I was formula fed, and by the usual measures, I’m just fine. If my IQ was compromised, it’s not showing: I graduated with honors from one fancy brand-name college and then got a Master’s Degree from another fancy brand-name university. If my health was compromised, that doesn’t seem to be showing, either: I rarely get sick, and I’ve run three marathons, one of them at a pace I’m pretty proud of.
But. In one enormous way, I’m not fine at all. Fifteen years ago today, my mother died of breast cancer. Yes, she knew that breastfeeding reduces a woman’s risk of getting breast cancer — but too late for it to have made any difference for herself. And maybe it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference if she had breastfed her three daughters, or even just one or two of us. But I do know that she wished that she had.
I’m writing this post not to tell you that formula feeding is wrong, because I believe nothing of the sort. I am writing this post, however, to urge you to support breastfeeding mothers and the women in your life who want to breastfeed. Be aware of the cultural and institutional “booby traps” that get in the way of women’s establishing and sustaining a healthy breastfeeding relationship. Get and provide good information about breastfeeding, such as at the sites recommended here. Read this post, because it’s awesome. And for goodness sake, boycott Nestlé.