When Abbie Fox, 31, a photographer from Las Vegas, had her first child, a son named Maverick, she knew that she wanted to breastfeed. Unfortunately, her body and her baby had other plans.
“I did everything I was supposed to do but my little chunker of a newborn was too impatient and even specialists couldn’t help us,” Fox tells Babble. “So after six weeks of stressing and crying myself to sleep we finally said, ‘enough is enough.’ It was not worth the stress and as long as he was happy and healthy, I was going to be happy.”
But as happy as Fox was with formula feeding and how it benefitted her entire family, she was surprised when she was met with criticism for it. While she describes her family as being “very supportive,” others around her did not show her that same support.
“I was told I must not have tried hard enough, I must’ve been doing something wrong, and many times people told me that my baby wouldn’t be as healthy as those who nursed up to a year at least, if not longer,” Fox says. “It was very hard getting criticism from those who I thought would be the most supportive, other moms.”
Fox, who has been a photographer for four years and is married to her high school sweetheart, went on to have a second child, daughter Georgia, whom she was able to breastfeed without any problems. “I was able to nurse and it was amazing,” she says. But her experience with formula shaming inspired her to start thinking about how she could highlight the beauty and bonding that occurs between parents and babies — no matter how they are fed.
She gathered a few local mothers for a session she dubbed “Fed Is Best” to feature all of the amazing ways that mothers can feed their babies. The incredible photograph features moms feeding their babies in pretty much every way you can think of, from a formula feeding mother to a mother tandem nursing twins, to a pregnant mom proudly breastfeeding her way through her last trimester.
“I never see beautiful bottle-feeding sessions, only nursing sessions,” Fox explains of her decision to do this photograph. “So I wanted to do something different.”
She adds that in the process of finding mothers for this photograph, she discovered that many of the other women had struggled with breastfeeding just as she had.
“It was nice to do this for them who are going through this now,” Fox says. “We had a lot of fun in the cool mountains. These ladies and the babies were amazing [and] it has been quite amazing seeing the amazing response to the image. Many bottle-feeding moms are very appreciative that I included that aspect as they have had the same experiences I had with my first.”
I have to say, Fox absolutely nailed this photo. Fed is always best — and far too many still need to be reminded of that.