Before I get too far into this controversial topic, we ALL know that I am a PROUD breastfeeding mama and I am more than willing to feed my child any and everywhere she decides to get hungry. That is just me! But there are many considerations that need to be taken into account when one is deciding whether or not they should feed formula, breastmilk, or both!
I hear lots of rumor that feeding formula is more convenient and the easy way out, but I don’t feel that way at all! What’s easier than pulling up my shirt and saving the day?? There’s no bottle necessary, no double checking the diaper bag for milk, none of that. Baby starts fussing? Boob. In. Mouth. Done. ✅ but even more than that, breastfeeding is cheaper. What’s cheaper than free? I don’t have to roll out of bed and fix a bottle or anything like that. We cosleep, so she starts stirring- boob in mouth. Done. She’s back asleep. It’s the most beautiful, powerful use of my breast that I never knew I was capable of!
Obviously, I’m not a fan of formula, but I get it. I will forever feel like breast is best, but technology is pretty snazzy, meaning that although formula will never be breastmilk, it’s definitely the next best thing! And there are a million options of formula too. Not all babies take well to all formulas, so it may not be in your best interest to stock up on a formula before you know if baby’s digestive system agrees with it. I would throw in a breastfeeding plug here and say that you don’t have that problem with breastmilk, BUT I have heard of some people’s children having adverse reactions to their mom’s milk, which I don’t understand how that’s possible and don’t know how valid that is, but either way, there can be tummy problems with either I suppose.
So when deciding how you want to nourish your baby, you need to be realistic and economical: can you afford the milk? Do you have a plan to get it? Do you have a support system that’ll assist you in purchasing it. Baby’s go through formula sooooo fast, so it can get expensive really quickly. So start gathering and collecting coupons and peeping sales if that’s what you want to do! There is also government assistance for those who qualify, but even then, they don’t provide you with ALL of the milk that baby needs, just a good amount. Also you’ll need to invest in bottles of course and have a large enough supply to give yourself some slack for those days where it just seems like nothing is going right.
I won’t pretend like there’s not a financial investment in breastfeeding because there is, but only for expressing and bottle feeding. Feeding from the tap is essentially free, with no strings attached, but that’s not an option for many working mommies. Your health insurance is supposed to provide you with a breast pump and the main accessories, so if they do, you’re back down to free.99! It really just depends on your provider.
*Speaking of breastpumps: funny story! The other day I was pumping because I’m still holding out hope that one day lariah WILL take expressed milk. Anyway, I set up my pump and put on my gear and started pumping and got on my phone. About 5 minutes into a normal 7-10 pumping session, I was reading about laundering cloth diapers and I read the word soaked and it really stood out to me.. so I looked down and I never put the bottle on the left side of my pump, so I pumped 3-4 oz into my LAP AND THE COUCH ??? I was so heartbroken!! But such is life. Haha.
Anyway, the only thing you are left to purchase is the feeding bottle, which can REALLY be a struggle for some moms and babies. Squally has refused a bottle pretty much her entire 14 months of life. So for that reason, I spend all of my lunches and breaks at home to feed my baby and that works for us! For those who don’t have that option, there are many different brands that offer bottle nipples that are designed to be similar to a nipple in form and function, so may the force be with you in purchasing and testing out these bottles until you find the style that works! For a while, Squally would OCCASIONALLY accept the Avent Natural bottles, but that didn’t last long, and then I gave up because I really didn’t have a reason to put her on a bottle anyway. We skipped straight to sippy cups!
Anyway, there is also the middle option of breastfeeding and supplementing with formula, which lots of Moms do out of convenience and some moms do out of necessity. If you think baby is not getting enough breastmilk (which is almost always NOT TRUE, but I digress), if pumping isn’t going well and you’re not keeping up with baby’s intake, or if it’s just dang convenient. Whatever the reason may be, it’s a happy medium that many moms are satisfied with- because baby is still getting nutrients from mama and getting full. While supplementing in some cases aggravates me because it’s really not necessary, as a mom too, I understand the fear of not feeding your child enough and fear of not doing right by your baby is a HUGE motivating factor and it’s easier to keep feeding than not feed enough. I suppose. ?
For my breastfeeding moms out there, I just want to let you know that there is support for you and any problems you are dealing with are probably normal and much more treatable than you think! Don’t give up, keep going! And don’t shame other moms who don’t share your beliefs. We all are just doing what we think is best for our children, and at the end of the day, that’s what matters most!
For my formula moms, I commend you and all the work that you do to ensure that your baby is being nourished! Keeping up with a hungry baby is no easy feat and I understand that! If you don’t feel like the formula you are using is agreeing with your little one or helping them grow properly, don’t be afraid to contact your pediatrician and start the process of trying out another formula. You want to give them something that their body agrees with and that stimulates their growth and development!