FFF Friday: “I shouldn’t have to excuse my decisions.”

I love when I get FFF Friday submissions from people like Darlena (whose blog, Tales of an Unlikely Mother, is fantastic) because they manage to express sentiments that I’ve clumsily attempted to impart, in such a unique, poetic way. This is another story about multiples and feeding difficulties, but Darlena’s perspective on the subject of formula feeding is really quite singular.

***

It’s 3 p.m.  My month-old twins are crying, but they are so tiny – their lungs so weak – that their little cries sound like a few quiet ducks quacking in the distance.  They are hungry, of course.  They are always hungry. 
For some reason, they missed the memo on how babies are supposed to eat.  That memo probably comes out at 36 weeks, to give the unborn some quality reading before they make their way out into the world.  With a whole month to digest the information, maybe babies born at 40 weeks have properly studied the technique and are sucking geniuses right off the bat.  That’s all conjecture, of course; I could be totally off base. 
It’s more likely that, being born at 34 weeks, my babies had other developments they were working on – like keeping their temperature up, so they didn’t fall into the dreaded ‘failure to thrive’ category.  We stayed in the hospital for ten days while they concentrated on that and gaining weight.  I saw lactation consultant after lactation consultant, nurse after nurse, doctor after doctor.  No one could make my babies latch.  We fed them via finger tubing for the first few weeks.  I pumped and pumped.  Finally, we moved them to bottles of pumped milk, all while I continued to try to put them to the breast.
At 3 p.m. on this particular day, I was attempting a taking-turns system.
My husband would feed one baby a bottle of my pumped milk; I would take the other baby into the bedroom and try to breastfeed until we were both so frustrated and exhausted that we were both crying by the time I gave up and made a second bottle of pumped breast milk.
“Which one is going to be the hungry baby this time?” my husband would joke.
At one month, my babies weighed maybe six pounds.  They were not gaining weight.  How could they when I made them burn all of their calories by wriggling and crying and fighting with me before I let them eat?
Eventually, I stopped trying to get them to drink from the tap.  I became an exclusive pumper, and I spent the rest of my maternity leave strapped to a machine.  My skin bruised and tore.  My babies were still hungry.  My supply started to diminish.  My babies were still hungry.  When I had to go back to work, my babies were still hungry.
The day I bought that first can of formula marked a parenting low for me.  I had never felt like such a failure at anything in my life.  I was giving up.  I was choosing convenience over my kids’ health.  I was failing them already.
That feeling lasted for about a week, until our next well visit.  The babies had gained almost a pound.  At three months, they were able to move out of preemie and newborn clothing.  Most importantly, their little duck cries were subsiding.  For the first time in the three months they had been alive, they weren’t hungry.
They gained a pound the next week and the next.  They gained and gained, and I never looked back.  What I thought of as failure was actually success.  My beautiful little bags of bones were filling out.  They were happy.  They were well fed.  And they were loved.
That’s our story.
The sad thing is, I shouldn’t feel the need to tell it.  I shouldn’t have to type up 600 words to explain to people why I chose to formula feed. I shouldn’t have to start out the story by showing everyone how very hard I tried to breastfeed first.    I shouldn’t have to excuse my actions or decisions. 
In an ideal world, a formula feeder would be able to boil my story down to this: I formula fed my children.  No, I take that back.  In an ideal world a formula feeder would be able to boil my story down to this:  I fed my children.
Because, really, what else does anyone need to know?

***

Share your story for the FFF Friday series. Email me at formulafeeders@gmail.com

Suzanne Barston is a blogger and author of BOTTLED UP. Fearless Formula Feeder is a blog – and community – dedicated to infant feeding choice, and committed to providing non-judgmental support for all new parents. It exists to protect women from misleading or misrepresented “facts”; essentialist ideals about what mothers should think, feel, or do; government and health authorities who form policy statements based on ambivalent research; and the insidious beast known as Internetus Trolliamus, Mommy Blog Varietal.

Suzanne Barston – who has written posts on Fearless Formula Feeder.


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43 thoughts on “FFF Friday: “I shouldn’t have to excuse my decisions.”

  1. So perfectly written, and so true. I really appreciate where you say “In an ideal world a formula feeder would be able to boil my story down to this: I fed my children.
    Because, really, what else does anyone need to know?”

  2. Absolutely, Darlena. I get so tired of the boob fiends insisting that everyone needs to breastfeed and anyone who doesn't is a miserable failure and must not love their children. They are privileged and obviously don't get that the most important thing is that children eat and are able to thrive, not that children eat breastmilk and OMG NEVER POISON FORMULA, GOD FORBID!!

  3. I formula fed by choice. I tried breastfeeding my first child, but she wasn't getting enough so they supplemented with formula. I got pneumonia 5 days after she was born, the meds they had me on weren't tested with breastfeeding mothers, so I opted to go straight bottle and that's how it stayed for her. And when I had my second one I didn't even try I just went for the formula for the convenience of having two under 2. I do not regret my decision nor do I fault anyone who chooses differently. My children are healthy and happy and that is all that matters!

  4. This is so familiar, so so so very familiar. I went through the same struggle, right down to “at 1 month, they were 6 lbs”. I had undiagnosed, almost undetected until it was almost too late pre-eclampsia that caused my babies to stop gaining weight in the womb, and they too had trouble maintaining body temperature and latching once born (at 37.5 weeks, 4.5 and 5.3 lbs ea).

    I am so so glad I have someone on my f-list who understands! This was so well written, Darlena. Thank you.

  5. *Applause* Beautiful writing.

    I had a similar situation, my daughter just wasn't gaining on breastmilk, the flailing and struggling was burning any calories she was getting. Now that she's on formula she is growing so fast that I can't believe it.

  6. I get so angry and sad when I hear of mothers spending their entire maternity leave strapped to a pump and struggling with guilt. If it weren't for this enormous pressure to breastfeed, I'd like to think women would just happily switch to formula and enjoy their babies without all the fear, guilt, and pain.

    I'm glad you found the best way to feed your children, and that they are thriving!

  7. Well written story. It's amazing how so many of us end up doing a preemptive strike by telling people our story about why we formula feed even though in the end it shouldn't really matter as to why. I decided to stop justifying why i formula fed to everyone when I realized I was talking about my breasts to just about everyone.

    If I have another baby I would like to have a ticker that says “my baby has been lovingly fed pointe finale.

  8. Darlena, I really enjoy your writing, but I can't agree with you on this. You are right that mothers should not be ashamed if they have to feed their babies formula. The key is, “have to”. So many women could breastfeed successfully (easily, even!) if the proper support networks and education were in place.

    There shouldn't be a backlash against so-called lactivists. Heck, there shouldn't be a need for lactivists at all, because breastfeeding should be the accepted norm. In an ideal world, it would be presumed that every new mother started out trying to breastfeed and had adequate information and support to do so, and those that ended up feeding formula did so for a legitimate reason. The problem is not that people push breastfeeding–why shouldn't they? It is the best practice for feeding babies, and science and tradition back that up indisputably. The problem is that we don't live in an ideal world, and breastfeeding rates are abysmally low. How can it be okay to try to normalize formula feeding as a primary choice and not a last resort? At the very least, can't we try to make it the norm to pursue donor milk as the first alternative when breastfeeding isn't an option?

    • ” The problem is not that people push breastfeeding–why shouldn’t they?”

      They SHOULD NOT do it , simply because this is NONE of their business. Bottlefed babies are growing into healthy adults. Two generations of people were bottlefed and are all right. WE KNOW IT. This is why it should not be such a big deal, and this is why people should NOT push anybody to do anything. There are no reasons to become a “lactivist”. Lactivists have absolutely no right to make any comment whatsoever about the way other people feed their babies. They should find something more interesting to promote. Children’s rights, maybe…oh but wait, they do not really care about children, don’t they? They just want to feel good about themselves..

  9. GREAT. POST. And I am right there with you. My twins were 36 weeks 1 day. We struggled to breastfeed for 4 months (nurse- or whatever you want to call the circus that was “trying” to nurse, pump, supplement with a dropper…repeat) by 4 1/2 months my supply was gone. Overnight. Gone. Even with all of the pumping and nursing and fenugreek and teas and oatme….you get the picture. It was the hardest thing I ever did. They just weren't interested and they needed to eat. This time around I am having much more success. He WANTS to latch. He's like a little Hoover, although my supply is not keeping up and my husband has started supplementing with formula while I am at work. The baby's gotta eat and when he turns 1 and we start whole milk? I'm not going to worry about the last 365 days at all. Funny how that works.

  10. @Anonymous,

    While you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, I'm torn over your comment simply for the reason that you posted it here, rather than on one of my posts. FFF Fridays is supposed to be a safe place for women to share their feeding experiences, free of judgment, b/c we get judged basically everywhere else. I'm curious whether you took the time to peruse the blog, because there are any number of posts you would have found far more inflammatory than this brave woman's personal story.

    I understand where you are coming from – I agree that breastfeeding rates are lower than breastfeeding advocates would like them to be – but this does not negate the fact that women like Darlena (and all the other FFF contributors) feel tremendous guilt and pressure, when they have done all the “right” things. They have tried, and tried, and killed themselves trying… and then when they wake up and realize the impact this ONE ELEMENT of parenting is having on their lives and their families, they are made to feel guilty for perpetuating a “bottle feeding culture”. That is not a way to raise BF rates. And I'd also argue that the approach of lactivists thus far hasn't done much good, either; maybe it is time to reassess what actually will help the women who WANT to breastfeed do so, without exhorting women who don't want to, or making those who've “failed” feel worse about their situation.

  11. Anonymous, if you don't like the backlash, then don't create it. I notice you come into a forum full of women who CLEARLY know everything you have to say. Who CLEARLY struggled with their choice of how to balance feeding their child with the realities of a fallible body system and a non-supportive culture.

    Why don't I ever see you lactivists in the WIC offices counselling uneducated women?
    Why don't I ever see you lactivists at the welfare offices giving out information to pregnant teens?
    Why haven't I ever heard of any lactivists volunteering at the charity hospital maternity wards?

    In light of these facts, you lactivists come off as just wanting to berate women who “should know better”. Because if preaching to the choir was actually going to raise breastfeeding rates, it'd have done so a long time ago. The fact that the breastfeeding movement has made negligible headway into the “problem” tells me either A.you're going about this all wrong or B.you don't actually care about raising breastfeeding rates, you just want to be holier than thou.

    There's so many problems with parenting today. Formula feeding was originally conceived as a way to prevent infant DEATH. Good on all you all for focusing your energies on something that would be NICE but it isn't necessarily damaging babies overall instead of all the problems in our culture that actually HURT babies.

  12. You did right by your babies. It's hard not to get in a defensive position about how we feed our children but I agree all that matters is that we DO feed them. And lovingly!

  13. This is a beautiful post. I am in the midst of stopping my exclusive pumping. I birthed a 1 pound 11 ounce preemie, and she is now 5 months old. The pumping is KILLING me. I am exhausted and I feel sick all of the time, and the worst part is that I feel that I am not bonding like I want to with my baby because I am always hooked up to that damn machine. So today I made my final decision to stop, and I am overwhelmed with grief, guilt, sadness…Thank you for writing your story here. I was able to see just how horrible and stressful it was for you and when you finally quit, good things started to happen. I want those good things. Gosh, we were told through most of the pregnancy that she would die due to severe IUGR, and now that she is here I am not even enjoying it like I should be. So, thank you for sharing and wording it so beautifully. I am going to feed my baby.

  14. @anonymous: I hope it did not come off as me saying that women, doctors or people in general should not promote breastfeeding. That is not at all what the point of this post was.

    I don't feel as if any woman should feel as if she need keep quiet. I do feel there is a big difference between supporting a woman who is trying and failing to breastfeed, and accepting when you can do no more for her, and judging any random woman for bottle feeding.

    I guess I'm a personal isolationist. I really do believe that every woman deserves the comfort of her own choices. Just as a woman should not have to explain why she's nursing in public:

    http://parentwin.blogspot.com/2010/11/nurse-in-rocks-out.html

    a woman should not have to explain to the world why she is formula feeding.

    Educating people so that the trend begins to point in favor of breastfeeding is one thing, but many people cross over the bridge into attack and personal judgment.

    http://parentwin.blogspot.com/2010_08_01_archive.html

  15. Anon, seriously, take your evangelism elsewhere. You and no other boob fiend have a right to come in preaching about breastfeeding and feeding formula for legitimate reasons. ALL formula feeding is legitimate – because it's nourishing a baby. You don't get to decide who tried hard enough or whose reason is legitimate enough.

    Haven't you ever thought that some of these women DID try breastfeeding, and tried just hard enough for them? There's no sliding scale on what's deemed hard enough. It's subjective to each person. You are displaying an extreme lack of empathy and ignorance. Donor milk is expensive and hard to get in many parts of North America. So babies should just starve because you think that their particular mothers don't have a legitimate enough reason to feed formula?

    You need to give your head a shake. You obviously are privileged. Many people start out breastfeeding and can't continue for whatever reason. Maybe they choose not to continue, and that's OKAY. The main point of it all? That no matter what they're eating, babies are getting fed.

    There's misinformation about breastfeeding, sure, but there's an awful lot of people like you trying to shame women and qualify “legitimate enough” reasons for going to formula. I'll bet you want to make formula prescription-only, too. You're not doing anything good, here. You're simply making the bottle-feeding stigma worse and the guilt worse. Think about that next time before you barge onto a safe space for formula feeders and preach your boob nonsense.

  16. @smibbo: She's probably a reader of mine. I don't usually talk about this topic because my twins are now 2 1/2. I get to talk about more fun stuff like potty training and tantrums!

  17. @everyone else: Thank you so much for your support and comments. I wish you all the best in your feeding adventures, and I think you are all loving and dutiful moms who I'm betting feed their children. Good on you!

  18. Noelle –

    I gave birth to a 1lb 14oz baby and a 2lb 6oz baby. The NICU where my boys were believed so strongly in breastkmilk that if the mother couldn't breastfeed or there wasn't a mother (or you ran out of milk there), they used donor milk from a bank. The lactation consultants were very kind and non judgmental and we started breastfeeding at what would have been their 32nd week (they were born at 28).

    After 10 weeks, my first son came home. Everything was fine until the next evening. As I was breastfeeding him, I thought he fell asleep. I looked at him a minute later and he was blue. I had to lay him on the floor and give him CPR while my husband called 9-1-1. He spent another week in the hospital. My other son did the same thing with a bottle at the NICU and was kept for an additional week.

    They both had reflux so severe that it caused them to stop breathing and they also aspirated. The solution was either a feeding tube or thickened feeds from a bottle.

    When one son was able to come off the thickened feeds (it took almost a year for the one I gave CPR to), I tried to get him to breastfeed again, saw a lactation consultant and everything. It never did work out.

    I pumped for 9 months and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. My supply did a nosedive, I was struggling to care for two newborns all day while trying to make the time to pump regularly. My husband hated that every time we wanted to go somewhere, I had to pump or we could only stay out a short time because I had to pump. The pump rental was expensive and I was just…so demoralized by the end of it.

    I share this story frequently because I get so angry at BF advocates who say women are lazy or don't want to try or want the “easy” way out. I didn't find anything easy about the way I had to feed my children. I would have loved to have been able to go to sleep while feeding them like breastfeeding moms can. I would have loved to have not had to take along bottles, thickener and formula everywhere we went. I had to keep the bottles cold, it was inconvenient and messy. I've been told that babies with reflux can OMG TAKE A PILL and still breastfeed. Some can't…but not all.

    You did the best you could do. The breastmilk she got helped her but she needs to eat. You need to feel good about your child and your relationship and it's not easy when you're attached to a pump and it hurts. My nipples stopped hurting about a month after I stopped pumping.

    And you know what? She doesn't know the difference. She doesn't care about bottle or breast. She knows you love her and you did the best for her and that's all that matters. So be ok with your choice. I think you're amazing 🙂

  19. I completely agree. I hate that I always have to tell the whole long story in order to “justify” why I came to the point of formula feeding. Thank you for addressing that–I think it's the first time I've heard anyone put it that way. I think it resonates with quite a few of us out here. 🙂

  20. I think that by the time they're out of infancy, it's no longer an issue whether one's babies were formula fed or breastfed. I have loads of lovely friends and it's just not an issue we discuss. There are other things to bother about when they grow older, whether you've breastfed or formula fed.

  21. Thank you for sharing your story, you have done the very best you could for your babies! And things get better and better, just wait until smiles and giggles and hugs! 🙂

  22. @Noelle: You are a ROCKSTAR! Pumping for 5 months is amazing, I barely made it 5 weeks.

    I think pumpers get the worst of the guilt. We're told what a beautiful, natural thing breastfeeding is, and when it's not, when it involves being hooked up to a milking machine, the support kind of wanes. The advice is mainly on nursing, we don't have the benefits of bonding and snuggle time, of all the things breastfeeding advocates have to say, the “risks” of formula are about the only thing that applies to us. It's a lonely situation and the pump itself just gets demoralizing.

    Enjoy your miracle baby girl, you'll both do well on formula.

  23. Anonymous… until every lactivist donates milk (even 1/8 oz a day) then they deserve the backlash. There's not enough donated breastmilk and if there was then perhaps formula wouldn't be the first resort. A few hundred years ago dry-nursing (giving solids) was the first resort for poor people (unless you gave your baby up, or else knew someone who would breastfeed.) And babies died. Formula saved lives and continues to save lives. It's not something to be demonized. And a woman shouldn't have to defend her position, go into all the scientific misinterpretations that lactivists quote, or more.

    Lactivists made it so that I got no support in partial breastfeeding my second child (I have a diagnosed deformity that means I will never have enough milk to exclusively feed and pumping does not work.) But because of “Well, if you make any milk, and you use any formula it will lessen that, we will not support your use of formula at all.” So I had to switch for formula exclusively far earlier than I wanted to. Thanks but no thanks, take your activism and pour it down the sink. Formula isn't poison.

  24. Words cannot express the anger I still hold toward lactivists, or as I call them, the breastfeeding Nazis.

    Because Nazis they are. Nazis put people through hell simply for being different. Nazis tried to enforce a world order on people where no dissent was tolerated. They and their Fascist cousins sold nations on a beautiful utopia was just around the corner–if everyone did everything the way they said.

    I'm sure people who are so smugly superior feel aghast that there would be any backlash against their precious wisdom, their morality, their overwhelming goodness. But we know the truth: you basically are sacrificing the lives of babies on the altar of your supposedly morally superior form of feeding. Aztec priests probably sacrificed fewer people in the name of their religion.

    Because that's all breastfeeding is for you–a religion. You take something that amounts to a drop in a person's life and make it into a cult. A mindless, fanatical cult that condemns people–literally–to starvation for not worshipping your god. No, the science isn't indisputable–if you'd bothered to read the links posted by The Fearless Formula Feeder on the sidebar you'd see that the science is junk. But you're just here to stir up trouble.

    You are the kind of person who pushes women who have already endured unspeakable suffering toward skipping the breast entirely for their next baby. The moms that push breastfeeding are fanatics and quite frankly, a little strange. Whatever benefits there are to breastfeeding are completely overcome by the fact that the baby is being raised by a selfish, self-righteous, smug, hurtful, mean, cruel mom who deliberately seeks to kick people when they're down.

    • I honestly don’t know where to begin in regards to how sad I think your comment is. To refer to a breastfeeding mother as a Nazi, someone who abused and killed innocent people because of their religion and ethnicity during WWII is so absurd and cannot be furher from the truth. I just came across this website (from I have no idea where, but a refernce was linked to it) and I can’t get over some of these comments. I formula fed my 1st two children, after supplementing with formula destroyed my milk supply. I gave up bf’ing within a month both times. No support, no information, no one in my family bf. You just gave a bottle and that was that. Did I beat myself up over it? Nope. Did I name call in this manner? Nope. I did what I felt was my option at the time. And now with my 3rd, I have a support system. I had correct info. My baby was born at 34 weeks and couldn’t suck/swallow/latch. As a matter of fact, he did not latch on until he was nearly 16 weeks. So for 16 weeks, I pumped every single feeding because I knew breastmilk provides nutrients & antibodies that formula cannot. I had the opportunity this time to break the cycle. I had a horrible c-section with a really bad reaction to the anethesia, but it didn’t stop me from meeting my goals. My son will be 8 months old in 2 days and I have no intentions on stopping anytime soon. What everyone feed their own child is their business and to attack people because of their decision makes nobody any better. If you feel confident in your decision that you did the best you could do under whatever circumstances you had, then there should be no guilt. Of course I feel breastfeeding is best, but I would never, ever condemn someone for formula feeding because that was their choice for their child.

      • But do you see, Julie, how this post may come across to someone feeling vulnerable and conflicted about this issue? “So for 16 weeks, I pumped every single feeding because I knew breastmilk provides nutrients & antibodies that formula cannot. I had the opportunity this time to break the cycle. I had a horrible c-section with a really bad reaction to the anethesia, but it didn’t stop me from meeting my goals…”, the implication being that anyone who didn’t go to these lengths isn’t as “good” as you?

        I think the inflammatory comments come out because of these types of interactions. Think about if someone who was a perfect size 2 went prancing about a Weight Watchers meeting, talking about how they used to be overweight but managed to starve themselves down to a size 2 and that the people in the meeting must just not be dedicated enough to losing weight. Or a healthy person going into a cancer support group and flaunting the fact that they don’t need to put radiation and poison in her body. It’s great to be proud of your accomplishments, but to use them in order to levy judgements on others is insensitive. I’m not excusing the term “nazi” in this context but I think you need to understand how comments like yours add to the polarized atmosphere which spawns such anger.

  25. Great post. I just found this site and I feel like I just found a place to sit at the lunch table. My story is so much like these and it's good to hear that i'm not alone. My baby is almost 14 months and is the smartest, most amazing little boy and was formula fed most of his life due to awful c-section complications (seriously, awful. Almost needed blood transfusiion, was lucky to have an open wound for almos t8 weeks and a visit from a nurse to shove gauze in it that time! YAY!) and my son's awful reflux. It was a long road.

    I wrote this post that sums it all up: http://amyandblake.blogspot.com/2010/04/mommy-guilt.html

  26. Love your article. I tried to breast feed and my milk supply was low. She lost nearly a pound the first week and ended up in the hospital Christmas Eve for tests to determine if she had health problems causing the loss. Nope, just not getting enough food from mama. I felt like all I was doing was feeding, pumping, and crying. I would pump 20 mins and not even get an ounce. I felt like a total failure and it made me jealous to read and hear about other moms who breast fed successfully. We began supplementing with formula and that soon turned to formula feeding and “supplementing” with breast milk. I still pumped, for two months now, but as much as I pumped my supply never increased. I’m taking fenugreek and still no changes. I thought some breast milk would be better than none but I am at the point now where I want to give up pumping completely. She’s gained weight and appears to be healthy on formula. Pumping three or four times just to give her an ounce at a time is not really worth the effort. But I have been feeling guilty about even considering stopping. It makes me feel like I failed her and myself. Thank you for sharing your experience. It is nice to hear from other moms who are formula feeding for whatever reason. You are absolutely right…the important thing is that we are feeding our babies and they are healthy, not how we are feeding them.

  27. I feel so relieved coming across this website. My son will be four weeks old tomorrow, and he never latched on and lost a pound his first week of life. I felt the need to supplement with formula, but I hadn’t realized the extent to which I have felt extreme guilt until this evening. My mother is staying with me to help out, and has not understood (though has tried to remain supportive) of my attempts to pump around the clock to try to build up a milk supply. I am spending close to six hours out of my day pumping, and I am getting between 15 and 18 ounces of breastmilk a day. I am obviously supplementing extensively with formula. I have to go back to work in two weeks, and I just can’t take this any longer. I have been feeling increasingly resentful towards my beautiful baby because I am hooked up to a machine all day, every day (if feels, anyway), and only am NOT pumping if I am feeding him or changing his diaper. I feel so overwhelmed, and I’m so sick of missing out on all the “fun” times with him because I’m tied to a machine. Today I started contemplating formula feeding- legitimately doing it, and accepting it as a part of our life. I have been wracked with guilt all day, but reading this website, and the above article, made me realize that the most essential thing is that my son is well-fed, happy and healthy. I think I’ve been focusing FAR too much on the breast feeding literature, and I had lost sight of the bigger implications- I feel it is wrong that in an effort to provide the “best possible” I am ignoring my son and neglecting my home, husband, and self to boot. I know this is written poorly- I am very exhausted and definitely overwrought– thank you for sharing a different perspective and helping me to recognize that I’m not the only one out there, and maybe not the worst mother in the world for considering formula feeding.

  28. I am SO glad in found this website and I love this story! I am currently struggling with the guilt associated with switching my 8month old twins to formula. My brain knows I am doing the best thing for our family, but there is the pervasive guilt I can’t seem to lose. I feel judged every time anyone sees a bottle and I feel compelled to explain how hard I tried.This sTory does a great job summing up how I feel currently.

  29. Pingback: How To Give Up Breastfeeding And Not Feel Guilty About It: Part 2 | motherhood is magic

  30. I really never knew there was a need to defend a parents decision to feed your baby formula. Are there really people out there who are so against it they cause problems? No one ever had the nerve to approach me. 4 kids feed formula…all extremely healthy. Two gbabies healthy

  31. Just found this website last night and it is a huge source of comfort, encouragement and education. Thank you!! I love this story. I feed my baby too and she is beautiful and thriving!

  32. You know… I had a home birth with this, my second child. I’d had trouble breastfeeding my first (my milk wasn’t fatty enough is what the Dr. said) thought I’d try again with this one, but supplement, to make sure she’d be getting enough calories. Well. My midwife came for her 3 day postnatal checkup and saw a bottle, asked if it was breastmilk and I explained that no, it wasn’t and that I was supplementing. Feed from the breast until baby fell asleep, then rouse her and offer the bottle. my midwife chastised me, I mean actually SCOLDED me, and then offered to get me RAW milk and she’d teach me how to make my own formula if I really couldn’t “keep up with feeding her.”. Raw milk. Like not pasteurized. For a newborn baby. Obviously, I didn’t do that, but sat there and smiled and nodded, said ok…. And then we hid the bottles and formula when she came over after that. As it was, my supply ended up drying up about two weeks into the whole process. I have overactive thyroid, wasn’t going to take meds while breastfeeding, and we had a steady stream of visitors who I wasn’t going to pop my boobs out in front of. I couldn’t get enough calories to keep me from feeling shaky, let alone keep a supply of milk. Amazed though at the midwife. Just…. smh.

    • I had a homebirth with my first and the midwives knew nothing about formula and didn’t even try to find out. Unfortunately: neither did we. This was especially horrific because I’d had a bilateral mastectomy so it was physically impossible for me to produce enough milk to feed the baby.

      I don’t have fond memories of the first feeds. They still pushed us away from using bottles, tried to get us to use a supplementer that they failed to tell us how to use and a tiny cup that our baby lapped up like a kitty but didn’t get enough out of. We didn’t know how to pick bottles or formula or anything and because of the nature of home birth, we were left alone to figure it out 3 hours after giving birth.

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