Mommyhood, Parenting

Why I Chose to Exclusively Formula Feed

Why I chose to exclusively formula feed

Sorry in advance that this will be an unusually long post but I felt compelled to share my breastfeeding story with other women out there who, at times, may feel as though they are judged because their child is formula fed.
I’ve touched a few times on that I, for the most part, exclusively formula fed my daughter

I wrote about it when I reviewed Similac formula and in the post Things I wish I’d known during pregnancy.
I wanted to be completely honest about my decision. I know that its a contentious subject and there are many accusations thrown around when a mother decide that perhaps, for her and her child, breast is not best.

You shouldn't feel guilty if the best option for you and your child is to formula feed. Click To Tweet

I went into my pregnancy knowing that I wanted to breastfeed. Frankly, I thought it would come easy and just be second nature. 

I didn’t for one moment consider that I would not be able to breastfeed.

 

From the moment my doctor placed Bridget on my chest I immediately turned to the nurse and told her I wanted to breastfeed her.
Those two days we spent in the hospital were a struggle. My daughter would not latch and if she by chance did latch, her latch wasn’t strong enough and she couldn’t get any colostrum out.
I tried various tactics.
I used a nipple shield, even though the lactation consultant advised me not to. It seemed to help her latch a bit better but her tongue & sucking was so weak and according to our nurse she had “tongue-tie”.
Tongue tie is a very common condition that is present at birth.
Its when the frenulum, a band of tissue that tethers the tongue to the floor of the mouth, is too tight and short and can affect how a child eats, speaks and breastfeeds.
The lactation consultant brought in a breast pump and this allowed me to expel some colostrum that I spoon fed to my baby so she could get some of the nutrients that are found in colostrum.
However it still wasn’t enough for my daughter, we spent the first day together crying. I felt so let down that I couldn’t get her to latch and that she was hungry.
Mr. Pepper stayed silent, nervous to say anything to me because I had been so adamant that we were going to breastfeed.

It was very frustrating when I requested formula and the nurse asked me many times if I was sure I wanted give her formula. At this point Bridget was 23 hours old and had not had much to eat. I realize at birth babies stomachs are about the size of a cherry. Their stomachs can only hold about 1 – 1.5 tsp of food. But I struggled to get any colostrum out that first day and she hadn’t had adequate successful feeds yet.
After giving my baby a bottle of formula she quieted down and I felt relaxed, I knew at that moment that I had done the right thing for my daughter. Mr. Pepper even piped in and told me that he had been nervous to suggest formula but was glad that I had made the right choice for our daughter.

 

Going home I thought would help, I’d feel less stressed and be able to get her to latch. The first few days I would spoon feed her the colostrum but also provide formula for her.


At her first doctor’s appointment our doctor examined her and confirmed she had a slight tongue tie and encouraged me to seek lactation help if I was wanting to breastfeed.
He has been supportive of my decision to formula feed, even letting me know that formula is so strictly regulated by the FDA

that according to him, has been proven there aren’t very many differences between breast milk and formula these days.
Once my milk came in I pumped for a couple of weeks but wasn’t producing enough to keep up with her milk consumption. At that point is when we went exclusively formula. We tried many different formulas but found that Similac Pro-Advance continues to be the best formula on the market, also available for sensitive tummies. You can read my review here.

One of my friends had a baby a few weeks after I had my daughter and she told me he latched immediately. I was happy for her, but I was also quite sad and frustrated that I hadn’t had that “aha” moment with my own child.
I think too many moms out there beat themselves up over not being able to breastfeed. I know that I cried many times because I felt unsupported, overwhelmed and stressed.

The decision to stick with formula has been criticized but I strongly believe

babies should never go hungry and mother’s should feel supported in their decision, whether it be formula or breast feeding.

healthy formula fed baby
Bridget is a happy, healthy and loved 11 month old
At her appointments my daughter continues to be in the upper percentiles for weight and growth and her doctor “couldn’t be happier” with her progress. I made a difficult choice when I switched to formula, the guilt stemming from the social stigma that “breast is best”. Having a baby that is fed and healthy is best.
I hope this helps anyone struggling with any guilt they feel.
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