The moral of the story? Do what works for your family and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
“Breast is best” is a common saying among mommy circles—and while breastfeeding has some incredible benefits, it’s just not for everyone. For some women, it simply doesn't work for their body, circumstances or baby. And that’s OK.
Abbie Fox is a photographer who understands the difficulties women can face while attempting to breastfeed. She also understands the pressures women are up against when they make the intensely personal decision to not nurse their kids—and she’s making a big statement about the unfair criticism non-breastfeeding moms face.
The Las Vegas-based mom had every intention of breastfeeding her son, Maverick, but it simply wasn’t in the cards. She struggled with it for weeks and sought help from a lactation specialist but nothing seemed to work.
“After six weeks of crying myself to sleep, my husband told me I was done," she told POPSUGAR. "He reminded me that stress isn’t good for me or our son so I was not going to go through this anymore. We started formula that night and I was only able to pump for about four more weeks before my supply depleted."
With the support of her family, Fox made the difficult choice to stop nursing her son—and found herself in front of the proverbial firing squad.
“I had many people tell me things like I didn’t try hard enough or I must’ve been doing something wrong, or the worst was when people would tell me my child wouldn’t be as healthy as breastfed babies,” she said of the harsh judgment she faced. “I actually had so much mom guilt that when people would ask me if I was nursing I’d lie and they would always respond, ‘Good, breast is best.’”
Fox’s experience with her second child was completely different. When she welcomed her daughter, Georgia, two and a half years later, breastfeeding came naturally for the first three months. Once her milk supply dwindled, she switched her child over to formula.
“Being a second-time mom, I was much less worried about what other people said because I had kept a little boy alive and healthy for two and a half years, so I knew that I knew what was best for my kids,” she said.
Having been both a formula and breastfeeding mom, Fox realized that both paths had their own challenges and benefits. That’s why she decided to bring a group of moms together to form a community and express an important, inclusive message: “Fed is best.”
Fox orchestrated a panoramic photo that shows a group of mothers, each one feeding her child in the way that works best for her family. A glance at the photo reveals moms breastfeeding, formula-feeding, even nursing a set of twins in tandem. It’s all about capturing a diverse range of experiences and showing that sometimes, it’s not how you feed your children, but that you feed them that matters.
“My goal with this image was to show my support for all moms,” Fox told Fit Pregnancy. “My nursing journey was a rocky one and while I find the nursing pictures absolutely beautiful, I couldn’t help but notice there were moms being left out.”
“I was shocked and completely touched when I had women messaging me thanking me for doing this for them. They had similar experiences they are currently going through and had come across so much criticism from others. I’m glad we were able to bring these women together and create this piece of work that has touched quite a few people this week,” Fox said in an emailed statement.
We couldn't agree more.