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Bottle-feeding: sometimes, there is no other option

bottlefeedingnoption.jpgI will never forget when my younger son was an infant and I was advised to stop breast-feeding him. He was only three weeks old. I had to wean him, due to his digestive problems but even more so, to my own medical issues and a necessary medication that I had to take which passed through my breast milk. I recall quite vividly an encounter with a few other mothers in the baby-bottle aisle at Babies ‘R Us. We guilt-ridden, bottle feeding mamas each explained our reasons for not breast-feeding. I learned that there are innumerable stories behind women’s decisions and needs to bottle-feed and went on to face a world in which some breast-feeding moms can be quite judgmental.

Some of the medical reasons to opt for formula-feeding, as in my situation, are various medical conditions which require that mothers take medication which, unfortunately, is unsafe for nursing babies. Some women’s breast tissue does not have an adequate number or network of milk ducts and they simply cannot
produce enough milk to nourish a baby. For some, breast-feeding is so painful that their breasts are extremely irritated, crack and even bleed, leading to the difficult decision to switch to the bottle. Past breast surgeries, as in the case of a friend of mine who had enormous, out-of-proportion breasts as a teenager, was self-conscious and had breast-reduction surgery, often lead to the inability to breast feed later. And finally, a delicate and different sort of problem is when a woman has a history of prior abuse, usually of a sexual nature. The issues and feelings which arise for a woman with such a past can complicate her moods and emotions relating to breast-feeding. It may be psychologically “healthier” for such a woman to bottle-feed.

This is just a short-list. I’m sure I’m not even aware of every scenario out there. I truly hope that those who frown upon the many mothers who can not and do not breast feed will think about all of this when they see a mother lovingly feed her baby a bottle and realize that she is likely doing her very best for
her child.

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