I was recently sent an article regarding a woman whose baby was struggling to nurse and basically starving because the baby could not physically remove milk from the breast. After much trial, the mother chose to formula feed. The article’s point? Fed is Best.
I would like to reiterate this point: Fed is Best. (And no I don’t mean the Federal government. I mean that a fed and full child is best. Yes, my mommy brain went there and was confused by the article until my smart brain kicked in.)
This article hit home for me because my son also struggled to nurse and for the first 4 weeks, before we put him on high-calorie formula, he was not thriving.
Is breast best?
For those mommies out there like me who knew from the start of their pregnancy they wanted to breastfeed, we had the motto, “Breast is Best” ingrained in our minds. We looked forward to breastfeeding and prepared for it while pregnant. We knew about all about the benefits of breastfeeding for baby and mom.
We researched the heck out of it. We asked other moms about their experiences, and we, quite literally, dreamed about it. For mothers who plan so thoroughly, it can be quite a blow when someone suggests putting your baby on formula.
Uh, ex-squeeze me? Did you say formula?
As my midwife put it, “formula is not the devil.” Upon hearing these words, I rationally knew what she was saying, but emotionally my heart was saying, “but formula is bad.”
Let me say now, it really isn’t. And this is coming from the Mama who had to go take a shower to BAWL HER EYES OUT while my husband gave our baby his first bottle of formula.
Mommies listen. Formula is not “bad”. It can nourish your baby. It can fill your baby’s tummy. It can keep your baby healthy. If you’re a new Mama who is needing to put your baby on formula, that’s ok. There was a time in my very recent past, I truly did not believe that, but it really is all right.
Other options for feeding a newborn baby
If you really want to, there is still the option to continue to breastfeed. Some options include:
- Partial breastfeeding – While working towards your breastfeeding goals, but supplementing with formula or pumped breast milk, nursing can be done to still reap the wonderful benefits. The benefits are what sold us on it in the first place, right?
- Exclusive pumping – If nursing your baby simply isn’t a possibility, some mothers choose to pump their breast milk and feed this to their babies in bottles. Read more about how to use a breast pump efficiently here.
- Exclusive formula feeding – This is a perfectly acceptable option. I know, love, and respect my dear friends and family members who have chosen this option.
My Story with Breastfeeding
Now those of you who know my story know that I did whatever it took to breastfeed as much as possible. For me, I used a combination of partial breastfeeding and pumping and worked toward the goal of exclusively breastfeeding. Anyone who knows me personally, knows that I am as stubborn as they come. I had to constantly check myself to make sure I wasn’t just being selfish in my desire to breastfeed.
My decision was to salvage nursing using any means necessary. I had the time, determination, resources, and most importantly, the support (from my amazing husband), to make it happen for my son and me. It was a very difficult path, but one I’m glad I took.
Now, this does not make me a “better” mother than mamas who choose to formula feed. These mommies are amazing women, some of which I learn from every single day. Their wisdom and insight are what make me a better mother than I could be without their experiences to pull from.
So if you are pregnant and starting your research into breastfeeding or if you are just starting your journey into motherhood, again or for the first time, you will hear over and over again, “Breast is Best” by many reputable organizations such as the La Leche League. There is some very helpful information to be gleaned here, but you will read about how any obstacle to breastfeeding can be overcome. While this is true the vast majority of the time, sometimes it just isn’t going to work and you may have to make a different choice.
And THAT’S OK!
My new fed is best motto
So, in the spirit of Fed Is Best, here is my new motto: Hungry Baby is Bad. Formula is Good (Not Bad). Breast is Better. Fed is Best.
Remember, Happy, Healthy Baby. Happy, Healthy Mama.
Tell us your experience. How do you feed your baby?
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