Breast is Not Best, It’s Normal

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about language and breastfeeding. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

First off, if you haven’t read Watch Your Language by Diane Wiessinger, I thoroughly recommend it. It totally changed my view on how I need to present breastfeeding to others and we actually made it a required reading for volunteers at the Breastfeeding Cafe this year.

I never used to think about the language of how we present breastfeeding. Breastfeeding was always presented to me as a best or better option, so that’s how I presented it to others. We speak of the benefits of breastfeeding not even knowing that by using the word benefits we’re verifying in women’s minds that breastfeeding isn’t normal, it’s best.

So what’s wrong with best? The article linked above talks about how best is not part of normal life. It would be best if my toddler didn’t watch any TV at all, but that’s not a goal that’s reasonable for us. Instead, what I realize really gets to me is when the American Academy of Pediatrics tells me that once she gets beyond a certain amount of hours a week, she’ll be more likely to have problems.

Of course we always strive to do what’s best for our children, but when something that seems easier is still perfectly acceptable, we let go of our goals and do the acceptable thing. That’s why we need to stop referring to breastfeeding as best, but as normal. In other words, formula-feeding is deficient.

Yes, there’s the problem with mama guilt. There’s always that obstacle when we’re talking about anything breastfeeding. I often write a post that I go over 3 times to get the language right and then still get comments from formula-feeding moms saying they’re offended. Would I ever write the AAP telling them I’m offended at the amount of hours they say I should limit my child’s television time to? Would I tell them she watches much more than that and I am insulted that they are questioning my parenting? No.

It’s the same situation here. Every mother does what she deems best in her situation. The problem is that in a world that breastfeeding is treated as a better option rather than the option and on top of that we don’t have enough support and on top of that we have formula companies and hospitals working against you, many moms aren’t given the information and help to choose the normal option. So they end up going with the deficient option, all the while not even knowing that it’s deficient.

I feel bad for the moms with mama guilt. I have friends that I know wish they would have known then what they do now. I try my hardest not to make them feel bad about it. In this situation though, I think referring to breastfeeding as normal rather than best trumps avoiding mama guilt.

So here it is.

Breastfeeding is not best, it is normal. 

Formula-feeding is deficient, incomplete, and inferior. 

Breastfeeding does not reduce risks of SIDS, formula-feeding increases risks of SIDS. 

Breastfeeding does not reduce the risk of illness, formula-feeding increases the risk and duration of illness. 

Breastfeeding does not higher IQ, formula-feeding lowers IQ. 

Yeah, it stings. It even stings for me. I was formula-fed and I would never want my mother to believe she did anything other that the best for our situation. But those are the facts. We need to accept them and move on, because only when we start treating breastfeeding as the norm will we see the rise in numbers of moms breastfeeding that we need.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.


10 thoughts on “Breast is Not Best, It’s Normal

  1. I enjoyed reading this. I have always been a firm believer of breastfeeding so the slogan has never held sway with me, but it is a very interesting outlook that you have shared and this post has a lot of truth to it. Thank you for sharing!

  2. “Breastfeeding is not best, it is normal.

    Formula-feeding is deficient, incomplete, and inferior.

    Breastfeeding does not reduce risks of SIDS, formula-feeding increases risks of SIDS.

    Breastfeeding does not reduce the risk of illness, formula-feeding increases the risk and duration of illness.

    Breastfeeding does not higher IQ, formula-feeding lowers IQ. ”

    Do you have serious studies backing up your statements ? Other than LLL’s ones of course…Because it really sounds like LLL crap…even though your point was to minimize mum’s guilt.

    Formula feeding is NOT deficient. BF does NOT grant higher IQ’s, It has not the power to protect against allergies or illnesses.
    The only SLIGHT benefit it may offer is a slight protection against gastro-enteritis. The mother’s antibodies do not pass throught baby’s blood, it is only active on a digestion level.
    Read the Kramer study on 17000 bielorussian babies.
    Also, another recent study (University College London’s Institute of Child Health) insisted that BREAST-FEEDING exclusively for six months is not necessarily best — and may put babies off some foods, a study warns.

    BF babies are MORE prone to colics, due to the variation of quality in maternal milk. Many BF babies are in fact STARVING. For months, those baby cry and suffer. They are HUNGRY. BF, because of the pain and the frequent and unsufficient feedings, because of the sleep deprivation, can lead to severe depressions on the mother’s side.

    Long term breastfeeding could also cause iron deficiency and increase chances of allergies.
    The study contradicts Department of Health advice issued in 2003 on the basis of a World Health Organisation report.

    But now experts, led by a paediatrician from University College London’s Institute of Child Health, say breast-feeding exclusively for six months may damage a baby’s health and “reduce the window for introducing new tastes”.
    It added: “Bitter tastes, in particular, may be important in the later acceptance of green leafy vegetables.” Rejection of veg could damage health when the child is older.
    The team said 33 studies suggested solids could safely be introduced into a baby’s diet at four to six months.
    Not doing so could increase the danger of a baby developing anaemia and increase the incidence of early onset coeliac disease by limiting exposure to gluten, separate studies found.

    So in fact BF “benefits” are very slight. And the problems it may cause very real and not minor at all.

    La Leche League, which is a catholic LOBBY, is responsible for this “INTOX”. Just because BF is “natural”, does not mean it is SUPERIOR. We all know what nature can do to humans. Diseases, failure, unperfection, approximation, and mostly KILLING. So stop suggesting that because BF is natural, it is superior. IT IS NOT.

    • Are you kidding?!
      Human milk is for human babies. Period.
      Anything else is an artificial substitute meant to try and replicate human milk.
      You honestly think that a conglomeration of cow’s milk (made by cows for cows) and corn syrup could honestly ever be superior or even equal in quality?
      Check the sources of your studies and who funds them.
      Then go enjoy a Twinkie and coke. Since I’m sure they are equal in quality to water and fresh veg and fruit.

    • I’m sorry for your obvious bias, but breastfeeding is simply better than formula. Check back in the history of formula and you’ll find every few years that they start promoting something new in formula (e.g. iron, DHA and ARA) that’s supposed to be oh so great because they found it in breast milk. If breastfeeding were truly not superior, why would the formulas promote themselves as “the closest to breast milk”? I don’t know how to even fathom that modified milk from a cow could be better for a human.

      You know all those man-made drugs to fix the things that “nature” did to our bodies? They’re based on natural things like herbs and plants. Not to mention that so many of the diseases that are springing up turn out to be caused by our livestyles rather than nature. Autoimmune diseases didn’t exist until we started being so anti-bacteria. And I don’t understand how formula, which stays the same taste because it’s pasteurized and modified, can give a baby a better chance at accepting foods than breast milk, which alters taste based on what they mother has eaten. I eat a lot of leafy greens, my toddler (who nurses) loves leafy greens.

      As for La Leche League being a “catholic lobby” as you state, I’m not quite sure where you got that from. LLL specifically says in it’s mission statement that it’s secular. Beyond that, I’ve been to LLL meetings in a Christian, Methodist, Baptist church (along with other places such as libraries), but never a Catholic church. If they’re so intertwined as you say, why aren’t any of the meetings there? And if you still don’t want to use any of their resources, try the American Academy of Pediatrics, Canadian Pediatric Society, or umm… The World Health Organization for their recommendations on what’s better. WHO even puts pumped milk and donated milk above formula in their list of alternatives.

  3. My son was fomula all the way . He didnt get sick once until he was 11mon. Old and even then it lasted two days the doctor didnt even give him meds. So I doubt it makes them deficinent in anything. And better yet he sat up at 4 mons and walked at 8mon. Hes very intelligent and strong and healthy so I dont even understand why people saybreast is best or normal because the only breast babies I have seen seem slow not advanced healthy or smart.

    • What you’re talking about is statistics. Yes, there are some babies that don’t get a drop of breast milk and they’re geniuses. There are some that are exclusively nursed and still struggle in school or otherwise. Statistically though, children who are breastfed are more likely to have higher IQs and less illness.

      I don’t know your reason for deciding not to nurse, but that’s your decision to make. My blog is about helping those mothers who want to nurse get past all of the booby traps our society puts in their way. One of those traps is to treat breastfeeding like it is better and formula feeding as the norm. That’s what this post was about.

  4. Pingback: Preparing to Breastfeed | Adventures of Lactating Girl

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