17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Mom-Guilt: Breast Milk Is Recommended

I attended a baby shower a while back where I met up with a girl I hadn’t seen in a long time. I was sitting there with my 4 month old when she sat down next to me with her baby (2 months old I think). I asked her how things were going. She answered with a shaky “okay”. I then proceeded to pull out a bottle to feed my little bundle of joy when she quickly asked me, “Is that formula in the bottle?” I responded a cautious “Yes” (you never know when you’re going to run into a militant La Leche League member). She replied “Oh, good.” I can’t even explain the amount of relief that was in her voice. Apparently, she was having a real rough time with breastfeeding but the thought of supplementing with formula left her riddled with guilt.

I let her know that I knew exactly what she was feeling. Below is something I wrote to a close group of friends just a few months prior:

“So Pumpkin is just over 2 months old now, I have completely stopped breastfeeding and I feel so guilty. With Princess I went for 8 months. I don’t love breastfeeding but I know that it is best for the baby. There were so many more complications with Pumpkin: her major spitting up and stomach issues, my low milk supply, but still I feel so bad, even though now she is a much happier child who actually sleeps without waking up writhing in pain. Still, every time I spoon out her formula, that little message "Breast milk is recommended" still taunts me from the package. “I KNOW!” I scream in my head. But the can will never understand. I have read all those studies done about breastfed babies. So I wonder--is Pumpkin going to be stupid? Sickly? Allergic to everything? And will it have been all my fault? I am sure there was more I could have done physically to make the breastfeeding thing work out. But emotionally, I just couldn't do it. Not then, not in the middle of all of it. But still the guilt is there.

Tonight I apologized to her.”


  • My baby got thrush and I decided I did not want to deal with that, so I quit around 6 1/2 months. My pediatrician said in a condescending tone: "That's no reason to quit"...Well lady, maybe when you have had everybody in your house wanting some boob action for 6 long months, and then on top of it you are told to rub nasty sticky orange medicine on your nipples every time you breastfeed, you will understand why this pushed me over the edge.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/13/2006 08:56:00 AM  

  • LOL @ "militant La Leche League member" ...

    I bf my son for 11 months and he weaned himself. I was bound and determined to do the same for my sweetie girl. But I had to return to work and with the stress related to my work and all - my milk supply went down and DH (who was at home with her for the first 3 years) started supplementing. And by the time she was 7 months old she was on formula full time.

    Yep - guilt was my companion through the first few weeks. And I worried all the time about contamination, bad batches, etc.. guess you always will.

    Yep - I agree, Breastmilk is best. But if you have to use formula then you have to use formula. It's your choice and you're not going to burn in hell for it.

    No matter what those militant La Leche League members say ;-)

    (just a little joke - no flames required)
    posted by Blogger Island Queen at 2/13/2006 09:45:00 AM  

  • Sure, "breast is best", but plenty of us grew up fine and healthy on formula. I was not breastfed, yet I have none of the health problems of my sister, who WAS breastfed. Go figger.

    I've had the opposite pressure, though -- people who think I'm bad for NOT supplementing with formula, as though nature's milk is deficient.
    posted by Blogger Squiddy at 2/13/2006 09:53:00 AM  

  • I bf my first for 13 months, though he pretty much lost interest as soon as he discovered real food. I started supplementing my second with formula when he dropped below the 5th percentile for weight and he bounced back beautifully. It also gave us a great amount of freedom, since he took a bottle and the first never did. And he was happy and healthy. I felt no guilt at all.
    More women in our ward feed formula compared to those who breastfeed. So just move here ;)
    Ahhh, nipple nazis. Don't you just love people who know more about you and your family's well-being than you do?
    posted by Blogger Mo Mommy at 2/13/2006 11:21:00 AM  

  • Parenthood=guilt.

    thats seems to be the only "formula" found in my home.
    posted by Blogger ksl at 2/13/2006 11:21:00 AM  

  • With child #1 I had no idea what I was doing with breastfeeding and neither did he. On day 7 of his life I had carefully pumped 6 oz and was transferring it to his bottle when I tipped the whole thing over. I went to PIECES. I pumped, nursed and supplemented on and off for the first 3 months, then threw in the towel and gave him formula until he was 1.

    I vowed that things would be different with #2...and they were. But mainly because 1) she was a DIFFERENT baby and 2) I had slightly more of an idea of what I was doing. She got it and I got it and we nursed until she was 7 months.

    I assuaged my guilt with number 2 but shed many tears over my "inadequacies" with number 1. Yes, breast milk is "best" and recommended, but sometimes it just doesn't work out.
    posted by Blogger chloe at 2/13/2006 02:54:00 PM  

  • Don't give into the guilt. Every baby AND mom is different. My first two daughters I BF until they were 1, my 3rd has MSPI (milk, soy protein intolerant), so we had a really rough first 3 months. In fact, that's what inspired my first blog. The only option for us was a high-end formula (ready to feed only), or a nasty diet for me. I tried the diet and did it for about 5 more months. She was a much happier baby, but I had finally had enough. My DH was a big support in whatever I chose to do. I had major guilt when we switched her over to the formula and I even tried to breastfeed a few more times. The last time, she so did not want it, and was fidgeting all over the place, so I said, ok, I'm over the guilt. I make sure to never judge other moms. The first year of life is so hard, if you had into that a colicky, or reflux-ridden baby it's awful. You are giving your baby the best of you and that's all you can ask for.
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 2/14/2006 10:17:00 AM  

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