Guilt leads to the Dark Side

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Dylan, my three-month-old, has been a formula-fed baby from birth, and not that anyone needs an explanation about that but I'll just quickly say it was a couldn't-vs-wouldn't issue. My older boy Riley also had bottle instead of breast, and since I knew after his birth that my situation would require any future children to suckle at the sweet teat of Isomil instead of my own I've had some time to get used to this fact.

You'd think that would mean I've been able to lay aside any guilt and regret for something I have no control over, and yet I haven't, not completely. I read Angie's post here at ParentDish about the pro-breastfeeding billboard that reads "Babies are made to be breastfed" with great interest because I have seen these signs in Seattle (often near a Starbucks, of course --- mmmm, breastmilk cappucino!) and my own gut reaction was one of defensiveness. I've thought, where the hell is the second line that says 'Although we acknowledge that not all mothers are meant to breastfeed'?

As some of the commenters have pointed out, though, the billboard is probably meant more as public service announcement for those who still react to the sight of a breastfeeding woman as though she has sleazily whipped open a trenchcoat to flash her goods at innocent passers-by.

One thing I've learned the hard way -- especially since becoming a parent -- is that no one can make you feel guilty. Not your friends, your family, the media, or angry internet commenters. It's a feeling you have to own, because it's your own creation. Whenever I see an ad for formula or even the container of formula itself that reads "Breast milk is recommended" I want to whop the makers of Whatchamacallit Advanced with Iron over the head and yell I KNOW THAT BUT THANKS FOR REMINDING ME THAT I'M POISONING MY CHILD WITH YOUR INSANELY EXPENSIVE POWDER. Is it the formula company's fault for making me feel that way? Or the US Department of Health's for putting up a pro-breastfeeding billboard? Nope, that's all on me.

Didn't someone once say something like, guilt leads to fear, fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to suffering? Or, wait . . . I just mis-quoted Yoda. Well, still.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.