Battle of the bottle and the breast

It usually starts about the time I get my formula container out of the diaper bag – my lovely, very mom-like Vera Bradley diaper bag, might I add. My handy-dandy formula container comes with us everywhere, just in case we have a crisis and need to eat while out in public or we are going to be out and about for longer than three hours. You know how it is with a baby; you live in three- to four-hour increments.

Back to the problem at hand, the problem that usually presents itself once the container has come out of the bag. What I am talking about is the Look. The Look is something every mother has gotten from another mother at some point in her mommy career. Whether it’s from your kid pushing their kid, your kid saying something totally inappropriate (that never happens to us, haha) or because you are (Gasp!) feeding your baby formula.

Yes, believe it folks: There are mothers out there who look down on us bottle feeders. Sometimes it’s just a look, and sometimes it’s an all-out conversation on feedings with someone I have never met before. It’s really quite ridiculous. I don’t stare at mothers who breastfeed, even when they pull out the “feeding device” right there in a public place with no cover. I don’t come up to you and ask you why you decided to breastfeed, so why do I get all of the looks and questions?

Many women assume that I have at least tried breastfeeding; that’s the feeling I get when the discussion usually begins. “Oh, did you have as hard of a time as I did? Well, you should just keep trying, and it gets better.” Or when, on my tour of the hospital while pregnant with little man, our group was being spoken to about breastfeeding and my hand shot in the air before I breezily asked, “What about bottle babies?” The looks were horrifying; these women hadn’t even given birth yet and had already mastered the disapproving-mom look, and I was impressed. Well, for everyone’s information out there, I never tried to breastfeed. Never even gave it a thought (Well, I did give one thought to it while pregnant with Lilian.). I was bottle-fed and so was my husband. Maybe if our mother’s had been breastfeeders I would have been more apt to do it, I don’t know; but I do know that I decided on bottle feeding and once I did I became a sitting duck for some very interesting and sometimes rude discussions.

As a group, we mothers have a tough but wonderful job, and you would think that we women would stick together, but I have found that it’s just the opposite. Have you ever noticed that women love to scare the daylights out of pregnant women with their own horror stories? I have never wrapped my mind around that one and it’s the same thing with your choice of feeding your child. Formula works just as well as breast milk, in my opinion. It nourishes your baby and helps them grow and develop. I have to say, not only are my husband and I perfect examples, but my babies are pretty spectacular themselves.

Many people opt to go the formula route, just as many decide to breastfeed, and I think it’s wonderful whatever you do; it’s amazing that we all get to be mothers. So, I say let’s not judge each other on how we feed our children; let’s just delight in the fact that there are all of these wonderful little people being brought into the world and, whether they are bottle or breastfeeding, they are very loved by their mothers.


Bottle feeding and breast

Bottle feeding and breast feeding have their own pros and cons. Bottle feeding can provide the necessary nutrients needed by the child but can cause diarrhea or constipation. Breast feeding is a healthy way because mother's antibodies can be passed onto the baby as well as the nutrients from the mother.


Get a life!! Jeez. I know exactly the "type" of mom she's talking about and I don't believe she means that EVERY mom who breastfeeds gives others "the Look". I tried it for awhile, didn't like doing it, developed postpartum depression and had to quit anyway. It really didn't matter whether the kid got breast milk or formula (to me) as long as he was well fed and healthy and happy. And guess what??? At 12 going on 13, he's perfectly fine now - no defects, no ADD, no other childhood issues. He's totally healthy and VERY intelligent. Breastfeed, bottlefeed, just love your children and care for them. Don't worry about what other moms do. Women are so petty - this is why I have no friends. You women drive me nuts with this kind of crap. Grow up.

I completely agree that we

I completely agree that we moms (and really women in general) spend far too much time judging each other and not enough time being grateful for the common bonds, joys and struggles we share as women. I breastfed for the first year, fed my child homemade baby food, used organic bath products, the whole nine yards, and was hesitant to tell people about my choices for the same reasons you described above - I was scared of being considered judgemental and superior by those who had not made the same decisions I had, both of which couldn't be farther from the truth.

My issue with your article is not that you feel like you are being judged because you bottle feed, or even that you chose to bottle feed. I do find it interesting that you "never even gave it a thought" or tried it. There is so much literature that proves breastmilk is better for your baby then formula, and I think you would be hard pressed to find a pediatrician that would recommend formula feeding over breast feeding, I am always amazed by moms who don't even consider it as an option. If you try it and its not for you, so be it, formula does nourish your baby and provide them what they need to grow and I am sure there are just as many happy, healthy and productive adults that were bottle fed as there are that were breastfed. However, it seems to me if you are willing to try a new food, a new soap, or anything else "new" that you would at least give something as important as the food you feed your child for the first year of their life a "thought" and maybe even a try!

Okay this is from a dad's

Okay this is from a dad's point of view. I was reading this article and the comments that followed and can't believe the pettiness of comments from some of you. If you go back and actually read the article Ms. Lashley wrote, you will see that she had no negative comments about breast feeding. She even says that it is a wonderful thing if that is what you decide to do. What do you mothers say to a single man who may be raising an infant on his own? or the woman with breat cancer you may have had a radical masectomy? The baby that is premature and cannot nurse?


I am absolutely appauled at the nasty comments posted in response to this column. Ms. Lashley was brave enough to express HER OWN PERSONAL OPINION regarding bottle versus breast. I do not have children so I cannot speak from personal experience, but I have a few questions for the people who made rude and IGNORANT remarks regarding the importance of breastfeeding: Do you allow your children to eat fast food? Eat processed crap in a box? Eat food with MSG or high fructose corn syrup? How about artificial sweeteners and colors? Doubtful that the answer is "No" to all of those, so please respect the opinions of others.

Bottom line: Ms. Lashley will raise her kids as she sees fit. And so will you. It's not your place to tell someone else how to run their lives and vice versa. Nor is it kind to slander another individual, one whom you have never met, based on differing opinions.

I doubt Ms. Lashley raises her children to get nasty when they are encountered with other children of different backgrounds and opinions. How are your kids doing with that?

And if you want to distribute your opinions in an professional, open forum, get a job writing for your local newspaper.

Thanks Ms. Lashley for your honesty and vulnerability. One day when I decide to become a parent, I hope I can show my children the beauty of personal choice as I'm sure you do with yours. Best of luck with your column!

Amanda Butts


I am completely appalled by some of these comments. I realize that everyone is entitled to their opinions, however, everyone is also entitled to a choice. Mothers should not be criticized on the basis of whether or not they are breast feeding or formula feeding their babies, but rather on the fact the raise productive and successful members of society later on in life. Some of the most successful and powerful people in the world were bottle fed, as well as, breast fed. Enough with the pseudo-copy/pasted facts and heated commentary. Just accept that this is Mrs. Lashley's post and her opinion.

I was formula fed and my

I was formula fed and my parents were on food stamps in the late 70s. Both my parents worked, my father was a United States Marine, he had just finished boot camp and still their combined salary qualified them for food stamps. So formula or no formula has nothing to do with financial status. Your comment about it being a wealth issue is very offensive and you should be ashamed.

Tolerance People. All these negative comments seem to be coming from a place of intolerance. The writer points out the intolerance and it is being proven in these judgemental comments.

I can respect that you didn't

I can respect that you didn't want to breastfeed your kids, but please don't insult those of us who work really hard to breastfeed our kids by saying formula is just as good. We receive far more ridicule and "looks" than any mom with a bottle even we are being as discrete as possible. I was okay with your "opinion" until you said it was just as good for them. The formula companies admit in all of the literature they send to you in the mail and on their websites that breastmilk is the best source of nutrients for your child, but formula is second best. If we can agree on that, feed your baby whatever you want but don't brush off all of the sacrifices those of us who breastfeed make to provide for our little ones. Quite honestly, pulling out a bottle would be much easier, but I pump or nurse every three hours because I want to provide the best nutrition for my child.

P.S. You talk about your mom bottlefeeding you, and I submit that previous generations saw breastfeeding as a sign of poverty, only wealthy people could afford formula so it was a sign of wealth if you were bottle feeding your baby.


If the Nazi moms had read the article they would see the point that we need to support each other in our choices. The goal should be to raise healthy children who make good ethical moral choices. I have been an educator for 27 years and I see those moms daily. Rules always apply to others and oh yes, make an exception for my child. Breastfeeding is a personal choice, keep it personal and also keep it private.

I am sure that Ms. Lashley is

I am sure that Ms. Lashley is educated on the pros and cons of bottle feeding vs breast feeding and has chosen to do what works best for HER family. It is very clear that she has proven her point on the amount of judgement she receives on her decision based on the feedback she has gotten on this article. All of you "breast is best" ladies claim that you would never judge or criticize a woman for formula feeding yet your posts suggest otherwise. You ladies act as if Ms. Lashley is feeding her baby bottles of malt liquor or something. Baby formula has been specifically designed to provide nourishment for your baby and it is fortified with many of the same vitamins and nutrients found in breast milk. How many of you breast feeding mama's feed your children processed fruits and vegetables from a jar? I doubt the majority of you take the time to prepare your very own organic baby food. Do you deserve to be criticized for that? Of course not!

Wow, I can't believe the

Wow, I can't believe the judgement in some of these comments. The comments only proves the writer's point. The point of the Opininon Article (yes, this article falls under the opinion section) was not which is the better choice, but how others can judge and form opinions on others. I know exactly the "Look" the writer describes. I use to work in an Pk-8 school and would over hear the moms gossip all the time about other moms and their children. It was quite disturbing and sad. I would see them give others the "Look" all the time. Mostly it was the moms with children in the younger grades pk-1st that seemed to have the most energy to waste on this kind of behavior. So, I guess it begins at birth and continues through when children are in school. Good Luck to all the mothers having to deal with other mothers.

Also, Thanks to my mom for making sure I had food in my belly every day and never had to go hungry. Because isn't that what's important.

Articles & blogs by formula

Articles & blogs by formula feeding mothers who think they being looked down upon or accosted by breastfeeders is getting a little stale. These breastfeeding women must have a whole lot of time on their hands since they are a very small minority: less than 15% of moms are exclusively breastfeeding at 6 months.

I don't think it's "wonderful" whatever feeding choice you make because it has been well documented that feeding formula increases the risk of all types of things from ear infections to SIDS. It's not a Coke VS Pepsi choice and by trying to frame it as such is a disservice to all children & babies. I bemoan the misleading information put out by formula companies & the lack of knowledge by health care providers.

I don't judge another mom based on feeding method(or diapering method, or brand of stroller or type of baby carrier). I do, however, judge the actual substance. Formula falls way below the biological standard-breastmilk-that every baby's body expects. And if by circumstance or choice a baby does not get breastmilk, I would hope that a mom would educate herself on the risks involved in the lack of breastmilk & do what she could to try & mitigate the risks even though they can not be erased.

But truth be told I am way too busy worrying about some uneducated mall cop harassing me for using my "feeding devices" how they were made to be used to 1) notice that you are even bottle feeding & 2)give you "the look". When was the last time you were told to leave a place you had the right to be because you were feeding a hungry child?

I am also really sick of writers trying to imply that love is some how linked to feeding method. I imagine that every mother loves her child unless I am directly presented with evidence to the contrary.

I would never in a million

I would never in a million years say something rude to someone who decided to feed formula (I almost went that route after having so much trouble nursing my preemie). But I think it's difficult for people to totally 100% accept formula as a feeding option as good as breastfeeding - as a commenter mentioned above, there are lots of great nutrients and health benefits in breast milk that aren't found in formula. Who knows, maybe someday science will perfect formula and it will be just as awesome! That would be fantastic for people who cannot or choose not to nurse.

For now, though, while I absolutely don't advocate people giving nasty looks or making mean comments (or any comments), I think it's too much to ask that people, in their own minds and hearts, accept that formula "works just as well as breast milk," when the science doesn't agree.

It's people like you that

It's people like you that give bottle feeders by circumstance a bad image. Maybe you should have given it a second thought during that tour of the hospital.

My daughter has PCOS. She

My daughter has PCOS. She does breastfeed but does not make enough milk. She has to use formula supplement so that her baby will thrive. She is a marvelous mom and I feel for her getting the judgmental opinions some who are breastfeeding with a good supply of milk express.

It's hard to not be

It's hard to not be judgmental of a mother who decided not to even try. Formula does not work just as well as breastmilk. Study after study has proven this. That is not an "opinion;" that is a fact.

Are you trying to be a journalist? This article was basically pointless and completely ignorant.

Yet you read every word of it

Yet you read every word of it and had to reply to it, so was it really pointless? Mrs. Lashley was not pointing out the fact that one was better than the other as much as she was making the point that people make snap judgments about mothers based on how the are seen raising their children. I am a husband whose wife breastfed our children and we will never look down on a mother who bottle feeds their children, it is their choice FOR WHATEVER reason they see fit and it is not MY choice to tell anyone how to raise their children and that includes how to feed them. The other point is that people feel the need to just strike up a conversation with someone that they do not know to tell them how wrong they are for feeding their child from a bottle, I just do not get it, keep your advice on the issue to your self you never know the reason and quite frankly it really is none of your business why mother's have chosen to feed their children the way they do.

Perhaps you aren't being

Perhaps you aren't being judged or looked down on but perhaps you assume that or perhaps Mums feel sad that your baby isn't breastfed as that is how I feel when I see a baby fed breast milk substitute (BMS). I don't wish to make you feel guilty. I think it is the BMS companies who should feel guilty as they are the ones who are misleading the public and promoting a far inferior product when 98% of Mums are capable of breastfeeding. I just want to correct you because your statement that formula works as well as bresatmilk is incorrect and no baby deserves to be given inferior food. Here are the facts:
* There are at least 400 nutrients in breastmilk that are not found in formula.
* The nutrients in breastmilk are specifically designed for the human infant and therefore are more easily absorbed by the baby's system. For example, between 50-75% of the iron in breastmilk is absorbed whereas only about 4% of the iron in formula is. Since less nutrients are absorbed from formula, the nutrients are passed through your baby's digestive system as waste (explaining why the stools of formula fed babies smell while those of breastfed babies do not) and may over-tax the waste-disposal system of formula-fed babies. The stools of breastfeed babies are non-offensive because there is less waste from breastmilk.
* Breastmilk composition changes according to the time of day, and changes as your baby grows, giving him exactly what he needs.
* Each drop of breastmilk contains white blood cells and immunoglobins which help reinforce the baby's immature immune system.
* Colostrum contains an antibody (IgA) only available to the baby by breastmilk (it is not passed through the placenta) which protects the baby from germs which enter the baby from the throat, lungs, and intestines. These germs are only a problem after delivery and therefore the mother provides this for the infant at its time of need (delivery) through colostrum. These antibodies are most plentiful a few hours after birth so it is important to feed the baby during this time. (From The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by La Leche League)
* Mother can make antibodies on demand for germs encountered by baby. If a baby is infected by a germ for which an antibody is not present in the mother, the germ is passed from the baby to the mother by sucking at the breast. The breast in turn produces an antibody for the germ and passes it back to the baby.
* Body fat of a breastfed infant is different from that of a formula fed infant and specifically designed for the baby. The fat in breastmilk contains high levels of cholesterol which not only help the brain and nervous system develop but may protect the grown adult from having high cholesterol levels.
* Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, allergies, diarrhoea, bacterial meningtis, and lower risk of SIDS. It may also protect against diabetes and childhood lymphoma.
* Studies have shown breastfed babies have better oral development and fewer dental problems.
* Breastmilk contains sleep-inducing proteins to relax your baby. Also the act of baby sucking releases hormomes in the mother which relax her.
* Breastmilk contains a large amount of water so breastfed babies normally do not need any additional juices or water.
* Women who breastfeed reduce their risk of ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, and early breast cancer.
So yeah BMS cannot compete with breast milk. Not trying to make anyone feel bad, just wanting people to have accurate information

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