I Won't Apologize for Formula-Feeding My Babies

Rant 98

babies rolling around
My poor starving boys
Recently, a study found that formula-fed babies don't necessarily overeat, as had previously been thought -- many do know how to stop when they've had enough. It's good to know and I'm glad, but regardless of what this study or that study or a million other studies say, it wouldn't have changed the fact that my twin babies are formula-fed.

That's not to say that I didn't breastfeed at all. I did, for several months, but with my low milk supply, I needed to supplement with formula from the very beginning. Still, I kept at it -- I nursed and pumped like a madwoman, trying to squeeze out (no pun intended) whatever meager amount of breast milk I could. After three months though, I was barely getting four ounces a day, so I decided to move to formula only. And I don't feel one ounce of guilt about it.

Obviously, I know that breast is best, which is why I did it for as long as I could. And I loved it, I really did. Well, that's not entirely true. I wasn't crazy about tandem-feeding, which felt complicated and awkward, but I loved the rare moments when I got to feed just one of my baby sons at a time. Heaven. But, when they started wailing on my breast because they weren't getting enough milk, or I'd pump for 20 minutes just to get two ounces, I felt frustrated and sad and inadequate. I was so happy to be able to give them the breast milk that I had for the first few months of their new lives, but when I finally switched to formula, life got a whole lot easier. No, I didn't stop nursing because I had twins -- there are plenty of moms in my twins group who are still exclusively breastfeeding without issue. I simply just didn't make enough milk to feed my two babies. End of story.

Sure, many studies have proven just how much better breast milk is for babies. And I don't deny that! But this is my reality, these are my babies, and I'm not going to waste any time beating myself up because I can't nurse them anymore. Come on, I beat myself up enough as it is.

Mainly though, the proof is in the pudding, the "pudding" being my scrumptious, healthy baby boys. Knock on wood, they are growing and thriving and happy as can be. They've never been sick (even when Mommy has gotten sick herself), they are handling a variety of foods without issue, rolling all over the place, and babbling like two old biddies at a bridge game. Although they're average height and weight, they have big, pink chubby cheeks and roly-poly thighs that make them look pretty robust. No, I'm not going to feel badly about feeding them formula because I can't imagine them doing any better than they already are. Not to mention the fact that my brother and I were never breastfed and, growing up, we rarely had to stay home sick from school. Of course, maybe that's all just genetics, but how can I think that formula is so bad when I was weaned on it myself?

Study after study tells us what's "best" for our babies and, in an ideal world, we want to give it to them. But, I say, screw the studies! In real life, not lab life, babies thrive in all sorts of "less-than-ideal" environments, becoming happy, well-adjusted little people despite the fact that they weren't breastfed or spent too much time in the baby jumper or were sleep trained. Somehow, a lot of babies turn into remarkable children and adults, despite the fact that Mommy works full-time or they don't have a Daddy or a sibling or a backyard.

Want to know why? Because a baby who is loved and cared for is already getting the best. A baby with a happy Mommy and a happy Daddy (or two of each) is already getting the best. A baby whose family is making choices for him or her based on their lifestyle and what works for them is already getting the best. Love, care, patience, joy, affection. I don't think anything could be better for a baby than that.

Do you feel guilty about giving your babies formula?



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nonmember avatar r0sal1n3

You shouldn't feel the need to "apologize" for doing what you think/feel is right for your baby(babies)...whether it is breast feeding or formula feeding...it SHOULD NOT MATTER! Who really gives a d@mn at the end of the day, but YOU! As long as my baby is happy and healthy, I don't REALLY CARE what other people say because in the end, it's MY BABY, not theirs. So what if my views don't agree with yours. People really need to stop butting in other people's business these days. It's one thing to be nice and give friendly advice. BUT, you are crossing the line when you belittle others for their parenting choices just because it doesn't agree with yours.

Yea, my baby was formula feed. Yea, she was breast feed. So what? She's happy and healthy AND that's all that matters to me. So, do I feel guilty? Why should I be made to feel guilty by others? Are they gonna help me raise her? No! So just SHUT UP to all the people who can't say anything nice to other mothers/would-be-mothers/pregnant ladies. You shouldn't feel anything but PROUD of your little one(s)!

nonmember avatar Em

Twins are a huge game changer! I'm haveing twins this fall...I just want them to go to term & come home healthy. Three months is amazing!

annis... annismom10

I had a 8 wk preemie and went through the same heartbreaking supplementing/ pumping practically bone dry boobies for 6 mo and finally just switched all the way over. Everyone was sympathetic, told me I did great. But my buds are all crunchy uber bf-ers, and I was always thinking " theythink I couldve, shouldve done more. That my trying wasnt trying hard enough". So I appeciate u telling our story. I was a proud formula mom! And now im a proud cows milk mom! Theres nothing wrong with it, silly hippies! (lmao)

nonmember avatar Raynn

Thanks so much for this post. When my daughter was born in 2005 she started sleeping thru the night at 5 weeks old. 10 hours a night where I couldn't wake her even to eat. I tortured myself by dragging myself up out of bed every 2 hours to pump, seeing doctors and changing my diet only to see less and less milk every day. The problem is that the media, doctors, lactation consultants, friends and family members are all full of advice. To try it all only to fail in the eyes of society was awful. I was made to feel guilty because I didn't try hard enough and my kid is not going to be smart, or she is going to be overweight, the list goes on. But I can tell you this: my now 7 year old daughter who was breastfed for just 6 weeks reads at a 6th grade level. She took 3rd place in the elementary school scince fair and loves math. She is above average height and perfectly proprtionate in weight. So please, moms who can't breastfeed, don't feel guilty. The stress can crush you. The fact that you worry at all is the real sign that you are doing the very best you can and because of that your kids are going to be just fine.

Boobo... Boobookittt74

I was almost happy when i saw the title but once again irritated that it's another "formula feeding because I couldn't produce enough" or whatever. I'm sick of breastfeeding being shoved down everyones throat and the constant need to justify WHY anyone chooses formula it's always someone "couldn't" breast feed for whatever reason what about, like myself , I chose to bottle feed all three of my kids because!!! I just wanted too. I have never even tried to breastfeed no not even once my milk was fine and I chose otherwise. Where's those stories!!??

SaraJ... SaraJamesHigh

Really they have NEVER been sick? I find that hard to believe.

Mrscj... Mrscjones

I'm the same way @boob never even tried to breastfeed my now 7 year old son. And I don't apologize he had my body for 10 months and I made sure he was healthy. All I wanted when he was out was me back no every two hour feedings no mommy still can't take a drink. My son is healthy hardly ever sick even when I put him in daycare. Loves school dreams of being a scientist and can make you smile on the drop of a dime. A happy child have a happy mom. I'm pregnant now and no I would not be food on tap. Whoever have a problem with like DX said I got two words for ya.....

nonmember avatar Jamie

And thank you so much for this post! I was pumping 3x a day during my 8hr shift, plus exclusively breastfeeding at home and I couldn't keep up. We burned through my frozen milk supply in about 2.5 months. I managed to breast feed her only for 5, and supplement with formula for another month or so, till she just started refusing my breast.

And boy did I get hell! It was awful, I was made to feel so bad because I was giving her formula. Local moms were telling my teenage baby sitter to tell me that I was wrong. They were so inconsiderate, I felt bad... for like a month. Thank you for this!

Mckel Mckel

And, please do not forget those women who have undergone a mastectomy ( or a double) due to cancer. Nothing like verbally lashing a woman had cancer at 29.

nursemc nursemc

I would just like to say to @boob and @mrs thank you for your honesty. So many women shout from the rooftops that they don't feel guilty about formula feeding and then have a whole laundry list of reasons why they couldn't BF. I can't help but wonder how many of these women are lying out of guilt they say they don't have. I wonder that because what would you do if there was no such thing as formula? Let your child starve? Would you still be so quick to say can't? Formula isn't poison and there is no reason for anyone to make you feel guilty about not wanting to BF, it's a personal choice. Just remember most of these BF moms who make BF sound so healthy and sacred go on to feed their children fast food on a regular basis and plug them with drugs at the first sign of errant behavior, now that's poison. I made the choice to BF and I support anyone who makes healthy choices for their child including formula.

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