Every once in a while I feel the need to rant. This is one of those times. In the hotseat today– lactation consultants. And before you hang me out to dry, let me state that of course, breast milk is awesome. Go breast milk! Not so awesome are the pushy, condescending, self-righteous women who make you feel like a crack-head mama when you choose to use formula.
Case in point: my twin sister. She is a first time mom who lives away from family. Her newborn daughter was constantly fussing and would never sleep for more than an hour or so. She still wet her diapers but didn’t seem to be thriving like the books say a little one should. So she did what any conscientious parent would do and visited the pediatrician. The doctor was disappointed in my niece’s lack of weight gain and recommended that my sister supplement her nursing with formula. He also suggested that she rent a breast pump so that she could see exactly how much milk she was producing.
Worrying that she had been starving her baby and with post-partum hormones raging, my sister drove forty minutes to a lactation company to obtain the pump. Was she met with compassion? Validation? Encouragement? No. With a crying baby in her arms, my sister was subjected to a lengthy lecture on the unique advantages of breast milk and the destructive repercussions of Similac. This woman flat out told her that she should ignore the advice of a medical professional and “just try harder.”
Are you kidding me? How dare she! How dare she cause my sister, a new mother, to feel inadequate! Listen up, ladies. Breast feeding doesn’t always work. It’s not always easy and I firmly believe it is NOT always the best option for moms. I tried it with my first baby, and after two weeks of crippling sleep deprivation, I finally decided to let my husband lend a hand by taking a night feeding. The supplementing literally saved my sanity and probably our marriage. Babies two through four began receiving at least one formula bottle a day from the get-go so that I could be a happier (and consequently better) parent. And guess what? All of our children met every milestone on time and have been extremely healthy thus far. (Of course, that could also be because we chose to have them immunized, but that’s a whole ‘nother column.)
I am just so tired of hearing women criticize other women because they choose to use formula. Enfamil does not contain arsenic, people! It’s simply a healthy alternative to breast milk and in many circumstances, a lifesaver. And that’s my rant.