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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missusmc missusmc

I have twin boys and like you, I had to do a bf/formula combo from day 1... make that day 2, since I actually didn't get to meet my babies until 24 hours after they were born.  I had severe pre-e and the boys were whisked to the NICU immediately and I was whisked away to recover with my magnesium IV immediately... anyway, I did the best I could for 7 months and then went exclusively formula.  There was nothing I could do about it.  And like you, they were literally never sick until 15 months, which was partly due to me keeping them to myselves for the majority of the first year.  You do what you have to do when it comes to your kids, and for some people, exclusively formula feeding is the best.  Who cares?  As long as your child is healthy and loved, that's all that matters.

BeckyP. BeckyP.

It's my belief that no mother should ever be criticized for making a decision that they feel is best for her situation with her baby (or babies). It is YOUR decision. I breast fed my now 2 year old for about 6 months. I wanted to breast feed for the first year but when Henry started getting attached to a pacifier, he nursed differently and it was a stressful situation every time I tried to breast feed after that. I did not feel one bit guilty when we started to switch to bottles. I was pumping and feeding at first but my production took a nose dive when he stopped nursing and we ended up switching to all formula around 7 months. I can't say that I didn't personally feel like somewhat of a failure when my production went down but guilt for using formula was not something I felt. I knew I was doing what was right for both of us.

GirlN... GirlNamedBillie

Hey, I'm happy your babies are getting fed, LOL. I breastfeed, BUT as long as babies are getting fed that's what counts. I will never knock anyone for formula feeding, never have. I just hate when women  receive bad advice about breastfeeding, that's my beef, lol.  

nonmember avatar Tonya

Am I the only one exhausted by this topic? How many ways must we rehash breast vs bottle?! Whether you choose formula or breastfeeding, or both, YOUR KID WILL BE FINE. And, for the record, I am not on the defensive... I nursed both of my children well past their first birthday.

Just.....really. Could we all move on? Make a decision for your kid, own it and let it be! Don't defend, make excuses, brag about breastfeeding, etc. Seriously, it's not that big of a deal.

Prett... PrettyGirlMyers

I was perfectly capable (I think) of breastfeeding both my kids, and I made the conscious decision not to. It had nothing to do with latching on, or low supply, or any other those other reasons people use, I just plain and simple did not want to breastfeed. So I didn't. And I had two very healthy and happy babies to show for it :)

Fallaya Fallaya

I felt guilt at first, but now that my dd is almost 4 and as healthy as a horse, I've no regrets.  

Lovem... Lovemykidstw

I agree with some of the other posts, if you just didn't WANT to breastfeed that's fine but don't make a gazillion excuses why you COULDN'T! It is a slap in the face to the small percentage who tried everything & couldn't. It's your kid your decision. I formula fed my daughter because I thought breastfeeding would be gross or weird. Then when I got pregnant with my son I researched & decided that I would breastfeed him. Well he is 18 months old & I'm still nursing him. If you would have asked me 18 months ago if I'd still be nursing, I'd probably say no because that would be weird, but it's not. I think everyone should just feed their kids & take care of them & not worry about what others think

jalaz77 jalaz77

SaraJamesHigh-are you asking because she didn't use pure breastmilk? My kids were breastfed mixed with formula at the end of BF so my frozen supply could be stretched out longer and my kids didn't start getting little colds or bugs until they were mobile, even though at that time I was strictly breastmilk. People seem to think breast prevents illnesses over formula. I know moms who breastfed and kids were always sick but mom was freaking out about a runny nose, that isn't sick it's a "common cold". My kids were healthy. 1st got rotavirus, hand, foot and mouth, she sucked her fingers so no surprise she got those two bugs. 2nd got hand, foot and mouth, thumb sucker so not surprised. So far 3rd had RSV, thumb sucker and even though RSV was wild this year I was actually shocked since we have always avoided it. My kids were strictly breastmilk at the time of these bugs. An awesome mom FEEDS her kids whether breast or formula.

mamab... mamabunny2010

My formula fed baby didn't get sick, the entire first year of her life, NOT ONCE! Then at around 14 months she got a cold, oh no! At 18 months, she still has never had a fever and is healthy as a horse. I honestly think it's genetic, because as a child and now as an adult, I rarely get sick, maybe once every 5 years or so I'll get a bug. On the other hand, my friend breastfed her son the entire first year of his life and I can't remember a week where that poor kid WASN'T sick:(. I always felt so bad for them because she could never go anywhere with us because he was sick AGAIN.

rcmama10 rcmama10

I couldn't breast feed becuz of medications I need to keep my body healthy and I wasn't producing enough. I felt like a failure and not knowing anyone who bottle fed made it even worse. The first four months were the hardest but I learned that my daughter will be fine and its better for me to be here healthy. I do agree breast is best but my daughter is a healthy 2 year old without it and I wouldn't have it another way.

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