One of the greenest things we can do as new mothers is breastfeed our infant. After all, it seems everyone agrees that breast milk is best and of course it requires no possibly BPA-laden bottles (unless you need to pump of course) and no manufacturing facility. I am a big supporter of breastfeeding for the first year when possible. From antibodies to perfect nutrition, it really is the best and greenest option for our children. I nursed both of mine for a year and am glad that I did. It wasn’t easy. I very much disliked it but I did it anyway. From mastitis, to clogged ducts, to bleeding nipples, sometimes breastfeeding feels anything but natural. The pain was worth it, and I am proud of the accomplishment. Having said that, though, I hate the way mothers are attacking each other over the issue, and when we aren’t attacking, we are wearing our choices on our sleeve like some sort of badge. Sorry, but there are no purple hearts for breastfeeding.
What got me thinking about the breastfeeding versus bottle feeding debate are the forums on the iVillage website where not only is there a debate forum on the subject, but women have badges that appear on the signature of any post or reply they make in the forums. These blinking, obnoxious badges proudly show the mother’s stance on many subjects related to parenting, not the least of which is their own accomplishments feeding their children. Some of them say things like “Not one drop of formula” or “Nursing my toddler two years and still going” or even “I have a super power – I make milk.” Umm, it’s not a super power if every mammal on earth can do it. Bottle feeding moms have resorted to combating this in-their-face assault with badges that say “It’s formula, not rat poison” or “Breastfed or bottle fed, my child is still as loved and nurtured as yours”.
Not only do I feel this type of division among mothers is unnecessary and petty, I can’t help but wonder what some of these judgmental breastfeeding mothers are feeding their toddlers. I know what it’s like to have a baby and a toddler, nursing one while trying to feed the older child healthy, homemade meals. It’s not easy. Breastfeeding usually lasts the first year, and while I agree that it’s best, we are required to feed our children in most cases until they are 18 years old. We must concentrate on the nutrition of our children well beyond the first year. It does a child no good to have a year of breast milk and 17 more years of processed junk food or fast food. So as mothers, let’s stop being so judgmental and start sharing our ideas. How did you juggle breastfeeding your second or third child with the needs of your older children? What are your quick, healthy meal ideas? Let’s stop judging and start sharing!