Feeding my babies formula was never part of my plans. In fact, I was a huge breastfeeding advocate before I had kids. Then I had a baby and discovered that I couldn't make enough breast milk. It was awful. I felt like I had to explain or apologize every time someone found out I used formula. Eight years later, I'm in such a different place. Not only am I not ashamed to use formula, I want to let everyone know I'm a formula-feeding parent and not at all sorry.
Please don't misunderstand, though: I'm still a huge advocate for breastfeeding and for parents who choose to breastfeed to be able to do so in public, pump at work, and continue until it isn't working for their family. I also advocate for formula-feeding parents, too, though. Why? Because they're awesome and formula is amazing. You see, being a good parent has literally nothing to do with how you feed your baby. Literally nothing. Some parents have to or choose to use formula and that is perfectly fine. There's no such thing as a one-size-fits all solution for all parents, babies, and families. Which, of course, means there's more than one way to nourish our babies so they thrive and grow.
It took me a long time to get over the shame of using formula, and I've come a long way since I hid in the bathroom to feed my daughter or cried in the formula aisle. I am now a way more confident mom than I was back then, and I stand up for myself and other parents. I'm proud to be a formula feeding parent, and I'm not apologizing.
Because Formula Is Awesome
I love formula so much that I don't even call it formula anymore. Instead, I call it science milk. Formula is awesome, and it's getting more amazing every day. Scientists are working hard to help parents feed their babies, and there are so many options available for babies now, even those who have special nutritional needs, like babies born premature or with health conditions or babies, like my son, who have a cow's milk and soy allergy. Admitting that formula is good doesn't mean that breast milk isn't also good. It just means they're both pretty freaking awesome.
Because Breast Wasn't Best For My Baby
Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 100 scenarios where breast is definitely not best for a baby or their parent or caregiver. I found myself in many of those scenarios, especially when I couldn't produce enough breast milk.
Two of my babies had jaundice, all three of my babies lost too much weight in their first few days of life, one of them has an intolerance to cow's milk and soy protein in my milk, and my breastfeeding issues contributed to postpartum depression. Then I had to go back to work and couldn't pump enough. The bottom line is that my babies weren't thriving on breast milk. When I switched to formula, life was so much better for all of us.
Because Formula Gives Me Freedom
I honestly had no idea that formula would give me so much freedom. Formula gave me my body back, help me advance in my career, and allowed me to share feeding responsibilities with my partner and others. None of those things are selfish desires. Besides, while formula isn't free, breastfeeding isn't free, either. Your time matters. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Because Formula Gives Me Flexibility
Formula is convenient, allows your partner and other people to help with feedings, and it's portable. It's also not as expensive as people might think, can decrease overall postpartum stress, limit the need to pump at work, and provide parents with bodily autonomy and the flexibility to make choices about staying home, going to work, and having a freaking date night once in a while.
Because My Babies Thrive On Formula
Formula transformed my daughter from a thin, jaundiced newborn into a chubby butter ball. It also gave my son the cutest rolls. The right formula helped my youngest son finally start growing and to not have horrible diarrhea and painful rashes anymore, too.
Because Formula Means More Sleep
Sleep is life. For our family, formula has meant the ability to share nighttime feedings with my partner so I could get the sleep I needed. Thank you formula, because you're the real MVP.
Because Formula Helps Me Be The Best Mom I Can
I used to think that the only way to be a good mom was to breastfeed. Now I know that being a good parent is about so much more than how you feed your baby. So, yes, I nourish my baby with formula and I make zero apologies. I know I'm an incredible mother.
Because Formula Is Good For My Mental Health
I struggled with undersupply and postpartum depression, and my babies were sick, so formula literally saved their lives. But formula, along with therapy and medication, helped save my life, too. The pressure to breastfeed made me want to die, and I felt like a failure, but seeing my babies thrive on formula gave me some serious, and not to mention necessary, perspective.
Because Formula Is Great For Our Family
There are so many situations where formula is best. In the developed world, differences between breast-fed and formula-fed babies are negligible. That doesn't mean that breastfeeding isn't awesome, because it totally can be. it does mean, however, that some parents need to use formula, some parents supplement, some parents combo-feed, and some people choose to use formula exclusively from the start, and they are all good ways to feed your baby. Formula is a great fit for our family, and I refuse to apologize.
Because I Don't Have To Explain Myself
For me part of not apologizing for formula means no longer explaining why I made that choice. It's so freaking hard when it seems like everyone asks me if I am still breastfeeding, then follows those inquiries by either asking "Why not?" or saying, "I'm sorry" when I tell them that I use formula. I'm not sorry, so please don't feel sorry for me. Instead, perhaps, consider not asking people how they use their boobs.
Because Fed Is Best
Formula is amazing, plain and simple. No matter how strongly you personally feel about breastfeeding, formula is best for some families. We are all just trying to do our best to raise happy, healthy kids, and no one deserves to have to apologize for how they feed their babies. #fedisbest