FFF Friday: “I will not feel guilty…”

Merry Christmas, order FFFs! This ultra-positive, sick strong post from FFF Jenny is my gift to you. I hope all of us can be as truly fearless about the way we feed our kids as Jenny is, in the long run. 
Yesterday, I wrote down my entire breastfeeding experience. I was somewhere on page 5 when I decided to just delete the whole thing.
This is what you need to know: Breastfeeding, for me and my daughter, did not work out. After about two weeks of being born, she was on straight formula.
It’s weird summarizing an experience that changed my life into two sentences. I have written countless journal entries on this subject. I have talked extensively about my experience with all my friends, my family, new moms, experienced moms, strangers in online forums. My therapist. Surely, I would have more to explain than just those two sentences.
But here’s the thing. It was on page five that I realized I wasn’t just sharing an experience. I was trying to justify my actions. I was trying to justify why an educated woman who grew up knowing “breast is best” would be giving her child formula. And the thing is, no matter what I went through, no matter what choices I made, no matter how much I may have struggled, the end result really didn’t matter. I’m giving my daughter formula. There will always be someone who will say I could have tried harder. Someone to say I made the wrong decision. Some to point out all the disadvantages of formula, and all the benefits of breastfeeding that I’m missing out on. I know that this will happen. But I also know:
1)      My daughter is nourished. She has all the nutritional requirements she needs to grow and be healthy.
2)      My daughter is loved. She has a mother that has her best interest at heart, even when making hard choices. Especially when making hard choices.
3)      My daughter is happy. And she has a happy mother.
4)      My daughter and I are bonded. I ensure we maintain a close, attached relationship.
5)      My daughter’s needs are being met. I can not answer every cry with a bottle, and I am forced to learn what soothes my baby and how to meet her needs appropriately.
What I will say is that I did not come to the decision to formula feed lightly. It was a decision that really took a toll on me. I battled over this decision. I felt like a failure over it. But ultimately, I had to do what was best for my baby and I. And despite all I knew about “breast being best,” in my case, it really wasn’t. I encourage breastfeeding and I am going to take what I learned from my past experience and apply it in the future. But I will not feel guilty if it doesn’t work out—instead, I am thankful that in today’s age, babies have an alternative source of nutrition that is safe, healthy and they can thrive on.
And that is why I am a fearless formula feeder.

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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11 thoughts on “FFF Friday: “I will not feel guilty…”

  1. Thank you from the woman who feels like she needs to go in to an in depth medical history for my son and I every time somebody raises an eyebrow at my formula feeding.

  2. This is very well written. My wife had to go through the same thing, and I'm happy for the extra encouragement you've provided her.

  3. I love this! You know, I starting writing my own FFF Friday contribution months ago but got bogged down and depressed, trying to explain every last detail. I too wanted to tell the utterly complete story so as to fully and inexcusably justify why I ended up formula feeding. But as I was writing my story, or beginning to at least, I thought not only was it boring, but it was the opposite of fearless. I was hellbent on trying to prove that I really did know breastmilk was better and that I really did try. How fearless is that? Who was I kidding? I should have been writing for the Fearful Formula Feeder. So I stopped writing. I didn't delete my work, but I did close the file and haven't looked back since. So, maybe Jenny's approach is better– write about the big picture, what is felt now, how it all turned out, rather than dwelling on the nitty gritty of it all. I like this post very much indeed! Inspiring. Maybe I'll give my contribution another shot…

  4. After I found this blog, I too tried to write down my entire breastfeeding experience. And I too decided to stop somewhere around page 5. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. My experience was very similar to what Kathleen posted in her comment. This post is wonderful and I wish I had realized the things that Jenny did much sooner.

  5. This is wonderful.

    …And despite all I knew about “breast being best,” in my case, it really wasn’t….

    I know EXACTLY what you mean.

  6. Wow, wow, wow! I could have written that entire post VERBATIM. I just had my baby girl three weeks ago and I too, struggled with breastfeeding. The whole experience took a toll on me physically and emotionally. I had to do what was best for me and for her, and that agonizing decision was to formula feed. I'm in a better place now and she's the greatest beneficiary of that. This blog is awesome and I can't wait to read more! I was dying for something like this…some encouragement from someone, somewhere – and now I've found it!

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