An Open Letter to Formula-Feeding Mamas

Editor’s note: I’m pleased to bring you this contributed post by Kate of Makes the Most of. This open letter to formula-feeding mamas is especially dear to me. I was an unapologetic formula-feeding mama. I breastfed for about 6 weeks and then turned to formula when I had to go back to work. My kids are happy, healthy, smart as whips, and have never been excessively sick. I love Kate’s message. And I hope that it makes formula-feeding mamas everywhere feel joyful and confident in their parenting decisions.

xx
Carin

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formula-feeding-mamas

Simple Disclaimer: This post is in no way to discourage breastfeeding mamas. You ladies rock in every way. This is simply a little encouragement for the rest of us.

Dear Formula-Feeding Mama,

You’re doing just fine. I know you love your baby like crazy. I know you want the best for him. And I think if you formula-feed that precious little nugget you’re holding, it negates none of those wonderful things.

But boy, sometimes when you turn on the news or peruse through your Facebook feed it sure doesn’t feel like you are doing okay, does it? It seems that though you “have a choice,” you are made to feel like you are choosing between giving your baby “liquid gold” or popping the tab on diet coke for him; instead of giving him a highly researched, designed for babies, and thoroughly regulated choice for those of us for whom breastfeeding does.not.work.out. And you don’t have to give your reasons for why breastfeeding didn’t work. It can feel like you need to present a written excuse every time someone asks, but a simple “this is what works best for us” is more than adequate. Maybe he wouldn’t latch, maybe she was a preemie, maybe you didn’t produce enough milk, and maybe it simply wasn’t for you and your baby.

Breastfeeding is oh-so-hard (based upon my brief foray into the nursing world). If it wasn’t hard there wouldn’t be consultants, and forums, and support groups, and books, and classes, and who knows what else. Folks may act like you just pop the baby on and you’re all set, but it doesn’t always work like that. So if it doesn’t work for you, for whatever reason, give yourself some grace. Let’s give each other some grace, love, and encouragement.

This is the point: however we are feeding our little ones, we are all trying (and p.s. how a baby was fed won’t be on the college application. Or even the preschool application. I checked).

We all struggle. Let’s give each other grace and love on those babies. Because you can’t spot which babies were formula fed, bottle fed, supplemented, breastfed. You can’t tell which mamas snuggled their babies close with a bottle and which ones snuggled them close without a bottle. But what you can tell is which babies are tucked in at night, which are held close, which have boo-boos kissed, which are wrapped in big hugs, which are loved to bits and pieces. And isn’t that what matters most of all? So mamas, give each other grace, spur each other on, encourage and lift up, and walk beside each other in this motherhood journey. And to you, formula-feeding mama, hold your head high knowing you did what was right for your baby, and your family.

Kate is a believer, mama, wife, and blogger at Makes the Most of where she aims to make the most of family, time resources, and health…the things that matter, including giving each other grace in this thing called motherhood.

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I want to hear from you!

What are your thoughts on formula-feeding versus breastfeeding? Please leave me a comment below and let’s have a discussion.

Comments 9

  1. I’m currently pregnant with my first and I don’t plan on breastfeeding. With my work schedule and my husband’s it’s not conducive and I won’t be able to pump. I can’t tell you how tired I am of being told that breast feeding is better and “if I can do it you can do it”. Circumstances are different. My little boy is already loved so much and I hate that non breast feeding mothers are shamed all the time.

  2. Thank you so much. I tried to breastfeed. She latched. I had a home nurse and I went to the classes. Unfortunately, my body was so stressed out after an episiotomy that I just didn’t produce milk. I became extremely depressed and despondent and thought I was the world’s worst mother for not producing milk. Pre-pregnancy I was DD and after I was blown up so huge but still, barely a drop after pumping.

    Thank you for encouraging all women. I love my boo more than anything and sometimes when she cries and i have to heat her bottle I wish more than anything I could just pop a breast out and feed her, but I can’t, so I do the best that I can.

  3. It’s a little unfair to blame mothers for formula feeding when they aren’t given the right breastfeeding support at the right time. Formula isn’t a bad thing when the poor mom has no clue why breastfeeding isn’t working out for her. As you said, it’s not going to go on the college application!

  4. I never understood the reasoning behind so much confrontation and conflict around this issue- it’s ridiculous to think that a formula feeding mom is any less than or loves their kid any less than a breastfeeding mama!! This letter was perfect.

  5. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    It is physically impossible for me to breast feed because of a surgery I had at 19. I have not had children (yet) but we are trying, and every time I go into a forum and see “YOU’RE A BAD MOTHER BECAUSE YOU DON’T!” I feel so horrible. Like I’m doing my child a disservice by making sure I was healthy at a younger age.

    I know I’m not. I know that’s silly. But SO many people feel that way, it’s hard not to internalize it. So thank you.

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      Hi Courtney! It’s unfortunate that there’s so many moms out there that shame formula-feeding (and vice versa). If your baby is fed, than job well-done. I’m glad you enjoyed this post!

  6. I happen to be a breastfeeding mama, but I lucked out with a baby who latched on relatively easily from the start. I agree, breastfeeding is hard work, and regardless of your reasons for breastfeeding or not, as long as your are a loving parent that is what is most important!

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