Did you formula feed your baby? If you did, you’re not alone! Studies on breastfeeding rates show that the majority of moms use formula at some point in their baby’s first year. I asked readers on my Facebook page to talk about their reasons for formula feeding a got a lot of explanations. Moms choose formula for all kinds of reasons, from inability to breastfeed to being an adoptive parent to total lack of interest and all of those reasons are equally valid. Formula is a perfectly fine food for babies.
As Monica Sakala said in a post called I Hate Breastfeeding in which she talked about deliberately staying away from pressure to breastfeed her second child:
“There is so much pressure to breastfeed and so much talk in the media about how breast is best for baby and there is so little talk about what it means for the mom. Somewhere along the way, it’s like everyone forgot about her. She became a mom, therefore what is best for her doesn’t matter because only the child matters. Where along the way did we forget that formula doesn’t kill babies?”
She’s right, of course. Formula does NOT kill babies. It’s a real boon for women around the world who need to feed their babies something other than breast milk. While some may fault formula companies for steering women away from breastfeeding to reap profits, you also have to admit that formula saves babies’ lives and allows mothers flexibility to make important, personal choices about caring for their families. Some moms want to breastfeed but can’t. Other moms only want to formula feed. Kate Sluiter of Sluiter Nation told me this about her formula feeding choice:
“It was just the natural choice for me. I had zero desire to breastfeed and I have never felt guilty about it. No one in my family breastfed babies when I was growing up, and my first exposure to it was as an adult with friends who had babies. It didn’t bother me, but I just didn’t want to do it. I thought maybe once I was pregnant my attitude would change, but it didn’t. I didn’t want to be the sole provider of nourishment for my baby. I didn’t want to be continually attached to my child. I wanted to be able to hand them off sometimes. And I didn’t want to pump. At all. I suppose it sounds harsh. I suppose the reasons are all selfish. But in the end, I knew if I was not comfortable, it would come through in my relationship with my baby.”
Alicia Higginson of Life With Ladies echoed Kate’s sentiments:
“Breastfeeding just never came organically to me. I never tried even once. In three pregnancies I read all the books I could get my hands on and yet it never occurred to me that it was something we were meant to do, my daughters and I. And the strangest thing happened over a bottle mixed from a can: we bonded, we loved each other, they played with the whiskers on their Daddy’s face when he gave them their nighttime bottles, they grew healthy & smart, and I rest assured that there will not be a check box on their university applications asking how they were fed. I didn’t poison my kids. I just fed them. Leave out all the guilt nonsense, I don’t feel it.”
What all these moms have in common is beautiful, healthy kids. Oh, and experience of having their choices demonized by narrowly focused breastfeeding advocates who are…how shall I say this…not unduly burdened with flexibility of opinion. The fact remains that formula is a legitimate choice for feeding babies and there are a lot of moms who find it rewarding. Click through to read why real moms love formula feeding! (And be sure to check back tomorrow for a roundup of real moms talking about breastfeeding!)
Want to read more true stories about breastfeeding? Check out Babble’s new ebook Parenting, Uncensored: Straight Talk from Real Moms on Breastfeeding and tune into Headline News TODAY, Friday April 26th, at 12pm EST to find out whom we’ve crowned the BEST breastfeeding writers online!
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