One of the most frustrating battles in the mommy war is that of breast vs. bottle. Why do women care so much how others feed their kids? Is there really cause to rip one another apart?
As a woman who wanted desperately to breastfeed and didn't last very long before having to switch to formula, I feel like I'm right in the middle. I see both sides. I have LIVED both sides. And I'll admit my failure as a breastfeeding mom changed me. It made me more open. It made me more understanding.
I wonder -- if the more fervent members of the breastfeeding community truly understood that women don't choose formula willy-nilly, could we put this one to rest? For good?
With that in mind, we decided to ask moms to share the real reasons they chose to formula feed, whether it was from the get-go or after attempts at breastfeeding. Not surprisingly, "because I'm lazy" wasn't mentioned by a single mom. None said, "I want to poison my child" either.
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Instead they were all well-thought out, all understandable:
1. For my first, I formula fed. I had a breast tumor removed less than a year before conceiving and I was unsure how breastfeeding would go. I breastfed the other two.
2. My children were all adopted.
3. I nursed my daughter exclusively for 19 months. Never any formula. Then, when the twins came along, I tried to nurse both exclusively but I was EXHAUSTED and couldn't keep up. One of my boys had tummy issues so he was nursed exclusively for 13 months. The other twin, however, never latched well and preferred the bottle. I was too tired to pump and didn't have enough supply to feed exclusively anyway, so he was supplemented with formula and after four months was pretty much on formula completely.
4. My daughter was formula fed after I had surgery to remove large amounts of endometriosis and a complex ovarian cyst. The doctor and I agreed it was best for me to be on medication to keep it away.
5. I nursed my boys until they were all 6 months old and then I changed to formula because I couldn't keep up with their appetites.
6. I was diagnosed with cancer shortly after giving birth and undergoing treatment, so breastfeeding was just not in the cards.
7. My first daughter was great to breastfeed, but with my second, I started but had postpartum depression and became very emotionally overwhelmed.
8. I formula fed my daughter after I went back to work, and she decided she preferred the formula to my breast milk. It was a hard decision but it is what she wanted literally.
9. My thyroid issues caused me to dry up, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get it back.
10. I had to supplement for the first month as it took my milk two weeks to come in. Then I exclusively breastfed until 10 months, and I had to start supplementing again because my supply dropped. I couldn't get my supply back up due to stress, working full time, and my cycle returning.
11. I supplemented for a while, then stopped breastfeeding when I went back to work. I would have liked to continue breastfeeding, but my body did not like the pump. I don't know what it was, but I just didn't get the same let down as when he nursed. So from that point on, I formula fed.
12. I could never get my son to latch, and after 24 hours he was obviously starving. We tried pumping with no luck, and the hospital insisted that he had to drink (more like choke) out of a cup so as not to create confusion. Considering we were going home the next day, I decided that we had to find a permanent solution, and the first time we tried the bottle, he ate like a champ -- it was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders (by then he was 1 1/2 days old). My milk never did come in.
13. We were afraid he wasn't getting enough milk at first. Then he just wasn't/still isn't gaining weight, so we've always used it as a supplement.
14. I have a demanding career that I happen to love so this was an easy choice. Formula was easy, and I like that my husband and I could take turns waking up with our daughter.
15. When I went back to work, there was no place to pump, and telling my boss "the law was on my side" was just risking his wrath. I needed my job.
So how about you? Did you end up using formula? Why?
Image via jessicafm/Flickr