk or fit it into their workday (yes, I know there are laws that should/do protect new mother's but in reality, in this market it can be hard enough finding or keeping your job as a new mom, adding 30 minute 'pumping' breaks throughout the day may just be the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back).

What about women who are on medications that have harmful effects on a nursing baby. Or women who suffer from post-natal depression or post-natal anxiety disorders? It seems that by reducing the level of stress associated with breastfeeding (and of course going on some good drugs) can have a much more positive affect on the mother / baby relationship than having the little one tugging on her breast. Let's not forget about *those* women who just choose to give their baby a bottle because they want to go out on the town and enjoy a few drinks or just "couldn't be fagged" as the now infamous editor-in-chief of Mother & Baby Kathryn Blundell suggests (gasp!).

Choosing to formula feed your baby does not make you a bad mother. Choosing to make women who do make this choice feel bad and crappy about their decision does make you a bad person (or at least inconsiderate, rude and really not a very supportive woman). Yes, breast may be best but life's not black and white. I think the axiom ought to be changed to : breast is usually best, but not always.


  1. Great post!
    I formula fed. By CHOICE. I suffered from depression before getting pregnant. I knew the type of person I was and how high stress I am. Why would I want to project all those feelings on this new little person? Formula is now in my opinion just as good as breast milk. I don't have to give my baby Vitamin D or make sure they have enough iron because that is in the formula. I got called selfish for choosing to formula feed and I have to say, those who judged and talked about allergies and illnesses...those are the ones who's children DO have allergies and have been way more sick with ear infections and such.
    I now have a healthy,smart 2 year old.

  2. I think Gisele has probably all of the help in the world to get back into shape and look after her baby. Meanwhile there is the rest of the non Supermodel world :P

  3. Great post! We tried to make a similar point in our book. We all know breast is best, AND that there is a whole raft of invaluable resources to help moms who are struggling, BUT I can't abide people who force the breastfeeding issue and want to shoot down anyone who formula feeds out of necessity or out of choice.

  4. I think that is crap too. I didn't breastfeed either of my kids and they are teenagers now and healthy! I feel like once the baby gets here, dad should be able to help out too with feeding. Some of us have careers and must work to provide for our family and can't stay at home. Breastfeeding is a personal choice and no one should make anyone else feel bad because they didn't choose to go that route.

  5. Sorry, didn't mean to get on my soap box. I am a new follower from weekly blog hop. I hope you can come see me at www.hootiebee.blogspot.com