There is much debate in the mother world if you should breastfeed or bottle feed with formula. Coming from a mom that tried breastfeeding, and my body let me down, there can be guilt choosing formula at first.
My Breastfeeding Journey
When I first found out I was pregnant I wanted to breastfeed, no question about it. Not only is your body supplying food for your little one, but it’s a great bonding experience. Now that being said, all new moms and even second time moms need to remember not everything goes as planned. After giving birth to my little one, I could breastfeed for the first few feedings and that is when it all went downhill quickly.
By the evening, my little one was screaming her head off. I would let her feed and she seemed happy for a few minutes. Shortly after she would start the process all over again. I had several nurses and lactation consultants visit my room and I had the proper latch. Go me!! The nurses wanted to say that my little one was just fussy and that she would get better. I knew she was not just fussy, but hungry! After several HOURS of my little one screaming her head off, the nurse finally brought the formula I had been requesting. Guess what? After my little one had two ounces, she was happy and asleep.
My body produced just a small amount of colostrum at birth and after my little one fed on that, I was empty. I even asked for a breast pump to see if that would help get things moving, it did not. This girl was dry as they come. The nurses told me that my milk could take a few days to come in, but the colostrum by body provided would be enough. That was not the case for me and I had to fight to have food for my little one. My milk did come in until five to six days later, but by that time my little one was on formula and comfortable with the bottle.
The days following delivery; I had plans of going home and try pumping again to see if I could get the milk supply flowing in the comfort of home. My husband and I discussed the pros and cons of breastfeeding and formula after the doctor visit. For us, formula was the better option. I had guilt about not being able to breastfeed and other moms judging my decision at first. After seeing my OB/GYN for postpartum depression, I could come to terms with my guilt. Not every mom will be able or even want to breastfeed. We as moms need to help encourage and give strength to our fellow moms struggling with the problem. I believe a fed baby is best, fed baby equals happy baby. Whichever way you can accomplish this, YOU ROCK MAMA!!
For first time moms that are still not sure which route they want to go, I have listed a few pros and cons of each. Again, whichever you pick is YOUR choice! Not your moms, mother-in-law, grandmother, neighbor, friend, etc. Choose which is best for you and your baby.
Formula Fed – Pros
- Anybody can feed your little one
Now I have to say, this is nice. Sometimes moms need a break, and dad or grandparent can give little one a feeding. My husband has yet to change a diaper. I know crazy! We made a deal, he cooks dinner some (most) nights and helps feed little one and I won’t make him change a diaper. I get a little free time to do some cleaning or just zone out while he does a feeding. Plus, it is extra bonding time for dad and baby.
- Not digested as quickly as breastmilk
They say formula does not digest as quickly but when you are a first-time mom and your baby eats every two hours, it doesn’t seem like it. Now that my little one is five months old, she takes four 6 ounces bottles a day. She is full and content in-between feedings, so fewer feedings during the day.
- Mom does not have to watch diet
If you are like me, I enjoy spicy foods or ice cream occasionally. With formula, you do not have to worry about eating spicy or dairy products. So, chow down my friends!!
- It’s 5 o’clock somewhere
Yes Mamas, you can have an occasional drink! Now don’t go out to the bar and get hammered, but an alcoholic beverage is just fine! Being a mom is stressful, and we all need relief now and then.
Formula Fed – Cons
- Some formulas can cause digestive issues
Luckily, we only had to try three different formulas until we found the best fit for our little one. In the hospital they gave us Similac which I had heard great things about. Once we got home, our little one would cry and cry. After switching from Similac Total Comfort, Similac Sensitive and finally to Gerber Smoothe we found a winner. Little one had a terrible time burping and gas issues. Other children may have a dairy intolerance that can cause gas, fussiness, vomiting, blood in the stool and even vomiting blood. There are several kinds of non-dairy formula that if your child is allergic, you can try.
- Formula is EXPENSIVE
Yes, not only are you still paying off the hospital and doctor bills from delivery but let’s add on the cost of formula. If your little one is anything like mine, she LOVES to eat. We use Gerber Smoothe 30oz tub 4 pack case from Sam’s Club and it is $134.98. (As of June 2019) Each tub lasts her about a week and a half. We have started on solid foods with her once or twice a day, soon that four pack case should last us closer to two months. However, baby food isn’t much cheaper. If you are able, or have the time to make your own baby food, do it.
- Breastfeeding guilt and judgement
It is sad that our society has come to a point that we shame each other for not doing certain things. I wanted to breastfeed, I tried but nothing was there. My baby would have starved for five days if I did not decide to feed formula. It is okay if you do not breastfeed! People need to learn to think before they speak. You do not understand what that mom is going through or has been through. Being a mom is hard, and we are all doing the best we can.
- Breastfed babies are smarter
I saw this comparison researching pros and cons while pregnant. My brother was formula fed, he is a nuclear engineer in the Navy and scored in the top five for testing. My husband was formula fed, he was in advanced classes throughout middle school and high school. He went to college to be an engineer, but changed his mind to criminal justice. I, on the other hand, was breastfed for a year and I thought Canadian Geese could not fly. I also had an argument with my husband (at the time my boyfriend) that “faux” was not spelled correctly because I didn’t have an “O” in it.
Breastfeeding – Pros
- Bonding between mom and baby
What all mother’s dream of is bonding with their baby after birth. Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to bond with your baby, and now they are getting wonderful nourishment.
- Natural Antibodies
This is very important in our world today. Germs are everywhere! We can’t keep our little ones in a bubble their whole life, they have to experience the world and that also means nasty germs. It is said that breastfed babies have a better chance at fighting off a nasty cold easier than formula fed. That is a big plus if your baby goes to daycare.
- Easily digested and burns extra calories
Breast milk is gentle on your little one’s stomach. Most breastfed babies do not have the digestive issues of formula-fed babies, which makes for a very happy baby! Plus, it burns some of those calories you may still be carrying around. Burning calories and not having to do a workout, WIN!!
- It’s free and so is your pump
Your body supplies all the milk your baby will need! Most insurance companies will supply one FREE breast pump per pregnancy. They will also send new bottles and equipment for your machine every few months. If you are not sure if your insurance will cover the cost of a breast pump go to https://insurancecoveredbreastpumps.com/ and click “Am I Covered?”
Breastfeeding – Cons
- Make time for pumping
As if being a first-time mom isn’t stressful enough, you will need to fit pumping into your schedule. If you continue to breastfeed after you return to work, you will also need to fit that into your workday. Some employers have pumping rooms in their offices, but not everyone does.
- You will need to watch your diet
Yes ladies, if that spicy food makes you have indigestion or gas, your baby might as well. Some moms may have to cut out all dairy from their diet, if little one is allergic or has digestive discomfort. You will need to watch your alcohol consumption. Researchers say one alcoholic beverage a day is fine, but to wait two hours before breastfeeding. If you like to have a glass of wine, be sure to have your little one happy and fed or extra breast milk pumped and ready to go just in case.
- Baby will not latch properly
This had to be the biggest problem I came across in my research. My little one had a great latch however, some may struggle with having a proper latch the whole time. This will make the baby frustrated and fussy, the mom with be frustrated and wondering why her baby is upset. In my research, doctors have checked for a tongue tie in these babies. In most cases, the tongue tie is clipped and baby can nurse correctly.
- Milk does not come in
This problem I know all too well. It is so frustrating to have your mind set on breastfeeding and your body says “NOPE”. I felt more guilt about my body letting me down than I did about giving my baby formula. Your body just went through giving birth and nine months of growing a baby. Sometimes your body is tired too, and that is ok.
I hope this has helped a few mamas out there feel more comfortable about their decision to breastfeed or formula feed. Subscribe below for more post like this delivered to your inbox and my postpartum checklist!
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