Saturday, February 11, 2012

Breast vs Bottle

Recently here in NZ the breast vs bottle debate came up AGAIN.

NZ All blacks player Piri Wipu filmed an anti smoking ad for TV... but it seems in the ad there was footage of him feeding his baby a bottle. WELL what a hoopla. That footage was cut. People were up in arms.

My opinion:


As parents most of us (with the exception of people who beat and abuse their children) do the best we can with what we have available to us and what we are capable of doing.

I personally have bottle fed one child from just over a week old. Then I followed up with breast feeding the next two for 6months before putting them fully on bottles (they did have the odd formula feed from around 4-5months).

My oldest child .. Mr formula is a healthy (actually my most healthy) child. He was loved, cared for, doted on, and fed well. He was snuggled and fed bottles, he had the same love and attention the others had (probably more being the first and all).

I don't get the hoopla.
I truly do not care if you formula feed or breast feed. All I care about is that you actually feed your child suitable food.
I do not think any of us should judge a mother for how she chooses to feed her child.

Yes in an ideal world breast feeding would be easy, and everyone would be able to do it, and the world would be covered in rainbows and unicorns.

Yes breast milk is costarred the perfect food for babies.

BUT at what expense?

For some woman there are other issues at play here, some cant feed, some have other obstacles that make it difficult or just not appealing (depression, anxiety, health issues, sexual abuse or rape), some just plain don't want to.  Who are to judge when we do not know their past, their story and the reasons of their choice. But then again why does it matter? They are feeding their baby, yes?? Their child is loved, yes?? Then congratulate them on a lovely baby, for the good job they are doing and walk away.

We all have different priorities, goals, views on parenting and all that comes with this amazing job. For some breastfeeding is almost a lifestyle choice for others its just not the biggest priority. Lets all focus on our own families, lets encourage friends in their choices but let them actually make their own choices. If you are pro breastfeeding then wave that flag high, but don't judge others, don't make people who cant or don't feel like a bad parent, show the world breastfeeding is beautiful and amazing but leave the judgement and hate at the door.

I am always so amazed this debate gets so heated. I can see both sides to the story.
I do not see why we cant just leave each other alone to make their own choices.
Having a baby being fed formula on the TV is not going to make people stop breastfeeding,  but it might just make a mother somewhere who is struggling with her choice to bottle feed feel a little less alone, judged and like a failure.


tallshortandtiny said...

This is such a well-written post!
I feel exactly the same way; like any other parenting option, it is no one else's business, so why do people feel they have the right to judge upon this one?
Well done, beautifully said :) I especially like the sentence starting, "Then congratulate them on a lovely baby..."

(Popped over from KMB - hi!)

Alisa said...

Thankyou so much for stopping by and the comment.

Lyn said...

wow this is exactly what I think on the topic, having had to bottle feed my first, and being able to breastfeed my second and very shortly breastfeed my third. Stuff happens that restricts people from breastfeeding and it is such an emotional thing when you are a new mum and want/need to bottle feed a baby in New Zealand, and it SHOULDN'T be.

Cass said...

This is a great post, and I wholeheartedly agree. I'm currently breastfeeding my 7 month old exclusively, but my first three were bottlefed from different stages, because that's what worked for us at the time. There's a million reasons why parents choose to bottlefeed and most Mums I know put a lot of pressure on themselves and overthink every little parenting decision, rather than just do what they see on TV! Yes, we know breast is best, but I've never met anyone who says "Oh I know breastmilk is healthiest for my baby but I don't care about his health so I'm just giving him whatever". And breastmilk isn't always the healthiest option. I suffer from depression and had to give up medication to breastfeed. If there comes a time when I have to go back on meds, then breastfeeding will not be the healthiest option. Breastfeeding is very much a lifestyle choice, as you say in your post, and that lifestyle choice has to suit the whole family, so often, bottlefeeding is a good choice for the whole family. No one should have to feel ashamed for knowing what works best for them.