As soon as you become a mother, sometimes it seems everyone becomes an expert on how best to parent your child, and you might feel even slightly overwhelmed with information about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Annie Ferguson Muscato, however, was taken aback when she was buying baby formula for her daughter and someone she did not know informed her that “breast is best”.
In an open letter posted on Facebook, the Florida mother responded to the stranger’s comment.
Muscato explained she had planned on breastfeeding her newborn baby and had even taken a four-hour breastfeeding class when she was pregnant to prepare.
However, after Ellie Jo was born, the new mother began to have difficulties feeding her from the breast.
“You didn’t need to tell me, “breast is best” as I was buying a can of baby formula, because I already know,” said Annie in her post.
“I know that my husband and I excitedly took the four hour breastfeeding class when I was pregnant.
“I know that my baby immediately did skin to skin and ate from my breast within an hour of her birth, because it was important to me.
“I know that we saw a lactation consultant before we took her home, and again a few weeks later.
“I know that we struggled at first. That some nights we both cried together. That my dear friends swore it would get better. I know they were right, and it did.”
She continued: “I know that my baby began screaming after she ate. Writhing in pain. Inconsolable. I know over the last month and a half I have exclusively pumped and tried slow flow bottles of breast milk, I have tried different positions, I have seen another lactation consultant.
“I know I have held my child, my baby, while she screamed for hours – one day for eight hours straight.”
Muscato tried everything, including cutting out dairy, soy and leafy greens in order to make the milk more digestible for the infant.
She said: “I have pumped – and I’m still pumping – enough to have hundreds of ounces of breast milk in my freezer even though she will likely never be able to eat it.
All because ‘breast is best.'”
It wasn’t until she tried a hypo-allergenic dairy protein-free formula that the situation got better, the baby screamed less, started smiling, sleeping and interacting.
It was this sort of formula that she was buying when she received the unwelcome comment.
Muscato rounded off the letter by suggesting maybe the stranger thought they were being helpful and genuinely believed that no one had ever told her about the benefits of breastfeeding…
She added: “But, you are wrong. What I know that you don’t is that breast ISN’T always best. I know happy, healthy baby is best. I know FED is best.”
Muscato shared the post in the hope that it would stop other people making rash judgements about how babies are being fed, when they do not know the full story.
She has encouraged others to share the post so that people who may need a reminder will hopefully see it.
At the time of writing the post has been liked 60,000 times and shared over 35,000 times.
Photo: Facebook/ Annie Ferguson Muscato