Open letter from a formula feeding mom to a breastfeeding mom

I admire your ability to nurse your child the natural way, and how I wish I can do the same.

Dear breastfeeding mom,

How do you do it? You make nursing your child and maintaining a healthy milk supply look so easy. You take your child with one hand, offer a nipple, and they instantly feed with little to no encouragement to latch. They say it's a baby's instinct to find their mother's breast, but does that mean other ways of feeding them are unnatural? Had I been given a choice, I would have made sure to breastfeed my child. Like you do.

I felt inadequate.

I tried practically everything. I did my research. I consulted a lactation specialist, and I tried changing my diet. I attended classes and seminars on how to make sure my baby latches well. I also tried joining Facebook groups where I could and have learned from other moms. But still, my milk supply remained low. It wasn't enough to feed my child.

I felt inadequate. I felt like I was not good enough as a mother because I could not even produce and provide one of the basic things my child needs to thrive and survive.

I was once criticized for formula feeding by an older mom when I was at the store buying formula for my baby. She approached me and said only breastmilk should be given to babies like my child who was not even six months. And she was not wrong. And that is precisely why I was frustrated that I was not able to achieve it during the first few months after I gave birth. I felt like my child was missing out--that my own inability had deprived him of vital nutrients needed to keep him healthy.

Is there really a difference between a breast and a bottle if the motivation behind the act is pure love?

I wish I can do it as you do it, so I won't ever have to hear that my child is not getting the best because I can't give him what many mothers can provide. I applaud all my friends who are breastfeeding moms. I look up to them, and I am so proud of their devotion to their breastfeeding journeys.

But is there really a difference between a breast and a bottle if the motivation behind the act is pure love? Through all of the challenges and frustrations, I learned that as moms, we all want what's best for our kids, whether it's breastfeeding or formula feeding. And that's all that matters, isn't it?

I also learned to be strong, to keep caring for my child the best way I can.  A shortage of breastmilk should not be the sole measurement of my worth as a mom. I know this, and I find peace, knowing that my child is growing up healthy and happy because I am caring for him to the best of my ability and beyond.

With love,

A formula feeding mom

READ: Mixed feeding: Everything you need to know