Do you formula feed your baby, as a supplement or as a full diet? Have you ever heard someone call it poison? Don't worry. Take a deep breath; you aren't alone. Statistically speaking, it's not gonna hurt your baby. Read on!
Recently I was hanging around at a breastfeeding event. I had a copy of Defining Your Own Success and an SNS stashed in my bag, just in case a low supply mom showed up. The room was full of doulas, midwives, and others from the natural birth crowd. Lots of crunchy mamas and supportive others. Well, on day one there was some drama and people started slinging the word "poison" around with regard to the formula. They said it so casually, but with such vehemence. They had such looks of disgust and derision on their faces. They used the word formula in the same tone of voice you'd use to describe dog feces.
I was there with women who know me, my story, and that I use formula. I was standing in front of this one particular woman who is my friend, and as she spoke to me
she hissed the word poison and my breath caught. Didn't she remember that the SNS in my bag was used for formula? Didn't she know that the bottle I fed my baby as I walked out the door that morning was half Similac? I was really hurt by the use of the word "poison" to describe the nutritious substance that I choose to give my baby when he is hungry and the tap's run dry.
I was especially hurt because one of the women who said it (twice) is a good friend who pays lip service to the fact that there is a place for formula. She's forever saying that it isn't formula she hates, it's the marketing. It isn't formula she hates, it's the formula company. Apparently she doesn't hate poison.
No - Formula isn't perfect; neither is peanut butter, nor sushi, nor a medium rare steak. Lots of things can make us sick. Formula has it's dangers, just like car rides and exposure to other humans. Heck, too much sun can cause cancer and we all love the sun (without it we'd DIE)! Formula may even contain some chemicals I'd prefer to avoid, but so does the smog, so does the tap water, so does the fabric in my car.
Even if we disagree with marketing tactics, or particular chemical make-ups of various formulas, why can't people just take a deep breath and be thankful that women who need it have it? Regardless of the reason why they need it.
As BEST-feeding moms, we need to start changing the way we talk about formula. Our lactation professionals need to be especially cognizant of this. The real poison isn't in the formula, the formula is just a food. The real poison isn't even in the marketing of the formula company, that's all stuff we can throw away.The real poison
the poison that has the power to strike at the heart,
the poison that has the power to impact relationships,
the poison that has the power to lead a baby to malnutrition,
the poison that draws a line in the sand and says "come to war" and "I am better than you"
is the small-minded, petty, selfish belief that any one of us knows what's best for another human being.
Walk a mile in my shoes. Feel your hungry baby snuggle up to your breast and coo while sucking down some "poison" and enjoy that big old smile when he's finished. Look back at his 4lb 12oz photos while you play with his healthy little body, a body half-built with nourishment from formula. Then tell me how you feel about my choices. Then tell me how you feel about the food I
choose for MY
Yes, this is a breastfeeding blog, but it is also a BEST-feeding blog. I support all moms who are making the best choice for their little ones. That said, I am going to follow this rant with a post about safe use of infant formula, and some of it's benefits.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states: "Exclusive breastfeeding is ideal nutrition and sufficient to support optimal growth and development for approximately the first 6 months after birth. Infants weaned before 12 months of age should not receive cow's milk feedings but should receive iron-fortified infant formula.
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