“Why Formula Feeding Was Best For Us” | A Cup of Jo

When my sister-in-law was pregnant along with her first child, she instructed me that she wasn’t going to breastfeed. “I don’t want to,” she defined. “Plus, I want to be able to share feeding responsibilities with my spouse.” And that was that! I keep in mind being in awe of her confidence — as a result of I felt a lot stress from associates, kinfolk, hospitals and even strangers on the road to breastfeed. But FORMULA CAN BE A SANITY SAVER AND EVEN LIFESAVER for a lot of households. Here are a bunch of fantastic moms speaking about their formulation experiences…

Photo by Mary.


A few weeks in the past, I republished an previous breastfeeding post and seen a recurring subject within the remark part: many moms expressed disgrace and guilt for taking one other path — formulation feeding. “Breastfeeding is wonderful when it works, but god help the mother when it doesn’t,” wrote Ellie, a pediatrician who wasn’t capable of breastfeed her (now thriving, good, sort nine-year-old) daughter. “You can feel crushed by shame.”

Christine, a army spouse, had three sons in lower than three years. But whereas formulation feeding labored finest for his or her household, she felt the burden of the stigma: “I’ll never forget being at a ‘spouse coffee’ (an event common in the army) and hiding in a bathroom to mix my son’s bottle. Or the time another well-meaning, over-supplying spouse in our unit offered to pump extra so that I could feed my baby ‘the best instead of formula.


The stress can come from all sides. “I received an unbelievable amount of judgement from people over my decision to formula feed — from the nurses at my OB’s office to friends to literal strangers on the street,” says Mia. Another mom named Bonnie, who lives in Germany, agrees: “I can’t tell you the number of times that strangers (strangers!) stopped me on the streets to ask, ‘Stillst du?‘ (Translation: do you breastfeed?)”

Parenting books don’t assist both. Says Suzannah: “It feels like for every 10 pages about the benefits of breastfeeding, there is a small paragraph at the end that says, ‘And if you have to use formula, that’s fine too.’ It’s very challenging to not feel like your child is going to miss out on all the physical, mental and social benefits listed in the previous pages.”

A mom named Hannah agrees: “I only ever see infographics on yada yada benefits of breastfeeding (which, awesome, there are a ton!) but there are also benefits to formula feeding. What serves one family may not serve another and that is completely okay!”

Photo by Erin.


The “breast is best” mantra echoes by common tradition — and for some households, that’s all properly and good — however there are numerous the reason why formulation is likely to be your best option for different households.

First of all, breastfeeding is probably not bodily doable. With her first two infants, Alissa had mastitis six occasions (which led to 2 hospitalizations), bleeding nipples, and extra plugged ducts than she may rely. Pumping additionally took over her life: “I work full-time and have spent over a hundred hours pumping in various windowless rooms,” she says. With her third baby, she did each residence treatment possible (probiotics, sunflower lecithin, chilly cabbage, warmth pre nursing, chilly publish nursing, vibrating massager, totally different nursing positions, nipple guards, and so on), and noticed three totally different lactation consultants. “All this work to avoid mastitis culminated with another round last week and a family falling apart along with me,” she says. “Which is when I finally said, ‘Enough.’”

Other moms could have a low milk provide or discover nursing extraordinarily painful. “I was absolutely shocked at the crazy intense pain it caused — gasping-out-loud-tears-streaming-down-my-face pain,” remembers Liz. “My hospital had plenty of lactation and postpartum nurses, and every single of one of them gave us different, often conflicting advice.” Her associates assured her it could get higher after six weeks — which felt like an eternity. “Six weeks of gut-wrenching, biting-my-lip pain every hour? Also, my breasts were painful to the touch — I could barely wear a T-shirt or take a shower. I kept thinking, ‘How does the human race go on if this is the average experience?’”

Breast reductions may have an effect on the flexibility to breastfeed. Kelly had a breast discount at age 19, which she credit with permitting her to reside an lively, wholesome, assured life. When her daughter was born final yr, she wasn’t capable of breastfeed and gladly moved to formulation: “I feel proud of my choices, my body, what it’s been through and what it has accomplished.”

Adoptive and foster dad and mom usually bottle feed their kids. Megan, a single father or mother by alternative, turned a foster mother (and, later, an adoptive mother) to a three-day-old woman. “I was given instructions that formula was the only thing I should feed her and that I shouldn’t pursue trying to get breast milk from a bank or anything like that,” Megan remembers. “So, she remained a very happy, healthy formula-fed baby!”

Past sexual experiences or trauma could make breastfeeding troublesome or not possible. “I chose formula feeding because of past sexual trauma,” says Ashley. “I know enough about myself to know that I get touched out VERY easily and that it would ultimately hurt my bond with my child.”

And with breastfeeding comes a threat of postpartum despair and nervousness. “With my first child, I breastfed exclusively for nine months and had a difficult time weaning,” says Caitlin, who was then recognized with postpartum despair and nervousness. “I even landed in an ER at 2 a.m. with a panic attack.” When her second daughter was born this previous December, she selected to go together with formulation.

A mom named Sari additionally suffered from extreme PPD and PPA after the beginning of her son. “The thought of breastfeeding made me spiral into a deep scary depression.” Formula allowed her husband, dad and mom, in-laws, and associates to feed her son when she was unable to. Thankfully, Sari recovered, and her son is now a wholesome, pleased two-year-old. “Formula saved both of our lives,” she says.

Other psychological health points could make formulation the fitting resolution. Diagnosed with bipolar dysfunction at 21, Charis realized that getting pregnant whereas on her every day remedy — lithium — may hurt her future child. Fast ahead a decade: Her psychiatrist steadily diminished her remedy and met along with her repeatedly till the beginning of her first daughter to make sure her psychological stability. “As soon as I was out of the recovery room, I popped my first dose of lithium in nine months,” she says. “Formula feeding was never a negative for me: in fact, I was so grateful to be able to have a child, I never even thought I was missing out. My two girls are happy and healthy, and my mental health is stable.”

Finally, demanding careers will be one other consider feeding choices. Lindsey started a Ph.D. program quickly after her son was born. “Formula was a godsend for us given the tricky logistics,” she says. “It was difficult to set aside the time to pump on campus between classes, seminars and meetings. Once my husband advocated for formula, and we made the transition, I felt so unburdened.”


Like my sister-in-law, some moms merely don’t wish to breastfeed, and that’s 100% legitimate, as properly. “I knew from the very start that I would be a formula mom,” says Danielle. “I never had any doubts that it would work best for me and my life. There was the practical side: I was going back to work sooner, I wanted dad to be able to feed her, I was formula fed myself, and I just blatantly did not want to breastfeed. No doubt countless women would say I should get over it and do what is best for my daughter, but I did — she had a happy mom who was rested.”

A mom named Maggie additionally had no real interest in breastfeeding. “My two siblings and I were all formula fed, and it just seemed normal and natural to me,” she says. Her kids — now three and 6 — are wholesome and thriving. “I wouldn’t change my decision for anything.”

Photos by Elese and Kelly.


When you’re breastfeeding, you’re typically the only feeder of the newborn. But! With formulation, anybody can deal with feedings — spouses, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, associates, the record goes on.

“My husband was able to be a total partner; we were equally connected to our babies from the start,” says Ellen. Plus, since you may share the shifts, you may each get longer stretches of sleep. Says Suzannah: “Seeing my husband feeding our daughter and doing skin-to-skin contact made my heart melt. This is true of anyone who now gets to share in the ritual of feeding her — grandparents, friends, etc. There are so many arms she can turn to in her life.”

Photo by Betsy.


One fear dad and mom can have about formulation feeding is: What if we don’t set up that bond? “Sometimes I’ll think, ‘I wish I could pop him on my nipple and have that immediate connection,’” says Hannah. “But that comes from an idealized, mother Mary vision of nursing.” YOUR BABY WILL ADORE YOU, NEED YOU, GAZE AT YOU, IDOLIZE YOU regardless of the way you feed her or him.

Here are some testimonies:

“My turning point came when I realized he really didn’t care what or how he ate, he just wanted to feel safe and close to me during meals. That’s it! He just wanted his mama.” — Ellen

“We have an amazing bond, she’s healthy as a horse and we’re all happy.” — Danielle

“I thought I would feel devastated but instead I feel free. We are so blessed to live in an age of incredible formula. Holding my baby close to my chest while bottle feeding is still very much a bonding experience.” — Alissa

“At first, I worried that we wouldn’t bond as much. However, I quickly realized that wasn’t going to be the the case! I have so many memories of middle of the night feedings where it was just my baby and me, rocking and singing while they ate. Their tiny hand wrapped around my finger.” — Ellen

“My bond with my daughter is unquestionable. Those sleepless nights are the same with a bottle or breast!” — Kelly

“Feeding them at night, holding them close, kissing their cheeks, those are still the sweetest moments of my life.” — Brittni

“And can I tell you? Formula feeding rocked. [With my depression ending], I finally fell in love with my son and with feeding him. We had delicious milk and snuggle sessions, epic post-bottle naps, and so much cooing, singing, and gazing into each other’s eyes. Formula connected us in a way that breastfeeding never could have, and I’m endlessly grateful we found it when we did.” — Ellen


If you want it, this publish is right here to present you permission: Go with formulation, if that’s your best option for you, your child and your loved ones. You are the father or mother. You could make the selections which can be best for you. “Fed is best, and you don’t have to suffer to be a good mom,” says Suzannah. “Your child is only little for a brief moment in time, so enjoy it.”

Sending like to all of the fantastic dad and mom on the market. You are doing an important job. xoxo

Photo by Bonnie.

Photo by Annie.

Photo by Charis.

P.S. My motherhood mantra.

(Top photograph by Ashley.)

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