To give formula or not? To wean from breastfeeding or not? This should be the mother's choice to make and no other person should be able to convince himself or herself that it is okay to judge that mom. Every mother is capable of taking this decision by herself. Yes, you should help if you want to help her or if she needs assistance so that she and baby feel better, but judging or giving unsolicited advice adds to the stress of the mother who is already exhausted and has underwent the difficulties of child-birth.
Why is formula-feeding frowned upon? I simply do not understand this.
Formula milk for babies is a 100 percent safe way of nourishing babies from birth. In fact there are special formula milk formulations for preemies as well. It has no adverse effects on babies and is specially formulated in a way that it mimicks breastmilk and has added vitamins, iron and DHA for healthy brain and overall development of your baby. There are many reasons due to which a mom might want to switch completely or partially to formula.
Some of them are:
Low milk supply
Hectic work schedule
Postpartum stress / depression or other health issues
Inability to pump and store milk round the clock
Simply not wanting to breastfeed for a longer period due to exhaustion or stress that it causes
Some of these problems have a solution, for example you can work on a bad latch with a lactation consultant. Seek help for your mental health or physical health. But sometimes things don't work out and moms spend the precious period of bonding with the baby in, guilt and stress over not being able to breast-feed!
Mothers are made to believe that they won't bond with the baby or the baby won't get the best nourishment, but the truth is that if she is encouraged for getting ahead with her choice of giving up breast-feeding she will have a better self-esteem and will more empowered to raise the child with all her heart! When we talk about bonding with the baby, there are a plethora of ways to do that, like spending more time talking to your baby, singing songs or lullabies to her, rocking her to sleep, giving skin to skin contact, establishing eye-contact while feeding from the bottle etc.
I have exclusively breastfed my both kids upto 6 months and later continued breastfeeding. My youngest is 9 months old right now. My journey had ups and downs but I am sure I would not have been able to balance work and pump around the clock and do night feedings altogether. Even as a stay at home parent, it was so difficult to feed at erratic schedules of the baby and I have a toddler as well. Especially if you live in a nuclear family, you are like yearning to get a chance to take a shower! Or cook a full meal! You eat on the go just to keep going, barely maintain the house and months pass without you getting even a 6 hours long sleep. I haven't slept more than 3 hours since the last 2 years and I know it is hard to exclusively breastfeed and it is harder to raise a child. So all the mamas out there, you all are doing a great job raising your children. The phase of breastfeeding is like an year or two and people don't leave any chance to judge a mom in the beginning itself! You have a long way to go, you have to raise a good human, and teach him or her to be strong. This requires you to be strong as well, so push such people away and spend this golden period of your baby's and your life on your terms and at your ease.
Lots of love
I could have dwelled deeper into discussing the benefits of formula feeding but you don't need that!
All you need to know is it is formulated baby food and it is the ideal nourishment that you can provide to your baby if she is not breastfeeding. You don't have to prove anything to the world. You just have to be the best version of yourself for your baby. :)