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I am a new parent. My interests are secularism, learning, parenting, religion, career planning, and adult education.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Formula Feeding

Okay, so I am well aware of the mommy wars on the internet, on blogs, on discussion boards, etc. I usually do not participate because, well, I don't think mommies should be at war with each other. As parents, our job is tough enough without having to engage in war.

Let me preface this post though by saying I 100% support breastfeeding. I think it is best for babies, that new mothers should be encouraged to at least try it out, and that moms who struggle with breastfeeding get support they need to overcome breastfeeding challenges (if they want to overcome them), and finally support, if they need it, if they decide to give up breastfeeding - for whatever reason.

That being said, when it became obvious that I was not going to be able to successfully breastfeed my daughter, I wanted to do some research about safe formula feeding, find out how much to feed at a time, what bottles were best for reducing gas, which bottle nipples were best, etc. I hadn't thought to do any of this research while I was pregnant because I knew "breast was best" and fully planned on exclusive breastfeeding. I was not prepared for some of the craziness I found when I went looking for information online. I was surprised to find quite a bit of scorn out there for formula feeding moms. I'd always heard that "breast is best" but I had never heard anything against formula.

Oh, I guess there was this one time at a baby shower a few years ago. One breastfeeding mom regaled us with a story about how a formula-feeding mom asked her in the grocery store if she knew where they kept the baby formula. The breastfeeding mom said, "How would I know, I would NEVER feed that POISON to my child." She thought it was funny, but I was pretty shocked that she could be so insensitive to a stranger asking for help. At the time I thought, "Well, at least I won't get those comments because I was planning to breastfeed." Unfortunately, before I even started looking up info on formula feeding on the internet, that was the comment that haunted me as I supplemented my dehydrated baby with formula that first week in the hospital.

I was pretty disappointed that breastfeeding didn't work out for me and Bebo. It doesn't help that even a mainstream book like "What to Expect the First Year" continues to encourage moms to breastfeed in EVERY FREAKING CHAPTER - in my mind this is totally unnecessary because the book opens with a whole chapter on why its important, how to do it, how to prepare for success and trouble shooting if you run into problems. If a mom chooses to discontinue breastfeeding - give her some credit and assume she is well aware of the pros and cons of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding. The message is out there - breast is best - but when it doesn`t work out there is a perfectly good alternative.

Anyway, after wading through tons of information on websites that kept telling me that breast is best and that I didn't/wasn't trying hard enough to breastfeed - I came across a really great website - The Fearless Formula Feeder. It was really nice to find a place that both supported breastfeeding moms, but offered a place where moms who formula feed can discuss issues related to feeding their babies without be banged over the head with their "failure" to breastfeed.

If you have any superiority complex about breastfeeding check out the Friday Fearless Formula Feeder guest posts from women who choose to formula to learn some empathy. Many of the accounts here show just what may be going into the decision to formula feed and how it affects women on a very emotional level. If you are a mom feeling inadequate, judged, or disappointed in the loss of the breast feeding experience, reading this site can be very therapeutic - especially after reading some of the other crap on the internet.


  1. Even the can of formula says "breast milk is best"! Just to make me feel even worse every time I reach for the can. When breast-feeding fails, moms need support! Not a reminder that the one thing they really wanted failed. I try to breast-feed as much as I can. I did however start using formula from the first day in the hospital when I was crying in pain and needed relief. The first few weeks home I felt guilt about formula and tried to avoid it. I was diagnosed with Reynauds so even pumping was painful. Finally came to terms with giving formula whenever I wanted a break. This turns out to be once in the evenings pretty much! I feel really good about it. It's just hard to deal with how other people feel about it. Good news, the Reynauds has gotten so much better and I am able to pump two feedings while my hubby gives her the bottle of formula in the evenings so I think it all works out great!
    Thanks again for posting. Sorry for blogging on your blog. lol

  2. thanks for the comment and sympathy! I'm sorry you had so much pain at first, and am so glad that breastfeeding is working out for you now - and that you are able to pump. Pumping totally didn't work for me.


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