20 Rudest Things People Have Said to Moms Who Use Formula

Ashley Austrew | Sep 12, 2018 Baby
20 Rudest Things People Have Said to Moms Who Use Formula
Image: FluxFactory/iStock.com

formula feeding

Every baby is different. Some latch on to the boob at birth and breastfeed like pros. Others don't take to breastfeeding quite so well. Some babies have lip ties or tongue ties, some have allergies, some can't latch, and some are born to moms who simply prefer to bottle feed. Whatever the case, the only rule of baby feeding is that fed is best. But as we've seen so many times on message boards and in parenting groups, not everyone abides by that basic philosophy. Moms are still shamed every single day -- online, offline, by friends, and even by family -- for how they feed their babies. And one of the biggest reasons moms are shamed is for choosing to use formula.

Formula is basically a magical substance. It's helped countless babies survive and thrive and provided relief to so many struggling moms. Yet moms who use formula are bashed constantly. Efforts to increase the rates of breastfeeding moms -- which is a totally worthy goal -- have unfortunately had the unintended consequence of demonizing formula-feeding moms and making them feel like crap for not feeding their babies the "natural" way. Shaming moms for breastfeeding in public or breastfeeding for extended periods of time is not OK, but neither is shaming women for not breastfeeding at all. And it still happens, all the time. Don't believe me? Well, I have proof.

Here, moms are sharing the rudest and most outrageous things they've ever been told about formula feeding. Some of them were said by nurses or grandparents. Others were said by complete and total strangers. Their words prove that in the fight to keep babies fed and healthy by whatever means work for each individual family, we still have a very long way to go.

  • Bottles Hurt Bonding

    mom bottle feeding baby boy
    Ashley Austrew

    "I had a friend ask me if I was having trouble bonding with my son because 'you're feeding him that stuff.' The answer is not even a little bit. Feeding time was when we snuggled and laughed and got to know each other the most." -- Ashley A.

  • Just Give Him a Coke

    person pouring Coca Cola into a glass
    Theerawan Bangpran/iStock.com

    "My cousin-in-law couldn’t breastfeed at all. She was out at a restaurant feeding her son formula when a lady walked up with a Coke can and said, 'Here, you might as well give him this!' She bawled her eyes out." -- Brandi B.

  • Formula Isn't Natural

    dad bottle feeding baby

    "Grocery store clerks have managed to shame me for both breastfeeding and formula feeding. One was offended I would even think of sitting in an empty corner of the store to breastfeed, and the other time it was because formula isn’t 'natural.' Fed is best, a**hole!" -- Alyssa M.

  • Try This Instead

    moringa smoothie

    "My shaming was more passive-aggressive. No one directly said anything but they gave me lists of teas and smoothies to drink and supplements to take so I could try to produce breast milk. Never mind that I was just fine using formula." -- Mary K.

  • Formula Is Selfish


    "I came out of the hospital not long ago. When I spent the first night in, they asked me about previous surgeries and I said ... that I had a Cesarean 4 months ago. The doctor said: 'So you breastfeed.' It wasn’t a question, it was a statement. I automatically said, 'No, she’s on formula.' No bragging, it was just as much a statement as his. Suddenly the doctor looked at me like I was a mass murderer and asked, 'Is it better for you?'" -- Dora S.

  • Go to a Milk Bank

    newborn baby eating formula

    "You've never heard of a f*cking milk bank? You take a child from his mother and give him sh*t for food?' [That's what] a beautiful young mother of two [said], upon hearing that I'm an infant foster parent." -- Jessie C.

  • Try Harder

    baby bottles on drying rack

    "When I asked for opinions on bottles I was told 'breast is best' and I should try harder." -- Erin T.

  • Formula Is Just a #boobfail

    sleeping baby near bottle

    "Being told by a nurse [while using formula], 'No wonder he's not latching on, your boobs are way too big!'" -- Anonymous

  • Is that Even Safe?

    parent formula feeding baby

    "I remember being in the hospital after delivering Wyatt and asking for formula. I wasn’t planning on breastfeeding and the nurses were highly skeptical. This wasn’t my first rodeo, and I knew what was best for me, and yet I got the third degree about formula and pacifiers -- to the point where the nurses had to call and ask the doctor if it was OK I had formula for my child." -- Olivia H.

  • Know Better, Do Better

    grandma holding grandbaby

    "When my MIL found out I wasn't breastfeeding, she asked me why. I told her I didn't want to. She proceeded to list off all the ways I was 'hurting' my baby by using formula and then said, 'It's your choice, but know better, do better.'" - Anonymous

  • Formula Is for Quitters

    mom cradling newborn baby

    "'You didn't even try!' [This was] said by a nurse after I spent an entire night crying my eyes out and feeling like a failure because I couldn't get my newborn to latch. I too am a nurse, and while I realize that we are all humans with opinions, we too often forget that what we say may effect others in ways we can't possibly understand." -- Kristina M.

  • What About the Corn Syrup?

    corn syrup

    "My friend kept telling me she was 'fine' with formula but 'just worried about the high fructose corn syrup.' My formula didn't have any high fructose corn syrup. Most that I've seen don't. But she would talk about it all the time like I was feeding my baby a Dr. Pepper or something." -- Lisa P.

  • Real Moms Breastfeed

    woman bottle feeding a baby boy

    "I was feeding my son at the park and a woman told me how cute he is and asked if I was his nanny. When I said no, she asked, 'Then why aren't you breastfeeding him?'" -- Karen W.

  • Formula Is Inferior

    three moms talking
    Stígur Már Karlsson /Heimsmyndir/iStock.com

    "I was at a mom group and stopped to make a bottle. A woman I hadn't even met yet looked directly at me and said, 'I hope that's breast milk in that bottle.' I didn't know what to say so I said nothing and left and went to my car and cried." -- Stephanie L.

  • Breastfeeding Didn't Work?

    newborn drinking a bottle

    "What bugged me is how many people assumed I 'failed' at breastfeeding. I didn't want to breastfeed, and there is zero [things] wrong with that." -- Alexis M.

  • The F-Word 

    formula scoop

    "I breastfeed my youngest but formula fed my first. A woman in my breastfeeding Facebook group literally refers to formula as 'the F word.' She doesn't realize I used to use it. And she's a jerk." Melissa W.

  • What a 'Chunky' Baby

    baby girl playing

    "A woman said my baby 'must be so chunky because she drinks formula.'" -- Emily G.

  • No Formula Allowed

    formula powder

    "At the hospital where I gave birth I asked for a formula bottle since I was having some chest pain, and the nurse refused and told me to just wait until the pain goes away. That meant my daughter wouldn't have eaten for hours!" -- Mary M.

  • Formula Is Dangerous

    newborn preemie eating

    "My daughter was a preemie and one of my friends who knew I was formula feeding kept telling me about the benefits of breastfeeding preemies and how my baby was probably going to have serious health problems later. It made me feel awful." -- Anonymous

  • Try Breastfeeding Again


    "For me, [the rudest thing] was just how the lactation consultants kept telling me 'keep trying [to breastfeed]. You don't want to have to use formula.' Like it was a warning. I did end up exclusively formula feeding after breastfeeding didn't work out. No regrets." -- Anonymous

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