Parenting

Formula-Feeding Moms Get Huge Vote of Support From OB/GYNs

bottle feeding mom babyThe American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) released an updated statement on breastfeeding as part of their support for new moms. In it, there is new language specifically for mothers who choose to formula feed, and it's all about respecting decisions.

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Direct from the ACOG:

Obstetrician–gynecologists and other obstetric care providers should support each woman’s informed decision about whether to initiate or continue breastfeeding, recognizing that she is uniquely qualified to decide whether exclusive breastfeeding, mixed feeding, or formula feeding is optimal for her and her infant.

Thank you! No woman should be shamed for her choice to formula feed, just as no woman should be shamed for breastfeeding. We all make our choices based on what works best for us, and that needs to be respected. Some women can't breastfeed -- for whatever reason. And not only should a woman's decision to formula feed be respected, but she also needs to know she has support and all the information needed to allow her to feel confident in her choice, to know she is still doing a great job.

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As mothers, we make the decision to formula feed or breastfeed with much thought. Decisions one way or the other can be personal or medical, and we all need to make that decision armed with all the information out there and what is best for us in each of our unique situations. Never compare your motherhood journey to another -- this journey is yours, and your well-informed decisions are what work best for your family.

As a twin mom and because of low supply, I was both a breastfeeding and formula-feeding mom. There were times I had some thought that I could have increased supply and done something differently so I didn't have to formula feed at all. There were moments when I felt I was doing something wrong, when I wasn't. I tried so many things to increase supply, but it didn't work. And my babies weren't about to go hungry. I formula-fed them with love, just like I breastfed them. Thankfully there were many who were supportive, including my OB/GYN, and that is something all women should feel no matter what feeding choice is best for her and her baby.

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There is another new bit in this statement from the ACOG that I am also proud of. It states, "The obstetrician-gynecologist is obligated to ensure patient comprehension of the relevant information and to be certain that the conversation is free from coercion, pressure or undue influence." This is key. No mother should feel pressure from anyone to make one decision over another -- and that goes for the decision to breastfeed or the decision to formula-feed (provided there isn't a health issue that needs to be addressed). I've heard stories from moms that formula was pushed on them. The key word will remain "support" -- however mom chooses to feed her baby.

We do need to be informed, and with that information, we make a decision. No matter what that decision is, our choice should always come with encouragement. Because what we all want is happy and healthy mothers and happy and healthy babies who are nourished with love.

 

Image via © iStock.com/South_agency

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