I knew very early on, before kids actually, that I didn’t want to breastfeed. I was a formula fed kid myself and I turned out pretty good!
I was a healthy baby, child, and adolescent, so and as far as adulthood, I can say the same. I knew I wanted to formula feed my own kids, just like I was. I was confident in my decision then, confident when I was pregnant and confident when both my children were formula fed from day one; I wouldn’t change anything.
This isn’t about breastfeeding being bad or formula being good, it’s about choice; Making a choice for you, your baby, and your family that feels right for you.
I was never drawn to the idea of breastfeeding, it’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. I know breastfeeding is natural, maternal, beautiful, and what our bodies are supposed to do and how children are fed. I love and respect when mothers make that choice for themselves and their babies, but it wasn’t my choice.
Formula feeding felt more natural to me, and that’s the bonding image I had in my head whenever I envisioned me and my baby on that glider during feeding time.
Dr. Amanda Porro, the Director of the Primary Care Center at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, says that formula milk is very similar to breast milk when it comes to overall nutrition and caloric content (proteins, carbohydrates, fat and vitamins). She says, “The biggest difference between formula and breast milk is that breast milk contains live antibodies and nutrients from the mother that are passed on through breastmilk. That is why we encourage breastfeeding as a first choice whenever possible. Even giving colostrum during the first few days after birth is beneficial.”
On the flip side, there are many moms who wish to breastfeed but unfortunately cannot. According to Dr. Porro, “If the mother experiences difficulty with breastfeeding, or if the mother is on special medication, formula is a healthy and safe alternative.”
Your decision to formula feed (or your necessity to) doesn’t make you any less of a mom, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to have this ‘special bond’ with your baby if you don’t, and it definitely doesn’t mean that your baby won’t be well fed. Whether you decide to breastfeed or formula feed, the decision on how you feed your baby, is yours and yours alone.
Many new moms are often bombarded with so many questions and so much parenting and baby advice, mostly unsolicited, am I right? Bringing a child into this world is difficult enough as we navigate how to be a good parent and how to take care of this little precious thing that has taken over our lives and our hearts. Imagine on top of all that, being asked, “Are you going to breastfeed?” or “You’re not breastfeeding?” From the moment you step foot into the hospital or from interactions with perfect strangers and friends, the questions and comments are never-ending. You’re already feeling overwhelmed, and the pressures of those picture perfect Instagram posts of moms canoodling with baby on their breast or comments from other moms can send an uncertain mom into a tailspin. That’s not what’s important at the end of the day.
I was very fortunate to have a supportive husband, friends, and more importantly, nurses and doctors at both hospitals where I delivered my kids. My husband wanted to be a part of the feedings and since we didn’t have much help of outside support both in New York and in Miami, double team took on a whole new meaning for us. I was warned so many times, “You’re never going to hear the end of it from your nurses. You’re going to end up giving in.” It was the complete opposite. Both times I was asked, “Are you nursing or formula feeding?” Formula, I would say, and that was the end of that conversation. They knew I meant business when both times I brought cabbage, yes cabbage, to the hospital so they could store it for me (fun fact: cabbage dries up your milk). They even sent me home with an endless supply of formula so I wouldn’t run out those first few days. I was so grateful to the nurses for their support and their encouragement.
Formula was my best friend during Maya and Rocco’s first year and formula feeding really made things more inclusive not just for Coco and I, but for family members and friends who would visit and wanted to help with the baby. That was huge! That kind of flexibility was extremely helpful to both of us. In addition, it really fit with our on-the-go lifestyle, as we were always ready with a pre-made bottle in hand, whenever it was time for feedings and we were in the car, on the train, or out and about. With formula, I was also able to see exactly how much Maya and Rocco were eating and how many ounces they were actually getting- another big relief for me.
And you know what?
I am blessed to have two growing, happy, healthy kids flourishing in all things life and - - they were formula fed.
Mommas - the choice is yours and don’t allow other people’s advice or comments make you feel any less of a mother, whatever your choice may be.
If any of you need to hear this now - you are AMAZING!
You chose to formula feed - good for you.
You chose to breastfeed - good for you.
You wanted to breast feed but you couldn’t so you’re formula feeding, good for you and right on!
NEVER feel like you aren’t enough, stop yourself right there - because it doesn’t matter how you feed your baby. Whatever your choice, it doesn’t make you good or bad at this whole mom thing, it makes you the most special and wonderful woman in that baby’s life!