Hello, my name is Morgan, and I bottled feed my baby. And, what's more: I'm not ashamed of it.
My milk never came, so I can't say this was much of a choice. The decision not to torture myself with lactation consultants, pumping, and triple feeding on the other hand, was.
I tried a week. That's right- just one week, before I threw in the towel, and decided to stop forcing my body to try to do something it might not ever do. The decision was difficult- gut wrenching, in fact, for a person who didn't buy a single bottle before her baby arrived; confident she would breast feed for months, or maybe even a year.
But I was told early on that the chances of my supply coming in were slim; and I knew I needed to be happy and healthy to take care of that newborn I had just brought into this world. Luckily, I had a supportive pediatrician and husband; and a baby that took to the bottle and formula with no problem. Perhaps, had it not taken a year of fertility treatments and nine-months of a roller-coaster pregnancy to get my little girl, I would have fought harder- pumped a little longer- but that wasn't my case. So my decision was swift, difficult as it was.
And I was OK with it. The Mom Bullies I would soon encounter, however, were not.
What's a Mom Bully? I didn't know either; until I myself was a mom. But they appeared in droves.
These are the women that give an annoyingly sympathetic look when you explain your supply never arrived.
The same people that cringe when you whip out a Similac instead of your breast at lunchtime.
The ladies that ask "why" when you tell them you don't breast feed- as if you have to give a reason, and it better be good, for them to be comfortable with your decision.
The mothers that wax poetic about the bond they have with their baby because they feed them right from the spout; as if I'm not connected to my child, because the milk comes from a bottle rather than the tap.
Bottle-shaming is just a small piece of artillery that I've experienced from these MB's- their arsenal full of different and clever ways to judge other moms: An eye-roll that my kid watches TV. A gasp that she naps on me. A lecture about swaddling; or even about the way I birthed her.
But Bottle-Bullying is the one I feel most passionately about- by far. Particularly when the judgements question the bond I have with the little girl I call my soulmate.
My body gave my daughter life. My heart has loved her through sleepless night, cutting teeth and first boo-boos. My voice has sung her to sleep, and told her how much she is loved- more than anything in the whole wide world. My arms have rocked her for hours- aching though they may have been. My intuition tells me when she is sick, sometimes days before the first cough is heard. My head made that difficult choice- the one that saddened me, but would make her and I happy and healthiest. And my bottle-feeding hands have nourished her daily- making her strong and grow and develop, like any breast-fed baby.
So to those Mom Bullies out there: Judge me for giving her an iPad, fine. Whatever. You might even be right.
But my bond with my bottle-fed baby? That's fighting dirty. And just plain stupid.