No one told me anything about formula feeding before I had kids. Seriously. I honestly thought formula feeding was something "lazy moms" did (as if there's such a thing as a lazy mom), and thought breastfeeding would be the best thing ever. I never planned to formula feed, and when breastfeeding didn't work out with my daughter, I had no idea what to expect and was seriously surprised at how much I loved it. As it turns out, in my experience, many of the things you'll love about formula feeding don't involve feeding your kid.
I honestly didn't fall in love with my daughter fully until we switched to formula. Before I was so worried about her health, my breast milk supply and trying to follow an insane routine of breastfeed, supplement, pump, and repeat 12 times a day. I felt like I failed, and I was literally attached to her all damn day. Those constant, endless struggles and compounded pressure changed the way I viewed myself, my self-esteem plummeted, I became suicidal, and I felt trapped. No one deserves to spend the newborn months hating themselves and resenting their baby, rather than snuggling, bonding, and recovering from child birth.
When we switched to formula, I felt like I could finally start loving her and loving being a mom. Feeding her became easy and not something to dread, but what's more is formula gave me freedom, peace of mind, and the ability to fall in love with myself again. I realized that motherhood isn't measured in ounces, and I was still a person with needs and joys that didn't have anything to do with what or how I fed my baby.
Now, years later, I know that how you feed your baby is such a small part of being a mother and is such a small part of who I am as a person. Formula feeding taught me that, and the difference it made in my life was tremendous.
Formula was amazing for my mental health. After we switched to formula, I no longer stressed about what was and wasn't coming out of my breasts, how much my baby was eating, and if she was or wasn't gaining weight. I got my self-confidence back and it was like a dark cloud had lifted from my life.
You Get Your Boobs Back
My boobs while breastfeeding were comical. One was huge, the other was roughly two sizes smaller. I leaked in public, got thrush twice, got mastitis once, and it was seriously painful to run, which is one of my favorite things in the whole world. Switching to formula gave me my boobs back.
There's nothing sexier than shooting your partner in the eye with breast milk or having your baby wake up in the middle of sexy time needing to be fed. Oh wait, those things are not sexy at all. Formula made sexy time tons more sexy.
No More Pumping
Pumping sucks. Pumping was time-consuming, inconvenient, annoying, painful, and often interfered with ability to get anything done and my ability to do my job. Once I switched to formula, I was able to ditch the pump and my life became so much less complicated.
I love clothes. Dressing for breastfeeding wasn't fun. I had to wear nursing bras or tanks, layers, spend a ton of money on specially designed garments, or wear things that were easy to pop my boob out of, often leaking breast milk on or getting baby spit up on them anyway. Most of the time at home I went topless, which meant that inevitably a delivery person was going to need a signature while I was finding a top. Formula made all of those worries go away, and my boobs go back to a reasonable size.
Flexibility At Work
Formula made my work life so much easier. You see, having a time and place to pump is only part of the equation for breastfeeding moms. I had meetings and trainings that couldn't be rescheduled, many hectic moments in my car or office trying to pump or dealing with engorgement, when there was an urgent situation that needed my attention, and co-workers who were not always accommodating or sympathetic. Switching to formula made all of those annoyances go away. (Not to mention no longer dealing with a limited wardrobe and leaky boobs at the office.)
Sharing The Love
Formula gave my husband and other people an opportunity to feed and bond with baby, and gave me a break once in a while. It also made daycare prep easier. No more pumping and bottle-prep to worry about.
Switching to formula made it possible for my partner and I to share night-time feedings and for me to get more sleep, which was freaking priceless.
Realizing That Being A Great Mom Has Nothing To Do With How You Feed Your Baby
Before I switched to formula, I was obsessed. My life became about making and delivering breast milk. I started to associate being a good mom with how much milk I was making, and that's bullsh*t.
Formula taught me that being a good mom is not measured in ounces or milliliters. Being a good mom is loving your child enough to take care of yourself, to give them everything they need, and to be present for them. Formula gave me all of those things, and I now know that being a good mom means knowing that #fedisbest.