My breastfeeding relationship seemed like it was going to be perfect from the start—I had no problem producing colostrum, my milk came in while in the hospital, my daughter latched on easily, and she had a very strong suck. The pediatrician even told me not to tell people how easy it was for us because “other moms would be jealous”. My daughter was back up to birth weight by the end of her first week.
Although my daughter had wet diapers and was nursing well, she would spit up, quite often and something was stopping her from continuing to gain weight. When I took her to the pediatrician’s office multiple times, none of the doctors were concerned by the amount she spit-up. They all said that I couldn’t know how much it truly was. Let me tell you something, though, watching my daughter choke and vomit all of her breast milk, I knew that she was spitting up too much. She was born above the 95th percentile but rapidly dropped her weight.
I switched pediatricians because, in my opinion, a good pediatrician is one who addresses parents’ concerns rather than ignore them. It was the best decision I ever made. Our new pediatrician immediately sent us to see a pediatric gastroenterologist, who quickly ordered tests to check for food protein allergies. As a first time mom, I was told that breast milk was perfect and I never heard of a baby being allergic to proteins in breast milk. But the tests all came back normal. In less than two weeks, we ended up in the nearest children’s hospital. My daughter was two months old, and she hadn’t gained any weight. The doctors ordered swallow studies and endoscopies and other tests. I had to watch my baby girl lie on a table to receive X-rays, blood draws, pokes, and prods, yet every test came back negative. The doctors were all confused and extremely concerned.
Our turning point was when a nurse was in the room and she watched my daughter vomit her entire nursing session out. Something finally clicked for them and they realized how serious an issue we had. I was told to start feeding her specialized hypoallergenic formula to see if it would help. This formula is made to feed babies who have milk protein allergies even though those tests had come back negative. I would do anything to help my baby girl who was not thriving on my breast milk. The formula helped a bit and her weight was slowly going up, but not at the pace the doctors liked. She was still spitting up sometimes so they began thickening her formula in hopes of reducing spit-up. After living two weeks in the hospital, putting her on specialized formula, and then thickening the formula with cereal, we finally got her weight gain to a steady pace and were able to go home.
Our story unfortunately didn’t end there because I was struck with what many moms who formula feed feel—guilt.
I felt guilty for using formula and, moreover, there are many people who shame formula-feeding or see it as inferior who were more than willing to reinforce the guilt. I had someone tell me I never should have given my daughter formula because I could have “made breastfeeding work” and that “while one pound isn’t great weight gain, I’ve seen worse”. These comments led me to tears because I felt like I had failed my daughter by not giving her what was “best”.
I found the Fed is Best Foundation and the support I received there was amazing and life-changing. They were the ones who told me my baby needed immediate care and suggested a children’s hospital. I will be forever grateful they guided me during that terrifying time. In their private support group, I saw them help moms breastfeed who wanted to make it work, and I saw them help moms transition to combo-feeding or fully formula-feed when breastfeeding didn’t work out. I learned they support mothers no matter what type of feeding they needed to nourish their babies. Each baby is so unique and special, and that means that what is best for each of them, is different!
I am not a fan of the ‘breast is best’ statement just because it can lead moms to feel guilty and ashamed. I don’t deny that there are certain benefits that can come from breastfeeding, but that doesn’t automatically make it best. It wasn’t best for my daughter even though I had no problem providing it. Vaginal birth has benefits as well, but does that make it automatically best? I wouldn’t say so. What I do think is best is moms feeding their babies, finding a good support group, and supporting each other in the decisions they make. If you see a mom being shamed, whether for breastfeeding, formula-feeding, or any other choice they make, please stand up for them. Moms should be able to tell their story and be proud that they are doing what works best for their child and family, and I think we should be proud of them. When we start celebrating moms no matter what, then the division will stop. There is enough for moms to worry about with our kids without adding defense of feeding to the mix. Moms should unite.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST ?
There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:
- Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
- Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
- Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
- Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
- Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
- Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
- Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
- Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child. Your messages of support keep us all going.
- Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
- If you need support, we have a private support group – Join
We believe all babies deserve to be protected from hunger and thirst every single day of their life and we believe that education on Safe Infant Feeding should be free. If you would like to make a donation to support the Fed is Best Foundation’s mission to teach every parent Safe Infant Feeding, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to our organization.Donate to Fed is Best
Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!