Marla Sokoloff’s Blog: Why Make Parenting a Competition?

05/30/2012 at 03:00 PM ET

Our celebrity blogger Marla Sokoloff is a new mama!

Since audiences first got to know her at age 12 as Gia on Full House, Sokoloff has had many memorable TV roles — Jody on Party of Five, Lucy on The Practice, Claire on Desperate Housewives — as well as turns on the big screen in Whatever It TakesDude, Where’s My Car? and Sugar & Spice.

Sokoloff, 31, also sings and plays guitar and released an album, Grateful, in 2005.

She wed her husband, music composer Alec Puro, in November 2009 and the couple — plus pup Coco Puro — make their home in Los Angeles.

You can find Marla, now mom to 4-month-old daughter Elliotte Anneon Twitter.

Caught at the perfect moment! – Cydney Puro

Being a parent can be challenging. Many people have said that it’s one of the toughest jobs you will ever have. After a solid 16 weeks of being a mom (a mom who still fully admits to being mildly clueless), I can wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment.

First you are blessed with the sleep deprivation, then it’s the temper tantrums, and before you know it, your kid is sneaking out in the middle of the night driving your car to Baja, Mexico. (Clearly I’m already dreading the teenage years!) Not only is it a full time job, but it also comes with an iron-clad lifetime membership to the worry club. It’s definitely challenging — but it’s the best job I’ve had to date.

One thing I’ve started to notice, as Elliotte gets older, is that there is an ever-present competition among parents out there. (I hesitate to say the word judgment because I truly feel that no parent should judge another parent’s way of raising his or her own child.)

Sweet smiles – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

We all seem to have an opinion on everything baby these days. Bottle-feeding, pacifying, breastfeeding, vaccinating, co-sleeping, swaddling, sleep training, solid starting … the list is endless.

Every day I find myself asking the question — how did parents get by before all of these parenting rules existed? How did babies sleep without the 5 S’s? How did parents self-diagnose their children’s ailments without the fear-inducing Internet? How did parents know that if you don’t feed your kids only organic foods and milk they won’t ever get married and have children of their own?

Okay … maybe not that last one.

When I spoke out about my breastfeeding struggles, I felt an incredible sense of relief from the guilt that I had been plagued with for weeks. It made me so happy to hear from those of you who related to my struggle. Your stories inspired me and reminded me that we are all just doing the best we can and that our little ones love us no matter what.

Bathtime for Elliotte! – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

Yet a few weeks after writing that blog, I was at a BBQ with Elliotte and my husband when one of his friends asked me point-blank if I was breastfeeding. (Side note: When did it become okay to ask a new mom if she’s breastfeeding at a social gathering? Whatever happened to “Is she sleeping through the night?” or “What kind of diaper rash cream do you use?”)

The question made me break out into a cold sweat and I instantly started giving a ridiculous explanation, as if I needed to spell out my every move to him. Maybe it’s because my postpartum hormones made me feel extra insecure that day or that I feel pressure from my own self because my brother and I were breastfed for 24 and 9 months respectively, but it made me wildly uncomfortable.

My confident mom attitude was being pushed away by the self-conscious mom that still longs to be the most popular parent in school. I walked away wondering what had gotten into me. Where did the empowered and confident mom go? Why on earth did I cower at the very question that I chose to publicly out myself on?

Cuddling with my girl – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

Recently breastfeeding has been in the media more than ever before — celebrity and non-celebrity moms are coming out and supporting long-term breastfeeding (which I think is amazing and exciting, by the way!) and one magazine even asked the question, “Are You Mom Enough?”

When I saw that cover, I was shocked by its provocative nature. It made me uncomfortable. Not because of the image of a mom breastfeeding her child, but because it poses a question that I find to be incredibly offensive. Aren’t we all “mom enough?” Isn’t being a good parent “enough?” Isn’t this job hard as it is — do we really need to abide by a checklist of “rules” that make us enough?

Would love to hear from you all on this subject — send me a Tweet @marlasok or leave a comment below.

Until next time … xox

— Marla Sokoloff

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Showing 122 comments

stacy on

I’m not sure I know who she is, I’ll have to go back to my Full House days… What a priceless picture of the baby with its tongue out. Cute!

blessedwithboys on

So…are you still breastfeeding?

ocnlvr83 on

Personally, whether or not a woman breastfeeds is nobody’s business. I was bottle-fed from birth and I have come out perfectly healthy and intelligent. I think everyone just needs to tend to their own children, and keep their opinions to themselves.

kjc on

Your pictures are priceless. Thanks for sharing photos of your precious Elliotte with us.

Marla, you obviously are mom enough, whether you were able to continue breast feeding or not. You love your child, and would do anything for her, that’s the best kind of mom there is.

Allyson on

As if it’s anyone’s business how you are feeding your child! I wholeheartedly agree with you, Marla! When did society deem it appropriate to ever ask a mother if and when she breastfeeds. Wow…and a male asking it! Incredible!

You know, a friend said something to me the other day! If you constantly ask yourself, “Am I being a good mom…,” then the answer is YES, you are! If you weren’t a good mom, you wouldn’t care!

You are fabulous and it really is no one’s business whether or not you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding. I try to be classy and just walk away from those comments and not be confrontational. I just choose to exercise tact and try to avoid the whole thing, but when the issue keeps getting pressed, I just say, “Ya know, my daughter is lactose intolerant, so breast feeding is just out of the question!” Because what are they going to say to that!

But, you and your daughter are beautiful and you are doing a fabulous job! If you weren’t, she wouldn’t always be smiling!!!

Hillks on

Oh my! Is it possible that babies these days are born comics? How adorable!

Nicole on

Thank you so much Marla for speaking publicly from “the other side”. Breastfeeding has become such a hot button issue lately and I have felt so frustrated over the lack of sensitivity by some who use terms like “selfish” or “ignorant” to describe those who bottle feed for whatever reason.

My son is 10 weeks old and we are combo feeding- 1/3 formula, and 2/3 breast, mostly because I have a two year old daughter and felt that I couldn’t keep up with the constant feedings while trying to nurture and care for her as well. The reaction that you described when someone asked if you were breastfeeding is exactly how I have felt on some occasions and it makes me mad that my “mommy confidence” wavers when challenged with this question as well.

I agree that being a parent is more competitive than ever and anyone who has ever been a mom knows that this kind of pressure is really the last thing you need when caring for a newborn or an infant. Mayim Bialik said something like (not a direct quote) “save the judgement for parents who beat or neglect their children” in defense of her style of parenting and I really think this should apply to all moms from attachment parents to bottle feeding and working moms. We need to be more supportive of each other.

Thank you again for addressing this issue. You’re doing a great job and your daughter is beautiful!

alicejane on

Fantastic blog! Parenting is not a competition and I personally think that so-called “Mom-shaming” is crazy. Whatever happened to support? Different things work for different families.

Elliotte is adorable; I love her little comb-over! Beautiful baby girl.

Catca on

Asking a new mom whether she is breastfeeding at a social function is not okay unless you are a new mom yourself and struggling with breastfeeding and looking for advice, support, or something else like that and you ask the question where the context of your question is looking for advice, support, etc.

Parents can be competitive with each other and I think part of that comes from how competitive everything has become compared to years past. Marla is right when she talks about the fear inducing Internet, reading the Internet can make a parent very insecure about their child’s development.

But I think when parents ask other parents about the development of their kids it’s to reassure themselves that their child is developing fine but gets misinterpreted as parental competition.

What of it? on

Love the pictures. She’s so darling.

Breast-feeding is not possible / not an option for everyone. It is a blessing that alternatives exists so that our children are still fed and thrive. A healthy child is all that matters. Chin up!

Alexandra on

@blessedwithboys Why does it matter? Marla has said that she has faced problems with breastfeeding and it’s been hard on her, so why the need to bring it up? It’s not anyone else’s business.

Tyler's Mom on

Marla~ your daughter is gorgeous. I’m the mom of an 11 month old and I truly miss those “little baby” days. I’m about the same age as you and have been a fan since your full house days.

As for the man asking you about your feeding techniques- soooo not okay!! It’s funny, I’m still nursing and I get the same reaction when people ask why I’m still breastfeeding. I used to be embarrassed but I realized who gives a crap? How and what I do to take care of my son is mine and my husband’s business.

I hate the whole competition of parenting these days too!! When did it get so nasty? Even reading the blogs on this site is getting a little out of hand. So I say do what you need to do for you and Eliotte and be proud of the momma you are!!

Rose on

OMG Elliotte is Divine ❤

mamaofthree on

I loved my girls as new babies, but they were even more fun every month as they grew and learned new things, so enjoy every step! Her ears are beyond precious…like a little happy elf!

As for people being negative…I get that on this site people want to debate everything, but in real life I haven’t been met with too much of that. My mom friends and I talk about everything-ways of feeding, ways of sleeping, ways of attaching, and maybe I’m naive but it seems to be more in a trying-to-figure-it-out kind of way. Not in a my-way-is-better, but figuring it all out and wanting what we deem as best for our kids. If we’re reading and thinking and asking questions, well, it’s because we’re all good moms.

If that’s not how your friends are, if it seems like it’s all competition, maybe you could find some new ones. We all need a little grace when it comes to loving our little ones the best way we can! Blessings to you and your sweet Elliotte as you figure out what works!

Jeanette on

I didn’t comment on your previous blog, but as another mom who struggled with low supply and who formula fed/supplemented all 3 of my kids (including my current 4 month old), let me tell you that my breastfeeding struggles (pumping, herbs, visits with LC etc), guilt etc, still haunt me to this day.

It doesn’t bother me now, but as a first time mom, it made for a really dark newborn period and I’m sorry I didn’t enjoy my newborn more rather than obsess about how I was feeding him. The “Are you breastfeeding?” question always seemed to come with an implicit judgement that I wasn’t doing the best for my baby. And like you, I always felt I had to explain WHY I wasn’t, when really, it shouldn’t matter why.

Feed your baby however you need to, and do it confidently so it doesn’t invite questions!

I also agree with you about the magazine cover. The title is there to sell magazines, but it is annoying because it encourages “mommy wars”, when in reality, most if not all of us are just trying to do the best we can.

Congrats on your lovely baby 🙂

m on

Here’s the thing about parenting. Even the most confident, assured, accomplished woman in the world worries about what kind of parent she will be. We think we can study for child rearing like we do an exam or prepare like we do for a big presentation–then when reality sets in, we panic. There’s no hard and fast recipe for perfect parents, and that makes us all a little insecure.

Just like grade school bullies, I think moms criticize one another to reassure ourselves that they themselves are making the right choices, or that we are emphasizing one “Textbook” thing we do well to compensate for our weaknesses. Ie, one mom prides herself on breastfeeding and cosleeping, and criticizes bottle feeders, while secretly feeling like she lets her kids watch tv or she doesn’t enjoy playing with them enough.

I’ve done this myself until I learned something. ALL kinds of women make good mothers, but we are all DIFFERENT types of mothers with different strengths and weaknesses. If your kid is happy, healthy, safe, and loved–you win! And sometimes you have to remember that and give the snooty mom at the park the metaphorical finger.

laura on

I’ve never left a comment before, but I felt compelled to say THANK YOU Marla for being so honest and transparent about your breastfeeding issues. I’m 37 weeks pregnant with baby #2 and I had so much trouble (and guilt) about my struggles with breastfeeding. I ended up with double mastitis and lots of miserable antibiotics and felt like I was somehow a failure.

Thank you for your courage in showing others that breastfeeding isn’t easy for everyone and it doesn’t make us lesser parents. Congrats on your beautiful baby!

meghan on

blessedwithboys, you kinda just proved Marla’s point.

Charlotte on

That baby is seriously adorable!

Hea on

Haha, cute baby and hilarious pics.

Addie's Mom on

I love reading your blogs and your daughter is adorable!! You are truly blessed.

I can so relate to your breastfeeding struggles. I just automatically thought it would come easy but it did not. I was under so much stress and pressure and was so hard on myself. Then I felt such judgement from other parents who would ask questions like the one you were asked at the BBQ. I too felt the need to justify myself with a long drawn-out story.

My daughter is the most beautiful, happy and healthy 2 1/2 year old and I love her more than anything in the world. You have so much to look forward to! Thank you for sharing with us!

One of my best friends just had a baby and struggled with breastfeeding and I was so glad that I was able to help her through it. We as women need to support each other, I wish someone would have told me not to beat myself up because I couldn’t breastfeed my child.

Doreen on

Cute baby!! Love her tongue sticking out! LOL I remember Marla on the Lifetime movie as a rape victim.

exactly on

Yes, Marla you are right. Too many moms view parenthood as getting to sit at the cool table at lunch or being on every page of the yearbook. Since I am a mom to 3 older children, 16, 12 and 9, and since I am only 36, I had a lot of unwanted comments and judgments about my ability to be a good mother.

16 years ago breastfeeding, vaccinations and organic food wasn’t the buzz topic it is today. Generally there were two camps- the natural moms (breastfeeding, natural childbirth, cloth diapers, etc) and the convenience moms (epidural, disposable everything, etc). The good thing though was most moms didn’t fit in just one category across the board, so I picked a little from each and found my way through the early years of parenthood.

Also I had the benefit of older siblings who had very different pregnancies, deliveries and parenting styles. Their children are now 20 and 18- they each had a boy 20 years ago and a girl 18 years ago, so that made comparing really easy- and have all grown into wonderful adults. The breastfed two and the formula fed two are all doing the same things- working and attending college full-time. The ones that got spankings and the ones that got time outs are all well adjusted adults. The ones who went to church every week and the ones raised atheist are finding their way in world that doesn’t always make sense. With my three I found I had to stop setting up play dates with friends that were competitive.

Also, I only take advice from moms with at least 3 kids AND whose kids are ones I would like to have….so that’s not that many. Good luck to you and remember to trust your OWN instincts about YOUR baby!

Heather on

Well I do think it’s reasonable for someone to ask if you are breastfeeding when you’ve been speaking publicly about it online. I am by no means an expert (my baby is only 13 months), but I think you need to just do what’s right for you and Eliotte and own your decision. If you are formula feeding, just say so and own it. You don’t owe an explanation to anyone. I’ve found that when I just say upfront “she sleeps in our bed” or whatever the controversial topic is, no one says a word to me about what their opinion is on the matter. You just have to be confident in your decisions and show to others that you are comfortable with your decisions and others will buzz off about it if you have that attitude.

Monica on

I have found myself in some situations where I felt like I was back in high school with other moms. And after a few times of crying or complaining to my husband it became clear to me- I can choose not to be around those people that make me feel bad about myself. There is only so much you personally can take for the sake of your child- like an annoying mother with a kid your child enjoys playing with.

The difference between high school and now is that when I was in high school I didn’t have a choice to be there. Now I make my own choices and those for my kids so if I don’t want to associate with someone anymore, I can do that.

There are certain questions you should never ask a woman- her age, weight, if she’s pregnant, or if she’s breastfeeding top the list. I don’t know what is with people today thinking they have the right to know everything about another person. It’s called boundaries people!!

Marla- You sound like a normal new mom and it sounds like you’re doing a great job. And from the pictures it looks like you’re having fun too. Enjoy it- it truly does go by so quickly.

Ann on

Isn’t it possible that the other mom asked about breast feeding for any reason other than to judge? Maybe she was wondering if they wanted to sneak off for a feeding session together, or ask Marla if beans give her baby gas, or maybe she has a couple unopened jars of utterbutter she is looking to get rid of.

Everyone is so worried about privacy and judgement that we are losing are ability to communicate and offer each other support.

Maggie on

It was her husband’s male friend that asked her, rather than a mom Ann. I think, I too, would feel that question was too personal unless I knew the asker well, especially if it was out of left field like this sounds like it was.

I agree that she has been open about her experience, but at the same time, when you have trouble and are already feeling “less than”, the insecurity can be overwhelming sometimes. We do all need to be more supportive of each other.

mommyof2 on

I have both a son & daughter,( both by the same father/my husband.) One which was bottle fed formula for one year & one which I nursed for 1 year( with formula supplement.)& guess what? They have progressed thee exact same as one another. They both had their fair share of colds, they both talked at the same age, they even potty trained at the same age to the month! So you do what works FOR YOU!

I always had to supplement formula with my son while he was nursing, because I simply could not produce enough milk to keep up with him. (I drank more water then was even recommended.I tried all kinds of natural “more milk” pills from the whole foods store, & I fed him EVERY 2 hours or at least pumped.) And my body simply did not make enough to just feed him breast-milk. So if it’s something you really want to do, you can always do both at the same time! People are so set on one or the other, when really we can do both! It saved my sanity & I was a better mom for it.

Also with first born’s it is by far the hardest. I only lasted a month with my daughter, I simply could not get her to latch on right and after a month of excruciating pain & a low milk supply, I quit nursing all together. It was the right choice for us & she thrived quite nicely off of Enfamil 🙂

It’s hard not to take it personal when both men & women feel the need to throw in their 6 cents, making you feel guilty for not sticking to it. I remember other moms making me feel as though I was a bad mother for not nursing my firstborn, it was horrible. I think women do use it as a source of competition to one-up you on whose “the better mom.” & most men just have an infatuation with the thought of giant boobs!

It was rude of that man to just come out and ask you, like it was his right to do so. Inappropriate, PERIOD. This is your life & clearly are a great mother, so screw anyone who tries to make you feel otherwise!!!

ada on

What an adorable baby, so full of personality!

Jayda on

Elliotte Anne! Beautiful name for a beautiful girl! Is anyone mesmerized by her huge green eyes?

Diane on

I love the pictures! Such an adorable baby.

:) on

Great blog! I was one who was criticized and looked down upon for not breast feeding. I tried my hardest but I did not produce enough milk for my child. Even my DR said I wasn’t producing enough. When I stopped trying, I didn’t even have breast pain. Anyway, I have 2 wonderful boys who are healthy and happy from being fed by a bottle. My youngest (who is now 9) had never been on an antibiotic until the age of 8!

I would never judge another mother for her choices. She is doing what is best for her child. What works for some doesn’t work for all. Everyone was so quick to give advice but they really don’t know what you are going through with your child because every child is DIFFERENT! Let all us mothers stop judging each other.

lola on

Blessed with boys you are clueless. I responded to you a couple of months ago on a similiar post – I think you are the breastfeeding police. But guess what, it isn’t necessary, the choices you made for your child is not the only choice out there.

Andrea on

It’s funny… your blog headline grabbed my attention immediately. As the mom of 2 young children, I found myself asking the same thing when my parenting was called into question by close friends. Close friends who thought it necessary to ‘sit me down’ and have a discussion with me on how I was parenting my daughter. I have never felt so judged in my life, by those who were close to me. That was about 5 years ago and it still stings.

We are insecure enough about doing something that we have never done before, and then to have those that are in our circle that we think that we can rely on or expect have compassion and empathy for us, do a complete 180 is disarming.

I still associate with those moms, who by the way, were first time mothers as well, but I choose what to share with them now. I have found another group of moms that are extremely supportive and much more sympathetic to parenting. I choose to spend my time with them now.

Myriam on

Just like that… but sometimes, when I ask if someone is breastfeeding, I just want to know if I could maybe give the baby his bottle later! I breastfed my daughter for longer than I expected, and loved it, but I enjoy the cute moment of feeding a small baby 😉

Kelly on

I totally agree with what you have said. I think in this social media driven society it makes mothers (and dads I’m sure) compare ourselves to other parents and makes us question what choices we make for our children. I stopped going on facebook because of this. It made me wonder, well why isn’t my baby doing this or that yet???? I finally had to take a step back and look at the big picture. Yeah of course people will put all the good things out there but not the bad things! Every parent has a right to make whatever choice they feel is right for their child!

Ann on

Here is a great article respondin to the “Am I Mom Enough” TIME cover & the idea of competitive parenting…

JPhillips on

I wasn’t able to breastfeed my child and would have if I could. Its a womans choice to breastfeed for as long as she feels is necessary and it should not bother others.

It is rude to ask any woman if she is or did breastfeed her child/children in a socializing circle.

You are doing great and your child is beautiful!! Noone is mom of the year no matter how much money you have!! If your child is healthy and happy then good job!

Jenny on

Just two words to say to you: THANK YOU! 🙂

Maggie on

This is so refreshing! So often I read parent blogs that are seem strident and competitive, and it really bothers me. ‘Real moms breast feed’ or ‘real moms don’t work outside the house’ or ‘real moms balance it at all’ or whatever- it just devolves into this competitive, judgmental environmental that isn’t good for anyone. Thank you, Marla, for offering another perspective!

The only thing I disagree with you on is this: “…I truly feel that no parent should judge another parent’s way of raising his or her own child.” I agree with the concept, but if another parent’s way of raising his or her kids is to beat them or neglect them, then there is a problem, and it goes beyond autonomy and worries of being judgmental.

Cashmama2010 on

You made an excellent point that I didn’t even think about. The Time Magazine cover….Are You Mom Enough? I mean really?!!?!? I have a 21 month old son & I still worry about what others will think when I tell them that he is still in his crib or uses a pacifier. When others are a gasp at those very things.

I think as mothers or as parents we should just let the media do what it does best…create an issue where there is none. Leave the parenting & mothering to the parents. I just blogged about how inadequate I feel as a mom due to all the pressures & duties I put on myself & then to have the media also decide that I am not mom enough to breastfeed my child till he graduates college. haha

erin on

I have 4 kids. The 3 older ones were bottle fed and the 4th is breastfed. I love what you said. you really did hit the nail on the head. Whose business is it how a mom feeds her baby. Nobody but mom and baby know the reasons why they choose to feed there baby breast or bottle. When you make that choice to have a baby is when you become “Mom enough”.

I love your Blog!!!!! Your daughter is adorable!!

laurenlosavio on

Your job is to FEED THE BABY! How you do it is nobody’s business.

Kelly on

I stopped breastfeeding my son after 3 months because I has severe post partum depression and had to be hospitalized. When people would ask if I was breastfeeding (which was none of their business) I just said I had to start medication and had to stop. That made people quiet pretty quickly!

lee on

Though I never really planned it one way or another, my every intention was to be a breast feeding mom. Are you kidding? A sure fire way to bond with your kid? Add to that the fact that I seemed ideally built – wide shoulders, large breasts that were meant to carry enough milk to feed a small village of kids. But despite everything I took for granted, when my son arrived, my milk just didn’t come in. Lactation consultants told me it wasn’t possible – milk comes in for everyone, in sufficient doses, all I had to do was insist. So I rented the industrial strength pump. And I stayed up after my son’s 3am and 5am and 7am feedings to pump. And I took the supplements. And I read the books. And… Nothing. Still.

Even though I kept a brave face about it, it felt like everyone was looking at me. Any confidence I had went down the drain. Any iota of self esteem changed into an immediate feeling of failure when I thought of this, when people asked me how long I was planning to breastfeed, then looked at me in shock when I pulled out a formula bottle. Giselle came out right around that time with a statement that breastfeeding should become mandatory, law. By that rule, my mommy skills would’ve gotten me put in jail.

I couldn’t imagine the damage my shortcomings were causing my kid, his health, his emotional well being. Fast forward three and a half years. My little boy was thriving, healthier then all his friends, and our relationship was as close as could be. When the lactation nurse came into the post-delivery room to ask if I would like to start breast feeding my newborn daughter, I told her I wasn’t going to bother with it. The woman looked at me like I was insane, like I had hurt her personally and deliberately, but managed to restrain herself and walk out of the room with her eyes to the floor. This time, I really didn’t care what anyone thought of me. By the time my milk finally came in 8 days later, my daughter couldn’t be bothered with it.

All that is to say… i totally understand it. I get how you feel. how you need to justify this unimaginable choice which is hardly a choice but a necessity. How people look at you sideways, finding new unique ways to tell you, subtly or otherwise, that you are somehow damaging your kid. It sucks that everyone has judgement to pass, but what I have discovered is that not breastfeeding has its own set of advantages. Breastfeeding is not the end all to whether your kid will be healthy, or happy, or in love with you. It would’ve been great if it worked out, but despite what anyone thinks, it’s perfectly as it should be since it didn’t.

Katy on

my little one is 4 weeks old & he HATED breastfeeding… which made me hate it too. i wasnt producing enough milk & he wasn’t latching well which caused screaming fits, very hard on both of us. so now i pump & supplement with enfamil gentle ease. it has made a WORLD of difference.

i know there’s supposed to be a special bond associated with breastfeeding, but i feel so much happier to see him happily eating his bottle – i think that’s a special bond in itself. plus his overall mood is better & happy baby = happy mommy!

my supply is still pretty low, but i try to give him half & half bottles. as he gets bigger, he’ll get less & less of my milk per feeding. i wonder how necessary it is to pump at all. i just worry about how his little belly will react. but all in all, i dont think there is anything wrong with formula feeding, as long as you find the right one for your baby’s tummy.

also, i think its important for mommy to be happy too, so no need to be ashamed of the choices you make for u & baby. i would hope all mommies agree 🙂

kimmie on

way to go, to bring more popularity for the People magazine

Erika on

I agree, parenting isn’t a competition. I don’t have kids yet, but when I do I’m sure that I will do my best and hopefully that will be good enough.

I’m in my early 20’s, and was formula fed, and I can assure you that I couldn’t care less how my mother fed me. She was always there for me and we have a great relationship, and that’s really all I could ask for. I’m very healthy and never had any major medical issues, so I have no reason to believe that she did anything wrong.

Many people who are adamant that *everyone* should breastfeed think that their kids are going to be so much better off and that they will really appreciate it so much, but I actually don’t know anyone who is so proud that their mother nursed them, or annoyed that they were given formula. I think breastfeeding is great if mothers can do it, but they shouldn’t feel guilty if they don’t want to or can’t.

Ann on

I didn’t notice that it was a dude that asked her. In that case a breast feeding session together would be kind of creepy.

Sandra on

The further away from ‘babyville’ you get the less this stuff really matters. When your children are grown, say 12, and you standing around at school functions, or in social scenarios with other parents, the topic(s) of: breastfeeding, co-sleeping, pacifying, baby wearing, cloth diapering and so on and so forth never comes up. Like never….ever…!

The best thing is that you will also never be able to tell which kid ‘was or wasn’t’ any of the above. They are just kids, plain and simple.

Forget about parenting labels and methods and modes. Just parent. Do the best you can, and your child will be great!

Halley on

I completely agree with your opinion on the “are you mom enough” headline. Disgusting. At the end of the day, we all love our children madly and are just trying to do the best we can.

Here’s hoping your husband’s friend was just having a dumb boy moment while trying to make small talk. Its no one’s business how you feed your daughter. She’s obviously healthy and thriving. Sheesh! People need to mind their own business!

Nicole on

This is the way I see it now. I can’t tell which child was bottle fed or breast fed on the play ground. I am a high school teacher and I can’t tell which of my students was bottle or breast fed either and I certainly can’t tell which adult was raised on formula and which one got breast milk. I would also guess that most doctors couldn’t pick one or the other out just by examining them. My husband and his sister never got a drop of breast milk and they are very intelligent.

I respect a mom’s right to breast feed or bottle feed where ever they want and not feel embarrassed to do so and I hope that one day society will too.

Deezy's Mom on

The older I’ve gotten, the fewer opinions I find I have about parenting. My kids have done things I swore they’d never do. I used to judge parents when I found out they spanked their kids. My first two were nearly angels… then I gave birth to “hell on wheels”. Suddenly I could understand the urge to swat someone’s bum. Breastfeed? bottlefeed? I’ve done both. –Different kids, different circumstances. Who cares! Just feed your baby. Stay-at-home? Work outside the home? –I’ve done both as well. 1 Child? 5 children? No kids? Who cares! Be a positive force in the world. Support choices and keep your mouth closed more often.

lisa on

i had an amazing unmedicated birth with my first child and was certain i would be a strong, confident mother ready to take on any challenge afterwards. but it was judgement and criticism and the ever present commentary on choices i was making that really wore me down. i was less confident after having my son than i was before he born, all b/c i felt every choice i made was being scrutinized.

i am now pregnant with my second child and after 2 years of being a mom, i’m a lot more feisty and know i don’t have to defend my parenting. we are all mom enough so long as we love and do what’s best for our children and family.

Jessie on

Marla – I think you are doing a great job! New mommy-ism is hard enough without people putting their two (usually unnecessary) cents in. You and Elliotte are adorable and I wish you nothing but the best! (and to answer your question, I do think just being a good parent is definitely enough! I think evolution has proven that children can be raised one hundred million different ways and still turn out to be amazing people, and isn’t variety the spice of life anyways?)

Amber on

You know breastfeeding is REALLY hard. It’s a lot of work in a multitude of ways. It works for some but not for all and people shouldn’t be judged for it.

I put myself in the club of women who breast fed, however, my daughter technically didn’t latch on very many times. She hated my boobs, it was so difficult to get her to latch and get enough that she ended up losing weight and getting close to the danger zone – not wanting to find out what the danger zone was, we started pumping and giving her a mix of pumped milk and formula. About once a day she would have what I liked to call a “boob snack” and I could actually get her to latch, but this faded away quickly. So I am blessed with the memory of what breastfeeding felt like on the rare times she did it. But I also have the satisfaction that I successfully pumped for about 9 months, giving her bottles of half breast milk and half formula.

But damn was it a lot, and I mean A LOT of work!! Going back to work after only about 4 weeks at home, I had to pump and freeze or at least pump and refrigerate. I’d have to take embarrassing pump breaks at work, they had to find a quiet place I could go. We even traveled to a Bulls game, and yep – I brought along my pump and cooler and had to pump in the car. Moms who breastfeed deserve some extra points, but you aren’t less of a Mom when you can’t do it or make it work.

bj on

I was breastfed until I think, I was 3 years old. And I breastfed my child until he was 7 months old. But I think, breastfeeding alone does not make you a great mother. I don’t consider myself a horrible mother because I did not breastfed my son until he was 3 years old. My mother, of course, is the most wonderful mother. I sometimes feel very guilty that I cannot be the same way with my child because I was raised with so much care and love. She had put her needs and her life on hold for me and I don’t seem to be able to do the same. Sometimes, I spoil myself and then, I get extremely guilty.

Motherhood does not come with an easy manual like some electronics, so we do our best. My mom always says, as a mother you get this feeling of right and wrong, good and bad, and follow that instinct. Mostly, and I mean mostly for myself, my instincts have not failed me yet. But then again, he hasn’t hit his teenagers years yet. My feelings might change once he starts to shut his door on me, you never know.

mckenzieross on

Thank you for your honesty in your posts. In response to the breastfeeding issue, I want to give you a virtual HUG. It is hard to be a mom with out the entire world telling us that we are doing it wrong and ruining our children.

My son is 18 months now and I had low milk production also. He never EVER latched. It was not out of lack of effort because we did. He SCREAMED his poor head off when I tried. I knew something wasn’t right. I gave him formula and pumped for three weeks until I stopped producing milk. He is such a smart, fun, and sweet boy!

We found out at 9 months that he has a condition called Duane’s Syndrome. His left eye developed without the nerve to tell the muscle to move his eye to the left. When I think back about breastfeeding, knowing this now, it all makes sense. His poor eyes crossed and he couldn’t look me in the eyes to be comforted. AH it kills me thinking about it now. My point of telling you all of this is that “breast may be best” but formula is not a fail. Isn’t it more important to give our kids what they need?

Formula is absolutely a great thing to give our babies!

Congrats to those who can breastfeed.
Congrats to those who give their children formula.
Congrats to those who make decisions to help their children thrive.

Shame on those who make GREAT moms feel like they have failed!

Mel on

You hit the nail on the head. It HAS become somewhat of a competition and I refuse to enter it! Continue the great work, mama, you’re doing a great job!

guest on

Congratulations on your beautiful baby and on being a mother. I agree with you whole heartedly. My situation was not normal with the births of my children. I bled profusely with the first one and my milk never came in. The nurses were so mean to me and made me feel like a failure because my son was not getting nourished enough. I tried everything, even a lactation specialist. Finally, the doctor told me that it was not going to happen in my case and I needed to give him formula. I was devastated.

When I gave birth to my daughter I had an unidentified case of placenta accreta and came very close to dying. I had to have an emergency hysterectomy and have had 6 surgeries to try and reconstruct what is left of my pelvis. I could not breastfeed my darling daughter for obvious reasons, but looking at my healthy, beautiful miracle that I could have easily lost put the whole breastfeeding thing in perspective.

God bless and take care of yourself and your precious little one!

Jennifer on

I wanted to post on your last blog…I too had a difficult time breastfeeding because of poor milk production. Also, my son was born with an attached frenulum (that stringy think under your tongue) which made it difficult for him to latch on. I can’t tell you how many nights I cried over it – all I wanted was to breastfeed. We never even bought formula before he was born because that was the plan!

At my son’s first check up at the doctor we learned he lost 2 ounces, which apparently was a big deal and the doctor made me supplement with formula. Heartbreaking. I decided to pump to see what was happening…I got maybe an ounce out. Then I realized that yes, I wasn’t producing enough milk and formula was necessary. I started only pumping because I wanted to know exactly how much he was getting, then supplementing with formula.

It was beyond a full time job. I would feed him, play, then he would take a nap and I would have to pump, then repeat the process. I never had a break, but it was worth it because I really felt that the breastmilk was important. I was able to keep getting milk for about 6 weeks. I pumped until nothing came out anymore. I still feel guilty about it. I know it wasn’t my fault and I did everything I could, but I can’t help but feel that I could have done something different. Who knew you may not get enough milk???

Something sticks with me to this day…my aunt, who was like a second mother to me, asked me if I was still breastfeeding. My son was about 3 months old, so my milk was long gone. I told her no and she said, “I knew you wouldn’t stick with it.” WHAT? I did everything I could to “stick with it.” Sadly, it was the last time I talked to her, because she died a few days later unexpectedly. Her comment haunts me.

Long post…but feels good to let all of this out.

Thanks for sharing your story, Marla. It’s nice to know others have had similar issues with breastfeeding.

Jen on

I don’t really think it is a personal question, anymore than asking if your baby is sleeping through the night or what kind of cream you are using. It probably just feels like a personal question because you are insecure about it. I doubt that your husband’s friend (a guy) was asking so he could judge you on your answer.

I realize some people (ie women) would judge you on your answer, but they could judge you if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night either (‘oh really, I was able to get junior to sleep through the night at 6 weeks’). But really, who cares about those people. They do it because they are insecure themselves and need to feel superior. (by the way, I breastfed, and I think every woman needs to do what makes sense for her and her baby)

Melissa on

Marla, you sound like a wonderful mom and person! I so agree with this blog. I’ve had several conversations about the Time Magazine cover and article asking if we’re “mom enough”. However, rather than talking about attachment parenting, I’m becoming more and more aware of the media, and really society at large pitting women against women. I don’t understand why we can’t just be on each others side more.

In that particular magazine, they dressed the mom in fairly sexy clothes and dressed the boy to make him look older than he is. They wanted a sharp reaction, which is what they are now getting. When I had my first daughter, I chose to quit my job and stay home, which was a huge and hard decision for me. Women either LOVED or HATED me for it. Same thing w/ all of the topics you mentioned, though I’ll add that I had no idea that choosing to get her ears pierced at 16 mos. would spark such debate among the women in my life.

At the end of the day, none of it matters that much. If you give your child food, shelter, time and a peaceful home, and most importantly a happy mommy (and/or other primary caregiver)then you are doing your job. And anyway, I have never heard anyone complain that they are all screwed up b/c their mom didn’t breastfeed them long enough.

Good luck with your beautiful new baby! Mine was born within weeks of yours! I love following your blog!

Amanda on

Elliotte is soooo cute! Didn’t you just post the blog about her being born, and now she’s 4 months old??? Where does the time go??

In answer to your question, I feel there is too much information sometimes. I am constantly anxious because there seems to be differing opinions on EVERYTHING and so many people DO judge. I get advice from everyone, warranted or not. I think any mom who has a happy, healthy baby is doing a good job. I may raise my child differently than someone else, but I don’t feel it’s right to impose my opinion on other moms as fact.

My daughter is 8 months old and I am constantly questioning my decisions – I don’t need other people to help me with that. I went through breastfeeding issues and I still feel sometimes that I didn’t do enough…but I did. It just wasn’t meant to be for me.

Marla, you are doing a wonderful job and your daughter looks so happy!! That’s all I need to know that you are an amazing mother. 🙂

Jeanne on

Thank you so much for writing this blog and sharing your experiences. I went through something similar, and it was horrible. I’ve had 2 men (friends’ husbands, no medical background) ask if I was breastfeeding, and when I told them that I had trouble with it, they proceeded to give me advice about breastfeeding! Just because your wife did it, doesn’t make you an expert on it!!

At first it made me feel bad, then it just made me mad. I felt so judged and had mommy guilt as it was. I’ve since gotten over that guilt, and make sure to be supportive of other moms whether they breastfeed or not.

P.S. Your baby is super cute!!

Laine on

I completely understand your issues with breastfeeding. I never expected to have such problems…no milk until 5 days after birth, latching issues, low milk supply, etc. I have had to supplement with formula from the start and really don’t care for the breastfeeding question. I’ve gotten it at work and was so surprised. People just assume it’s whether you choose to breastfeed or not, and it is never that simple.

I felt so guilty for so long, and still do at times, about not being able to do that for my son. I felt like we wouldn’t have as close of a bond, but then I remembered that I was bottle fed and I don’t think I could have a better relationship with my mom! Mothers should be supportive, not competitive!

Good luck, your baby girl is precious 🙂

Allison on

I’m 37 weeks pregnant and one of my biggest fears is not being able to breast feed. I hope I don’t have to talk about it in public with everyone else.


I am a breastfeeding new-mom, and it is one of the most intimate and personal things I have ever experienced. I find it increasingly inappropriate to be asked whether or not I breast feed, as well as being asked whether my son was born vaginally or by cesarean section. With the evolving Facebook and Twitter age (neither of which I do) I have found that people at large expect everyone to divulge these kinds of personal information.

When did we get to a place where you owe, not only your family and friends, but strangers explanations for decisions you’ve made for yourself and your family?! I find it highly offensive when I am asked why I chose to do this or that and am expected to supply reasonings for what I have decided to do with my life and family.

Parenting is one of the most involved and complicated undertakings we as humans can do. Making decisions for another being is difficult and it takes time to feel comfortable and confident in being the decision-maker. All each of us can do is our best! Human have raised their children for thousands of years without these ridiculous rules, regulations, and outside opinions. Don’t let others dictate how you and your family live your lives!

Elise on

I totally relate to everything you wrote about. I have a 2 year old and I remember feeling so confident some days and then randomly someone(usually a complete stranger) would ask me something that somehow made me feel “put on the spot” and I’d turn into this nervous, insecure, mom. As time goes on you’ll get better and better at not letting anyone get you unglued. Elliotte is your daughter and YOU know what is best for her…never forget that!!!xoxo

Courtney on

I think people feel so strongly about certain issues (breastfeeding probably being tops) because people want to feel that the way they are doing things is the best way. Otherwise, there’s a potential that there might be a different, better way, so how does a parent even begin to fathom that they possibly aren’t making the best choice for their child? You can’t think like that. You just have to make an informed decision and do your best.

Parenting is not a sport – there also is no road map. There aren’t rules and regulations to follow. That is the biggest thing I learned so far in parenting my two children – everyone is just learning as they are going, and NO ONE knows the right decision for you and your child better than YOU. Yes, you take in the advice of your mother, or grandmother, or friends, or books. But YOU are the mom (and dad) and you need to gain the confidence to say gracefully to another mom “That’s ok that you are doing that, and I wish you well. I am going to do it THIS way”. The end.

There needs to be a stop to the hating and the blogging and the mommy wars. The internet fuels the competition. In my mom’s days, there were no blogs, no Web MD – they just raised us kids the best they darn well could, and that was good enough! I think we need to get back to the heart of the matter- loving ourselves and our children and embracing life as it comes.

Tess mom of 3 on

THANKS! I felt the same way! I have enough to worry about without the media provoking a debate about one parenting philosophy that does not exist in the world as the only form of parenting considered valuable or worthy of consideration. I thought the byline (not the picture) was offensive too.

Maconca on

When we had our first child — wow, 6 years ago! We chose to breast feed. It’s the choice we came to, choice being the operative word, and had every right to make for ourselves and our new little one.

No one tells you how hard it is. Everyone you speak with — breast feeding experts, maternity/pediatric nurses, lactation specialists, doctors — act as though it’s a “natural” process that will just happen by itself. My little one and I had difficulties — we went from we’ll breast feed for a year to 6 months to can we stand it for 6 weeks. It took 6 weeks for it to get easier and 6 months for it get “natural”. We lasted for a year.

I think that experts and lactation specialists do their cause a disservice when they are so militant and accusatory. It’s simply not possible for every nursing pair to succeed. That’s why there are other options. Scaring and guilting people into the desired behavioural pattern creates a relationship based on fear and resentment and no mom/baby relationship should be based on that.

Do what you can, do what you must. Create the relationship that works for both of you. It doesn’t make you selfish and you shouldn’t be forced into something that makes you feel inadequate and pained… Breast is currently believed to be best for food intake, however so much more goes into nurturing your little one than food intake.

You are absolutely a great mom — don’t define yourself by the guilt others want to press upon you — often that’s a manner of making them feel better about themselves anyway. What matters is what you, your significant other and your baby think, interact and nurture. Support one another and forget everyone else.

Wishing you all future success with your family.

Anonymous on

I gave up nursing my son and stuck to pumping breast milk for him for three months as well as giving formula. My daughter has been exclusively breastfed for 10.5 months and is still going. I was formula fed from birth and had very little support and/or knowledge on breastfeeding which made the task that much more difficult for me as a new mom. We have all turned out fine, alive and healthy. You need to do what works for you and your baby. Period.

My first problem is that a man asks the question, “Are you breastfeeding?” It seems almost offensive for a man to ask a woman, not a relative or very close friend, how she chooses to feed her child. What does he care? How rude for someone to ask another man’s wife that question at a public get-together. I am curious to find out how the conversation turned out.

I also feel offended, as a breastfeeding mom myself, about the controversy surrounding the magazine cover and title that was recently displayed on stands everywhere. As if it wasn’t difficult to manage nursing a baby in public, I now feel like the issue has gotten so much bad publicity that I find myself nervous of people gawking or whispering around me (which they may or may not be doing). I am not a crazy breastfeeding mom who thinks it is the only way to feed your child, I did it simply to save money.

I think the decision for any mother to breastfeed or formula feed is a private matter that does not need to be questioned or photographed for a magazine cover or pose the question, “Are you mom enough?”. Every mom who takes care of her children responsibly is “mom enough”. If you didn’t carry a baby for nine months but adopted him or her, does that make you any less of a mom? If you had a mastectomy and couldn’t breastfeed your child, does that make you less of a mom? Breastfeeding is food for your growing baby. When did it become something more?

Aneta on

@What of it?, I love your comment. It is wonderful that good alternatives exist because not all women are able to breastfeed, I don’t know why we don’t ever focus on that. I really enjoy this blog, Marla is so genunine and warm, I am sure she is doing an amazing job being a mother!

Lori on

Hi There.. I know what you are addressing in this article. Breastfeeding….and feeling like you dont know whether to stop or continue, but so hard. My son, did not want to breastfeed at all. I mean I went from lactation nurse to another lactation nurse. he would not suck at 2 months. I was pumping and trying to feed. I was so exhausted. I cried alot to my mother and said how am I going to do this. She told me that just because I dont breast feed doesnt mean i am not a good mom. I never had time to clean my even enjoy my baby because I was pumping not breatfeeding. It is hard and not every baby likes to breastfeed. After 3 months I eventually stopped breastfeeding. When I did i felt so much relief. I spent more time outdoors not worrying when i had to pump… I was with my baby and my husband, enjoying life.

Media is a mind game. They will make you feel insecure and not worthy. But you are …we all are. We dont need to be or act like they want us too! Dont think just do. Love your baby and your life! all will work out right!

Sanari on

Oh my goodness! Your blog summed all of the things that I could never articulate well enough.

When that Time magazine article came out, I felt the same way about how society tries to pit moms against each other based on their parenting techniques. I truly see this unattractive culture of moms who try to outdo one another. I wish we could be in the spirit of being in this thing together. I have had enough of the constant opinions regarding nursing and bottle feeding. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a completely valuable subject- however, it rarely fails that it turns into a forum of harsh judgement.

Thank you, Marla, for such a wonderful viewpoint on the matter.

Kati on

I thank you for your great attitude and anti-competition viewpoints. I like you, as you remind me of my friends / someone that I would talk to about ‘mother’ issues. Elliotte Anne is so cute, I love the tongue sticking out photo – so cute. When I had my son, I was not able to breastfeed (not even try it out) because my heart medications would have been toxic to my son, therefore he was raised on formula. People were always asking me about that. I agree, that is a completely inappropriate question. It felt like I should feel bad that I wasn’t, even though my heart condition was diagnosed during my pregnancy and not caused by a bad lifestyle choice. I love your blog and really liked you on ‘Party of Five’.

Jessica on

Gosh, what a gorgeous kid!! That first pic is perfection. I agree, other moms can be snarky and judgmental, and this crap has got to stop. Being a mother is hard enough without people picking apart your every decision. As long as the child is safe and healthy, leave people the hell alone.

swack on

I am so tired of people putting those down for both bottle feeding and breast feeding. Some babies just don’t take to the breast and that is okay. If you don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding, that is okay. You need to nourish your baby the way that is best for your child. My oldest was breastfed until 6 months and at that time they put babies on milk (not today though) and so she went straight to a cup. My other two were breast fed less because of me working and where I worked it was not possible to pump – no real private place except the bathroom stall. They all came out fine, I bonded with them because when they were fed a bottle I held them as close to me as I could. Keep doing what you are doing and trust your instincts. I am SO glad I did not have the internet when I had my children!

Alex on

AGREED. People need to back off. Everyone’s doing the best they can.

j on

breastfeed – don’t breastfeed. Who cares. You can breastfeed and eat terrible, drink take drugs is the that really the best for your baby, no. At least the bottle you know the formula does have the vitamins your child will need. Sure breastfeed if that is what you want to do and your are healthy. What you put into your body that is what your baby will get also.

RowAK2012 on

I can totally relate to her struggles with breastfeeding and feeling as if you need to explain yourself when asked about breastfeeding. I only breastfed for two weeks, because I never got in enough to feed my baby. I felt and still feel guilty that I wasn’t ever able to make it work. However, I have a healthy, happy, and thriving baby, just like Marla.

Marla, thank you for writing so honestly about your struggles and successes. It makes me feel better knowing it’s not all roses all the time.

Angela on

Thank You for your post! As a Mom of two I know all to well the feelings you describe and the insecurities that seems to creep in once you have your first child, we don’t need the added pressure of every one else’s opinion. Why does every one care so much about what another parent is doing?!

It would seem all of these efforts could be used towards something worth putting effort into, like the MILLIONS of children who have no parent at all to decide whether or not to bottle or breast feed, or co-sleep or not to co-sleep. Why not do an article on that Time?! (Which by the way, I too was offended by the title of the article)

So again, thank you for being so honest in your blog!

dragop21 on

I thought this was kind of ridiculous by Marla. Its strange to me she is “open” on her blog about her struggles with nursing her baby, and then when someone asks her about how its going, its SO RUDE And INTRUSIVE. Whatevah. you are a public person. You chose to share this information. I am guessing you chose to stop, as you probably would have proclaimed it from the roof top that you had made it through the rough patch and were now on the other side.

Since you are trying to make this blog about something other than breastfeeding, perhaps you should chose a less emotionally charged topic to rant about next time.

Gall Capone on

I have a 20 year old & a 14 year old. Neither was breast fed. Not because I couldn’t or because they wouldn’t. I didn’t WANT to. And that’s perfectly ok too.

Gall Capone on

And that pic of her with her tongue sticking out is the cutest, most precious pic ever!! Gorgeous girl.

Heather on

I agree with every. single. thing. said in this post. It sickens me that we’re all so judgemental (yes I WILL use the word) as parents. I could care less how the mom down the street feeds her child. I expect the same in kind from other mothers… I could care less if you co-sleep, if you vaccinate, if you baby wear… It’s your decision and your decision will affect your family and your family alone. It certainly won’t affect me! My kids were formula fed and not only are they smart and bright (wait… aren’t they supposed to be dumb as posts and always sick???), but they’re THRIVING. And I’ll be darned if I’m going to allow a lactivisit to tell me differently! I really wish we’d just realize that we all have similar struggles and that we’re all in it together… I wonder how long that will take??

Carrie on

I love your honesty. You seem like a great mom (with an adorable daughter). Keep up the good work Momma!!

denise on

Breastfeeding is a wonderful bonding experience with your child but is very time consuming and exhausting for the mother, especially if she does not have a good support system. It can also be somewhat uncomfortable after a c-section.

I had 3 c-sections at 30, 34, and 41. After son #1, I returned to work full-time when he was just 10 weeks. I tried nursing for a couple more weeks and then gave up. I left my career by the time #2 son came along and nursed him for almost a year until I wound up in the emergency room with severe mastitis. I was exttemely fatigued. By 40, I was on anti-depressants to cope with family problems and had trouble nursing my daughter. She was only about 8 lbs at 8 weeks and her development was compromised. The team of pediatricians recommended I switch to the bottle or risk possible brain damage. Later, I learned that certain medications can affect the production of breast milk. I felt terrible about my failure to properly nurse my daughter but I could not go off my meds. My almost 9 year old daughter is very healthy, so I made the best choice at the time.

All mothers must do what is best for their child based on advice from medical professionals like doctors. It does not matter what others think! And rich, pampered celebrities usually have a vast support system, so they can breastfeed until kindergarten! But for the more down-to earth celebrity, don’t feel intimidated by the Gisele Bunchens of the world. Breastfeeding will not determine the happiness of your children. Raising your child with love, kindness, spirituality and ethics are the keys. Motherhood is the greatest gift to be appreciated every second of every day!

momtoLogan on

I was very insulted by the headline on Time Magazine. My son is 6 months old now and I had a really hard time breastfeeding at first and it never really got any better. He wasn’t gaining any weight and it turns out that I wasn’t producing enough milk for his needs. I had to put him on formula but I still breastfed too. I even went on medication to help me produce more but it still didn’t help. My breast milk supply kept decreasing to the point where I wasn’t getting anything at all. I tried pumping as well and that didn’t help either. So for the past two months he was been only on formula.

At first I felt like a failure because all the other new moms I know weren’t having any problems and they were really enjoying breast feeding. It was also very important to my husband for me to breast feed. But after I tried so hard, my husband understood and was really supportive when I was down on myself.

All you can do is try. So many women can’t breast feed or have problems with it. And I don’t think a headline like “Are you mom enough?” is healthy. It is very insulting, unsupportive and rude and it made me mad. However I am a great mom and I am mom enough. I’m mom enough to do absolutely everything I can for my son.

Sarah on

If there was a more supportive environment surrounding parents and their babies, everyone would thrive. We live in an imperfect world, full of imperfect situations, so why expect everything to go perfectly?? And since when did that become a failure of some sort on our part? Anyone who is judgmental about a mothers ability to breast feed, or any other, at times, overwhelming responsibility of parenting needs serious character refinement, or more life experience. And I pity them because that will be a painful process.

Real, unselfish love is giving your absolute best. That is all husbands, wives, babies, and real friends want, Our honest best. and it sounds like all the moms here are giving that so you all deserve to take a deep breath and remember, you are succeeding in a way that astounds!

teresa on

that is one beautiful baby. what a little character!

HeatherH on

It’s human nature to judge others and ourselves for that matter. How you choose to react to that judgement is what distinguishes your individual character. Above all else, children learn from example. Strive to be a good example in all that you do (this will mean something very different to everyone who reads this). Don’t allow others to dictate your family and the choices made within it.

crystal on

An interesting article by the breastfeeding guru Dr. Jack Newman….,1

Brooke on

I to had a difficult time with breastfeeding, and what a relief to hear other mom’s struggles with it too! I felt such guilt when it didn’t work out for myself and my baby, but she is growing up just fine and is healthy. And yes, Marla, I get SO tired of people asking me if I’m breastfeeding too! What business is it of there’s? Of all the questions to ask about mommy hood! Thank you so much for sharing your struggles.

alteter on

I have never in my life commented on a blog before, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I struggled for weeks with a low milk supply, crying and depressed because I was failing my child. Finally, my husband put his foot down (which he’s never done before!). He insisted that the struggle with low milk was too hard on me and too hard on our son. We switched to formula and my son thrived after that. His personality completely changed to a happy baby because before, he was hungry all the time. It was the hardest decision of my life and I have never felt so judged.

Keep your chin up and ignore all the judgers. They have not been in your shoes and have no idea what you are facing!

MiB on

Love that picture of Eliotte sticking her tongue out!

And a perfect response to all the competitiveness (for lack of better words) of motherhood. I have noticed that people seem to be pretty dogmatic in their views on parenting, if you don’t do it their way you’re doing it wrong. The truth is, you have to do what’s best for your baby/family in the situation you are in. Every baby is different, every mother and father is different, every family is different, every situation is different, that really means that every solution has to be different even if the problem is the same.

The only thing you can do is to say that you have given the problem great consideration and that this (whatever it is) was the best solution for you and your family right now. You are mother enough if your childs needs are met and she is loved and happy (generally speaking).

My standard answer to impertinent questions is “Why are you asking that?”, let them do some explaining before you decide if you want to go into any!

reagan on

My rules for parenting:

1.) Do what is best for my kid.
2.) Ignore everyone else and their opinions.
3.) If someone attempts to engage me in discussion of how I’m wrong, see rule # 2.

leslie on

Love you, Love your baby, and your blog

mother of 3

Anna on

I too had problems the first week breastfeeding my first child, and almost gave up, because even the nurses at the hospital were not supportive believe it or not. It may be “natural” but that doesn’t mean it comes naturally or easily to everyone. With my second child it was instant success, because I had already figured it out, so I didn’t need anyone. Now, on the other hand, I get made fun of really bad when I go visit my family because I do extended breastfeeding. My mom told me that she hoped I would wean before I came back for a visit this summer. Tough luck mom!

Another judgemental topic was circumcision. Due to our families belief system, we circumcised our son. But we had to do it at the doctors office a week later, because the nursing staff at the hospital was so against it that they were mean to us about it because they don’t believe in it. They said that it would cause attachment issues with my son and I, and I am here to tell you if the boy was any more attached to me, we would be siamese twins!

There are so many things that you can make mistakes about as a parent, but if you honestly think every decision through, and always put your childs needs first, you are being a good parent, and you are definetly mom enough!

k on

I don’t find anything particularly personal about that question. I answered it a million times. I found it as benign as “What formula do you use?” Or “What kind of diapers?” Would you have been offended if someone had asked you if you’re using cloth diapers? As for the feeling judged, it’s true. Some people ARE judging you. You have to get in your head that you’re doing the best you can, period. Some people will always be presume to think the way they did things is the only way right way. You know your baby like nobody else does, do what you think is best for her AND for you and don’t worry about opinion. Some genuinely want to help a new mom who perhaps they perceive to be struggling, so remember to try not to take offense where non was intended. Best of luck! She looks pretty happy so far!

Nina on

Love the pics! Especially the first one! Precious. 🙂

Mia on

Marla, I chose not to breastfeed my daughter. I was a young mother and the whole idea weirded me out. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it was not for me. So my daughter was raised entirely on formula. And I’ve been a very non-traditional mother ever since.

It’s amazing how much judgment you can collect when you are single, non-spiritual, and liberal-minded. I’ve had parents actually tell me that they are surprised that my daughter didn’t turn out wild or promiscuous or bad. My daughter is now 14, she just graduated with honors from middle school, she made it to State in Chess, she’s healthy and plays every sport known to man, and she has no health issues.

Parenting is much deeper than what you feed or put on your child. It’s instilling values, morals, and confidence in them that makes the real difference. on

I think your initial word “judging” was the word you were looking for. In reality, moms are all saying the same thing in our heads. “Am I the best mom I can be.” Your friend meant no harm by asking you if you were breastfeeding. She never even had the chance to judge you because you were doing it all on your own.

When I mentor or coach moms I never make decisions like breastfeeding for them. My job is to help them sort out the ifs whys and hows and then own that decision. If you truly made a decision not to breastfeed, then get over yourself and own that decision. You just might be the rock someone else needs to lean on.

Brooke on

wow your daughter is adorable. I still remember watching you on full house years ago and now i’m loving reading your blogs. your daughter is one lucky little one to have a momma as great as you.

Erin on

I had the same reaction to the magazine cover. It wasn’t the picture that bothered me but the question. How dare anyone ask if I’m “mom enough.”

My little man just turned 1 a few weeks ago and we are expecting our second little one in September. The funny thing is that I find myself questioning myself more this time around than I did with my son. We went against the grain in the begining as my husband decided to find out the sex of the baby and I chose to be suprised. My husband kept it a secret the entire time much to our family and friend’s disappointment. We are doing the same thing this time. Again, we seem to be the only ones who really love the idea.

First time I was absolutely not wanting to breastfeed and I was ready for the epidural from day one! lol! 🙂 This time around I am much more excited about trying to breastfeed and I say it like that on purpose. I am going to TRY to breastfeed. If it works for me and my family then great and if not then we will bottlefeed and that will be great again too! This time around I am going to TRY to birth naturally knowing that if I need it the epidural is there.

I agree with others who have posted that if you matter-of-factly say the way you are parenting, people tend not to push you. I also love that I work with a woman who’s son is a month and a half older than mine and we have completely different parenting styles, she breastfed exclusively, birthed naturally, he co-slept, and he’s in daycare, while my son was bottlefed after 3 weeks, the epidural was my best friend, he has slept in my bed 1 night of his life, and my son stays at home with my family. We are friends and our boys are friends and we love it. They don’t know or care how we got them out of our bodies, they don’t know or care how they are fed, just that they are, etc.

I know that my son is happy and healthy and I know that he is loved. What makes me “mom enough?” the fact that my name is “Mom.”

viola on

i gave birth 5 months ago and ever since its like nearly everybody needs to add one’s two cents about my choices.

i wasn´t able to breastfeed as well and there was so much pressure put on me, i was nearly crying every time i bottle-fed. but it turned out to be the right thing for us. when i had lost all my babyweight quickly, my sister in law (who btw had a burn out last year, than decided to give up her career and to have a baby, who is insecure all the time and trying to be mrs. perfect 24/7) bitched on me on my childs christening in front of the whole family, i gave up breastfeeding, so i can starve myself back to my pre baby weight. so, that was the point, i just let it all go. all around mothers, who have nothing better to do, than comparing themselves or sharing the status quo of their babies developement every fucking second, instead of just ENJOYING their time being a mom and being blessed to have a child.

i think people this days are spoiled and problems are created artificial all the time, because we life on this side on the planet where you have hundreds of choices and the money to materialize them.

its just everybodys own decision to jump on that bandwagon and give yourself a hard time or just try to life the life you think its the best for you and the baby. i just wonder where maternial instinct has gone, women are not secure about being themselves anymore, just trying so hard to be “perfect”.

everytime some “supermom” comes on to me an starts her word-vomit about how things should be or about her kid already doing this and that i just smile and nod and be happy, that i don´t need that kind of shit to boost my ego.

you and your babies are the most important things in life, anything else: WHO CARES.

good luck!

Indira on

I know this may seem unpopular but, maybe we are in competition with each other. I don’t look at anyone and consciously judge their parenting choices but, let’s face it everyones goal is to raise the best child they possibly can. Why? We all want successful, well adjusted and socially accepted children because in society there’s a hierarchal system and not everyone is going to be on top but, naturally we want our babies to be. It’s biological, it’s instinctual. I don’t want anyone to think that, this is a head to head competition mom vs. mom but, let’s not pretend like we aren’t animals and, like animals we’re trying to survive in the world we live in. Just because our world now includes ipads and the internet doesn’t change the fact that we’re competing in this world. And if we’re all trying out best, it might make another mom feel insecure if her best looks different.

Indira on

and honestly I don’t think asking if you’re breastfeeding is that personal, it’s as mundane as asking if they sleep through the night. If the answer is no, the answer is no. NO.

lyn on

That baby girl is really cute!

I think its ok to ask people if they are nursing. Its just a question. Maybe they are just curious. Its not that much different than asking where does your baby sleep?

I do agree that I don’t like all the mom competion. In the end it doesn’t matter as long as your baby is healthy, happy, and growing, and you are happy with the choices you are making.

Sarah on

I had to give up nursing around 3 weeks – I was going through some pretty bad post partum depression, and i really felt overwhelmed with breast feeding. I needed my husbands help through the night and trying to pump bottles during the day in addition to nursing was really stressful to me. I decided that to be the best mommy i could be to my son, i needed to be sane. For me, that meant starting formula and it took a lot of weight off my shoulders. I think every mom has the right to know what’s best for them and their child, for whatever reason. At the end of the day, your child will remember the kisses and cuddles and the “i love you’s”, not what they ate. 🙂

Jean on

It is the media that does this–and I’m sorry to say, sites like this one. Makes us all think that to be a perfect mom we have to give birth to babies in bathtubs at home with no drugs or doctors, breastfeed for three years, feed our children no dairy, no meat, no gluten and only organic fruit or vegetables, put them in cloth diapers, potty train them at 8 months…all this ridiculousness.

The most important thing is for a baby to be loved. Loved and properly cared for. There are too many children in this country who are abused and neglected and here we have mothers picking on each other for not breastfeeding.

My daughter has never had a drop of breastmilk. My milk didn’t come in, ever. I never felt bad about it, it’s just what happened. She was delivered via c-section and I had an epidural while in labor. She also eats non-organic fruit and veggies and is in disposable diapers. Oh and sometimes she eats Pepperidge Farm Goldfish for a snack! Shocking! None of that makes me a bad mother, and people who think so are just insecure about their own parenting. My child is healthy and happy and that is what matters.

Erin on

I’m not sure if you’ll read this post because its so far down, but I’d like to comment anyway. I recently saw the same magazine cover about breast feeding and was too scared to comment on any blogs because I felt like I would get criticized. I dont have any children of my own right now, but I do want children in the near future. Now I’m all for mothers who want to breast feed their children and I’m all for mothers who want to bottle feed their children. There is absolutely nothing wrong with either.

My story is what about woman like me who have medical conditions and can’t breast feed. In the magazine article it was never brought up. Do we still get critized? I’m perfectly normal looking physically, so if someone saw me bottle feeding my baby, would they tell me I’m not giving my baby all the right nutrients, because I have a medical condition that prevents me from breast feeding. Also I work with infants and bottle feed everyone of them. In doing this I can see where a mother and infant can get a bond with both bottle feeding and breast feeding.

Laura on

Love your blog. I am a 1st time mom to a 4 month old boy and can relate to a lot of your stories.

I just wanted to comment on the breastfeeding issues. There is so much more to being “mom enough” then breastfeeding. I’m currently still breastfeeding and I don’t think for a minute that makes me a better parent then anyone who isn’t. We all have our kids best interest at heart and if that means formula feeding for whatever reason, so be it.

You love them, change them, comfort them, bath them, feed them. Do you think think they dwell on what they are being fed? Absolutly not! I don’t think you should either! Don’t waste another minute worrying about your choice. It’s yours and yours only to make. You have your babies best interest at heart.

Adri on

Marla, thank you for bringing this issue up. I tried BF with both my kids but it was the most excruciatingly painful thing I have ever attempted plus I was also going through other issues. I would cry out in pain. And although some would say “I should have tried harder”, it is what it is. My kids are very healthy, smart, and happy children.

Happy mom on

I have two kids, a son (5yrs) and a baby girl (22months). I breastfed my son for 3 months then I started to bottle-feed him ( though continued to breastfeed him during the night until he was 7 months old), I still remember that day when I gave him formula for the first time- he fell asleep before he could finish the bottle. I felt so bad, because he was hungry and I had not that much milk to satisfy him. I felt useless, and guilty, and still remember all the people that kept telling me ” Why you didn’t you start the formula before, you made him suffer…”

Here I am now, 5 years later, and my son is so smart, so healthy and I’m so happy.

By the way, I breastfed my baby girl for a year, so you should not give up. You have to do what is the best for your baby and not listening to other people.

Amy on

I didn’t breast feed my 1st child. I was young, didn’t know what Lactation Specialists were etc…. I breast fed my 2nd child for 9 months. My 1st born has actually been more healthy then my 2nd child. No, it is not a big deal if you breast feed or not. It’s the moms decision. As long as your baby is happy, healthy, and loved, people need to not make a big deal out of breast feeding. Marla, your daughter is beautiful! She looks happy, healthy and loved. Good luck in all you do!

AR on

Elliotte is adorable. The “Caught in the moment” picture — priceless.

katie on

what a precious baby!!! i want to eat her up!

guest on

I know I’m going to stir the pot; to the poster who said formula is perfectly fine, the long term effects are not, however before formula was “created” 100 years ago, there were wet nurses, of course in todays society that is disgusting. Lactose intolerance is very rare in babies; I have many moms that have chosen by themselves to use donor milk which is an alternative for babies that have issues with brf and moms that have problems producing milk; Anyone educated enough about breastfeeding will know that not every woman can produce a sufficient supply due to underlying conditions; As an “LC” we do not pressure or judge, we respect a moms decision on how to feed her baby just as I wouldn’t want someone judging me for nursing my 3 year old which has happened many of times, so just as you feel you have to explain or defend yourself for not breastfeeding,there are us women on the other side who feel we have to explain or defend ourselves for extended nursing. You do whats working best for you, you shouldnt feel pressured or any less of a mother; this is coming from a Lactation Consultant who had one easy nurser and a very hard 2nd nurser; I have seen women cry over wanting to breastfeed and absolutely not being able to; All I can help them do is skin to skin and let the baby nurse along with supplementation so they get the bonding experience and the breastfeeding experience they desperately wanted. Its been hard to explain to some women that they fall into the 5% of women that are unable to produce a full supply. We are not all Breastfeeding Militia just so you know. Just had to vent about this because not every breastfeeding advocate can be lumped into the same category!!!

Suz on

As a mom of twin 5 year olds and a 10 month old, I agree with the judgement. I tried to nurse all three of my kids and they wanted nothing to do with it. So I pumped for 8 months with my twins and I’m still pumping with my son.

Just do what works for you…breastfeeding, pumping, formula, whatever. Only listen to advice if you are prepared to hear something you may not like. We all know our babies, so just do what feels right.

Mary on

Thank you so much for putting this blog up. Your experience as a new mom mirrors perfectly my experience the past year as a new mom. I think at a certain point we just need to stop listening to all the external pressures from every person who crosses our path and has a very opinionated reason that we should be parenting another way, whether it is breastfeeding vs. formula, how we soothe baby during night-wakings, how we get baby to sleep, introducing solids, making own baby food or (oh my goodness dare I even suggest it) just buying Gerber jars (which I finally caved and did at around 8 months after making baby food for two months and watching my kid make the funniest faces and refuse to eat it), even when to pierce baby girl’s ears if at all.

It seems we get endless external input/pressure (majority unsolicited) from all our acquaintances and even random strangers on how to be better parents. It takes a very active effort every day to screen out all those external voices, and just make the best educated, well-read decisions we can for our babies that make the most sense for US and OUR BABIES, not our neighbors or family or distant relatives. They all mean well, I am sure. Yet at the end of the day, all of their comments at times leave us feeling inadequate.

It takes a lot of stamina to withstand all that pressure and stay the course, for example in my case to actually CONTINUE breastfeeding the entire first year despite a TON of familial and work environment peer pressure to give it up because it (pumping at work and middle of night feedings) was so strenuous on me with a full-time 50-hr/wk schedule. Thanks again for your blog. It is fantastic to hear from someone else who is working hard to rely on their own inner strength to withstand all the external pressure/judgment that comes at a new mom in the first year.