Formula, Other Chaos

Why I supplement with Formula (even though I don’t have to)

I have now been breastfeeding my daughter for 9 whole months, but not exclusively. I constantly supplement with formula by choice. I make plenty of milk!… okay I’m actually a “just enougher”, I don’t have the elusive freezer stash and I barely have time to start a load of laundry, never mind pump. When I get the rare nugget of time to pump, I don’t get very much.

I see so many Mothers that put a great amount of pressure on themselves to exclusively breastfeed. They drink tea, eat lacation cookies, take supplements, and sometimes even put breastfeeding before their mental health. Of course breastfeeding is much cheaper than formula, but I wish mothers knew it doesn’t have to be all or nothing!

Read on for the reasons I supplement with formula even though I have enough milk!

If you want to read in depth about the history of baby formula here are a few links I found very informative,in short its been around for years and has really come a long way.

And now to the good stuff..

I don’t want to be the only one able to feed the baby

After 3 weeks of exclusive breastfeeding I was exhausted and counting down the days until I could give my daughter a bottle. I kept hearing “4-6 weeks” and all this stuff about nipple confusion.My nipples were sore, I had barely slept since the night I gave birth, and I was on the brink of a breakdown. The feeling of “its all me” started to bring a sense of dread and entrapment. Once I introduced the bottle it was like a whole new found freedom of motherhood, which brings me to my next point..

I’m too touched out/ don’t have time to pump

After nursing all day sometimes I just feel touched out. The last thing I want is to do listen to a whirring machine pump milk out of my breast to make me feel like a cow, and sometimes I don’t even have time to pump. By the time I set up all the parts and turn it on, my baby is crying, one of my dogs starts barking outside, or a cooking timer goes off. If I get a chance to pump uninterrupted at night, I am lucky to get 1-2 oz. Of course over time this will add up but if you are “saving” for a big event and constantly dipping into your stash its hard to keep up.

I remember trying to build a freezer stash before going back to work. I would pump every night and get 1-2 ounces, but then one of my parents would come up and babysit so my husband and I could go out, an event would come up I needed to bring a bottle to, or I would just want a well deserved drink. I would stress at my ever so dwindling freezer supply and have to constantly remind myself, this is why they make formula, Chrissy!

Actual photo of my dwindling freezer stash

I’m not comfortable breastfeeding in public

Seriously, props to the women who whip it out in public to feed their babies, you are unsung heroes in normalizing breastfeeding! But I am just genuinely not comfortable feeding in public.. or really in front of anyone for that matter. Eventually I was comfortable in front of friends that are also nursing but I still couldn’t do it on a park bench or in a store. I used to be able to use a nursing cover when my daughter was very little, but as she got older it became a giant distraction for her and I found it was a pain to wrestle with.. so then I started bringing bottles (of formula) and suddenly being out with a baby wasn’t so bad anymore! I didn’t have to nurse in the back of my SUV, no wrestling with bra straps, and if I was with someone, they could feed her too.

Grocery store pre-game

Bottom Line

Breastfeeding can save you tons of money, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and I wish I could tell this to new mothers everywhere. You can nurse your baby and give a bottle or you can just give your baby a bottle. Nursing is hard work and is basically a full time job.. just like motherhood without the vacations and sick days. You are entitled to a break even at the possible expense of your milk supply. The feeling of “all you” on your feeding journey can take a toll on your mental health and that is not good for you or baby. Remember that formula exists for a reason and mothers have been using it for years. However you feed, you will at some point hit their head getting them in the carseat, and they will still lick the table. What matters is that your baby is fed and both of you are happy!

Remember, “your kids don’t need a perfect Mom, they need a happy one”

So if you never breastfed, breastfed and it wasn’t right for you, or you combo feed, you are a great mother and your baby is lucky to have you!

-Chrissy Falkenham

About the Author

My name is Chrissy and I am a Stay at Home Mom in New Hampshire to 9-month-old Meadow, two rescue dogs, and a cat. When I’m not blogging or managing chaos you can find me on a hike with my family, cooking something good, or enjoying a craft beer!

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