Why I hate “fed is best”

For those who are unfamiliar, “fed is best” is a counter slogan to “breast is best.” In the not so distant past, baby formula was seen as equal, if not superior to breastmilk. In an effort to promote breastfeeding, the slogan “breast is best” was created in the 1990’s.

Happily, the culture around breastfeeding has changed drastically since then. While issues surrounding nursing in public still remain, it is now widely known and accepted by parents that breastfeeding is superior to formula. It IS the best source of nutrition (and antibodies!) for infants.

Of course, as a result, there are always those lovely people that assume that if you aren’t breastfeeding then you must not love your child and are either horrible, ignorant, or both. To them, “breast is best” is an opportunity to brag that they’re the best.

Enter “fed is best.” Basically, “fed is best” is a shorthand way of saying: “For those of you who don’t breastfeed, I’m not judging you. I know you have good reasons for using formula, and I’m not trying to make anyone feel guilty. You are a good, capable parent.” Which is a fantastic, important sentiment that I agree with. But I HATE when people use this phrase!

First of all, breastmilk IS the best source of food. Countless studies confirm this. It’s not even slightly up for debate. So, in a way, the statement “fed is best” is a bit misleading. I worry that people may hear this phrase and think that the benefits of breastfeeding aren’t actually that significant.

Secondly, we don’t do this with anything else! When your kid (or someone else’s) pukes on all their clothes and the only things left are a tie-dye shirt with a hole in it and plaid shorts, we don’t say “clothed is best!” Once they’re older, and you feed them donuts instead of wheat berries with coconut flakes and agave nectar, we don’t say “breakfast is best!” We acknowledge that life happens, things aren’t always optimal and move on!

Lastly, and specifically, the statement “fed is best” is just dumb. It essentially means “alive is best.” Ummmm, yeah. I think we can all agree that babies staying alive is indeed best. Do we really need a slogan celebrating this?

We can be compassionate and kind to our fellow parents while not diminishing the medical fact that breastmilk is better than formula. We don’t need to use the slogan “fed is best.”

Boobs are awesome and so is breastfeeding

TLDR: Boobs are sexy, milky boobs are sexy, babies need milk from boobs.

As a new mother, I’m constantly amazed at my body. I made that! Yes, that baby there! I mean, sure my husband helped. But my body grew him to size, birthed him, and now that he is out here in the world, my body is still “growing him” by producing milk for him to eat.

This is still surreal to me. Milk literally comes out (sometimes SHOOTS OUT) of my body. Cued not only by a suckling baby, but also my baby crying, looking at my baby, or even thinking about my baby. At one point, I’ve even observed my baby screaming at my nipple, which then started shooting milk into his open mouth!

So yeah, I think my body, and its ability to breastfeed is amazing. Not only does my body produce nutrition for my baby. It also produces the BEST nutrition (and antibodies) possible. Because I have the time and ability, my baby’s breastfed. Therefore, if my baby is hungry, I’m going to feed him. Even if it’s in public.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never experienced any kind of negativity nursing in public, possibly because I live in Europe. However, in America breastfeeding in public is always a big topic.

There seems to be a prevalent argument among pro-public breastfeeders that goes something along the lines of “breasts are made for babies to eat from, not for men to play with! You should not be turned on by women breastfeeding. Boobs are for FOOD. Therefore it’s fine to breastfeed in public.”

Ummmm, excuse me? I would be very sad if my husband told me that my breasts are no longer attractive because my baby eats out of them. I love my boobs, and think they look nice.

If I’m out in public and need to nurse, I do. Because my baby is hungry, and I think breastmilk straight from the breast is superior to any other form of nutrition. However, I don’t think my breast automatically becomes asexual because I’m holding a baby near it.

I DO think my baby eating is more important than anyone’s discomfort. I would hope that any males (or women who are attracted to women) would try to give me some privacy if possible and look away, because they, too, understand that babies need to eat. Or would also like my baby to stop crying ASAP.

I’m sure someone out there is asking “but what about covers?” As a first time mom, I consider mothers who use covers breastfeeding ninjas. Like, seriously, HOW DO YOU DO IT?!

Learning to breastfeed was very difficult for me and baby, so I never used a cover (it made it easier to see what was happening). Now, if I attempt to use one, my baby thinks it’s some kind of peek-a-boo game. Even without a cover, my son enjoys pulling off my breast to smile at everyone around him as if to say “Look what I get to eat!” While I frantically try to block my nipple from view and then stuff it back in his mouth.

For me, breastfeeding rooms are a huge help, but not everywhere has them, and there can be long lines, so I often end up breastfeeding in public.

If you need to feed your child, you should do it. But don’t try to apologize for it or rationalize it by saying boobs aren’t sexy. THEY ARE! Moms already face so many negative stereotypes about their bodies post-baby. Lies such as “you’ll never get your body back” or “having children means you lose your figure” are rampant. We should be celebrating the beauty and sexuality of mothers’ bodies, not telling them that having children is their consolation prize for becoming dumpy and tired. People with children can and do have sexy bodies. I like to think that I’m one of them.

So nurse in public. Do it because your baby is more important that people getting a peek at your sexy breasts. Not because your breasts aren’t fantastic and might give someone a hard-on 😉