I am planning to spend a day taking pictures, and then to spend a while posting pictures and commentary on life in Israel. But before I do that, I
want need to rant, get this out of me, and move on.
I have a [huge] bone to pick. It has been bugging me since Shlomo was a couple of months old, over a year ago. If you are super-sensitive and do not agree with my standpoint on nursing vs. formula feeding (read this to see if you do), stop right here, and do not read the rest of this post. You’ve been warned; don’t say I insulted you.
Disclaimer: I am not speaking, in this post, about the mothers forty years ago, thirty, or even twenty-five. I am speaking about the mothers that I meet on the street, who are my peers, and are supposed to know (but evidently don’t) what I am about to write.
I am also not referring, in any way, shape, or form, to mothers, or babies, whose doctors have informed them that they have specific medical needs that impede breastfeeding. If you cannot breastfeed for a medical reason, either yours or your baby’s, that is what formula is for, and I support you completely. Please do not read this post; it is not meant for you.
Now, back to the beginning: I have a [huge] bone to pick with mothers who choose to formula feed. It began when I started getting comments on why I was not feeding my baby formula. I got even more annoyed when these same people started deriding me for continuing to nurse. And I got extremely annoyed (even though, to my credit, I always kept my cool) when they started telling me that they knew more than I did, because they were pregnant again, or had already had two, when our [first] babies had just turned one.
I’m sorry; having two babies in one year (plus or minus) is nothing to be proud of. No, it’s not. Just forget it. If it happens, it happens, but it is far from ideal, by any standard (including religious standards). (Yes, nursing really
does can work as birth control – more on that later.)
If I am right, and I know I am, do NOT put me down for it. It annoys me (but does not, in any way, deter my determination to nurse). It makes me want to ban formula from being sold in supermarkets and make it prescription-only, with each OB/GYN, psychiatrist, and pediatrician allotted a certain number of prescriptions per month, and no overlaps (i.e., you cannot receive a prescription from more than one doctor, and you are allotted a certain number per year). If you choose not to nurse, the least you can do is not flaunt it; flaunting the fact that you chose, of your own free will, to do something harmful to your child is disgusting and absolutely repulsive. That’s first off.
Second of all, do not tell me that I am wasting my time and energy nursing and pumping, because you know so many babies who were formula fed and were fine. You just end up sounding like an ignoramus (to put it nicely) who is talking about things that she obviously has never researched. If you knew what you were talking about, you’d know that breast milk is the best, with only a few extreme medical exceptions (such as the mother being addicted to drugs, on certain medications, or a baby who is extremely lactose intolerant), and that there is a direct correlation between formula and all sorts of health problems.
And third, do not tell me that your baby is just as well off as mine is, even though he’s being formula fed. Go get a life, and get an education.
Sure, we all know some breastfed babies who were sick a lot, and some formula-fed babies who are hardly ever sick. Well, first of all, anecdotes do not make evidence. Second, imagine what would have happened if the breastfed baby, who seems to always get sick, had been formula fed. He would’ve been a lot worse off than he is now, and a lot sicker. You can’t know, when your baby is born, whether he will have food sensitivities and frequent ear infections, or not. And because you can’t know, you have to give your baby the best stuff you can – i.e., breast milk – so that he can grow up as healthy as possible.
If it turns out that your baby has sensitive skin and allergies, be glad you’re breastfeeding, because he’d be worse off without it. And if it turns out that your baby is pretty healthy, then think how much healthier he’d be, in the long run, if he had been breastfed. Did you know that Crohn’s, which shows up in young adulthood, affects nearly double the number of young people who were formula-fed as those who were breastfed? There are many other illnesses that are the same way. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that breastfed babies won’t get sick later on, or that formula-fed babies will. It just means that these are the facts, and you can weigh the risks of formula for yourself.
If you choose to formula-feed your baby, you are taking a serious gamble with his or her future health. Don’t tell me that formula is good for your baby, or that I should stop nursing.
If you would like to see my sources, click on all the links. Some of them are more informal, but some are pretty impressive. All of them together are a small part of the wealth of research supporting breastfeeding and showing how formula is harmful.
Want to know why I think it’s my business how other people feed their babies? Click here. It’s long, but it states all the reasons I would have given you, in addition to others that I didn’t even think of.
For your information: I Googled “formula is better than breastfeeding,” just to see the other side of the argument, and came up empty-handed.
Here is an understated summary of how breastfeeding benefits babies: