Dear person who thinks the moms who are having trouble finding formula should just breastfeed,
I hear you. I mean why on earth would a mom NOT take advantage of breastfeeding? Duhh, it’s free. Plus, if you breastfeed you never have to go out in the middle of the night to buy formula. Or deal with mixing it, washing bottles, heating it up, or shaking it too much and giving your baby gas. Like all you have to do to breastfeed is pop out a boob and voila, dinner is served. Formula is expensive, and pain in the neck. Breastfeeding is a no-brainer, right?
For some people.
And then there are people like me.
When Zoey was born, we were in the hospital for 6 days. She was breech, I had placenta accreta, they heard a heart murmur, yada yada yada. Anyways, it meant we stayed for a few extra days. Which also meant they noticed she was losing weight. She was sucking, there just wasn’t anything coming out. That’s when the doctor uttered a word to me I didn’t want to hear. Formula.
I was devastated. My whole life I knew I was going to breastfeed. There was no way I was going to give up.
But there was also no way I was going to let my baby go hungry.
So I used a supplemental nursing system. It’s where this itty-bitty flexible tube is taped to your nipple and the baby latches onto you “like” they’re nursing, but formula is fed through the tube. It was horrible and amazing both at the same time. Zoey was fed the nutrients she needed and I felt like I was breastfeeding. But it was harrrd. And not fun at all. This went on for a day or two until my milk came in and I was finally able to breastfeed her without formula.
Cut to my second baby, Holden. When Holden was born, breastfeeding went much better. Except for the fact that he puked down my shirt half the time. But it went okay. Messy but okay. And boy did he have just the cutest little tushy you’ve ever seen. It was super tiny and wrinkly, and I thought it was adorable, until I found out why it looked like that. Because he wasn’t gaining enough weight. WTF?!!!!
Here I was doing EVERYTHING my body could do to nourish my baby, but it wasn’t enough. And that’s when Holden’s pediatrcian (a different doctor than Zoey’s) said that “bad” word to me again. Formula.
This time I didn’t fight it. With a lot of work and frustration, my hubby finally got Holden to take a bottle, and between the breastfeeding and the formula, he quickly started gaining weight. I tried pumping when I went back to work, but I can’t tell you how fast I dried up. I’d hook up to my breast pump and I’d get maybe an ounce. Mayyybe. But I’ll tell you what, I could have filled those bottles with my tears. It was awful.
I was a mom who wanted to breastfeed more than anything, but there were hurdles I couldn’t get over without a little help. I used formula with Zoey. I used formula with Holden.
Formula is AMAZING.
Whether you’re using it before breastfeeding, after breastfeeding, in addition to breastfeeding, or instead of breastfeeding, it is absolutely incredible that we have brilliant scientists who have worked tirelessly to create a magical drink that can give babies what they need to thrive.
So when I hear about moms who can’t get formula and are searching desperately to find it, my heart breaks for them. Many of them already feel horrible because their bodies can’t provide enough for their babies. Or their jobs don’t allow them to. Or they just don’t have it in them.
And when I hear someone like you tell them they should just breastfeed, well, I don’t think you know WTF you’re talking about. There is no such thing as “just breastfeeding” for many women. Breastfeeding is hard, challenging, painful, depressing, and sometimes impossible. And quite often, formula is not a choice someone makes. It’s the only option. An option we are VERY lucky to have.
So I’m guessing you’re one of two kids of people. Someone who never breastfed and doesn’t know diddly squat about it. Or someone who did breastfeed and was lucky enough to be able to do it successfully. So instead of questioning these women, I suggest you either keep your mouth shut or start using it to call grocery stores in your area to look for formula and see if you can help these women out. Because your judgement is the last thing they need right now.
A mom who fed her babies. Period.
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