I’m a breastfeeding educator, and I don’t care how you ultimately feed your baby!
Yes, you read that right. And, you might be surprised how many people actually feel the same way.
Here is what I do care about.
I care that you are given accurate information.
I care that you are supported.
I care that you know breastfeeding is a learned behavior.
I care that you understand breastfeeding isn’t some magical preventative to everything, but it is the biological norm.
I care that you understand by me saying the above, I am in no way criticizing formula use.
I care that you understand how breastfeeding or formula feeding can affect both your and your baby’s health.
I care that you understand infant feeding is one of many things that affects you and your baby’s health.
I care that you remember we all have to make choices that have both positive and negative consequences; infant feeding is just one of countless you will make as a parent.
I care that you understand breastfeeding isn’t all or nothing.
I care that you know biology doesn’t always work as it should.
I care that you know some commonly given advice can actually undermine breastfeeding.
I care that you know incorrect breastfeeding information is still commonly shared with parents by healthcare providers, including OBs, midwives, and pediatricians.
I care that you see how I can advocate for better structural support for breastfeeding while equally supporting your right to use formula.
I care that you realize feeling judged and being judged aren’t always the same thing.
I care that you know as parents, we all feel judged, and probably are judged, for a lot of decisions we make.
And, I care that you are able to make the best decision for your family, whatever that is, and that you are supported in that decision!
Obviously I care about breastfeeding, or I wouldn’t spend so much time educating and helping women, but in the end the decision is yours, and my true goal is that you are informed and supported in that decision!
So, if you struggled to breastfeed and it didn’t work out, I grieve with you! If you breastfed and loved it, I share your joy! If you never wanted to breastfeed, that’s your choice, and no one should shame you for it!
But all of these things won’t keep me from advocating for breastfeeding. Because until there is political and structural change in the U.S.; until our healthcare providers are educated on evidence-based breastfeeding information; until mothers can access the information and support they need when they need it, then breastfeeding advocacy is still needed.