FFF Friday: “I’m not going to do it this time.”

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, 

The FFF

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Jennifer’s Story

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.

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Share your story – 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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10 thoughts on “FFF Friday: “I’m not going to do it this time.”

  1. Love reading this. It seems the “not even trying” stories are few and far between! I will be giving birth on 14th (scheduled c-section at 39+3 so hopefully will go sooner!) and will also be formula feeding like I did with #1. It’s annoying that people expect reasons for my decision – I don’t think they have the right to ask at all! My reason? I just don’t want to! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I am seven months pregnant with our sixth child. I, too, will be formula feeding from the start. I have no guilt at all. I have never breastfed, and will not start now. All my children are healthy and happy – we bonded just fine!

  3. Great post! Like you I know I can breastfeed because I’ve done it before but this time around (baby is due in January) I don’t plan to breastfeed. I know my formula fed baby will thrive and do great. I’m also surrounded by pro-breastfeeders, have read tons of info and “research” on breastfeeding and more but am still confident in my decision to go with formula. I don’t feel like I need to share a reason or even have a reason for my decision. I don’t need to justify anything to anyone.

  4. Oh this definitely sounds like me. I breastfed my firstborn for 14 months when he self-weaned. When I had my second I breastfed for a week before I decided I just did NOT want o do it anymore. Bought some formula and haven’t looked back. I don’t feel guilty about it. Love both my kids and they’re both amazing and thriving. 🙂

  5. I BF my baby for about 4 months exclusively, and have been mix feeding for another 1.5 months. I am slowly weaning her down to being EFF. I’ve also got many reasons why I’m FF now and to be honest, I’m not sure whether I will try BF again if I have another baby. I’m glad I BF for as long as I did but it wasn’t for me long term. I struggled with oversupply in the early days and I most Mums I talk to tell me that I am so lucky to have had so much milk it sort of is insensitive because oversupply comes with a bucket load of issues too, mainly your baby choking, trying to find a nursing pad and pulling baby off until your letdown slows down, baby filling up on foremilk and spewing throughout your house and all over you, baby having green poos and not getting enough hindmilk, BF in public being quite difficult because of above issues and your guaranteed to leak everywhere. List goes on. And the help that IS available is tailored to women with low supply, so when I did ask for advice nobody had really any advice to give me other than patting me on my back saying “Your lucky!”. 🙁

    I’m glad my baby is formula fed. I enjoy making her bottles and seeing her drinking her milk happily. She’s not fussing, choking or biting me. She’s filling up on richer fattier milk and she’s getting cute little chubby legs which I adore. I feel less anxious. I have spare time. I am losing weight finally (another BS myth midwives and BF advocates spread around – you will lose your baby weight BF). My baby isn’t necessarily sleeping better, but I’m bonding with her better than ever as we’re enjoying our cuddles after our feeds and all day rather than me being stressed sitting on the couch all day having her fussing, distracted and biting me. Next time I will be telling the midwives that I’d like her to take a bottle please.

  6. I just came across this blog….love it! Such an encouragement 🙂 I have 2 little ones. My son is 27 month & my daughter is 11 months old. They both have had breastmilk & formula. For my son, formula was his primary source of nutrition & my daughter was primarily breastmilk. The thing that annoys me about the “breast is best” advocates is how they bully and guilt other moms into thinking formula is not as healthy, and your child will be deprived of proper nutrition is they don’t breastfeed. They act like formula fed kids are less healthy, less bonded, and will be not as smart as breastfed kids. Idiots! My son is super healthy, very bonded, and very intelligent…just like his breastfed sister. I never felt guilty about my choice to formula feed him until I was exposed to the “breast is best” crowd since nursing my daughter. And as sweet as it has been to nurse her to her upcoming year mark…next week, I don’t know if breastfeeding will be a feeding choice if we have another baby. It’s been tough! I’ve endured cracked nipples, mastitis, and biting…sometimes to the point of tears. It’s affected my health negatively too. So, here’s to all y’all “bottle” feeding mommas out there. Be proud of your choice! It takes a lot of love & sacrifice too. When you are night feeding and have to get up, and not just resort to popping a boob in baby’s mouth….yeah, remind yourself that you are awesome, Mom! As of now, my son is extended fed. It is still his source of comfort at night. I will never apologize for my feeding choices for my children. They are both very loved and bonded children, both are healthy, and super smart. That is ultimately what matters most. Never apologize, Mommas, for your feeding choice for your sweet babies 🙂

  7. I meant my son is extended bottle fed, not extended formula fed at 27 months. Typing via my smartphone in the middle of the night makes for a lot of errors…sorry. LOL. My little guy loves his bottle for bed time, and it is so sweet to see that it’s his comfort. The blog post on extended bottle feeding is actually what brought me here 🙂 Loved that article!

  8. I have two children, ages 5 and 7, and another one due in January. I have formula fed ALL of my children from day one. I could come up with a multitude of reasons for you, but it’s really no one’s business. My entire family was formula fed, as well (brother, sister, nieces, etc). I have given birth in military hospitals twice, and even this current civilian hospital is not any better at their breastfeeding stances (nor is their OBGYN office!).

    Even when I was admitted recently for severe SPD, panic attack, dehydration, AND my hips being dislocated by 4 inches (long story)…a LC decided to try to convince me (perfect time to harass a pregnant woman right? right when she’s in the worst pain of her life) that I needed yet ANOTHER parenting class because…god forbid, I do NOT EVER want to breast feed. I actually had to kick the woman out of my hospital room.

    It is a sad day when you have to constantly remove people from your hospital room. I believe the last time I was hospitalized, I had to have 5 LCs removed. I was the only one in the L&D ward that was actively NOT going to even attempt to breastfeed. The insane part is that each one thought they could strong arm me (in their own way) into changing my mind. It’s not going to happen, and you’re only making it worse for your case!

    I will NEVER EVER consider breastfeeding. I have left STRICT instructions NOT to let an LC or anyone who wanted to “guilt” me into BFing anywhere near my child or I. My husband already knows the drill by now, and he has been lectured not to let any of those “types” around me or face the wrath that is me.

    I have dealt with the mean LCs, in both the current hospital and the two different military hospitals. I have NEVER met a nice one (I guess I have bad luck?). I have had them attempt to physically coerce me into BFing, while highly doped up on medication after delivery (not a good thing to do to someone like me). My husband had to physically remove one of the LCs off of me, as I couldn’t even attempt to get her off.

    I have had them FORCE me AND my husband to take parenting classes (military hospital #1), because according to them we couldn’t check out of the hospital until I was “fully informed” about breast being best. Nice, right? That was a good long 3 hours of my life sitting in a wheelchair with no pain medication and an episiotomy – sp? (3rd degree tear). I’m fairly certain sitting through that 3 hours was worse then the actual labor. I just wanted to go home, not hear about how I’m a terrible parent for not breastfeeding!

    I have had them FORCE me to attend a breastfeeding class (military hospital #2), before being discharged. Once again, I was the only one NOT breastfeeding there. This time the class only took an hour. However, I was forced to endure the looks when asked why I wasn’t going to breastfeed. Because…I don’t want to?

    I am fairly certain I know more about breastfeeding and bottle feeding then the average person, and probably even more then the women who keep attempting to sway me to breastfeeding. I always choose the higher route. I don’t argue. I tell them bottle feeding ONLY. I ignore anything they say after that. If they continue, I have them removed from my care team.

    For their attitudes alone, even if I had a glimmer of “oh, I might try it this time”…I am now even more solid in my decision. I will never change my stance on bottle feeding my children.

    PS. I have many more stories about the LCs, nurses, doctors, friends, etc…all trying to force me to change my mind. They are never ever subtle about it either. I even had a friend of 12 years stop being my friend because she found out both of my kids were bottle fed (oh no! the horror! /gasp) and I won’t be even attempting to breastfeed the newest little one.

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