It didn't take me long to realize that while I wanted to breastfeed, it just wasn't for me. Bless all you moms who do it, love it, and swear by it, but to each their own. And when I started adding formula to pumped breast milk, there were moments when I couldn't help but think, "I'm such a stereotype right now." Turns out, I'm not alone. In fact, there are some formula-feeing mom stereotypes that are so true it hurts. I know, because I lived it.
When my milk supply all but disappeared and I made the switch to formula full-time, I felt an incredible pressure to be the "perfect mom" who always had her you-know-what together — regardless of my feeding method. While breastfeeding shaming is a very real thing, moms are shamed and judged and criticized for formula-feeding their babies, too. I wanted to avoid that at all cost, and I thought one way to do it was to fight the stereotypes thrust upon formula-feeding moms and, essentially, forge my own path (whatever that means).
But there I was, bottle in hand and looking like that stereotypical frazzled-but-trying-her-best, formula-feeing mom. With that in mind, here are some other truths I may, or may not have, lived as a new mom feeding her baby the best way she could:
We Love Pre-Prepared Bottles
I heard about formula-feeding moms who would go out of their way to prep a day's worth of bottles at a time — maybe two or three — in the event the day got a little too chaotic. No way, I thought. That'll never be me. I figured if my baby was hungry, I'd take the time to make a fresh bottle, no matter what.
Well, postpartum life is chaotic and overwhelming and exhausting, so every now and then (read: a lot), I prepped bottles in advance.
We're Prepared To Face The Haters
As a formula-feeding mom you hear it all. What a terrible mom you are. How much your baby will suffer because you're not breastfeeding. How selfish you are. But guess what? Breastfeeding isn't for everyone for a variety of reasons. Those reasons, of course, are no one's business.
Switching to formula gave me the opportunity to bond with my baby instead of resenting her. I naively hoped my circle of people might understand why I chose formula, but that wasn't always the case. So believe me, I had my retorts and responses prepped and ready to go, especially if I was formula-feeding in public.
We Feel Guilty
I don't know a single mom who hasn't felt the crushing weight of mom guilt, and a formula-feeding mom is no different. So all those comments and the judgment and the shame? Not necessary. At all. Ever.
We Can Bottle-Feed Hands-Free
When I was bottle feeding I could use an elbow, my chin, another child, and a pillow to prop that bottle up and feed my baby. Talk about having a certain set of skills, right?