Formula Feeders Kindly Back off the #treeoflife


I did a tree of life picture! It’s beautiful! All those colours! But it’s also symbolic… in the same way pregnancy is a journey, breastfeeding is too. From the early days, to where I am now…. in my second year with Nerg and finding it a love/hate relationship. The option to quit is always there…but it’s one I haven’t taken. Sometimes it’s a daily choice, other times I have to remind myself hourly why I’m doing this. That’s what sets it apart from formula feeding.

Say what you will, but breastfeeding (and expressing) is a choice of sacrifice. I sacrifice my body, my sleep, my food and drink choice… valuable hours in those early days when you just need to rest…. Instead of putting your body through the fourth trimester…. I have done this for my three children over more than a decade …. it’s not a slight on my formula feeding friends: it’s a whole different ball game!  and, jumping on our hashtag with your feeding choice IS a direct slight to breastfeeders everywhere.

How can you possibly know the implications and the meaning of #treeoflife when you’re on a different road? I can only compare it to mysoginist men who complain on national woman’s day….

‘It doesn’t matter how you feed your child as long as they’re fed’. I hear this all the time but what people miss, is that breastfeeding is not solely about food… at least not past the six month mark, so stop comparing it.

If I and other women want to celebrate something don’t jump on it bottle feeders please. You don’t hear firefighters complaining on national teachers day…. so stop making our choices about you and yours.

There’s a beautiful picture of a boy bottle feeding his little brother under this hashtag and I agree it’s so cute but he’s not sacrificing anymore than his time and the click of a camera. Get a different hashtag for this #siblinglove?

I’m proud of what I’ve achieved. The journey to nurse a toddler is nothing like your journey to feed yours…. you’re on your own road. I don’t celebrate that I give my children dinner every night…. what part of bottle feeding goes beyond nutrition? What part of bottle feeding means that you and solely you as a mother is responsible for your child’s wellbeing and comfort? What part of bottle feeding adjusts to your babies needs when they’re poorly? What part of bottle feeding stops your period for a year so you can conserve enough energy to sustain life beyond the womb? I’ve not been able to take the medication I need to treat my acne, I’ve not been away from my children since they were born…. I’m not a martyr, these are all my choices, but I want to celebrate this choice!

Can we stop pretending that breast and bottle are the same please?! They’re not! As a bottle feeder, you have your own trials…. (tell me about them, I’d love to learn more… getting up at 6am constantly sterilising bottles, making sure you have water etc) celebrate them and share your own hashtag… be proud of your choice as I am of mine….. but the #treeoflife is symbolic of how a mother’s body nourishes, comforts and sustains our children…. bottle feeding is not that!

I have no beef with how you feed your baby… but I don’t like my achievement and choice to be compared to formula… not because formula is evil or I’m some breast feeding nazi…. just because doing so undermines the journey I have taken as an extended breastfeeding mum far more than it undermines your choice not to!


5 Responses to “Formula Feeders Kindly Back off the #treeoflife”

  1. Yes to all of this. Since I started breastfeeding Mabel, I’ve always felt like I can’t talk about it because celebrating my achievement is somehow seen by the rest of society as gloating and making other people feel bad. Breastfeeding is a huge sacrifice on the part of the mother, you are 100% right but of course we must never speak of it aloud because people will think we’re looking down on their choices… I have never said anything to any other mother about their own feeding choice so as far as I can see there is no way I could have ‘made’ them feel bad, but aparently we do, just by doing our own thing. The tree of life pictures are beautiful and represent the core of what feeding my babies is all about to me, sustaining them with my own body, being their roots so that they can grow. You put it brilliantly. When you give a baby a bottle you are not a tree of f-ing life. No more than I am when I serve up fish fingers, chips and beans for dinner… again.

      • It’s hard to get across without someone taking offence but I think that’s the problem, you can’t celebrate breastfeeding without it turning into a breast/bottle debate, and I know that was never the intention of these tree of life pictures. Bottle feeding mums make big sacrifices too, they deserve to celebrate their motherhood, they are not lesser parents… as far as I know nobody actually thinks this… It’s just that if I’m celebrating my breastfeeding, please don’t jump on it and turn it into a ‘bottle feeding is just as good’ thing – I’m not saying it’s not, and your just perpetuating the ‘mummy wars’ thing. I don’t know if I sound like a knob here, I’m trying not to haha xx

  2. I am a mother of 3, 1 bottle fed, 1 breastfed and 1 combination of both! Everything is a sacrifice! Everything is about dedication! None of mine are breastfed toddlers not because I didn’t want to make the sacrifice you have and therefore only woman who have deserve your hashtag! But because I wanted to encourage indepedence, all my children are happy healthy and I have a great relationship with all of them, all these kind of posts upset me becuase theses are the kind that put a line between mothers and how good there doing at it!

  3. I think you make some great points! The whole #treeoflife is totally different to people saying “formula is evil”, so anyone allowing themselves to be offended by mums celebrating their individual journey needs a reality check. As I said in my post on the matter, when I formula fed Toby I wasn’t offended by breastfeeding photos and nowadays I’m not offended by posts from people doing things or going to places that I can’t/don’t so it’s exactly the same. People want to turn everything into breast vs bottle when that’s not even on the minds of most people xx

Leave a Reply

Instagram Feed

Splash Image Footstapes Image