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As a mom who formula-fed three kids, and would likely formula-feed future children, when I came across a post on the World's Most OK Mum blog proclaiming that formula-feeding is "bloody brilliant," I felt like I could have written it myself.
As I scrolled through this mom's points, I found I agreed with most of them. Because for many of us, yes, bottle-feeding with formula is the best, easiest choice that works for our babies, and for us. No matter how many people tell us how horrible we are for not breastfeeding.
Consider these reasons why formula-feeding rocks:
1. You get a little more time to be a person.
After 9 months of pregnancy, of course you want to cuddle and bond with your baby as much as possible! You worked hard for these moments! But in my experience, you also need time to heal, recoup, and figure out who you are again, without a baby hanging off your body every second.
2. You may experience a much-needed confidence boost.
For me, early breastfeeding failures only served to "feed" into my false belief that I was doing everything wrong as a new mom. Once I switched to formula, I had more time and space to breathe, and tackle all the challenges that come along with having a newborn. I stopped beating myself up, and fell into a groove that was beneficial for my little one, and me. I truly credit formula-feeding with saving me from falling into a deep, postpartum depression. So even as I was reminded time and time again that "breast is best," for me, it wasn't. Ultimately, a depressed mom isn't best for anyone in the family.
3. You can formula-feed your baby anywhere, anytime.
Without having to worry about covering up, or getting shamed for breastfeeding. Of course, there will always be those formula-feeding shamers, so as moms, we really can never win, right?
4. Other family members can get in on the feeding fun.
That includes husbands and older siblings. When you have multiple children, this is not only a huge help for you, but a great opportunity for others to bond with the newest member of the pack. It's also sometimes essential to get help feeding your baby when you have a large family. I have literally had my oldest daughter give her little sister a bottle in the car en route to school. But guess what? Everyone was happy because the baby got fed, my big girl loved helping, and I didn't lose my mind agonizing that I wouldn't get a chance to breastfeed a screaming newborn for another 20 minutes.
5. It saves you a lot of worry.
When I was breastfeeding my first daughter early on, I didn't know how much breast milk she was getting. As she had been born with very bad jaundice, this was a big problem. Her condition worsened in the days following her birth, and so did my level of stress. But then, a nurse suggested I supplement with formula until her jaundice cleared up, and although I resisted at first, when I gave her a bottle, I felt a sense of calm come over me. Now I knew how much she was getting, and I could relax into new motherhood, and truly enjoy that amazing time in our lives.
6. You can avoid the scary breast pump!
File breast pumps under my biggest fears in life. Even after the discomfort of giving birth, I found my nipple getting vacuum-sucked into a loud, croaking machine far more terrifying. If I never had to get hooked up to a breast pump, I'd be A-OK with that!
7. You limit the amount of time you have to wear breast pads.
Because as any mom who let her milk supply dry up knows, at first, there will be leaky boobs to contend with. But after a week or so, you may start to see your old breasts again, or at least hints of them.
8. You don't have to obsess over your diet.
I've had friends who are not only 10 times hungrier while breastfeeding than when they were pregnant, but who also spend a fair amount of time Googling what they can and can't eat now that they're nursing. Furthermore, in my case, I have not eaten meat in 20 years, and experience problems digesting dairy, so my diet is limited as it is. For anyone who, like me, has certain dietary restrictions, breastfeeding can present even more challenges.
9. You get to sharpen your debate skills.
I add this point tongue-in-cheek, but really, when you formula-feed your baby, everyone will ask you why you aren't breastfeeding, from your mom to your neighbor. I found myself defending my choice for years, until I finally just learned to shut everyone out, and do what works best for me. Sure, sometimes I still like to remind people who criticize me that my kids don't get sick any more often than breastfed kids, nor do they have any allergies, and they are good students, who also, believe it or not, are very attached to me. But in the end, we as formula-feeding moms don't have to justify our decision to anyone.
Important footnote: This post in no way is meant to shame breastfeeding moms. I applaud their choice to breastfeed their babies. In case that's not clear enough, please understand I have no problem with breastfeeders in any way! Breastfeeding just hasn't been for me, and I think it's only fair to speak out on behalf of those moms who prefer to formula-feed for any, and all reasons.
Another footnote, to, well, note: I get that being a mom isn't about choosing what's easier. But I find it hilarious that anyone could accuse a formula-feeding mom of taking the easy way out. Many of us had difficult pregnancies and labors, and just like breastfeeding moms, will spend our lives putting our children first in countless and thankless ways.
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.