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Bottles & Boobs: It's OK to Formula Feed!

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Guest blogger Jill Simonian: Ah, life with a newborn! Eat, poop, sleep, wash bottles ... then repeat. Yup, I said the nasty B-word: BOTTLE. Secret's out folks: I'm not breastfeeding, and I don't feel guilty at all.

baby drinking milk
I didn't always have this unwavering strength of opinion about the breastfeeding thing. From the beginning of my pregnancy through the day my little girl was delivered, women from all areas of my life asked me if I planned to breastfeed. Friends, relatives, doctors, nurses ... even a few strangers. It was an epidemic. Depending upon who the inquisitor was, I either said, "I'm thinking about it" or "Nope. I've never been into it." The latter answer was the truth; the former was the lie that shot out of my mouth to keep me from feeling guilty at the time.

Breastfeeding is a hot topic for new mothers, and frankly, I'm tired of everyone being so damn interested and judgmental about such a personal choice! That said, I acknowledge and respect the medical research that says breast milk is superior to formula. However, this did not change my decision. The bare truth is that the thought of breastfeeding makes me uncomfortable. I can't help it. Apparently, I am that immature. I could not imagine having my baby suck on my boobies.

I've also heard that it's painful. And that your breasts turn into deflated-tire-like globs and are never the same. For a gal who was flat-chested to begin with, these conditions sounded extra scary and intimidating ... and I wasn't interested in experiencing them firsthand. I know this might seem selfish, but sorry, that's how I feel. (You will not be shocked to find out that my mom did not breastfeed, either. Perhaps I've been subconsciously brainwashed about this subject?)

Even though I made up my mind well before heading to the hospital, the nurses got to me after delivery. Every time I answered the "Do you want us to send in the lactation coach" question with a polite "No thank you," I could feel their underlying disdain. I spent three days following the birth of my baby doubting my choice. I cried and cried. My husband thought I was nuts for questioning myself and told me to stick with my original plan if I was going to lose my mind over it (and he's a pediatric doctor, for God's sake).

Long story short, I caved, called in the lactation nurse and tried "pumping" as a compromise. (I still wasn't mentally ready to try breastfeeding directly.) To my surprise, pumping wasn't that bad; it didn't hurt and I actually found it fascinating to see what my body was capable of producing. I also felt politically correct about supplementing my baby's formula with what nature intended.

That positive attitude lasted exactly eight days. After a few episodes of painful engorgement, stained sports bras and minimal milk production, I opted to ice my chest and shut down the dairy factory before my throbbing little tatas exploded into a million pieces in the middle of the night. I'm glad I tried to change my initial opinion about breastfeeding, but it just didn't work. And I was now OK with it.

My question to myself (and you) is: As a grown woman, WHY had I felt that I needed to compromise my own personal comfort and make excuses to others in the first place? To those women who are at ease breastfeeding: More power to you! But it's not for all of us. I don't judge breastfeeding proponents; why should they judge me? I am exhausted from the ongoing and heated debates comparing breastfeeders to bottle feeders, and insinuating that women who do not breastfeed are uncompassionate mothers.

As women, we collectively cherish our freedom to shape our lifestyles, careers and families. Let each mom feed her baby however the heck she wants without passing judgment! As long as the baby is eating, he/she will be fine! My baby has been on the bottle for over a month now, and we are bonding, thriving and happy.

To my fellow formula-feeders: Don't ever feel guilty about what you're comfortable with, and don't let any walking milk makers boss you around.

next: Could Frisky Behavior Run in the Family?
129 comments so far | Post a comment now
Jen December 8, 2010, 11:20 AM

Just an FYI…..the formula companies are laughing all the way to the bank…..and you’re just making them rich. Formula feeding moms probably don’t care about that fact, but I’ll say this, the formula companies don’t particularly care about our children either. They are mighty rich because they produce a mighty convenient alternative. The pediatricians give u free formula because they get kick backs too. The blogger of this topic probably got a kickback too. Who knows? But you’re just a contributor. Just as the drug companies get rich off of harmful drugs….formula companies are the same type of jerks. Capitalizing on our health.

But let’s be honest. Decades ago, formula companies had almost everyone believing that breastfeeding was unsanitary and that’s why they should formula feed. Now they can’t get away with that lie so they use the biggest lie of all, that it’s almost as good as breast milk. You’re allowing them to get one ovwr on you…..and u feed into it by proudly admitting that you formula feed. Breastfeeding is obviously not unsanitary, otherwise so would giving birth and having intimacy with your husband. So don’t believe them when advertisement says “as good as mommy’s milk”. Soda companies don’t care about our health, tobacco companies, McDonald’s..etc,…..I can go on and on. Just don’t fool yourself and certainly don’t fool others. Let other moms make a decision without having to hear “it’s okay, we all do it. Look at our children, they are healthy” that’s so misleading and honestly, thoughtless of you. Like they say, Misery Loves Company. You don’t want to be the only fool doing it. Let the foolishness end!

response to Katie December 8, 2010, 12:03 PM

Katie says the only difference between Formula & Breastmilk is money…….it sure is, but not for the reasons you think. You seem to think that if you feed formula, you’re wealthier than the breastfeeders. Many, many years ago, that was the case. In fact, back then you were considered lower class if you breastfed because only the rich people could afford formula….and they all had to keep up with the Jones’. Now-a-days, it’s the other way around. The majority of people formula feed because it’s free for many. WIC is giving it away to those below a certain income limit or those that lie about their income. Those unfortunate moms choose formula because it’s free and they are not educated enough on how to breastfeed successfully.

Back in the days when everyone breastfed, it was easier because you always had someone to walk you through and it was something that was done out in the open. Now, the only other way to learn is by educating yourself by reading books and other resources. Or asking questions to the right people. That’s what you call being educated. so if you’re breastfeeding….applaud yourself because you did what it takes to learn and you went against the current unhealthy norm. If you formula feed, you’re not stupid, you just didn’t educate yourself properly. You took the easy route.

So I say to Katie, the breastfeeders are the wealthy ones….not because of money, but because of education. That’s what we’re really dealing with here.

It’s not a put down, I’m simply debating with someone who was silly enough to mention that if you use formula, you have money. Silly, silly… doesn’t cost anything.

Look around at who’s formula feeding. Look around at who’s breastfeeding…….you can easily see the difference in education. Sorry to say it, but see for yourself.

Me December 8, 2010, 12:29 PM

Wonderful article. I didn’t breastfeed my two children for various reasons. I felt so judged anytime I got out a bottle and received ridiculously rude comments by other moms about my choice. Having a new baby is hard enough, we don’t need to be judged by others if we don’t breastfeed. Everyone has their own circumstances and reasons. Often times breastfeeding does not work due to medications that the mom is taking and there aren’t any other “safe” alternatives. Often times women who have been raped do not feel comfortable breastfeeding. Also breastfeeding isn’t always a success… not all babies latch on and take well to breastfeeding. There are many, many other possible understandable reasons and by no means should anyone not breastfeeding be made to feel inadequate as a parent for using formula.

Sari December 8, 2010, 12:41 PM

If breat feeding moms were so happy they wouldn’t feel so insecure to the point that they need to comment and attack on an article that has zero to do with their choice.

karin December 8, 2010, 12:54 PM

All of you need to count your blessings and stop putting the formula people down. It makes you sound ignorant (even though you think you are smart) and like an opinionated, my way or the highway type that is intolerant. I am 63. All my life, I wanted to have children. I could not, and I went to some extremes to have one. I tried before IVF-not sure I could have afforded it if it was available. Whether you breast feed or formula feed, you are so blessed to have your children. My best friend breast fed for a long time and her child turned into a drug addict and alcoholic and used to cut herself. It doesn’t solve everything. Michelle Duggar who has 19 kids, was giving her preemie (1 lb. 12 oz) pumped breast milk and her intestines ulcerated. Eventually they found out the breast milk was hurting the child, and it wasn’t thriving-she was allergic to it…so she went to formula. Sometimes, people do what is right for them, and you nosey Nellies just pay attention to your own kids. Remember how lucky you are to have them, no matter how you fed them.

CosmoGirl December 8, 2010, 12:54 PM

OMG Shut up!!! It’s not your child so why the f*ck does it matter to any of you? Go pay attention to your own families and leave these women alone! As long as they’re not abusing and neglecting their kids and those kids are healthy and happy, what does it matter?

God, some of you women make me sick and ashamed to call you fellow mothers!

Whatever happened to “It takes a village to raise a child?”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. At this time we need each others support, not criticism!

Anonymous December 8, 2010, 3:43 PM

Formula is great

Lidia December 8, 2010, 6:25 PM

To Jill Simonian (blogger), I hate to break it to ya, but your breasts will stiil be floppy without the breastfeeding. It’s pregnancy that causes most of the floppiness due to the milk production & growth in the first place. The feeding doesn’t make much of a difference. So many mothers believe breastfeeding is the culprit, but it’s really not. Ask all these formula feeding moms…they’ll tell u…..and then add aging to that.

Btw…..breastfeeding is not politically correct, it’s humanly correct ;)

KS December 8, 2010, 8:17 PM

Ok, that’s great. I think we can all agree that it’s best when babies are fed. What I don’t get is this insane need some women have to defend their parenting choices. It’s your choice and for the record in a few more years NOBODY will care. Not even you.

chit chat December 8, 2010, 9:39 PM

We will always care. If we cared 100 years ago, we will care 100 years from now. Babies are everyone’s concern.

Anonymous December 8, 2010, 9:43 PM

Formula = yuck!!!

So sad for babies! (sigh)

response to Sari December 8, 2010, 9:54 PM

Sari, it has everything to do with us. Re-read it. It’s all a big complaint about being guilted about breastfeeding. Who’s the insecure one?

Be more concerned about my child’s happiness than mine. I can tell you we’re both quite happy here as we’re bonding right this very moment as she’s suckling at her heart’s content. Then I look forward to seeing the satisfied look on her face as she nods off and all I see is her angelic face as my boob has been depleted of it’s life giving milk. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

anonymous December 8, 2010, 9:57 PM

CosmoGirl,you’re so vulgar. You must be one of the pissed off formula feeding moms that make themselves feel inadequate by reading these comments.

anonymous December 8, 2010, 10:07 PM

….and I’m sure everyone in that village used to breastfeed!

Bob December 8, 2010, 11:24 PM

If you are that immature that you refer to your breasts as boobies and tatas, maybe you shouldn’t be having children. Adoption is a great alternative. You may want to consider doing a bit of reading on the evolution of humans. It’s extremely selfish and narrow minded to think that you have risen about the natural order of life!

Oh vey! Bob, Bob, Blob December 8, 2010, 11:49 PM

Okay I’m an avid breastfeeder and I’m not fond of this blogger for being so darned dense, but, uhh, come on Bob, there’s nothing wrong with calling our breasts names such as boobies and tatas. It’s all in fun. Let’s not take ourselves too seriously. These formula moms may not be well informed, but don’t be so rigid on something so minute. Sounds like you have a little evolving to do yourself. Let me guess, you don’t even say “pee pee” or “poo poo” either….wow, what a load of bowel movements!!

LoL! But I know what you meant. This young lady has a lot to learn about what our bodies are meant for. Maybe she’s going to put her vag on strike because it’s too icky for her to tolerate her child passing through it.

Sari December 9, 2010, 5:30 AM

Response to Sari - Wrong - go back and re-read. the only part that concerns your type (not breastfeeders, just those so insecure with their choice they feel the need to criticize/pressure others). YOUR type feel for some reason only they hold the keys to motherhood and if others choose not to raise their children in the EXACT same fashion they are doing it wrong. Sorry sweetie, but my formula fed babies I will guarantee are not only healhty than yours but also happier because I’m not so upset with my choices that I have to run around in get in other folks’ business.

Ella December 9, 2010, 5:43 AM

My persona experience - My first baby was exclusively breastfed - always sick, never slept through the night and I felt less than bonded with him due to the breast feeding. He always seem hungry and not content. It breaks my heart when I think about how I forced myself to breast feed because it was allegedly “best” when my baby was clearly unhappy. At 7 months I changed him over to formula and the world CHANGED. He was gaining more weight, started sleeping, no more bellyaches or ear infections. It was amazing.

My second and third - both formula fed from the start. They were never sick, more alert during the day, slept through the night at 6 and 8 weeks, and I was able to truly bond and connect with them immediately since there wasn’t this constant invasion of my body. Plus, my husband could do night feedings allowing him a better bonding experience.

Every mother is free to make her own choice - neither is better than the other. I just think its ridiculous that ANY mother would comment negatively on how another mom chooses to feed her babies. None of the formula feeding moms seems to be concerned with breast feeders, but breast feeders seem so insecure and immature to me - they need to criticize others in order to validate their choice. If you are confident in what you are doing why on earth do you care what others do?

Amysbabies December 9, 2010, 10:12 AM

I feel badly for the poster and even worse for her child. Why do women not realize that breastfeeding is as much about a relationship with your baby as it is about nutrition. Breastfeeding is essential and anything else is majorly inferior. You come across as selfish- but to me I just think, “What a shame! She is missing out on so much and so is her baby!” Breastfeeding your child is something that some people have to work on, but in life most good things come to those who are willing to work hard. If moms would just give it a couple months and find support and information- I bet they’d stick with it for a year or more. Jesus most likely breastfed until He was three years old.

Laura December 9, 2010, 10:16 AM

breastfeeding is as much about a relationship with your baby

Um I guess dads can’t have a reltionship because they can’t breastfeed? Ridiculous statement above.

If you need to breastfeed in order to have a relationship with your child you’re in big trouble.

I breast feed, but these women posting about it are embarassing and just plain wrong.

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