This looks a lot like “breast is best” propaganda, and I’ve been on STFUParents and childfree forums long enough to know how shitty that campaign is. Not all mothers/breastfeeding parents can breastfeed properly - some actually don’t produce enough milk, some produce weak milk, and some just can’t deal with having a greedy newborn at their tit all the time. Formula is perfectly fine for babies. The only thing breastmilk does that formula does not is give newborns their birth parent’s antibodies, but that’s only effective in the first six months anyway.
I don’t like this culture of shaming women/parents for doing what’s best for them and their family. Parenting is fucking difficult, and we’re not doing new parents any favors by bombarding them with lists of “parenting sins” or whatever. Breastfeeding is good if it’s a viable option, but there is nothing fucking wrong with formula or with trying to placate a hungry newborn.
Alrighty I’m back from my errands and can adequately respond to the clusterfuck that is this response. Let me start with my credentials: I am a youngish (nearly 30) full-spectrum doula and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) committed to making all parenting choices accessible and as easy as possible. Allow me to break down the many (really, many) problems with this commentary.
I’ve been on STFUParents and childfree forums long enough to know how shitty that campaign is.
Okay first of all, if you’re getting perspective on breastfeeding from STFUParents and childfree forums (“childfree” being code for anti-child, not for those of us that choose not to have children), already your perspective is skewed. I mean honestly… why on earth would anyone listen to a community that disses parents and hates children on something like breastfeeding? First rule of argument: use appropriate sources. Sheesh.
Not all mothers/breastfeeding parents can breastfeed properly…
This is 100% true, one of the only true statements in your entire post. In my years working with breastfeeding parents, I’ve broken this sad news to a handful. Some were just so mismanaged from the start that their supply was too far gone, and others simply cannot put the time and effort into bringing it back. Some have had surgeries that severed nerves and ducts. Still others have medical conditions (insufficient glandular tissue and Sheehan’s syndrome, for example) that prevent them from ever establishing a full milk supply.
…some actually don’t produce enough milk, some produce weak milk…
Wow. Head, meet desk. This is point-blank WRONG, though a ridiculously pervasive myth. The vitamin, protein, carb, and fat ratios of breastmilk are highly reliable. Even a very malnourished parent will produce perfectly formulated food for their baby.
…and some just can’t deal with having a greedy newborn at their tit all the time.
Wow, I bet you are on those childfree forums a lot; you sound like you’d fit right in. Tell me you don’t have kids yourself… if you do, I can provide the name of a good therapist for when they get older.
Formula is perfectly fine for babies.
Again, not untrue. Infant formula provides adequate nutrition for a baby, though the higher protein content and cow’s milk sugars are can lead to juvenile diabetes and food sensitivities.. Also, formula costs $9/day or more. So you know… that sucks.
The only thing breastmilk does that formula does not is give newborns their birth parent’s antibodies, but that’s only effective in the first six months anyway.
(Y’all didn’t think you were getting away without a gif, did ya?)
Breastmilk contains living cells and bioactive factors not found and not replicable in formula: prebiotics, immunoglobulins (secretory IgA, specifically), lactoferrin, alphalactalbumin, hormones, and yes, antibodies. We still don’t know all of what’s in human milk and the way it benefits us and our little ones, but we do know that breastfeeding contributes to higher intelligence, better immune systems, fewer allergies, better appetites for different foods, lower instances of cancer (for babies and parents), and more.
Regarding your six month claim: babies continue to receive incredible immunological and neurological benefits from breastmilk well into the second year of life, when the anterior fontanelle closes. The six month marker is in regards to the time when babies need to begin getting vaccinations. They continue to get antibodies from their parent(s) against viruses like the flu, but breastmilk is no longer sufficient to stave off pertussis, measles, hepatitis, and other diseases that we can be vaccinated against.
I don’t like this culture of shaming women/parents for doing what’s best for them and their family.
I don’t either, but the above graphic is 100% shame free. It’s a very accessible image that reminds parents not to doubt themselves or their breastmilk despite what formula companies and anti-breastfeeding types try to shove down their throats. It’s informative.
We need more education and advocacy like this, if for nothing else than to help stave off the ridiculous untruths you’re espousing here.