How Formula Feeding Made Me a Better Mom

This post is dedicated to all of the other fearless formula feeders, and the ones who aren’t fearless yet, and to every mom who has been humbled by the experience of becoming a parent.

 

I was a smug breast-feeding mom. Of course, that was before I had kids.

To be clear, I don’t think that most breast-feeding moms are smug. Most of my friends who breast-feed are super cool and don’t seem to have an opinion one way or another about how other people should feed their babies (or at least they don’t broadcast it). I was not one of those moms.

When I was pregnant, I was 100% sure that my baby would be breast-fed. I read all the pro-breast-feeding articles and bought into the statistics that there were only a miniscule number of women who truly couldn’t breast-feed. I nodded along in pre-natal class as the instructor drilled into our heads that “where there’s a will, there’s a way”. I heard the stories about how much breast-feeding could hurt, and quickly dismissed them. Thrush, mastitis, sore nipples? There was a treatment for all of that. Moms who quit breast-feeding because of the pain just didn’t try hard enough. Moms who chose not to even try breast-feeing were simply uneducated. I looked down my nose at moms in the store buying formula, and felt proud of the relationship that I was about to have with my baby.

Then he was born. I’ve written before about difficulties I had while breast-feeding: the dread I would feel as I saw his open mouth come towards me, the moments that I almost passed out or vomited when he latched due to the excruciating pain. I pushed through those moments for weeks and then months until finally, my body made the choice for me. I had to switch to formula.

I felt totally defeated. I was a quitter. I had one task as a new mom: feeding my baby, and I had failed at it. I was a bad mom. All of a sudden, every decision that I made seemed to feed into my self-condemnation. My baby sleeping in his own room at 3 months old? Should be co-sleeping. Bad mom. Pushing my baby in a stroller? Should be baby-wearing. Bad mom. Not feeling bonded with my three-month-old? Should be overwhelmed with all-consuming love. Bad mom. The refrain echoed though my head all day, and into the night as I gave my baby his bottle, and then looked disgustedly at my body which had failed me and my baby.

Around that time I started looking online for support. The dizzying world of online parenting groups can be tricky to navigate for moms who are in a good place, but for a new mom in the throws of post-partum depression, it was the final straw. I was met with a flood of judgment. Some of it was outright: I was told that I was poisoning my baby by giving him formula, that I didn’t love my baby enough to do what was best for him, and that I was stupid for letting the formula companies manipulate me into buying something that my baby didn’t need. Some of the judgment was more subtle: the oh-so-often repeated chorus of “breast is best”; the sly digs “formula-feeding moms can’t bond with their babies the way breast-feeding moms can”; the inaccurately quoted statistics about formula-fed babies being obese or less intelligent or sickly.

I was mired in that community for a long time, with other people’s judgments feeding into my own self-doubt. Then I read the book “Bottled Up” by Suzanne Barston and found some supportive online communities, and things started to turn around. I realized that there were other women out there who, like me, wanted to breast-feed but couldn’t. There were some who didn’t want to breast feed at all for various reasons. There were all kinds of different moms making different decisions, and I saw the hurt and vulnerability that they were experiencing from being judged. Learning that I was not alone was more than liberating. It was cathartic. It was like a slow dawn out of my depression. I started to look at my son differently. He was doing okay, wasn’t he? He was happy and healthy, and most importantly, he was fed. Maybe I wasn’t such a bad mom after all.

Not being successful at breast-feeding knocked me down a peg or two. Or a hundred. It was the single most humbling experience of my life. It was the first time I had really tried and failed at something. And it taught me my first important lesson of motherhood: my expectations aren’t always going to match with reality.

I have come out the other side of that darkness with a much more flexible approach to parenting. I have an idea in my head about the type of mom that I want to be, but it’s far less rigid than it used to be. I know that who my son is will dictate a lot of my decisions. I’ve given myself permission to change my mind about how I raise him. I’ve let go of most of my pre-conceived ideas and take each decision one at a time. And if something doesn’t work, I don’t beat myself up about it. I just try something else. I’ve relaxed. A lot.

I look at other parents differently too. I used to think that I had an idea of the ideal parent. Now I know that each family defines their own ideal. It’s not my place to decide for them how they should raise their kids. I could look at another mom who raises her child differently than me and think, “She’s wrong”. Or I could have empathy for a fellow mom and appreciate that I don’t know her, her baby, or why she made that decision. I can realize that it’s ridiculous to judge a parent based on a handful of their choices or a few moments of observation.

It’s hard. Sometimes I see a mom making a choice that I wouldn’t, and I catch myself thinking, “I would never…” Then I remember that there was a time when I thought the same thing while looking at a can of formula. I remember myself as a pregnant mom, so adamantly opposed to formula that I refused to even have any in the house when my baby was born, and I remember the hot-faced shame that I felt having to make a midnight run for formula and bottles because my baby was hungry and I couldn’t feed him. I never say never. Things that I’m not doing today might be the answer for tomorrow’s problems.

Several months ago I discovered that my son has a severe lip tie. It makes breast-feeding incredibly difficult and painful. It doesn’t matter how hard I tried, it never would have gotten better. It may have been able to be fixed, if all of the experts that I consulted hadn’t missed it. But you know what? It’s okay. It’s taken me a long time to get to the place where I can say that it is truly okay. I’m sorry that my transition to motherhood wasn’t smoother, but I’m thankful for the experience. It’s helped me look at my value and worth as a mother as more than an equation. I’m more than the difference between what I’m doing “right” and what I’m doing “wrong”. My son is a beautiful and complex human being who is more than a function of what he was fed. I like to have faith that even if breast-feeding had worked for me, that I would have lost my smugness and judgment towards other moms, but I can say for sure that the experience I had made me more compassionate and forgiving towards myself, to others, and to my son. And that has made me a better mom.

The Big Question

P question

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Are you nursing?”

I’ve been asked that question more times and by more people than I can count. It usually comes right after, “How old is he?” and right before, “How does he sleep?” It’s not just people I’m acquainted with who want to know if I’m breastfeeding. Many random strangers also seem quite curious about how I’m feeding my baby. Here is a shortlist of people who have asked me if I nurse my son:

  • Most of my friends
  • Some of my coworkers
  • My son’s doctor
  • The cashier at the thrift store across the street from my house
  • Cashiers (plural) at the grocery store
  • The hairdresser that I went to one time
  • A staff member at my gym when I went in to cancel my membership
  • Strangers that we encounter on our walks

And this list is by no means exhaustive.

Some people have a legitimate reason to ask. For example, during my son’s two month checkup, the doctor noticed that his weight was a bit low. Naturally, she’d follow up by asking what he was eating. I get that. But when someone comes up to us on the street to comment on how cute he is, why do they need to know if he eats from a breast or a bottle?

When my son was very young and I was still struggling with the fact that I had to formula-feed him, I used to hate it when people asked. It came at me like an accusation and I felt like a little kid about to be punished as I stammered out a reply, “Uh, no..I mean, yeah, we did in the beginning. I guess he did for about three months, but it just didn’t work, so, uh, now I don’t…but he’s okay…” I tried so hard to justify how I fed him. Now, when people ask, I just offer a simple, “No.” I guess a more appropriate reply might be, “Why do you ask?” but I don’t want to make a big deal about it. I give them a quick answer and move on.

I find it kind of weird. It’s like when I was pregnant and people used to come up to me and touch my belly uninvited. Once you conceive a child, is your body now part of the common collective, free to touch and everyone’s business? Or maybe I’m just thinking about this too much.

Do people ask you how you feed your baby? Is it weird?

Formula Feeding Myth #3 – We’re Stupid

In a blog post entitled “Is Pushing Formula Evil?“, Dr. Darcia Narvaez makes the following statement regarding formula-feeding moms:

Too many [moms] have fallen for the hype from the pharmaceutical companies (who make formula) telling them that formula is good enough for normal babies and best for digestive problems. These are ignorant mistruths.

Even if it’s not overtly stated, this is a common accusation made of formula-feeding moms. The assumption is that we’re misinformed and somehow didn’t get the message that breast-feeding is recommended for our babies. Take a read through the comments section of any formula-feeding support post on Facebook, and you’ll see countless people spouting, “Breast is best!” and detailing the benefits of breast milk over formula.

Of all of the misconceptions regarding moms who don’t breast-feed, this one is the least true, if only for the reason that in this day it is virtually impossible to not get the “breast is best” message. From the time that we find out that we’re pregnant, the advice that we should be breast-feeding is transmitted loud and clear: on parenting websites, in pregnancy books, in our prenatal classes, from our health-care providers, and from our friends and family. Hell, it’s even written on the side of the formula containers. When I sent away for my free diaper bag from Nestlé, they sent me a barrage of pamphlets, each of them prominently displaying the message that I should be breast-feeding. And if we somehow didn’t get the information before we started formula-feeding, there’s a lineup of people to tell us now.

I think I can speak for most formula-feeding moms when I say: we get it. We’ve heard the arguments for breast-feeding. When you lecture us that breast-feeding is best, or inform us of the supposed dangers of formula, it’s insulting. It implies that the decision on how we feed our babies was made out of ignorance rather than necessity or choice. We aren’t stupid. We made an informed decision that works for us and our families, and that’s the best that we can do for our babies.

This, along with being labelled as lazy and selfish, are the three most common misconceptions that I have heard about formula-feeding moms. Are there any others that you’ve encountered?

Formula Feeding Myth #2 – We’re Selfish

The following is an excerpt from a comment left on the Fearless Formula Feeder website:

“…It is a scientifically proven fact that breastmilk is hands down, better for babies than formula. Moms can come up with any excuse why they don’t or won’t nurse. But it all comes down to selfishness. Nipples bleeding, mastisitis, drying up, etc. It’s all excuses. Why would one promote formula feeding knowing it doesn’t compare to the nutrition in breastmilk? I don’t get it. It seems like this website is a bunch of moms trying to justify themselves for not nursing because they feel guilty, as they should. If a mom isn’t willing to do the best possible thing for her baby, then why even have a baby. It’s really sad because there are so many women who would love to have a baby that they could nurse and nourish, but its not possible for them to have children. Then there is women telling stories on here that won’t even give their newborn baby colostrum??? So selfish and sickening. Poor little babies.”

This is obviously the opinion of one person, whom I don’t even know, who decided to spout off a bunch of judgemental nonsense on a website. I get that. But this person is not alone. I’ve heard the word “selfish” tossed around often when it comes to describing moms who don’t breast-feed.

It’s confusing to me. Of all the moms that I know who formula-feed, and in the countless number of stories that I’ve read online and in books, no one chose formula without seriously considering what the consequences would be for their babies. In the end, the choice was either made for them (they were physically unable to breast-feed), or the ramifications of breast-feeding their infants were negative enough that it was prohibitive to try or keep trying.

How we feed our babies is just one of the thousands of decisions that we make as parents. Our babies need nutrition to thrive. They also need a caretaker that is happy, healthy, and able to engage. Putting aside our own egos and admitting that breast-feeding isn’t working, or doesn’t work in our situation, is not selfish. Ensuring that we, as mothers, are healthy and whole is for the benefit of our babies. Making the decision to feed our babies formula, in spite of the criticism and judgement that we receive, is a decision made out of love. And it’s just about the most selfless thing we can do.

Strong Moms Empowered

Similac (a company that makes formula) has come out with a new advertising campaign. It is called “Strong Moms Empower”, and is a call to remove the stigma and judgement associated with formula feeding. This is how the company describes it:

It’s time for moms to feel good about the decisions they make for their children and their families. The StrongMoms Empower campaign, brought to you by Similac, is a call-to-action to create a more supportive and less judgmental environment, online and off.

You can go online, “sign” a pledge, and then add a badge to your blog or website to show your solidarity with the cause. There is also a discussion on twitter under the hashtag #strongmomsempower.

I have so many mixed feelings about this campaign. Regular readers of my blog know that I am a strong advocate for infant feeding choice. I actively fight to dispel the misconceptions that surround formula feeding. Any support that I can get in spreading that message is more than welcome.

I’m concerned that it’s a formula company who is initiating this message. I’d like to think that they are doing this out of an altruistic concern for our mental health, but I suspect that it has more to do with the bottom line. Formula feeding moms already take so much crap for being “in the back pocket of the formula companies”. It’s commonly assumed that our decision to formula feed is influenced (or solely decided) by advertising. It takes away from the power and autonomy that we used to make our decisions. I know that this campaign will be wielded as a weapon by those who choose to condemn us for our choice. I’m also worried that the validity of the message will be challenged due to where it originated. There will be those who ignore it altogether; the thinking being that because it came from a formula manufacturer, it must be wrong.

Strong Moms EmpowerOn the other hand, I do use formula (not Similac, but another national brand). Why not have the industry that I have entrusted to provide my baby with nutrition stand up for me and my rights? Regardless of their motivation, the message is an important one. Although formula companies have a shady past when it comes to their marketing practices, I don’t think that they are all inherently evil.

I’ve written posts about the massive amounts of judgement that moms receive in regards to every parenting choice they make. It’s ridiculous. We all complain about it, but we do it to each other. The day that I wrote my post about being nice to each other, I took a personal pledge to support other moms more and judge less. I encouraged others to share my post and to take some time to say something nice to a mom every day. I think that Similac has the same idea, just on a much larger scale.

Do I think that this campaign will make a difference? I don’t know if it will make anyone judge less, but perhaps it will make moms who have been judged feel more validated in their choices. Regardless of where the message is coming from, that will be a good thing. And, like it or hate it, this marketing initiative has people talking. It is a concept that resonates deeply with parents. Do I like it that Similac is exploiting that for financial gain? Maybe this is a case where the ends do justify the means. So, for now, I will display the badge on my blog in solidarity. I will align myself not with a corporation, but with the idea of a judgement-free parenting community where everyone can feel accepted.

Formula Feeding Myth #1 – We’re Lazy

breastfeeding memeLast week, the website Babble.com featured an article about the benefits of formula-feeding. Predictably, in the comments section were a number of judgemental responses that insulted moms who formula feed. For any new readers to this blog, I am a formula-feeding mom, although that was never my intention. You can read earlier posts on the subject of formula feeding here and here.

I think my earlier posts quite succinctly covered my opinion on the breast vs. bottle debate, but for the benefit of myself and the other formula-feeding moms out there, I would like to publicly refute some of the stereotypes of moms who don’t or can’t breast-feed their babies.

Something that I’ve heard over and over (and have even beaten myself up about) is that moms who weren’t able to breast-feed just didn’t try hard enough. We’ve been labelled as lazy quitters who are uncommitted to our babies’ best interests.

I can’t speak for other women, but I can tell you that I have never worked as hard at anything as I have at trying to breast-feed. I never, ever thought to myself that I wanted to quit because it was too much work. I saw countless lactation experts, read every resource that I could find on breast-feeding and latching, watched every video on the La Leche League website, and kept on trying until I literally could not stand the pain any longer.

When I made the decision to switch from breast-feeding to pumping and bottle-feeding, it was because breast-feeding wasn’t working. It was because I was miserable and my family was suffering for it. And pumping was no easy way out. First thing in the morning I would feed my baby a bottle as I leaked all over my shirt, then hook myself up to the pump and try to simultaneously comfort my baby (who was whining to be held) and pump enough milk for the next feeding. I would hook myself up to that pump every two hours, and my baby hated it. As soon as he heard the whir of the motor he would start crying. I felt so guilty as I tried to hold the pump and bottle with one hand and rock him with the other. When my milk supply dried up, I tried to double my pumping to every hour, while downing upwards of 12 pills a day.

Now that I am formula feeding, it is no easier. As soon as my baby lays down for a nap, I’m in the kitchen washing and sterilizing bottles and mixing up formula for the rest of the day. I always need to make sure that I have a full kettle of boiled water ready so that I can make a bottle if I need to. When my baby cries, instead of being able to put him to the breast, I have to grab a bottle, put it together, and warm it up while trying to comfort him and not feel guilty about making him wait so long to eat. If I’m leaving the house, I must gauge how much formula to bring with me. If I bring too much, it will spoil before I can use it. If I don’t bring enough, I’m making an emergency trip back home or finding a store to buy some ready-to-feed bottles.

I’ve heard many women chastise those of us who tried to breast-feed, citing themselves as an example. “It was hard in the beginning, but I stuck with it and I’m so glad I did, because it got better and now I’ve exclusively breast-fed my baby for a year. You shouldn’t give up just because it’s hard.” I think stories like that are great. I wish that I had a story like that. But the fact that it worked for one mom because she stuck with it doesn’t mean that it will work for everyone if they stick with it. Sometimes the negative side-effects of “sticking with it” aren’t worth it. Sometimes, physiologically, breast-feeding just isn’t possible for some women or babies. And sometimes women choose formula feeding for their own reasons, reasons that don’t include “I’m too lazy.”

Yes, breast-feeding is a lot of work. Yes, formula-feeding is a lot of work. Yes, pumping is a lot of work. Regardless of how we feed our babies, this is one area in which no mom is lazy.

Book Review: Bottled Up

English: WPA poster promoting breast feeding a...

English: WPA poster promoting breast feeding and proper child care, showing mother nursing baby. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before baby P. was born, I was positive that I was going to exclusively breast-feed him. I had heard rumours that it might be difficult, so I read everything on the subject that I could get my hands on. I silently judged mothers who gave up on breastfeeding, thinking them to be lazy or uncommitted. In my prenatal class, we devoted an entire evening to the subject of breast-feeding. The doula who taught the class told us that the culture of breast-feeding had been lost over the past couple of generations, but that almost every woman could breast-feed if she wanted. I left that class more determined and proud of myself than ever. I was going to be one of a new generation of women bringing natural feeding back into our culture.

I was so fanatic about it that we didn’t even have any bottles in the house when P. was born. I had given my information to Nestlé because they were giving away a free diaper bag and changing mat (along, of course, with a couple of cans of powdered formula). I almost threw the formula away, but decided to keep it in the extremely unlikely event that we would need it.

In my inaugural post on this blog, I detailed my struggle with breast-feeding and eventual transition to exclusively formula-feeding. The guilt and shame that came along with that process is something that is difficult for me to articulate, and painful to remember. I used to avoid feeding my baby in public at all costs. I would feed him immediately before we left the house, then frantically try to get all of my running around done within an hour so that I could get back home in time to feed him again. If I did have to feed him while we were out, I did so in my car. When I got together with other moms and they discussed their breast-feeding woes, I would nod along in agreement-partially because I understood, but also because I wanted them to think that I was breast-feeding too. I felt so ashamed, and so alone.

bookThank goodness we have Suzanne Barston and her book Bottled Up. She, too, is a mom who struggled with breast-feeding and the guilt that came with feeding her baby formula, and she decided to do something about it. Her book is a thorough examination of the current culture in North America that teaches moms that “breast is best” and anything else is at best sub par, and at worst dangerous. She argues that how we feed our babies has become more than just a matter of nutrition, but rather a moral compass and measure of our worth as mothers.

The book starts with a history of infant feeding including the evolution of formula, the sometimes shameful tactics of formula companies, and examples of over-zealous marketing of the pro-breast-feeding agenda. She moves into a discussion on the inability of some women to be able to breast-feed (for a variety of reasons), refuting the argument that “every woman can breast-feed”. There is a significant section of the book devoted to the heart-breaking dilemma faced by mothers with post-partum depression and other mood disorders who must choose between taking medication for their mental health and doing (what they’re told is) the best for their baby.

There is an entire chapter written on the challenge faced by working American mothers who must pump at work in order to meet the recommendation set out by the WHO to exclusively breast-feed for six months. This is obviously less of an issue here in Canada, where we receive one full year of maternity leave, but not all Canadian women are able or want to be out of the work force for a year.

Finally, she takes an in-depth look at the statistics that are commonly touted as proof that breast-feeding is nutritionally superior to formula-feeding. It would seem that in many cases the statistics are shaky or exaggerated, which can lead us to conclude that perhaps breast milk isn’t really the “liquid gold” cure-all that we’ve been lead to believe, or at the very least that more research is needed.

Her book is neither pro-formula nor anti-breast. It is simply an analysis of the messages that new mothers are receiving, at a time when they are at their most vulnerable, that overemphasize the notion that the manner in which we feed our babies is the foremost measure of how good we are as mothers. We’re left asking the same question that I asked myself as a new mom: is breast-feeding really so much better for our babies that it’s worth the stress and guilt and pain that some women put themselves through?

I would strongly recommend that mothers-to-be read this book, along with (obviously) women who hoped to breast-feed but were not able to. I also would like to see this as recommended reading for health-care providers like OB’s, midwives, and doulas.

If you are a woman who is struggling with any of the issues raised in this post, you might want to check out Barston’s website, Fearless Formula Feeder. If there was ever any doubt that a book or website like this is needed, it is put to rest once you see the overwhelming community of women coming together to support each other in their feeding choices.

Evolution of a Formula-Feeding Mom

Becoming a new parent is an adjustment (to say the least). If there is one thing that all new parents quickly learn to deal with, it’s judgement. Any decision that you make regarding your baby will be judged somewhere, by someone. Now that we have online parenting groups, we can be judged by people half way around the world whom we have never even met!

No single choice seems as polarizing, though, as the war between formula-feeding and breast-feeding. The opposing camps on this issue are so divided, and the labels so harsh: breast-feeding moms are self-righteous and smug; formula-feeding moms are uninformed and negligent.

I should preface this post by stating that I am very pro-breast feeding. In spite of the fact that some of the health benefits attributed to breast milk may be inflated, I think it truly is the best nutrition for our babies. I also think that there is a lot about the breast-feeding relationship that we don’t know yet. There may be benefits that we don’t even know exist and can’t measure.

That being said, my son is formula-fed. It was never my plan. Like all first-time expectant moms, I had a vision of how being a mom was going to be. I planned on an intervention-free, peaceful birth followed by a year of exclusive breastfeeding. And, like so many expectant moms, the reality was much different. I had a difficult labour that culminated in a c-section. Instead of getting to cuddle and feed my new son right away, I was whisked off to recovery and had to wait hours to hold him. When I finally got to try feeding him, the nurse helped me position him, and he latched on right away. He knew exactly what he was doing and I thought to myself, “Oh, thank God.” I wasn’t going to have to struggle with this like so many other moms that I knew.

Over the next few feedings, however, something seemed wrong. Even though he was feeding every two hours, he was always hungry. He was dropping weight. And he hadn’t had a wet diaper yet. We had a little diaper on him that had a yellow stripe on the front that would turn blue when the diaper was wet. I checked that diaper constantly, praying that it would be wet, only to see the yellow stripe. That damned yellow stripe. After two days, the nurses got concerned. One night, after weighing him again, one of the nurses gently suggested that we could offer him some formula. Out of exhaustion and worry, I reluctantly agreed.

After bottle feeding him, I looked at my new infant son. He was finally satisfied, his tiny stomach full for the first time. I should have taken comfort in that, but I didn’t. I felt disgusted and angry with myself, and guilty. It was supposed to be my body that fed my baby. Resolved that that would be the one and only time that my baby ate formula, I resumed breast-feeding. But still, my body wasn’t producing the milk that my baby needed. We gave him a few more bottles while he was in the hospital, and soon it became routine. I would breast feed him to try to encourage my supply, and then we would “top up” with formula.

When we got home, the routine continued. Only now it was really painful to breast-feed him as well. From everything that I read, it seemed like he probably wasn’t latched on properly. I had help from my midwife, countless nurses, and lactation experts. They all said that he was latched perfectly and that there shouldn’t be any pain. Only there was.

762147_dripping_milk_4

Image courtesy of amdavis http://www.sxc.hu/

Feeding time became so stressful. I dreaded the toe-curling pain of my baby latching on, and the inevitable frustration when he drank all of the milk that I had and was still hungry. I started to think, “If he’s just going to need formula anyway, why bother putting myself through this?” It got so bad, that I actually started to delay feeding times because it was so miserable. My poor partner tried to help as much as he could. I would get positioned to feed, with pillows propped up all around me, and he would hand me the baby and then stand by helplessly as I cried while I fed him.

I knew that something had to change. Yes, breast milk was best for my baby. But having a happy and loving mom was important for my baby, too. Being able to bond peacefully over mealtimes was important. So I started to pump.  Things immediately got better. I stopped dreading feeding my son, and started to enjoy cuddling him while giving him a bottle. My supply was never high enough that I could exclusively breast feed him, but the combination of breast milk and formula seemed to be working. Then, when he was about two months old, I got sick. Overnight, my supply completely dried up. I tried to get it back, taking pills and pumping religiously. It never came back. It was then that I had to give up on the idea that I would ever get to exclusively breast feed my baby.

Since then, I wonder if there is something else that I could have done. I look back at milestones along the way and think…if I had just not given him that bottle in the hospital. If I had just met with one more consultant who might have told me what was wrong. If I had just tried a little harder at feeding him. It’s something that I still struggle with day to day. When I see a woman breast-feeding, I feel a jealousy course through my body, the likes of which I have never felt before.  I want that relationship with my baby.

For some women, formula feeding is a choice.  For me and others, it’s a necessity. Regardless, formula-feeding moms love their babies just as much as breast-feeding moms. We are not all ignorant and uninformed. We are not lazy (spending nap times disassembling, washing, sterilizing, and reassembling those damn Dr. Brown’s bottles leaves no room for laziness). It’s not always a matter of us not trying hard enough. My baby is not doomed to a life of allergies, sickness, obesity, and eating processed food just because he got his start on formula. Thank goodness we live in a time where an alternative to breast milk exists.

In the end, I’m not writing this for the approval of all the other moms out there.  The only judgement that I have to live with day to day is what I tell myself.  And so I choose to tell myself that I am a loving and caring mom who is doing her best for her baby…and in a year I’ll have something completely different to obsess about.