Ok so there is no doubt that the viral craze of #treeoflife pictures swimming around Instagram are beautiful. If you haven’t seen them, they show stunning artwork of mothers and babies bonding through a very natural thing, with trees connecting mother and baby through breastfeeding. However, in some people’s eyes, they are another example of how non breastfeeding mum’s are feeling guilt and shame. Hashtags like #breastisbest don’t help the matter! Does that mean that formula feeding mums don’t give their babies life and don’t have a bond with their baby? Of course not!
From what I can gather, it started to support the #normalisebreastfeeding cause that many breastfeeding groups try hard to advocate. This always surprises me though, as honestly from my standpoint it is a totally normal part of life, to the point where formula feeding mums are made to feel inadequate by health professionals, the media and the breastfeeding army. Let me get one thing straight, when I use the term breastfeeding army, it’s not all breastfeeding mums, it’s the group of keyboard warriors who have their view and will not be tolerant or understanding of others. I respect all mums as, let’s face it, what ever choice we make we get criticised for it but I have an issue with those who purposely set out to make others feel bad. All of the breastfeeding mums I know would hate to think they’d upset or shamed anyone. They agree that however you feed your baby, as long as they are happy, it doesn’t matter. But not all breastfeeding advocates have the same compassion. I think it’s lovely that mums who breastfeed can share something so beautiful and feel empowered by it, but it’s the message it spreads to others that makes me wary of the craze.
Yes breast milk is amazing for babies but not everyone can feed this way. The argument that it’s natural and been around since the dawn of time is valid but historically babies would have died due to feeding issues without a wet nurse or formula. Society and medicine has moved on to allow healthy happy babies whatever the feeding situation!
I have fed Little every which way because she was born too early to feed orally. She was tube fed until she was ready to attempt oral feeding. We attempted breast feeding and fed bottled expressed breast milk and eventually formula. The one she had the most trouble and upset with was breast. So no breastfeeding is not best for every mum and baby. Fed is best and it always will be!
I have already seen some beautiful bottle feeding tree of life art work. I’m glad these have popped up as they show that no matter how your baby is fed, you still have a bond and give them life. I’d considered doing one from when I could breastfeed, then thought I could do a bottle feeding one, but then realised I actually don’t want to do one at all. Yes they are beautiful pieces of art, but my feeding journey can’t be summed up in a picture like that.
It is lovely to see the pictures, but before posting, consider the hashtags used and the wording of your post. Just because you breast feed or formula feed, doesn’t mean that it is best. We all need to support each other. Always remember #fedisbest
Have you made one of these pictures – either bottle or breast? If so did you consider the impact on others? Should we even have to consider it, or is it simply people being over sensitive? If you don’t breastfeed, how do the pictures make you feel?
I’m interested in open discussions on this but if you comment please be mindful that everyone is entitled to their own views.
Little Big Love