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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mamab... mamabunny2010

And I agree with @nursemc. Many of the moms I know that breastfed 6 months or longer, went on to giving their one year olds McD's and Burger King every week...I always think to myself, seriously? Weren't you the sanctimommy that preached about health? Now they think I am "too good" because I refuse to feed my one year old a burger and fries. Seriously, which is worse, formula or a greasy McBurger?

Elise48 Elise48

SaraJames - It's entirely possible her kids have never been sick. My son, who has never had a drop of breastmilk btw, didn't get his first illness (a minor cold)  until he was a year old.


It's really sad when you get such a group of zealots together and band together like blood suckers that you actually have to apologize for using formula. You can only do what you can and what you choose. Don't be sorry.

2nino... 2ninos4me

i bf and ff my ds1 .. but formula was more for when we were out and i felt uncomfotable for bfing him in public .. because people can be assholes about moms who choose not to bf their babies yet tehy are assholes in we dotn hide in a filthy bathroom to feed them shm ...

and my ds2 is being exclusively bf ... he drank formula a couple of times and that i was about it .

so being a bfing mom myself i can honestly say that i am fed up with all the posts and people trying to make feel hguilty the moms who DIDNT WANT TO BF THEIR KIDS ! ...

since when should it be someone else's concern if we ff or bf our babies ?

i dont see the big deal about formula and i was thinking how ppl say that bm is better and bf babies are smartes and all that crap .... sure it has its benefits but the formula feeding parents are dpoing something right and what is that ? THEY ARE NOT LETTING THEIR KID STARVE !




memek... memekisses

I've never felt guilty for ff my baby. Why should I?

Also, she was never sick til about a week ago. She's 14 mos

So its completely possible that ops babies haven't been sick.

nonmember avatar Moncia

I can never breast feed my babies longer than 3 months, and it's because I have 5 children and I just didn't have the time. The nutrients from breast milk are most beneficial the first 6 weeks of the babies life. I never feel bad for not breast feeding, because I did breast feed, but I prefer formula in the end. I like knowing how much food intake my infants are taking, and I like being able to eat sushi and things of that nature....


Glad you breastfed while you could. Glad you have formula to feed them now. And glad it's working well for you all :) two healthy babies is an awesome blessing!

Lesli... Leslie_ABS

You can eat everything and drink in moderation while breastfeeding. If you tried to breastfeed and didn't suceed, then you tried, and that's all you can do. The downside is when mothers get bad advice that sabotages their breastfeeding, but no mother should have to apologize for trying her best (and I mean her personal best, given her particular set of circumstances, support, advice, history, etc.). 

Formula feeding mothers are not bad mothers, but there are recognized dangers to formula feeding. And, the reason that many mothers who breastfeed do talk about it more, is because the U.S. 'norm' is formula feeding and so many mothers get sabotaged by the fact that we live in this formula society. The more typical breastfeeding becomes, the easier it becomes for everyone, because there will be more support out there for breastfeeding mothers (since they would be the norm) and more people witnessing breastfeeding, which normalizes it as well. Of course it seems weird to some people, because they've never seen it, and it's a learned skill.

But, no one should be attacked for how they feed their child (unless they give their baby cokes to drink.. haha). Everyone has different information, support and help that they've been given. But, we as a society need to offer more support and information to mothers, so that they can have all of the tools that they need to succeed. 

nonmember avatar Darlene

I did not BF any of my 7 children, and never considered trying once. In fact, the dr gave me meds to dry up the milk when I told her I would not breastfeed.
All of them were/are healthly children and healthy adults with zero immune problems. Not one of them has ever had an ear infection...just the standard sore throat, cold around October each year. No childhood diseases, either. No learning disabilities, ADD, etc..etc. Not everyone WANTS to breastfeed and I could care less what anything thinks of me. I am no less of a woman; and certainly no less of a mother.

Mocha... MochaCocoaBean

Nope, don't feel guilty. And nope, don't need to justify it. My body, my baby, my business.

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