"When my daughter was born, I bought into this hysteria and actually believed if I fed formula, I would do my daughter some terrible disservice. I gleaned this hysteria from what I presumed would be nonpartisan breast-feeding advocates I had turned to for education and support. When I encountered significant problems with breast-feeding, I sobbed hysterically the first time we fed formula. I continued to breast-feed desperately to the detriment of my emotional health, my sex life and my sleeping patterns. When I weaned it was like a hormonal cloud lifted from my mind.
"I want you to understand that there are women out there who are deeply pained and burdened with guilt and depression because they do not wish to or cannot breast-feed and actually believe they are failing to adequately nourish and protect their children from illness. It is extremely painful for a new mother to believe that, even temporarily. You do a wonderful service by challenging this bizarre movement in a public way." -- Jennifer J., California
"I have known too many women who were reduced to tears when breast-feeding didn't work out (i.e., bleeding nipples and infection are common) -- believing this lie that mothers who bottle-feed are somehow less loving or less committed to motherhood than breast-feeding mothers." -- Alyssa S., Minnesota
"I have a theory regarding the fanaticism that many women feel toward breast-feeding. (I am speaking as a mother of five who has nursed all of her children until the age of 2.) It is an innate tendency of women to suffer from the "martyr syndrome." We want to believe that we are giving our everything, sacrificing our all for our families and most especially our children. It is difficult for us to acknowledge that we like being in control: Only I can feed the baby, she's mine, and only I can comfort and nurture her." -- Timmy C., California
Finally, a male physician:
"I am a 69-year-old physician, and in my generation's child bearing years formula-feeding was the norm. These babies have been exceptionally well nourished with no detectable problems. I agree it makes NO difference as long as general good health rules are followed for a lifetime." -- Bruce Herndon, M.D.
Many readers may be surprised that I would write about this one time, let alone twice. But I am very concerned about our society's values. In particular, I am convinced that the preoccupation with health has come at the price of character development. We have raised a generation jaded with respect to sex, coarse in its language, morally confused, alienated from their American and Judeo-Christian roots, and uncommitted to marriage. But we drum into their heads not to smoke or bottle-feed.
A society that stigmatizes bottle-feeding but not out-of-wedlock birth or abortion is in trouble.
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