I don’t put a gate at the top of my stairs.
That’s just what works best for my family. Yes, I am putting Peanut at risk by not protecting her from the stairs. I have decided to assume that risk by not putting a gate up to prevent her.
Would I blatantly recommend all parents shouldn’t gate their stairs? No. Would I say that people who gate their stairs are lying about the benefits of the gate? No. Would I say that gates are obviously unnecessary because my child hasn’t fallen down the stairs? No. If a mother came to me with a situation that called for her to also not put a gate at her stairs, I would gladly tell her how we handle the stairs and maybe even advise her to do the same. But I do not know everyone’s situation.
(To stretch the analogy a little too far)
Maybe a mother would see my recommendation of no gates when she is very frustrated and ready to throw her gate out. Maybe she has a different situation than mine that can be simply fixed by a different type of gate. Now she gives up on gates when she didn’t necessarily need to and her child is also put at risk of falling down the stairs. Maybe my child is lucky and doesn’t have an ill effects of her lack of gate, but who says this child is as lucky?
Now replace that gate with breastfeeding.
Yes, formula feeding is something that works best for some families. It’s something you have to decide on after weighing the benefits and risks—and there are many risks of formula feeding. Would I ever judge a mother for making that decision? No. I will judge the system that didn’t help the mothers that had to make that decision, but never the mother. Each mother does what’s best for her family. Yes, that includes the decision to stop breastfeeding in some cases.
Just because you made that decision doesn’t mean it’s best for all other moms. Don’t try to hide the risks of formula feeding. It’s not fair for you to take that educated decision away from other mothers. You can’t say that formula feeding didn’t hurt your child and therefore isn’t bad. Formula feeding runs the risk of lower IQ, more illness, and (in and out of the US) even death, but a risk is just that—a risk. If your child had zero ill effects of formula feeding—which you can never know for sure because you don’t know what your child would have been like had they breastfed—that just means that your child is lucky. Don’t let your guilty feelings rob another mother of her happy, healthy child.
Misery truly does love company.