Being a mom means constantly wondering if you're making the right choice for your child. Can they watch TV? Should you be making all of their own baby food? Is your child going to have trust issues because you let them cry for five minutes longer than usual? It's all ridiculously hard, especially when you're always second-guessing yourself, but there are few things that get everyone's judging eyes out like buying a can of formula. And any mom with a bottle-fed baby will tell you that they've wondered if they're a bad mom for formula feeding their baby.
If you're currently worrying about this, let me make something absolutely clear: You are in no way, shape, or form a bad mom for feeding your baby formula. The mommy wars over breastfeeding and formula feeding have not helped any mom who chooses to give their child a bottle. They feel like they constantly have to make excuses and give reasons why they aren't breastfeeding when in reality? It's no one's business.
Maybe you're going back to work and the thought of pumping is too much for you. Maybe you don't produce enough milk. Maybe your baby never took to breastfeeding and they had a hard time gaining weight and being nourished. Maybe you were on a medication that prevented you from breastfeeding your baby and you realized, hey, your health matters, too. Maybe your baby has a milk allergy. Maybe your baby was tongue-tied. Maybe you want your partner to take over some night feedings without having to pump.
Maybe you just don't want to.
That's the part everyone forgets. Although you're willing to do anything for your baby — sacrifice everything you have in order to give them the best life possible — you are also human. And if you're miserable breastfeeding, if you're spending all your time attached to a pump, and drinking tea, and trying remedies to get your supply up, you can't be the mom you want to be.
You are not a bad mom for formula feeding, OK? I breastfed my own daughter until she was 10 months old and then I switched to formula. Why? Because nursing her was a total pain. She wanted to nurse for seconds at a time, before hopping down to play, leaving my boob exposed and waiting for her. I had become her own personal sippy cup, and I was miserable and tired of it.
And that was reason enough.
But if you're still feeling wracked with guilt over your choice to formula feed, here are some benefits to prepping bottles instead of pulling out your breast. Don't let anyone make you feel like a bad mom for choosing formula over breast milk ― your baby is going to be fine.
1. Your Baby Gets Nutrients That Some Breastfed Babies Need To Be Supplemented
According to Enfamil, a leading formula brand, some breastfed babies actually need supplementation for nutrients like vitamin D. But when you choose to formula feed, you're choosing to give your baby all of the nutrients it needs. Formula even has DHA, a fatty acid found in breastmilk to help your baby's brain, eye, and nervous system develop.
2. Anyone Can Help Feed The Baby
Literally anyone. Your partner can take the night shift and you don't have to pump any extra milk. It's all there, ready to be made into a bottle so you can get some well-deserved sleep.
3. You Don't Have To Pump If You Miss A Feeding
Breastfeeding is time consuming and a lot of work, and some women find that their breasts don't take well to a pump. With formula, you can leave your baby and know that they can still be fed without worrying about how your supply is going to be affected or if you have to rush home.
4. You Know How Much Your Baby Is Eating
One of the hardest things about breastfeeding is knowing if your baby is getting enough. Some days, my newborn fed for 10 minutes at a time, but the next day, she'd attach herself to my nipple for two hours. With formula, you always know how much your baby ate, which can be incredibly helpful at their pediatrician appointments and determining their growth.
5. You Can Still Bond With Your Baby
You can absolutely bond with your baby while bottle feeding. In fact, if breastfeeding made you stressed or upset, you might even bond more by formula feeding your baby because you're calm and happy. Look your little one in the eyes, snuggle them while feeding, and even do skin-to-skin contact to promote more bonding.
6. There's A Brand That Works For Babies With Allergies
Many babies have allergies and for breastfeeding mothers, it can mean cutting a lot out of their diet to make sure their baby's OK. Luckily, there are plenty of brands of formula to choose from and they can provide the nutrients your baby needs, even if they have an allergy.