10.17.2012

My Soap Box: Formula vs Breast

Hi friends- Sometimes, I get an issue in my mind and I simply need to share my opinion- it is just bursting out of my mouth! I have been very good at practicing my "tongue taming" during this election season (are you proud of me..no political posts!) but this is an issue I just need to discuss...and since I have a blog...I am discussing! 

I will start by telling you a little story! When my second daughter, Izzy, was in the hospital, she needed to be in the ICU because she was "Coombs Positive" (my 3rd daughter, Milly, had the same scenario). I breastfed my first daughter, Ellie, exclusively for a year and knew that I wanted to do the same with my second. However, when Izzy was in the ICU, her coombs was so bad that I could only take her out from under the lights for 20 minutes at a time every 3 hours- which, with a newborn, is simply not enough time to establish nursing. The only way she was going to get rid of the coombs was by pooping and peeing- therefore they needed to give her formula to flush it all out. I continued to pump and nurse when I could, but I was so grateful for the option of formula in the hospital to meet the needs of my baby and ultimately expedite the going home process. When we got home, I did have to really work to get her to breastfeed- but we did it and she nursed exclusively for a year. I was SO grateful for all of those samples they sent me home with from the hospital- it really helped our transition home. Fast forward to my 3rd baby, who had the same situation- Coombs positive, ICU, etc.. I was able to nurse her more but felt such a peace knowing she could take formula if needed to get well and SO glad to have so many samples on hand if needed! 

I am going to move on to the article that has me all "hot and bothered" not the article itself, but the proposed ban in which it discussed. Here it is: LINK Apparently there are groups trying to ban formula from hospitals, saying it does not promote breastfeeding and somehow this option is encouraging mothers to choose formula over breast milk. (they have been successful in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island) I MEAN REALLY? I clearly think Breastfeeding is delightful- I do think it is good for babies, but if you ask me why I have nursed 3 babies for 1 year each (that is 3 years of my life nursing- whew) it is not necessarily for the health benefits. I do think it is better for babies- that is clearly why God made us to lactate- however, I have done it because it is a) easy b) convenient c) cheap and d) mess-free! I am blessed to be a stay-at-home mom and it is just a lot easier for me to nurse than to mix the formula, warm the bottle, feed the baby, wash the bottle, etc.. THAT BEING SAID...it is not for everyone. My sister-in-law chooses to work outside the home and for her, formula is an awesome option when she goes back to work. She nurses as long as she can and then makes a wise choice to move to formula. I say wise choice because I dont know if nursing is better for the baby if the mom is all stressed out about...nursing and pumping. I believe babies are happier and thrive when the mother is happy and thriving. I also have friends who cannot breastfeed for one reason or another and people have made them feel so guilty that they are literally miserable. I have seen it ruin friendships and I have seen mothers try so hard to nurse (unsuccessfully) and the babies are crying and not sleeping...because they are HUNGRY! Give the baby some formula and move on- I wish people would stop making others feel guilty about this issue! My sister-in-law who used formula has very healthy children, none of them are obese, they are not picky eaters, they are very smart and are loving wonderful children. My kids get colds just the same as they do, my oldest had so many ear infections they suggested tubes, they are the pickiest eaters I know, they are smart- but no smarter than their formula-fed friends- I just think there are more factors to consider than what type of milk we give our babies. I am clearly not "pro-formula" I am just "pro-healthy, peaceful, happy mommies".

SO, in conclusion I have a few bullet points- (because I love bullet points)! 


  • If you cannot breastfeed or do not want to, please do not feel guilty or like you are not a good mother. God chose YOU to parent your baby and you are wise enough to know how to feed them. You just love them and provide for them the best way you know how. 
  • I wonder how many of these activists trying to ban "A Women's Right to Choose Formula" are also activists for "A Women's Right to Choose Abortion" I dont think I need to elaborate on that hypocrisy at this time- you are smart people! 
  • I am very grateful for the samples of formula at the hospital- formula is extremely expensive and I have to think that these samples help many families who are already struggling to afford their new bundle of joy and the hospital bills that come along with that bundle. Any little bit helps! 
  • Finally, I have loved breastfeeding my babies, I highly suggest trying it. I am always happy to help if you have any questions or are having trouble with it. It is such a special time between mommy and baby and if you are able to- try it out and just take one feeding at a time! 
There you go, my Soap Box for today! Thanks for listening- lets stop judging one another and making others feel guilty and start encouraging one another and supporting one another! I say...take all the free samples you can get- I LOVE samples!!! 

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for the encouraging words to new moms. I wanted to have the full breastfeeding experience with my first born but it just did not work out. It's a long story but basically I had really high BP before and after delivery and had to go on a magnesium drip and could not BF and then my milk did not come in until 5 days after delivery so he was just used to more than I could produce. I just wish I would have just filled him up on the formula instead of trying to bf and then supplement. He was just hungry and I was a zombie. Thanks goodness for formula!!

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  2. You make many good points in this post, and overall I agree with you. The only thing I have to say is that I've known mothers who used formula only because they couldn't be inconvenienced with breastfeeding--not because they were working or had health issues, they just couldn't be bothered with it. I'm not trying to judge them, but I feel bad for those babies. I honestly believe that babies were meant to be breastfed, it's how God made us, but far be it from me to condemn a person who simply can't. My own mother tried so hard with both my older brother and myself to breastfeed, and she just couldn't produce enough milk to satisfy us. I totally understand that. I also understand that breastfeeding can be painful at times (I've been nursing my son for 2 months and my toes still curl when he latches) but the truth is it gets better and is not always going to be that excruciating adjustment period when you try nursing for the first time. I am very thankful that there is another option out there for moms who need it, but unfortunately I believe it makes it that much easier for the aforementioned new moms to quit without even giving the beauty of breastfeeding a chance. That being said, whoever is trying to get formula in hospitals banned seems very narrow-minded to me. Some babies (and moms) just need that extra help.

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  3. As a mother of an adopted baby who is feeding him donor milk and knocking myself out trying to locate and retreive the milk....THANK YOU. I feel better about transitioning when this AMAzing supply runs out! My donors are all wonderful!!!!!

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  4. Thank you for this! I am so sick of people saying formula feeding is super wrong. I had my daughter and was unable to breastfeed due to the fact that I was not producing enough for her only one oz all together each feeding. My daughter lost 2.10 lbs her 1 week check up which is a lot. I had a hard choice to make and repeatedly beat myself up about being unable to breast feed even still to this day. I know it was the right choice because she simply wouldn't have been able to survive on no food but I still felt as though I was a bad mom for being unable to breast feed. So thank you for posting this!

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  5. Amen..love your post. Planned on exclusively breast feeding and it simply did not work out. After a 6 week battle to get him to latch and me pumping around the clock....I ended up with double mastitis and in the ER @ 3am on a Sunday night (havent been since I was 7 and need stitches). A constant overachiever....I felt inadequate and embarrassed to switch to formula. Many people are so insensitive and think nothing of asking what I am feeding him. My new response is...what do you think I should be feeding him? If I answer formula, no one is patting me on the back saying 'good for you', I am being judged for not BF'ing. Formula has come a long way over the last decade and our babies are fortunate to be fed products that are as clinically close breast milk as possible.

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  6. My son is 9 months old and is very advanced for his age. He can say dada and ninny (a version of our dog's name), can crawl at Mach 4 speed and can walk a step or 2 without assistance. My son has not been sick a day in his 9 months, is in the 75th percentile for height and just below 50th percentile for weight. He is emotionally right on target, according to the dr. He sleeps through the night (8P -6:30A) and has since he was 6 weeks old, is on table food and is not a picky eater by any means. I say all of this because I chose to feed my son formula. Not because I had problems breastfeeding but because I believed that I would have a better relationship with my son if I was happy too. I have watched friend after friend, family member after family member go through mastitis, trouble latching, medications to improve milk supply, lack of spare time because they were either feeding or pumping non-stop, stressed due to lack of sleep...and the list goes on. I have listened to them complain and even cry because they felt like failures or were in pain. I CHOSE to be happy and pain free. I chose formula to have a good relationship with my son, a relationship where I can sit anywhere and feed him, stare free, a relationship where we're both satisfied if I want to sleep through a feeding because I have to work the next morning and my husband takes a turn getting up and feeding the baby. Don't feel sorry for my son because he is a happy, well adjusted, HEALTHY baby who didn't suffer from being fed formula.

    I am tired of being judged because I didn't breastfeed. Being told that I'm not that much of a mom because I chose my happiness over my child is ridiculous. And I HATE that other women, other mothers, feel that it's ok to try and make me feel like less of a mom because I didn't breastfeed. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the moms that choose to breastfeed are all whiny and I didn't want to be that person. I'm not saying all bf moms think that they are superior because not all moms are. BUT we need to stop imposing these types views on new moms. We have enough to worry about without other mothers breaking us down. Be a friend, be supportive of whatever the decision because isn't that what you would want for you?

    As for the removing formula from hospitals...it is no worse than a phamaceutical rep walking in to your drs. office and leaving samples of any medicine. If the dr. believes in the medicine they will prescribe it...and give you a sample!! By limiting formula I believe that is forcing a mother to either feel like she has no options or that her choice is wrong. When I was in labor I didn't get the feeling from anyone in the hospital that they were pushing formula. Right before I had my son I was asked if I knew how I was going to feed him. I stated that I wanted to start him on formula. I didn't once get a nasty look for my decision nor did I get pressured to choose a brand fo formula. I was simply asked "do you know what type of formula?" Instead of taking the formula out of the hospitals they should just limit the amount of "freebies" that come along with the formula. Formula is one thing, a bag and coupons are nice but not necessary.

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  7. Thank you so much for posting this!!! I think many times woman are made to feel awful if they are not able to breast feed or make the choice of using formula. I think you are absolutely right when you say that if the mother if comfortable and not stress out the baby will be the same. I believe mothers need to do what they feel is right for themselves and their child and often times they are chastised for not doing what others feel is "right". No mother is less of a mother for picking on or the other, and we all need to remember that. Great post!!

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  8. I am an expecting mother hoping to breastfeed our first baby this summer. With that said, I have been shocked how many women have already made judgey comments about the pitfalls of formula to me. As much as I hope and will try very hard to breastfeed, I refuse to be labelled a lazy or bad mother if it does not happen for me and baby. Will I be disappointed, yes. But what I want more than breastfeeding is for my baby to be full, healthy, and happy. I'm confident that if he/she is not getting enough breast milk she won't be able to be full, healthy, OR happy. This article was JUST the encouragement from a fellow Christian mother that my heart and instincts needed. Thank you for being an honest writer with a level head and most importantly, a Christian world view!

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