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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Amber Rae

The first day I went back to work I was only going for five hours, but they were night time hours. The hours my baby girl eatsd the most. I had a hand pump and had thought oh I'll just pump two days in advance. Well that was not enough because when it came to time to leave I knew I had not pumped enough. So I told my boyfriend to buy a can of formula, just in case. And thank god he did or else there would have been one very unhappy baby on his hands. Again the next day he had to use the formula. After that I bought a electric pump and began freezing exspressed milk and now well we are 100% natural, but hey you do what you gotta do and I don't regret a thing!!

Zyklonia Dark

if babies were meant to drink cow's milk, they would be calves...  most moms "don't produce enough" because they are doing the schedule thing or too uptight.  I have always thought maybe if you don't want to feed your baby the way nature intended (especially if it is because you can't drink alcohol...GEEEZE!) maybe you should rethink your desire to be a mom...


banging head into wall

cindi... cindisuek

I to formula fed both my boys it was the right choice for my family at the time they are now 9 and 5 healthy boys. I will never regret my decision to formula feed my boys I was lucky enough to have a hospital that also supported my decision no matter what thay were 100% behind me. Nobody should feel ashamed of formula feeding.


nonmember avatar Phyllis

My daughter was 2 months early. Being exclusively breastfeed was just not going to happen. She got formula from day one. She got some breast milk but I had to take medication to even make milk. People made me feel crappy about it and guilty. Like I was a bad mom. Thankfully I had a friend who not only couldn't make much milk, she really didn't want to breastfeed. She helped me feel better about it all.

navyw... navywife0204

I had ff my first DD... she was born early, and couldn't latch on.  She's a healthy 10 year old today, and pushing 5 foot!!  My 2nd DD was exclusively bf.  She refused a bottle... even if it had breast milk in it. 

nonmember avatar Sasha

I don't have a problem with people formula feeding their babies but I DO HAVE A PROBLEM with the PATHETIC excuse for formula in this country! Every grocery store should have organic formula and there needs to be much higher standards for what is considered organic. With "organic" formula using toxic hexane to extract DHA or formula with arsenic?! In Europe many formulas for babies are 99% organic not 95% and they don't contain glucose or syrup solids. It's time we started to demand better formula for our babies.

irishk85 irishk85

My son was ten weeks early like you I pumped and pumped for 6 weeks I had enough to feed the whole nicu and all of the sudden I was dry the meds and the extra pumping didn't bring it back. Your post says what I've been feeling for months. Thank you

Julie Booth-Lamirand

Nope -I feel no guilt for formula feeding my two sons! I was just like you (only with one baby) with my first. I spent 4 months of being hooked to either baby or pump and supplementing and finally just completely lost my milk. With the second, the milk supply was no better, so after about 6 weeks I said, "To hell with this!" I had a two year old running around and a newborn, and quite honestly I could think of about 100 better uses of my time -and ones that still benefitted my kids.

I am SO sick of the cult of the breastfeeders. I think it's great, fine and perfectly normal to breastfeed if you have a great supply and you  want to do it -bravo! But these women who freak out about anyone using formula or just go on and on and on about how superior they are for breastfeeding FOREVER in some cases -I'm sorry, but I think they must have had pretty sad, empty lives where they've never been good at anything else. They're crazy! A happy mommy (and daddy) who love and show love to their baby = a happy baby. My two have no allergies, no overeating issues, above average intelligence and haven't been sick at ages 3 and 6 any more than any other kid in preschool and kindergarten -in fact quite a bit less than many I know.

Playi... Playitagain

I had a double mastectomy at 20 years of age due to breast cysts and the fact due to a family history my doctors knew by my 27th birthday they wouldve turned into a very progressive form of cancer.

I was at a resturant a few years back and torn apart by a women for formula feeding. She told me I was lazy and lying. I ended up taking her into the bathroom and showing her the tatteoos where my nipples should be. She gapped like a fish and walked away in a daze.

My children were all formula fed, we dont have banks near us or anything like that either. Not that I would feel right about that either. All my kids are slender, healthy, happy kids. I know my newborn knowsl when to stop because he just does. He just stops eating and turns his head to knock out the bottle. I am healthy but for the genetic issues, and was formula fed, my brother was breast fed and has pulmanory fibrosis, a lung problem that will kill him sooner rather then later sadly. He is 22, and is hospitalized at least once a year for the common cold. He has always had a weak immune system for no reason that anybody can fnd.

Playi... Playitagain

I was also once told I should never have had children knowing I couldnt breast feed, because having the mastectomy was completely a choice of my freewill.

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