The commonly accepted idea that breast milk is best for a nursing child put new mom Sydney Loney in an awkward position. Unable to continue breastfeeding her daughter, she endured the common guilt and shame that accompanies bottle-feeding.
I have a confession to make: I feed Maggie, my nine-month-old daughter, formula. When we go to our mom and baby yoga class, I’m the one in the back, fumbling in my diaper bag for a bottle and trying to mask the sound of the can opening with a strategically timed cough.
Then, I hunch my back and curve protectively around the two of us, trying to hide the bottle in my daughter’s mouth from the eyes of breastfeeding moms around me. Although no one has ever frowned at me, or told me outright that I’m a bad mother, I know many of them are thinking it. I know it for a fact—because I used to think it, back in the days when I was one of those breastfeeding moms with my first child. I was always careful not to stare or show any outward signs of disapproval, but I admit that seeing someone else bottle-feeding made me feel slightly superior. And, yes, I sometimes thought, “maybe she didn’t try hard enough.”
Ah, karma. So now I know what it’s like to be the only mother in the room who isn’t nursing her baby. I worry that perhaps I’ve already failed my daughter in some way and that my son, Charlie, will be healthier, stronger and smarter—according to books I’ve read—because I breastfed him….
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This article and other hot button topics including infidelity, teaching morality in schools, sex, lying to your kids and how TV and video games are actually good for your kids are all in the April 2010 issue on newsstands March 15th.