But I Can't Formula Feed: Forget Breastfeeding Excuses, Here Are Some Real Problems

Michele Zipp

baby bottleThere are tons of reasons women can't breastfeed. Some, however, just don't want to and because of that, they feel they need to come up with excuses. I'm not going judge, but I am going to giggle at this blog post from Sara of Custom Made Milk.

Here's her super-sarcastic rant about why it's so hard for her to formula feed. You know, formula feeding doesn't work for people who have small cabinets and how crazy it can be to formula feed in public -- how can you be discrete?

*Not for the easily offended or defensive formula-feeders.

(Disclaimer from Sara: I have nothing against formula-feeding or supplementing moms. I was just struck by a random moment of humor where I realized that many of the reasons why a mom might choose to formula feed over breastfeeding actually apply to my decision to breastfeed.)

--I can't formula feed. I have low supply. Once I empty a can, it wouldn't magically fill back up again. I'd try the whole "supply and demand" thing of going to the grocery store to stock back up. But my baby would scream if I do that. I can't stand the screaming!

--Besides, my cabinets are too small and I'd prefer to keep them sexy and uncluttered with all the formula cans. I've heard that formula feeding only works for people with big cabinets, anyway. As long as they're not SO big that it's hard to stack the formula cans. So really, formula feeding only works for people with medium-sized cabinets.

--And I'd be nervous about wondering if my baby was getting enough or getting too much. How do formula-feeding moms know that their baby is getting enough? If baby cries, how do they know if he wants a bottle or if he wants a pacifier? And how do they know if they're over-feeding baby? Every weight check would make me paranoid that my formula mixing skills were just not up to par.

--I'd also be afraid to go out of my house if I was formula feeding. I'd be afraid that I forgot the bottles or the nipples or the formula or that I didn't bring enough, or that I brought too much. And besides, I feel SO awkward trying to bottle feed my baby. He always screams when I'm mixing the formula, but I can't mix it any faster because I need to make sure all the clumps are gone. There's just no way I can imagine bottle feeding a baby discreetly in public! I've tried all those hints and tips that I've seen other mothers mention, but I just can't get a hang of it.

--Not to mention nighttime bottles. I like getting sleep. How do you get sleep if you have to prepare and warm a bottle? I just can't imagine how a parent could do it. Plus, there are so many worries about formula and SIDS that I'd be afraid my baby would die. (Excuse commonly applied to co-sleeping.)

--And how would I be able to pay attention to my older child while I'm bottle feeding or washing the bottles? Not to mention the fact that it would interfere with my husband's ability to bond with our child, since he'd have to be washing bottles, too. And working to pay for the formula.

--Which brings me to another thing. I don't think I could do the whole formula feeding thing, because I'd be constantly worried about the source of formula drying up. I mean, it's a horrible economy. How will I know in the beginning if I can make it to a full year of formula feeding? If I were to formula feed, I'd always be worried about the supply. So I might try it in the beginning. But I have to tell ya, if the stock market drops any more than it has already, I just wouldn't be able to deal with the anxiety and would have to give it up.

--Plus, what happens when baby gets teeth and starts to chew on the nipple bottles? And I hear it's painful when you move from the ready-made formula to the cans of powdered formula, because those pull-tops can have razor-sharp edges. I don't know if I would be able to deal with the pain of cutting up my fingers on those edges! Sure, in theory I could learn new techniques that would enable me to open the can without cutting myself. But really, the idea of a paper cut makes me cringe, so I don't even want to try. I think I'll wean my baby off of formula when I need to make the switch away from the ready-made samples.

--I don't know how people do it, honestly. Maybe it's easier with practice. But I tried a few bottles in the beginning with my older son and it just didn't work for me. So with this child I'm not even going to bother.

Now how do I get those damned formula samples and coupons to stop showing up at my door? I tried throwing sage tea at them and wrapping them in chilled cabbage leaves. But none of the old tricks work, darnit. Maybe some benadryl?


Image via brokinhrt2/Flickr

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