How to Deal with Bottle Feeding Shaming

Why is this even a thing?? Well, it is a thing, and it’s becoming more of a problem. So now it’s time to talk, sisters. Let’s talk about how to deal with bottle feeding shaming.

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How to Deal with Bottle Feeding Shaming

I recently had a long phone conversation with one of my fellow warrior moms, and when I hung up the phone, something she said fired me up.

This mom recently gave birth to a stunning baby girl after a miracle pregnancy. Being natural-birth minded, she set about preparing for an unmedicated hospital birth.

Things didn’t go as expected.

She was diagnosed with Preeclampsia and had to have a fast c-section when Princess Baby went into distress. Baby girl arrived weeks early, and warrior mama spent her healing and recovery days walking across the street from where she stayed to visit her baby in NICU.

These two are strong and courageous. Mama stayed strong through all the unexpected changes, and was a strength to an amazing baby girl. Both are doing great to this day.

This Mama Deserves Respect

She deserves a standing ovation. She sacrificed so much for the good of her baby, and she still makes those sacrifices as a mother.

The very last thing this mama deserves is feeling shamed when she feeds her baby girl from a bottle.

Which is, unfortunately, what she experiences on the daily. The looks, the side-eye, shaking heads and snarky questions has made this mama feel like she needs to explain herself to others.

The crazy thing is… the bottle contains breast milk!

Through it all, this mama kept pumping, kept on trying, and was able to continue giving her baby breast milk.

What the bottle contains really shouldn’t matter at all.

What we are experiencing now is Birth Shaming’s mean older sister: Bottle Shaming.

How to Deal with Bottle Feeding Shaming

Research and studies have shown the importance of breastfeeding your baby. There are countless advantages, and with the new research comes a new push to nurse your baby.

Thankfully, there are also resources, even in the hospital, that are available to help you try to nurse.

However…

Nursing isn’t always an option for everyone. I could go into the details of why nursing isn’t always a success, but really, that shouldn’t be necessary.

Most mamas in this day and age are aware of the benefits of nursing. A large majority can say they at least attempted it.

While we can all acknowledge the benefits of breastfeeding, not everyone is able to accomplish this successfully.

Many moms are heartbroken when they have to finally concede they can’t do it.

It’s a source of serious disappointment.

What’s Even In The Bottle?

The other part of this thing is… when someone is glaring at a bottle or making a comment about bottle feeding, are they even sure of what’s in the bottle?

Like this warrior mama, it could be breast milk. Who can say?

How to Deal With Bottle Feeding Shaming

If You’re A Victim of Bottle Feeding Shaming, Chin Up, Buttercup!

If you’re bottle feeding your baby, I don’t care what’s in the bottle. You might have tried to nurse and it just wasn’t successful.

Or, maybe you didn’t. Maybe you’re pumping and bottle feeding your baby breast milk, and maybe you aren’t.

What matters at the end of the day is that you are doing the best thing you can for your baby.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation as to what’s in the bottle.

This good warrior mama finally stopped offering up the explanation of “it’s breast milk. I had a c-section and was separated from my baby for over a week so we didn’t get a chance to acclimate to breastfeeding.”

She never needed to do that, and she sure shouldn’t have been made to feel that way.

Stand firm, Mama.

You stand by the decisions that you feel are best for your little one. You’re the mama. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you do what you do, and you surely don’t need to feel guilty.

How to Deal with Bottle Feeding Shaming

Dealing with the Disappointment

If you’re disappointed that you couldn’t nurse, remember you gave it all you had. It’s a delicate balance… trying to nurse your baby and ensuring your baby is getting the nourishment they need.

I’m not here to decipher legitimate reasons to nurse versus when to bottle feed–I’m not a doctor or a midwife.

Instead, I’m here to stand by the mamas out there who are battling enough disappointment with being unable to nurse, who hold their child to their breast and give them a bottle, wishing it could be different.

You are a hero.

You’re making a gut-wrenching sacrifice to do right by your baby and ensure their nutrition, to admit you couldn’t do it this time and you’re willing to admit it to give them what they need.

And you’re amazing for that.

If you’re a victim of bottle shaming, hold your head up high and smile bravely.

Don’t give in to meanness–it won’t defeat meanness to become mean–but be that gracious, incredible woman you are and offer absolutely no explanation.

Feed your baby proudly. Pat that itty bitty bottom and feel proud that you brought life into this world, and that you are doing your absolute best to nurture it.

You’re a hero. You are fearless. You’re Mama.

Other Helpful Resources for You, Mama!

Dealing with Mom Guilt When Baby Gets Hurt

How To Deal with Mom Guilt When Baby Gets Hurt

5 Tips To Survive Baby’s First Year As A New Mom

5 Tips To Survive Baby's First Year As A New Mom

50 Biblical Affirmations For A Fearless Pregnancy

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1 Response

  1. Felicia says:

    Omgoodness! You hit the nail right on the head! I am that Mama! Our journey has had its challenges…but it’s our journey. I’m lovin’ it! I’m blessed to now be able to nurse & pump bottles for my lil lovebug but it wasn’t always that way. Sadly, bottle shaming is alive and well these days instead of rejoicing to see a mother who’s doing the best she can. Her best…is just that, Hers. Thank you for being so sensitive to this issue, I’m sure it’s close to the heart of many a mama.

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