The debate around formula feeding versus breastfeeding always seems to linger around every parenting website and blog, with moms arguing over what is best–when really, there is no such thing as ‘best,’ just what works for each mom.
This is why Staci Caspers and Justine Temke, who are moms, doulas, and lactation consultants, started a photo project called “Fed Is Best.” It is a calendar that shows portraits of moms feeding their babies in various ways, from nursing to pumping breastmilk to formula feeding. This project is their way of illustrating that there is no “better way” to feed your baby.
Through their business, Midwest Doulas, they seek to empower families to do what’s best for them, and tear down stigmas around feeding. While both Minnesota moms are Certified Lactation Counselors, they realize breastfeeding is not best for everyone. Temke stated in The Huffington Post:
“We make a point to empower our families, helping them stand up for their choices and inform the naysayers that their lives, their family, and their parenthood is nobody’s business. Unless you ask for advice, you do not need anyone’s passive-aggressive guilt!
We believe in the absolute awesomeness of breastmilk, but we are not about to judge anyone for the way they feed their babes. We do not know the struggles, the history, or the trauma another mother might have lived through. Fed Is Best, not because the alternative is to starve your babe, but because feeding your baby, to the best of your abilities, with the support, knowledge, and education you have, so that you are happy and baby is healthy, is best.”
In particular, both moms said they faced criticism and judgment for their choices, and Temke describes a discouraging breastfeeding experience, and flak for using formula, facing comments like: “‘You must have not tried enough,” and “I would never forgive myself if I was formula feeding my son.”
To make their calendar project a reality, Temke and Caspers teamed up with photographer and mom Ashley Rick, where proceeds from sales will go to nonprofit Babies Need Boxes, which gives teen mothers and moms in need a box of baby supplies.
To view more of the beautiful photos from the project, check out Midwest Doulas’ website.