It is widely acknowledged that breast is best when it comes to feeding babies, but there are myriad reasons why many mothers don’t breast feed. Bottle feeding is a safe and healthy option for women who choose not to breast feed, or are unable to breast feed.
For the women who breast feeding comes easily, and it is a positive and joyful experience, it can be difficult to understand why you would not do it. So hopefully this post will help demystify some of the reasons why some women choose to bottle feed.
Here are some of the reasons why a mother chooses bottle over breast.
Some women don’t want to breastfeed. First and foremost choosing to breastfeed is a personal choice, and every mother has a right to choose, without judgement. Often there are layers of emotion tied up with the act of breast feeding. There may be past emotional or physical trauma related to breast feeding.
Body issues can interfere with breastfeeding. Body shaming is an issue for many modern women and as such how we feel about bodies and how much we trust our bodies can be a very complex issue for women. Every woman has their own story and should be supported to feed her baby in a way that she is comfortable with and is most empowered by.
Some babies are not able to breastfeed due to illness or physical restrictions such as tongue-tie. While tongue-tie can be corrected by snipping the tongue to release it, some women don’t want to have their babies tongues snipped. Again, this is their right to choose what is best for their baby.
The mother may be ill and cannot produce enough breast milk. Some medications can interfere with milk production so if the mother has been ill her milk may not be safe for her baby. Post natal depression could also interfere with a mother’s ability to feed her baby. If her baby is bottle fed she is better able to use her support network of friends and family as she works towards her recovery.
Mothers that return to work face even more challenges around continuing to breastfeed. Often workplaces do not provide facilities for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk. While this seems to be improving slowly, it is still very common.
The baby may be adopted and it is unlikely that the adoptive mother is lactating.
Whatever your decision or your circumstances, remember: it’s your decision, and your right to choose. Don’t pay any heed to what others may say; bottle feeding does not make you a bad mother; breastfeeding does not make you a good mother.