Personally, whether or not a woman breastfeeds is nobody’s business. I was bottle-fed from birth and I have come out perfectly healthy and intelligent. I think everyone just needs to tend to their own children, and keep their opinions to themselves.
Your pictures are priceless. Thanks for sharing photos of your precious Elliotte with us.
Marla, you obviously are mom enough, whether you were able to continue breast feeding or not. you love your child, and would do anything for her, that’s the best kind of mom there is.
As if it’s anyone’s business how you are feeding your child! I wholeheartedly agree with you, Marla! when did society deem it appropriate to ever ask a mother if and when she breastfeeds. Wow…and a male asking it! Incredible!
You know, a friend said something to me the other day! If you constantly ask yourself, “am I being a good mom…,” then the answer is YES, you are! If you weren’t a good mom, you wouldn’t care!
You are fabulous and it really is no one’s business whether or not you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding. I try to be classy and just walk away from those comments and not be confrontational. I just choose to exercise tact and try to avoid the whole thing, but when the issue keeps getting pressed, I just say, “Ya know, my daughter is lactose intolerant, so breast feeding is just out of the question!” Because what are they going to say to that!
But, you and your daughter are beautiful and you are doing a fabulous job! If you weren’t, she wouldn’t always be smiling!!!
Thank you so much Marla for speaking publicly from “the other side”. Breastfeeding has become such a hot button issue lately and I have felt so frustrated over the lack of sensitivity by some who use terms like “selfish” or “ignorant” to describe those who bottle feed for whatever reason.
My son is 10 weeks old and we are combo feeding- 1/3 formula, and 2/3 breast, mostly because I have a two year old daughter and felt that I couldn’t keep up with the constant feedings while trying to nurture and care for her as well. The reaction that you described when someone asked if you were breastfeeding is exactly how I have felt on some occasions and it makes me mad that my “mommy confidence” wavers when challenged with this question as well.
I agree that being a parent is more competitive than ever and anyone who has ever been a mom knows that this kind of pressure is really the last thing you need when caring for a newborn or an infant. Mayim Bialik said something like (not a direct quote) “save the judgement for parents who beat or neglect their children” in defense of her style of parenting and I really think this should apply to all moms from attachment parents to bottle feeding and working moms. We need to be more supportive of each other.
Thank you again for addressing this issue. You’re doing a great job and your daughter is beautiful!
Fantastic blog! Parenting is not a competition and I personally think that so-called “Mom-shaming” is crazy. whatever happened to support? Different things work for different families.
Elliotte is adorable; I love her little comb-over! beautiful baby girl.
Asking a new mom whether she is breastfeeding at a social function is not okay unless you are a new mom yourself and struggling with breastfeeding and looking for advice, support, or something else like that and you ask the question where the context of your question is looking for advice, support, etc.
Parents can be competitive with each other and I think part of that comes from how competitive everything has become compared to years past. Marla is right when she talks about the fear inducing Internet, reading the Internet can make a parent very insecure about their child’s development.
But I think when parents ask other parents about the development of their kids it’s to reassure themselves that their child is developing fine but gets misinterpreted as parental competition.
Love the pictures. She’s so darling.
Breast-feeding is not possible / not an option for everyone. It is a blessing that alternatives exists so that our children are still fed and thrive. A healthy child is all that matters. Chin up!
@blessedwithboys Why does it matter? Marla has said that she has faced problems with breastfeeding and it’s been hard on her, so why the need to bring it up? It’s not anyone else’s business.
Marla~ your daughter is gorgeous. I’m the mom of an 11 month old and I truly miss those “little baby” days. I’m about the same age as you and have been a fan since your full house days.
As for the man asking you about your feeding techniques- soooo not okay!! It’s funny, I’m still nursing and I get the same reaction when people ask why I’m still breastfeeding. I used to be embarrassed but I realized who gives a crap? how and what I do to take care of my son is mine and my husband’s business.
I hate the whole competition of parenting these days too!! when did it get so nasty? Even reading the blogs on this site is getting a little out of hand. so I say do what you need to do for you and Eliotte and be proud of the momma you are!!
I loved my girls as new babies, but they were even more fun every month as they grew and learned new things, so enjoy every step! her ears are beyond precious…like a little happy elf!
As for people being negative…I get that on this site people want to debate everything, but in real life I haven’t been met with too much of that. My mom friends and I talk about everything-ways of feeding, ways of sleeping, ways of attaching, and maybe I’m naive but it seems to be more in a trying-to-figure-it-out kind of way. not in a my-way-is-better, but figuring it all out and wanting what we deem as best for our kids. If we’re reading and thinking and asking questions, well, it’s because we’re all good moms.
If that’s not how your friends are, if it seems like it’s all competition, maybe you could find some new ones. We all need a little grace when it comes to loving our little ones the best way we can! Blessings to you and your sweet Elliotte as you figure out what works!
I didn’t comment on your previous blog, but as another mom who struggled with low supply and who formula fed/supplemented all 3 of my kids (including my current 4 month old), let me tell you that my breastfeeding struggles (pumping, herbs, visits with LC etc), guilt etc, still haunt me to this day.
It doesn’t bother me now, but as a first time mom, it made for a really dark newborn period and I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy my newborn more rather than obsess about how I was feeding him. The “are you breastfeeding?” question always seemed to come with an implicit judgement that I wasn’t doing the best for my baby. And like you, I always felt I had to explain WHY I wasn’t, when really, it shouldn’t matter why.
Feed your baby however you need to, and do it confidently so it doesn’t invite questions!
I also agree with you about the magazine cover. The title is there to sell magazines, but it is annoying because it encourages “mommy wars”, when in reality, most if not all of us are just trying to do the best we can.
Congrats on your lovely baby
Here’s the thing about parenting. Even the most confident, assured, accomplished woman in the world worries about what kind of parent she will be. We think we can study for child rearing like we do an exam or prepare like we do for a big presentation–then when reality sets in, we panic. There’s no hard and fast recipe for perfect parents, and that makes us all a little insecure.
Just like grade school bullies, I think moms criticize one another to reassure ourselves that they themselves are making the right choices, or that we are emphasizing one “Textbook” thing we do well to compensate for our weaknesses. ie, one mom prides herself on breastfeeding and cosleeping, and criticizes bottle feeders, while secretly feeling like she lets her kids watch tv or she doesn’t enjoy playing with them enough.
I’ve done this myself until I learned something. ALL kinds of women make good mothers, but we are all DIFFERENT types of mothers with different strengths and weaknesses. If your kid is happy, healthy, safe, and loved–you win! And sometimes you have to remember that and give the snooty mom at the park the metaphorical finger.
I’ve never left a comment before, but I felt compelled to say THANK YOU Marla for being so honest and transparent about your breastfeeding issues. I’m 37 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and I had so much trouble (and guilt) about my struggles with breastfeeding. I ended up with double mastitis and lots of miserable antibiotics and felt like I was somehow a failure.
Thank you for your courage in showing others that breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone and it doesn’t make us lesser parents. Congrats on your beautiful baby!
I love reading your blogs and your daughter is adorable!! you are truly blessed.
I can so relate to your breastfeeding struggles. I just automatically thought it would come easy but it did not. I was under so much stress and pressure and was so hard on myself. Then I felt such judgement from other parents who would ask questions like the one you were asked at the BBQ. I too felt the need to justify myself with a long drawn-out story.
My daughter is the most beautiful, happy and healthy 2 1/2 year old and I love her more than anything in the world. you have so much to look forward to! Thank you for sharing with us!
One of my best friends just had a baby and struggled with breastfeeding and I was so glad that I was able to help her through it. We as women need to support each other, I wish someone would have told me not to beat myself up because I couldn’t breastfeed my child.
Yes, Marla you are right. too many moms view parenthood as getting to sit at the cool table at lunch or being on every page of the yearbook. Since I am a mom to 3 older children, 16, 12 and 9, and since I am only 36, I had a lot of unwanted comments and judgments about my ability to be a good mother.
16 years ago breastfeeding, vaccinations and organic food wasn’t the buzz topic it is today. Generally there were two camps- the natural moms (breastfeeding, natural childbirth, cloth diapers, etc) and the convenience moms (epidural, disposable everything, etc). The good thing though was most moms didn’t fit in just one category across the board, so I picked a little from each and found my way through the early years of parenthood.
Also I had the benefit of older siblings who had very different pregnancies, deliveries and parenting styles. Their children are now 20 and 18- they each had a boy 20 years ago and a girl 18 years ago, so that made comparing really easy- and have all grown into wonderful adults. The breastfed two and the formula fed two are all doing the same things- working and attending college full-time. The ones that got spankings and the ones that got time outs are all well adjusted adults. The ones who went to church every week and the ones raised atheist are finding their way in world that doesn’t always make sense. With my three I found I had to stop setting up play dates with friends that were competitive.
Also, I only take advice from moms with at least 3 kids AND whose kids are ones I would like to have….so that’s not that many. good luck to you and remember to trust your OWN instincts about YOUR baby!
Well I do think it’s reasonable for someone to ask if you are breastfeeding when you’ve been speaking publicly about it online. I am by no means an expert (my baby is only 13 months), but I think you need to just do what’s right for you and Eliotte and own your decision. If you are formula feeding, just say so and own it. you don’t owe an explanation to anyone. I’ve found that when I just say upfront “she sleeps in our bed” or whatever the controversial topic is, no one says a word to me about what their opinion is on the matter. you just have to be confident in your decisions and show to others that you are comfortable with your decisions and others will buzz off about it if you have that attitude.
I have found myself in some situations where I felt like I was back in high school with other moms. And after a few times of crying or complaining to my husband it became clear to me- I can choose not to be around those people that make me feel bad about myself. there is only so much you personally can take for the sake of your child- like an annoying mother with a kid your child enjoys playing with.
The difference between high school and now is that when I was in high school I didn’t have a choice to be there. Now I make my own choices and those for my kids so if I don’t want to associate with someone anymore, I can do that.
There are certain questions you should never ask a woman- her age, weight, if she’s pregnant, or if she’s breastfeeding top the list. I don’t know what is with people today thinking they have the right to know everything about another person. It’s called boundaries people!!
Marla- you sound like a normal new mom and it sounds like you’re doing a great job. And from the pictures it looks like you’re having fun too. Enjoy it- it truly does go by so quickly.
Isn’t it possible that the other mom asked about breast feeding for any reason other than to judge? maybe she was wondering if they wanted to sneak off for a feeding session together, or ask Marla if beans give her baby gas, or maybe she has a couple unopened jars of utterbutter she is looking to get rid of.
Everyone is so worried about privacy and judgement that we are losing are ability to communicate and offer each other support.
It was her husband’s male friend that asked her, rather than a mom Ann. I think, I too, would feel that question was too personal unless I knew the asker well, especially if it was out of left field like this sounds like it was.
I agree that she has been open about her experience, but at the same time, when you have trouble and are already feeling “less than”, the insecurity can be overwhelming sometimes. We do all need to be more supportive of each other.
I have both a son & daughter,( both by the same father/my husband.) one which was bottle fed formula for one year & one which I nursed for 1 year( with formula supplement.)& guess what? they have progressed thee exact same as one another. they both had their fair share of colds, they both talked at the same age, they even potty trained at the same age to the month! so you do what works FOR YOU!
I always had to supplement formula with my son while he was nursing, because I simply could not produce enough milk to keep up with him. (I drank more water then was even recommended.I tried all kinds of natural “more milk” pills from the whole foods store, & I fed him EVERY 2 hours or at least pumped.) And my body simply did not make enough to just feed him breast-milk. so if it’s something you really want to do, you can always do both at the same time! People are so set on one or the other, when really we can do both! It saved my sanity & I was a better mom for it.
Also with first born’s it is by far the hardest. I only lasted a month with my daughter, I simply could not get her to latch on right and after a month of excruciating pain & a low milk supply, I quit nursing all together. It was the right choice for us & she thrived quite nicely off of Enfamil
It’s hard not to take it personal when both men & women feel the need to throw in their 6 cents, making you feel guilty for not sticking to it. I remember other moms making me feel as though I was a bad mother for not nursing my firstborn, it was horrible. I think women do use it as a source of competition to one-up you on whose “the better mom.” & most men just have an infatuation with the thought of giant boobs!
It was rude of that man to just come out and ask you, like it was his right to do so. Inappropriate, PERIOD. This is your life & clearly are a great mother, so screw anyone who tries to make you feel otherwise!!!
Great blog! I was one who was criticized and looked down upon for not breast feeding. I tried my hardest but I did not produce enough milk for my child. Even my DR said I wasn’t producing enough. when I stopped trying, I didn’t even have breast pain. anyway, I have 2 wonderful boys who are healthy and happy from being fed by a bottle. My youngest (who is now 9) had never been on an antibiotic until the age of 8!
I would never judge another mother for her choices. she is doing what is best for her child. what works for some doesn’t work for all. everyone was so quick to give advice but they really don’t know what you are going through with your child because every child is DIFFERENT! let all us mothers stop judging each other.
Blessed with boys you are clueless. I responded to you a couple of months ago on a similiar post – I think you are the breastfeeding police. But guess what, it isn’t necessary, the choices you made for your child is not the only choice out there.
It’s funny… your blog headline grabbed my attention immediately. As the mom of 2 young children, I found myself asking the same thing when my parenting was called into question by close friends. Close friends who thought it necessary to ‘sit me down’ and have a discussion with me on how I was parenting my daughter. I have never felt so judged in my life, by those who were close to me. That was about 5 years ago and it still stings.
We are insecure enough about doing something that we have never done before, and then to have those that are in our circle that we think that we can rely on or expect have compassion and empathy for us, do a complete 180 is disarming.
I still associate with those moms, who by the way, were first time mothers as well, but I choose what to share with them now. I have found another group of moms that are extremely supportive and much more sympathetic to parenting. I choose to spend my time with them now.
Just like that… but sometimes, when I ask if someone is breastfeeding, I just want to know if I could maybe give the baby his bottle later! I breastfed my daughter for longer than I expected, and loved it, but I enjoy the cute moment of feeding a small baby
I totally agree with what you have said. I think in this social media driven society it makes mothers (and dads I’m sure) compare ourselves to other parents and makes us question what choices we make for our children. I stopped going on facebook because of this. It made me wonder, well why isn’t my baby doing this or that yet???? I finally had to take a step back and look at the big picture. Yeah of course people will put all the good things out there but not the bad things! every parent has a right to make whatever choice they feel is right for their child!
I wasn’t able to breastfeed my child and would have if I could. its a womans choice to breastfeed for as long as she feels is necessary and it should not bother others.
It is rude to ask any woman if she is or did breastfeed her child/children in a socializing circle.
You are doing great and your child is beautiful!! Noone is mom of the year no matter how much money you have!! If your child is healthy and happy then good job!
This is so refreshing! so often I read parent blogs that are seem strident and competitive, and it really bothers me. ‘Real moms breast feed’ or ‘real moms don’t work outside the house’ or ‘real moms balance it at all’ or whatever- it just devolves into this competitive, judgmental environmental that isn’t good for anyone. Thank you, Marla, for offering another perspective!
The only thing I disagree with you on is this: “…I truly feel that no parent should judge another parent’s way of raising his or her own child.” I agree with the concept, but if another parent’s way of raising his or her kids is to beat them or neglect them, then there is a problem, and it goes beyond autonomy and worries of being judgmental.
You made an excellent point that I didn’t even think about. The Time Magazine cover….are you Mom Enough? I mean really?!!?!? I have a 21 month old son & I still worry about what others will think when I tell them that he is still in his crib or uses a pacifier. when others are a gasp at those very things.
I think as mothers or as parents we should just let the media do what it does best…create an issue where there is none. Leave the parenting & mothering to the parents. I just blogged about how inadequate I feel as a mom due to all the pressures & duties I put on myself & then to have the media also decide that I am not mom enough to breastfeed my child till he graduates college. haha
I have 4 kids. The 3 older ones were bottle fed and the 4th is breastfed. I love what you said. you really did hit the nail on the head. whose business is it how a mom feeds her baby. Nobody but mom and baby know the reasons why they choose to feed there baby breast or bottle. when you make that choice to have a baby is when you become “Mom enough”.
I love your Blog!!!!! your daughter is adorable!!
I stopped breastfeeding my son after 3 months because I has severe post partum depression and had to be hospitalized. when people would ask if I was breastfeeding (which was none of their business) I just said I had to start medication and had to stop. That made people quiet pretty quickly!
Though I never really planned it one way or another, my every intention was to be a breast feeding mom. are you kidding? A sure fire way to bond with your kid? Add to that the fact that I seemed ideally built – wide shoulders, large breasts that were meant to carry enough milk to feed a small village of kids. But despite everything I took for granted, when my son arrived, my milk just didn’t come in. Lactation consultants told me it wasn’t possible – milk comes in for everyone, in sufficient doses, all I had to do was insist. so I rented the industrial strength pump. And I stayed up after my son’s 3am and 5am and 7am feedings to pump. And I took the supplements. And I read the books. And… Nothing. Still.
Even though I kept a brave face about it, it felt like everyone was looking at me. any confidence I had went down the drain. any iota of self esteem changed into an immediate feeling of failure when I thought of this, when people asked me how long I was planning to breastfeed, then looked at me in shock when I pulled out a formula bottle. Giselle came out right around that time with a statement that breastfeeding should become mandatory, law. by that rule, my mommy skills would’ve gotten me put in jail.
I couldn’t imagine the damage my shortcomings were causing my kid, his health, his emotional well being. fast forward three and a half years. My little boy was thriving, healthier then all his friends, and our relationship was as close as could be. when the lactation nurse came into the post-delivery room to ask if I would like to start breast feeding my newborn daughter, I told her I wasn’t going to bother with it. The woman looked at me like I was insane, like I had hurt her personally and deliberately, but managed to restrain herself and walk out of the room with her eyes to the floor. This time, I really didn’t care what anyone thought of me. by the time my milk finally came in 8 days later, my daughter couldn’t be bothered with it.
All that is to say… i totally understand it. I get how you feel. how you need to justify this unimaginable choice which is hardly a choice but a necessity. how people look at you sideways, finding new unique ways to tell you, subtly or otherwise, that you are somehow damaging your kid. It sucks that everyone has judgement to pass, but what I have discovered is that not breastfeeding has its own set of advantages. Breastfeeding is not the end all to whether your kid will be healthy, or happy, or in love with you. It would’ve been great if it worked out, but despite what anyone thinks, it’s perfectly as it should be since it didn’t.
my little one is 4 weeks old & he HATED breastfeeding… which made me hate it too. i wasnt producing enough milk & he wasn’t latching well which caused screaming fits, very hard on both of us. so now i pump & supplement with enfamil gentle ease. it has made a WORLD of difference.
i know there’s supposed to be a special bond associated with breastfeeding, but i feel so much happier to see him happily eating his bottle – i think that’s a special bond in itself. plus his overall mood is better & happy baby = happy mommy!
my supply is still pretty low, but i try to give him half & half bottles. as he gets bigger, he’ll get less & less of my milk per feeding. i wonder how necessary it is to pump at all. i just worry about how his little belly will react. but all in all, i dont think there is anything wrong with formula feeding, as long as you find the right one for your baby’s tummy.
also, i think its important for mommy to be happy too, so no need to be ashamed of the choices you make for u & baby. i would hope all mommies agree
I agree, parenting isn’t a competition. I don’t have kids yet, but when I do I’m sure that I will do my best and hopefully that will be good enough.
I’m in my early 20′s, and was formula fed, and I can assure you that I couldn’t care less how my mother fed me. she was always there for me and we have a great relationship, and that’s really all I could ask for. I’m very healthy and never had any major medical issues, so I have no reason to believe that she did anything wrong.
Many people who are adamant that *everyone* should breastfeed think that their kids are going to be so much better off and that they will really appreciate it so much, but I actually don’t know anyone who is so proud that their mother nursed them, or annoyed that they were given formula. I think breastfeeding is great if mothers can do it, but they shouldn’t feel guilty if they don’t want to or can’t.
The further away from ‘babyville’ you get the less this stuff really matters. when your children are grown, say 12, and you standing around at school functions, or in social scenarios with other parents, the topic(s) of: breastfeeding, co-sleeping, pacifying, baby wearing, cloth diapering and so on and so forth never comes up. like never….ever…!
The best thing is that you will also never be able to tell which kid ‘was or wasn’t’ any of the above. they are just kids, plain and simple.
Forget about parenting labels and methods and modes. Just parent. Do the best you can, and your child will be great!
I completely agree with your opinion on the “are you mom enough” headline. Disgusting. At the end of the day, we all love our children madly and are just trying to do the best we can.
Here’s hoping your husband’s friend was just having a dumb boy moment while trying to make small talk. its no one’s business how you feed your daughter. She’s obviously healthy and thriving. Sheesh! People need to mind their own business!