Feeding kids is good

I almost bought one of the new “Formula Powered” onesies at Old Navy today. I am that disgusted by the uproar and the threats to boycott Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, and Piperlime over it. Can you say “overreaction”?

I decided not to buy one because Max is no longer on formula and because, while I think there is nothing wrong with feeding your child formula, I guess I don’t want to shout it from the rooftops. I’m not exactly pro-formula. I guess I am pro-breastfeeding, but really I am just pro-FEEDING kids. Which is all that matters.

I am a little ashamed to admit that a desire to avoid possible confrontations with overzealous pro-breastfeeders was another reason I put the onesie back on the rack. I didn’t think I would be brave enough to actually dress Max in it. I am actually afraid that someone will take me to task in public over it. And I don’t want to deal with that, especially in front of my kid. (Not to mention that it cost 10 dollars instead of the 5 quoted online. A little much for something I don’t like that he probably won’t wear.)

The breastfeeding extremists are actually hurting their cause. Extremism always does. What are mothers supposed to do who can’t breastfeed? What about single fathers? Not everyone has access to a milk bank or to a kind, healthy, nursing mother willing to share her milk. I do actually think that breast milk is healthier. But I don’t think formula is bad. Are we supposed to go back to the pre-formula days where babies without access to breast milk just died??

I nursed my son for seven months. I am glad I did. But it was really hard at first. I used to gaze at formula with a mixture of revulsion and longing. I had been so brainwashed to think that formula was evil, that I was a bad mother if I let him have formula for even one feeding when I was capable of nursing.

My son was “formula powered” from 7 months until about a week ago when he started taking just whole milk. Does that make me a bad mother? Hell, no. And the next time I have a child, I will nurse and I will probably pump. However, I will also let my husband give him or her formula occasionally, so that I can get more than three hours of sleep at a time. And I will refuse to feel bad about it.

Breastfeeding is amazing. I was sorry to quit. I still remember the tenderness of the last time when Max fell asleep in my arms while nursing. It breaks my heart that I will never experience that with him again. Mothers should be encouraged to at least think about it, to try it. Mothers should be able to nurse in public without fear of being consigned to a public bathroom (Do YOU want to eat in there? I’m talking to you, IKEA.) or cover up. (It is sweltering and uncomfortable for both mother and baby underneath those covers. Especially in summer.) Americans really need to get over their discomfort. If you want the future of America raised on breast milk, you need to get comfortable with seeing it real quick.

It makes absolutely no sense to say these onesies are “a cruel slap in the face” to nursing moms. How??? Many babies eat formula, for one reason or another. Since when do nursing moms get a voice and formula-feeding moms do not? Censorship and oppression are not going to help the image of breastfeeding. Breastfeeding should not be hidden as if it’s dirty. Neither should formula-feeding. Feeding babies is never dirty. Just feed your kids and let everybody else feed theirs.

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3 Comments

  1. Mom said,

    September 19, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Well said! Good for you for speaking up.

  2. Amanda said,

    September 30, 2010 at 12:27 am

    Amen Sister!!!

  3. Shannon said,

    September 30, 2010 at 7:29 am

    RE: America needing to get over seeing a woman breast feeding. The part that KILLS me is that it is A-OK to show 95% of your boobs in public of it is sexual in nature (bikini, certain dresses, tops, etc.) When a woman is breast feeding, MUCH less is shown.


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