In this single unique photograph, a mum of two illustrates what it truly means when you say, 'fed is best!"
When it comes to feeding a child, you can expect to hear people chanting two choruses. There's the 'breast is best' school of thought and in more recent times, there's the 'fed is best' movement. In her latest Instagram post, Maya Vorderstrasse, a mom of two, illustrates what it truly means when you say, fed is best!
In the beautiful picture, Maya is nursing her two-month-old baby in one arm while simultaneously bottle-feeding her one-year-old daughter in her other arm. While the fed is best advocates are applauding this feat of strength, those who firmly believe in 'breast is best', found the image to be contradicting and against what they stand for.
In case you're wondering, yes she does have a powerful message to send across. Circumstances led her to nourish her two daughters with different sources, but both methods worked fine. Neither method changed a thing, she said.
Maya is enthusiastic about breastfeeding. Her plan was to feed her first-born, Zoey for as long as possible. In her photo caption she wrote,
"I always dreamed I would breastfeed my child as long as I could. I've seen so many beautiful and amazing journeys through the bonding and comforting experience that it is. I breastfed my first daughter until she was six months old, and I loved all of it. It was our time together, so special..."
What then caused her to stop breastfeeding?
Circumstances change, and so do feeding methods
When Zoey was just two-months old, Maya got pregnant again! While she did plan to continue breastfeeding through her pregnancy, her body did not allow her to do so. When she was about four months pregnant, Maya found that her milk had dried up and it had completely disappeared!
A dip in milk supply, or worse, a complete end to milk production is devastating for any nursing mother. Maya was no different.
"I felt my heart shatter and the guilt consumed me. I thought our bond would disappear and she would think I was not providing for her."
But it was then that she started to understand that 'fed is best'. Having no choice, Maya started bottle feeding Zoey and to her surprise, she discovered that nothing had changed! Zoey still continued grabbing Maya's hair and smiling at her with her eyes. Zoey continued to be happy, fed and loved.
"Now I breastfeed my youngest, but the comfort of knowing that if life throws me a curved ball, she will be OK."
Fed is best
And that's the message for you to take away. What do you see when you look at this beautiful picture? I see love and beauty. I see a mother who is calm, composed, in control of her emotions and fully in tune with motherhood.
I see children who feel safe, happy and comfortable in their mother's arms. I see babies who look healthy and beautiful. I see babies who are perfect the way they are.
In short, I see pure bliss when I look at this picture. And that's because Maya chose to look beyond the fact that she could no longer breastfeed her child. She decided to put it past her and move on knowing that she had done her best. She turned to formula milk but did not beat herself up over it because she accepted that fed is best.
"Don't ever feel guilty or like you are inadequate," she said. "Just love them and do the best you can. Whatever your feeding routine consists of, it is hard being a mother, so let's show support for each other! To me, fed is best!"
Say no to mom-shaming!
While it would be ideal if all moms got together to support each other through the uphill battle of being a mother, there will always be a few sanctimonious moms who insist on imposing themselves on others.
If you're blessed with an abundance of milk and can go on breastfeeding your child for as long as you please, count your blessings. But do exercise sensitivity to other moms. They have their reasons and some of them may be struggling to come to terms with the fact that they can't breastfeed.
On the other hand, some moms make a conscious choice not to breastfeed for whatever their reasons might be. Either way, we must respect their decision and not pass unnecessary remarks.
A happy mom is most important
The benefits of breastfeeding are ubiquitously known and there's no denying them. But that definitely doesn't mean that you stretch yourself thin. Some moms have fallen prey to depression or feelings of worthlessness because of their breastfeeding struggles. Others have been so stressed about pumping milk and breastfeeding that they felt the joy of motherhood being slipping through their fingers.
If breastmilk isn't an option, there's a reason there's formula milk. A happy, healthy and sane mom is of paramount importance to raise a happy and healthy child. It's not so much what you feed but the fact that you feed, because fed is best!
Remember moms, you can't bring back lost time. Many moms regret killing themselves over breastfeeding and wish that they had chosen to just enjoy motherhood instead. Your baby will only be this young once, so don't allow anything to steal that joy from you!
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore