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Do you judge mothers who don’t breastfeed?

(1000 Posts)
HarryHarry Mon 14-Oct-19 02:45:04

I’m sorry - this is long.

For medical reasons, I was unable to breastfeed my son, so I was determined to do so with my daughter. Having tried it for a few days, I must say that I really, really dislike it, to the point that it’s starting to affect my mental health. It’s not just the pain and the discomfort (I know they will eventually disappear). There are other reasons, which are too complicated to go into here. I haven’t decided yet whether I will stop, but I don’t think I feel passionate enough about it to force myself to keep going when I hate it so much.

The only thing that’s stopping me is the judgement of other mothers. The thought of giving up is making me feel so incredibly guilty - like I’ve failed as a woman and a mother - mostly because of how much they go on about it. Today I went out for a walk with my two children for the first time and a woman I only vaguely know from baby groups came running out of her house to talk to me. At first I thought she wanted to see the newborn but actually she just wanted to lecture me about the importance of breastfeeding. Even though I lied and told her it was going really well, she still wouldn’t leave me alone. She made me feel utterly shit for even contemplating formula-feeding and ruined what should have been a special day with my children.

So I have two questions for you... Do you judge mothers who don’t breastfeed? If so, help me understand why. Why is breastfeeding so important to some women? Why do they feel so strongly that other women should do it too? (My husband thinks they just don’t want other women to have choices they didn’t have but I am not that cynical). What will I be missing if I decide to stop?

WatchingTheMoon Mon 14-Oct-19 02:48:23

It's no one else's business but the mother's.

I'm sure everyone has an opinion one way or the other and you're never going to get away from that but people should learn to keep their opinions to themselves more.

No one knows the ins and outs of any one situation so do what works best for you.

This image we have of the nurturing, breast feeding, natural birthing, beatific mother seriously needs to die.

MustardScreams Mon 14-Oct-19 02:49:27

The only time I judge mothers that don’t breastfeed is if they completely refuse to give colostrum, just for the first few days. I don’t include women that have had traumatic events meaning that they can’t breastfeed for those reasons.

I can’t explain why breastfeeding was so important to me, I just knew from a young age (16+) that I absolutely didn’t want to formula feed. Thankfully bf dd was in the most part quite easy.

You won’t be missing anything if you don’t want to do it. It’s entirely up to you.

CaramelWaferAndTea Mon 14-Oct-19 02:52:32

Breastfeeding 4mo DS as I type. I don’t judge others at all. I hated breastfeeding and really wanted to give up at about 8-12 weeks but ended up sticking with it for largely logistical reasons. We mixed feed so my husband gives formula when he is caring for DS as I hate pumping.

I read about the medical benefits and think they’re overstated a lot - cribsheet by Emily Oster is excellent. Also for the most important immunity ones I can’t see any reason not to mixed feed.

Do what you like, OP. A mentally healthy mum beats feeding method any day to me.

MustardScreams Mon 14-Oct-19 02:52:48

Or seriously ill mothers and/or babies I should add to my colostrum comment.

BertrandRussell Mon 14-Oct-19 02:53:27

“At first I thought she wanted to see the newborn but actually she just wanted to lecture me about the importance of breastfeeding”
Are you absolutely sure about this? It sounds a very strange thing to do. If she really did it and it wasn’t some sort of misunderstanding, I would just write her off as an ill mannered loon and get on with your day.

hodgeheg92 Mon 14-Oct-19 02:55:04

I love breastfeeding but I also love my freedom and sleep (guess what I'm doing now?!). I think mother's who don't breastfeed miss out on the feelings that it gives me but I'm also envious that they can share the responsibility of feeding the baby with their partner. It's ultimately your choice and has zero impact on other mothers so they shouldn't be judgemental.

VashtaNerada Mon 14-Oct-19 02:58:07

God no. Do what’s right for you and don’t give it a second thought. If women want to BF they absolutely deserve every support to do so, but if it’s not right for you then don’t do it.

Mummaofmytribe Mon 14-Oct-19 03:00:09

Do not worry about anyone's judgement. You do what works for you and your own circumstances. We all know the benefits of breast milk. But Fed is best. And an unhappy mum is no good for the baby.
Go easy on yourself.

Mediumred Mon 14-Oct-19 03:00:49

Blimmin heck, that acquaintance was completely unreasonable! You have tried breastfeeding and it hasn’t worked out. Yes, breastfeeding is important but not anywhere near as important as the happiness and comfort of the mother who has so many other things to think about, baby can’t be happy unless mum is happy and if breastfeeding isn’t for you then we are lucky in this country that we have alternatives. Anyone who judges you, as the mother of two children, one a newborn, can fuck right off. You are doing amazingly just keeping everyone alive! ‘Everyone fed, no one dead’ is my mantra and baby can be fed with formula.

I did breastfeed for a long time, (bottle refuser) and all I would advise is that mums give it a go if they can cos when it works it’s cheap and easy, when it doesn’t it’s crap and so often it doesn’t so no way would I judge anyone for not doing it. What are you missing out? Umm, suppose saving a few quid and a bit of time sterilising some bottles but if your DH is happy to do some feeds then you can save the time that way.

Good luck, and really try not to feel bad, so quickly they grow up. It seems such a massive deal when they are little but anyone would be hard pushed among a group of even two-year-olds to say who was breastfed! Just enjoy your baby, don’t let this senseless guilt get you down.

VashtaNerada Mon 14-Oct-19 03:01:09

To add to my post, DS had tongue tie and despite every effort - and I really do mean every effort and the support of multiple professionals - he just couldn’t BF. His first bottle of formula was just wonderful, I bonded with him like I never had when BFing. And I loved that DH could share that with me.

ConstanzaAndSalieri Mon 14-Oct-19 03:02:16

I have spent four years of my life breastfeeding.

I really don’t care or judge how other people feed their babies (well, unless it’s fruit shoots and candy floss at 4 months old ;))

I do passionately care about how many people I know have been let down because they wanted to breastfeed and didn’t get the support they needed to do that, and they feel guilt, sometimes leading to mental health issues, as a result.

If formula feeding suits you, do it.

MonChatEstMagnifique Mon 14-Oct-19 03:05:22

The only time I judge mothers that don’t breastfeed is if they completely refuse to give colostrum, just for the first few days.

Judge away at me then because I didn't breast feed at all with my 2 children. I made the decision to formula feed because I just didn't want to breastfeed. No one should be judging anyone.

I remember a poster on another forum being so awful to other mums who didn't breastfeed, I can't imagine what possesses someone to care that much about how someone else feeds their child. I think they just get so caught up in it that they lose all perspective. Her children will be grown up now, I wonder if she's still so obsessed with breast feeding or if she's moved on and realised that she got a bit crazy over it.

From when my children were properly on solid food, no one, including doctors have ever asked whether my kids were breast fed or formula fed....because it just stops being a 'thing' if it ever really was. Just do what's right for you and anyone who actually matters won't be judging. Those that do judge, like the one that I've highlighted above, really are not relevant in your life.

I don't know what you'll be missing if you decide to stop, some people say you don't get the closeness with formula feeding but I used to love feeding my children and just spent that time staring at them in total amazement. I can't imagine if have felt any more if I'd had breast fed.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Your child will be fine with either.

user24990 Mon 14-Oct-19 03:07:16

Absolutely not.
I refused to I didn't want to at all.

When DD was born a new mum and baby came into the ward in the middle of the night the mother wanted to breastfeed the baby evidently didn't! They tried everything for 12 hours to get the baby to latch and she just wouldnt the little baby cried and cried and the midwives tried everything and eventually started to say if you can't get her to latch in the next our that's it we have to call it a day she's really hungry now and you'll need to give a bottle. I just found the whole thing absolutely ridiculous!

hammeringinmyhead Mon 14-Oct-19 03:09:27

I don't judge; mainly I get angry when women who do want to breastfeed are discouraged by relatives (often their own mums) or people making comments in public.

What are you missing? In my case almost a year of broken sleep on one side, and on the other the convenience when out, easy weight loss, and an extra method of comfort when the baby is really upset.

KTCluck Mon 14-Oct-19 03:11:42

No, I don’t judge at all. I’d judge if you weren’t feeding your baby, or feeding them something inappropriate, but not for deciding breastfeeding isn’t for you.

I breast fed to 2 and loved it. Had a really difficult time establishing it but come from a family who all breastfed, and formula feeding just didn’t enter my head. It wasn’t a choice I particularly made, it was just how it was. That made it easy for me to be confident in my choice - I didn’t really make one!

Having said I don’t judge, I do find it a bit weird when women don’t want to try at all. I mean, I understand that there are reasons for why they make that choice, and I don’t doubt their reasons are valid, but I can’t personally imagine not wanting to as it’s something that’s so easy to try and gives the benefits of colostrum, for free (put them on the boob, if they don’t latch or you don’t like it, no harm done). I don’t judge them for not trying but just can’t relate to it. However, I’m well aware that women who have no interest in trying can’t relate to me wanting to and think I’m weird too. One of my friends decided early on she had no interest in trying. I had a few seconds of surprise when she said (kept to myself, obviously) then thought no more about it, asked no questions and made no comment. She’s a fab mum with a thriving and happy child.

You do you. Most women are pretty normal, understand we all have different circumstances and are all doing our best, and so won’t judge you. There will be some who do judge you, but then there would be some who would judge you for breastfeeding - in the wrong place, too often, for too long. You’ll get judged for how you wean, how you discipline, where your child sleeps. You can never avoid judgement so just do what works for you.

BertrandRussell Mon 14-Oct-19 03:15:07

@user24990 You don’t have to “refuse” to bf- you just choose not to. It’s a perfectly free choice. Entirely up to you.

Your anecdote, however, shows how very badly many women who do want to bf are let down by lack of support and crap advice.

Zippetydoodahzippetyay Mon 14-Oct-19 03:15:34

I am very pro breastfeeding in that I think it people should be given all the info and support they need to have a successful experience.

But I absolutely do not judge those who choose not to forever reason. It's not my business and it doesn't affect me. At least half of my friends didn't breastfeed and I see no discernible difference in our children and can clearly see that we are all just doing the best we can.

What bugs me is that saying anything positive about breastfeeding is often seen as being critical and brings out all the people chanting "fed is best". I believe fed is the bare minimum. Fed is best implies what we feed our children doesn't matter but as we know, we shouldn't be giving a bottle of cows milk (for example) to a newborn.

What is best is a mum who is happy and supported in whatever choice she makes, as long as that choice is informed by best current knowledge and is not harmful to the baby. And of course formula is a great choice. So much research and money has been spent on developing it.

Purpleartichoke Mon 14-Oct-19 03:18:17

I am not convinced that a chemical substitute can ever properly replace a food evolution has designed to be perfect for human babies. I am very happy it exists for when milk is not available,

Ultimately, my opinion does not matter. You get to make decisions for yourself.

PickettBowtruckles Mon 14-Oct-19 03:18:43

I don’t judge as I’m well aware there are many many reasons why people can’t/don’t want to.

However, I don’t understand Mum’s who ‘just don’t want to’ and never try though. Like another posted said, even if just for the first few days of colostrum. I’m sure every parent will say they want the best for their baby and to me that includes the best nutrition so when people I know have said they just ‘don’t want’ to I don’t really understand it. Equally however I’d never say that to them as it’s their baby and how they feed it has nothing to do with me.

virginpinkmartini Mon 14-Oct-19 03:21:56

If a woman gives breastfeeding a square go, i.e does her homework, attempts to feed the baby for at least the first few days then decides the sum total of breastfeeding would be a negative one/ isn't possible, then no judgement from me. The big picture is what matters, and if a woman is going to be really affected by BFing then it's not worth it. Baby will still thrive on formula.

If someone doesn't at least bother, tries to bullshit and say formula is the exact same etc, can't be assed because it is an inconvenience/ want to 'keep their breasts for their partner', then I do judge. You need to make sacrifices and do what is best as much as you reasonably can as a parent. Medical professionals all agree breast is best, so it is your duty to do the best for your child as far as is reasonably possible.

Pixxie7 Mon 14-Oct-19 03:26:07

At the end of the day your MH is the most important thing here happy mum happy baby. If breast feedings not for you so be it.

PatricksRum Mon 14-Oct-19 03:29:16

Judge? No.
Understand? Also no.

MustardScreams Mon 14-Oct-19 03:29:36

@MonChatEstMagnifique did you do any research into colostrum before refusing to? I personally would want my baby to have that, even for 3/4 days and then move onto formula. But each to their own I guess.

RonaldMcDonald Mon 14-Oct-19 03:29:41

No. I did and found it really dull. I wish I had been more true to myself and not bothered

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