Is formula feeding OK?
I was told that by going to breastfeeding mother-in-law’s house and getting the full experience of motherhood – the breastfeeding, the bottle, the mother and baby – I had made the decision to formula feed. I couldn’t have chosen a more opportune time to introduce breast milk to my little one. I had just given birth to my second child two weeks earlier and already I was starting to feel the effects of formula feedings. I was already worried about him, I had read all the negative things about him, and I already felt like I couldn’t trust him not to do something stupid. I was already in over my head with this whole breastfeeding thing and not much had changed for me since I had my daughter.
I was also already in over my head with all this other stuff: how much would it cost, where would I get the milk, how would I store it, etc.
I had planned on exclusively breastfeeding my daughter for the first year and a half of life, and not introducing any breast milk would just be another form factor to deal with for me in the years to come. I had breastfed for free since birth, and decided before my daughter was born that I would not be charged for the first year and a half of breastfeeding.
When my daughter was born, I fully intended on exclusively breastfeeding her. I had read all the negative things about breast cancer and about the “negative media coverage” that was being given to breastfeeding, and I just couldn’t stand it. I was so consumed with the idea of exclusively breastfeeding my little one that I did everything I could to minimize the amount of time my little one was exposed to the elements.
“Yes, but only if your baby eats what you make sure is in the bottle. If your baby refuses to take the bottle and you have other methods of increasing your breast milk, we encourage you to try breastfeeding!”
“I already have a waiting list and if I don’t get a response from any of the breastfeeding consultations I plan on taking, I will be more cautious in the future.”
“I have been pleasantly surprised to receive absolutely no judgement from any healthcare provider (be they hospital staff, pediatrician, or lactation consultant) about our choice to formula feed. On baby medical forms, a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is all that is required to indicate that you have chosen to formula feed. No wonder, then, that a recent study showed that “formula feeding is not associated with a higher incidence of premenopausal breast cancer or ovarian cancer, nor is it associated with a lower prevalence of GI illness or diabetes.”
“I am not going to fight anyone who tells me that I’m doing a “good” or “responsible” thing by pumping. I am simply following my doctor’s advice to stop breastfeeding and start pumping. I am not going to breast- or bottle-feed or sew or otherwise demonstrate that I care about my baby.”
“I do think it is important to have a healthy discussion about whether or not to breast- or bottle-feed, so that we can all come to a more informed decision about whether or not to continue breastfeeding.
Is formula feeding OK?
When my daughter was born she was a one-inch embryo, the largest of her litter, and the first one weaned on the baby’s first day at the hospital. The only otheries weaned on our daughter were by Caesarean section, and they were both incredibly painful. Dr. Brown’s suggested we try breastfeeding, since that’s the only other option that didn’t involve significant weight loss, and because we already had so much invested in our daughter, we chose to try it.
During the first few weeks, I blogged a lot about how important it was for me to have a good, nurturing, breast-feeding environment, and I’m going to be a very vocal critic of the way that the OB/GYN was going to approach this, so I’m going to do exactly what I warned them about doing:
.@Deborah_McKenzie: “No mother should ever feel guilty or shy about pumping,” says “That would be overfeeding.” — Bo’daddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddydaddy. — Bridget Jones’s Blog (privacy protected)
“I overfeed because I overindulge, and I don’t have the energy to go back to work if I don’t overindulge. So, when it comes to my moms, I have one message for them: you’re doing fine if you wait until your baby is born, when you can pump, and use your breast milk for exclusively breastfed feedings. After your baby is born, you and your doctor can discuss your options.
I know that many of you reading this have chosen to formula feed, and I’m going to defend formula feeding as long as I have to. The only issue I see with formula feeding is with respect to liability. Let’s say your child does not respond to your milk until four weeks into the formula. You are now responsible for providing your child with adequate milk supply until your child is four weeks old. If your child is not getting adequate milk supply at that stage, you may want to consider bottle feeding.
I made the decision to bottle feed for one reason: I wanted to have a stable supply of milk for my growing baby. Having a dedicated bottle provided milk supply also allowed me to take my pill and use it whenever I wanted. (It’s easier to overfeed your baby when you are bottle feeding.)
Unfortunately, with just two months of stable milk supply, my milk supply was running low. I needed to supplement my breast milk supply with formula milk to stay alive. That meant supplementing my breast milk supply with formula milk until my husband signed me up for pumping classes.
Formula feeding also allowed me to bond with my baby. Pumping helped me reacquaint myself with my body. It also gave me time to reflect on my decision. Now that I’m back to work, I can confirm that I have not regretted a moment of breastfeeding.