Announcing the “I Support You” Movement

Last week, I got together with a group of friends for a rare “mom’s night out”. We sat for hours, sipping white sangria and inhaling carcinogens from the nearby fire pit, laughing in that way only overtired, overstressed moms can when they finally get a chance to let loose.

I’d met these women at Mommy & Me when our firstborns – all boys, born within days of each other- were about 8 weeks old. So it was no surprise that as the night wore on and the wine glasses were emptied, our conversation turned to those hazy postpartum months, when we were younger, more confused versions of ourselves. I began inwardly musing how much we’d all evolved since then; how through two pregnancies each, our strength and power as women had stretched to new limits along with our bellies.

And then it happened.

“Do you guys remember breastfeeding support group? What a godsend that was!” one of my friends gushed.

“I remember sitting next to you and crying,” said another. “Eh, I think we were ALL crying,” another responded, and the whole group started laughing in self recognition and commiseration.

I felt my shoulders tense up, an ancient and forgotten ache shooting through them, down into my belly, where old pain dies hard. The ache grew deeper when one of my friends told me that my children probably didn’t sleep as long as hers did because she breastfed them, because “nursing gives them sleepy hormones”. And when another, trying so hard to be kind and include me in the conversation, reminisced about seeing my son in his infant carrier making little sucking movements with his lips as he slept, “as if he was still sucking on his bottle”.

And all I heard was “other”; all I heard was “different”.

The next day, I was interviewed for a documentary about breastfeeding, and asked about my journey from passionate breastfeeding wannabe to Fearless Formula Feeder. I’ve done interviews like this a hundred times now; told my story a hundred more. But this time, when I came to the part where I went to Mommy & Me for the first time – the first time I’d really been out in public, let alone surrounded by other moms and babies, as prior to that I’d been stuck at home attached to my pump and held down by the weight of postpartum depression and a baby who couldn’t stop crying, no matter what we did to soothe him – I felt the ancient pain rise up like bile in my throat. As I recalled sitting there, in a circle of nursing moms, feeling like all eyes were fixated on my bottle, judging me, I choked back ugly, rusty sobs. Rancid tears punctuated my typically canned tales of feeling separate, isolated, and constantly on the defensive.

I don’t think I’d realized how much the previous evening’s conversation had affected me. My children are 2.5 and 4.5; while some of my friends have younger babies or are still nursing their second-born toddlers, breast vs bottle is not something that our group is emotionally invested in. Breastfeeding, in and of itself, doesn’t really come up anymore. But breastfeeding support group does. The days we  they spent at the park discussing breastfeeding difficulties do. Those days carry a rosy glow for my friends, but my memories are tinged with gray. Those days I sat silent, clutching my son’s formula filled bottles, gritting my teeth through the inevitable comments about how terrified they were of having to supplement, smiling a frozen smile when a new mom would join our fold and ask the inevitable question “are you pumping?” which would be met with someone else in the group recounting my story of going above and beyond, as if I needed excusing.

Something I’ve heard a lot from those who don’t quite understand my passion for this issue is that “once your kids are out of the infant stage, you won’t care so much about breast or bottle.” And that’s true, to a large degree – the scary statistics and shaming memes don’t carry the same power; I’m able to dismiss them, laugh at them, debunk them without it affecting me personally. What surprised me about the other night and my subsequent breakdown over faded memories, is that while the logistics cease to matter, the old pain and doubt are always there.

There’s a lot of research out there about imprinting, and how first experiences affect infants. But isn’t new motherhood a sort of infancy, itself? Here you are, reborn into mother, your skin and organs and thoughts raw and foreign. Everything is new. Everything is a first, postpartum- your first shower, the first time you have sex, the first time you take the baby for a walk, the first time you feel confident in your new role. Is it surprising, then, that your first social interactions as a mother don’t imprint on you in the same way a new food imprints on an infant’s taste buds?

What would have my postpartum experience been like if I could’ve sat next to my new friends without being afraid of what they’d been made to believe about formula feeding? If I could’ve attended a support group in those first weeks, too, and not had to wait 8 weeks before my community allowed me the gift of peer interaction? And what would my friends’ experiences have been like if they hadn’t been made to feel like failures for the supplementing they had to do, or made to believe that their ability to breastfeed was what made a mother worth her title? What if we could have all been supported in our individual experiences and goals, without fear of some Orwellian gaze, labeling us with a “pass” or “fail”?

And most of all…. what would have happened if I’d had the courage to speak up; to give voice to my demons, to help my friends understand how their innocent words could hurt more than my Pitocin-induced labor pains? What if we could have spoken openly, and found our differences to be our power, the power that could bring light to our fundamental sameness?

World Breastfeeding Week begins in a few days, and the theme this year is “Breastfeeding Support – Close to Mothers”. This is a fantastic theme, because breastfeeding moms need tremendous support, especially in those early days. But I think we should be taking this a step further. ALL new moms need support. Hell, all moms – those with toddlers, those birthing their fourth babies, those with teenagers – need support.  I think brand new moms are the most vulnerable, though; these are the women who are not only dealing with all the craziness that babies bring, but also their own rebirth.

I want to support breastfeeding mothers. I wanted to support my friends, in those early days; I wanted to help them through their struggles, but I felt trapped by my own insecurity. Their efforts seemed like an indictment of my choice. Their well-meaning questions about whether I’d tried talking to a lactation consultant (try seven) felt like judgment.

The problem is not us, us mothers just trying to do our best for our babies, us mothers desperately seeking a tribe, a source of support, a group to someday drink sangria with and laugh about how tough those first few weeks were. The problem is with how breastfeeding has become the antithesis of formula feeding; the problem is with how the two are set up as black and white, as polar opposites, as competing interests – rather than as two entirely independent, valid ways to feed children. Those promoting breastfeeding because they honestly believe formula is risky can continue to do so, but I think there is space for a new type of breastfeeding advocacy and support: one that celebrates and honors mothers’ autonomy, and focuses energy on providing REAL support to those who need it, regardless of feeding method. If infant feeding wasn’t set up as a succeed/fail dichotomy from the beginning, imagine how moms might be able to support each other without feeling alienated or judged for different choices?

My belief that this type of advocacy would be far more powerful in helping mothers meet their breastfeeding goals is what has inspired me to join forces with Kim Simon of Mama By The Bay and Jamie Lynne Grumet of I Am Not the Babysitter, to encourage moms to stand up and say “I Support You”.

Created by Cary Lynn Davis

Created by Cary Davis

The I Support You movement is a respectful, empathetic, compassionate exchange between parents.  We all feed our children differently, but we are all feeding with love, and in ways that work for our individual circumstances and family dynamics.  I Support You is the first step in helping formula-feeding, breast-feeding, and combo-feeding parents to come together and lift each other up with kindness and understanding. We have chosen to announce this movement during World Breastfeeding Week, to honor the commitment of those who fight for better support for breastfeeding moms; we are inspired by this, but believe that by changing the focus to supporting all parents, we can truly provoke positive change without putting the needs of some mothers above the needs of others. The “I Support You” movement aims:

 

1) To bridge the gap between formula-feeding and breastfeeding parents by fostering friendships and interactions.

 

2) To dispel common myths and misperceptions about formula feeding and breastfeeding, by asking parents to share their stories, and really listening to the truth of their experiences.

 

3) To provide information and support to parents as they make decisions about how to feed their children.

 

4) To connect parents with local resources, mentors, and friends who are feeding their children in similar ways.

 

(written by Kim Simon with a tiny bit of help from me)

 

If you want to join the movement and celebrate real support with us:

 

Send us your photos. I’m creating a slideshow of photos to show how beautiful support can look. If you are willing to let me use your image, take a photo of you, your baby, your family, you and a friend – doesn’t matter – with a message of support (i.e., “I exclusively breastfed, but I know every mother does what is right for her – and I SUPPORT YOU” or “I may formula feed, but I’d fight like hell for a woman’s right to NIP. I SUPPORT YOU”) and send it to formulafeeders@gmail.com by Friday, August 2nd.

 

Interview Your Opposite. Are you a blogger?  Are you a formula-feeder who is best friends with an extended breastfeeder?  An adoptive parent who knows of a mom using an SNS nurser with a baby in the NICU?  We want you to interview someone who is feeding in a different way than you are, and then publish it on your blog.  If you’re interested in participating but don’t know where to start, feel free to email me at formulafeeders@gmail.com for a list of interview questions.  On  Sunday, August 4th, we will ask you to share your story with us, by adding your link to the I Support You blog hop. If you don’t know anyone who feeds in a different way,  send me an email and I’ll try and connect you to someone.

 

Join us for a Twitter Party on August 7th, at 5pm PST/8pm EST.  We’ll be asking you to share your truths about your feeding choices, and connecting you to other parents who might be feeding their children the same way.  You can find us with the hashtag #ISupportYou.

 

Create your own meme or message of support. If you’re tech savvy, feel free to create a meme or shareable video that honors the “I Support You” message, and share it on the FFF Facebook page.

 

Check out Kim’s incredible, spine-tingling post on the “I Support You” movement, here.

 

The best way to counteract hate is by drowning it in a sea of change. The tide is rising, and we can float above the negativity and fear; push down the us-versus-them bullshit and let it sink to the bottom, where it belongs; lure it to its death with a siren song of I support you, sung far and wide.

 

Start swimming, fearless ones. I support you.

About the Author:

Suzanne Barston is a blogger and author of BOTTLED UP. Fearless Formula Feeder is a blog – and community – dedicated to infant feeding choice, and committed to providing non-judgmental support for all new parents. It exists to protect women from misleading or misrepresented “facts”; essentialist ideals about what mothers should think, feel, or do; government and health authorities who form policy statements based on ambivalent research; and the insidious beast known as Internetus Trolliamus, Mommy Blog Varietal.

Suzanne Barston – who has written posts on Fearless Formula Feeder.


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65 thoughts on “Announcing the “I Support You” Movement

  1. A tearful slow clap from me! I’m proud to be a part of this movement. The pendulum is indeed swinging away from militancy, and with good reason. It is time for new moms to be supported–regardless of feeding method. Our health depends on it, and we are worth it.

  2. Now I feel sick to my stomach. My biggest worry about my breastfeeding failure has nothing to do with my baby’s health or intelligence.

    My biggest worry is that I’ll still be upset about it in the distant future.

    • Having had breastfeeding trouble myself and moved to formula only when my son was 5 months, I can assure of you one thing. You will never be able to rewrite your history, but as your child grows into a healthy, happy, smart, funny child, you will be released from the pain that breastfeeding (or the lack of) caused you. You will see your child thrive in this world regardless of how much breast milk he/she got and realize that they have the same chances as any other child. Rejoice mama, and know it’ll all be OK.

      • There is no reason to feel upset or worried. Please don’t think of it as a “failure”. Like a lot of things in life, you attempted it and it didn’t work out. Trust me, there will be MANY other things you will try with your kids over the years that also will not work out. Things like trying to keep them clothed in public when they reach the age where they decide that clothing is an awful thing and they rip off every piece of clothing the moment you turn your head. Or the month or so where they decide they are a dog, or cat, or cow, or whatever animal strikes their fancy and they drop to all fours and bark (or meow. Or moo) at every person they see. And shove dog food in their mouth the moment you turn your head. Then there will be the day that, despite your instincts, you finally run in the bathroom to pee because you are about to explode. In the 32 seconds it takes you to pee and wash your hands, your kid will manage to get the brand new economy size bottle of dish soap, fill the VCR with it, cover the tv, and cover the younger child with it so you now have a tv that doesn’t work, a VCR that won’t work, and a small crying smurf that you can’t even pick up to get him in the tub because he’s covered and soap is slippery and when you finally DO get him in the tub and turn the shower on you have bubbles overflowing out of the tub and engulfing you and the entire bathroom and your husband comes home in the middle of it and asks “Weren’t you watching them?”…..yeah, at that point your only regret is going to be that your kid is no longer an infant that just lays there when you put them down. Breastfeeding won’t even cross your mind :)

        • Omg, this made me laugh so hard I cried! Thanks for putting things into perspective :) You are so right….and I’m still laughing!

  3. Thank you for this blog and initiative. This came up in the UK recently with people offering ‘advice” to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, which prompted me to write this blog: “Should Kate breastfeed? It’s none of our business. Here’s what is our business.”

    http://info.babymilkaction.org/news/campaignblog110713

    All mothers should be supported. This includes ensuring access to accurate, independent information on formula for those who need it, which requires better regulation of the formula companies. One of the great problems of the breastfeeding v. formula feeding polarisation is that the need for such regulation can be lost. Advertising and promotion is not the same as information, as analysis of company marketing strategies all too clearly shows.

    Formula companies not only undermine breastfeeding, they promote their products in violation of internationally agreed marketing standards to increase sales, inflate prices and push unnecessary products. No promotion, cheaper formula.

  4. Thank you for writing this. I am sure that much of my post-natal depression was influenced by my ‘felt’ failure at not being able to breast feed. Everyone around me breast fed and I was so jealous of them. You are right that as your children grow up you forget how bad it was to feel this way but reading your article has reminded me how painful it felt. My girls are 12, 8 and 6 now and are so healthy and content. They have never had asthma or eczema or any of the other scare stories I was made to believe they would have if I bottle fed them and I feel very close to them. So thanks once again for bringing this so sensitively and passionately for people to consider.

  5. All new mothers need support. Absolutely. Bottle-feeding needs to be taught; too many people assme that everyone knows how to do it correctly, and people don’t. Similarly, safe formula preparation needs to be taught.

    My challenge is that I know what is in formula asI know what industry says about its own product. When is the time to share that information? Certainly, before the baby arrives.

    Another challenge is that human milk is not readily available to everyone and the baby always has to be fed. Informal milk sharing is an option safer than commercial formulas, and can be done in a way that minimizes risk. Homemade formula is another option. Again, not popular although it makes sense because homemade formula won’t have unlabeled ingredients in it that industry regularly uses.

    What do I do with my knowledge as a health care professional serving the public?

    • Commercial formula isn’t dangerous. Even if it contains unlabeled ingredients (which I doubt), there is no evidence at all that formula-feeding is harmful. Babies have been fed using formula for decades, if it were risky in the slightest we would know by now.

      What evidence do you have that formula companies use incorrect labeling in their products? Without any proof, your assertions just sound like paranoia.

  6. It’s about time mama’s moved in a POSITIVE direction. I’m not a defensive formula feeder (a term self righteous, pompous, too-much-time-on-their-hands, high-on-their-imaginary-horse, silly women use), there is no need to get defensive and “fight” against other mothers. Silly and time wasting to live with such negativity!! I made my decision, keyword “MY”. I made a point to become very educated on breastfeeding, went to pre natal breast feeding courses (3 in fact), had two lactation consultants on my case after my daughter was born, and yet was still at the pediatricians office every other day because she was losing weight rapidly and was hospitalized twice for jaundice. I was stubborn, I wanted SO desperately to breastfeed, I didn’t want to give it up. I was advised to supplement with formula to by all three professionals (lactation consultants included), albeit reluctantly. I never cried over having to give her formula, she was eating, where was the guilt supposed to come from? She thrived, never had ANY digestion issues (spit up, colic), hit all her milestones ahead of schedule, and at 19 months is continuing to thrive. No sickness (nothing major, so far just a cold), smart as a whip, happy and lively. I look back and I smile at it all, and now I smile because instead of shaming women, we’re educating them and then helping them along with whatever decision they decide to make. Kudos FFF!!

  7. I think this is great! I have and am formula feeding both my babies and am going through my own guilt issues with it. All my friends exclusively breastfeed with no problems and I support them and encourage them all the way! I have never felt judged by my friends because I am bottle feeding, they support my choice 100% and don’t ask questions, they know how much I struggled. I have sat on my couch with my best friend while she breastfed and u bottle fed and it was great, we were just 2 moms talking about our restless nights and how much our lives have changed! Our feeding choices may not be the same but we do have 1 thing in common, we both love our children and what nothing but the best for them! I support you!!!

  8. Yay for this! I have friends who EBF, who combo feed, who formula feed either by necessity or by choice. And at least as far as I know, there is no hard feelings over any of it.

    But serious question, since I EBF my almost-6-month-old (holy crap, when did that happen?!?!) daughter: Reading this post has made me kind of paranoid. Like the mere act of feeding, or discussing breastfeeding, my daughter will hurt the feelings of anyone I know who was unable to breastfeed. Is this really the case? Or am I truly just being paranoid now?

    Because on one hand, part of me feels like I need to keep totally quiet just so I don’t make anyone feel badly. But on the other hand, I know that bad advice on the part of nurses in the hospital where I gave birth (see my comment on your July 18 post) could have easily turned my relatively effortless breasfeeding journey into a constant uphill battle against supply issues, had I not stood up to the nurses.

    So I feel like if I can share my story with friends who were unable to breastfeed the first time around due to similar reasons, perhaps if they want to breastfeed any future children they will know to request to be allowed to pump colostrum before they have to turn to formula, or to disregard advice to feed their babies less frequently than is recommended.

    Because the fact of the matter is that we, as mothers, can choose to support each other’s choices all we want, but until hospital staff does so as well (and this means both making sure staff is educated in how to properly support breastfeeding efforts rather than unwittingly or worse, deliberately, undermining breastfeeding attempts, AND not shaming moms who choose to formula feed), our choices regarding infant feeding are not being fully supported.

    Does that make sense? Because I guess the thing that is making sort of skew toward the (non-judgy, hopefully not making formula feeding moms feel guilty) lactivist end of the spectrum is the fact that I experienced first-hand the type of things that could have sabotaged my decision to breastfeed, and I wonder how many moms are left with feelings of hurt and regret that could have been avoided if they had better support from hospital staff. (And again, the converse is true: respect for moms who want to formula feed rather than trying to guilt them into breastfeeding.)

  9. Very nice post, I think this is great. I don’t really have anything helpful to add, I am so sorry about that…however, I will say that when I see my Ob next (routine visit in Aug), I will ask her if she does anything dealing with breast health during pregnancy, if the woman has a breastfeeding goal in mind. If anyone else happens to be seeing an OB, will you ask this too? I am thinking that OBs can work with pregnant women who wish to breastfeed by helping keep track of breast changes throughout pregnancy. If there aren’t any changes, or if changes are abnormal in some way, the OB can flag that, and then the woman will have something in her chart to bring to an LC as a possible supply issue, nipple issue or whatever the case may be, but she’ll be armed with the info ahead of time instead of finding out the hard way, after the fact. That’s all I could think of lately, to support breastfeeding…it is kind of indirect, but I’m not sure that many OBs actually address this.

  10. Thank-you for all the work you do, to be a place of sanity and a reprieve from everything that seems to be wrong with trying to be a mother today. I admire greatly the work you do to support mothers, in particular those mothers who may have a particularly difficult time finding support elsewhere….

    I advocate for informed birth choices, you advocate for informed feeding choices – and I support you.

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  13. Damned if you do; damned if you don’t!!! I had two separate prems- both didn’t conquer the “suck” part of breastfeeding (despite 6-8 weeks in NICU each with Lactation Consultants) and so I expressed… for 9 months with G and 6 months with K. Both times I had to stop as not my milk but my “skin” broke down – I would be sitting expressing with tears rolling down my face in pain and blood dripping off my breasts…. (and then we discovered that G was actually ALLERGIC to my milk…) But the shite I got from people who had no idea but “ASSUMED” it was formula was quite incredible. There was so much negativity with no knowledge to back up their comments. Unfortunately for them…. I’m an older Mother with RED HAIR that wasn’t afraid to give “ADVICE” back! I saw so many Mothers in NICU upset at not being able to breastfeed and not coping with all the extra upset and stress. It was heartbreaking. No-one should be made to feel a failure or guilt at not being able to do something whether it be breastfeeding or a natural; birth etc. Bring on the empowerment to Woman to feel good in their INFORMED choices!!

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  24. Thank you for this. I have a heart condition and have had several open heart surgeries. When I became pregnant, I had to go off of my heart meds for the duration and then start back up right after she was born. The meds I take are harmful to the fetus as well as to a newborn child and they are transferred through breastmilk. So I knew going in that I would not be able to breastfeed…not even pump, unless I wanted to stay off my meds which wasn’t an option

    One of the things I hate is mom vs. mom on this…I was asked all the time while out if I was feeding her breast milk or formula and I always felt that if I answered formula that I would get a knowing look and be silently judged. There were several friends who were in the same position as I was, but no actual support group. The nurses and such came by in the hospital and several lactation consultants attempted to get me to “just try” to breastfeed despite my explanations. It made me feel like I was doing nothing but harming my child and that kind of feeling is something that no new mother should have to go through. This is something that I support fully…bridging the gap between mothers no matter if you use breast or bottle. Thank you.

  25. I cried when my pediatrician told me that I needed to bottle feed my son after his 2 week appt. All those nights that I had stayed up thinking that I was doing the best thing I could for my baby, and he had lost well over a pound from his birth weight! I apologized to him with tear filled eyes for the weeks following at every feeding, every time he rooted for the milk that just never came. I stopped returning phone calls, dreading even the vaguest comment about how the baby was doing. My baby is 4 months old, a bouncing, healthy, sweet, baby boy, and I still feel judged by the mothers around me. “My milk just… never came in,” I apologize, when they ask how I’m feeding him. As if to say, “I’m sorry I’ve let you down.” Thank you so much for your blog, it has helped me to regain the supermom powers that I believed I had lost. I AM doing what is best for my child, I am feeding him, and nurturing him as well as any breastfeeding mother! I support the choice to breastfeed, but my child is as healthy as can be, and it is because of me. Best regards and please keep writing!

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  29. When my baby got her first feeding tube, the formula vs breast debate became ridiculous to me. She was not allowed anything by mouth from 6 weeks old to 4 months old. Now she gets bottles during the day and is tube fed at night. To feed, in any way, is to sustain life. Any kind of feeding can be done in a loving way.

    I have gotten nasty comments for both ff and nip. I will tell you, though, those don’t hold a candle to the things people have said to me when we have tube fed in public. My favorite was the lady who looked at my daughter in horror and said, “What did you do to that baby?!” I replied, “I saved her life.” and walked away.

  30. Why is there this need to make everyone feel good? It’s World Breastfeeding Week. Let the breastfeeders have their moment. We’re surrounded by formula campaigns, glares from strangers when we nurse, ect. Geez.

    • Because bottle fed mothers deal with glares from strangers as well. They are surrounded by a lot of people who tell them they are harming their babies by using formula. No one should feel like they have to apologize for the way they are feeding their child, be it by breast or by formula.
      You are willing and able to breast feed, in that you are fortunate. You just have to deal with glares from strangers while you are feeding in public. A lot of women who want to breast feed but cannot, are under constant pressure, not only from strangers, but also by friends and family. They are led to believe that they are failing s a mother. World Breastfeeding Week is yet one more flashing sign screaming “FAILURE” at these mothers. That is so wrong. A woman that is nurturing her child should not be made to feel that way constantly.
      What we need to focus on is World Support Mothers Week. It’s better for everyone involved.

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  34. I was so happy to hear from other formula feeding mothers. My son is 6 months old and has been formula fed from the beginning. I struggled with anxiety for years and was handling in quite well with medication–until I got pregnant and could not be on my medication any longer. My first two trimesters of pregnancy, the time that I was supposed to be feeling all of these joyful new emotions, were consumed by panic attacks and misery. In my seventh month, the doctors decided it was safe for my baby if I went back on medication. The last two and half months of my pregnancy were completely wonderful. Then I had to make the choice about continuing my medication while breastfeeding or simply formula feeding. It was an extremely difficult time because I wanted the bonding experience of breastfeeding so badly, but I did not want to risk passing any side effects of the medication on to my son, nor did I think that I could be a good mother if I quit the medication. So I decided on formula. My baby is healthy (pleasantly plump), happy, and amazing. My twin sister, and four other friends all had babies within the last six months, and all are breastfeeding. When we get together I often catch myself feeling ashamed when the other girls talk about the fear of having to use formula. But then I remind myself of how much more sleep I have gotten, how much closer my husband is to my baby, how happy and smart my baby is, and how I can enjoy two glasses of wine without worrying! I know I made the right decision.

  35. I feel so fortunate that my kids were born when they were. My oldest is 20 now. Before he was born, I had never even held a baby. The doctor and nurses shamed me into breastfeeding, even though the thought of it made me very uncomfortable. And I mean VERY uncomfortable. But, because I was young and had no clue what I was doing, I tried it. He latched fine, there were no problems with that, but I hated every single second of it. Of course, I had no idea that him crying 30 minutes after being fed was not normal. After 2 weeks of no sleep at all, I took him for his check-up. I told the doctor about the crying and me having to feed every 30 minutes. He explained I was doing it wrong and made me show him. Which just made the experience even more uncomfortable. After he determined I wasn’t doing it wrong, he decided he wasn’t sure what was wrong. I blinked at him a few times, packed my kid up and left without saying a word. Took the baby to my GP who raised me. He took one look and said “He’s not getting enough food. Bottle feed him.” So, I took him home and fed him out of the bottle. THAT was when I bonded. And, for the record, at 2 1/2 weeks old, he was eating 12-16 ounces of formula every 3 hours. At 4 weeks old, I was instructed to feed him 4-6 ounces of cereal before bed. With a spoon. Do you know how hard it is to feed a month old baby with a spoon? But, it was worth it. He stayed full for 5 hours and I could sleep a bit longer. I was so fortunate though, because the only people who tried to shame me were the pediatricians and nurses. I did not have to deal with judgmental women everywhere I went if I had to feed him. Which was good, because if someone had said something to me in the first 2 weeks and I had been running on 15 minute naps, it likely wouldn’t have ended well.
    When my youngest was born, he was exclusively bottle fed. He’s 17, rarely sick, and aces full honors classes in school. I think he’s turned out perfectly fine.
    I have found myself defending women that are bottle feeding in public. I’ve overheard catty remarks and pointed out that they have no friggin clue what the bottle feedings mothers circumstances are. And you know what? The baby is being fed. How the baby is being fed is of no concern to anyone else. Unless there’s whiskey in the bottle…then maybe say something. That would be bad, mmmmkay? :)

  36. Oh how I wish this level of support existed when I chose to bottle feed my now five year old. The guilt, the isolation, the judgment. I even felt left out of the Attachment Parenting community, a group who prides themselves on their commitment to unconditional love and acceptance, due to my feeding choice. Parenting is a myriad of choices and feeding is only one of them. Its time we support each other. Thank you for your contribution to this process!!

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  39. My daughter is 11 now. I still, still recall all the shaming I got when in public with her and I wasn’t breastfeeding. How I felt compelled to give a short version of all the issues that discovered the inability to strangers. Now I just feel angry because I should have said more often how it was none of their business. The worse part is the fear of failing her somehow that hovered over her first year. She’s a smart,strong, kind 11 year old now. None of those dire predictions came to pass. Just the thought of perhaps women not needing to shame others during this important and sensitive time of family life brought tears to my eyes.

  40. Pingback: I Support You ~ Love-feed your babies today | lil honey dreams

  41. Pingback: I Support You: Yes. And. - Fearless Formula Feeder

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  43. This blog has become food for my soul. After my 3rd “failed” attempt at breastfeeding and allowing the voices of condemnation to weigh me down, I googled “support for formula-feediing moms” and found this site. I am so incredibly grateful for the encouragement, love, and support I have found here. I am 100% in favor of tearing down the walls that divide us instead of tearing down each other. We’re on the same team, moms! This movement is such a wonderful way to foster understanding and unity amongst parents, because let’s face it, parenting is HARD, period. Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing your story and your heart. And thank you to all the other mommies (and daddies) who have shared their stories! I have been so blessed by each one.

  44. Pingback: I support You! | neugeboren

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  46. Pingback: For the “I Support You” Campaign: 18 Questions Answered by 2 Mothers, “Opposites” | Covered Catholic

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  48. Growing up in the late 1950′s I didnt know anyone who was breast fed. The battle of Boob v Bottle was an old old by the time I was born and had been waging for 50 years with doctors trying to persuade mothers to ditch natural breast feeding with scientific formula. By the time I was born the battle had been won hands down by the makers of baby formula. To read more about the selling of formula to American mid-century mothers http://envisioningtheamericandream.com/2012/09/17/breasts-for-success/

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