Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Post Where I Talk About Formula Feeding.

Before you come at me with guns a' blazing, take a deep breath and understand that this post is not about formula versus breast. Did you hear me? IT'S NOT ABOUT FORMULA VERSUS BREAST. Whoever coined that phrase, "breast is best?"  It's a good thing that statement is open-ended. Best. Best for what? Best for you? Best for me? Best.

I whole heartedly agree that the benefits of giving your baby breastmilk are innumerable, the most important being the transfer of immunities from mother to baby. I know you've read the books. We've all read the books. As a nurse with an extensive medical background and having sat through years of nutrition classes, I could go all "journal" on your butts and quote information in APA format about the benefits of breastmilk, but that's not my desire and that's not what I'm here to do.

You never know the mom you're going to be until you're wearing your mom shoes and you're in that moment. Facing your first mom-stacle. Before having Carter, I anticipated breastfeeding him until he was 12. Of course, I'm kidding but I know you catch my drift. I had all intents to breastfeed him until he was at least a year old, provided that everything was honky dory. I assumed breastfeeding was going to be a breeze and go ahead and pull out your pitchforks. . . but for us? It was. C latched on beautifully and away we went. So what if he favored the left side? My letdown was quicker, we were both happier when he was nursing on that side and I had already relegated myself to the fact that I would enter my thirties with lopsided knockers. Formula was a four-letter word in our house and in the back of my mind, I staunchly refused to introduce that stuff to within miles of my happy, healthy baby. I thought of myself as a "crunchy baby-wearing, breastfeeding mama," and secretly loved that association.

From the getgo, C had a ravenous appetite. Looking back, I'm not sure he ever drank the typical "2-3 ounces every 2-3 hours," like most babies his age were drinking. I speak with jest, but I'm almost certain he was pulled out from my womb drinking 4-5 ounces every 2 hours. I know, unheard of. But keep in mind that Carter was nearly 10 pounds at birth. He might as well have been born asking for a cheeseburger. We nursed around the clock. When we weren't nursing, I was pumping. When I wasn't pumping, I was nursing. I was never able to pack away a freezer stash because the kid was always hungry. Not to mention that I valued whatever meager five hours of interrupted sleep I could garner at night and I refused to wake up and pump then.

Carter thrived, gaining weight left and right and we continued along this path for nearly three and a half months. When the pediatrician patted my hand and told me, "what a great job I was doing, exclusively breastfeeding," I may have even turned my nose up in the air a bit.. fueled by pride that I did this. All by myself. I was responsible for my son's growth.
Towards the end of his third month, we developed supply and demand issues. As in, Carter was demanding and I wasn't supplying. I drank gallons of water, ate loads of oatmeal. I tried the supplements. Sure, they all worked a little here and there, but Carter was growing increasingly frustrated and less satiated. Carter was hungry and I couldn't fill his tummy. And as frustrated as he grew, I did too. No longer did we enjoy our nursing sessions. They became a struggle of left boob, right boob, pump, pump pump. Left boob again. Cradling, football'ing. Pump. Pump. Pump. Wash, rinse, repeat.  

So, I did something I never thought I would do. I dusted off that loathed can of formula in the cabinet and started supplementing. Me, the mom who never thought a drop of formula would ever grace her son's lips. Me, the mom who swore she would exclusively breastfeed until her son was twelve. And you know what? It was so much easier than I ever anticipated.

"Supplementing" very quickly became "exclusively." Thankfully, Carter took to the formula without the smallest of issue. Thankfully, I relinquished any and all guilt that I had ever associated with formula feeding and we were suddenly satiated and at peace. Why did I ever feel guilty in the first place?

What I really want to touch upon is the guilt that I associated with formula feeding. The guilt that so many of us "formula" moms associate with formula feeding. And the fact that we always feel like we need to defend our decision to do so. We can't just ever say, "No, my baby is formula fed." It's always, "No, my baby is given formula because..." My milk never came in. I never produced enough. He never latched on correctly. I just didn't want to. 

For those of you Mama's out there that worry about the expense? I get that. Formula is expensive. We spend roughly $50-$65 a month on C's formula. Did we plan it that way? No! Did we have to rework the entire budget to figure out where we were going to pull that extra money from? Yes! But out of necessity, we did it. Remember, the bottom line is a HAPPY, HEALTHY, THRIVING baby.

Why can't women be supportive of our decision to formula feed? For pete's sake, why can't we all just get along? We're all looking to acheieve the same result. A happy, healthy, thriving baby. If one woman comes by that goal by breastfeeding and another woman, formula, so be it! Neither should be judged for their decisions. No judgies, I say!

I'm only speaking for myself when I say this, but the introduction of formula was a weight off of this tired and frustrated Mama's shoulders. I continued to pump a little bit here and there and used what I pumped when I mixed Carter's rice and oatmeal cereals. At the same time? For me, formula feeding was a liberating experience. And when the pediatrician pats my hand and tells me, "what a great job you're doing, formula feeding," I pat myself on the back and think, "I'm STILL responsible for my son's growth. He's happy and he's healthy and he's thriving."

I think it's important for some Mama's out there to hear me when I say this:
I never felt like I was letting my son down or short-changing him a healthier life when it came time to introduce formula.

But the stares from other breastfeeding Mama's, from strangers in the mall and the library and the supermarket?  The Judgies that I've faced? Well, they've made me think twice. They've made me question MY decisions for my child. It has not made for an easy road. Where did this guilt stem from? What was my alternative? I couldn't continue to frustrate the both of us as I tried desperately to increase supply, forcing him to suckle when what he needed most wasn't even there.

For us? Formula IS the best. It's the best we can do. It's the best thing I can do for my son.
If you're currently nursing and experiencing difficulties, I would stand behind you 110% and encourage you to push through, to keep nursing, to keep traveling down that road because like many breastfeeding mama's will tell you.. it get's easier. 

If you're currently nursing and experiencing difficulties and are thinking about introducing formula? I would stand behind you 110% and share my experience. Because you know what? For some of us? Like I said a minute ago, formula is best. Formula is the best for me. For Carter. For our situation.

It hurts my heart that sometimes we formula moms feel "bullied" for the decisions we've made. Kind of like we should be wearing a scarlet "F," rather than the literary scarlet "A," for choosing to introduce formula. For some of us, it's more than a choice. It's what we need to do in order to keep our babies healthy, happy and thriving.  

And yes, earlier in my post I said that introducing formula was "liberating." For me? It was as if I was given a piece of myself back. Between my son and my husband, I feel like I am constantly giving pieces of myself away. And when I suddenly realized that my ladies were.. "mine," again? It was THE most empowering feeling in the world. For the first time since I had Carter, I felt not only like a Mom, but also like myself again.

I hope by now you've put away your guns and your pitchforks. This post wasn't meant to be judgemental by any sorts and after hours of proofreading, I don't believe that it comes across that way. The bottom line is this:

I just want to be able to write about, to stand proud about, my decision to formula feed my baby. I'm a crunchy, baby-wearing, formula-feeding Mama and I love that association. 

If you have any questions about formula feeding or about the decision I made to use formula, you can email me at iloveyoumorethancarrots(at)

I sincerely thought about turning comments off on this post, something I've never felt pressure to do in the two years that I have blogged, so if you decide to comment, just remember those wise words your Mama told you, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Happy Weekend, readers. There are some new and exciting things happening around these parts and I can't wait to share them with you throughout the course of this love month.

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  1. Love this!! My son is exclusively breast-milk and he will soon catch up to me and frankly I am tired of pumping I have only ever pumped, since he was a preemie he never took the breast. So imagine 5.5 months of only pumping!!

    I too have that gilt feeling but I think I'm done with the pump. Moms sanity has to account for something right?? LOL.

    Glad formula is working well for you, I hope we have the same result.

  2. I couldnt agree with you more.. I have a daughter about a month younger then your son and I have gone through so many of the things that you wrote about. I could have wrote this post myself....great job....keep up the good work mama!

  3. Beautifully written, Momma.

    I come from the mindset of "feed your baby". And if I had supply v demand issues, I WOULD do the same exact thing you did. Exact. I think that any good mom would.

    I don't like the great divide bt moms and the formula vs breast debate, but I have to say that as a boob-feeding mom, I sometimes feel it on the other side. You know the stares of nursing in public? Yea. Those are there too, and that freaking sucks. And since I've introduced to her to some formula? I've felt the stares at the mall when shaking that bottle & mixing it.

    Why oh why can't people just leave other people alone and let us all just feed our babies? lol. Honesttttly.

    Very well done, m'dear.

  4. You're feeding your baby, right? That's what's best!

  5. This is exactly how I felt with my L. It just didn't work for us. And you know what? I felt guilty for 3.5 years about formula-feeding him...UNTIL breastfeeding worked out so well for me and G. And weirdly enough, that made me feel less guilty about not nursing L. I wrote a whole post about it (although it was much less eloquent than yours). I have felt judged by a few people for choosing to breastfeed G, believe it or not. I don't know why it even matters, as long as we are feeding our kids.

  6. Love this post! Great insight. I don't have a baby to feed yet... but I'm sure I will remember this when the time comes! :)

  7. I started off reading with a chuckle when I got to your your comment on Carter's lopsided feeding - my first son totally left me lopsided! Ha ha! Ah well :) Good post. Good non-judgy assessments and encuragements that I totally agree with! I hate that child rearing is so full of debates ("natural' birth vs. epidural vs. c-section, breast-feeding vs. formula, co-sleeping, CIO, vaccines... the list goes on) and people who want to shove their opinions in your face... No matter what, we all end up feeling like we have to defend our decisions to everyone else. Like if you haven't 'done your research' and don't have a strong opinion on each one, obviously you are a bad mom. Can't we just go with our gut feelings anymore and be content?

  8. I don't have much to add except to say, great post! I really appreciate hearing your point of view on this.

  9. Great post... I actually just went out and purchased my first can of prosobe ... 'justincase'.... I have a feeling I wont be able to keep up as much as I had hoped until the 12M mark.... I know all about Bfeeding issues.... and there have been days when I was ready to throw in the towel... and if I did I would not look back and regret any of it its all a learning experience... I also hate the fact that there is such a bottle/breast war between mommas.... why does our method of feeding our baby define who we are as a mother? I could see if I decided to STOP FEEDING my baby... then yea... totally pull out the guns but to change my methods of feeding or consider other options shouldnt change us as mommies.... I have a good friend who was so upset with me that I introduced solids to E recently... started e-mailing me studies from the AAP on why I should Bfeed exclusivly until 6 month....... Ummm its my child I will make the decesions...

    I totally support you for "method" of feeding your baby... having said all of this.. I was just wondering where you stand now in terms of the next child? will you try breastfeeding again or start off with formula?

    kisses to C from E

  10. Lily is 6 months and for 8 weeks she was breastfed. Did I want to do it longer? Yep. Did I want to have to start supplementing even before that 8 weeks was up? Nope.

    But, I wanted to do what was best for my daughter, so I did and will continue to do.

    She is a healthy, growing formula-fed baby!
    It was pretty powerful where you had written about feeling we have to justify WHY our babies are formula fed...
    I had replied to you on twitter that I had a formula fed baby and was supportive (stephanieg143) but didn't feel I had to justify why. I used to feel that way though. :)

    Great post!

  11. No judgies from me, momma.

    The LAST thing you should feel is guilty. You're doing what's best for your little family & it sounds like you know that!

    LOVE this post.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this! I went through a similar thing with M. However, I always knew I would formula feed at some point. I had planned on BF exclusively for 6 months, but could only produce enough for 4 months. I felt like other people would think I had failed, even though I was happy to be feeding my baby enough formula to fill her up so she would stop screaming in hunger all the time. Who knew that being a mom would be like being back in middle school with all the ridicule. Moms need to support each other no matter what their choices are!

  13. As always, so beautifully written. When I was having trouble breastfeeding I emailed you and you promptly emailed me back such an encouraging note. Thanks for that honey. Carsyn is such a different case than Carter as she's struggled with weight. Luckily my pediatrician told me to hang in there...the kid is never really starving so when I know she hasn't nursed long enough to get her belly full I just go pump knowing she'll likely be hungry again soon. I don't know how long I'll continue breastfeeding but I do know thanks to encouraging mommas like yourself I will feel no guilt :) my guilt overtakes me sometimes so I'm deeming 2011 the year of no guilt! I'll let you know how that goes. Also, judging by Carters pictures and stories I think he could be the poster child for formula!!

  14. I made myself promise to go 2 weeks breastfeeding before committing to anything else...I have a tendency to overextend myself in most situations. It was tough, but I got through it, and we made it 3 months exclusively on breastmilk. I never thought I'd get that far! But same thing, supply and demand issues, and I too tried supplements, etc. I could not drink any more water than I already was unless I just wanted to have a catheter put in! I had the formula guilt for a while too - made the hubs give Tommy his first bottle of the stuff while I left the house. And surprisingly, he did NOT explode! I figured we'd need to supplement once I went back to work after 4 months, but my supply was decreasing, and ultimately accepted that breast worked for us for as long as it did, and then formula did.

    This was a great post - and I so agree that what works for one mom isn't going to work for another...same thing with 2 are ever going to be alike with what's going to work for them.

    FYI, the guilt will disappear regarding teh formula, only to be replaced by some other mom now, when my son eats great for the folks at daycare with all the homemade stuff I send in, but for us at home, he only eats good if I give him a "tv dinner" of a Gerber Graduates meal. I feel guilt for giving him something I know he'll eat for me. But you know what, he's eating. And growing. And he'll never turn his nose up at a strawberry from anyone at least!

  15. Thanks for this post! I felt exactly the same way when I only made it 8 weeks with Owen. I still feel twinges of guilt here and there. What helped me the most was when my husband's cousin, who is a pediatrician, told me that babies get most everything they need from breastfeeding in the 1st 4 weeks. Even his wife only breastfed their kids for 4 weeks.

    Keep up the good work, girlie! You're doing great!!

    <3 Dannielle

  16. Agreed. :) Sounds similar to my formula story:

    Brady has a milk protein allergy so he has to have Similac Alimentum, which is $25 a can. Talk about expensive! It's crazy.

  17. You know what is ironic about this post? You are actually one of the main reasons that I decided to try breastfeeding (for real!) It was after that post you wrote about formula tasting like pennies and how horrible it was compared to breastmilk.

    Before that, I planned to go straight to formula (with a lot of guilt of course since breastfeeding these days is so en vogue).

    What's even funnier is that no one in my mom's generation/friends breastfed at all...I read in one of my books that something like 20% of women breastfed in the 70s (ironic given that was hippie-ville) and it's up to 85% now. Basically all of the granola/organic/hippie stuff is in style so everyone feels pressured to try.

    Largely because of you, I am still planning to give it a try. However, if it doesn't work or becomes too tiring or doesn't work for us, formula it is. And I won't feel guilty for a second (so I really loved this post b/c I think it's hard to admit to even THINKING about formula feeding these days).

    Amen sister!

  18. I finally have time to comment! Bravo on this post. I remember having a breakdown after Connor was diagnosed with his milk protein allergy. Not because I would have to feed him formula to supplement, but because I wanted to decide when I was finished breastfeeding. I grew to like bond that C and I had. We continued down the road of both formula and breastfeeding until I ultimately decided I was done. The one thing that bothers me with ppl who talk about breastfeeding for a year don't mention that towards the end, the infant really doesn't feed as often and as long.

    I am glad that breastfeeding worked out as long as it did for C and I. I will go into the next children too, that if it works out, great! If not, I won't be devastated. Oh, and I will only breastfeed until they get teeth :)

  19. I needed that post today. Thank you. My son is 2 weeks old and I am just emotionally drained between pumping and feeding. I can't seem to store any back and it is just overwhelming at times. Thank you for this well-written post.

  20. YOU GO GIRL! I"m proud of you! You did what you could and when you decided you couldn't do anymore to have a healthy happy thriving baby, you made the decision. That decision IS hard, for all the reasons you listed, but you MADE the decision and you stand behind it. I'm proud of you. And proud of you for telling the rest of us about it!

  21. I know it seems totally weird that I would have an opinion on this (or maybe not, since I have an opinion on just about everything under the sun, ha!), but I do.

    I don't have kids, and I may not ever have kids. But I love kids... I started babysitting when I was 10, including lots of infants, have friends with kids, read tons of mommyblogs, etc.

    I have read a lot about the benefits of breastfeeding vs. formula, and based on everything I've read I honestly don't think that there is enough (solid scientifically proven) benefit to breastfeeding to make it worth it.

    I know a lot of mommas look at the fact that they "get" to be the one who is solely responsible for feeding their babies. I want my future husband to be a part of that too. And I want to be able to sleep through the night and have my husband wake up in the middle of the night to feed the baby if the baby wakes up. I want to be able to go to work for 8 hours during the day without having to stop and pump every 2 hours. I want to be able to leave the baby with my husband or a babysitter and have them be able to feed her. I want my mom to be able to come in town and feed her grandbaby a bottle and let me run a few errands or take a nap.

    Also I read a lot of blogs/twitters of Moms who either exclusively pump or pump a lot... and they sound absolutely MISERABLE. I know that they do it because they strongly believe that they're doing what's best for their baby by feeding breastmilk, but I just can't see how having a momma who is constantly STRESSED OUT TO THE MAX about supply/pumping/nipple cracking, etc etc etc is good for the baby.
    Formula has come a long way. I 100% believe that formula babies will turn out JUST FINE.

    (obviously I realize this can and probably will change if I have kids, but from someone without kids, that's how I see it for now!)

  22. Great post! I had the worst mommy guilt when I was unable to nurse my daughter for more than 2 weeks. I literally was sobbing and crying until my mom and sister were like "No one is going to call you a bad mom if you aren't producing milk" I think I broke down in the store when buying a can of formula and it says right on it "Breast milk is best" Sucker punch to the gut to a mom with mommy guilt. My son was a preemie and I never produced enough to feed him either from just pumping and he was formula feed but I didn't have the same guilt. Let's all give ourselves a pat on the back for feeding our kids! They should say "Feeding is best"

  23. Great post! You are doing what is best for you and your baby and that makes you a great mom!

  24. This was a really great post! I have been reading your blog for awhile now, and always love your mommy stories. I am 37 weeks pregnant, and I already feel defensive when I read my breast feeding books and they make it out that only breast is best. Surely it depends on your situation and like you said what works best for you! I fully support that formula works better for you, and if breast feeding doesn't work out for me I hope I can come back and read this post to know its ok to formula feed!

  25. Great post. I'll be blogging about something similiar soon. I'm from the school of "do what ya gotta do" but believe me judgy mcjudgersons are going to judge no matter what you're doing. If they're not judging because of what you're putting into your kid they are going to judge your decision to vaccine or not vaccine, to give a paci or not to give a paci, to co-sleep or not to co-sleep. That being said and being a BF'ing momma I personally feel that formula feeding mom's get less of those looks when out in public than bf'ing moms. Why it is I'm not sure. Not only that but god forbid a mom isn't using a cover to breastfeed. All hell breaks loose then. Psssth. Psssth. Look at that lady. Her boob is out. God. Couldn't she do that in the bathroom or something? We've all heard it. How many times have you heard a BFing mom say Oh I just pump a bottle for when we go out. I wonder why that is. Meh, I think people just need to hear "it's none of your business. Fvck off." more often. Sure it's not going to get you anymore friends but they will leave you alone so that you can feed your baby in peace. lol.

  26. I can totally relate. My L was only in the NICU for 2 days, 3 days after birth. But the antibiotics wreaked havoc on her body. The nurses 'supplemented' at night; without asking me.

    So right from the get-go I totally had issues at night; and she was formula fed at night. But Breastmilk during the day. Once teh 8,9,10 week marks hit... she started to just fall asleep while I was nursing during the day. So for my last 2 weeks of maternity leave, I formed a relationship with my pump; and whatever I couldn't prouduce we made up for with formula.

    I don't think all women are created equal in this sense; and I despise the people who think so. As mothers we have to do what is best for our child. And I think by letting them 'starve' so that they can attempt to get up supply to be exclusive for up to 3 years is ridiculous!

    Good for you!

  27. Preach it sister! I wrote a similar post before I even had KP. Who cares how you feed them, isn't the important part THAT you feed them? I mean GESSH! KP has been formula fed from day 1 and I am so grateful for my decision. Thankfully NO one at the hospital tried to convince me otherwise b/c I would have slapped a bitch. Good for you for doing what's right for you and your baby!

  28. Thanks for this post! I plan to breastfeed, but am hoping to be super flexible and easy on myself it that doesn't pan out as I'd hoped (and I'm not super type-a or anything, so that sounds suppperrrrr easy, right?). ;) Simply put - I'm going to try to go into it with an open mind and not feel guilty if some things just don't work out as I'd planned/hoped!

    Question for ya - I registered for a $400 medela breast pump, but now I'm wondering if I should just rent one or something along those lines? If for whatever reason, I'm only able to breastfeed/pump for a shorter time period than I'd hoped (less than 6 months), is it worth it to buy a $400 breast pump? Again - so new to this, so I have no idea what all my options are.....but a friend did tell me you can rent a pump from the hospital (really?) and just buy new parts (whatever the book suckers are called). Ha!!!
    Any suggestions?

  29. Great Post.

    I just don't understand the judging. I don't understand why we all just can't support each other. It is hard enough being a mom without all the drama from people you may or may not know. I formula feed and not once did I feel any sort of guilt bout my decision. (Now talk to me about day care and watch the mommy guilt come out.)

  30. Yay, I'm so glad you published this! I have one of these from a few months back that I haven't finished/felt the urge to publish quite yet. I 10000% agree with everything you said. I was able to breastfeed for about 4 months before my supply just disappeared. It was hard. And then I felt guilty when I actually was okay with formula, because, well, it is so easy, compared to what I had been doing trying to increase my supply. And I know that Coop is getting what he needs, FOOD. Argh. Mommy guilt is worse than I imagined it would be! I could go on and on...and on, but I'll save it. Thanks so much for writing this, though, because (and I know it might sound opposite of what you'd think) while I have found a lot of support for breastfeeding through blogging, I actually haven't found a lot of formula-feeding support, so it's nice to know I'm not the only one!

  31. What a great post! Like you, I had every intention to try breastfeeding when Babes was born. Notice I used the word try. See, I'm extremely small breasted and there is a reason why all those breastfeeding videos show women with big kahunas. Because it's hard! And even with pregnancy, they never became by any means a "normal" or large size. So, I had a feeling it may not work for me and I told myself I would try and if it didn't work out, that was OK.

    Of course, it was much easier to think that then actually do it. The guilt I felt when I had to stop breastfeeding because our baby was experiencing so much jaundice she was close to hospitalization. The feeling of failure as a mother.

    Then I realized that while I may not be breastfeeding, I was doing the best thing I could for my daughter - I was helping her thrive - and if that meant formula, so be it. And I'm a firm believer in NOT JUDGING OTHER MOTHERS for whatever reason, so when faced with naysayers, I would just smile politely and let them know that I made the best decision I could for my child. After all, she is just that, my child.

  32. I have been reading your blog for a while and I just have to say first, you are such a great and entertaining writer! Second, I don't have kids (yet) but I have always thought I would breast feed if I could or if the baby would have me, however, I can't get away from your statement of "You never know what you are going to do until you're in your mom shoes." SO true! I have some "real life" friends who have started having kids and it's so easy for me to say, "Well, if that was my kid...," however I am learning more and more that I cannot do that because I DON'T KNOW!

    I love your honesty and boldness that you speak about this topic and some day I will have to make these decisions and it will be based on what is best for our family. Thanks for the great post!

  33. I'm pretty sure we're Mommy Soul Mates. I haven't written about switching Katherine exclusively to formula because I STILL FEEL GUILTY! I was Judgey McJudgerson when it came to formula - Kate was NEVER going to have a DROP because I LOVED HER - right? And breast is BEST - even the Attorney General is reminding us now...


    What happens when three doctors, countless tests, drugs, eliminations diets, new laundry detergents, and so much more determine that your baby is actually ALLERGIC to your milk? I was heartbroken and she was MISERABLE with red, itchy , oozing eczema all over her body.

    For us, formula is best. Her eczema is so much easier to control and she's not scratching herself to shreds. She's happy. Momma's happy. And momma is STILL a good momma - plus, she's a lot more humble these days :) THANK YOU for writing this - I still need to be reminded that FORMULA IS FAB!!!

  34. I'm just getting a second to post this comment but I had to come give props! I planned on exclusively breastfeeding when I got pregnant. I didn't care about the whole extra benefits and such, I just thought it was the best decision for us.

    During pregnancy, my breast size never changed. They stayed the exact same size and even if they aren't related, it started putting a doubt in my head that maybe this wouldn't work. Once she got here, she latched on immediately and I was overjoyed.

    You know how you're supposed to feel the milk come in and get all engorged and stuff? Never happened. I would feed her for hours switching from side to side and she would just cry and cry which lead to me crying. It was stressful and so, so hard.

    We went to lactation consultants, I did all the tricks, and we never could figure it out. Ever. We started supplementing and I started pumping. I pumped all the time. Even when I went back to work. It would take me two days to pump enough milk for one bottle.

    Eventually I gave up. I couldn't do it. And I felt like a failure. But.. I'm not. My child is healthy, she's full, and she's happy. Feeding time is fun again and no longer absolute hell. So let people judge away, because they didn't live with us the first month while we tried to figure this out.

    Feed your babe. That's all that's important.

    End novel.

  35. Awesome post!

    Before I had my son almost four years ago, I knew I was going to be going the formula route. I suffer from clinical depression and because of my meds, I wouldn't be breastfeeding.

    The only time I ever felt guilty about it was when I got on the "mommy boards" on the Internet. You can't imagine how often I got verbally flogged for even considering it. One woman said I was going to be abusing my baby. Another said it was like feeding him soda in a sippy cup!

    But when he was born, he took to formula just fine. Nobody around me gave me flack for not breastfeeding. And now he's a thriving three-year-old boy, healthy and smart as a whip!

    I am fully in support of breastfeeding if it works best for the Mom and the baby. But if it doesn't, why not formula? Many of our parents were formula-fed babies and came out pretty darned fine!

    Thanks for saying this!

  36. I know I'm commenting like DAYS after you posted, but I love this post! And I'm totally jealous that you only spend 50-65 per month. We spend $50 per WEEK on formula because Connor has to have the liquid, he just can't tolerate the powdered stuff! We spend a minimum of $200 per month on formula!

  37. I agree 100%. Both of mine kids were preemies. Sam was 5 weeks early, Emma was 3 months early. Sam did okay breastfeeding. I did start pumping about 1 day after he was born. Looking back, I wish I had known to ask for the pump sooner. I really did not know any better and my son was in the NICU so that was not really at the top of my list of things to worry about. I never really got more than 1-1 1/2 oz when I pumped for him and we started supplementing for him early on.
    We got pregnant with Emma when Sam was 6 months old so I stopped pumping and nursing Sam. I had major blood pressure issues with Emma, hence her arrvival WAY TOO EARLY for my liking. AFter the intitial shock of seeing my 1 lb 8 oz baby wore off, we got to pumping and I thought things were going to be better, but they werent. After two months of round the clock pumping, the lacation consultants assured me that it was okay to stop. I had to get myself healthly for Emma. I was on many meds and I could not take any supplements to help with my supply. It was just not in the cards for me to be able to breastfeed my kids. I wanted to with my whole heart. I felt guilty at first, but we had to do what was best for our kids.

    I don't like the fact some people are so in your face about the whole breast vs. formula issue.
    Some of us just can't do it- thru no fault of our own. Do they ever think about that??
    Sorry this is so long. But thank you for writing the post, it was very well written!

  38. Ash- this blog is amazing! This post is even better!! You know we both came from that rigorous nursing school with a specific professor who would be reaming us out for even contemplating "formula" for our kids, but I commend you for this! I couldn't go more than 7 weeks with Julianna because of needing a blood transfusion, but yet Kelsey won't take a bottle if I tried, so for obvious reasons- we're still on the boob- but I've gone through the same scenario and I told myself exactly what you did- why should anyone question my decision on how to feed my baby so long as he/she is thriving! I hope that MANY other moms read this and can feel empowered by it because you are a fantastic writer and I'm privileged to be able to read this and know the author :) I wish nothing but success to you and Carter (and your hubs too!) with all the fun in feeding!! xoxox

  39. Ash- I just wanted to say that this is a phenomenal blog! I saw the link to it online via your FB and needed to indulge because I could totally relate- your feelings were the same ones I had with Julianna and I look back and say- "i have a beautiful, happy, healthy baby- that is all that matters!" And even though Kelsey refuses to give up the boob-lol, I will say the same for her as well. It does not matter which way we feed our kids- we just feed them and make sure that they have the vital nutrients they need to become happy, healthy kids :) Thank you so much for sharing- what a privilege to know you and read your work! XOXO

  40. Amen Sister!
    I breastfed my son for almost 6 months and it went really well but I had the same supply/demand issue and it ended up being really stressful on everyone around me. If even an ounce of breast milk was spilled anywhere from pumping to storing to preparing, I was besides myself with frustration! It just was not worth it. We started supplementing and I just loved the freedom so much that we went full formula just as quickly and I L.O.V.E. it.

  41. I wanted to use exclusive breastfeeding for my son but by the time my milk had come in he would've been starving. My milk didn't come in(fully) until a week or more afte i left the hospital. I started him on formula and he's now a chunky little monkey. His doctor says he's doing great and that he's growing amazingly. He just switched to baby food and he loves it. You're doing agreat job with your little guy. I love your blog.

  42. Wish I would have read this last summer. ;) Carter was only breastfed for 6 weeks and then I decided that formula was best for us - we just weren't enjoying b/f. Great post! :)

  43. I am just reading this now from today's link to it. The timing for me is right on. I have serious guilt about giving formula. I am back at work and I do pump several times a day, but I actually don’t mind pumping- I close my office door and pump while I work, so it isn’t a pain. BUT, I am getting less and less now and she is eating more and more. I have had to top off her breast milk bottles with an ounce of formula (that I give to her day time provider) to make sure she gets enough during the day. She is only 3 months and I wanted to exclusively breast feed for 6 months so I am having real issues with what is going on. I was able to pump and freeze A LOT of milk in the beginning, but I recently ran out of that. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I Just do. I hope to overcome that guilt like you have, especially if the one ounce 3 times a day turns into full formula bottles during the day…and then who knows.

  44. oh, PS- haha- I clicked on this link from another blogger and I thought it was a previous post of HERS!! But now I see- DIFFERENT BLOG! oops :)

  45. ugh, I wroted an AWE-some comment, but it was deleted...also, I am officially you're 700th follower...yes, I am that cool.

    I'm here because of your delightful feature on From Mes. to Mama, and wanted to write on this post...

    My daughter is exclusively breast fed, and I am super thankful that it worked for us, because we would have never been able to afford formula. With that said, I want to thank you for this post. WAY too many people out there are so obnoxious when it comes to formula feeding, and it makes me sad. What a wonderful world we live in that has an option for those mamas that can't breast feed. So many mamas are still able to feed their children because of formula, yet they're looked down upon because they have breasts, so they "should" breast feed.

    Our society needs to stop being so pessimistic and understand that formula feeding is just another option for feeding children. My sister has adopted her three children, so obviously, they're formula fed, and what a blessing that they're just as healthy as a breast fed child.

    I am sure that you put the same amount of love into your sons meal as I put into my daughters. A happy, healthy and thriving baby is the desired outcome, and people need to get over themselves. You go girl!!!

    by the way, my previous comment was WAY more eloquent than this...sorry for my scatter-brained mommy writing.

  46. Wow, this is an incredible post. I will never understand why so many women care sooo much about someone else's baby is fed. You never know what someone has gone through. Your post was much more eloquent than I could ever put it. So glad I found your blog :)

  47. Got here via your link-up post and AMEN!

    I tried EBF for the 1st 2 weeks, but my son was having "failure to thrive" issues and spent a week in the hospital trying to figure out why he wasn't eating enough to grow (turns out we learned later that he had a knot in his umblicial cord which explains his growth slowing down so much between weeks 30-37 and why he wasn't eating more than he needed to get by after birth!). But they had to continously feed him via a feeding tube with formula for several days in the hospital to stretch his tummy out so he'd get used to being full and by then my milk was starting to dry up too or whatever.

    Liberating is the perfect word for it though - I was soooo stressed out with the breastfeeding and dealing with some mild PPD... I felt like I was doing everything on my own as our baby didn't sleep for more than 2hrs at a time at first and so I wasn't getting much sleep because hubby would have to wake me up to feed him and we couldn't leave him with his grandma's for more than an hour or 2 in case he got hungry, etc... I really wanted to supplement or switch to formula and was relived when the doctor and hospital had us stay on the formula (mixing it a special way so it would be high-calorie to jumpstart his growth and help him catch up). I could have gone back to BF some if I wanted but I felt it was more important to be able to keep track of just how much he was actually eating because of the issue we had.

    I honestly was never planning on BF as my mom didn't and my sis and I turned out fine, but my MIL BF all 6 of her kids so hubby figured we would too not to mention it is cheaper...

    I originally wanted to go for 6 months but only did the 2 weeks. Every doctor we've met with though has assured me that even giving it a chance was good enough and told me not to get down on myself about it.

    I was a bit disappointed in one of my best friends though who EBF both her kids til they were nearly a year old as she kept trying to talk me into it and was getting upset that I wasn't fighting the doctors more about it, etc. One of my BILs upset me too as he sent hubby a message saying he read my blog post about us not BF anymore and so he attached a link of why you should BF your baby saying he thought we should see it - obviously he didn't read my post or he would know the conditions as to why we were switching to formula (none of my BILs are the sharpest tools in the shed though!).

    Thanks for posting this though!

    Jay is now 6.5 months old and at his check-up last week he's finally caught up & now in the 50th percentile! So obviously he's doing just fine with formula and solid baby foods.

  48. I LOVE this post! It sums up exactly how I felt when I had to switch to formula with my baby. I had read the books and I knew that breastfeeding was best and I was all for it. But just like you, my baby was HUNGRY! He was fussy and wouldn't sleep so we switched. I cried every single time we mixed a bottle of formula because I felt so guilty. When he got his first runny nose I cried because if I had breast fed then he wouldn't have gotten sick. But he's happy! He's healthy and he's growing and formula is so much easier. I just wish there wasn't so much guilt in bottles!


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