No More Guilt: You ARE a Breastfeeding Mother
Whether it is during support groups, private appointments, or in a social setting, I often hear moms say they are “not really breastfeeding”—meaning they also pump, use donor milk, supplement with formula, and so on. Statements like this make me sad, especially since the mothers usually sound guilty, defeated, or disappointed.In motherhood, as in life, things are seldom all or nothing. Even though we know that putting the baby to the breast is the most efficient way to provide the right amount of milk, breastfeeding does not have to be exclusive in order to “count.”
A few years ago, a mother told me she felt judged at times for feeding her baby a bottle, even if the bottle contained expressed milk. We all know being a new mom can be challenging, so we need to support one another and not pass judgment. After all, everyone’s circumstances are different. Think of the NICU mother striving for a pumping schedule, or the working mom attempting to maintain a supply of milk, or the mom whose infant has health issues that make it near impossible to latch—no two situations are quite the same.
I tell my patients: find your own stride. Do what you need to do to make both you and baby happy and healthy. Let go of what you feel it has to be and make the most of what you have.
Some breast-milk is better than none. No matter the amount, frequency, or method, it is still breastfeeding. So don’t be down on yourself; you are a breastfeeding mother.
Updated October 20, 2016