After a long 70 months of breastfeeding and a very quick 4 months of exclusive formula feeding, I’ve come to a conclusion.
The euphoria was almost instantaneous. I had communicated with my midwives from day one that this baby would be a formula fed baby. I wrote it clearly in my birth plan and communicated it to staff when I met for my care plan meeting. .When I wrote When Breast Isn’t Best, I had contemplated hybrid feeding, but as I got close to the end of my 4th pregnancy, while desperately trying to wean my 3.5 year old, I knew it was time to say “f*ck this sh*t” and go all in with formula feeding.
I found it extremely disheartening that there was so little when it came to good, evidence-based information out there! And even harder to find a supportive mom community to ask real questions. On one hand, I have my crunchy moms who question WHY would I not be breastfeeding or ideas how to pump and bottle feed or how once baby was here, I would change my mind.
Thanks Karen, but as per my previous 70 months (yes you read that right) of exclusively breastfeeding 2 kids who NEVER took a bottle, I’m good.
But the “woo-free” groups were even more harsh. I had my personal page trolled with a fine-tooth comb and was called out and the evidence I was sharing related to efficacy of diets discredited because years ago I made lactation cookies. What. The. Actual. Hell ?! (Important to know – these cookies were from 2016 and I’ve learned quite a bit since then).
I leaned on my sister for tips about which bottles (glass!), sanitizing equipment (Dr. Brown’s microwave bags!) and used up every free sample I was given before deciding on a brand.
It turns out that Pharaoh’s tummy doesn’t agree with iron-added formulas, so we buy the store brand low iron option (President’s Choice or Parent’s Choice). I tend to prep 32 ounces all at once using my Dr. Brown’s Formula Pitcher and find it easy to heat up a bottle at a time with hot water in a bowl. I was tempted by a Baby Brezza but learned that it can actually inaccurately mix your bottles and screw up the concentration of the formula. The simple pitcher option works well instead. Do I have days where I am less than organised and literally mix every bottle individually throughout the day (after I frantically wash it!) – absolutely. But overall, it’s not so bad.
But what did I really learn in these short 4 months of Pharaoh’s life? That I really, really hated breastfeeding. Even though I find formula feeding more time intensive (in terms of prep/cleaning/warming), I wish I had never breastfed my older kids. The attachment and enjoyment I feel this time cannot be compared. The “magic” most breastfeeding advocates and lactivists describe from chest-feeding only existed with my baby I am formula feeding. I’m engaged. I don’t resent having to spend time feeding him. I am genuinely enjoying him. I am so glad over the last 3 or so years I have found the confidence to listen to my needs and honour them.
I know this is an important story. There is one person reading this right now who doesn’t want to breastfeed – this is your official permission to say “no” and carry on with your parenting guilt-free. Trust me, coming from a woman who didn’t wean a kid until he was nearly 38 months after I wanted to, formula is a damn good choice.