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 also are not political statements – this is an arena for people to share their thoughts and feelings, and I hope we can all give them the space to do so.
As Jennifer explains below, I get a lot of criticism that the FFF blog is more “breastfeeding-friendly” than “formula friendly”. I like to think I’m choice friendly. Parents-know-best friendly. Zealotry unfriendly. But regardless, I can see how someone who chose to formula feed might feel alienated by FFF Fridays, most of which start out with some variation on the line “I always wanted to breastfeed…”
I think there’s a very logical reason that most FFF Fridays aren’t about those who made a conscious choice to formula feed and feel confident in that decision: women who don’t feel overly emotional about this debate probably aren’t religiously reading a blog about infant feeding. (I mean seriously – why would you? I bore myself.) When someone is struggling/has struggled, catharsis is necessary – hence, she feels compelled to tell her story. I am so proud of this forum for that reason – it is a safe place for women (and the occasional man – wish there were more of them!) to share their experiences and work through emotions like anger, guilt, and fear.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not refreshing – and just as important – to hear from women like Jennifer. We need to be reminded that formula feeding is a choice – a valid one – so that we can feel positive and confident when it’s not a choice. I see a lot of dissension even in the formula feeding community; this divide between “those who tried” and “those who didn’t” – and this shouldn’t matter. If you support the use of formula as a viable alternative, it can’t be conditional – and on the flip side, those who happily chose formula need to accept that some bottle-feedig women really wanted to breastfeed, and that desire has nothing to do with fear or guilt. Both are valid experiences. And both are worth talking about.
Happy Friday, fearless ones,
I recently read a criticism on another blog that Fearless Formula Feeder “panders” to breastfeeding zealots by admitting that they formula feed only after they fail at heroic efforts to breastfeed. The critics were wishing that just once, there would be a truly fearless story by someone who didn’t even try to breastfeed and felt no guilt about it. I’m not sure I entirely qualify but I think that I come pretty close.
I am eight months pregnant and I am going to formula feed from day one. I’m looking forward to it and I feel no guilt.
I know that I could breastfeed because I have with my other children for an average of over one year each. I make enough enough milk, I don’t have employment concerns and the culture that surrounds me is very pro-breastfeeding. But I’m not going to do it this time.
There is, of course, a reason. Every formula feeding mother has a reason. The issue is whether others feel that it’s a “good enough” reason and did the mother first exhaust all of the other options?
I don’t intend to share my reasons with the general public. The reason could be as “legitimate” as having both breasts fall off due to a flesh eating bacteria and there still would be those who judge that as fixable. “You could always tape a supplemental nursing system to your chest and use donated breast milk from vegan/paleo eating women of New Zealand.”
If questioned by the general public I intend simply to say, “I have very compelling reasons to formula feed… Hey, have you seen the new Star Trek movie/got any vacation plans/tried that brewery in town?”.
I don’t need more education. I’ve done the research. I don’t need more support. I’ve received plenty. I don’t need to give it a try. I’ve succeeded several times over. One benefit of being an older, experienced mother is that I am not easily made to feel guilty. I’m confident in my decisions and have learned what matters and what doesn’t. So in a few weeks I’ll be formula feeding my new baby. He will grow and thrive in our loving and devoted family.
Share your story – email me at email@example.com