FFF Friday: “Hating on formula makes new moms’ lives miserable.”

Welcome to Fearless Formula Feeder Fridays, a weekly guest post feature that strives to build a supportive community of parents united through our common experiences, open minds, and frustration with the breast-vs-bottle bullying and bullcrap.

Please note, these stories are for the most part unedited, and do not necessarily represent the FFF’s opinions. They are also not political statements – this is an arena for people to share their thoughts, and I hope we can all give them the space to do so.

You might have read FFF Krista’s fantastic and funny post on her own blog about formula feeding, and now shares her personal story of how she became a fearless formula feeder.

I’ll be back this weekend with a post about why formula companies are indeed evil, and why we shouldn’t give a crap that they are. Fun weekend reading. 😉

Happy Friday, fearless ones….

I knew before I ever got pregnant that I would breastfeed. I wanted to for the bonding, the supposed weight loss benefits, and because it was cheaper than formula. And because there was so much literature out about how you have to breastfeed because it’s the best for your baby. And the literature that said everyone can breastfeed, even people who don’t think they can, they just have to “try harder” by pumping and stimulating and taking supplements like fenugreek. A lot of women leak while pregnant; I never did.

Towards the end of my pregnancy, I should have bought a pump and some nursing bras and tanks. But I was gun shy, that’s a lot of money. What if it didn’t work? Then I’d be stuck with a 300 dollar pump and a ton of nursing stuff I’d never need. I figured I’d buy it when I needed it.

Fast forward to after my daughter was born. I had no milk. Not even colostrum. So I had to start supplementing with formula. And she started refusing the breast, getting milk out of a bottle was so much easier, so I started pumping my empty boobs. The lactation consultants were very helpful, and helped me however they could. But it just wasn’t happening.

Still nothing after 3 days, when we finally got to bring her home. We were sent home with some formula, and went out to get more, even though we were hoping my boobs would get the memo that they needed to make some milk. We also rented a pump from the hospital.

I was a slave to my pump, and getting barely anything after my milk came in 6 days after having her. She was only getting about 1 bottle of breast milk a day at 2 and a half weeks. And I started slacking on pumping, because it made me depressed. Because I felt like I was always pumping.

I already had a nasty case of the baby blues, and not being able to provide nutrition for my baby was only exacerbating the problem. Because everything I had read up until that point implied that moms who formula fed were lazy and quitters. And my 90% formula fed baby did not have a lazy quitter mother.

Until one day when my daughter was 3 weeks old, I had enough of the pump and my daughter refusing to breastfeed and doing fine and growing great on formula. I was like “eff this pump wasting my time.” And put it away. I’m pretty sure my husband was secretly glad because seeing his wife crying with her boobs out and pumping probably wasn’t the best thing for him to come home to.

I’ve had some regrets since and thought about relactating in the early days. Mostly because of guilt, and all the pro-breastfeeding propaganda. I knew I was doing the best thing for my baby, you know feeding her enough food, but the guilt was still there.

Luckily everyone who mattered (like my doctor, and my daughter’s pediatrician) were fine with me stopping and didn’t try to guilt me into continuing making myself miserable. My doctor told me that even a little bit has a huge benefit, and the pediatrician told us to call her if we had any questions about switching formula.
My child is perfectly healthy and gorgeous. And she would have been healthy and gorgeous if I had been successful at breastfeeding as well.

Since having her and getting over the guilt I’ve come to realize that whether or not my child was breastfed isn’t going to be a topic of concern later in life. I can’t imagine being at the park in 5 years and have some one ask me if I breastfed or not. Because in the grand scheme of life, it doesn’t really matter how they were fed as infants.

Formula saves lives. Hating on formula makes new moms’ lives miserable.
Are you fearless? Trying to be? Why not write a post about it? 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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6 thoughts on “FFF Friday: “Hating on formula makes new moms’ lives miserable.”

  1. “eff this pump wasting my time.” —- PREACH! This was my favorite line in your awesome story! You're so right, formula does save lives – it saved my daughter's and anyone who can't understand that can take their pump and eff themselves. Thank you for sharing!

  2. AMEN!!

    I had the guilt too, especially after the LC at the hospital gave me pumping supplies for free. And then proceeded to urge me not to do it until I was six weeks postpartum because it would “ruin the bonding” for me and my son.

    And my pediatrician told me in the long run, who cares. Five years from now when they're sitting in class no one's going to see him and say “Oh there's a formula fed child right there.”

  3. It continually amazes me that so many people insist on making what is supposed to be the most joyous time of your life miserable because you're not doing things their way. That, to me, is unnatural. Not formula.

  4. Great post. I agree, how they are fed as infants really is a small thing in the grand scheme of things later in their life.

    I have two boys – one who was BFed for 4 weeks and one who was BFed for 3.5 months. They are both wonderful beautiful healthy kids at 3.5 years and 22 months.

    I was fine after quitting with the first (I HATED it), but I felt HORRIBLE after the second. For some reason I still feel occassional twinges of guilt, but mosty Im fine with it.

    But in reality – they were fed, they are healthy & they are wonderful! In the end that's what matters.

  5. Words can't discribe how happy I am to find this site. Just today I received dirty looks in a coffee shop while formula feeding my baby. I wanted to shout at them that I had literally done everything possible to breastfeed but hit the wall and couldn't take it anymore. It seemed like when I was a struggling, weeping, breastfeeding mess there was tons of support. But as soon as I “gave up” all of it was gone in an instant.

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