I support breastfeeding.
I admit that when I went to a grocery store recently and the woman in front of me was buying a case of formula it made me a little sad. BUT I am not going to judge and there are many reasons why a mom would use formula so I just waited my turn. Being a breastfeeding advocate doesn’t mean I am anti-formula, nor does it mean I give dirty looks to moms who give their babies bottles.
As I am waiting she hands her card to the cashier. The cashier handed it back and said, “Sorry, do you have another card?” and the customer (who was ONLY purchasing formula) tried again and was declined again.
Many of us have been there — money is tight, cards have been declined, payday is three days away. It’s a reality of many young families and they are living paycheck to paycheck. Formula is expensive and if formula is the baby’s only source of food — then it is the most necessary and important purchase you make every week.
So what came out of my mouth next?… “Let me get that for you” and offered the cashier my card. The mom looked at me and said “No, no, that’s OK” but all I could think about was that she was probably a bit embarrassed and, more importantly, there is a baby that NEEDS TO EAT.
If I am in a position to help another mom, I should. Her third attempt went through so she didn’t end up needing my help but she turned to me, put her hand on my arm, and said a very genuine, sincere “thank you”. It may have been a thank you for offering to pay or a thank you for not judging her, I’ll never know but I will offer again if I see someone in that situation.
I believe there is a time and place for advocacy and I also feel that we can never know another’s story (especially in the ten minutes waiting in line at a grocery store). I also believe we are able to influence change in many ways that are positive, empowering and non-judgmental.
We are all moms trying to do the best we can. We can help each other even if we have taken different paths. Breastfeeding moms can support formula feeding moms and vice versa.