There are many movements that surround infant feeding, but the most commonly used phrases are Breast Is Best and Fed Is Best. Blog posts and articles abound, but what's really going on here?
Breast Is Best focuses on breast milk and breastfeeding as normal and the biologically superior way to feed an infant. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that,
Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large.
To those who hold this belief, Breast Is Best is not up for debate.
It is presented as a simple fact that must be acknowledged, even if a family is unable to breastfeed or chooses not to do so. The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative was developed based on this belief of breast milk as superior and encourages hospitals to create an environment that encourages breastfeeding for as many women as possible.
The Fed Is Best movement, on the other hand, puts the Breast Is Best movement under scrutiny and believes that breastfeeding protocols should not come at the expense of safety for mothers and babies.
The Fed Is Best Foundation website states:
The Fed Is Best Foundation is here to represent and advocate for the millions of families whose babies have experienced complications under current breastfeeding protocols or who have been shamed for choosing any number of clinically approved and safe feeding options for their babies. We hope to educate mothers to be informed about the quantity and quality of milk their infants receive in order to prevent these complications because the brain will not wait for food. We hope to support mothers feeding choices devoid of external feeding agendas.
Our motto above all else is Fed is Best.
While the Breast Is Best movement seeks to make breastfeeding as accessible as possible to all who choose, Fed Is Best seeks to ensure that those good intentions are not taken too far.
It is easy to subscribe to an "Us vs. Them" mentality, but the truth is that it's not a contest. At the heart of each movement is the desire for safe, healthy babies and mothers who feel supported in their choices.
We can celebrate how women choose to breastfeed without discounting the experiences of others.
In today's world, breastfeeding isn't one size fits all, and it certainly doesn't have to be all or nothing.
To the moms who exclusively breastfeed, to the moms who supplement, to the moms who exclusively pump, to the working moms, to the moms who breastfeed for a short time, to the moms who breastfeed for a long time, and the moms who choose not to breastfeed at all...
We support you. You're a good mom.