I am a formula mom.  I am a breastfeeding mom.  After choosing formula for my first son and breastmilk for my second, I feel like I can disguise myself on the raging battlefield of the Mommy Wars.  I’m like a double agent Trojan Horse.  And I’m embarrassed to say that I know the pain of both sides now.

Courtesy of Kim Simon

I used to hate breastfeeding moms.  But when I catch my reflection in the mirror as I’m rushing to get my breast pads in place so that I don’t leak all over the floor, I realize that I owe you an apology.  I thought that formula moms had it rough.  Now I know that breastfeeding isn't a picnic either.   So in the interest of solidarity, I’ve put together a cheat sheet that will help all of us get along.  I’ve discovered what breastfeeding moms really mean when they’re talking to formula moms, and what gets lost in translation.

BF Mom:  "I exclusively breastfed my baby for 6 months/1 year/until they went to college!  Hooray for me!"

What a Formula Mom hears: "I am so awesome.  I am more awesome than you are.  Your baby is going to end up dancing on a pole to make a living because her brain cells weren't bolstered by superhero breast milk."{C}

What a BF Mom really means:  "This is the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'm really proud of myself for sticking with it.  6 months/1 year/4 years is a loooong time to play Words With Friends while my baby cuts her new teeth on my nipple.  But I know I’ll miss this when we’re done.  It’s worth it to me.

BF Mom:  "Breastfeeding promotes attachment and bonding, and bottle feeding doesn't".

What a Formula Mom hears: "You're like the sad, sick monkey mama in the Psychology 101 class.  Your baby doesn't know you.  How can a baby attach to a piece of plastic?  Bottle feeding isn't attachment parenting, so you're not allowed to wear that label."

What a BF Mom really means:  "I'm terrified that if I use a bottle, I'll become obsolete.  I've worked so hard, and we've come so far.  I'm worried that if I give my baby a bottle, he'll like it more than he likes me.  Please tell me that all of this pain and all of these damn cluster-feeds are worth it, because sometimes I would really welcome a break from being the only one who is responsible for feeding my child."

BF Mom:  "The little noises that my sweet precious son makes when he's nursing are just the best.thing.ever!"

What a Formula Mom hears: Breastfed babies are content and happy, and bottle babies are grouchy and refluxy and frustrated and overfed.

What a BF Mom really means:  "I have to focus on how content and calm my baby is while he's nursing.  It helps to take my mind off of very important questions, like whether or not it's possible for an 8 week old with no teeth to actually rip off your nipple completely.