Guilt and Breastfeeding

When it comes to baby issues, few can inspire such passion and excitement from both sides of the discussion than breastfeeding. Women who advocate for breast feeding cite the many possible benefits of breastfeeding, from increased immunity to disease to overall better nutrition and growth. There are some women who are tremendously zealous in this regard, who believe that if you don’t breast feed you’re doing terrible harm to your baby.

Because of this vocal advocacy, women who are physically unable or who do not wish to breast feed may feel a certain degree of pressure from those that think they should breast feed. In some cases, that pressure can lead to feelings of guilt or inadequacy.

You need to understand something, however. Breastfeeding is a decision that only you can make. It’s not up to someone in the La Leche League to decide whether or not you should breast feed. It’s not up to your doctor, even. it’s a decision that you should make. The only other person that might have some say about the issue is your partner, but in the end the decision is really up to you.

You also need to understand something else. Babies who are breastfed can, and usually do, grow to be normal, healthy, happy babies. There are a thousand other risk factors that can cause harm to your baby that are more significant and, quite frankly, much more dangerous than not breastfeeding.

You also need to realize that formula provides many different options to families. If your baby is lactose intolerant, there are of course soy-based formula products that you can use. If your baby has other allergies, there are formulas that are more sensitive for those sensitive bellies. You have plenty of options, options that you don’t actually have if you’re breast feeding.

Don’t let someone with an agenda make you feel bad about something you don’t want to do as a parent. Make your decisions, and make informed decisions, but know that they’re your decisions to make.