Bottle or breast, which is best? It’s a debate that’s raged on for years, whether breastfeeding is the right way to nourish a newborn or if formula is a perfectly fine alternative.
Ultimately, it’s a mother’s decision. Some are uncomfortable with breastfeeding or simply cannot because their bodies do not produce enough milk.
There’s a whole host of reasons why breast or bottle is best for each individual baby and momma. And even though moms should support each others’ decision, that doesn’t always happen.
Breastfeeding moms are sometimes criticized for nursing in restaurants, for example, while other moms are frowned at when they whip out their can of formula. One mom had a feeling she might be ostracized for opting not to breastfeed her baby, so she created a clever sign designed to educate everyone about her special situation.
New mom Meghan Koziel dreamed of holding a baby in her arms one day. But that dream was dashed — if only for a few years – when Meghan was diagnosed in 2015 with breast cancer.
She was only 26-years-old and underwent a double mastectomy along with a whole host of incredibly aggressive and invasive treatments designed to treat and beat the cancer. She initially faced a bleak future without children, but thanks to modern medicine, hope for a journey through motherhood eventually returned.
“Three years ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I thought my life would never ever be the same. I was forced to make so many HUGE life decisions including preserving my fertility through an egg retrieval was one of them. After two years on hormone blocking medications (because my cancer is so aggressive and highly affected my estrogen and progesterone), I made the decision to go off of my medications to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a mom!”
On Sept. 15, Meghan’s dream came true when she delivered miracle baby Kendra Jane Koziel. She was healthy and perfect.
“Cancer has changed my life forever… but looking down at this sweet little girl makes all my fears of recurrence and having to go through active treatment again fade away! I am so so so blessed and will forever Sparkle On.”
The last thing Meghan needed while relishing this magical moment with her miracle baby was for others to comment about why she wasn’t breastfeeding. In her case, it simply isn’t possible.
So the pink sign she designed patiently and sweetly explained her situation. She also took to social media to hopefully educate others about her plight.
“Attention please, attention please. We do indeed have a mommy-to-be who had breast cancer and a mastectomy which means, without boobs in the houseeeee! Got the banner raised just in case people are confused at why we are NOT going to be breastfeeding our little bundle of joy. Yes I have foobs, no I do not have boobs (or nipples) therefore… my body is incapable of breastfeeding.”
Posting the sign above her bed also limited how many times she had to repeat her story to every new nurse and hospital employee who entered her room. It worked quite well, Meghan said!
The sign read:
“No Breastfeeding Zone
Though breastfeeding is a very special task,
Please be aware before you ask.
Our miracle baby will be formula fed,
And it will not affect her future ahead.
This Mommy is a Survivor”
Meghan previously worked in a hospital setting and knew not every medical professional who steps foot in a patient’s room reads the entire chart and medical history. A friend suggested she create the sign and the hospital staff loved it, too!
Sadly, Meghan still receives unsolicited advice from strangers, she shared with Parents. Her local breast milk bank only provides milk to preemies and multiples, there is no insurance coverage for mastectomy patients and tested donor milk sells for $3-5 for one ounce.
“I was then referred to local Facebook milk donation groups but was turned off because the milk has no way of being tested. Yes, breast milk is fabulous and filled with utmost nutrition… however, it can also carry disease! I am not willing to risk my daughter’s life simply to use breast milk when formula has been used for years and there is no known difference from a breastfed to formula fed baby.”
Looking beyond the impactful sign she made, Meghan hopes her story also will bring hope to other breast cancer survivors who dream of being a mom someday, too. She is proof that miracles really do happen.
“All survivors who are wanting to be moms, never ever give up hope! Doctors cannot guarantee fertility, but if you think about it… fertility isn’t guaranteed for anyone in life! Miracles happen, and whether you can conceive naturally, through IVF, or adoption… there is ALWAYS a way to become a mom! You just have to find the path and trust in it once it’s found.”
Meghan also encouraged all moms to trust themselves when deciding breast or bottle, especially when their health is involved, she explained to Parents.
“To all the mommies like me facing complicated health histories of facing social media trolls for how you’re raising your child, I would say… keep on being you! We all must make decisions that are best for our families, and it is truly no one else’s business if it doesn’t affect them! Raise your child surrounded by love and with happiness and that baby will be amazing.”
Congratulations to Meghan and her husband on the birth of their miracle baby! May Meghan have years and years of good health.