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Sweet, Sweet Validation

Since I began blogging over three years ago, I’ve read a handful of posts from mothers who chose to formula feed their children, and they spoke about the backlash they received for that decision. They were shamed. Their commitment to raising a healthy child was questioned. They were told they were horrible parents. They were hated.

I have seen this shaming firsthand. When Baby C was born, my ex-wife (whom I shall refer to as Superbitch from this point forward – FYI, she chose that moniker when she used to blog here, I’m not just being an ass…this time) had decided that she was going to breastfeed him. Since Baby C was her first child she decided to attend birthing classes. These classes talked about the many benefits of breastfeeding and that helped her come to that decision.

During the first 24 hours of Baby C’s life, Superbitch tried repeatedly to breastfeed Baby C. There were two major impediments her success. The first, and most important, was that she was not producing any milk. She tried many times with Baby C and with a breast pump but her breasts were as dry as the Arizona sand. The second obstacle was Baby C himself. Superbitch couldn’t get him to properly latch, even with the help of the lactation nurses. After a day of trying, her nipples were cracked and bleeding, and there was nothing to show for it. Baby C had already lost quite a bit of weight.

Superbitch and I discussed it, and we decided it was best to start feeding him formula. At this point we didn’t know if she would ever produce milk and he needed to eat. We asked the nurse to bring us some formula.

When she brought it the nurse said something along the lines of it being okay to supplement with formula until the breast milk started to flow. My ex had decided, though, that she didn’t think she could do breastfeeding. She was in pain. Even if she did start producing milk, our little boy still wasn’t latching properly so there was no guarantee that he’d ever be able to breastfeed. She informed the nurse that she wouldn’t be breastfeeding and that’s when our experience began to sour.

None of the nurses told her outright they thought she had made a horrible decision, but the looks on their faces and the tones in which the spoke conveyed their thoughts more than capably. Even worse, it seems they decided to pressure her to change her mind about it when I wasn’t around. I stayed with my ex and son in the hospital until he was released, but I would leave periodically to eat or to go home to shower and change. It was during these times that they pressured her.

When I returned from a trip home the day we had decided to formula feed Baby C, she broke down into tears. She sobbed as she told me how she was being made to feel like a horrible mother and that she was making a huge mistake by choosing to formula feed our son.

Inwardly, I seethed. I was fucking livid. I know that there are benefits to breastfeeding that formula feeding cannot provide, most notably the building of the child’s immune system. That, however that didn’t give these bitches the right to question how we decided to raise our child. It certainly didn’t give them the right to shame my wife into thinking she was a horrible mother (a day into her journey, no less).

Outwardly, I was calm. I held her and told her that, despite what these bitches were saying, formula feeding our boy was not the end of the world. The twins (who were 11 at the time) were formula fed, I explained, and they are well-behaved and intelligent young men. They are well-adjusted and have always brought home A’s and B’s on their report cards. Other than asthma (which runs on both sides of their family), they had always been healthy. I explained to her that how a child turns out has less to do with how their fed as an infant, and more to do with genetics and the environment in which they are raised.

To be honest, I would have loved for my children to be breastfed. Unfortunately, the mothers of my children were not able to produce milk. They tried to breastfeed but it just wasn’t happening, but that doesn’t mean my children are defective or mentally retarded. They are all very intelligent, healthy boys.

While I have always known feeding my children formula wasn’t the mortal sin it’s been made out to be in recent years, I have gotten some validation this week via Kelly at Are You Finished Yet?. Kelly shared a link to a recent study published by Ohio State (um…Go BLUE!) which found that, despite what we’ve been told in recent years, there are no long-term benefits to breastfeeding. This study found claims that breastfeeding led to amazing things, such as higher IQ and lower risk for ADD, were unfounded. Essentially, the study found that, in the long-term, it doesn’t really matter whether your child is breastfeed or bottle-fed.

Sweet validation!

Can you feel that? Huh!? Huh!?

So to all those nurses who made Superbitch cry by shaming her and making her feel like an inept deadbeat a mere 24 hours after becoming a mother, I’d like to give you a big, fat FUCK OFF!

fuck you stormtrooper

I’ll close be reiterating what Kelly said in her post, although not as kindly or as eloquently because she’s much classier than I am. Whether you’re a nurse, parent, grandparent, or concerned party…mind your business. It’s not your concern how I choose to raise my children as long as I’m not neglecting them. My children are well provided for. They are loved. Maybe you wouldn’t agree with all of my methods, but I don’t give a shit. You raise your children the way you see fit and I’ll do the same.

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Discussion

150 thoughts on “Sweet, Sweet Validation

  1. Nicely said TwinDaddy…I know so many women who couldn’t breast feed and suffered for it. I think far more mental damage is done to the mothers in the ongoing societal judgement than damage to the children. My only benefit in breastfeeding was it was a damn sight less shit to carry around in the nappy bag!!

    Like

    Posted by Aiming for Simplicity | March 6, 2014, 8:45 am
  2. Hell yes to your last paragraph. Hopefully the new study will finally lay this argument to rest. Do whichever works best for your family.

    Though personally, I’m said that this means I probably won’t get any more customers for my natural breast milk for hire business.
    On the bright side, that means I can stop shaving my chest.

    Like

    Posted by El Guapo | March 6, 2014, 8:50 am
  3. Amen to all of that.

    I nursed both of mine for three months before we ran into serious problems. I was in pain, cracked, bleeding. . .we couldn’t figure out a solution. Everyone in the doctor’s kept pressuring me to keep trying. I felt like a failure. I sobbed as I watched people give my children bottles. I didn’t want to do it.

    Turns out I was allergic to disposable nursing pads, but we found out too late. The point is, this shame that is placed on mothers is ridiculous. This idea that there is a set standard for “how to be a mom” and anyone not quite living up to it is failing is obscene.

    Like

    Posted by LauraALord | March 6, 2014, 8:52 am
  4. By Bride had to pump with both kids. She was producing milk but they’d never latch on. We spoke to a “lactation consultant” who made her feel pretty bad about the whole thing. We fired her almost immediately and My Bride got over it pretty quick, thank God. Being a woman is rough stuff.

    Like

    Posted by Exile on Pain Street | March 6, 2014, 8:52 am
  5. All of my siblings and I were breastfed and there’s ADD, ADHD, asthma, stupidity, and SMA (although that one’s genetic and wouldn’t have been avoided anyway) amongst us… So yeah, I didn’t take much stock into the whole breastfeeding vs. formula in the first place.
    I do agree with you — people ought to mind their own business. Seriously.

    Like

    Posted by E. | March 6, 2014, 8:53 am
  6. Thank you, dear. Some nurses need to learn to keep their fucking opinions outtie their jobs. Maybe that’s my opinion bc I was fed formula….and GO BLUE.

    Like

    Posted by 1jaded1 | March 6, 2014, 9:08 am
  7. AMEN! I could write a post in your comment section about how much this shit bothered me when my kids were babies. And still does cause I hate to see other women put themselves, and sometimes their babies, through absolute hell at a time when you should be at least having some pleasant cuddles amid the sleep deprivation and other stress. There have actually been babies who suffered “failure to thrive” because they were being starved. Because mom couldn’t produce milk but they kept telling her to keep at it. Horrible! I was formula fed, and I formula fed mine from day one, and we’re all fine. Quite smart and decent people, if I say so myself (and I do). My husband was a great help. We took turns getting up in the night rather than just me. And I didn’t have to stick a pump on my boobs. If moms want to do it that’s great but . . . it just looked too cow-like for me. Freaked me the heck out.

    Anyway, it would never occur to me to tell other women how to raise their kids. Yet people were perfectly okay telling me. And that nurses did this to your wife – nurses! What happened to “Do no harm”? What a bunch of biotches. So glad you stood by your wife. As long as baby is fed and loved, that’s all the matters. Okay I did write a post. Anyway THANK YOU.

    Like

    Posted by aliceatwonderland | March 6, 2014, 9:29 am
  8. I never produced milk, so I felt really guilty breastfeeding. The funny thing is, no nurse or doctor MADE me feel guilty. I’m grateful that I didn’t have that added external pressure from health professionals. I’m sorry that your ex was made to feel like a bad mother. She didn’t deserve that.
    Oh, and go Bucks!

    Like

    Posted by cynkingfeeling | March 6, 2014, 9:30 am
  9. Oh fuck. No win situation. : )

    Like

    Posted by Pocahontas | March 6, 2014, 9:37 am
  10. I think a woman should be able to make her own decision and be comfortable with it without being judged for what she can or can’t, chooses or doesn’t choose to do with herself and with her child. When I am pro-choice, I mean it on most everything within reason (ie. as long as it doesn’t involve abuse or neglect). My sister couldn’t breastfeed and I don’t think she truly wanted to anyway. My nephew is in the PDD spectrum, but I highly doubt that has to do with being bottlefed.

    But the article at the bottom did note that in this study the participants only breastfed for an avg of 23 weeks when the AAP and CDC recommends at least 6 months exclusive breastfeeding and 1 to 2 years minimum total duration in order to reap any benefits to reduce the risk of diabetes and childhood cancers.

    So essentially I do believe there can be benefits to breastfeeding, but I don’t think a woman should be chastised for choosing formula. I honestly would probably choose formula, too, if for some bizarre reason I decided to have children. It’s a personal choice.

    Like

    Posted by LivingDeadGirl | March 6, 2014, 9:38 am
    • There are proven short-term benefits to breastfeeding, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. Long-term, I just don’t see it.

      Either way, you’re right. Whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, it’s your choice to do so and you should not be shamed or attacked for whatever decision you make.

      Like

      Posted by Twindaddy | March 6, 2014, 9:43 am
  11. I say whip it. Whip it good.

    Like

    Posted by merbear74 | March 6, 2014, 10:00 am
  12. Oh, TD – you have NO idea what I went through…

    I was determined to nurse Little Dude. But it was SO fucking hard – he was an aggressive eater, like frigging CUJO; plus, he wouldn’t latch on properly; breast milk is light and I had to nurse him every TWO hours – it was exhausting and painful. I even had to have a “lactose consultant” come to my house to work with me on what should have been the most natural thing in the world.

    It’s just that they BEAT THE CRAP OUT Of YOU in the hospitals if you don’t want to. They came in my room, these lactation NAZIS, wearing (I swear) these big buttons with baby bottles with a BIG RED SLASH through them. WTF? They made me feel as if I wouldn’t be doing the right thing by my child if I didn’t nurse him. So I did. Almost a year.

    I know that if I had a second child, and he wasn’t easy to breastfeed – I’d just say “fuck it” right away. But we always know better the second time around.

    Like

    Posted by samara | March 6, 2014, 11:27 am
  13. I hear you… there are some militant Nazi breast feeding bitches out there… yo…

    Like

    Posted by pouringmyartout | March 6, 2014, 11:36 am
  14. I don’t get this obsessive web need to shame the fuck out of people for things they can’t control. I was a formula baby, and I like to think I (eventually) turned out all right. This is silly – like ‘environmentalists’ showing up to protest polluting factories – in their SUVs. Besides, boobs are still awesome whether they’re used for their purpose or not.

    Like

    Posted by BrainRants | March 6, 2014, 11:50 am
  15. Judgement is just such a brutal and damaging thing.

    Like

    Posted by behindthemask | March 6, 2014, 11:53 am
  16. unable to breast feed – right here… it would have been nice, but it wasn’t happening and with everything else going on – it was the least of our worries. So I hate it when people are very superior about their breastfeeding. I think it’s great but it’s not something everyone can do or chooses to do – and we need to respect that. I think I produced 5 drops and the CNA laughed at me when I gave her what I expressed (and my kid was DYING at the time – nice right?) – our nurse saw what happened and upbraided that insensitive clod for what she did – so you’re right – do not be so quick to judge or act superior because you do not know why a child is or is not breastfed. And it ain’t your business either way.

    Like

    Posted by Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher | March 6, 2014, 12:37 pm
  17. Society is so fucked up when they meddle into people’s lives, especially when it comes to babies. I know, I know, it takes a village… to make somebody feel like shit about themselves. I’m finally at a point in my life where I don’t have to argue with total strangers as to why I won’t have kids. But I do get tsk’ed tsk’ed about other stuff. It’s endless. Live and let live right?

    I approve of you TD.

    Like

    Posted by Marie | March 6, 2014, 12:48 pm
  18. Thanks for standing up for me and us. Baby C is perfectly healthy and might I had the smartest 3 year old I ever met!
    It was a hard time and they made it worse. Not only the pressure of breastfeeding, let us not forget I lost my grandfather 12 hours after Baby C wa born. I was an emotional wreck and they made it worse. I don’t know if you remember dear Granny did hear them and said something to them. She don’t take no shit!
    I felt helpless and like a failure because of them. But all I all I knew that was not the case. They should train those nurses better on how to deal with new mothers.
    Thanks for brining up the bad memory I had suppressed all these years.. J/k

    Like

    Posted by Superbitch | March 6, 2014, 12:56 pm
  19. I know how your ex- felt. They did the exact same thing. (Getting into my head while my son’s Dad was out getting food.) I have no idea was they are so aggressive with it. My son was hooked up to all sorts of tubes & machines for the first two weeks of his life, so I couldn’t hold him. & The breast pump thing only worked at first.

    I dunno, some people seem to jump at any slight chance to tell you you’re a bad parent. I say a big fat fuck off to them along with you.

    Like

    Posted by DaydreamsInWonderland | March 6, 2014, 1:42 pm
  20. I nursed my daughter about 9 months but there were times it was really hard. First, it took awhile for us to get the hang of it…then being available and pumping when I knew I wouldn’t be…then all the sleepless every two hour feeding regiments…then I had to be careful what I ate… I would never make another mom feel bad for feeding formula…so many reasons why breastfeeding might not be the right answer.

    Like

    Posted by hastywords | March 6, 2014, 2:21 pm
  21. I sucked at breast feeding (what? oh ha get it?!) and went to formula with the first one and then didn’t even bother with the second one. Nurses kept asking “are you SURE?” Yes, Yes I am so take this child to the nursery and feed her, I just ordered a burger and fries and I’m watching Letterman. My kids are two of the healthiest kids ever, never get sick, never had ear infections blah blah blah.

    There are generations of American kids (I was born in ’65) who were never breast fed and we’re okay, sure we drink and smoke too much because it was okay for our mothers to do that while they were pregnant but it helped keep the weight off.

    Nice job twindaddy!

    Like

    Posted by Maggie O'C | March 6, 2014, 4:26 pm
  22. Since I adopted Jacob, I didn’t have the option. But now I can have the perfect excuse for any imperfection in my child. Parents who breastfeed don’t have that option.

    (But seriously, people need to stop condemning others for choices. Not breastfeeding is not like abusing the child. By the same token, folks who DO breastfeed should not be shamed for feeding their kids when necessary, either.)

    Like

    Posted by Elyse | March 6, 2014, 5:23 pm
  23. I would be willing to bet most of the breastfeeding Nazis don’t give a single shit about the baby’s health. It’s akin to modern day bra burning… it’s all about sticking it to The Man with female “liberation” and has nothing to do with what’s right for the baby, and the more women who do it, the louder they all can roar. That sounds like a sexist thing to say, but I think it’s the truth… and I can blame my formula fed underdeveloped brain for coming up with it if someone calls me out on it….

    Like

    Posted by evilsquirrel13 | March 6, 2014, 5:30 pm
  24. I always spent my half an hour to read this blog’s articles daily along with
    a cup of coffee.

    Like

    Posted by 47 Ronin Télécharger Film complet en Français | March 6, 2014, 8:59 pm
  25. It makes me sad to hear your ex was driven to tears over this. I’m sure my husband would have been livid if I had been treated that way. I didn’t feel it so much from the hospital as I did from “mommy culture.” In fact, my pediatrician was the one who convinced me everything would be fine switching to formula. The second time around, I gave breastfeeding another try and was actually successful. Ironically enough though, I had the WORST lactation consultant at the hospital that time. When my son was having some small issues latching, I called her for some help. After looking at my chart, she apparently found the “reason” he was having trouble: I had had a schedule c-section (because he was breach). She looked and me and said these words, “That’s the problem. He doesn’t know he’s born yet.” I don’t think there has ever been another moment in my life when I was at a loss for words more than that moment. Just crazy.

    Glad to read your take on all this, and thanks for giving a little shout out to my blog :) It “pumped” me up :)

    Like

    Posted by AreYouFinishedYet | March 6, 2014, 10:32 pm
  26. Unfortunately, I didn’t produce enough milk for our daughter when she was born. We bonded with formula and she’s now an awesome, little girl. Excellent post, TD. Thanks for opening discussion about this.

    Like

    Posted by Eva | March 6, 2014, 11:32 pm
  27. I think this “all-breastfeeding, all the time propaganda” was all a giant conspiracy by the breast lobby. You’ve never heard of this lobby, because this conspiracy is just too deep.

    Like

    Posted by List of X | March 6, 2014, 11:40 pm
  28. HELL-to-the-YES.

    I worked my fucking ass off to breast feed, and it sucked because of a multitude of problems with both my sons. I did it for about 5 months for my first, and 2 months for my second. But what I hated most was the shame, pressure, and judgement I received. I used to feel like I owed an explanation why I didn’t bf longer, but now that I’m wiser, I don’t give a rat’s ass what others think. I also give a giant middle finger to the while damn thing!!
    Love you for this post TD!

    Like

    Posted by bethteliho | March 7, 2014, 11:05 am
  29. Well, judging people for stuff like this either way is just dumb. Let people live. Although scientifically speaking, I’m positive they’ll change their minds about the benefits/lack-thereof in about three months from now. And shan’t we be even more confused…

    Like

    Posted by Trent Lewin | March 7, 2014, 7:30 pm
  30. So many of my friends were shamed for the exact same reason. One even didn’t answer her door anymore as the ‘breastfeeding disciples’ came by so often. In Australian hospitals, nurses have a duty to advise mothers to persist in trying breastfeeding even if they are in pain as your ex had been. I am so glad these breastfeed-pushers don’t have a leg to stand on anymore. FUCK YEAH. No one should feel shame about not being able to breastfeed or be made to feel inadequate as a mother.

    Like

    Posted by Nadia | March 11, 2014, 4:25 am
  31. I changed my mind about breast feeding in the delivery room! My daughter was born 8 days late & in Canada at that time you only got 17 weeks maternity leave. By the time I was out of the hospital, I would only have 15 weeks left. In that time I would have to wean her off the breast & get her to take a bottle so I could go back to work. Some babies don’t take well to a bottle after breast feeding & I couldn’t take the chance, so I decided to go with formula right from the start. My daughter (over 30 now) is a wonderful, bright, intelligent, hard working, caring, compassionate & ambitious woman now – thanks to the way she was raised not because I did or did not breast feed her!

    Like

    Posted by benzeknees | March 11, 2014, 4:32 pm

We don't tolerate scum.

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