Dear “Fed is Best” campaigners, parents, and internet trolls.

I hate to break it to your “Fed is Best” slogan: Fed ISN’T Best. Fed is minimum. Of course you should feed your baby. That’s like saying “changing a dirty diaper is best.” or “Putting your child in a car seat is best.”  No. It’s necessary. Because feeding your baby is an essential part of raising a child. They need to eat in order to live.

Many Families, for whatever reason, have to use formula. Or they choose to. It doesn’t matter, and there is no shame in it. But it is also important, to inform new parents about the actual, scientific fact that breastmilk really is best source of food for infants. Its because of the now outlawed marketing schemes by formula companies in the first half of the 19th century, and the “we did it and we survived” mantras of our mothers and grandmothers. Society’s psyche plays such a huge role in parenting choices, and it took a huge hit on the more biologically normal way of raising children. So much so, that it’s taken breastfeeding advocates decades to overcome it. (Read more about formula companies impressions on the American public here.

Such ads continued apace through the first half of the 20th century, during which time American breast-feeding also steadily declined, from being near ubiquitous in 1900, to 70 percent of new mothers in 1915, to 50 percent in 1930, to 25 percent in the 1950s. By then, pediatricians, caught up in the “scientific parenting” vogue, were pushing formula hard—and new mothers, eager to live up to the Eisenhower housewife ideal, were reluctant to disobey; formula companies advertised with corresponding enthusiasm.

We are fed up with the "fed is best campaign"- here is why.

Fed up with formula companies spreading the mindset that breastfeeding advocates are shaming formula parents by saying "Breast is Best"


Let’s talk about statistics.

As a childcare provider, mama, and breastfeeding advocate, I LOVE me some fact-based research. So if your argument is that the slogan “fed is best” is more supportive than “breast is best”- know that it just isn’t factually correct. Saying that “Fed is Best” takes away the message behind “Breast is best” the exact same way that “All lives matter” takes away from “Black lives matter”- it is completely missing the point of the campaign in the first place.

Medically, breast milk v. formula is the difference between rear facing your infant and forward facing. Rear facing infant seats are found to be 5x safer. It’s just factually safer. Well guess what? The World Health Organization states that globally,

If every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, given only breast milk for their first six months of life, and continued breastfeeding up to the age of two years, about 800 000 child lives would be saved every year”

800,000 infant lives. Breastfeeding does that. Not feeding. Not “fed is best”. The biological norm is what keeps babies alive.

Why Breast is Best:

I could go on and on… and on. But I won’t, because it will take away from my point.

Why breastfeeding advocates are fed up with fed is best.
Companies are using our guilt, mom wars, and shame to profit. Enough is enough.

Just because research says that “Breast is Best”, does not mean that breastfeeding advocates think Formula is the Devil.

Please, put down your pitchforks, and understand. Lactation Consultants, Doulas, midwives, breastfeeding advocates- even lactavists– are NOT SHAMING parents who choose formula when we try to promote the benefits of breastfeeding. We are just trying to help parents who WANT to breastfeed. This is where my pet peeve comes in.  Our goal behind promoting Breastfeeding has nothing to do with “shaming” parents who choose to feed their infant formula- for whatever reason. Scheduling “nurse-ins”, latch on’s, demanding the media represent breastfeeding fairly– this is for breastfeeding mothers everywhere. In no way, shape, or form is anyone saying that formula sucks (it doesn’t!). So unbunch your panties- promoting one way of life doesn’t negate another way. If you don’t like it, move on, and stop trolling us!

Normalizing breastfeeding is about making breastfeeding normal. So mom’s who ARE struggling and DO choose to breastfeed, can do so without concern about societal norms. Because let’s face it: while you may feel some mom guilt when you hear “breast is best”, no one has ever been kicked out of a restaurant for bottle feeding their baby.

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“Fed is best” isn’t a necessary campaign. Formula is necessary. Loving your baby is necessary.  Being informed, and making the best possible choice for your baby- and for your family- is necessary. That may mean formula. That’s O.K. Many parents, for whatever reason, can’t always provide breast-milk for their children. That’s OK. It really is. No one is judging you for it.The perceived judgment you feel is your own. So quit. Quit judging yourself for your parenting choices. And for the love of God, Stop judging other’s because their parenting choice is different than yours.

No one can make you feel ashamed with out your consent.

First, feeding your baby is never, ever wrong. You should never feel ashamed for doing what you feel is right for your child, formula or breast. Second, breastfeeding your baby doesn’t make you a “good” parent any more than formula feeding makes you a “bad” parent.Lastly, you alone decide whether to feel shame, no one else is doing that to you. You alone can give someone permission to live in your head and make you second guess yourself.

You are a parent who love’s their baby. So stop allowing someone’s support of breastfeeding to cause you to feel shame because you gave your baby formula.  So please, don’t use your shame to shame someone else, it only perpetuates the cycle. You have no control over how someone feels about you. Stop allowing your “mom guilt” supply ammo to shame other parents for their feeding choice.

Parenting is so, so hard. Daily, we question ourselves and our parenting choices. Parents don’t need help attacking and bringing other parents down- we do a good enough job of that, ourselves. As mother’s, we need to start respecting each other’s choice to feed our babies as we see fit. Respecting each other, respecting ourselves, and leading by example a lifestyle of love, acceptance, and understanding for our children is the best possible thing we can do for them.

Want to read more related this piece from our writers at Breastfeeding World?

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This is why breastfeeding advocates are fed up with the "Fed is Best" Campaign- and it's not what you think.

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Lauren Lewis
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Lauren Lewis

Early Childcare Educator at Lauren's Little Ones
Lauren Lewis is no stranger to childcare development, having spent over 10 years as a nanny or family childcare provider. She's the wife of a travel geek, mother of two vivacious children, and has an amazing talent for trailing lost things behind her a la Hansel and Gretel.Her passion for lifting up women and advocating for children pours out in her work as a Central Indiana Event Coordinator, Writer, and Social Media Relations Director for Breastfeeding World.Her life is full of busy, crazy and LOUD. It is full of love and hope, ups and downs. And coffee, always lots of coffee- but she wouldn't have it any other way.
Lauren Lewis
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5 Comments on This is Why I am Fed Up with “Fed is Best”

  1. Severn
    April 17, 2017 at 4:31 PM (9 months ago)

    Yes, “Fed is Best” takes away from the message of “Breast is Best.” It does so because the message of “Breast is Best” is wrong. Babies have starved, and occasionally died, and mothers have suffered, because they heard “Breast is Best.” Hospitals have been far less supportive of new mothers who need or want to supplement because they have to repeat “Breast is Best.” Support breast feeding all you like by advocating free education and lactation consultation to new mothers. The slogan is wrong. You’re right when you say, “Fed is Best” is the minimum. “Breast is Best” is below the acceptable minimum. It is a harmful and self-righteous slogan that deserves to be thrown out.

    • Elizabeth Harbison
      May 7, 2017 at 5:16 PM (9 months ago)

      Thank you! It is so harmful when you tout one slogan that promotes one method of nutrition over all others. Safe feeding is best.

  2. Melissa Wright
    May 2, 2017 at 12:23 AM (9 months ago)

    It’s one thing to promote the vast benefits of breastfeeding. It’s another to exaggerate the cons of formula. We all know that breast milk is superior. That’s not on question. But institutions go so far to promote it that really do make it sound like breast or nothing. Vulnerable mothers who struggle with wanting to do things perfectly opt for nothing in hopes that they can make it work with breastfeeding. There are so many women who cannot breastfeed. They need to hear that their baby will thrive on formula because, ultimately, fed is what IS TRULY BEST. The shaming of formula use is adding to perinatal and postpartum depression. You need to know that. The pressure to be the perfect mother is already in full swing. Mothers need to hear all sides. Not just the promotion of one side as if it is the only viable solution for feeding our babies. You may see fed is best as self-righteous but that’s the definition of breast is best. Saying one way is the only right way is righteousness.

    • Lauren Lewis
      May 2, 2017 at 10:16 AM (9 months ago)

      Hi Melissa. I’m not sure that this post demeans formula, or “exxagerates the cons”. Could you please provide an example?

  3. Elizabeth Harbison
    May 7, 2017 at 5:21 PM (9 months ago)

    It’s funny when people say formula isn’t hated. The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative which is centered around the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and The Ten Successful Steps to Breastfeeding does not allow the advocation of formula, which is what the Fed is Best Foundation is trying to undo. Formula cannot even be mentioned by a healthcare professional if a hospital participates in this initiative. It is against the very basic rules. So there are some pretty harmful things that happen because of it. So don’t think that the Fed is Best Foundation is all about sticking it to “lactivists” but moreso about trying to undo harmful and even in some cases fatal situations because they take the slogan “Breast is best” to the extreme.


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