It's ok not to breastfeed

Jes 4 Comments

Being pregnant for 9 months is not easy, followed by enduring the pain to give birth to a baby. As if all these are not enough, there is still breastfeeding to contend with.
Being condemned if you walk down this aisle
The media and WHO have kept harping on breastfeeding being nutritious and beneficial to both mother and child and that women should persevere and insist on breastfeeding exclusively. The recommendation is for 6 months but if possible, up to 2 years. We learnt from forums and social media that formula milk is not as good as breast milk and if you want the best for your child, you will definitely have to breast feed.

That is where the problems come in - Not everyone has breast milk right from the start.

I have a friend who insisted on giving breast milk even though her breast milk supply has not kicked in. It takes 1 to 3 weeks for some women. Her baby was hungry and kept crying non stop but because formula was 'not good enough', she persisted and ultimately her baby was dehydrated and has to be taken to the hospital. The hospital gave the baby formula milk.
Has formula milk now become taboo?
I have another friend who could not breast feed due to mastitis. She broke down very often because she thought she was not fulfilling her role as a mother to give breast milk. In the public eyes, she was not giving her best to her child. People kept asking why she did not breast feed and judged that she did not want the trouble of doing so. She was at her breaking point for the first few weeks, crying non stop, feeling frustrated with herself.

I heard of another friend who has shortage of breast milk. Everyone around her does not seems to have problems at all. The mothers are even comparing to see who breastfeed the longest to show that they are more superior. A research on forums and support group asked her to persist and that her milk supply will eventually come in.  Babies need the good antibodies and nutrients from breast milk and they should not take the inferior formula milk. Coupled with stress, crying, disrupted sleep, judgement from outside, she committed suicide as she was so overwhelmed by everything. This is a real story and surprisingly believable to all mothers.

I am going to come right out and say that breastfeeding is not necessary.

If you have the breast milk, by all means, go ahead to feed your baby. If not, giving formula milk is fine. You will have to feed your baby before your milk supply comes in. Even if you give formula milk all the way, your baby will still grow up and be healthy. There might or might not be any difference but babies cannot and should not be starving. Feeding formula milk does not mean you are a bad mum or that you have failed. After all, before the 1990s, formula milk was common and widely accepted and many of us grow up to be healthy and strong.

I am the lucky few who had no problems breastfeeding but have heard so many horror stories on it. I have seen judgement from nurses in polyclinics, peers, public shaming by social media on women who do not breastfeed. All mothers want the best for their children so you should not judge when you do not know others' situation. This is very similar to women who want to get pregnant but were judged by others for being selfish and not wanting kids.

Please, don't judge. Stop imposing unnecessary standards on us.

P.S: Guys don't forget to take special care after your wife and put her at the top priority especially during confinement. It's really a stressful period. 
People can live up to high standards, but they can't live up to perfection. - Temple Grandin


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  1. Hi Jes

    Although I have been reading your posts, but I somehow recalled that I have yet to congratulate you for your role a a mummy?! :) Hope you are enjoying the process.

    In the past, child drink condensed milk. Where got such thing as formula. If we move back even further, yes human depends on breastmilk again but as you mentioned, i doubt it is for all. I don't have the privilege to drink breastmilk from my mum and I am fine. Although some of my friends may not think so. haha.

    1. Hi FD,

      Appreciate your well wishes... I seem to think that you did congratulate me, maybe you have been sending me signals through telepathy :D

      Yalor, now the big hooha and make mothers suffer more. My mum said we have it tougher now, no 摇篮 and no formula for first month... no advancement in this area. Think most of our generation do not drink much breast milk... also like that right?

      Thanks for dropping by!

  2. While it is indisputable that breastmilk is best generally, it is entirely up to each individual's choice whether you want to give that to your baby.

    I have seen mothers doing all sort of stuff just to increase their milk supply for their babies. Not judging but to go through all the stress and everything just to increase it could actually be detrimental rather than helpful in the end.

    1. Hi Kate,

      Totally agree with you! All mothers want to give the best for our children and it does not help that social media propagates some unhealthy stereotypes along the way. Perhaps the message is lost in translation, but it's the mothers' sanity that they need to protect and which is the most overlooked.

      Appreciate your sharing with us:)


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