The Mommy Wars

For some reason, the world of mothering appears to be divided on one major issue – how we feed our children. This is where we (as the writers of The Mommy Dialogues) stand on this issue:

We are pro-breastfeeding.
This does not mean that we are anti-formula, that we think formula is poison, or that we look down on mothers who formula feed. This means that we know that breastfeeding is hard. We know that as a culture we have lost generations of breastfeeding knowledge and that it is so hard to get that back. We have all breastfed and three of us have formula fed. We know that not all moms breastfeed and we aren’t here to judge your reasons for doing so. We just want to support breastfeeding mothers and to help mothers who are trying and struggling with breastfeeding. We respect all mothers who care for and nurture their children, regardless of how they feed them. We aren’t International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, but we do have experience and will gladly share that with anyone and everyone who wants it.

We support breastfeeding anytime anywhere.
Moms don’t nurse in public to show off their big veiny mammary glands, I can assure you. They nurse in public because their babies got hungry in public. Just as it is completely acceptable for a mother to feed her child a bottle in a public place, it is also acceptable for a mother to breastfeed her child in a public place. If she prefers a cover, and the child allows it, she can certainly nurse covered, but we specifically support nursing without a cover in order to help normalizing breastfeeding.

We support normalizing breastfeeding.
We want people to not think twice when they see a mother sitting on a park bench feeding her baby. We publicly share breastfeeding photos to help support this cause. We are not “showing off” our breastfeeding skills, but trying to show other mothers that breastfeeding is okay. Mothers should not be ashamed of breastfeeding. We do not believe that feeding a baby in any way is a private thing. It is a beautiful, special, bonding thing, but it should never occur in bathrooms for it to be acceptable.

We support supporting each other.
Not all moms choose to breastfeed or are successful at it, but we are all trying to do the best that we can. Putting each other down for the way we feed our children undermines our own dignity and defeats the cause of breastfeeding education. The same is true for formula-feeding mothers who judge and try to shame mothers who breastfeed, share breastfeeding photos, or breastfeed in public places. We believe in mothering, unity, and mutual respect.

We are sick of the mommy wars and would like to put a stop to them.
So for our next photo sharing venture we would love you to share pictures of how you feed your baby. Tell us why you love feeding your child in a sentence or two (no reasons for why you feed this way, just what you love about these moments) and use the hashtag #tmdfeedmybaby on Instagram (themommydialogues) or Twitter (@mommy_dialogues). If you would prefer to be anonymous, you can email geneva@themommydialogues.com with your photo. Photos will be accepted until August 12 and all entries (that follow the rules) will be up shortly after.

The rules are:
Picture must be of a feeding baby.
You are not allowed to put yourself down.
You are not allowed to put others down.
Comments that put others down will be deleted and commenter will be blocked.

We believe that whether you feed your child milk or formula, from a breast or a bottle, that feeding your baby in public is always acceptable. We hope you feel that way too and we are excited to share this project with you.

#tmdfeedmybaby

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  1. Devina -  August 6, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    Yes, yes, yes! The mommy wars have got to stop! Not just in the area of feeding our children by bottle or breast…but organic vs. non-organic, how we educate our children, how we attachment parent or not, etc. It’s not worth the division among the people around us.

  2. Tracey -  August 6, 2012 - 7:00 pm

    I admit I am guilty of this on occasion. But mostly because I have had to fight to breastfeed successfully. It upsets me when people don’t give it a solid effort. I also try to remember my friend who battled mastitis and ended up having to have an infection “surgically removed” and could not keep bf after 4 months. I felt so bad for her. So I try to remember when I see ff I don’t know their reason and it’s not really my business.

    • Jessica Murphy -  August 6, 2012 - 9:24 pm

      Tracey, I felt the same way for a long time, but I think that the answer isn’t villifying moms who formula feed, but working at creating a stronger support system. If breastfeeding is more “normal,” it won’t be such a big deal. If moms know that cluster feeding, breasts not being engorged, not pumping 6oz at a time, and growth spurts are all normal things, then they won’t feel the need to supplement or to switch over to formula. It breaks my heart when a breastfeeding mom asks for support and then 9 out of 10 people say “it’s ok to supplement.” It is ok to supplement, but that probably isn’t what she needs.
      I faced criticism from the secondary pediatrician in my pedi’s office when I told him I was exclusively pumping. He was very pro-breastfeeding and told me that it just wasn’t the same. Obviously it was not, but I was so upset that instead of offering support or asking me what was going on, he just told me that breast was best and that bottles weren’t as good. I was working my ass off to exclusively pump and I needed to hear that it was worth it, that I was doing a good thing, and he tore me down. I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if I was formula feeding.
      The moral: motherhood is hard. We need to be gentle to one another and support each other along this bumpy road.

      • Tracey -  August 6, 2012 - 10:25 pm

        I agree and like I said, I don’t know everyones situation and it’s not my business. I know I am very lucky to have the support I’ve had since day one. One of the nurses I had in the hospital was a long time family friend who helped me tremendously. She spent hours in my room. My sister is also an L&D nurse who had her own struggles with bf and even if I had wanted to give up she wouldn’t have let me. My sister doing what she does, is good friends with the midwife who delivered my niece, and I was able to talk to her and she gave me great advice and told me I could do it. You specifically helped me, and I can never thank you enough! I have learned so much from the IG mamas. I also have a great supportive husband and family. I know not everyone is that lucky. If I hadn’t had so many knowledgable and supportive people helping me I would have thought my bf career was over at 7 weeks. I’m beyond thankful and grateful it wasn’t.

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