"Why didn't you come to me for help before giving up?"
"You're not even going to give her the colostrum?"
"You should have tried for longer."
These are just some of the comments and questions I hear from family, friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers about my decision not to breastfeed my babies. And sometimes, words aren't even needed; people in public stare at me giving my little ones bottles like I'm injecting them with drugs. And like every other formula-feeding mom, I feel shamed by countless mom groups and online stories touting the benefits of breastfeeding and condemning formula as poison. For a bottle feeder, support is hard to find.
Luckily, despite the fact that my own mom doesn't "get" why I have chosen not to breastfeed and that literally all of my friends are very, very, very probreastfeeding, I decided a long time ago to give zero you-know-whats about anyone else's opinion. I've also tuned out the endless stream of unsolicited advice from medical professionals and acquaintances alike about how I should feed my own child.
You may be wondering how I can continue to bottle feed in a world of breast is best and in a climate where every single day there seems to be a new study out about how breastfeeding makes your kid an Olympic genius with superhuman qualities and unlimited future earning potential? Because I am that certain breastfeeding is not a good fit for me or my family.
With my first baby, attempting breastfeeding was such a horrible experience. It made me deeply unhappy and scared of new motherhood. It robbed me of my sense of control over any aspect of having a newborn. Breastfeeding destroyed my joy, and I believe, by extension, my baby's. Because when your mama is sobbing, her nipples are bleeding, and she's dreading feeding you, how can you be happy?
When I started formula feeding, it's as if the clouds parted to reveal the sun. I was so much happier, and so was my newborn. I never looked back. Four kids later, I'm not about to let someone else's experience or opinion about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding get me down. No one other than me and my husband know what is best for us. Just like no one else knows what is best for another family.
So to all of you bottle feeding-shamers out there: I encourage you to MYON (mind your own nipples). What all moms needs is support, not judgment, whether they breastfeed or not. And to all my fellow bottle feeders, stay strong. Breast may be best for many moms and babies, but you're the only one in the entire world that knows what's best for your own child.
Editor's Note: This piece was written by a POPSUGAR contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of POPSUGAR Inc. Interested in joining our POPSUGAR Voices network of contributors from around the globe? Click here.