New Jersey mom Maya Vorderstrasse just told the world not to drag her into that thorny debate over bottle feeding versus breastfeeding.
She has two babies, and she feeds them in different ways: one by bottle, the other by breast. It is what is is.
She calls it “fed is best.”
In late September she posted an Instagram photo of herself feeding her babies simultaneously and has been blown away by the response, more than 11,000 likes so far.
Over the last few months a lot of nursing mothers have found a kindred spirit in Vorderstrasse, who has more than 82,000 Instagram followers.
When she got pregnant with her second daughter she started posting funny photos and posts to Instagram to show the world what being pregnant is really like — swollen feet, the endless peeing, and all.
She posted photos of herself next to a better board that told what she was thinking or how she was feeling.
“Honestly I was so tired of seeing motherhood portrayed as perfect, flawless and effortless on social media, because I never felt like it was like that for me,” she told HuffPost.
“So I embraced my chaotic life and decided to share it with everyone in the hopes of helping other mothers realize that it’s OK to not have it all figured out.”
Her recent post about feeding choices has encouraged many women to pour their heartache about being “judged” onto her Instagram page.
“I have never, and would never, judge a mother for breastfeeding,” wrote one woman. “Any time, any place! But unfortunately I have felt judged as a mother who chose to bottle feed.
“There is so much pressure on mothers ... it’s not okay! Do what works for you! As long as your baby is fed, loved and well taken care of, what the hell does it matter what anybody else thinks!?”
Vorderstrasse told ABC News that many women who have contacted her feel alone in feeling judged about their feeding choices. “They aren’t,” she said.
She began her Instagram post by sharing her own “journey.”
“I always dreamed I would breastfeed my child as long as I could. I’ve seen so many beautiful and amazing journeys through the bonding and comforting experience that it is,” she wrote.
“I breastfed my first daughter until she was 6 months old, and I loved all of it. It was our time together, so special ... and no one could take that from me.”
She felt her “heart shatter” when she got pregnant again when her daughter, Zoey, was just 2 months old and her milk dried up. She felt guilty switching to the bottle.
“We had to start bottle feeding, and I thought our bond would disappear and that she would think I was not providing for her, until it hit me: Nothing had changed,” she wrote.
“It was still our time, she’d still grab my hair and smile at me with her eyes. She was so happy. Fed. Loved.”
She is now breastfeeding her 2-month-old daughter, Hazel, but is ready for any “curveball” that might fly her way again.
“So I don’t know about your journey, but I can tell you that whatever your choice or circumstance, don’t ever feel guilty or like you are inadequate. Ever. Just love them and do the best you can,” she wrote.
“Whatever your feeding routine consists of, it is hard being a mother, so let’s show support for each other! To me, fed is best.”
She was inspired to post the photo of her feeding both babies at the same time one night after preparing Zoey’s nighttime bottle.
“I had the idea of posting a picture that represented my journey, so other mothers would know that they will be OK, and to not waste time feeling bad about their feeding choices,” she told ABC.
“Us mothers have to support and encourage each other. Mothering is not easy and there is absolutely no room for mom-shaming.”