Monday, March 18, 2013

Mommy Wars: What Is The Right Way To Feed Your Baby?

I am crunchy mama. This means breastfeeding is one of those things that I am an advocate for. I believe that there is so many benefits that comes from breastfeeding, and it is something I can't imagine NOT doing for my child. Feeding Forrest a formula has never crossed my mind until I hit a major roadblock.

It was not until that very moment when I began to sympathize, and understand the need for formula.

I have gone through H.E.L.L. to make breastfeeding work because it is something I really wanted to work out for Forrest, and me. I really struggled. All the issues I had with breastfeeding really sucked: Love and Hate. Clogged ducts, and cracked nipple became frustrating.Then boom, I was hit with Mastitis. That was it. I was about to throw in the towel. I made it this far with Forrest, and six months was my ultimate goal. I made it. So why continue? I was done with dealing with never-ending problems, and started thinking about giving Forrest formula. I felt a bit guilty at this thought, and wondered if I was being selfish for even considering about formula.

A friend of mine finally sat me down, and said, "You went through hell in past 6 months to breastfeed Forrest. You did deal with a crummy set of cards. But here is my thought. What if Mastitis is the very last problem you'll ever have from now on? Would you be content with thinking what if after you quit or want to give this one more shot?" 

I realized that I did not want to give up. It helped to voice my frustration, and wishful thinking to have an easy breastfeeding relationship. It was what I really needed; to release all of my frustrations instead of pending them up, and feeling pressured that I was already a natural at this while suffering with all the problems on the sly.

I no longer felt tied down to breastfeeding. It even came to that I loved being able to breastfeed, and give Forrest what he needed in order to thrive. It had to do a lot with my confidence, and finally getting over the hurdles.

It is something I would imagine a bottle-feeding mama has to go through as well. She has to find the right bottle, right type of formula, and establish right measurements to feed her baby. After she masters this, she no longer feels tied down. Confidence is the secret.

This made me wonder what other mothers' experiences were like. I asked around on a mommy thread about choices to feed the babies. I was surprised to learn new things among with reasons I already knew, and understood. The top few reasons were milk supply drying up, baby's health, returning to work, and discomfort with breastfeeding. Were they wrong to switch to formula? No.

The judgment that was passed among both parties in the public; breastfeeding mamas, and bottle-feeding mamas were lubricious. Why did it matter as long as their babies were getting what they needed?

What mamas need from each other is support, and understanding. While I do encourage breastfeeding because of its many benefits, I do not pass judgment toward a mother for choosing a bottle over breastfeeding her baby because I do not know her story.

If your baby is healthy, happy, and achieving milestones at given time, then I don't see any difference between formula, and breastfed babies.


  1. Exactly. Well said Ashley. It is impossible to know the circumstances surrounding why a mother would choose formula over breastfeeding. I truly appreciate your blog post.

  2. Well said. I was lucky that breastfeeding was easy for me. Hurt a bit the first few weeks, and did have one bout of mastitis with my third baby, but all of them I was able to nurse for a minimum of a year and it was one of the nicest things I know. I miss it now that my kids aren't babies anymore. But to quibble with anyone about feeding a baby as long as you are responsible enough to be feeding a baby is nuts. People should worry about babies who aren't getting fed, not the ones who are.