The First Days of Motherhood, part three

Part One
Part Two

So that first outing with baby was a doozy, well at least for me.

You get the oohing and aahhing and then one peek at a bottle and POOF!

The nosiness kicks in.

The common sense filters are shut off.

People say the RUDEST things.

Oh are you bottlefeeding? Translation: You are giving your baby poison.

What happened, couldn't you nurse? Um, excuse me, STRANGER, none of your beeswax.

You know that nursing is healthier for the baby, it gives them so many more antibodies!! Really, I hadn't read that in all 200 books I'd read.

You were one of THOSE. Well, ship me off to Exile Island.

Sure, all the sarcasm was in my head. All I could do was bow my head in shame and just pray that my daughter's health was going to be okay regardless of my worthless milk-makers.

And, that praying didn't help.

The more I was exposed to friends, family, strangers, the more stories I heard.

The all my kids just couldn't get enough of the boob stories don't help at all. Do people just say things like this to push the knife in just a little deeper?!

It worked for you fabulous. Don't bring it up to me during my struggle.

As much as I wanted to say, wanted to believe, I was doing the right thing for me and my baby, the more I caved and just let all the words hurt more and more.

You're always told that the most unsolicited advice will come after you have a baby.

It's true.

DQ became afflicted with ear infections at about 6 months on. Pretty consistently that she was put on preventative antibiotics, and would still get them.

The comments came. More were fabricated in my head. If you had breastfed, she wouldn't be dealing with this.

If, only.

All nursing children are healthy as horses. I know that's not true.

But, I beat myself up emotionally.

For 3 years I heard it all.

Bottle feeders will get rotten teeth.

Bottle feeders will be sicker kids.

Bottle feeders won't go to college.

Okay I made that one up, but where did it end? Why are people so merciless? Why can't they keep their words to themselves and accept that everyone does things differently and in the long run, whether my children were fed from formula or mother's milk won't matter!?!?!?!

It's not on the college application.

It won't be in a job interview.

It won't make or break finding a mate and living happily ever after.

It just won't.

Stop placing breast-feeding moms on a pedestal and formula-feeding moms beneath them.

When DQ was 2 years, 4 months old, I was pregnant with My Boy. First thing I thought...will I even try nursing or go straight to the bottle?

....Part 4.

39 supporters in group:

  1. Jen said...

    My heart is breaking for you that you had to go through this. I can only hope that people won't be as cruel to me when they discover that I am bottle feeding. For reasons of my very own I'm not even going to attempt to breast feed, its just not for me.

  2. Jen said...

    I could have written this post word for word. It is sad the kind of pressure that we (and society) puts on ourselves to do everything right. All that really matters is that the baby is fed and loved. Thank you for writing your experience. I hope that someone will read this and know that these types of comments just aren't helpful.

  3. Mom! Dude! said...

    For what it's worth, my three boys were bottled fed and are all as healthy as horses. My step-daughter-in-law exclusively breastfed both of her boys, and they were two of the sickest, puniest, most ear, nose and throat infected kids I ever heard of.

    I love them, of course, and no disrespect intended to my DIL....just saying. What works for one (or two or three) does not mean it works best for ANY other.

  4. A Christian Mom said...

    Why can't people just say, "what a cute baby!" and be on their way?? I've never understood the big fight between bottle feeding and breast feeding.

    On my play group, on Ivillage, it was the one thing that everyone fought over. I never understood the need to bash someone for their choice to feed their baby.

    I never even attempted to breast feed either of my girls. It's just not something I wanted to do. Thankfully, I never dealt with any scorn in public, just online. Sad, huh?

  5. Mrs. Schmitty said...

    I bottle fed too, for my own reasons. I got the same rude comments and the over zealous insistence that I should breast feed. My kids never had ANY ear infections...whereas my girlfriend who swore by breast feeding had tubes put in all her kid's ears. So that's all a crock.

  6. Anonymous said...

    THis is so true. I could only breast feed my first for 2 weeks and had to stop, due to my own stress & other issues. This is a VERY personal subject and really I can not tell a difference at all between all 3 of my children, who my last two I was able to breast feed for 6 months.

  7. Lynn C Mama to 3 said...

    I couldn't nurse either of my boys, but I pumped and bottle fed breastmilk for 5 months with my oldest. With my second, I couldn't do it. I couldn't keep up with the pumping while chasing a toddler. I still here the chorus of "YOU SUCK AS A MOM" chanting through my mind, but you know what. I love both those kids more than I ever thought possible, so screw the lactation patrol! That's what I say!

  8. Michelle said...

    I don't remember other people's rude comments about not being able to breastfeed as much as I remember feeling guilty about it. I was a very young mom though so I remember those comments, "you don't look old enough to have a baby." Did you miss that day in health class don't have to be that old!

    B did have horrible ear infection problems from 9-18 months to the point of ear tubes which also made me feel guilty about bottle feeding but who really knows.

    Thanks for sharing and reading my long comments :-)

  9. Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

    So much pressure, and for what?

    I remember someone who didn't know me at all questioning me when I said I still nursed my son, and he was one year old at that point. All I could say is I'm doing what I think is right for my son. Obviously, it's not right for you.

    What I felt like saying, I won't repeat. :o)

  10. He & Me + 3 said...

    I felt the same way. I am telling you. you are writing my story. although my first had cholic and oh boy did I hear if I was nursing it might not be so. It was horrible for the first three months and then bam a completely different child. I will tell you non nursed baby is my smartie pants, my healthiest and my best eater. She loves veggies and fruits and will try anything. Can't wait to read on.

  11. The Mother said...

    Why are Moms so MEAN?

    Is it just because we're a bunch of catty women?

    Or is having spread your legs the equivalent to a diploma in child psychology and physiology?

    It's too bad your sarcastic comments were all in your head. Those women DESERVED it.

  12. Anonymous said...

    Thank you for this post! I couldn't breast feed with my first(no milk)and couldn't for my second because of medical reasons. I was treated like a unfit mother.
    I think breastfeeding cause husband was breastfed and all he wants to do is play with my boobs. It's annoying...he can't focus on anything else.
    People just need to be supportive or mind their own business.

  13. Sarah said...

    Motherhood in general would be so much easier if we all didn't have that judgemental guilt voice in our head translating everything everyone says to us.

  14. Hannah said...


  15. Tina said...

    That is just insane. My mom had 7 kids and didn't breast feed any of us. She was unable to because of a health condition when she was a kid. She always said she wished she had had that experience, but she realized it just wasn't an option for her. And all 7 of us are grown now, healthy in every way. So I honestly don't buy into the whole 'your kid will be healthier' line. Most of the mothers who breastfeed and say that are the same mothers who feed their kids nothing but processed food and fast food. And that's oh so healthy for you.

  16. Swirl Girl said...

    WTF is with people?

    Nobody asks what position you were in when the child was conceived...why do they ask you about nursing? Why does anyone feel the need to know these things?

    I just told people that I got 'turned on too much' to breastfeed. That shut them the hell up.

  17. Anonymous said...

    I never even attempted to breastfeed. It didn't appeal to me in the least. My daughter never had any health problems as an infant or any other time in her life. She has developed normally. She and I are very close. Breastfeeding is a choice. People need to remember that.

  18. Unknown said...

    It makes me sick the way people are. I didn't breast feed either one of my kids and they are both perfectly fine! People like that just literally pi$$ me off!

  19. Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

    I'm sorry people were so hard on you. I just can't imagine.

    If it's any consolation, I get comments all the time about nursing...and I do nurse. And, it is hard, and she still has to get bottles because I have to work.

    People just don't know how to shut their pie holes!

  20. Shawn said...

    Wow, I could so write a book on this. I was a baby nurse for more than 20 years and I helped a LOT of moms nurse...but I also really tried to help alleviate what they would face if I could see that it wasn't working for them.

    Sometimes, it just doesn't work. That's why there were wet nurses before. I'd try to tell new moms to let any new advice wash over them, pick out the nuggets they thought might be useful and then go home AND DO WHAT THEY THOUGHT WAS BEST. As long as you love that baby and do your best to care for them...then it will ALL BE FINE.

    Bottle, breast...just show me a growing, thriving baby that knows what it is to be loved.

    That's the most important.

  21. Laura Marchant said...

    I swear you are writing my story.
    My next prediction is (my story) you did try breast feeding and you were successful this time. You now got bombarded by the formula feeding moms who couldn't understand why you would want to breastfeed. I swear I was damned if I did, damned if I didn't.

  22. Laura Marchant said...

    Oh and with my son I exclusively pumped and never had him latch on. I was able to feed him breast milk only for 11 months. Do you know how many people had an issue that he didn't latch on? What difference did it make as long as he was getting breastmilk. I am telling you I couldn't please anybody or so I felt.

  23. Pam said...

    i really can't stand know-it-all moms. this is a reason i don't have any friends lol but seriously, there is no right or wrong way to raise your child or make sure your child is getting fed. the only way is the way that works for you. i don't think i could have let all that stuff go...i'd tell them all where to go lol

  24. Courtney said...

    man you are preaching to my soul dear! I have been there and was there and might go there again! I am sick of people making others feel bad for there inability or what ever else they want to call it. I tried so hard and it just didnt work for me or baby. I just posted a blog about this the other day inspired after i read your part one!

  25. Anonymous said...

    I bottle-fed my daughter. Constant barrage of what you describe in your memories posted here. I breast-fed my two sons who followed, only to have the anti-breast-feeding people breathing down my neck. Look, BOTH ways worked for me for different reasons. I admire ALL MOMS who take good care of their kids throughout whichever means they find best. My daughter is almost 17, now, BTW, and she is NOT: FAT, TOOTHLESS, or FREAKISH in any way. My two boys, now 7 and 4, get sick all of the time despite their extreme amounts of breast milk. SO! You are a great mom, not that you need the affirmation, but WHY must all random strangers find the need to criticize the choices of others? UGH :) Thank you for these insightful posts.

  26. Unknown said...

    Sorry I'm just now getting around to commenting.

    My milk never came in, someone told me it was because I have big boobs, I think it had something to do with the fact that I didn't even ovulate on my mind.

    As for the questions, I usually just told them that my 8lb2oz baby lost down to 6lb5oz in 4 wks.

  27. Heather said...

    Oh Jen....


    Just read this whole series, and WOW - I never knew! Also, great writing style!

    I *did* have success with nursing, that is until Punkinhead was about 9 mos and the nutritive content of my milk just up and disappeared. I was still producing, but somewhere it ended up being white water essentially as he LOST weight on it. That was not a fun feeling....anyway, just saying that I understand the irrational feelings of guilt that come with how baby gets fed when breast doesn't work out. Babies who are fed with love, whether from a boob or from a bottle, are the ones who thrive, and your kiddos are totally thriving!

  28. Anonymous said...

    I too tried to breastfeed, unsucessfully. I beat myself up trying for the first 6 weeks. Then, supplement after supplement, we are doing 100% bottles. I still feel guilty and know that shouldn't. My son also ear infections from 11 weeks on...We just had tubes put in at 10 months old. Its so ridiculous the amount of pressure that is placed upon new moms. The last person that should place another burden is another mom. sad...really. Thanks for sharing your story.

  29. Anonymous said...

    Jen thank you so much for writing this series. It is so encouraging to see others that struggled with the same thing. I have loved reading everyone's comments and feel so "normal" (as normal as anyone can) to know I wasnt the only one to go through this.

  30. Wendy said...

    Both of mine were bottle fed and have done GREAT. Neither have ever been sick enough to need antibiotics, no infections, nothing.

    Strangely, I never had anyone get all over me about breast feeding. Maybe I don't look very inviting. :)

  31. Shannon said...

    Speaking of the first outing with the baby... mine (with my firstborn) was the dr. visit I mentioned in my other comment... where I had to take her to the dr. when she was about 5 days old...

    Anyway... I take her to the dr... didn't even think about bringing the diaper bag with me! Talk about having a new-mommy brain fart, LOL!

  32. Jenera said...

    I have been in many a fight with moms over this very issue. I was unable to breastfeed my first son and so chose to not even try with our second because of the huge stress I went through the first time around. I think the rift between the two groups is ridiculous. People who can't keep their mouths shut are idiots-how would they feel if people attacked them?

  33. Liz said...

    Funny irony about all those so-called statistics.

    My mom didn't attempt to breastfeed my oldest sister.

    She only made it a few weeksn w/ my next older sister.

    She breastfed me til I was 9 months old.

    I'm the only one who is overweight & had orthodontic work for 9 years. I have seasonal allergies. Oh and I'm a college drop-out. LOL!

    So ya know what? All the nay-sayers can stick it. :)

  34. WeaselMomma said...

    I wish you could have told them and known yourself, "It's formula - not vodka".

  35. Anonymous said...

    It is my story too. I couldn't brestfeed my first child (not a single day) and my second for just two month. They are healthy as any other kid, smart, not fat. Some people make you feel like a monster and make you belive you are the only one. But when you talk to other mothers you find out the truth. The biggest problem for a mother is that she is often alone and can not confront herself with other mothers.

  36. said...

    I remember having that same thought when I was pregnant the second time with Princess!

    Wow, your story brings back some raw memories.

    I completely sympathize!!!!

  37. Unknown said...

    I'm a doula and one of the biggest, most important lessons I learned was NEVER JUDGE! We are so hard on ourselves without being so hard on each other.

    I hope you no longer have these feelings of inadequacy - I know it can take a while to come to terms with certain things.

  38. Unknown said...

    I am so very with you on this one! Wrote a blog somewhat about it myself. Lately I feel trapped in a world where I am the only mom that didn't breast feed! I commend you for subjecting your children to formula! Congrats on finding sleep and sanity necessary (or was that just me who felt that way?)


  39. Messy Mommy said...

    I didn't nurse my first and he's NEVER had an ear infection and he's 5. I nursed my 2nd (sorta) and she has awful allergies. Go figure. It's all a bunch of crap I say!

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