I’m an adult and no one gives a damn if I am breastfed or formula fed

My mom has told me about the horrors of weaning me at the age of 2 for as long as I can remember. That means I was exclusively breastfed till about then. My husband on the other hand, was lactose intolerant and was hence bottle fed from birth. Spoiler alert – it never came up in our courtship. And it certainly has absolutely no bearing on the kinds of individuals we are.

Society, correction, the internet, will have you believe that there are global wars surrounding how children are nurtured for the first few months of their lives. “Breastfeeding versus formula feeding” can as well be one of the most-searched strings when it comes to early stage parenting. Mothers choose one or the other based on a variety of factors – as basic as milk supply to as complex as work schedule. And no one needs to have a say on this other than the parents themselves.

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It’s also become necessary to defend your choice, no matter what it is. It’s not uncommon to hear “I am not even working. So I am still breastfeeding him” or “I couldn’t pump at work. So I had to start formula” from contrasting moms. Who do we really owe an explanation to? I don’t see anyone question the different types of foods a toddler is eating across different types of households. The only thing that needs to happen in the early stage development of a child is the proper height and weight gain as per the growth charts the paediatrician has.

 

That’s it. Period.

 

It’s made worse in India when every Tom, Dick and Harry makes it their business to find out how or what your baby is eating. It’s almost blasphemous to whip out a feeding bottle in a family home as opposed to requesting for a private place to feed your child – which means you are doing the ‘right thing’.

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And thank you Internet. With you, we now have a constant source of parenting articles that will have you believe that truly the UN is debating only this – whether it is best to breastfeed or formula feed your child. I recently read an article If you don’t breastfeed, I’m judging the HELL out of you. Uh huh ,that’s the actual title. Well, if that wasn’t enough for you, here’s a direct quote – “You’re a mammal. You’re built to lactate. When it fails, that’s sad. When it’s ignored, that’s a travesty defying nature and human biology. Why do you think your breasts became engorged? It wasn’t for kicks. Your doctor had to drug you to dry you up. That’s because you should be nursing your newborn.”

You know what? Super. We should be supporting each other’s decisions to nurture our kids the best way we can. And we should be patting each other’s backs for doing it through whatever other shit we’ve had to put up through. We don’t need to pile on the mommy shaming too. We could do without it.

 

After all, where does it ever come up in your adult life if you were breast fed or formula fed? And if it did, we lead very different lives.

 

 

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