It’s Okay to Formula Feed
Or, why I chose not to breastfeed
Hello everyone! Today, I wanted to talk about feeding babies. More specifically, why I decided to forgo all of my big talk about breastfeeding and formula feed Olivia.
Short answer: We couldn’t breastfeed.
Long answer: Olivia has a mild tongue tie and I couldn’t establish a supply before she outgrew what I was able to feed her. I also partially blame the miscommunication between my doctors and the nurses at the hospital for not telling me the risks of breastfeeding on Adderall (which I am prescribed in order to literally function) and barring me from doing so for the first few hours of Olivia’s life. Ultimately, though, it was just not meant to be.
So, of course, I felt immense guilt for a few days about not being able to breastfeed. There’s been a huge surge in mothers agreeing that “Fed Is Best”, no matter how it happens…but in the back of my head I could hear that little voice saying “Breast Is Best”! I knew that Olivia would be okay either way, but not being able to use my body for what I wanted to was really heartbreaking to me for a good few days.
Then, I realized…it really didn’t matter! As long as my baby is fed and full, that’s all that really matters. It’s less frustrating for her to try and fail to latch on, and it’s honestly less work for me to make a bottle than wrangle her onto my breast. It’s also a plus that I can ingest whatever I want without worrying about pumping and dumping.
Speaking of pumping, I tried to pump for the first six weeks of Olivia’s life; being off of my ADHD medicine really hindered my ability to remember to pump as often as I needed to. I believe that also contributed to my lack of milk supply. It was a relief when Matt sat me down and basically said “It’s okay to stop pumping, she’s basically only drinking formula right now anyway” because it meant that I could get back on my medication and I wouldn’t have to struggle with the pump every two/three hours. My only gripe is that I paid out of pocket for a hands-free pump that I no longer use!
So, I formula feed Olivia. It’s scary because of the shortage, but I’ve seen it getting better. I have found her formula more often than not, and I’m thankful to the friends and family that have bought us formula so that we didn’t have to hunt cans down. She seems to like the immediate gratification of getting the food when she wants it (who wouldn’t, honestly?), and I genuinely like the convenience. I don’t have to whip out a boob wherever I am and hope she not only can latch, but that I’ll produce enough for her to be full and happy.
There are people that are bummed that I can’t breastfeed Olivia. When I tell them I formula feed, I can see the hint of disappointment in their eyes before it quickly fades, as if they remember that it’s probably not a great feeling for me to see their disappointment while I’m feeling my own.
I’ve had someone ask about getting Olivia’s tongue tie fixed so that I can breastfeed like I want, but honestly at this point it would just be selfish of me to have her go through that. My body has already adjusted to not breastfeeding. I wouldn’t want to cut Liv’s tongue unless her speech would be hindered by the tie, and her pediatrician says it looks mild enough for it not to be an issue. Why put Olivia through pain if she’s eating just fine from the bottle?
Many people have also told me about their kids and how they were bottle fed. “They turned out okay, so she will too!” they tell me. I can feel the warmth in their comforting words. I figure they know breastfeeding was my first choice! But thankfully, it isn’t my only choice. Being able to feed my baby is what’s important; I honestly don’t care how she’s fed, I just care that she’s fed.
If you’re debating whether or not to bottle feed, just know that it’s okay to do so. There are a lot of people that will shame you into breastfeeding, but if breastfeeding and pumping isn’t what you want to do, bottle feeding is the natural next choice. A fed baby is a happy baby, and a happy baby can’t be wrong!
I thought that today was Monday, so sorry for the late post! I’m still getting used to life with Olivia, so eventually I’ll know what day it is.
Thanks for reading, as always! If you want to follow me on Twitter, go for it! I always post the latest blog post, and I tweet a lot of day-to-day stuff as well. If you’d like, you can subscribe to me on Medium below as well to stay up to date! I’ll see you here next week with something new!