Mom Guilt

Claire, Day Nine

Ever since we transitioned to exclusively nursing when Claire was about two months old, she's been having trouble gaining weight. She ate as much and for as long as she wanted {usually every two hours for about forty-five minutes} to no avail. The problem is that she really can't take in any more volume, but she just needs more calories. So, we've had to start supplementing with formula. 

Almost everyone I've talked to about this has assumed that I feel guilty and offered their sympathy. I feel frustrated and disappointed that it didn't work out, but I don't feel guilty. I tried my best and that's all I can do. 

Reading Bringing up Bebe, one of my favorite books this year, got me thinking that French women don't really feel mom guilt. They get epidurals, they use formula, they go back to work, they put their kids in daycare, they go out on dates and take vacations with their husbands. And they just don't feel bad about it. 

But, American women take the complete opposite approach. We feel bad about everything!

Medicated versus natural birth. Nursing versus formula. Cloth versus disposable diapers. Working versus staying home. Daycare versus nannies. Public versus private versus homeschooling. Too many activities? Too few activities? How much screen time? How many sweets? 

 On our formula canister, there is a warning label that reminds you how much better nursing is for your baby. Seriously. It's formula, not cigarettes!

1 comment:

  1. When I saw the title of your post, I was ready to come on here and tell you NOT to feel guilty ... so I'm really glad you don't! I think in the push to make breastfeeding "normal" again people often end up going to far and making women who choose to formula feed (or who have no choice) feel like bad mothers. For a while I thought I'd have to quit nursing and I felt so much anxiety about it, until I realized ... my baby is NOT going to starve, no matter what. He will be okay! And I was tired of being eaten up by the guilt and stress.


You are awesome.