I pretty much knew I was going to be a formula feeding mom, even before I found out I was pregnant. I’d watched the struggle my sister went through to breastfeed, and I just knew that wasn’t something I wanted to put myself or my baby through. When I initially decided to formula-feed, I had NO IDEA of the stigma surrounding it. I always thought it was pretty straight forward–formula or breast milk, just feed the baby. This was my first baby, so coming into the world of “Mommy” was a whole new experience for me. I joined on-line groups to learn the basics of pregnancy, and that’s when I first started seeing the “mommy wars” I’m now all too familiar with. At that point I didn’t really see how deep those wars went.
I was asked upon admission to the hospital whether I was formula or breastfeeding. I let them know I planned on formula feeding and signed papers stating such. I was in labor for nineteen hours and finally delivered a healthy 7lb 4oz baby boy. I was exhausted as I held my baby. I looked down at him, and fell instantly in love. I then gave him to the nurse so he could be cleaned up and measured. Once he was bundled up, the nurse came in with a bottle of formula. I asked her to hand my son to my husband because he wanted to feed him. I held my baby inside me, felt him kicking, and fell in love with him for nine months of my pregnancy and it was time for my husband to love him.
As I looked over at my husband feeding our son, at him looking down at that little bundle, I could just tell he was now getting to fall in love with him too.
During my hospital stay, I was starting to find out that maybe this formula thing wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. The first couples of bottles my son drank were maybe a half of an ounce. I was worried that he wasn’t getting enough. None of my nurses reassured me. No one said that he would feed until he was done. I guess because I was formula feeding they figured I wouldn’t need help or that I would even have questions. They would just come, drop off a bottle, and rush out the door before I had a chance to even ask anything. I had to call down to the nurse’s station for every single bottle I needed. They would only bring me ONE bottle at a time and there were times when I would call down and it would be an hour before they would bring me one. Sometimes, I had to call down twice because they “forgot.”
It got to the point that I had to use my own bottles that I brought from home. I had brought this formula with me because I was told before I went in that some hospitals can get funny about formula. I am very glad I came prepared.
At home is when the feeding schedule got tough. My husband was working full time during the day, so it was me and my son all day long. He woke up like clockwork every three hours to eat. I joined online groups that had formula-feeding moms for those questions and concerns every first-time mom has. Those groups were lifesavers–real moms, experiencing real problems. I would have drowned if it weren’t for these women. There didn’t seem to be an overabundance of help when it came to formula-feeding. It almost felt no one would think that we would need help, because formula feeding should be “easy.” Wrong. It comes with its own challenges, and I learned all of them first hand.
I was growing concerned with my son’s constipation and reflux issues. I brought these concerns up with my pediatrician and she would suggest switching formulas, which we did. He was prescribed medication for his reflux and we found a formula that worked for him, and eureka! His tummy pain was gone. I was so relieved and happy.
Over the months, my son and I bonded. We got to know each other. I started to recognize his cries and what each one meant. Even though everyone could feed him, he still preferred me. As he got older, our bond became stronger.
I have read stories of other formula-feeding moms, and they talk of this guilt of formula feeding. I can honestly say I never experienced the feeling. I had chosen this path. I saw all the discouraging memes, blogs, articles. I was called everything from “lazy” to “selfish” and worse.
Even still, I just loved feeding my son with a bottle and he loved it too! Here I was with this strong, healthy little boy who had only been sick once, despite being told my formula-fed child was doomed to be sick all of his life. Here I was with this amazing little human being who I was madly in love with, who I felt this connection with as if we were one human being, despite being told I wouldn’t bond with my child.
Apparently I was the worst type of mom. I was the mom who had not “at least tried.” I was the mom who CHOSE the alternative, I was the mom who CHOSE to not give her child “the best.” What kind of mom would do that?! I’m here to tell you I chose what was best, best for MY child, MY family and Myself. I would choose it all over again.
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST
There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:
- Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
- Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
- Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
- Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
- Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
- Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
- Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
- Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child. Your messages of support keep us all going.
Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!