Chrissy Teigen: normalize formula, I felt shame having to use it

Chrissy Teigen loves to speak her mind on Twitter, especially when it causes a ruckus. The thing is, she picks a lot of topics that we do need to talk about. She’s now making a case for formula feeding for babies. Chrissy tweeted over the weekend that society needs to normalize formula feeding because some mothers have trouble can’t breastfeed and are shamed for it. Chrissy said she knew firsthand after not being about to produce enough milk for her babies and needing to rely on formula.

Chrissy Teigen is opening up about her past struggle with breastfeeding.

On Sunday, the Cravings cookbook author, 34, shared a thread of tweets detailing the “shame” and “guilt” she felt when her body struggled to produce enough breast milk for her two children, daughter Luna Simone, 4½, and 2-year-old son Miles Theodore, whom she shares with husband John Legend.

“Ok I’m gonna say something and you all are definitely gonna make it a thing but here goes: normalize formula,” she tweeted. “Normalize breastfeeding is such a huge, wonderful thing. but I absolutely felt way more shame having to use formula because of lack of milk from depression and whatnot.”

Teigen continued, “People have surrogates, people have trouble breastfeeding and all you hear as a new, anxious mom is how breast is best. ‘normalize breastfeeding’ is great. ‘normalize formula’ is great, too! so yeah. that’s all! normalize formula! your baby is gonna be BEAUTIFUL, PERFECT, AND OKAY.”

“The stress of it, combined with the guilt that you cannot do nature’s most natural thing for your own baby is too much. I dunno why this is my crusade now. I just remember the sadness I felt and want you to know you are doing it right if your baby is fed, mama,” she wrote.

[From People]

I was behind a man at the grocery store on Sunday who was buying formula – the good stuff, the stuff they keep locked behind plexiglass. I had a brief panic flashback of forgetting to buy it and not having enough at home. And then I felt terrible because he’d left and the clerk gave me his coupon for his next purchase! I’m with Chrissy on this crusade and I haven’t had to feed a baby in over a decade. A fed baby is always best. I promise you that is what babies would say if they could talk. If breastfeeding works for the mom, great. If it doesn’t, then finding what does is just as good.

Even though a few tried to take Chrissy on, most defended her point, going further to suggest that we should normalize letting a new mom do they best they can. I stopped breastfeeding my first child when he cut teeth at three months and started biting. I stopped breastfeeding my second at four months because I’d taken a four-day trip and didn’t pump enough while I was away, so she wasn’t getting enough when I returned. She’d also cut a tooth by then and I’d hated breastfeeding from the start. We were all perfectly happy and it never occurred to me to feel bad about it. I guess I could try to now… Nope, sorry – still happy with my decisions. I don’t know if anyone out there is currently struggling with feeding issues but if you are, I’m sorry. I do know it is an incredibly stressful situation. Please do what is best for you, your baby and your family and do not let someone else impose their ideas on you. If your doctor says things are okay, they are okay – and you will be too.

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Photo credit: Instagram, twitter Wes Hicks and Lucy Wolski Unsplash

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89 Responses to “Chrissy Teigen: normalize formula, I felt shame having to use it”

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  1. Chill says:

    My mother raised 7 children in the 50′a and 60′s without breastfeeding. She could not. All of the kids are healthy and live productive lives. Enough said.

    • minx says:

      My kids are 29 and 21, both bottle babies, healthy and smart. I just didn’t want to breastfeed, it didn’t work for me. It’s nobody’s business.

      • mellie says:

        @minx, we had kids around the same time/same feelings about it too….22, 24, 27….all bottle-fed as well, all healthy, all three college graduates (well, the youngest is a senior in college). We’re all good here with the formula too. I was a pretty young mom (21 y.o.) and just didn’t want to either, my pediatrician was ok with it. We made it AND my husband could get up and do the 2 a.m. feedings :)

      • Sophie says:

        You are awesome for posting this.

        Nobody’s business! Love it!

  2. Seraphina says:

    I am with Chrissy on this too. When my first was born, a very long labor with a C-Section at the end, I could not even breastfeed, He was almost 10 pounds and I was pumped with so many drugs and the pediatrician agreed that I could wait to try, especially since my milk would be laced with pain killers. When I explained to the lactation nurse why I was not feeding, she lost her mind and went so far as calling me a liar about what the doctor said and insisted I tell her who it was. I was miserable and started to cry. As soon as I was better ( about a month later) I called that hospital and made sure the head nurse heard my story and put it in writing to the hospital admin.
    My advice to all women who I know will soon be moms is : DO NOT LISTEN TO ANYONE, do what makes you comfortable. There are worse things a mother can do that give formula to a baby. A mentally strong mom is what the baby needs. We have enough to deal with once the baby is here.

    • Noodle says:

      @seraphina. Yes yes YES. I was bullied into breastfeeding my first, even though she showed signs of allergy to my milk. The lactation consultant my sister sent over said I wasn’t nursing enough and that’s why she was shutting down. I nursed that baby 24/7. When she wasn’t nursing she was screaming. Then came the day she passed out (we thought from exhaustion) but we couldn’t wake her. We ended up in the ER – she was allergic to something but no one could figure it out. (Note: we still don’t know what she was allergic to because I had given up dairy, corn, wheat, life weeks prior in an attempt to get her to stop crying after she ate). After the hospitalization her pediatrician put her on the hypoallergenic formula and that was it – no more nursing, which relieved me after being forced to nurse 24/7 by consultants and experts who blamed me for her issues. She also stopped screaming and started being a normal baby after nine weeks of pure hell.

      With my third baby, I didn’t gain weight with the pregnancy and there was a lot of concern that I wouldn’t be able to nurse him without losing more weight (and I was already underweight, despite my best efforts during the pregnancy). The pediatrician who came to examine the baby in the hospital asked me if I planned to nurse and I explained my hesitations. Honestly, I was also already pretty traumatized from my experiences nursing my first baby. She took my hand, looked me in the eye, and said so sweetly, “Whatever you choose to do is fine. The baby is fine. The baby is healthy. What the baby needs is food, whether it comes from you or a bottle. Honestly, I didn’t nurse any of my babies. Dr. Pepek (our normal pediatrician but not the one in hospital rotation that day) didn’t guess her babies. They are fine and healthy and smart and great.” That was what I needed to hear.

      • Seraphina says:

        I feel for all women after we give birth. So much to go through mentally, emotionally and for our bodies and to also focus on our well being and the infant’s. It reminded me of how there was a wave years ago about C-Sections and it was being labeled as a negative because it was not vaginal and it did not count as a birthing experience. That one got to me, but then I looked at my kids and myself and thought: I have my children here with me and I am well. Does it really matter if it was vaginal or not???

      • Noodle says:

        @seraphina, all three of my deliveries were c-sections, and I remember that wave of shame as well. Can we just give vulnerable, exhausted women a break?!?!

      • Seraphina says:

        And the saddest part of all is, in my experience, it’s women who are doing the shaming. That blows my mind, instead of helping and encouraging us they come shame us and make us feel inadequate. We preach GIRL POWER and then we beat each other up over formula and C-Sections. WOW is all I can say.

      • Noodle says:

        @seraphina, there’s so much insecurity at that stage, that some moms judge in order to bolster their own self esteem. I’m a pretty confident person who doesn’t get bullied in a lot of situations, but goodness, when that lactation consultant said my kid was screaming because I wasn’t nursing enough, I questioned everything. I wasn’t rational. I really think most new moms struggle with some form of insecurity with a new baby, and it’s totally understandable. You’re exhausted, vulnerable, and terrified that if you don’t do ______ correctly your baby will be forever cursed. How do we deal with that insecurity? Many turn into middle schoolers who build up their own egos to avoid addressing their vulnerabilities. It’s all fear-based, but good luck trying to address that with someone in the midst of it!

    • Murphy says:

      Yeah, when I have my next baby I’m going to leave instructions that I do not want a lactation consultant to set foot in my room. With my first, she came in and grabbed my 12 hour old baby to have me nurse her, when we had both been peacefully sleeping. Then the baby had her first black tar bowel movement on her. Serves her right.

      • Noodle says:

        For women who want their help, the consultants are great. I have found that if they are employed by the hospital, they have less of an agenda than volunteers for organizations within the community. That said, waking up a baby and mom from sleeping because it’s more convenient for them is truly a WTF moment.

    • Brandy Alexander says:

      All these stories make me feel so much better about my experience with the lactation consultant. My son was born early, and was under 5 lbs but perfectly healthy. The nurses kept making a big deal about how small he was and it stressed me out. I tried breastfeeding, but it was not working out, which caused me more stress. Finally, the lactation consultant came in while I was crying about not being able to do it, and told me – I think you should just formula feed him to take the stress off of both of you. I will always appreciate that she didn’t add more pressure to my plate.

      • geekish1 says:

        The same thing happened to me, except my first was born 4 weeks early, right between Christmas and New Years, and there was no lactation nurse on duty. I tried to breastfeed but I had no idea what I was doing, and she was so small (5 lbs) that I was panicking about not giving her enough, so I switched to formula. The second child was born 8 weeks early and had to spend her first month in the NICU being fed by tube because she was too little to suck. I wasn’t even allowed to touch her in the first couple of weeks, so breastfeeding was out. They’re now 32 and 28 and happy and healthy.

  3. Chimes@Midnight says:

    I remember getting pushed into using a bottle for the first time and absolutely crying about it. Its such a personal choice (when it even is a choice) that every parent should be able to make without feeling guilty or ashamed. Formula isnt going to hurt your kid or make them feel less loved. Breastmilk isnt going to make them any worse or better. Love and feed your kid and the right choice is whatever works best for your family.

  4. EMc says:

    I shared this before, but I was absolutely humiliated by the nurse after giving birth to my first child and being unable the breastfeed. My labor was very rough and my blood pressure was very high. I couldn’t get him to latch after a few days and my head was pounding because of my blood pressure and I hadn’t slept, it was my first baby so I had so much anxiety and fear. The nurse came in, reached into my gown and pulled out my breast. She then dribbles formula on my nipple and tried to force him on, squeezing my nipple. I think I was in shock. When I asked for formula because I was literally exhausted and miserable she gave me the big guilt trip about how there is no turning back and y’all know the rest. I was embarrassed and ashamed. Looking back I should have reported her.

    Add to this my closest friend couldn’t have her own child so used a surrogate and didn’t have the option to breastfeed, and I’m pretty passionate about fed is best.

  5. Lauren says:

    A fed baby is the best baby. My mother couldn’t breastfeed me as she didn’t produce enough milk. Grew up just fine with formula. I was a super chubby baby too. This mumshaming has to stop.

    • Züri says:

      100% this. Every woman is different and we should respect everyone’s right to make the right choice for themselves and their babies. Fed is always best.

  6. Kay says:

    I think this is why it’s so important for moms (both normal and celebrity) to live their lives OFF the internet. A statistical minority of babies in America are exclusively breastfed past a few weeks. Formula feeding IS normalized, despite what insta influencers make you think. While the internet can be an amazing tool for connecting, it makes so many people feel shame/inadequacy about all aspects of their lives, especially motherhood.

    ETA: I’m definitely not trying to be dismissive, because I know that people can be huge dicks about everything relating to parenthood. I just think it’s important to remember to ask your REAL friends, since the odds are, most of them have been in a similar, real situation and certainly won’t judge (compared to the internet where everyone is perfect).

    • EMc says:

      While I do agree with the majority of what you say here, I disagree that formula is normalized. Have we as a society come a long way? Absolutely. But you’ll find an army of women who have been made to feel less than or ashamed by choosing not to breastfeed, and recently. By our Healthcare workers, no less. Until those days are over, we have a lot of work to do as a society to support our new mothers.

      • Stephanie says:

        Fed is best. One of the major issues now though is hospitals now getting better ratings if they enforce more breastfeeding resources and discourage formula feeding. When my first was born two years ago we had to practically beg the nurses to give us formula since our baby wasn’t eating and had developed jaundice. I was having a lot of issues with her latching and she would just fall asleep from the effort without eating. The lactation consultants were constantly coming in and forcing baby on the breast causing even more stress. When I had my second a few months ago we decided early on that we would go straight to formula. The hospital staff gave us nasty looks every time they asked if I was breastfeeding and interrogating me on why not. Between this and the new “room in” situations it really makes those couple days in the hospital very stressful for new moms. The mental health of the mother is FAR more important then whether the baby has breast milk or formula (which has far improved quality over the last several decades).

      • Millenial says:

        The two days we stayed in the hospital were horrible. We had to stay a full 48 hours both times. I counted, we had 25 “visits” from various hospital staff in 24 hours. — even during the quiet hours, there was zero sleep or recovery.

        So, it’s super stressful. You are running on no sleep and then the lactation consultants coming in 1-2 times a day getting all up in your business, In my experience, they don’t offer any meaningful advice, they just tell you you’re doing it wrong. With my first, they encouraged me to soldier on with lanolin even though my breasts were cracked and bleeding – that took over two weeks to recover from and my breasts are still scarred five years later. I wish someone had said it was okay to give the baby a paci to give my boobs a break, but that’s a big no-no in “baby friendly” hospitals. Needless to say, I ignored them the second time I had a baby.

    • SomeChick says:

      Sounds to me like it’s the medical establishment rather than the internet that is pressuring women to avoid formula. (Relatives and friends certainly parrot that opinion as well.) Stop going after Chrissy. So she’s not your cup of tea. If you don’t like her, don’t read her. Nothing she is saying here is wrong.

      • MaggieMcG says:

        I agree that formula is not normalized IRL. After labor I had massive internal bleeding and it took one month and three lactation consultants to discover that I couldn’t produce milk since I lost over 1/3 of my blood supply. I felt so much better once I accepted that we would exclusively formula feed, but that didn’t stop family from commenting and strangers on the street asking me what was in my son’s bottle as I was feeding him and going on about how breastmilk is best (this happened two separate times). Fed is best, and people should mind their own damn business.

      • Chris says:

        It’s not like formula development stopped 40 years ago. It’s actually pretty amazing.

        Years ago breastfeeding was frowned upon and women were shamed for it. People expected women to use formula once it was available. My grandmom was shamed for breastfeeding which she did because she was incredibly poor and had 9 kids. Breasts have been so overly sexualized that people are offended by it in public.

        I think ultimately people just like shaming women and making them feel terrible for any choice they make especially if they are prioritizing themselves. Especially when they become mothers because then they stop being individuals in society’s eyes. I think the medical field isn’t exempt from that. I also think that other women aren’t exempt from that. Internalized misogyny is a hell of a drug. It happens over and over again. Working moms vs sahm moms, cry it out vs not cry it out, daycare vs at home, so on and so forth. Leave women alone, they’re entitled to make whatever choice works for them. Like Ali wong pointed out, you have to put your own oxygen mask on first.

    • Kay says:

      A few clarifying points-

      1.) I LOVE Chrissy! I own both her cookbooks, follow her online, and think she’s a delight.

      2.) I think your experience must vary by hospital. Nobody I know who has decided to formula feed (in dozens of hospitals all across the continental US) faced pushy LCs, even at baby friendly hospitals. If your birth plan says you want to nurse, of course they’re going to avoid offering formula. If any medical professional pushes breastfeeding despite indicating you don’t want to do it, they should be reported. On the flip side, I have many friends who very much wanted to exclusively breastfeed and didn’t get the support they needed to make it happen.

      3.) Every single person I know with a baby under age one, breastfeeding or formula feeding, is offered formula samples at every ped visit they go to. Again, it’s 100% possible that there are judgy peds, but report them! Then choose a different one! We are paying them to provide a service, and if they’re not doing their job of helping you achieve a happy and healthy baby, that’s a huge problem.

      4.) Again, I just highly encourage everyone to talk to the people they know in real life, and to do their best to find a care provider that supports them. Well under 50% of US babies are breastfed exclusively at 3 months. Formula feeding, whether exclusively or as a supplement, is literally the norm for most American babies. If friends, care providers, or people on the internet are being jerks, address it.

      People are perfect on the internet, but tend to be a lot more normal and real in real life.

      • MsIam says:

        I agree. The majority of moms in the US are back to work in 12-16 weeks so I think a lot choose to stop breastfeeding at that point. Babies still aren’t ready for an all solid diet so I think most moms are at least supplementing with formula, even if they try to pump during the day.

    • Cookie says:

      Insightful comment! I live in a country where breastfeeding is seen as so important that your employer is required to give you an hour off each day (paid) to breastfeed if you still haven’t weaned by age one. And yet even here it’s super common to use formula and no one looks down on it. Breastfeeding is encouraged from a public health perspective, but beyind that no one really cares. I like Christy, but she’s good at stirring up some faux outrage.

  7. Chlo says:

    Our baby ended up in the NICU 4 days after birth for losing too much weight post-birth and being too cold because he wasn’t eating enough from me, and the nurses and drs told me not to use a bottle and formula because he would get used to it. I knew there was an issue and I should have just given him the formula. (The nurses and drs were otherwise fantastic and I really liked them all but there is def pressure to breastfeed in certain hospitals). Then we supplemented with formula and the drs, nurses and two lactation consultants said “he’ll drop the bottle”. No, his supplements just kept increasing, he was eating 30 minutes from each breast, and I had to pump. Each feeding was taking 1.5-2 hours. And he was at the 2% weight category. I should have just switched to all formula. I did at 16 weeks but my maternity leave would have been more enjoyable without the marathon feedings and worrying about his weight. He’s a healthy, happy little one year old now!

  8. teresa says:

    I’m a little older than you all, and since my kids were born in the late 80’s and early 90’s they were all bottle fed babies. I had to work and there was no stigma around formula. My daughter now has two kids and one was born this year, in July. She was exhausted all the time, trying to pump, care for the baby, take care of her 2 year old. I told her, Boo, cause I still call her that, sweetie, you can feed your baby and keep yourself healthy with formula! He’ll be fine, and fed and you will both feel so much better. I know breast feeding is all the rage, but my god, no wonder women died young before all the modern conveniences were invented. She did take my advice, thankfully. Raising children is hard enough, no need to make it harder!

  9. Meime says:

    I think we need to normalize Fed is Best, for sure. On the flip side of Chrissy’s experience, I was absolutely shamed and made to feel ridiculous for breastfeeding. The comments and the looks I got throughout the first year of my daughter’s life were rude at best and downright mean at other times. I had so many little jabs from family members and coworkers (for simply going in and out of the pumping room,) and really nasty looks and comments from strangers.

    I know some mothers that felt shame for using formula as well, so I know it happens both ways. It’s no one business how you choose to feed your child as long as the child is being fed. Normalize lifting mothers up instead of tearing them down.

    • Millenial says:

      I would agree, there are a-holes who will shame you no matter what you do. You really can’t win. I got so much grief from family in particular for breastfeeding my second until 20 months, even though extended breastfeeding is extremely common in other countries. I formula fed my first after 6 months and I really didn’t get any grief, but I imagine I would have if I started earlier and didn’t try.

      I tend to think breastfeeding is like how many kids society thinks you’re allowed to have. You are “supposed” to breastfeed for 3-6 months tops, then switch to formula, just like you are “supposed” to have 1 boy and 1 girl, exactly 2-2.5 years apart. Deviate from any of that and stupid people will make stupid comments.

    • JJ says:

      Yeah, this whole shaming thing seems to swing around and it so strange. My husband grew up in the 80s Quebec where everyone was told formula only and that they were depriving their kids and/or are gross if they tried to breast feed. There was no cultural option for his mom to breast feed.
      I agree with those above, fed is best! Do whatever works for you!

  10. Teebee says:

    I’m going to take this point one step further.

    If you need formula it should be free.

    I had two babies, and fortunately was able to breastfeed both. But I did need a bit of formula in the beginning with both as well. My first child, we were not very well off, not poor, but definitely at that stage in life as young parents where life was throwing a lot at us all at once. We made it through, as everyone usually does. But I did think how lucky I was to be able to eschew formula and it’s added expense. And it often occurred to me, and still does, how do financially strapped parents continue to do it? Life is hard enough, without having to worry about properly feeding a baby especially in that crucial first year…

    I am all for choice. But considering how expensive formula is, I worry that many mothers and their struggles in general are compounded by an added cost that is not easily handled. That is definitely not a problem that Is discussed enough as well.

    • Nina says:

      100% on this. 25 years ago my one and only baby was allergic to breast milk. As in, she was bleeding internally for the first 6 weeks of her life before we figured out all the crying was pain. She had to go on a prescription formula that was >$20 per can. I remember the panic I felt because … $20 a can and my baby is bleeding. Then the relief when the docs told me there was a program that would supply it free. I’m crying as I type this. Please make formula free.

      • Teebee says:

        Oh Nina, I’m sorry to bring up a difficult memory. And how horrible to have such an ordeal when so many things can overwhelm a mother… I do hope everything is good now, but the fact it’s still an emotional trigger, I just can’t imagine and send much support and hugs. ❤️

    • Amy Too says:

      WIC paid for my baby’s formula but it was difficult to get to all the appointments and I’m so grateful I had a car. You had to go once a month at least, sometimes more often, and you had to bring your baby with you each time. The appointments were in the middle of the day so if you worked or had to go to school, I don’t know how you’d make it. I was a part time college student and it was still difficult, I would sometimes have to miss class to go to the appointment, or have to leave early so I could go pick up baby from daycare and then bring him with me to the appointment and then drop him back off at daycare before going back to school. But I got the WIC coupons that gave us a certain amount of free formula and then regular milk and peanut butter and cereal and stuff once baby was eating solid foods. It was a pain in the butt to A) find out how to get in the program and B) access those resources and make it to the appointments, and I assume that a lot of the truly, very, very poor who don’t have transportation or who are working sometimes multiple full time jobs can’t make it work.

  11. Southern Fried says:

    Hells bells she’s got a photo booth at home. Fun.

  12. Cat says:

    ugh, the guilt I felt with my first baby and formula!I breastfed her exclusively for the first six months including two months of pumping after I went back to work and one day I couldn’t pump enough milk and I was gone for a long time and I had to give a bottle of formula. I felt awful. Now with my second child, who turns 8 months this week, as I’ve been working from I’ve been able to breastfeed with much more ease and have not given him formula yet. But whenever I might need to do it I will, without any trouble. Chrissy is right, fed IS best.

  13. Chris says:

    Moms are doing the best they can and your baby is healthiest when they’re fed. People shamed my mom in the early 90s for breastfeeding because it seemed hippy-ish and people have over sexualized breasts. I had a professor claim that not being able to breastfeed is made up and all women MUST breastfeed. This seems to be in the cultural zeitgeist now. No one should be shaming moms for doing either. I’m baffled why when women become mothers everyone thinks they become public property open to the instruction from friends and strangers alike. A mom’s mental health is important, she should do what works for her and everyone else can shove it.

  14. Rhiannon L Evans says:

    Once when my daughter was about two weeks old, I sat sobbing, half-naked, hooked up to a $500 breast pump for hours begging God that something, anything would come out. I felt so much guilt and shame. It took several friends and family to help me deprogram from the “breast is best” mantra that barrage pregnant women. I felt that I had fundamentally failed my child before her life barely began. 16 years later she is tall, strong, brilliant, and rarely gets sick. It ended up for the best because as a single working mom there was no way I could keep up the rigors of pumping at work.

  15. Bevbimsley says:

    Tbh I’m probably going to use formula because I don’t want to lose my body. My mom really shamed me for this but most of my friend’s feel the same way. I agree with Christy, I don’t think the reason matters at all because the choice is all the same and it’s personal to me

    • Chris says:

      I think people expect women to be complete martyrs to motherhood. The truth is that a mom’s mental health probably has a greater influence on a baby than whether they’re breastfed or not. I’m currently pregnant and I’ll breastfeed unless it doesn’t work out and I disagree with your mom. You do you.

    • Peet33 says:

      I’m not here to shame anybody WHATSOEVER but you do know that your body will get wrecked anyway as a result of just being pregnant? As well as all the other more obvious changes to your body the breasts will fill up with colostrum (& get bigger & potentially ‘stretch out’) regardless of whether or not you plan to breastfeed so unless you planning on using a surrogate it’s not really going to make a great deal of difference as to how you end up feeding them because boobs just aren’t the same following pregnancy, trust me!. Also breastfeeding burns a tonne of calories so there’s that if you were thinking about your body post pregnancy…If anyone simply does not want to breastfeed however then that’s their choice & it should respected. Happy mum happy baby!

      Full disclosure I am currently typing this whilst nursing my one year old. I breastfed both my kids & absolutely adored it but I know it’s not for everyone and my heart breaks reading all these stories of women who struggled and were made to feel awful. I’m in the UK and we don’t have ‘lactation consultants’ in hospitals but I did struggle in the beginning with both of mine and got help from local breastfeeding support groups (my son had a tongue tie we had to get fixed, my daughter I just couldn’t get her latch right) but we got there in the end. I think another factor is obviously having a lengthy maternity leave so I’ve never had to pump all hours of the day and night like many American mums end up doing (good thing because both of mine refused bottles as it is). My Christmas wish is to get rid of guilt and shame for all new mothers and for everyone, regardless of breast or formula feeding, get the help and support they need.

  16. Marigold says:

    I hated breastfeeding. Hated it. I really tried and ended up pumping for a month. But there are few things that I have hated more. It caused a lot of stress during an already stressful time.

    • HeatherC says:

      I hated it too and my son and I struggled with it. The lactation consultant was no help either, she acted like I wasn’t even trying. Then I switched to pumping and honestly I felt like a cow hooked up to a milking machine. Dealing with post partum depression and feeling like a barn animal? I took a pass from that and bottle fed him. He turned out fine and has never been seriously ill. I was able to enjoy his first year as well as soon as I released myself from expectations I couldn’t meet.

  17. Mel says:

    Never was interested in breast-feeding, 3 babies, all bottle fed, 2 honor students ,1 okay student 1 daddy’s boy 2 Mama’s boys. They’re all fine. Fed is best, you don’t need to breastfeed your child to bond with them, just love them and pay attention to them.

  18. StormsMama says:

    I loved breastfeeding but I had a hard time a beginning and then got mastitis several times with both my kids.
    I found there was a lot of shame and guilt and negativity directed toward me for breastfeeding.
    I think what it comes down to is people feel they have the right to say whatever they want to women. And mother’s especially.
    You’re disgusting if you breastfeed – or lazy if you formula feed.
    Of course those people all claim to know Best but they don’t know you or your life.
    And it’s your baby.
    Ultimately you have to find what works for you and baby.

    • Chris says:

      Agreed, I think people just like a reason to hate on women. If it’s not breastfeeding it’s something else.

      • MotherOfDragon says:

        This so much. I have a high need baby and I breastfed her for a long time. Worker for us, it was a lovely but soo exhausting, I didn’t sleep for 1,5y because she wants the boob all The time. She never adjusted to me, I tried everything for a couple of weeks untill I realized that I have to adjust to her or it will be a fight all The time. It helped, my life got a bit easier and I accepted that my motherhood is Just a bit more demanding. My baby was happy, I was happy. Nevertheless, I Heard comments and good advice all The time and it drove me Crazy. „She manipulates you” (3 month old), „just give formula” (I tried ALL available formulas, maaaany different bottles and my girl would rather be hungry than drink it). I won’t even mention comments like „Oh she won’t do this here!” when I tried to breastfeed in public and I always tried to be descreet. I also rocked my baby to sleep, carried her as much as she wanted because otherwise she would just never stop crying and I wasn’t going to find out how long before she gives up. Long post because she is three and I remember feeling alienated and not understood vividly. And I also lost my supposed best friend because she was so annoyed that I wasn’t the cool mom living my life as before only taking my baby with me to cafees. What I know now is that you never know what a parent is dealing with and as long as baby is taken care of and happy I shut up and don’t comment or offer unsolicited advice and I wish more people would realize that. Mothers have it hard enough, we should just stop pretending we know what’s best for other pepoples’ kids and families. Formula, breastfeeding, cosleeping, it is all not our damn business.

  19. MVD says:

    I feel like this is starting to get absurd. How did we get to this place? Fed is better than not fed but breast milk is undoubtedly best. I don’t think that means anyone is shaming anybody over it. If you want to talk about shaming people, let’s talk about abortion.

  20. Sugarskulls2000 says:

    I always had to supplement my son, never produced enough to grow him alone. I live in the Bay Area and you could have heard a pin drop when I would occasionally whip a bottle out. Oh shit people would come at me. Every time someone would feel compelled to explain to me the evils of formula. This was 14 years ago and it was insane. He was a tiny baby too, not on the weight chart until he was 2 so people would simultaneously shame me for formula supplementing AND having a non chubby baby. It was awful and pointless and made me feel like shit all the time. Fast forward 14 years later, he is almost 6 feet tall and smart as hell, no regrets.

  21. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Not only formula feeding but c-sections. I had to have three C’s. THREE. And I have been told, numerous times, I’m not a full woman or mother. That my deliveries weren’t natural and therefore my experiences are essentially moot. 😐

    • Jaded says:

      Jeezuz H Mabs! I’m not a mom but I’m horrified that these know-it-all, sanctimonious twats don’t understand that there are valid reasons for a C-section. What if your cervix doesn’t dilate, what if the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, what if it’s in a breech position? I’ve known women who had these issues and unless a section is done dire things can happen to both mom and baby.

      • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

        Yeah, the first C happened after my hospital room looked like a scene from Saw. My hips were not built for natural delivery, and I would’ve died right alongside my first kiddo. BUT. After the anesthesiologist successfully coaxed me out of my nightmare, I was awake to see the little bugger before he was whisked away. And because the next two births were scheduled, I got to hold and bond before passing out lol.

  22. Lindsey says:

    If a woman cannot produce milk there should be no shame in formula or supplementing with formula—I did the latter at times with my second. But it is not responsible to suggest breastfeeding is something to give up on casually or because “biting”. Lactation consultants exist to help us get through those moments. Experts agree there are many benefits to breastfeeding (for mom and baby) and in my experience with my babies it only gets easier over the first couple months.

  23. Cleo says:

    How about don’t be a dick, and maybe we should just trust moms?

    I had breast cancer. I’m pretty sure the shrew that tried to shame me for not breast-feeding has never climbed out of the hole she climbed into when I was done with her.

  24. El says:

    Yes, a fed baby is best and a less stressed out mom is best. So often we find something that works for us and project that experience on others. My breastfeeding experience was mostly positive, but I’ve seen so many moms contort themselves to produce milk or breastfeed because of the guilt and judgement. If every moms experience would be like mine, sure I would promote it. But it is different each time. There are so many aspects of parenting that don’t turn out as planned but it is different for everyone. Motherhood has enough built-in guilt I hate to add in more, especially when emotions and hormones are so wrapped up in all of it.

  25. detritus says:

    Excellent post, Hecate. And definitely a topic that needs to be discussed.

    Not sure if this is a thing or just my small sample size, but the last few adamant breast is best people I’ve met have been men.

    Fully comfortable telling women that they’ve hurt their child and made him dumber (seriously) by not breast feeding.

  26. Lunasf17 says:

    Sorry to hear so many formula moms are being shamed. Formula fed is way more common that breast feeding after the first few weeks or so i thought?! Especially since so many women need to get back to work and pumping is a pain in the ass. I’m currently weening my 18 month old (we’re down to one feeding a day!) and I feel a little guilty but also ready (I live in a crunchy town where breastfeeding till 3 is totally common). Breastfeeding wasn’t too bad for me (literally took three different lactation consultants at first and some tears). I like that it’s free and no extra bottles to wash but I also envy formula moms who can pass the baby off to dad or whoever and have some space. Parenting is hard enough without the shaming.

    • Sunnydaze says:

      Thank you for mentioning the cost!!! I would have LOVED to breastfeed my twins, but after NICU stays and stress I just wasn’t producing ..so formula it was. We make too much to qualify for assistance and when we needed hypoallergenic it was a tier 3 and we had to meet a $1500 deductible for each baby….so $3000 before insurance would lift a finger. Not to mention the actual formula we needed was around $30 a can that lasted only a few days. Normalize formula feeding AND please shed some light on how excruciating it can be trying to find the right one, then pay for it

      • Gippy says:

        @Sunnydaze same! My twins weren’t in NICU long. I nursed some but never could meet the demand. They both needed liquid formula and eventually B needed specialty formula $$$. Sooo expensive I truly with formula could be free or discounted up to a year for families.

  27. Lively says:

    Out of the 6 of us my mum only breastfed 1. I’ve watched my friend struggle to produce milk, who would shame a mother trying to do her best?
    it’s it doctors or you’re average joe??

    • Kate says:

      It’s both and honestly a lot of shame comes from within because there is so much pressure to do everything right and not just keep your baby alive and growing but to do it the BEST way. Even hearing another mom saying “oh I breastfed my babies for a year” can turn into “you’re not doing as much for your baby as you could if you don’t breastfeed your baby for a year” inside a stressed out mom’s head. Moms need way more “you’re doing great!” from people and less questions and comparisons and rules.

  28. Caz says:

    I am still happily feeding my 8 month old. I only managed about 2 weeks with his 2 year old big sister. I found out about 6 months ago she has lip tie, no wonder her latch was dreadful. I had bleeding nipples from day 2, it was agony, and she ended up with low blood sugar day 3 due to lack of milk (i had been begging for bottle to supplement her since the day before, took me the whole day to convince a nurse something was wrong). I couldn’t seem to satisfy her and the fear was just awful, no one should feel bad about choosing to make sure baby is fed. The anxiety stayed with me for months after that.
    Feeding her brother just worked day 1, and i love love doing it and I get why the breastfeeding evangelists try to convince women to keep going. When it works it’s a dream! But i have been on both sides and no one will ever hear a word for me about choosing or needing to formula feed, it isn’t always the lovely cuddly experience and mother and baby benefit from the security of bottle feeding.

  29. SmalltownGirl says:

    I nursed my first two for a year but my daughter was a preemie and she never latched well and my milk never came in and I hated pumping. I made it to four months and gave up, unable to physically handle any more. But I rememevr the intense shame and pressure I felt, especially to pump while she was in NICU.

  30. Kate says:

    Reading some comments above about how breastfeeding and formula advice has changed over the decades makes me think this whole breastfeeding vs. formula debate is an extension of diet culture. “Experts” overthink and create rules around what a woman “should” do and those rules get spread around via slogans and campaigns with no nuance. Carbs are bad, count your calories, breast is best. Listen to the experts don’t listen to your body. Sure, plenty of women end up doing whatever works better for them and their babies, but by going against the rules of the moment it feels like an act of defiance. Like something you have to explain to people to seek reassurance.

  31. StrawberryBlonde says:

    I tried breastfeeding when my now 21 month old was a newborn. He had a good latch and he got his colostrum. But he was very jaundiced and at his 3 day check up the doctor said his jaundice needed to go away by 1 week or he would need to go into hospital. I was BF’ing around the clock and pumping (with nothing for my effort other than feeling like a cow). I was sore, tired, anxious and worried about how skinny and yellow he was. Then on day 5 or so I realized he hadn’t had a wet diaper in 24 hours or so. In a panic I told my husband we needed to give him some formula. Luckily we had some premixed in the cupboard. Baby boy greedily sucked it down. We luckily had a Britax Pro so set that up. I tried BF with supplemental formula for a little while but I never really produced much of anything. So I finally just gave up and we did 100% formula. I felt some guilt but I also knew my brother and I were formula fed in 1979 and 1982 and we turned out just fine. Formula is a lot different than it was 40 years ago! I felt relief when I finally made the decision to give up BF. My husband could feed the baby too. We could see exactly how many ounces he was getting. He started to get pink and plump.

    I did feel guilt and shame even though I KNOW fed is best. I had one lactation consultant on the phone who was awesome and understanding and agreed with our choice to switch to formula. Another in person made me feel like a failure.

    I would say 1/3 of my friends who had kids the same year as me used formula. The rest breastfed. Some still do at nearly 2 years. Many of them struggled with mastitis, scarred, bleeding, raw nipples, biting etc. On the other hand they didn’t have to wash bottles or pay for formula. Personally I wasn’t too invested in the idea of BF. I wanted to try it but was prepared for it not to work, since I knew my mom also had problems with it.

    Fed is definitely best and I think we very much have to take the mother’s mental health into account. Once I stopped BF my anxiety decreased. I was also able to have a little more flexibility in what meds I took for my PPD.

  32. RedWeatherTiger says:

    I didn’t breastfeed any of my three babies…because I simply did not want to.

    I never tried. The first one was a 34-week preemie who spent a week in the NICU, but I had no plans to breastfeed him anyway. I did have mild regret with the first one, but it was not enough to make me do it with babies 2 or 3. I cannot imagine even being able to admit to that if I were having them now, as every formula story now seems required to have an “I tried!” component…as if not trying makes you a monster. Well, I am that monster!

    2/3 of my kids are college graduates with productive, creative lives. The 3rd is a college senior, also with a productive, creative life. They survived me and my selfishness.

    • HeatherC says:

      My mother didn’t even consider breast feeding my brother and I. We turned out fine, made it to adulthood, families of our own, reasonably well adjusted educated tax paying law abiding citizens. Go Mom! And Dad!

  33. Jane Doe says:

    I live in Canada. I had midwifery care and obstetrical care as part of a universal health care system and one year maternity leave as part of employment insurance. The midwife’s postpartum home visits helped me successfully breastfeed my babies. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but at least I wasn’t trying to breastfeed while also working, which is super tough.

    For women that would like to breastfeed, it’s incredibly unfair to tell them to figure it out when they haven’t got access to a culture, universal healthcare or employment benefits system that supports them in focusing on their babies during that first six months or year instead of needing to return to paid work and deal with paying insurance bills from giving birth too.

  34. Amy says:

    Hi! Do whatever you want to do. The baby will be fine. Since there are so many people here slamming breastfeeding, I’ll just chime in to say that I loved it. I did it twice, found it effortless, and it sure was easier that making formula in the middle of the night. I was repeatedly shamed in public, though, including by a woman who screamed at me that nobody wanted to see my “fat with t*t” and two different daycare centers — one of which told me to sit in a storage closet to feed my child — and I was even taken to a back room at a medical center when I had to go to physical therapy with my newborn in hand — I was told that breastfeeding there would “make other patients uncomfortable.” I was offered formula at the hospital, was told I’d probably need it, so it seemed pretty normalized to me. Statistically, my experience of public shaming is super common.

  35. paranormalgirl says:

    When I was having problems producing enough milk for my twins, I had a lactation nurse come in and tell me the psychological harm I was doing to my spawn by not being able to breast feed. I was all like “yes, please tell me all about psychology.” Jackass. Babies bond just as well with bottle feeding as with breast feeding. It’s the closeness and the action of the feeding that matters, not so much the source of the nutrition (physician specializing in psychiatry and family medicine here)

  36. PiscesSunshineG says:

    It’s silly to me only because formula feeding is already normalized. She’s an articulate woman so she knows a better phrasing would have been, each mother should make the right choice for herself and her family. Breast is optimal but formula is a perfectly fine alternative.

    • Cookie says:

      Exactly. These types of comments end up doing the exact opposite of what they claim to want to achieve. Both are normalized, its fine.

  37. Keroppi says:

    Add my story to the pile!

    I was all set on breastfeeding, but it wasnt to be. My son was born 2.5 weeks early, was tongue-tied and jaundiced. And by day 4 had lost about 11% of his birth weight. The doctors were very concerned. They suggested supplementing with formula in addition to breastfeeding. I was also on medication to increase milk production, but its very hard on your heart.

    The doctors didnt give me a hard time, but I remember in the Mommy and me group that I had joined, I was the only one using both breastfeeding and a bottle and I would get some looks.

    I finally had to give myself permission to stop breastfeeding at 3 months because it was really affecting my mental health and attachment with my son. I definitely felt like a failure because my body couldnt do what it was supposed to.

  38. Marion says:

    I breastfed (for a month) my first-born, had tons of milk and still wasn’t comfortable with breastfeeding because everybody has an opinion and needs to share it, which can be quite confusing when you’re a new mom. I stopped breastfeeding, to everyone’s regret, and the very first time I gave formula to my son was the first time I really felt as a real mum. Because it was MY choice and I felt good, relaxed and relieved. This is when I first felt this connection with my son. For my second child, I decided not to breastfeed and still had huge boobs filled with milk, I was once tempted to breastfeed her, but I stuck to formula and I never regreted it. But I very often got mom-shamed about that, even if in France formula seems more “accepted” than in some other countries (even if it is becoming less and less accepted here, too).

  39. Gippy says:

    This! I’ve always been a fan of Chrissy, even tho she can be over the top at times, lately I outright love her and her comments – plus her food is yummy! Did IVF to have my twins, modified bedrest at 28weeks, c-section at 37weeks, post birth blood pressure issues for weeks, short NICU stay, and what traumatized me most from all that (okay maybe the years of being infertile) and one I’m working on not regretting is using formula. I was a lucky one, nursing was very encouraged but I was told to supplement with formula from the start. I think the lactation consultants made it worse – I managed to increase my supply from 5oz to 18oz a day on my own following tips I found online. Still 18oz was never enough for twins and at 4lbs they couldn’t nurse long, we made it about 14weeks. There were sweet moments but I never loved it, supply and lack of sleep and hormones. I wished there’d been less pressure on me in the beginning, we may have made it longer.

  40. Hello Kitty says:

    The current push towards breastfeeding comes from the WHO and American Academy of Pediatrics updated recommendations to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months and continue through the babies first year. Unfortunately, I’ve heard some healthcare providers and lacerations specialists have an aggressive approach to this and treat it as some kind of divine decree rather than what it is, a recommendation.

    Every one has to do what is best for them. I exclusively breastfed for the first six months but honestly because that was simpler and easier for me. The alleged benefits to my child was a plus too. I switched to a combo of breastmilk and formula after that and felt not a shred of guilt over giving my child formula.

    I have friends who chose never to breastfeed or could not breastfeed and I support them fully. How dare anyone shame a mother feeding their child whatever version of milk they so choose! I bet all these mommy shamers are finger wagging over breastmilk while eating fast food themselves lol

  41. holly hobby says:

    My sister’s kids are a good 10 years older than mine. When she had my niece and nephew, she got sample formula from the hospital (including a nifty free bag – can’t say no to a free bag!). Flash forward when I had my first, the same hospital flat out refused to offer formula samples to me. They told me they were a “breastfeeding hospital.” Luckily, a nice nurse found a bag with samples for me.

    I was able to breastfeed my oldest for a few weeks before I went back to work. With my second, the milk did not come through. Both my kids were mostly bottlefed and there was nothing wrong with them.

    I hate the judgey-mcjudgersons. What’s good for you may not be good for someone else. A well fed baby is the ultimate goal.

  42. Pandora says:

    When my son was 3 days old we found I wasn’t making enough breast milk. I was still making just drops and he wasn’t making wet diapers. We used formula for 24 hours and then my breast milk finally came in on day 4. If I didn’t use formula he would have ended up in the hospital on an IV. So – yes, fed is best and formula is there when the situation calls for it.

  43. Velvet Elvis says:

    I didn’t breastfeed either one of my kids. Never even tried, never wanted to. That was back in the 80s when formula feeding seemed to be the expectation rather than breast feeding, so I was never met with disapproval from anyone in or out of the hospital. They gave me pills to dry up my milk and that was that. Both of my kids turned out normal and healthy. People need to stop pressuring mothers and let them choose their own motherhood path.

  44. Kate says:

    I had an emergency c-section with my first at 26.5 weeks, and due to her extreme prematurity and my health issues, I never made enough milk nor would she ever latch. I did pump enough to supply her throughout her 3mo NICU stay plus 6mo after she came home (I had about a half supply). But the looks and comments I got from strangers when I took out a bottle from “well meaning strangers”. I was reduced to tears a number of times – already anxious and feeling like an worthless mommy for not being able to carry my sweet girl to term. And the lingering developmental concerns associated with her prematurity on top of that – that, you know, *breastfeeding would totally address* if only I would try a little harder. Thanks. Just what a vulnerable, emotional, traumatized woman needs to hear.
    Flash forward three years to my son. Planned c-section. I didn’t have a choice because my prior delivery was emergency…which was shocking how many people encouraged me to find a different dr (until I showed them my scar – because if you are going to talk about and have opinions about my parts, I’m gonna show you!). Now, my son was a big fat baby who LOVED TO NURSE. Having an active three year old, we went everywhere. Baby needs to eat…and I tried to be modest, but golly – the comments, the creepy men, people literly TOUCHING ME WHILE I NURSED – mothers can’t win. It is ridiculous.
    Oh and my amazing NICU baby did decide she wanted to nurse. I nursed her and baby brother for 15 months. Because yes, I nursed a 3/4 year old. Even my hubby gave me heck for this, but you know what? She loved it, he had plenty and I enjoyed the bonding.
    Feed is best, you do you, support other mommies, and totally agree with the above comment about making forumla free <3

  45. Mina_Esq says:

    There is a special place in hell for mommy shamers, those salty bi*ches that enjoy making a tough time even tougher for new mothers. If you want or need to rely on formula, that’s between you and your baby.

  46. Winterforever says:

    I was on bed rest and almost died 3 x during my pregnancy and once the baby was out I was no longer able to give anything else from my body. I didn’t even try. I spent a good amount of money on gray market organic German formula. My tiny little preemie loved it and grew to be the chubbiest little chonk. Mothers really need to do what’s best for them and their babies. Oh and I had a c section so I guess I don’t get any of the full birth experience awards. I was never a Joiner anyway. My award was both of us being alive and healthy.