Between the two of us, the Salty Mamas have breastfed 4 out of 5 kids. But if you lined all 5 of them up, you’d never be able to pick out the one that was Team Bottle. Despite all the warnings I received about the myriad things my child would miss out on if I “gave up” on breastfeeding, my firstborn seems to be doing just fine. Which isn’t to say that I wasn’t absolutely terrified of what I now know are breastfeeding myths. Cole and I are proof positive that you can survive – and thrive – on bottles and formula. Here are some of the myths about breastfeeding that I am thrilled to debunk for you.
Breastfeeding forms a better bond that formula feeding.
This is the myth that stressed me out the most. Everyone made it seems that some magical bond literally came out of your breast and connected to your child forever. Anything else would basically ensure that you should start putting money in a savings account right now for the therapy your kid will need later. Since this one scared me the most, it’s also the myth that I like to scream from the rooftops, “THIS ISN’T TRUE!!!!”
Cole and I are so incredibly bonded. He’s my little buddy, my tiny best friend, my snuggler, my confidant, my baby book club, and I cannot imaging that it would be possible for me to be any more bonded to him. And while he might need therapy for other parenting decisions I’ve made, I’m sure it won’t have anything to do with how he got his food in the first year of his life.
Breastfeeding is the only way to really focus on your child.
Sure, breastfeeding ensures that YOU are the one feeding your child, but focus? I BEG to differ. Practically speaking, with my son, I needed to use both hands to feed him. One arm lovingly cradled him while the other held the bottle. Now, did I sometimes watch Real Housewives while feeding him? Sure! But you know what I never did? Played Candy Crush on my phone – because I didn’t have a free hand.
With my daughters however, I had one hand totally free thanks to the sheer convenience of my boob being attached to me. I could read on my Kindle, scroll through Facebook, and yes, play Candy Crush. And not to come off as a total Mom-shamer, but I see this all the time – the perfect Mom with her exclusively breast fed baby staring lovingly at….their phone. Which is fine by me, I did it too, but let’s not worry Mother’s that don’t breastfeed that they won’t be focused on their kid.
Breastfeeding is natural contraception!
NO. It’s NOT. PLEASE don’t believe this one. Especially if you don’t want to get pregnant again. Not that anyone in my house has ever ended up with a “whoops” baby, but hypothetically speaking, you could get to spend a lot of time coming to terms with your pregnancy with
Izzie your next baby.
“But Christine, I haven’t gotten my period yet! So I can TOTALLY use breastfeeding as natural contraception.” Again, let me should at you with my caps on: YES YOU CAN. According to Baby Center, fewer than 2 in 100 women become pregnant while exclusively breastfeeding. But those odds can quickly change when your baby starts sleeping through the night and is therefore nursing less, for example. So just to be on the safe side, don’t ever fall for this one.
Breastfed babies are happier.
I mean, who doesn’t want a happy baby? I do! I do! So imagine my surprise when my “EBF” daughter was nicknamed Grumpy Cat. (Photo for evidence).
Now don’t worry, I’m not going to use my one daughter as proof of anything (or my statistics professors would possibly revoke my degree). But I am going to argue that a Mom that’s totally stressed out over breastfeeding isn’t what’s going to produce a happy kid. Environmental factors play a great part in how happy and well adjusted our kids are. And Moms are a huge part of a kids environment. You know the saying “Happy Wife, Happy Life”? Yeah, well it goes for kids too.
So rather than totally stress out new mothers and tell them there’s one right way to do things and then berate them when it’s not working, how about we support them instead? Let’s help new moms be relaxed and comfortable. Let’s help them be supported no matter how they feed their baby. Because when moms are feeling good, their babies will be too.
Unless they’re just grumpy because that’s the wonderful personality they were born with.
Breast is BEST.
Basically one of my least favorite parenting related phrases of all time. The myth that kept me up on sleepless nights pumping for hours on end. The myth that pushes Mothers to go to extreme measures to make sure her baby’s nourishment comes from her body. The myth that terrifies us about doing anything less than breastfeeding, because it would prove that we aren’t doing what is categorically “best” for our children. Oh, and it’s the myth that is totally untrue. So untrue, in fact, that we already did a whole post about this one myth. YOU are best. However you feed your baby.
Because you’re doing a great job, and that’s no myth.