Breastfeeding Guilt: The Pressure of “Breast Is Best”
Breast may be best but formula feeding doesn’t make you any less.
The pressure of being a textbook mom is often an unseen opponent in motherhood—especially for new moms. Countless books and studies have created guidelines and structures for what it means to be a perfect mom—inclusive of exclusively breastfeeding. But what some of those studies don’t cover is the feeling and thoughts of breastfeeding guilt when moms fail to meet that expectation.
We all know the benefits of breastfeeding!
The benefits of breastfeeding have been nothing short of constantly being shoved and crammed down mothers’ throats. Everyone knows that breastfeeding is supposed to be a mother’s “most wonderful bonding moment” with their baby. The whole science of oxytocin, also known as the cuddle hormone, is there. Some can probably recite the benefits of skin-to-skin contact by memory! But nobody talks about the horror and guilt new moms feel when their babies latch and they don’t produce enough milk.
“I’m a horrible mother.”
There are a lot of reasons why moms can’t breastfeed with the majority of them being medical issues. Thyroid conditions, premature births, prior infections (i.e. fevers), a pregnancy that required prolonged bed rest—all these things are beyond every mom’s control. And to make up for the lack of breast milk, pediatricians would recommend certain brands of formula. But that’s the first thought that comes to mind: “I’m a horrible mother.”
No, you are not. There are doctors there to help you. Pediatricians and OB-Gynes spent decades of their lives studying so they can help moms and kids whenever and wherever they can.
Breastfeeding Guilt is real
The pressure of “breast is best” can crush any new mom’s self-esteem, shaming and guilt-tripping even moms who resort to formula feeding. But breastfeeding isn’t the only way a woman can be a mom. What matters is a mom’s ability to address their baby’s need—whether it’s the textbook way or something alternative. So instead of saying “breast is best”, repeat after us: fed is best.