It was a choice I felt sure of after talking to my doctor, my husband, and my family. I knew the benefits of breastfeeding & The Momma nursed me. But we chose formula for our little boy & I am thrilled to say that he (not surprisingly) thrived & turned into a healthy, smart little boy.
While there is no doubt in my mind that “breast is nutritionally best,” I must give encouragement to those who decide to feed with formula by pointing out that my kiddo is a perfect weight, has zero health problems, has 20% better hearing than his peers, & didn’t catch his first real cold until his second year of life. And I bonded with him beautifully. Any future babies will also be exclusively formula fed, as I will be on a very powerful medication to help ward off postpartum psychosis. (A quick note here that the medication I will be on is NOT an antidepressant, some of which can be safe for breastfeeding mothers. So please don’t view breastfeeding as a reason to not seek postpartum mood disorder help. That’s my PSA, over & out.)
As a formula feeder, I’m pretty equipped with the tools needed, both emotional & equipment-wise. First, pick a good bottle. Choose one that is comfortable in your hand & that doesn’t leak. (It’s best to ask fellow moms for their recommendations!) While some folks will tell you that small 4oz bottles are pointless, I really liked having them on hand for the first few months; they were just easier to handle when only feeding 3oz of milk. Plus, as the kiddo grew, his “snack” bottles were still under 4oz, & those smaller bottles left more space in the diaper bag. We always handwashed bottles (oh, the monotony!) & then sterilized them in the microwave, but most bottles are dishwasher safe. Then pick a good bottle “routine.” We never offered cold or warm bottles – always room-temperature to ensure that Harrison would take the formula on the go.
I was never a fan of premixing formula, as it is powdered gold & a part of me died every time we had to toss it out. Instead, I kept bottles of room-temperature water, then used a formula dispenser to dump in the measured amount. Shake, shake, shake & let the bubbles sit, then feed. This was a great routine for night. We kept the bottles of premeasured water & dispensers with premeasured formula beside the glider, & I simply mixed it at 3am. Get ready to spend money. Formula is expensive & your grocery bill will triple. You will throw a party the day your baby drinks his last bottle. The end.
For the emotional aspect, gear up. It all depends on the culture of the “mom community” you live in & your family’s opinions. Some folks come from communities that are very supportive of bottle-feeding mothers, but if you aren’t so lucky, simply close your eyes & repeat “I’m feeding my baby.” That woman at the park that gives you the stink-eye for shaking up a bottle? Ignore her. You’re feeding your baby. The mom at daycare that loudly declares that any formula-feeding mother is selfish? Ignore her. You’re feeding your baby. The pediatrician judges your decision? Find a new one. The inappropriate questions at work on how your baby takes to the breast? File a report with Human Resources. So pour some water, shake it up, & feed your baby.