STLMB Perspectives: How Formula Feeding Fit My Family’s Needs

There I was with tears streaming down my face.

“But, I have a supply now!” I told my husband through sobs.

“That’s fine, but you don’t need to do it,” he reassured me. “We can do formula.”

It was a long day with my two daughters – one was eight days old, and the other was 23 months old – and I was ready to quit breastfeeding. After so many years of hating my body because I was unable to breastfeed my oldest, I was frustrated that here I was quitting after just a few days.

Let me take you back to 2017. I had finally given birth to our rainbow baby, and after four miscarriages and trouble conceiving, I thought that I would finally catch a break and be able to be the Pinterest-perfect mom I planned out in my head. I was wrong. After days and weeks of visiting lactation consultants at a breastfeeding center and attending multiple La Leche League meetings, I knew that being able to provide enough milk for my daughter wouldn’t happen for me. I waved my white flag and proceeded to dedicate four 30-minute pump sessions a day to producing 4.5 oz of breastmilk (on a good day) total. This was only 1/6 of what my daughter needed, so we started our stash of formula. After six months, I stopped pumping, and we were on formula for all feedings. I was ready to be done with that manual pump.

Once upon a time, I would sit in my car and manually pump mere milliliters because I was determined to give something to my child. Now, I have backup formula in my car and no regrets about switching 100% to formula.

Two years later, we had our second-born, and I was ready to breastfeed. I knew this would be different. My body felt different, and I sensed changes that had not happened before. Sure enough, after four days, my supply came in, and I was doing it! Until my oldest started crying and doing everything possible to get my attention during a nursing session. The mom guilt set in, and tears began to stream down my face. I finally had the chance to breastfeed, but this other little person who never had the opportunity to experience nursing was confused, and my heart broke. 

I knew that formula was different than breastmilk, but I also knew that both would lead to healthy children.

I knew that formula was a budget line item we didn’t need, but I also knew that I now had two children who needed my time and love.

I knew that breastfeeding was all I longed to do, but I also knew that this was just not going to happen for us.

I was okay with that. Well, the tears paint a different picture, but now looking back at it all, I’m okay with it. I can easily warm up a bottle and still freely move around the house with my toddler. My husband can feed our baby while I cuddle with our toddler. My parents can bond with my baby while feeding her, and I can get a shower in without feeling rushed.

There’s a certain freedom that comes with formula-feeding, and while it wasn’t my first choice (ever), it is my choice and one that I would make over again and again. It works for us, and I am forever grateful for the science that has allowed me to feed my children. 

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