What You Need to Know About Guilt-Free Formula Feeding
What I Thought I Wanted
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was certain I would breastfeed. I learned all about the challenges and I prepared by buying all the breastfeeding accessories you can imagine. Then, Reagan was born with PKU and had to be on a medical formula. This was absolutely devastating for me! I hadn’t even bought a single bottle other than what came with my breast pump. I had no idea what to do when we left the house – how do you even travel with formula? (Hey, I was a first time mom, ok) I was still able to supplement her formula with breastmilk for several months, but in time, being a busy working mom and only being able to feed a little bit of breastmilk made my supply suffer. Eventually, I made the decision to switch from supplementing with breastmilk to supplementing her medical formula with regular formula.
At first, I carried a lot of guilt about this. I wanted to give my daughter the best and I felt like I failed her or was somehow being selfish. With time, I began to understand that I WAS doing the best I could for Reagan and that there is no guilt in that.We live in an amazing time with many healthy options for our babies and I am grateful for that.
When my second child, Noah, was also born with PKU, I made the switch even earlier. We were moving, I had to go back to work sooner, I was juggling a life-consuming job as a theatre teacher with having two babies under two. Noah never had a great latch and every time was painful and frustrating. I had already come to accept that formula was a great option when breastfeeding just wasn’t a good fit for my family, so this time there was less guilt and more understanding that just as our babies grow and change, so do our families and our circumstances.
A Second Chance
Harrison, my third child, was the first born without PKU. Suddenly, my dream of exclusively breastfeeding became a reality. For the first six months of his life, Harrison was fed only breastmilk. Here’s the thing though, being a working mom is hard. Now, I know that there are all sorts of laws in place to protect working mothers and give them the opportunities they need for pumping, but that does not mean that it is easy.
For four months after returning to work, I dutifully took my pump to work and pumped twice a day. I wanted to make sure that I was doing the best I could for my baby. It didn’t take long for me to notice that I was never going to be able to keep up with his daily intake . . . and if you’ve ever breastfed, you know what that means. My supply started dwindling until it was no longer worth it to bring my pump to work with me and spend my entire prep period and an hour after school stuck in the girls dressing room. I knew that 6 months was going to be my limit, so I started making the transition.
After three kids and three very different feeding experiences, I learned a few things about formula feeding that maybe don’t get the attention they deserve.
#1: Formula is not an all or nothing choice
Plenty of breastfeeding mamas choose to supplement with formula. Whether it’s a lifestyle choice (like it was for me) or driven from a health need, you don’t have to choose a side in the mommy wars here. Continuing to breastfeed while also supplementing with formula is a completely valid choice and there are multiple ways of doing this. With Reagan, she finished her prescribed amount of formula and then “topped off” with breastmilk (most supplementing moms will do this in reverse). With Harrison, I kept evening and nighttime feedings at the breast because it was easier, but used formula during the day.
#2: Not all formulas are equal
There are so many different options out there and they all serve different needs. I was concerned when I started seeing things like “corn syrup solids” listed as the first ingredient on many popular formulas. A great choice for moms concerned about these kinds of ingredients is Happy Baby Stage 2 Organic Infant Formula. I first learned about the Happy Baby brand when Reagan was a baby and they had so many organic baby food options that Reagan could actually eat! I quickly began seeking out Happy Baby products whenever I could. Happy Baby has a whole list of ingredients they DON’T include in their formula and first on that list is corn syrup solids.
#3: You will still bond with your baby
While breastfeeding does offer an incredible bond between mother and child, it isn’t the only way to bond with your child. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting with my feet up, snuggling my little man with a bottle and seeing how he looks at me like I’m the greatest person in the world. All three of my children have been fed formula and I have an incredible and unique bond with each one of them.
#4: Not your Grandma’s (or mother’s) formula
The research and development in the area of infant formula has come such a long way. Today’s formulas include so much more nutrition to help the changing needs of babies than formulas of the past. Popular additions to formulas today include DHA for healthy brain development and prebiotics to help with digestion, and calcium, folic acid and other vitamins and minerals found in breastmilk. Happy Baby Stage 2 Organic Infant Formula includes all of this and more to make sure that your baby is are getting what he or she needs to thrive. Plus, have you ever heard about how breastmilk changes as your baby ages to meet new developmental needs? Happy Baby modeled their infant formula after breastmilk and that’s why they offer Stage 2 starting at 6 months.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Happy Baby Stage 2 Organic Infant Formula.
#5: Formula feeding can offer flexibility
Breastfeeding Harrison was a wonderful experience. It truly is amazing how our bodies can provide nourishment for our children. However, modern life can be overwhelming and the endless cycle of feeding and pumping can wear you down. Formula gives you options. Your partner can help with more feedings (without you having to pump to maintain supply), baby can easily eat on the go, and as a working mom, after awhile, I needed another option. I am so grateful that I can continue to provide the best for my kids, both by working to support our family and through providing excellent nutrition.
Did You Know?
I firmly believe that moms should offer love and support for each other however our parenting choices may differ. Did you know that Happy Baby offers free expert feeding advice online? You can chat in real-time with lactation specialists and Cornell-Certified nutritionists (who are all moms themselves!) when you need help solving your feeding problems or answering any questions you may have.
Get the help you need today by clicking here and scrolling down.
Whatever way you choose to feed your baby, know that there are moms that would love to share their advice and their stories. Tell us in the comments below what choices you made for feeding your little ones.