I have been planning this blog post for ages. It is something I feel strongly about but it is one of those touchy subjects. The masses of “breast is best” messages this week have pushed me to finally share my thoughts.
We need to stop saying breast is best.
Let me explain before you start telling me all the reasons breast is best.
What does the word best mean? The dictionary defines it like this
best/bɛst/Learn to pronounce adjective
- of the most excellent or desirable type or quality. “the best midfielder in the country”
Now let’s look at the statement “breast is best” again! By saying breast is best implies that anything else is simply not the best. So if I give my baby formula, it is not the best. Basically, I am not doing the best for my baby if I do not breastfeed them.
By saying “breast is best but if it didn’t work for you, that’s ok, your baby is still fed”. This STILL implies I am not doing the best for my baby.
“Breast is best only if its best for you”. Yip this still assumes I am not doing the best for my baby!
Breastfeeding is NOT best for a lot of moms and babies. Breastfeeding was not best for me. It was not best for my mother. It is not best for moms who adopt. It is not best for moms who are crippled with anxiety and who are struggling to get it right with no support.
We need to change the narrative from breastfeeding is best to educating parents as to what their options are when it comes to feeding their baby. Mom’s need to feel like they have a choice when it comes to how they decide to feed their baby and not feel guilted into a decision they are not comfortable with because it is apparently best.
Of course, there are benefits to breastfeeding. There are also benefits to formula feeding your child. One is not better than the other. It really is not.
It is possible to bond with your baby if you do not breastfeed.
Your baby will not automatically be sick if they are not breastfed.
You can feed on demand even if you formula feed.
I am not saying moms shouldn’t breastfeed. I am not saying breastfeeding is bad. I am not even saying moms shouldn’t try to breastfeed. I am just saying it is not best and we need to stop making moms feel guilty about choosing to feed their child their own way.