A mum has taken to Facebook to pen an open letter to the stranger who shamed her for not breastfeeding [Photo: Facebook/Annie Ferguson Muscato]
There are many amazing things about parenthood, but one of the not-so-good bits has to be having other people’s opinions on your parenting choices foisted upon you. Whether you want to hear em or not.
So when one new mum was on the receiving end of criticism from an opinionated stranger she decided to respond by taking to social media. And her heartfelt post on the breast v bottle debate is quickly going viral.
Annie Ferguson Muscato from Florida was shopping for formula for her baby she was approached by a stranger who told her “breast is best.” The comment hit a nerve with the new mum because she’d struggled to breastfeed her little one for weeks.
Taking to her Facebook to pen an open letter to the stranger, Annie began her post:
“You didn’t need to tell me, ‘breast is best' as I was buying a can of baby formula, because I already know.”
“I know that my husband and I excitedly took the four hour breast feeding class when I was pregnant. I know that my baby immediately did skin to skin and ate from my breast within an hour of her birth, because it was important to me. I know that we saw a lactation consultant before we took her home, and again a few weeks later. I know that we struggled at first.“
Annie explained that she has struggled to breastfeed her daughter [Photo: Facebook/Annie Ferguson Muscato]
The new mum went on to explain that no matter what she did, breastfeeding her daughter didn’t go according to plan: "My baby began screaming after she ate. Writhing in pain. Inconsolable. I know over the last month and a half I have exclusively pumped and tried slow flow bottles of breast milk, I have tried different positions, I have seen another lactation consultant."
Though Annie is still expressing, she said it wasn’t until she tried the "hypoallergenic dairy protein free formula” that her little one’s screaming lessened. “And my baby started smiling. She started interacting. She started sleeping. And I cried. Because I thought breast was best. I thought my body failed her. I thought she wouldn’t be as healthy on formula. I know you think I must not care or I’m lazy, or maybe you were genuinely trying to be helpful and thought no one had ever told me the benefits of breast feeding.”
Annie goes on to say that it’s not about breast Vs bottle, but what is best for you and your baby.
“What I know that you don’t is that breast isn’t always best. I know happy, healthy baby is best. I know fed is best. So, dear stranger, remind yourself that fed is best and smile because it means someone loves their baby enough to do what’s best for them,” she finished her post.
Annie and her husband while she was pregnant [Photo: Facebook/Annie Ferguson Muscato]
Since posting, Annie’s moving letter has been shared 46,885 times and received over 14K comments, many from mums who have found themselves in a similar situation to Annie and have wrestled with the breast/bottle decision.
“Brava! I was chided over buying formula,” one mother wrote. “I went into a 6-week long depression because “breast is best” and my breasts failed. I couldn’t produce. I was told that there was a high chance I would not be able to breast feed. I wanted to nurse. I wanted that experience. In the end, I was starving my daughter. After trying for two weeks, and an hour of pumping, only one ounce was squeezed from me, I conceded, stopped trying to nurse. From that moment on my daughter thrived because she was FINALLY being fed.”
“This also happened to me with my son!” wrote another. “I loved nursing…but his little stomach disagreed with whatever in my milk…people should mind their own business…being the mum of a healthy baby is best! Stay strong…you know what you are doing IS the right thing for your baby!!”
“Thank you [for sharing] my body does not make enough milk to feed my baby and it was killing me to think that I had failed at one of the most natural things on earth and the condemnation I feel is unbearable at times but my baby is healthy and happy and that’s all that really matters,” added another.
Parenting shame has been garnering attention of late. Whether it’s mums being criticised for nursing in public, or parents being attacked for their parenting choices. Whatever your opinions on breastfeeding, as Annie points out in her post, it isn’t a matter of breast or bottle is best, it’s ‘fed’ is best.
So back-seat parents be gone.
What do you think of Annie’s letter? Let us know @YahooStyleUK