I was at the food bank with my son, who will be 7 months on the 19th. We sat down by another mother, who looked to be about 17 or 18, whose son is also 7 months old. Her baby started getting fussy, so of course she grabs his bottle and mixes some formula to feed him. Now, I don't have a problem with formula feeding moms at all, especially when I don't know the circumstances and who on earth would ASK what the circumstances are, anyway. But I saw myself in her, when I was her age. This is only related to what caused my guilt.
My son gets hungry, so of course, I try to be discreet and feed him. An older woman had just sat next to me and started filling out her paperwork.
She looks over and says not-so-quietly "Oh, you're nursing? Oh that's so wonderful! I nursed all three of mine for 2 years each. It's the absolute BEST that you can give your children!" And through talking for a few more minutes I found out that she too, had home births with her children, as I had, with my youngest.
I saw the other mother out of the corner of my eye when the old woman was talking and she lowered her head and turned a bit and I felt bad that she had to hear that. It doesn't matter how true it is, maybe she knows the benefits and regrets starting formula, maybe she couldn't keep her supply because she had to work, or just dried up for no reason, maybe she was misinformed and told not to breastfeed and that formula was "just as good as" breast milk. I felt guilty that it came easy to me. I loved that the old woman was lovingly encouraging, but I wished she hadn't said anything, to spare the young mother the shame.
I still feel a little bit of shame that I didn't breastfeed my oldest that long. He was only 6 weeks old when I weaned. And at 17, you tend to believe a lot of stuff you're told about parenting. I was lucky that I kept my supply for 7 months with my 2nd child. I dried up from flu a few times, and then I became selfish and didn't want to "be tied down" anymore. And, I hope I can save some mothers from feeling ashamed or not good enough. Every mom that feeds their child the best that THEY KNOW HOW is a good mom. When you know better, you DO better, and when you do better, you can afford to help others as well. If we can work together and not shame each other, then we all learn something and we ALL do better.