Being a mom is not an easy job. It's even harder when you have strangers judging your every move from how you dress your child, to discipline and feeding schedules. This Florida mom quickly learned that loving and caring for her baby wouldn't be as easy as she had once hoped.
Annie Muscato is the mom to a baby girl named Ellie Jo. When she was pregnant she and her husband took the 4-hour breast feeding class to help prepare them for life with a newborn.
When her baby girl entered the world they did skin to skin and she breastfed her within an hour of her birth, because that was something that was important to her.
She believed in the "breast is best" philosophy and met with multiple lactation consultants, pushing through the struggle knowing that it would get better.
But it didn't get better.
"I know that my baby began screaming after she ate. Writhing in pain. Inconsolable," she wrote in her Facebook post.
That didn't cause her to give up her breastfeeding dream.
"I know over the last month and a half I have exclusively pumped and tried slow flow bottles of breast milk, I have tried different positions, I have seen another lactation consultant.
I know I have held my child, my baby, while she screamed for hours- one day for eight hours straight.
I know we have been to see the pediatrician at least twice a week since she has been born.
I know that I tried cutting soy, and dairy, and leafy greens from my diet to make my milk more digestible for her.
I have pumped- and I'm still pumping- enough to have hundreds of ounces of breast milk in my freezer even though she will likely never be able to eat it."
That's when a stranger at Target made a comment that really touched on a nerve for the new mom.
While reaching for a can of formula at a local Target, a woman came up to her and told her "Breast is best".
"You didn't need to tell me, "˜breast is best' as I was buying a can of baby formula, because I already know," Muscato wrote.
It wasn't until after trying every approach they could think of, that they tried a special formula.
"And then finally, we tried the hypoallergenic dairy protein free formula you saw me buying today. And the screaming lessened. And my baby started smiling. She started interacting. She started sleeping," she wrote.
The happiness of her baby feeling better didn't outweigh the guilt, at first.
"And I cried. Because I thought breast was best. I thought my body failed her. I thought she wouldn't be as healthy on formula," she admitted.
She acknowledges that strangers may think she is lazy or uneducated about the benefits of breastfeeding, and that they may be genuinely trying to help.
"But, you are wrong. What I know that you don't is that breast ISN'T always best. I know happy, healthy baby is best. I know FED is best," she wrote.
"What I'm sure we both know is that parenting is hard. Really hard. That sometimes what we plan for and what we want just doesn't work out, but we are all here trying to do what's best for our babies," she wrote.
"So, dear stranger, next time you see someone buying formula, try to remember that mamas should support each other. Think about everything you might not know. Remind yourself that "fed is best" and smile because it means someone loves their baby enough to do what's best for them."