What is best? Bottle or Breast?

I am distressed by all of the anti-breastfeeding/”Fed is Best” articles floating around the media.  There seems to be this war going on between bottle and breastfeeding factions.  There should never be an “ us or them” type of mentality when it comes to this  stuff.  Babies need to be fed.  Breast is best, BUT sometimes it is necessary to receive extra support, and in certain rare circumstances, supplementation with formula is necessary.

More and more women are having breast surgeries, and that may affect their ability to nurse their babies. Other women are survivors of physical/sexual abuse and have great difficulty transitioning into motherhood, and nursing. Many families are adopting children and don’t realize they can actually induce lactation so that they can breastfeed their babies. Add the sexualization of breasts, and body shaming to the list, and you have an almost insurmountable barrier for woman becoming mothers.

The problem is truly with the lack of support and proper information that women receive. We are coming out of generations of formula feeding as the norm, and we can’t expect our society of women to just automatically have the knowledge they need, or for our social structures to be in place to support them. We no longer have the cultural mores that allow us to see breastfeeding as normal.  If all you have ever seen is bottle feeding,  it can be hard to know where to turn for support.  We’ve been socialized into formula feeding. We have come a long way, but still have a long way to go.

So if you are having difficulty, or don’t feel you have received the info/support you need, reach out! Contact the lactation consultants in your community.  Call La Leche League. See your Doctor.  Ask for a specialist.  No, this isn’t simple.  But it is important.  If you end up needing to supplement, don’t beat yourself up.  This is not a competition.  Yes, your baby needs to eat.

That said, you should know that the Rochester NY area has a wonderful support system, and many different experts to help you navigate this journey.  Here are just a few:

Rochester Area Birth Network Breast feeding page

BFAR – Breastfeeding after Reduction or surgeries  http://www.bfar.org/index.shtml

Lactation Consultants

La Leche League

Increasing your Milk Supply and other Questions. (Kelly Mom)

Natural Breastfeeding – a free video on how to latch correctly

Breastfeeding is Priceless! (CIMS)

101 Reasons to Breastfeed

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health Breastfeeding Guide

New York State Breastfeeding Laws & Penal code

East on Feets  http://www.eatsonfeets.org/

Human Milk 4 Human Babies – Informed Milk Sharing  (New York Chapter)

New York Milk Bank

What if my baby wants to wean?

WIC – Breastfeeding resource for low income Moms.

New York State Breastfeeding partners

University of Rochester Medical Breastfeeding specialists: outpatient breastfeeding medicine practice and inpatient consults. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/breastfeeding.aspx