Feeling Judged

  • Hi! I'm new to these boards as well as to mommy-hood altogether. I just had my son a little over 3 weeks ago (he was born February 15th) and though my original plan was to exclusively BF, I ended up deciding to pump and supplement with formula. In the process of doing so, though, I found an incredible backlash from the BFing community. Relatives and friends who've exclusively BFed are having a hard time wrapping their heads around the fact that I'm not BFing. It's almost as though people refuse to believe that I could have possibly decided NOT to BF without having some incredibly awful medical issue as the reason. Has anyone else faced this sort of issue? I'm somewhat young (I'm 25 and DH is 28) and like I said before I'm new to being a mom so having people attack one of my first decisions in motherhood is really rather daunting and quite frankly makes me doubt myself and my abilities. It's pretty stressful and I'm just wondering if a) you've had your decision to use formula attacked, and b) how you handled it.

    Thanks in advance :)

  • I have felt judged for my decisions, too.  It's no fun.  I'm sorry that you're experiencing that.  My daughter has been exclusively breastfed...so that's not our issue.  However, there will always be something that people think you should do differenty with how you parent your child.

    I often respond by say saying something brief then changing the subject.  Maybe, "That's an interesting perspective" or "Thank you for sharing your thought" or "Well, you've given me somthing to consider."

    If the person insists on continuing the conversation I say something like, "I'm happy that works for you; we've found something that is great for our family" or "I hope you are able to raise your children how you see fit; because I am the one who is going to make decisions about MY child."

    Please know that you are an awesome momma.  At the end of the day, your baby loves you and trusts you so much.  He needs you to trust yourself!

    <<big hugs>>

    BTW, I've had both breastfeeders and formula feeders judge me for continuing to nurse our 16-month old.  A friend also told me that our daughter's name isn't a "real" name, but something we made up.  Can you believe it?  I've learned to laugh at how bold people can be.

  • Also, I'd love to add something:  I'm very involved in La Leche League and other organizations that promote breastfeeding.  I know lots of breastfeeding mothers who support ALL mothers regardless of how they choose to feed their families.  I hope you meet some supportive breastfeeding moms who will chang your mind about the "breastfeeding community."

    There are pro-breastfeeding moms who would never dream of being anti-formual feeding.

    <<big hugs to you>>

  • I have to 110% agree w/ APmomma. Trust yourself and the decisions you make!  I intended to breastfeed exclusively, but it just wasn't in the plans for my son and I, I do still nurse him, but he has received supplemental formula since he was 5 days old, because he needed the extra calories.  Breastfeeding is a lot harder then it seems, especially at the start, and can have a lot of anxiety getting started, which sure doesn't help the situation.  When i discussed some of my concerns w/ my OB she made me feel much more comfortable and OK about giving him formula.  Pat yourself on the back for trying to nurse, some moms don't even give it a shot.  I'm going to repeat what i said earlier, trust yourself and the decisions you make, you know what works best for you and your son, don't doubt yourself.  Becoming a mom is tougher than you will ever know, until you become one.  Its a lot of trial and error which sounds scary because you are responsible for this little miracle of a life, but i can promise you it gets easier!  My son is only 9 months and continues to amaze me each and every day, and as each day goes by i can tell my confidence in being a mom gets greater and greater.

  • I plan on exclusively bottle-feeding. I've had friends (and family) ask in their cheery voice, "Are you going to breastfeed?". When I say that I'm not, they get condescending and downright snarky. So... I snark back. "Don't ask a question, when you may not like the answer. By the way, I turned out just fine". Blame in on hormones. :o)

  • @ Apmomma great advice, @ Miss_Dot I also ebf now dd2 @ 5 mos and dd1 till 13 months with that said I was 24 going on 25 and dh was 30. I honestly had no intention on really bf and always thought it rather gross/awkward when my cousin a year younger than myself had 2 kids prior to me having my 1st and bf each of them. So now when I had dd1 Idk I just automatically decided to nurse(although I did register for and got my breast pump so maybe I did plan) and it just came and felt natural. I did get sore/cracked nipples at around 2 weeks that was ultra painful but I survived. I tried weaning her at 10 mos and she wouldn't take anything-and I tried it ALL-so I continued to ebf till 13 mos and then she took Silk Soy Milk. I do remember my grandma who lived out of state came down to visit when she was a month old and her being old school said dd1 needs something more than breast milk, ie-cereal and my response to my grandma who is/was(RIP) my world was "grandma does she look malnutritioned" in a very calm manner, not rude at all-I wouldn't dare. She was 1 month old weighing 12 pds although just born a month earlier weighing 7'13. My mom and my aunties agreed she needed cereal/baby food as months progressed. I strictly followed my pedi instructions and yes I was a 1st time new mom who didn't listen to her mom, aunties, or grandmas advice when it came to feeding my baby. DH was supportive of the nursing and probably even happier since I took the year off from work(unpaid) and grateful he didn't have to buy formula. Now DD2 is ebf, 5 mos and haven't started any solids at recommendation of pedi and AAP recommendations and I've been following. Even DH thinks she should at least have cereal now when she turned 4 mos and I did too until I read the AAP recommendation and my pedi stated the same. MIL thinks she should have cereal as well but at the end of the day it's our baby and weighing 16 pds she's not as big as dd1 was but she's definitely healthy and growing. I plan(ned) on nursing till she's a year but right now trying to make it to the 6 month hump and then will go from there. I recently read an article about the negative reactions those nursing their older kids get and interestingly may try and push for 2 years(congrats APMomma) and this is something I never even phathomed but believe me when I say I'm really just trying to take it in little steps moving forward. I don't judge when moms opt to supplement w formula, or solely formula it doesn't make them less of a mom or me or other ebf moms more of a mom. You have to do what works best for you and your family and what's going to allow for your sanity. Yes we all know bm is best we're not disputing that and those moms that feel so strongly about it tend to judge other moms that don't. At the end of the day I'm sure you are a great mom and love your baby just as much as the next mom. You can use some of APmomma suggestions as well as say, "wow, that's great that worked for your family"," I'll keep that in mind", and the ultimate-"I'll see whay my pediatrician has to say about that"......Best of luck, congrats, keep up the good work, and sorry for the long note.

  • As a nurse who works in maternity settings in the hospitals, I find an incredible amount of judgement and opinions out there about the "right way" to raise your baby. People sort of assume that their view is exclusive and the only way to do something. All kinds of topics ranging from breastfeeding to pacifiers to cloth/disposable diapers cause people to get so emotional and judgmental. Don't question your ability as a mother - if you are doing what you feel is best for your child, that is your call. Many people will disagree with you and you will disagree with what many other people do but if we all just realize that parenthood is hard enough without others making you feel terrible, we could really encourage and support each other. Kudos to you for pumping and supplementing - your little boy has a loving and dedicated mother. Keep your head high!
  • Hi,

    Yes, there is a lot of judgement out there.  Ultimately, it's your choice how to feed your baby.  Remember that.  It's your body, it's your baby, and the judgers won't be there helping you at 3AM when your baby is screaming for food and you are struggling to get it to him.

    I exclusively formula fed.  There is nothing medically wrong with me that would force me to do so.  My son has not struggled emotionally or physically because I didn't breastfeed.  One thing I did to make sure I "bonded with him" early was to hold him very close to my shoulder/face while feeding him.  This helped, I think.

    Good luck,whatever your decision.  Oh, and use those coupons - they help with the cost!


  • I am so sorry that you are facing such adversity over this issue. As others have said, there are some very strong opinions about breastfeeding, as well as many other issues that you will come across as a parent. In regard to feeding, different things work for different people for a variety of reasons!!! As a nursery and pediatric nurse I often had to help parents accept that their babies were going to need formula supplementation for a variety of reasons. I think it helped them to have a "medical person" support them in this. You might talk with your babies providers about your decision. Then when you are faced with people questioning you, you can offer to them that you have discussed this with your babies doctors, or nurses and they are not concerned, or they say your baby will be fine. Having that person of authority supporting you may lessen the strike of the family or friends words against you. I can certainly offer my support to you for doing what you need to do to best care for yourself and your baby. Hang in there, Jessica
  • Thank you all so much for your support and advice! Honestly that makes me feel a lot stronger in myself and the knowledge that I can take care of my baby. I knew having a baby would open myself up to a lot of speculation and criticism but actually having it happen was a whole different story. I'm really glad I found these boards -- I can tell already how much help they will be in the days, weeks, and months to come! Big Smile



  • I had planned to breastfeed which all of my family thought was weird ( they all formula fed their kids). I tried it in the beginning but not exclusively. Eventually I just felt  overwhelmed with everything that comes along with a newborn and gave up on the breastfeeding. My son is very healthy so I dont feel like it was necessarily a bad decision but there were many things people judged us on when it came to raising our son. We were/ are very strict on nobody feeding him anything that we dont pack for him, he's 9 monthsso he eats baby food and some of our family tries to give him food that we dont feel he should have. A family member tried to give him frosting off of a birthday cake at which we said he was too young, and another family member maybe a comment saying "is that what your going to tell him on his 1st birthday" at which we replied, no he will be older then. He was only five months at the time. Ive learned many people will try to input on how you raise your child, just do what you feel best for your child.

  • im also 25, and have not yet had my baby but do not plan on breast feeding because of anti depressants i take. ultimately its your decision and doesnt matter what anyone says or thinks or the way they look at you, i have been a nanny for years and there are so many babies that just do not take to breast milk, and the mothers end up having to give formula. you know how much you love your baby and only want the best for him/her. youre the mommy. do what you see fit and dont feel guilty or judged....!hope you feel better :)

  • Miss_Dot: So glad you are encouraged! Keep your head high - I tend to find that anything I go through or any issue I face as a parent is one that many people have had to deal with. The best thing to do is to share your worries, frustrations, anxieties, etc because once you know everyone else has them, it somehow doesn't seem as bad! :-)

  • Miss Dot, I'm so glad you feel the support gleaming through the web board cyberlines! I think you will continue to find good support and find this a good place to express feelings, ask questions, and help others.

    Your post and that of alexcari really made me think of something that I stick to both in my role as a nurse and a nurse practitioner... That is: Parents always know their kids the best.  There is nothing stronger than the relationship between a child and their parents, and the resulting knowledge that the parents have of their kiddos as well as their intuition about what is right and wrong with their kids.  Bottom line: In my practice the opinion that a parent has about what is going on with their child is one of my greatest assets in making a diagnosis and getting treatment for that child.

    Remember that!!!


  • I too have found that there is great prejudice about moms who decide not to or are unable to breast feed exclusively. Stick to your guns as this is a great first test! People all along the way will profess to be experts when it comes to raising your child, but ultimately you have to do what you think is best and not bow to that pressure. Although it may be hurtful at times, the noise that criticizes you is just that... noise. Best of luck with your baby!