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.
It’s a scary thing, being a parent in today’s world. I remember when nuclear war was the stuff of nightmares (and I mean that quite literally. I was so scared of the imminent threat of mushroom clouds that Ronald Reagan became our only hope for salvation in my tiny preschooler brain – so much so that when I saw ET and got scared, I turned to my father in the darkened movie theater and whispered, “I wish President Reagan was here to protect me”); now, along with concerns about chemical warfare and terrorism, we have to think about school shootings and getting killed by teenagers texting while driving.
But obviously, we can’t sit around obsessing over these things. We have to live life, find the joy in our days, and not allow our kids to smell our fear. We owe them that.
In the same regard, I think we owe it to them not to sit around obsessing over how we fed them. Instead, we could be reveling in their perfection; fixating on their beauty. They are not formula fed babies. They are just BABIES. Babies who grow into children who will be who they were meant to be, regardless of how hard we may try to screw them up. I love Katie’s last sentence, because it is so painfully obvious, and yet so hard to remember when you’re in the thick of infant feeding stress.
So let’s try and whisper this to each other, gently, quietly, and with the understanding that it can be difficult to untangle oneself from the guilt-inducing messages surrounding new parents: These are our children, and we have enough to worry about in regards to their safety and future prospects without fixating on something that means so little in the grand scheme of things, and is often out of our control.
And if you are still worried, just think of good old Ronnie.
Happy Friday, fearless ones.
When I gave birth to my first daughter, 5-1/2 years ago, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to breastfeed her. And it was going to be wonderful! She was born 2 weeks early and weighed 8 lbs 1 ounce. But she was sick. As soon as she was born, they whisked her away and I didn’t see her again for over 8 hours. And when I did see her again, she was hooked up to so many machines that I could barely tell what she looked like. I was instructed not to even touch her because it would cause too much over-stimulation and stress her out. Breastfeeding was absolutely out of the question. She had an IV to supplement her nutrition. We were lucky that she was only in the hospital for 5 days, at the end of which we brought home a healthy and chubby baby girl. I was still determined to breastfeed. At the end of her hospital stay, I attempted to breastfeed her. It quickly became apparent that I had inverted nipples and that this wasn’t going to be the walk in the park that I had envisioned. A nurse handed me a nipple shield and I was able to get her to latch to that. For six weeks we nursed with a nipple shield. I had no idea that it was going to make my supply plummet. I was warned time and time again to never give her a bottle, but not one word was said about the shield. After six weeks I had a very frustrated baby. My supply was awful and half of what came out dripped from the nipple shield anyway. I contacted a lactation consult, and the advice I was given was laughable. Speaking with her left me more discouraged than ever and I threw the shield away and gave my daughter a bottle of formula. My once fussy, unhappy baby became the happiest, easiest baby. She slept through the night! She was playful and fun and such a joy. It was embarrassing for me, though, to try to explain to people why I had stopped breastfeeding her. Call me crazy, but I wasn’t exactly fond of describing the shape and size of my nipples to all of our family and friends.