My mom has always been a bit of a hippy. She was in the La Leche League long before it became cool, she chose not to give my siblings and me most of our vaccinations, she used essential oils before anyone had ever heard of Young Living, and she gave birth to my brother and me un-medicated in her home. So it's probably not a surprise that I grew up believing "breast is best".
I would never have said that giving your baby formula was wrong, but I definitely thought less of moms that didn't breastfeed. Which is crazy!... not just because there is N O T H I N G wrong with formula, but also because I had never had a child! Who was I to judge anyone else's parenting choices? But that's not the point... not yet.
When I got pregnant in January of 2016, I started doing my research. I met with a lactation consultant, I read breastfeeding books, I searched through blogs and articles, I even burned my eyes off when I stumbled upon a photo of mastitis. Okay, so maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I went to great lengths to prepare for breastfeeding.
To make a long story short, beastfeeding was not how God intended for Ezra to get his food (you can read about my breastfeeding and Failure To Thrive story here). And because my way of thinking has been so dramatically changed, I thought that I'd share my newfound knowledge with you!
5 Lies About Formula Feeding
1. You're a selfish mother if you feed your baby formula.
Maybe you're like me and you don't have the option to breastfeed. Or maybe you work and can't pump enough to feed your baby. Unless you plan to sit around eating bonbons and ignoring your child, putting your baby on formula is not on inherently selfish choice. Most of us have been indoctrinated to associate formula with an unloving, neglectful mom that doesn't make time for her baby, but that's seldom the case. Feeding your baby is feeding your baby. It really shouldn't matter where the milk is coming from. If you are getting food in your baby's belly, then you are doing your job, mama!
2. Your baby won't get adequate nutrition if you feed him formula.
Say what? Y'all, this is 2017 not 1853 when babies were fed sweetened condensed milk as formula. I still believe that breastmilk is nutritionally superior to formula, but that doesn't mean that formula doesn't have everything that your baby needs. And in my case, my breastmilk was actually lacking the fat that Ezra needed to grow. Fastforward 6 months and I have a healthy, happy baby and it's all thanks to formula!
3. You don't love your child as much if you give him formula.
I can't believe that I actually have to clarify this, but I do. Even pre-baby Mary believed this baloney. You wanna know why? Because we're constantly being told this crap! We mothers are being fed this biased, one-sided narrative and it's dangerous for babies like Ezra. Feeding your baby formula does not mean you love your baby less and breastfeeding your baby does not mean you love them more. I know some stellar moms and some crummy moms and they fall on both sides of the spectrum equally.
4. Your baby won't become emotionally attached to you if you feed him formula.
This is another lie that's used to make moms believe that formula is a grave and dangerous evil. I know every mom feels this way, but I can't imagine any mom loving her child more than I love my son. And Ezra is just as attached to me as I am to him. My little man is already a grade A momma's boy. When he's playing, he looks up to make eye contact and smile at me approximately every 7 seconds. Emotional attachment has little (dare I say nothing?) to do with a method of feeding and all to do with how you love, care for, and show affection to your child.
5. People will stare at you if you feed your baby formula in public.
This one may or may not be a lie, but here's the deal; people stare at breastfeeding moms too. For some reason, the general public (e.g. pre-baby Mary) have a lot of unwarranted opinions on how, what, and where a mom feeds her baby. The good news is this is easy to get over. If your baby is eating, then nothing else will matter to you. That's how you know you're a good mama!
There are many, many benefits to formula feeding, but these are my favorites!
1. Peace of mind
When I breastfed Ezra, I thought that he was getting more than enough. In reality, he was getting almost nothing at all. When you formula feed, you can see and control exactly how much food your baby eats. This has brought so much comfort to me over the past 5 months.
2. Daddy can help feed, too (and relatives, and sitters!)
This is one of the best things about feeding Ezra formula. Auston gets to experience just how wonderful it is to hold his son close to him, gaze into his sweet brown eyes, and feed him. Not only is it good for the dads to bond with their babies, but it's good for you, too! Now you can share those nighttime feedings. Can I get a "whut whut!"?!
3. You can eat and drink whatever you want.
For me it was caffeine. I couldn't have a smidge of anything caffeinated or poor Ezra would wind up constipated and unable to sleep. This might not sound like that big of a sacrifice (and believe me, I'd give up Coke a million times over for my son) but it is really hard to stay awake those first few weeks without any caffeine. I mean HARD. Now that he's on formula, I don't have to worry about dairy or caffeine or anything else that some moms do.
4. It's less stressful to feed your baby in public.
I dreaded breastfeeding Ezra in public. He hated the cover and would pull at it, I'd inevitably flash someone, he'd be screaming. It was real fun. I don't think I need to expand on just how much easier it is (and how much less opportunity there is for flashing) when you feed your baby formula.
5. You don't have to worry about pumping at work.
I'm blessed to be a stay-at-home-mom so I've never dealt with this personally. But I remember how hard it was to find the time and privacy to pump when I was on vacation over Christmas. And I can only imagine how much harder it would be at a workplace, day in and day out. If your baby is on formula, you never have to worry about pumping (or washing the bajillion pump pieces) ever again!
What are your favorite things about formula feeding your baby?