I Proudly Support the I Support You Movement

I couldn’t let World Breastfeeding Week go by without a blog post, especially since the I Support You movement is under way and quickly gaining momentum.  This is a movement I am so proud to be a part of, and I hope all mothers–currently breastfeeding versus bottlefeeding (or both), or who had previously breastfed or bottlefed (or both)–can once and for all cease and desist in the mommy wars when it comes to infant feeding choice!

I am SO glad thISL_I_Support_You_finalat I was oblivious to the extremist views at the time I was struggling to feed my baby 8-1/2 years ago.   Now, don’t get me wrong.  I was aware of all the marketing of breastfeeding paraphernalia galore that appeared EVERYWHERE I looked.   I took it all as a subliminal message that was trying to tell me that breastfeeding was the ONLY right way to feed my baby.  I had people that didn’t know me well ask me whether I was going to breastfeed my baby once she arrived.  And boy, did I want ever so badly to come out and say to these people “Um, can we all just mind our own business, thank you?”  I was of the mindset, because my brothers and I were all formula fed, that formula feeding was just as good as breastfeeding.  Granted, I know there are certain nutrients present in breast milk that can’t be 100% reproduceable in formula. And I get that breastfeeding helps with bonding.  But as I’ve said before, breastfeeding is NOT the only way to bond with the baby.  Just look at adoptive parents, for one.

But my circumstances postpartum were not good.  I did the best I could with the resources I had, the support I had, the health conditions I was suffering at the time, and the breast milk I was able to produce as a result.  I had ENOUGH problems as it was.  Fortunately, I didn’t dwell on or obsess with the fact that I failed to meet my three-month goal, which I attribute to the fact that I wasn’t into social media much at the time, and that’s probably what saved me from feeling even more of a failure.  I wasn’t on social media that could cyber bully a mom into thinking that she failed because there seems to be an overwhelming number of people who are ever so ready to attack others for their infant feeding choice.

Once I came out of my postpartum depression (PPD) journey, I was able to see the BIG PICTURE.  I was able to see that each mother has her own preferences and circumstances for choosing one way to feed over another.  Often times, things don’t work out as planned.  You start out with every intention of breastfeeding only to have some unexpected development like physically being unable to breastfeed (yes, some women just CAN’T, period, no matter how they try….and forcing a woman to keep trying until their own health and the baby’s health are jeopardized is a bad idea no matter how you look at it), or not being able to produce enough (like me and so combining pumping with formula is how the baby is ultimately fed), or developing a postpartum mood disorder so serious that medication (also like me, that may not necessarily be recommended for breastfeeding) is a must if the woman were to recover.

I marvel when I hear the success stories of women who breastfed with ease until their child’s first, second or even third birthday.  I would’ve been so thrilled if I were even able to at least reach my 3rd month target for breastfeeding.  But I didn’t.  Instead, I had to stop pumping entirely once I had to start taking medications.  Moms who have had the fortune of not only breastfeeding easily but breastfeeding the number of months they were aiming for may find it hard to empathize with those moms whose circumstances may not allow them to do the same.  They need to realize that just because things may have worked out for them doesn’t mean that everyone else is as fortunate.

Just as the saying goes “Do things in moderation,” being extremist in thinking is never a good thing. Being empathetic, especially when it comes to supporting others, is CRITICAL!  Can we all just learn to support each other, rather than tear each other down with our “My way is the right way, and you’re doing it the wrong way” attitudes?  Can we all just try to see the BIG PICTURE, rather than dwell on our approaches to parenting, infant care and feeding choices?

Please join me in this mantra:

I support a woman who breastfeeds
I support a woman who formula feeds
I support a woman who does a combination of the two

Please share widely:

Can we count on you to join this movement?

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9 thoughts on “I Proudly Support the I Support You Movement

  1. Ivy, I don’t know how to contact you privately. If you could read my blog and contact me via email I would really appreciate it. I know that you are a busy and can’t contact every person that contacts you but I just had a question to ask you privately regarding my friend in this blog post. Thanks so much! Andrea Moffat – amoffat@moffatpipe.comhttp://inmemoryofjacquelyn.blogspot.com/2013/09/jackies-story.html

  2. Thank you! I’m so glad there is someone else speaking up about this, especially for moms that didn’t have the best circumstances postpartum to breastfeed. I whole-heartedly support this movement and my little one is a happy and healthy four years old.

    • Hi, Thanks again for stopping by and leaving a comment! There are probably way more moms than we will ever know that have breastfeeding challenges for one reason or another. No one should be ashamed of having to bottle/formula feed. Doesn’t make us less of a mother. For those who can’t say anything supportive, then they shouldn’t say anything at all. The shaming of other moms should stop! So glad you are on board with the I Support You movement!

      • Interestingly enough, I didn’t really get any pressure, even when I was having problems nursing. The only thing that may have saved me was the fact that I did want to nurse. I never got to see their reaction if I’d wanted to bottle-feed from the get go. I understand being passionate about something (for me, postpartum depression, of course), but to make someone feel like less of a person…I think this especially, because it doesn’t hurt the baby to be bottle-fed. I’m a bottle baby, my son was mostly bottle-fed and he’s a happy, mischievous 4-year-old. A lot of it is perception too. I remember the videos and photos, and new moms go into it with a skewed idea. It may work out that way, but I don’t recall seeing many fluffy, cozy photos of moms bottle-feeding their babies.

        • Yes, nowadays, there’s so many pushing BFing that it’s no wonder so many moms who can’t for whatever reason but planned to do so for X amount of time feel so guilty/disappointed when they can’t carry out those plans. We need to go in with a hope-for-the-best-but-expect-that-you-may-not-be-able-to-do-all-that-you-want attitude. That’s the attitude I adopted during pregnancy, which is why my expectations weren’t completely crushed.

  3. You can count on me. I breastfed, but I also formula fed. At the time, I felt an enormous amount of self-induced pressure and guilt to exclusively breastfeed. Now I understand that everyone needs to do what is right for her. I support all mothers, regardless of how they feed their babies.

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