Shawn Johnson got shamed by a lactation consultant for using formula

Oh my gosh, can everyone just leave poor Shawn Johnson alone! Not you guys, you guys are cool, but all the Judgey McMommersons out there who feel compelled to weigh in on her parenting. We just got done talking about how Shawn was criticized for playing with her daughter at the beach. In that same post, we found out that Shawn is so used to criticism, she puts disclaimers in her captions when she posts them. But it isn’t limited to her social media. Shawn was made to feel guilty for *checks notes*, making sure her daughter is nourished. And what’s worse, these insults came from a lactation consultant they’d hired, who shamed Shawn in her own home.

Shawn Johnson East and her 3-month-old daughter Drew Hazel have gotten a rhythm down when it comes to feedings, but it wasn’t an easy journey.

The Olympic gold medalist, 28, opens up to PEOPLE for this week’s issue about the process she and husband Andrew East went through that led them to supplement with formula for their baby girl, after she initially breastfed for the week they were in the hospital following Johnson East’s cesarean section.

“It was a wrestling match every time,” says Johnson East, who was recently named the first-ever spokesperson for Enfamil. “I would be bawling, she would be bawling and screaming ’cause she was hungry, but she wouldn’t eat and she wouldn’t latch anymore.”

The new parents even called in reinforcements in the form of a lactation consultant — a decision that didn’t exactly go the way Johnson East and her former NFL player husband, 28, had hoped.

“I had a really bad experience with a lactation consultant and I all but kicked her out of my house because she basically said that I had ruined my child’s life because I gave her a bottle and formula,” she says of being “shamed” by the consultant. “I was like, ‘You know what? I can’t listen to this anymore.’ “

Johnson East recalls the feelings being a “baffling experience of a desperate mom trying to take the best care of her child and getting shamed for it,” compounded by “guilt” and “innate fear” of doing it wrong as a first-time mom.

“You have this natural feeling of responsibility that you have to provide for your baby and part of it is supplying milk, and when you can’t give that to your child in whatever way or reason, you already feel a little guilty,” she tells PEOPLE. “You feel like you’re not setting them up for life, and when people give their opinions and say ‘breast is best,’ it just makes you feel like a failure. I hated that.”

As for the mom shaming comments Johnson East has received both online and in person since welcoming her baby girl on Oct. 29, she’s learning how to roll with the punches and “trust [my] gut opinions that, as a mom, I’m doing the right thing for my kid” — plus soaking up every moment of new motherhood in the meantime

[From People]

Disclaimer: I know there are many wonderful lactation consultants out there and that probably several of you benefitted from their counsel. So this is not meant to be an attack on lactation consultants, but – mine made me feel like crap too. I took a class, I did not hire one privately, but they gave us their cards so we could call for support (at a cost) if we needed it. In the class, they dismissed me publicly because I was having my baby at Cedars Sinai, which, I guess, they found too impersonal for birthing. Plus, I thought they gave erroneous advice on a visual cue for suction. They stood by their technique when I called to clarify (at a cost – and three days of them not answering their phone) but my son did not get fed properly until I went with my gut and ignored their advice. So it sounds like both Shawn and I got bunk consultants, which is unfortunate because trying to get your kid fed is terrifying in the beginning. Plus, as Shawn said, the guilt, fueled by hormones and SuperMommies, is crushing.

Later in the article, Shawn’s husband, Andrew, said that he’d been prepared to be left out of feeding time for the first few months. So when Drew needed to switch to formula, it allowed him to pick up half the feeding schedule and he couldn’t be happier about it. As we reinforce on here: Fed is Best. If you need to use formula for any reason, do it. And if someone wants to make you feel bad about that, send them here – we’ll deal with them while you and your baby have lunch.

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169 Responses to “Shawn Johnson got shamed by a lactation consultant for using formula”

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  1. Jellybean says:

    My sister had to stop breast feeding after a few weeks. She had no choice, but being preached at was just another thing she had to deal with during an utterly devastating time in her life.

    • Escondista says:

      My first had jaundice and wasn’t gaining weight so we supplemented. I was so upset and miserable and I felt embarrassed every time we bought formula. I called my mom and she laughed and reminded me that a lot of moms went to work in the 80s and the pumps back then were often manual and terrible so most kids with working moms used formula in the 80s – which means many of us who are commenting were also formula babies. The breast is best movement came recently and I suspect part of it might be to lessen the cost of WIC – since that’s the most expensive food item they cover.
      I am Exclusively breastfeeding my second baby Who is now 8 weeks and it’s only now gotten much easier. I was able to do this because she has a good latch and there were no complications. I go back to work in April and I might supplement with formula then… and without shame this time.

  2. Originaltessa says:

    Look at that baby! Ugh, I got the business from a few lactation consultants. I was trying, but it hurt so much I was in tears, and I was so scared I was starving my baby I let the night nurses give him bottles at night, which he devoured… Their attitude pissed me off so much I asked them to leave, complained to the hospital formally, at which point I was told they were volunteer? I then complained that they had volunteers entering my room at all hours of the day and night pressuring me and at one point yelling at me? They just sort of shrugged. It was so awful. I was trying to enjoy that time and it was spoiled. I’m sure I wasn’t alone.

    • Erinn says:

      I’m livid just reading this. It’s absolute bullshit that you had to deal with that. It’s hard enough dealing with giving birth and recovering, you don’t need some asshat (especially a freaking non-professional) yelling at you about what you “NEED” to do regardless of whether your body wants to cooperate.

      I’m so sick of the people on the dictator level of breast is best. It CAN be best, but not for every situation, and the way that people are so militant about what someone else is providing for their child when there’s no neglect or anything like that happening – it’s outrageous.

      • Originaltessa says:

        Thanks. My instinct as a mom kicked in when my fussy baby drank that bottle and slept and seemed to calm down for the first time since he was born. They kept telling me his stomach is so small, he’s not hungry. Bull! He was starving. They let me starve him for the better part of three days just to get their way. I was freaking out. So hormonal and tired, and one of the lc’s was manhandling my breast’s, shoving them in his mouth while he screamed. I couldn’t handle it. She raised her voice and said something along the lines of buck up or suck it up, the pain is not that bad. It was excruciating. The worst pain of my life. I’m still traumatized.

      • Emily says:

        @OriginalTessa, this happened to me as well! I was told all she needed was a few spoons of colostrum. My daughter cried her first two days of life, was chewing on her hands and nothing could calm her down. When a nurse brought her formula she chugged it. Thankfully my milk came in on day three and we were able to breastfeed, but that formula was a life saver.

      • Originaltessa says:

        Yeah, Emily. I broke down when I realized the distress was hunger.

    • MeghanNotMarkle says:

      I had a similar experience and it was awful. I’m sorry they did that to you.

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      That is complete and utter bullshit! OMG I’m so mad, they railroaded your hospital stay, a very special, beautiful and momentous time in your life. I’m not sure I could’ve had your grace. I’d be naming names and taking people to task front and center. From the hospital to the volunteers and everyone between, shame on them. I really need a drink right now I’m that pissed.

      And the bitch in the Shawn’s home. Who are these women? Hand to God, I could very well be arrested for assault if this shit unfolded in front of me. Okay, I’d never hit anyone. These sorry excuses for women need their lips sewn together. Look that baby! She’s adorable.

      • Originaltessa says:

        I wasn’t graceful, lol. I kicked them out of my room. Told them to gtfo when they started giving me a hard time for letting the nurses give him a bottle. The nurses, the angels that took such wonderful care of me, bathed me and helped me use the restroom, wanted my hungry baby to have some food. God forbid! I hate those women now. Truly. I was able to pump for a few months when my milk came in, but I never breastfed him. I blame them. They didn’t address my pain in any helpful way. They just pressured and scolded my choices. It sucked. It wasn’t all of them btw. Just two of four. The other two were nice.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        I am so sorry. One of the main reasons (if not the only reason) to breastfeed is breastmilk, and you were able to store two months worth?! You’re Superwoman. Know that. And remember that.

        My nurses were angels for each kiddo, three different hospitals, years apart lol. And had I experienced crazy lactation bitches following each C-section, I might have drowned in my tears. I already felt like a failure following the three operations. It’s just wrong on every level.

    • Lua says:

      Same. Terrible pain. Went through three consultants insisting something was wrong till on the phone I made an off hand comment about creasing on my nipple to the fourth consultant and she realized it wasn’t something I was doing wrong, it was painful and he wasn’t latching because he was tongue and lip tied. She saved me. I got him into a pediatric orthodontist that week, revised, and we both breast fed like champs.

    • Phat girl says:

      I had a serious complication with my epidural during an emergency c section that put me in a coma for two days. After two days on the bottle he never would take to my nipple. The “lactation lady” the hospital sent to my room made me feel like a monster when I said I didn’t think I could do it and would rather he be fed with a bottle instead of hungry on my breast. Not wanting to be “a selfish mommy” I did like she said and with held the bottle and only offered my breast. Well at his two week dr appoint my doctor asked me what was wrong when he found me crying in the exam room and I told him now the nurses were dogging me because he had lost a couple of pounds from lack of feeding but I couldn’t go on with the painful feedings. The doc asked me why they were painful and I showed him my nipples which were cracked and raw/bleeding from him sucking and not getting anything (my milk never did come in). The Doctor gave me some helpful advice which I have passed on to my nieces and young friends. He said the biggest benefit of breast feeding is the bond it forms between mother and child. If you and your baby are crying every time you feed due to pain and hunger than you are not bonding at all. A million babies have been raised on formula which may not be “best” but those babies have not suffered a bit from it. You do what your God given instincts tell you to do for your baby. That’s what’s best. I loved that Doctor.

    • hopesimply says:

      The same thing happened to me exactly, Originaltessa. That felt like reading my own story. It was horribly depressing how angry and vitriolic they were to me, and I felt like the biggest failure. I began to get an infection from my C-section, and my husband and my mom finally stepped in and advocated for them to allow me to rest and recuperate. My baby is now 12 years old, healthy, and loved dearly. I’m so thankful that Shawn Johnson is speaking on behalf of other mothers for whom breastfeeding didn’t work, and I’m so thankful for all of you here.

  3. Bryn says:

    Look at that baby! So friggin adorable. Shawn looks very happy and that baby looks well fed. Who cares if it was formula or breast, thats a healthy looking baby.

  4. Daisyfly says:

    Jesus.

    What’s next? Bitching about what brand her socks are?

    (I nursed all my babies for at least eighteen months, so there’s no bias here. Just tired of seeing moms struggle with the little things because of nosy ass busybodies who need to assuage their own feelings of parental inadequacies through the belittling of others.)

  5. Sarah says:

    That baby is so cute. Also, fed is best, leave mothers alone, yaddi yadda…

  6. Heather says:

    I had the same issue with my first child. I was gung-ho on breastfeeding. My mom did it, my sisters did it, so of course I was! But, he was simply unable to properly latch, and I became engorged, leading to a blocked duct.
    I went to breastfeeding clinic, tried help from the la leche group, but my baby was hungry and was very unhappy about it. I pumped as much as possible, but I was in agony. I had to supplement him with formula. And, finally, had to switch all the way. I was devastated. I can’t say for sure which was worse: my own sense of failure and guilt, or the underhanded, veiled mommy-shaming I endured. But he’s a strong, strapping 6’2″ 21-year-old Engineering student n university, now. So I’d say things worked out a-okay!

  7. manda says:

    I was that baby and also my mother didn’t produce much milk, so I was fed formula. I’m not sure if they shamed moms in the 70s for this, but my mother felt bad enough about it all on her own, at the time, at least. However, I have always been among the tallest and I was pretty smart and didn’t really get sick that much, and because of that, she told me that she totally let herself off the hook around the time that I went away to college.

    • Eliza_ says:

      80s baby. My mom tried but got sick postpartum from c- section and supplemented. Apparently as soon as I got formula I just straight rejected her. Brand names only for baby me, I guess. But in the 80s no one really nursed. So her guilt was more about being rejected.

    • holly hobby says:

      I was a formula baby. My mother did not have enough milk. No one shamed her in the 70s. Good if you can breastfeed. However if people can’t then others need to understand and stop being judgey mcjudgersons.

  8. Millennial says:

    I gave my son a paci at 8 hours old because he was sucking so much I knew cracking and bleeding was next (learned the hard way with my first). After a couple hours nipple break we were good and are still bf-ing 15 months later. That said, we HID that paci from the milk police at the hospital. Every time I got advice from the milk police it was bad. “Keep letting them nurse…” they’ll say. My nipples still have crevices/scars from all the cracking from my first baby. All that damage occurred under the care of the lactation consultants in the hospital who gave terrible advice. So glad i listened to my mama gut the second time around.

  9. girl_ninja says:

    I’m beginning to think that these crappy humans shaming Shawn are doing if for clout.

    • holly hobby says:

      Or money. I mean seriously if they don’t enforce breastfeeding, they’d be out of a job. I”m sure Shawn hired that person. They were not volunteers.

  10. HK9 says:

    My Mom was a nurse on a obgyn floor and midwife (although at that time she didn’t use her midwifery on the hospital floor). My step-mother & godmother taught nursing at a local college in my area. So, growing up I heard all the shop talk. The only really negative thing I ever heard was about the lactation consultants, who the nurses on my mom’s floor watched like hawks because they regularly walked into a patients room to see them upsetting/shaming or basically complicating the process for mothers learning how to breast feed. The nurses worked to help the mothers themselves because it was so bad. Fast forward 20 years, I warned all of my friends who had kids about this and half of them ended up either in tears or kicking out the lactation consultants. For some reason, they don’t have a good track record and I have no idea why. I’m glad she followed her gut and did what she thought was best.

  11. Joanna says:

    Omg, that baby is adorable!!

  12. 10KTurtle says:

    Is this something people feel comfortable saying after they have kids? Because I don’t feel comfortable telling somebody what to feed their baby. I feel like baby formula must exist for a reason though- what else would you feed a baby if breast milk wasn’t an option? What if the mother died? I don’t get this.

    • Bryn says:

      My baby would have starved to death if formula wasnt an option. I produced no milk..i had the first two days of colostrum and that was it. Tried and tried and nothing. I went to a breastfeeding consultant and they jjst told me to keep trying but dont use formula. The baby is four days old and constantly crying..chewing her fingers. My husband said F those people..he went out and got a bottle, formula and warmer. She rarely cried after that until she turned two lol. Mom and dad know best. Formula is a life saver

  13. BlueSky says:

    I used to work with pregnant women who were on Medicaid. I Followed them up to their delivery and let me tell you, some of these stories I would hear about these LC were terrible. It was the same thing, shaming women who didn’t want to breastfeed. I know all about the benefits but not all women want to and that is okay. Some don’t produce enough milk, some have difficultly getting the baby to latch on, etc. I agree, not all are bad but there are some that are very militant about it.

  14. Starfix says:

    I never breastfed, I never wanted to. It just wasn’t something I felt comfortable with. My kid had formula from the get go and is great. I also had a c-section( not planned) guess I’m the worst mom ever guys! And I don’t care. Everyone needs mind their own business while also being supportive of other people’s choices. No reason to make yourself and child sick over other people’s perceptions

    • Mellie says:

      Me either, three kids, all bottle fed. Part of it was that I worked full time and didn’t have a huge maternity leave, only about 6-8 weeks so I needed my husbands help during the night time feedings and obviously he couldn’t breast feed! So we took turns getting up, he was the best dad….always got up at least once at night. I had, still have the healthiest kids. Rarely sick. Healthy as horses. Zero allergies. Don’t let people talk you into things. Go with your gut. Do what you need to do to feed your little ones and keep yourself healthy and sane. It will all be ok!

    • Boo says:

      Wow! My two kids were bottle-fed as well, because I simply didn’t want to breastfeed. *shock!* I did try with my son, who was over nine pounds, for one or two days, but I hated it.

      They’re both healthy and intelligent people at 19 and 12, despite the formula. ;-)

      • InVain says:

        You ladies make me feel a lot better about a very personal choice. I’m pregnant with my first and have no desire to breastfeed and watched some other women have a horrible time with it. My poor cousin was shamed by her own doctor when she tried to stop after 3 weeks of soreness, bleeding, and crying. That’s not enjoyable for you or baby. I may change my mind once baby is here, but I’m pretty set on formula feeding.

      • WhyDidIDeleteMahCookeez? says:

        @InVain Do whatever works for you! Don’t get scared by horror stories. All babies are different and your primary job is to figure out YOUR baby. Everyone else can go hang. Both of my daughters (now grown and in college on athletic scholarships) were breast and formula from day 1. Their dad loved feeding them. I couldn’t pump because without a super hard latch the milk wouldn’t flow. I also stopped nursing around the 2 month mark with both. That was what worked for me-find your own path and don’t let them shame you. I’m so excited for you! You are going to do great!

      • hopesimply says:

        Hooray for all the great moms here! You loved and cared for your babies! It’s another form of misogyny to bully mothers constantly on their choices for their bodies, minds, and babies.

      • carey says:

        Omg, Yay! Thank you for saying this! I was just going to comment that I chose not to breast feed my child. I had over a dozen people come in and out of my hospital room trying their best to shame my decision. It was very upsetting, but it was a personal decision. You would have thought I had said I was planning on beating my child. She is now 23, smart, healthy, happy, and out in the world trying to make it a more human place.

    • Angie says:

      Virtual high five!! I wish I had the courage to make that decision. I was bullied into feeling like I had to breastfeed and I’m so traumatized from it. My psychiatrist told me that they commonly butt heads with the lactation consultants because some of the “baby friendly” policies are actually “anti woman”. If you care and love yourself sometimes that means making choices for your family that others wouldn’t.

      • Amy Too says:

        That’s what I was saying. We find it perfectly acceptable to bully women into doing this thing that is difficult, time consuming, painful/sometimes violent to the point of drawing blood, leads to sleep deprivation and feelings of isolation, can trigger postpartum depression, makes it impossible or at least extremely difficult for them to be away from their baby or go back to work EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVE TO after six weeks sometimes, or that they just do not want to do for whatever reason. A thing that some moms and babies just cannot do, a thing that when it doesn’t work, leads to babies crying all the time because they are always hungry. We bully them into making the physically, emotionally, and mentally more difficult decision despite there being a perfectly good and healthy second option that does not have the same risks and draw backs. Why do we do this?

  15. Betsy says:

    Oh my god those chubby baby thighs are GLORIOUS. I want to eat them!

    And the lactation consultants I used over three kids were all the damn worst. With our first we were too stupid/cowed to push back and we didn’t give our kid the nourishment he needed. Granted, I think it was just for a day but when we finally fed him formula and he slept blissfully we realized our error. I went on to nurse (after getting over thrush – who knew yeast could cause such insane pain!?) for seven months which was mutually agreeable. LCs still make me shudder almost ten years on.

  16. Blu says:

    Surprised to hear volunteers can be lactation consultants. At my work you have to have L&D nursing experience and certification I think.

    I had terrible, multiple clogged ducts yesterday from too much pumping Tuesday. It was so painful 😭

  17. Gippy says:

    I’m glad Shawn is finding what works for her and her family!! Twin mom here – almost 14w – mom guilt is real AF. I tried everything to breast-feed, we had many lactation consultantations. Our consultants really didn’t help, in fact I think they hurt or breastfeeding journey because they told me both boys were latching perfectly only to find out at 5 weeks that neither boy was getting any at a weighted feeding!! The LC called them fakers, bitc*. O Luckily right off the bat since our boys were so small, they told me to nurse 20 minutes each, manually feed the breast milk that I pumped the prior session, and then pump again, and we supplemented w/ formula – every three hours it was brutal. Our boys never really got good at nursing, it was mostly comfort (when they’d latch) and I never made enough, so at 12w we stopped. All the sudden I have hours more in the day I get to cuddle my boys, more sleep, and mentally less drained (nothing like a 45 min pump to see 4 effing Oz).

    The thing is if you have mom guilt you probably already already a great mom Because you care and your trying your hardest. As long as your child is loved, fed and cared for you’re doing a great job.

  18. AmunetMaat says:

    I had the same horrible experience with a Lat Consultant at the hospital. They made me feel horrible because it wasn’t working. I finally cried out to just do bottle instead because it doesn’t matter I just want my baby fed and they honestly had a huge issue. They would come in fore day in the morning to check to see if I was breastfeeding. I couldn’t leave/be discharged until they saw, like physically stood in the room and saw my son breastfeed. By a miracle he did and we were finally able to leave. If I have another child I will never tell them I want to breastfeed.

    • MeghanNotMarkle says:

      That was totally uncalled for. How you choose to feed your baby is nobody’s business but yours.

  19. BWayney says:

    Breast is best is classist, ableist trash. Feed your kid. Formula is just effing fine.

    • Moneypenny says:

      THANK YOU. It is very privileged. Not all women even have jobs that allow them to keep taking pumping breaks.

  20. MeghanNotMarkle says:

    I had horrible experiences with lactation consultants and La Leche League. My first wanted nothing to do with nursing. He just wanted gravity to do the work (and he’s still so much like his father in that respect) and wouldn’t latch properly. I had so much guilt for formula feeding for years, even though I was able to breastfeed my two girls after him. Fed is best. There’s no need to shame moms for doing what works best for their family.

    • Moneypenny says:

      I’m sorry you had this experience. I felt I HAD to nurse and it really wasn’t working. My daughter was so unhappy, it was obvious she wasn’t getting enough. I went to formula (after an intervention by my parents and husband when it became clear that mentally, I was not doing well and neither was the baby) and my daughter became so healthy and happy. I still felt guilty about it.

      I supplemented from the beginning with my second daughter. The hospital was SO HAPPY I was going to supplement–it was just a different experience altogether.

      People also should know that breastfeeding is a trigger for postpartum depression for many women. It was for me.

      • MeghanNotMarkle says:

        I am so sorry that you had that struggle but I am so glad that your family rallied around you formula feeding. And yes, I do believe that not being able to breastfeed was a contributing factor to my PPD with my first. The whole experience was awful.

  21. locamg says:

    My baby struggled with latching too….and it became a battle trying to get her to latch a la Shawn. I had WEEKS of anxiety and guilt over the fact that I was supplementing with formula. I was MISERABLE pumping all the time. I felt resentment toward my baby. I was shamed by a pediatrician for contemplating quitting breast-feeding. My OBGYN was amazing in validating the fact that my mental health was suffering, as was the relationship I was not really cultivating with my child. Quit breastfeeding and it was life changing. My husband and I were able to tag team the night feedings (which was probably what was so life changing, ha). The kid is now 18 months, is healthy, super tall, and has a pretty rockin’ immune system. Formula is a great invention.

  22. Emily says:

    Breastfeeding is stressful! In the hospital nurses kept telling me that my colostrum was enough even though my daughter was crying in hunger. One kind nurse brought us formula on night two. I went on to EBF but did need formula until my milk came in because my daughter lost more than 10% of her birth weight before leaving the hospital. There are babies who have died because moms were told to only breastfeed and not to worry if their milk hasn’t come in yet.

    At our hospital I had a great experience with the lactation consultant who helped me hold my daughter properly when nursing, told me how to supplement with formula if my daughter didn’t put the weight back on, and a few months later when she was fighting me all the time (an actual wrestling match) helped me understand what was going on (baby was hella distractible). I’m in Canada so this was all free.

    Fed is best. End of story. Breastfeeding is physically and mentally taxing. I have a full year off of work, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to breastfeed as long as I have. If I had to go back to work I would have switched to formula forever ago.

  23. Lexilla says:

    Same thing happened to me. My baby wasn’t latching and I gave her a bit of formula because she was starving. I had a breakdown after the umpteenth time of her screaming at my breast, and my husband drove me to a BF support group, where I mentioned I had supplemented. The LC leading the group looked at me and said “You did WHAT? Don’t ever do that.” I was so vulnerable and it just made it worse, to be shamed like that. I eventually did battle through to exclusively breastfeed, but that was my experience. I would never shame someone else over their experience. Jeez we’re all doing the best we can for these little creatures. (And I reported the LC to her boss too.)

    • MeghanNotMarkle says:

      La Leche League treated me like a pariah when I mentioned that I supplemented. That was the point that I was done with LLL and LCs in general.

  24. Becks1 says:

    I don’t think anyone properly prepared me for how draining BFing was – physically, yes, but emotionally. I was exhausted after my first baby (long labor ending in a C-section so I basically hadn’t slept in days) and BFing was just one more thing. I BFed him for 14 months, and by the end it was a lot better, but in the beginning there were times when my husband would bring him to me and I would just burst into tears. I just wanted an hour without a baby touching me. (I also had PPD with my first, with my second I was a lot calmer about it, maybe bc I knew what to expect, or no PPD, etc.)

    My first started getting formula to supplement at 6 months (he was taking 20-25 ounces of milk at daycare and I couldn’t keep up) and I actually credit that with the reason I was able to BF until 14 months. Without the formula to supplement and help with my milk supply, I think I would have stopped completely shortly after that point.

    Anyway, all that to say – fed is best. People take it so personally. If BFing works for X person and formula works for Y person – hey! good for you! you’re doing your best. If someone wants to exclusively pump, or try BFing but be open to formula, or whatever – hey! good for you.

    I understand the benefits of BFing but I also think they are so hyped up to the point where when women cant BF (or just don’t want to) they feel like they are failures, and that’s far from the case.

  25. Dee says:

    I breastfed all my kids for a year. It wasn’t easy. There were times it was painful, There were the in-laws who wanted me to cover up, who begged me for formula “just in case” when I had left them plenty of milk for the hours they were babysitting. There was the boss knocking on the lactation room door, just to tell me about a phone call that could wait. And there were moms who came up to me while I was sitting in the mall nursing my child, who whispered all the reasons that they couldn’t breastfeed, the struggles they’d had, the guilt they felt. Why do we not support ALL moms who are feeding their kids? If they are nursing, let them nurse in peace wherever they are. If they are formula feeding, then let them do that without guilt. Why should anyone be shamed for feeding their kids?

    • rachel says:

      There was the boss knocking on the lactation room door, just to tell me about a phone call that could wait.
      ——————————————————————————————————————————
      WTF??!!! Dee all I can say is you’re a hero. Speaking from a place where we have a decent maternity leave (it was 1 year when I had my kids) I can’t believe what Americans who want to bf go through. And on top of that, they’re shamed when they don’t.

      America needs to get with the program and emulate every other industrialized country when it comes to maternity leave (and health care).

    • A says:

      This is the other thing. It’s so weird how people miss the forest for the trees here, which is the plain and simple fact that BABIES NEED TO EAT. THEY NEED TO EAT! They’re babies! They’re humans! They have to have food to survive! The fact that people are going to such lengths to police something like this, when we should all be able to agree on an idea as simple as, “Babies should eat and not go hungry because of people refusing to be flexible,” is just bananas. We’ve come to this point where we’re splitting hairs like this lmao. WHY.

      ETA: Abt the moms in the mall–it’s so wild how people will project their own shame into the world at large. It sucks that these moms couldn’t do what they wanted to do with their kids. But there are better ways to handle that feeling of having let down someone (the parenting authority? i dunno) than this.

    • MeghanNotMarkle says:

      I had the opposite experience in public. I would get women coming up to me to thank me for nursing in public. It was just as weird as I imagine it is when someone comes up and spills their shame and guilt on you.

  26. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    I’m just so livid and sorry that you had to go through such trauma, ladies who have reported their terrible experiences above. You’ve done the best you possibly can and are clearly decent, kind individuals who will raise decent, kind children. Don’t let the BF mafia ever tell you otherwise

  27. Noodle says:

    I breastfed my oldest, and had many problems. Mainly, she wanted to eat 24-7. She had stomach issues and nurses for comfort, but When she was 4-6 weeks years old, she would literally nurse for 2 hours, sleep for 45 min, then go back to nurse. I couldn’t go anywhere, do anything, or she would SCREAM. I was so depressed and called in a lactation consultant, who told me that if that’s what she wanted to do, that’s what I was going to have to do. Meanwhile my nipples were falling off my body, I was in SO much pain, and I couldn’t sleep. She was so dismissive of my feelings and pain, and I still feel that pit in my stomach when I think back, 15 years later. I finally gave up, gave her a bottle (we used Nutramigen) and my daughter was fine. We did get kicked out of the newborn group organized by the hospital, because it was nursing-exclusive. (Eye roll) When I had my son 5 years ago, I didn’t think I was going to be able to nurse him due to some health issues I was having. His pediatrician and the pediatrician who was on call at the time, upon hearing this news, shrugged their shoulders and said “I didn’t nurse my baby either. He’s just fine. Your baby will be fine. Fed is best.” And that was that. Now when I see moms at Target or out in the community and they are formula feeding, I make sure to smile and tell them what a good job they are doing. I remember being so vulnerable and feeling like a failure when I switched from breastfeeding to bottle feeding, and no new mother needs that put upon her.

  28. Abby says:

    To be fair, a lot of people can’t deal with being told they are misinformed or uninformed and take correcting or even informing for shaming. It’s a fact that breast milk is a vastly superior food for human babies than cows milk is. It’s also a fact that baby-carrying, co-sleeping and nursing are very beneficial to the development of babies. Choosing (whatever your reasons) to bottle feed or sleep train is your prerogative, but it doesn’t justify denying facts and complaining about the fact that health workers and other mothers want to get those facts out there. Saying “fed is best, end of the discussion” is an extremely reductive answer to the huge issues affecting women, babies and family. What’s best is actually having the means to make informed and free decisions concerning one’s body and one’s baby’s well being, and we are very, very far from it.

    For what it’s worth : i’m still breast-feeding my kid, even though i had a difficult start with a breast abscess for which i had full-blown surgery when baby was 21 days old, and bottle-feeding my baby for 2 months while pumping and dumping because of the opioids they gave me for the pain. What made the difference for me is that i got the information i needed about trying to maintain my milk production and thus my possibility of choosing to go back to breast feeding once i was out of the woods. If i had just listened to the (many) people telling me “eh it’s fine to bottle-feed, i did and my kid is fine”, i would have forfeited that choice. 5 years later i cannot over stress how wonderful breastfeeding is for us, and how much it has made my life and my kid’s life easier.

    • A says:

      A child that’s alive and not crying out from hunger every three hours is best. Sorry. You can take your sanctimonious “facts” and shove it.

    • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

      @Abby How on earth can you read the weepworthy comments of the brave women struggling on this thread and maintain such an uncompromising, judgmental attitude???

      • Abby says:

        i am actually neither uncompromising not judgmental, i just have a different point of view. Everyone has weepworthy stories to tell, hell i told you mine. I tried to contribute my point of view in a constructive manner and i’m pretty amazed at the level of violence of all those who responded to my comment.

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        @Abby I think you misunderstand the nature of violence if you perceive that any of the responses are indeed ‘violent’; do you equate violence with dissenting points of view or having your feelings ‘hurt’? Whatever your response, I am afraid that you invited it by taking a deliberately antagonistic and indeed sanctimonious tone in addressing the lived experiences of the women on this thread, many of whom have had their human rights or those of their child/ren assaulted. Therein lies the ‘violence’ you claim

    • rachel says:

      Just curious Abby, are you in the US? From what I understand most Americans are not entitled to a decent, humane amount of maternity leave like women are in other industrialized countries – Canada, UK, western Europe, etc. etc. What I’m getting at is that it’s easy to say breastfeeding is best when you have support and adequate mat leave. When a woman must go back to work in a matter of weeks how the hell can she succeed at bf’ing (if that’s what she wants to do, of course) without a lot of stress and anguish?

      Vote accordingly, Americans.

      • Abby says:

        yes, i live abroad (in France) and was very fortunate to be able to stay home until my kid was 10 months, by which time my milk supply was well established. Yes, i absolutely agree maternity leave is a huge issue. In France it is too, maternity leave in general doesn’t extend past 3 months. For breastfeeding but also just parenting in general !

    • anneliser says:

      Aww, Abby, do you want a medal? Your story is super heroic since you must have lost use of your hands by now from patting yourself on the back so hard.

      • Abby says:

        No, i am just happy with my choices. Which sadly is often not the case for moms who were not able to continue breastfeeding. The problem isn’t that i was able to do what i hoped to do, it’s that many moms aren’t able to do that. And bitching at me isn’t doing much to change that.

      • anneliser says:

        I am thrilled with my choice to formula feed my children since they would otherwise be dead, and they are beautiful and thriving. But have a happy life with your sanctimony!

    • Jamie says:

      So what, Abby, you’ve had one kid, and breastfeeding worked out? And you think that if other moms just tried a little harder, it should work out for them too? Well, your experience is limited so take the judgment and shove it. I’ve had four kids. The oldest, I had a really hard time with breastfeeding but was finally able to make it work. My second and third babies breastfed easily from the start. All of them for a year or longer. Then my fourth baby came along, and we struggled from the start. He wouldn’t latch well and he didn’t want to work hard at it. No matter how much I pumped, my milk supply slowly dwindled. It was heartbreaking. I thought it would come easily to me because I’d been able to breastfeed 3 times before. I was very well informed about breastfeeding, is what I’m trying to say. But here’s the thing – not all babies are the same. I finally had to just give up and formula feed after a few months. It felt like a huge loss to me, but he’s still healthy and happy. No matter how much some moms try or how many facts they have, sometimes it doesn’t work out to BF. thank goodness we can still feed our babies

      • Abby says:

        I’m just sharing my story.

        The thing is, most moms do not have access to the information, help and support that could make breastfeeding possible. Saying that isn’t to shame anyone, except maybe the people who decide maternity leave or accessible health care and support aren’t a human right !

    • Nina says:

      My daughter was ALLERGIC TO BREAST MILK. Yes, you read that right. She was bleeding internally for the first six weeks of her life – crying uncontrollably for hours every night until finally there was blood in her diaper, my poor sweet girl. Had to switch her to a very expensive prescription formula. NOT ALL BABIES THRIVE ON BREAST MILK. To say otherwise is just as ignorant.

    • HK9 says:

      And the trophy for breast feeding and martyrdom goes tooooooooo you! However, we don’t have anything for the giant bag of self-righteousness that you carry on your sainted crown every damn day. We’re givin that one to Queen Elizabeth II, as her record of throwing people under the bus is clearly superior to yours.

    • MeghanNotMarkle says:

      It worked for you. Congrats. Here’s a cookie.

      • Abby says:

        i’m just sharing my experience, not looking for validation from strangers on the internet and their weird cookie jars

    • Wickster says:

      Abby: “Cow’s milk”?? No one is talking about feeding their babies COW’S MILK as a replacement for breast milk. That’s not even medically recommended as a food for babies until 9 mos to a year. They’re talking about formula, which is designed to provide the necessary nutrients an infant needs before introduction to solid foods. Sounds like you are the misinformed person here. Making a determination based on incorrect information is not scientific. You want to breastfeed, fine. Don’t pass on incorrect info, though.

    • Jen says:

      AAP which stands for American Academy of Pediatrics, doesn’t endorse co sleeping in the same bed. They endorse the crib to be in the same room as the parents, but not in the bed, as it’s actually a hazard for your baby. I don’t have any kids, I just looked this up because the original post sounded so obnoxious I wanted to check some of her “facts”. Go take your condescending attitude elsewhere.

      • mellie says:

        There was a couple from our area who rolled over and smothered their new born baby due to co-sleeping. So let’s be careful what we recommend here. But you go Abby with your badassery….thank goodness you appear to be in the minority here. Sheesh.

      • Abby says:

        Co-sleeping to be done safely has to respect certain rules, i am well aware of that. And also, medical guidelines have to be taken with a grain of salt (and by salt i mean you should research things, not just suppose your doctor has all the good answers). A lot of very bad recommendations have been made over the years. and a lot of bad advice is still being given. You should google it if your are interested

    • Col says:

      Co sleeping isn’t recommended as it puts baby at a higher risk for sids.

      • Abby says:

        the highest risk for sids is the baby sleeping alone in a separate room, which is still then mainstream !

      • Trillian says:

        No, that is only if the baby sleeps in the same bed between parents without a pillow barrier. There are lots of safe options, like a baby bay.

    • Charissa Dawn Sherwood says:

      To Abby: I’m glad you’re not struggling as so many other mother’s have. Good for you. However, I hope you can find compassion in your heart and the wisdom to realize that your experience of motherhood in the world is NOT the only one. That just because you personally don’t understand how people could feel differently from you doesn’t make their experiences less valid than your or untrue. And should you ever have trouble or things don’t go as planned in your motherhood journey, I hope you’re able to have a bit more compassion for yourself than you have for some of the other commenters here.

      • Originaltessa says:

        I’d also like to say to Abby. Your assumption that you’re the only woman on this board with access to information, and google? Seriously? Imagine being so sanctimonious. I’ll leave now.

      • Abby says:

        on what planet is having a breast abscess and undergoing surgery when your baby is 3 weeks old not a struggle ? I am not saying i don’t understand other peoples feeling, nor even dismissing them. I am saying breastfeeding is hindered by systemic problems and writing off breastfeeding advocacy ins’t helping anyone.

    • WendyWoo says:

      Wait, Abby, you wrote that in a very confusing manner. You DO have more than one kid, right? Because otherwise it sounds like you’re still breastfeeding a five year old.

  29. A says:

    I don’t have kids, don’t have babies, have obviously never breastfed…but from a purely practical and common sense point of view, if your baby doesn’t eat, what the actual f-ck are you supposed to do? Sit down and not feed them formula because breast is best? Do people understand what they’re saying?

    Generations upon generations of women have given birth, breast fed their kids, etc. How many of them would have killed for the medical progress we have today? How many babies didn’t latch on or feed properly who would have benefited from some type of formula in the past. It’s so ridiculous to stand on this leg and condescend to women and say stupid sh-t like, “Oh we’ve always done this, it’s NATURAL.” If it’s so natural, why are there so many stories about it being so hard?

    Why are these people prioritizing breast feeding over a baby that’s fed? Food is life. Who the hell cares if it’s breast milk or formula when the alternative is a starving baby? People would really rather let a baby cry in hunger if it means they’re sticking to their guns on their ideology. It’s inhumane if you ask me, to both parent and child.

  30. Amaria says:

    Went for special antireflux formula after 6 weeks of hell with a baby who couldn’t latch due to serious overbite AND had a reflux – and after weeks of her severely spitting up, choking in her sleep, ineffective position treatment, my daughter could finally get full and get some normal sleep. Midwives and lactation consultants gave us hell with contradictory advice, wrong advice, judgement towards formula-users…

  31. Eliza_ says:

    1) this is an ad so is it wrong i take it with a grain of salt?? She was mommy shamed with a lot of press/ backlash at shamers, so now a company that’s associated with mommy shame is paying for her voice? Not saying she didn’t struggle but I’m always suspicious of ads

    2) It is important screen your LCs just like doctors and hospitals and see if they support nursing in a realistic way. Not all LCs are the same! Postpartum is tough enough already, you need positive support! Ours was also our pediatrician, she was in favor of fed. No stress, just support – I asked a lot of questions before the baby came (she probably was like ‘oh boy this lady is extra’). Bonus – you get a LC lesson on your well checkups so no additional cost!!

    3) Formula is here for a reason. Seriously, whether internal or external, guilt over feeding your baby is real but shouldn’t be. Fed is fed. Fed baby is happy baby. Happy baby is happy mommy.

    • A says:

      Fed baby = alive baby, which is the most important thing, period. I’m not saying people are as extreme as to suggest that one should starve their kids if they can’t breastfeed, but they should really think logically about wtf they’re saying when they say something as inane as “breast is best.” Say that to all the women throughout history who despaired and watched their babies go hungry because of breast feeding issues, who would have done anything to have formula and modern amenities. People forget how lucky we are in this day and age.

    • Izzy says:

      It’s not an ad, it’s an endorsement. If she wants to endorse a product because she has actually used it and found it to be good/beneficial, why shouldn’t she? Especially if it helps other moms get past the Boob Brigade of Shame.

      • Eliza_ says:

        It’s #ad. She was paid. You don’t have to actually use the product if it’s an ad. Not saying she isn’t but it’s still an ad. The conversation is more important than if it’s really her brand of choice.

  32. Northern_Girl 20 says:

    I had the same issue with both my sons. I had planned cesareans with both due to not being able to deliver naturally (I had a bicuspid uterus). With my first I was 27 and single and I couldn’t get him to latch on no matter what I tried – while in the hospital trying to recover as well as take care of him I had one nurse yell at me and ask me how I expected to take him home if I couldn’t get him to latch! I cried and cried and of course ended up bottle feeding. I did have a lactation expert come in at home and we tried several different methods including feeding with a tube and my Mom took over and said just bottle feed. He was jaundiced and I just had to do what was right for him.

    My second I was married and was treated much better in the hospital and although I could get him to latch I just wasn’t producing enough milk. He was on me for over an hour every 2 hours. I was freaking out wondering how I was going to take care of a 4 year old, a 3 year old (my stepson who lives with us full time) and a newborn who was feeding like that… I went to change his diaper while still in the hospital and he had crystals in his pee although he was feeding like that. The nurses supplemented him and I felt like a failure – again! I still tried when I got home and my husband just went out and got bottles and formula and said enough is enough it’s ok. However, he has several food allergies now (he’s 12) and I still feel like it’s my fault.

    • GreenBunny says:

      It’s not your fault. I have 3 kids and elusively breast fed all of them. My oldest and middle have multiple food allergies, both are allergic to dairy and peanuts. My oldest finally at age 8 grew out of dairy, but the middle still reacts to it. I’ve had to carry an epi pen since my oldest was 8 months because I gave her yogurt with mango (she was allergic to both) and she started to wheeze and projectile vomit. Sometimes it’s just sh*tty luck or sh*tty genes or whatever. But you did what you needed to do and it’s not your fault.

  33. Megan Lighthouse says:

    If you have to feed your baby formula, then feed them formula. It’s nobody’s business how you feed your child and I think it’s awful that professionals try to guilt trip post partum women. That being said, breast is best. That is a fact. Period. That “fed is best” crap is lame. You don’t have to justify your choices by “reinventing” a phrase used by breast feeding advocates. Please cut it out. It’s nobody’s business what you do to feed your child. Own your choices.

    • megs283 says:

      ehhhhh. under ideal circumstances, breast is best. But who lives in an ideal bubble? For me, formula was best, and it took me a LONG time to arrive there and figure that out.

      Ironically, my formula fed baby was healthier than my breastfed baby. My BF baby caught every illness that came her way, and she passed it on to me.

    • Originaltessa says:

      It’s not always your choice, Megan. JFC.

    • Sam the Pink says:

      No it’s not Megan.

      Breast is not best if you have IGT and literally do not have the breast tissue to make milk.
      It’s not best if you had a reduction.
      It’s not best if you had a masectomy.
      It’s not best if you have a communicable disease like HIV, etc.
      It’s not best if you are on a medication that can leech into milk and damage your baby (Hi!)
      It’s not best if you are an abuse survivor who may suffer emotional distress.
      It’s not best of you are a single or two dads who literally can’t get the milk
      It’s not best if you are an adoptive mother.
      It’s not best if you are a mom who has to return to work immediately.
      It’s not best if you are a mom of a premie who is stuck in the NICU and cannot nurse or even take food by mouth.
      It’s not best if you have a baby that is actually allergic to breast milk (yes, it’s a thing!)

      And it goes on, and on, and on…

      So get out of here with your BS and try seeing everyone around you who fits into one of the above categories.

      You are basically saying that any baby who has the misfortune to be born to any of the above groups (and anyone I missed!) is not getting “the best” start in life. Protest if you like, but that’s the truth of it.

      • anneliser says:

        Sam the Pink, +1,000

      • CS says:

        Thank you!!!

      • ChipDip says:

        So many circumstances I didn’t even consider… thanks for making it so clear and plain, Sam.

        Megan Lighthouse, I’ll assume you never have (or never will) feed your children anything from a package, any fast food, any soda any candy, any convenience items, any processed meat (or any meat at all for that matter), any non-organic produce… because that wouldn’t be “best.”

        Fed really is best. Sometimes a drive through cheeseburger is the best option. Sometimes a packet of goldfish is the best option. Sometimes a chocolate milk is the best option. USUALLY the best options are whole foods, carefully prepared and nurtured by a nutritionist-chef… but are we to assume you will patiently endure your hungry child’s wails until you’re done interviewing all the applicants for your kid’s personal nutritionist-chef?

      • Abby says:

        a lot of people aren’t getting the best start in life ! or the best all the rest in life for that matter, because we live in an unfair society with extremely unequal access to resources and systematic discriminations. Breastfeeding isn’t just an individual issue

    • Betsy says:

      Nope. Fed is best. There are literally parents accidentally starving their babies – and not for lack of trying – when they have a bad nursing relationship (which could be any of a hundred issues). https://fedisbest.org/2017/01/accidentally-starving-my-baby-broke-my-heart-but-made-me-want-to-help-other-moms/ Seriously, a baby that is receiving adequate nutrition is better – or, “best,” if you will – than a better not receiving enough.

    • Amy Too says:

      I think “best” is the problem here. It’s so final, it has no wiggle room, and it’s just not true for everyone all the time. “Best” implies more than just “breastmilk is a perfect food for babies because it’s made for them,” it implies that it’s the ONLY food for babies and that everything else is not as good, not “best.” And don’t you want “the best” for your baby? Who cares if it’s not best for you, or you hate it, or you don’t make enough milk, or your nipples are all clogged and cracked and infected, or it’s a trigger for postpartum depression for you?

      Maybe it should be “Breast is most easily digested.” “Breast is nutritionally ideal,” maybe. “Breast milk contains all the nutrients your baby needs,” sure. Even trying to come up with these sayings, it was hard, because they’re just not universal. I was going to say “breast is healthiest,” but is it, if a baby is starving? “Breastmilk is specifically made for babies,” but isn’t formula specifically made for babies? With so many different factors going into breastfeeding, it’s a hugely nuanced subject. If human babies can survive and thrive on formula as well as babies who are breast fed with no long term lasting ill effects, then what even is the point of the breastfeeding exclusively campaign?

      I have a feeling if LC had to say all the things they say to new moms to men, instead, they wouldn’t. They just wouldn’t treat men this way. No one would. No one would expect men to do this to their bodies.

      • InVain says:

        Thumbs up to all of this Amy Too. I swear if an LC comes in to rake me over the coals while in the hospital after delivering my husband will step in, we’ve already talked about it. I have no problem fending for myself but women can be so much worse to women. He’s 100% on board with whatever choice I make for my body and the wellness of our child. I also got our baby a onesie that says ‘THANKS, but my mom doesn’t want your advice.’

  34. Murphy says:

    My LC was also shite. And she picked up my baby out of the bassinette 10 hours after she was born without my permission. Baby’s first BM (black tar) got all over her sweater. I did not feel bad AT ALL.

  35. Ohpioneer says:

    Once again I find myself thankful for having my babies before social media ( Mommy shamers had to actually approach you in the grocery store or the mall). That baby is beautiful, obviously happy, healthy, and well nourished. I myself breastfed at a time when hardly anyone did so. My mentor was my sister-in-law and a book. And my instincts. I side eye lactation specialists in general as the ones my daughters & daughter-in-laws have had contact with have been very “holier than thou” in their entire approach to the subject.

  36. megs283 says:

    Oh, those LCs. My newborn always seemed hungry, she was jaundice, their advice was to nurse her and then pump for 20 minutes, 5-6x a day. HA. I was blinded and anxious enough that I tried it for three days and then stopped.

    I bfed my older daughter for 18 months. She loved nursing and it was a comfort for her.

    My younger daughter, we supplemented from the beginning, as she came out with low blood sugar. Then she was showing signs of jaundice, so we gave her formula and I nursed. Our nursing “journey” ended at six months. She did not like nursing, it wasn’t a comfort for her. She wanted to get her food and then move along.

    I am ALWAYS an under-producer, pumping screws up my work schedule, and I barely get anything. If we have another, I am going RIGHT to formula.

  37. YaGotMe says:

    I didn’t breastfeed either of my boys ( they are 28 and 23 ) and never intended to. I couldn’t explain why, it just was not something that I considered, my husband and I were both in the military at the time and it was a decision we made together.
    I can honestly say I was never once pressured, guilted, or otherwise questioned about the decision. My pregnancies pre-dated social media (so did my dating and party days!!! ) and while I could have used information at my fingertips, I got to avoid all of the pressure.

  38. Boo says:

    I believe the science that breast milk is superior to formula, and slow clap to you if you do it, though I’m not sure anyone should really care. But implying that children whose parents choose to feed them formula instead are somehow denying them anything is peak mom-shaming and makes you a jerk. My kids were both bottlefed, they have no allergies, no chronic illnesses, never even had an ear infection, are both honor roll students and my son is a talented soccer player. I can only imagine that if I had breastfed them, they’d be superheroes maybe?

  39. Kathryn says:

    I supplemented after my 3-month maternity leave (PS I was the last employee to get that long, policy was changed to 6 weeks after me, ugh). I worked at a small nonprofit in Manhattan with one unisex bathroom. I tried pumping at work but people pounding on the door wanting to use the toilet put a quick end to that endeavor.

  40. Melissa says:

    I bottle fed three children. They are now healthy, happy, intelligent, caring awesome adults that bring nothing but joy to my life, as they did the as babies and as growing children.

  41. anneliser says:

    I’m yet another person who had terrible experiences with lactation consultants after my son was born. They weren’t as jerkish to me as some of you above, but if I had listened to them, my son might have ended up brain damaged from lack of nutrition. Thankfully, he was not born at one of those horrible “baby friendly” hospitals, and the nurses actively encouraged me to give him formula since he clearly wasn’t getting enough milk from me. I never made remotely enough milk to exclusively breastfeed him and basically told the lactation consultant to GTFO of my room after my daughter was born because I planned to formula feed and didn’t need to justify my choices to her.

    Life is full of ironies–I did need to supplement my daughter somewhat, but she was very aggressive and the particular reason I had low supply with my son had been addressed, and I ended up nursing her until she was four. But every time someone congratulated me for breastfeeding her when I did it in public (because I had zero qualms about that), I would tell them my son was largely formula fed and doing great. Formula … it’s not Pepsi!

  42. Scal says:

    We had had a terrible experience with the LC at the hospital handing me a spoon (legit) when baby wouldn’t latch, telling me to hand express into that and then feed him that way. And then walking out. I burst into tears and the nurse came in and was furious.

    But I also want to give a shout out for my own awesome LC that we found once we checked out. It’s a private group that was linked with the ENT. We got SO lucky-she and her team were awesome and super supportive. Yes they had some suggestions that I thought were a little woo woo-but when I said I wasn’t comfortable they all just shrugged and moved on. Every single one said-you do your best, you try X Y and Z-but a happy mommy is a happy baby. Don’t kill yourself there’s no medal. A bottle of formula so you can sleep is fine. A bottle of formula if you need to supplement so baby is fed is fine-just do your best that’s all you can do and we’re here to help with that. So there are good ones out there to!

  43. Kaylove says:

    I have a 6M babe at home right now. We had every intention on breastfeeding since I had no trouble with my first. Well, were at the point where she nurses maybe twice a day? And the rest is formula. It took me a long while to be okay with our normal, and it’s honestly a piss off. The fact that moms are criticized in any way shape or form for making sure their child is nourished is BS!
    THERES SO MANY OTHER THINGS TO BE WORRIED ABOUT. UGH.

    With that said, fed is best. No matter how.

  44. Sam the Pink says:

    I was shocked to find out after my first that many “lactation consultants” are not medical professionals! You can become an LC through some at-home study and a test (there are different levels of LC out there, some more vigorous than others). One thing I decided early on was that I would only accept an LC who was also a nurse, at the minimum. That is not a guarantee that they won’t be jerks, but in my limited experience, the nurses are certainly more compassionate and “reality-based” than some of the volunteer LCs who are basically untrained. It amazes me that hospitals and birth centers allow non-medically trained people to roam the maternity wards and harass mothers in such a way.

  45. BendyWindy says:

    Ugh. People need to GTFO with this noise.

    Mom of four here—2 breastfed, 2 formula fed. The kids are all right. While breast milk does change composition and give babies mom’s immunity to stuff, this wanes after a time. Yes, BF’ing is good for bonding, but so is formula feeding because the important part is that baby is being snuggled close and fed (which equals positive associations).

    People used to talk about BF babies being academically ahead of their formula fed peers, but that evens out by kindergarten or first grade. Additionally, when those original studies were done, BF’ing wasn’t as common. There’s some thought that the academic advantages came from the fact that at the time, the parents most likely to breastfeed were well educated and spent extra time working with their children.

    Families, do what is right for you and tell everyone else to politely STFU.

  46. smcollins says:

    I remember being visited by the lactation consultant when my son was born. She aggressively had my newborn by the back of the head and was trying to force him to latch onto me, he was fussing and crying the whole time. He wound up never being able to latch so he was bottle-fed my pumped milk. When I had my daughter a few years later she visited me once again, but I politely informed her that I was a second time Mom and that I knew what I was doing and sent her on her way.

  47. a says:

    I had, apparently, the ONLY good lactation consultant on the planet. I wasn’t a big producer and my kid was a big eater – I wanted to breast feed exclusively, so when the nursery nurses at the hospital were pressuring me to give the kid some formula, I was refusing. The lactation consultant came in, said I was doing everything right, but the kid was still hungry, and it wouldn’t hurt her to have some formula. So I supplemented every day at her 3:00 hungry time, and breast fed her for a year too.

  48. Kim says:

    When I worked in a hospital, the nurses in Labor & Delivery and nurseries called them Lactation Nazis.
    As a social worker, I was sometimes called in behind them to mitigate the pressure and shaming of new mothers.

    • Jess says:

      Tina Fey called them “Teet Nazis” in her book. That’s what I always think of when I see these discussions. Any shame around birthing and feeding babies is just so ridiculous isn’t it? Like this crap is so hard, why aren’t women just supporting each other?!

    • Amy Too says:

      Then why on earth are they allowed to be there, shaming and arguing with women, who are literally not allowed to even leave their beds yet without a nurse to help hold them up and escort them even to the bathroom? Why do we let these people go into the room, alone, to harass women who have been up for 24-48 hours and have every human hormone coursing through their bloodied bodies? Who makes these decision? Is it a man?

      I have a feeling that if men were giving birth, they would not have these Nazi lactation consultants coming it to yell at them, shame them, and manhandle their babies and breasts. People also wouldn’t expect men to go back to work at 6 weeks, yet still breast feed for a year, pumping with a plastic manual pump if that’s all they can afford, feed a baby out of their bloody and cracked nipples every hour for 40 minutes at a time sometimes, and just never sleep in order to do so. But vulnerable, hormonal women whose bodies have literally just been split open in some cases, are supposed to do all of this.

      “Oh we’ve created this labor saving device that allows anyone to feed the baby, not just the mother, babies really like it, it works for all babies unlike breastfeeding, but you’re a HORRIBLE PERSON if you use it!” ??? Why??

  49. CS says:

    Thank you so much for this article. After a long stay in the NICU for my little one, breastfeeding wasn’t successful. After 2 months of struggles we switched to formula only feeding. My guilt comes from all the stories of breast is best, but a happy healthy baby is by far the best! I am still on maternity leave and it helps to know we aren’t alone.

  50. Malificent says:

    I have a lot of friends and family who had trouble getting milk to come in after a C-section. And I think it gets lost in the shuffle that, while commonplace in the US, C-sections are major abdominal surgery, with all the attendant risk of complications. We expect women to go through pregnancy, surgery, and then have them magically primed to flow like Bessie the cow.

    I didn’t have a C-section, and was able to nurse my son pretty easily. My milk production took a hit when I went back to work at 3 months (pumps just aren’t the same), but I was managing to keep up production. But then I had an emergency appendectomy when my son was 5 months old. Even though I pumped and dumped in the hospital, my milk production plummeted — cuz you’re body is not very happy with you after an infection and surgery!

  51. Harla says:

    Oh! I just love chubby baby thighs!!! What a cute baby and a great mom!

  52. Elizabeth says:

    Leave this mama alone! Jeeze.
    While in the hospital they were adamant about breast feeding. I wanted to badly but after 3 lactation consultants visiting our room – one acting like she had better things to do – we were sent home feeling like I had to figure this all out on my own. My daughter would NOT latch. We tried nipple shields and then putting a bit of formula in the shield so she would try to latch and suck. No dice.
    So I pumped exclusively for 4 months. Towards the end of that 4 months my husband pulled me aside and said that he was concerned that I was driving myself crazy. And I was. So we switched to formula. I still thank God for formula. It literally saved my sanity.
    I always said “fed is best” and believed it – for other women. But then after our failed attempts to effectively breast feed, I’m a REAL believer in it and cannot stand self righteous idiots that feel led to shame families for using formula.

    • Amy Too says:

      I also just never felt like I was doing it right and my baby seemed to be hungry all the time, but was sent home from the hospital without any talks about how he might need formula and how that was okay, and what to do about that.

      At my baby’s 2 week check up he weighed less than when he was born. The pediatrician and nurse didn’t talk to me about it other than to ask if I was breastfeeding, but after they left the room, a lactation consultant came in and said “they said you’re having trouble breast feeding?” and I was like “uhh…. I don’t know. I don’t think so?” It was my first baby, I was very young, I didn’t know what was normal. I thought newborn babies just cried a lot. I thought he was meant to be feeding every four hours because I had read that somewhere, rather than just as needed. I had no idea that sometimes babies just need to eat every hour or two hours at certain points of the day. Or that if he cried at that age, it meant he was hungry. I figured if he cried in between feedings it was just because he was a newborn baby. The lactation consultant didn’t check to see if he was latching properly, just asked me how often I was feeding him, didn’t ask if he seemed full and happy after feedings, and left. I did not want to do formula or bottles. I had been told by everyone that BREAST IS BEST. And the lactation consultants and pediatrician just told me to keep working at it, keep breast feeding exclusively, but without any further instruction other than to just do it. I was staying with my parents for the first couple weeks after birth and baby was crying so much. They convinced me to give him a bottle to clam him down and he ate it so greedily and hungrily, calmed down, and slept for 4 hours afterwards. I cried the whole time and felt like such a failure.

      I had to go back to school at 6 weeks, and was trying to pump but I had this horrible little handheld, manual pump that pinched my boobs and nothing really came out. I didn’t have time to pump between classes so I would try to pump a bunch at night, but the baby also wanted to eat all the time bc he was only 6 weeks old, so I ended up bringing bottles to daycare that were half milk, half formula. By 3 months he was exclusively on formula and much happier.

  53. Bernice says:

    Mummy Shamers are the worst set of people. My daughter refused to suck so had to go on formula. Ive been shamed so much about it that i have become annoyingly aggressive about any negative comment as it concerns my choice of feeding. My daughter is 2 mnths old so I have four months left of being criticized

  54. Erik says:

    Shawn’s baby looks great/healthy. Using formula was the smart thing to do if breast feeding wasn’t working. She looks like a great mom!! Anyone that mom shames is a bad mom.

  55. Tina says:

    I went with my daughter-in-law to the emergency when my grandson had a terrible bout of croup. The doctor was very dismissive and gave her a lecture because she had not breastfed and also a lecture because he said the baby weighed too much. She had Gestational Diabetes and he was almost 11 lbs at birth. Of course he’s a heavier baby in general. I was livid. I wanted to complain to the hospital but she told me not to. He made her cry. We are in emergency! It’s not the time or place for that discussion, if ever. Basically told her it’s her fault he has croup because she bottle fed.

  56. Izzy says:

    Between the horror stories posted here and the ones I’ve heard from my own friends, I am now firmly convinced that LCs should be banned from hospitals. They are in there doing what? Giving medical advice that ends up causing harm to mother and baby? They’re not qualified to give this advice, particularly if they are not employed or contracted by the hospital. If I had to deal with one of those aholes and the hospital didn’t put a stop to it, I would file a complaint with the Joint Commission.

    • Earthbound says:

      I wish I’d had some free LCs floating around the hospital I birthed at, they can’t all be bad. As it was I suffered horrible pain trying to breastfeed yet the nurse and midwife were both like “nope latch is fine!” It really wasnt. From experience I know that now but as a new mom my baby and I would have benefitted from an expert. Tears for months and I ended up supplementing which is fine (but it was expensive and not what we personally wanted). Just saying, I don’t think throwing out the baby with the bathwater is a good way to go.
      With my second daughter she latched great and I had great supply too. But I just got lucky there. I feel like for women like me who dont get lucky the first time, a compassionate LC can be a good thing. Maybe could’ve saved me and baby some heartache. And an LC (not to be confused with a Lactation Educator) is considered a health professional, they are usually former nurses.

  57. Shirleygailgal says:

    I absolutely LOVE how fierce @Hecate is in her post, and how supportive everyone is here. I had cracked, bleeding nipples, massive engorgement and pain, along with an emergency C-section. To this day, just thinking about nursing, my nipples flinch. Two things come to mind (and I’m sorry if they’e been mentioned, I didn’t read every word in every comment): 1. Light pink nipples apparently have more difficulty (very generally speaking) so prepping them by “toughening” them up is important. Walking around bare-breasted is apparently a good start. Sure wish I’d gotten this advice BEFORE all the issues arose. Sadly I got it when my son was already 18 months old and it was too late. 2. Women may have been giving birth for (well, forever) but for first-time moms, it is a freaking scary experience, and we need to support and help each other and call out crap. I didn’t have the courage to call out my lactation ‘expert’ so my baby and I suffered needlessly. This is where DADS can be helpful and supportive … protect and honour your women whilst they are bearing and nurturing your babies. If mom and baby are crying…something has gone sideways and we may need you to step up and step in and say…something. Just because we got the boobs doesn’t mean we know what we’re doing any more than you guys do, so read up and understand our trauma is real! I felt so bullied, so ashamed, so angry, so hurt, so defeated, and in such a fog. My kid was about 6 months old before some of the fog lifted, and he was easily 2 years + before I felt my soul re-enter my body and reunite with the ‘new’ (mom) me…Society in general is so cruel, we needs must be gentle with ourselves, whilst FIERCELY defending others.

  58. jugebair says:

    Not about lactation but really, plubby baby legs and arms are THE BEST <3

  59. Suz says:

    Ugh mommy shamers are pathetic people who have a chip on their shoulders and take it out on other moms. The sh*t I know my mom friends have gone through is awful – like my friend who was shamed for having a c section even though hers and the baby’s lives were in danger. . I’ve been pre-mommy shamed about just discussing the possibility of getting an epidural during labor. I’ve been told I’m “obsessed” with having a baby because I’m in the middle of doing IVF to get pregnant. Dear mommy-shamers: whatever happened that’s made you angry, go to therapy. Don’t take your own issues out on other women. Fah q.

    • Originaltessa says:

      Yes! Fah Q!! Love it!

    • AnneliseR says:

      Have the epidural! My dad is a retired Nurse Anesthetist and has probably performed thousands of them. I had zero fear of epidurals and have zero shame over having opted for them both times.

      These anti-epidural weirdos aren’t opposed to any other form of anesthesia for themselves or others. Like, did you skip the Novocaine when you had your last tooth filled? Didn’t think so!

  60. laura-j says:

    Can we as a culture agree to stop shaming people for their super personal choices? You know choices that have nothing to do with anyone else at all?

  61. Tiffany says:

    Drew is the spitting image of Andrew.

  62. Isa says:

    I nearly starved my last baby.
    He was on the breast constantly. He had “enough” wet and dirty diapers. He hardly ever cried.
    He didn’t gain his weight back. When I look at photos of him during that time it was alarming-his skin was sagging and he had no fat. He was wearing himself out trying to breastfeed.
    Babies get dehydrated so quickly. It really is a dangerous time and I worry that people act like supplementing with formula is going to ruin your entire breastfeeding experience. One of my friends milk didn’t even come in for a week! A week of a newborn trying to survive on a couple spoonfuls of collostrum.
    My baby is healthy and happy now. Formula has nourished all of my kids when my breasts couldn’t and I have no guilt or shame anymore. I wish I hadn’t in the first place.

  63. Angel says:

    Certainly, formula is feeding an infant. I’m curious as to why she didn’t get breast milk from a breast milk bank? She still could, especially since the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding until the child is two years old to give the best immune system and highest I.Q..

    Also, there are entire websites dedicated to connecting women who wish to donate or sell their breast milk to other parents for their child or children.

    It’s odd to me to read so many stories where mothers just instantly jumped to formula, instead of a breast milk donation from a center or another woman. It’s a lot of trouble to use formula, so if you’re going to have to be warming up milk and the like, wouldn’t it be just as easy to use the real thing?

    • AnneliseR says:

      Screened donor milk is extremely expensive and not an option if your kid has an allergy since protein allergens get in the breastmilk. My son had a cow milk allergy and needed special formula; fortunately, he outgrew it, but infant food allergies and sensitivities are very common.

      Anyone willing to give their kid milk that isn’t screened is an idiot since, you know, HIV can be transmitted via breastmilk.

      The idea that having a high IQ kid is super important is both weird and ableist, but my formula-fed kid is in the gifted program. Most studies have shown the supposed IQ benefit has more to do with socioeconomic status than breastfeeding.

  64. krissy says:

    Wow, it’s too bad so many had negative experiences. I had really positive experiences with lactation consultants for all 3 of my children. The LCs were also employed by the hospital and extremely professional and educated.

    I also went through the struggles of learning to breastfeed with my firstborn- a shallow latch, cracked nipples, plus my son and daughter had a cows milk protein allergy so I gave up all dairy products for a year, but without the support of my husband and lactation consultants I don’t think I would have continued breastfeeding. I think there is a lot of misinformation about breastfeeding out there. I didn’t realize HOW MUCH a baby eats when they are newborns. I basically had the baby latched all of the time the first few weeks. I was shocked and thought he was not getting enough milk because SURELY he can’t be hungry again! Turns out, this is completely normal. It is exhausting at times, but I am so happy I was able to continue with each of my kids. But, if things had worked out differently, thank God there is formula for mothers to use!

  65. Sue M says:

    OMG these know-it-alls need to keep their opinions to themselves. I adopted my son at birth. Obviously it was not possible for breast feeding to happen. I was prepared for the breast feeding police to call me out if they saw me bottle feeding him in public. But, that never happened. Maybe I am living in an enlightened part of the world which knows that parents do what ever is the right course for their baby to make sure the baby is fed and healthy. He is now a strapping 16-year old, smart and fearless, obviously he throve.

  66. tarynfox says:

    Breastfeeding came really easily for me, but I regret the experience. Having a newborn is difficult enough. I spent precious hours pumping milk… when I could have been napping. And a nap would have made me a better, happier mother. I breastfed her for a full year and it was pretty miserable. The one silver lining is the money I saved on formula, I guess.

  67. Dani says:

    I had 2 wonderful lactation consultants (cost a fortune) and my kid still didn’t want to BF. Nothing wrong with me, my boobs or my kid. We supplemented with formula for 2 weeks while my milk came in then exclusively pumped for 9.5 months. It was grueling. who the f*ck cares? FED IS BEST.

  68. Dizzy says:

    Well, I was born by Caesarian, in an incubator for a month and bottle fed. It was the 60’s. According to all the experts, I guess I’m severely stunted mentally and emotionally.

  69. Megan says:

    Enfamil is brilliant… this is a brilliant advertisement. I mean come on, people, that’s exactly what this so-called story is, it’s all written right there . AND they’ve stoked the ‘mommy wars’ narrative which puts us right where they want us. F-ing brilliant.

  70. HRH says:

    I lucked out with an amazing lactation consultant in the hospital. She was encouraging, knowledgeable, and gave advice in a really gentle way. She gave me some different holds to try that I relied on for a while until it all got easier. Based on most people’s experiences here, she unfortunately seems to be the exception to the LC rule.

  71. Megan Lighthouse says:

    I got played like a fiddle by friggin Enfamil.

  72. Trashaddict says:

    No heroism, no martyrdom, no shaming. Breastfeeding is not for everybody. But I hope people don’t get discouraged by these horror stories. I realize they were awful for the moms involved and that shifting to formula brought great relief. And that was good for them and their babies. But please don’t let these stories freak you out so much that you don’t consider breastfeeding. For many it’s a good experience. And if it isn’t for you, so be it, give the formula, the child will still go to college. And realize how incredibly lucky you are to have that option.

  73. Jezza says:

    Screw those lactation nazis. It’s no one’s business how a baby is fed as long as they are getting what they need and are happy, healthy and thriving. Do whatever works for you and your baby!!

  74. bettr than scrubs says:

    ye$, I’m $ure $hawn made an educated deci$ion for her$elf and her baby’$ health. And ba$hing lactation con$ultant$ was not at all to po$ition breastfeeding advocates a$ mean or unrea$onable, in$tead of motivated to improve both public and individual health, ba$ed on the scientific data at present. It’$ not at all fat formula profit$.

  75. Robin says:

    Brit here. We have midwives and health visitors who do this, and I shall never forgive them for destroying my happiness, and health, during the first months of my babies’ lives.

    I assumed I would breastfeed when I had children. Then I had twins, with one feeding brilliantly and one not being able to latch. The pressure to breast feed both was monumental; the health visitor who came to our home was dissatisfied enough that I couldn’t tandem feed, let alone breast feed both babies one after the other. So, I would breast feed my daughter for up to an hour, while her brother screamed with hunger. I would then try to get him to latch and, when unsuccessful, give him a back-up bottle of breast milk. While the babies had their post feed sleep, I had to breast pump to keep this system going. There was no down time for me, no space when I wasn’t trying to feed or prepare food for later. I remember the breast pump broke one afternoon and my desperately needed milk spilled everywhere. I just stared at the carpet and wept.

    On top of this I have a form of epilepsy. The hormones and the ever increasing tiredness were bringing on seizure breakthrough. The “bonding” experience of feeding a baby when you feel you are about to seizure is zero. At month two of this never-ending cycle I found myself on the phone to the UK epilepsy society and then my GP, desperate for advice and talking about the guilt I felt because my partner and I wanted to use formula only. They could not believe a grown woman was asking for official permission to stop breast feeding; that was how indoctrinated I had become.

    There are women out there who don’t want to breast feed. There are women out there who can’t. And there are women out there who have conditions and complications beyond their control. It is so easy to judge.

    I have never commented before, despite having read this site for years. Funnily enough, I stumbled upon you lovely people after I had my twins. You got me through many a sad and difficult night, and I owe you a big and over due thank you. I am incredibly fond!

    • Hoot says:

      @Robin – Bless you going forward, for what you have gone through and for caring so much about the best interests of your babies. You are a great mom and will continue to be!

      • Hoot says:

        I twice experienced many of the dire situations as many of the mothers above, from an emergency c-section where we both almost died, to the failure-to-latch, cracked nipples and impacted milk ducts. So glad I ignored LC’s well-meaning (but nonetheless shaming) advice and went with my gut by supplementing with formula. I am forever grateful for the supportive hospital nurses in our time of need, yet the BF shamers still left their mark.

  76. paranormalgirl says:

    Look at those long little toes! Baby will be a gymnast – perfect balance beam toes!

    I was unable to breast feed the twinspawn. Not going into the details, and the sanctimommies need to deal with that.