Why I Chose Not to Breastfeed

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I blogged about our decision to not breastfeed when I was pregnant with Bean and I hated doing it then. Just like I hate doing it now. Man, do I avoid this topic like the plague. There’s so much judgment and advice and controversy around it that it makes me want to just hide in a hole. But I chose to blog about it before and I’m choosing to blog about it again because I feel like any educated decision you make as a parent is a good decision, whether you choose what I chose or you choose something else. Just the fact that you researched it, talked about it with your partner, and came up with the right decision for YOUR family makes it the right decision. And what I’ve found out choosing not to breastfeed is that there just isn’t a whole lot of information out there on what that option is all about. So, I’m choosing to give our reasons and our reasoning simply to put the information out there. It isn’t a judgment call, I’m not telling you that it’s the right thing for your family, I’m not making some statement about women or parenting or family dynamics or whatever. This is simply to show what our family went through to make the decision.

I said all of this two years ago when I posted about it and I still got a lot of harsh feedback. And I understand that. A lot of people feel much more strongly about this issue than I do and so their passion comes through in their remarks. But I’m going to ask that before you leave a comment on this post, you think long and hard about who is going to read it. There are thousands of people who read this blog and I don’t say that to toot my own horn. I say that so you realize how many people your comments will reach. And those people all come from very different walks of life. Some of them won’t physically be able to breastfeed and they can’t help that decision. Some of them have adopted children and aren’t able to breastfeed. Some of them have had traumatic experiences that makes the process of nursing seem overwhelming and painful. Some of them are new moms who are just trying to find the right path for their young families. So while I encourage comments that give information or share experiences about both the decision to breastfeed or the decision to not, I will not tolerate comments left with a harsh tone. Disagree, agree, give more info – whatever you like. But do it with respect for other people’s decisions. If you wonder whether your response is too harsh to post, then please just email the response to me instead of posting it for all to see. This is a judgment free blog. Always has been, always will be. Especially when it comes to topics as sensitive and personal as this one.

Now, having said that, let’s get to the boobs. Er…the bottles.

 

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When it came to the decision for Chris and I as to whether I was going to breastfeed or not, there wasn’t even much of a discussion. Both of us were formula babies. Neither of us had too strong of an opinion on the subject. And so when we talked about it, I think it was really just a one conversation topic. There were several reasons we chose not to breastfeed. The first is, admittedly, pretty selfish. I am just about the most modest person I know and the thought of whipping my boob out – even in front of Chris – to feed my baby made me break out in hives. I should tell you that I have matured a bit in this area since having Bean and, especially, since having other friends who have breastfed their babies. I know that breastfeeding can be, and often is, very private and I know that just because you are nursing doesn’t mean you walk around with our boobies hanging out in public. But for me, personally, it was really uncomfortable to think about. Even the thought of just being alone by myself nursing make me a little squeamish. And while this certainly wasn’t a huge factor in the decision making process (I would have gotten over the modesty thing if I had to), it was definitely my first thought and the initial reason I started exploring the formula route.

 

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The second factor was much more of an issue and a bigger influence on our decision. I was going back to work relatively soon after I had Bean and I didn’t have the kind of job where I could just step out and pump if I needed to. My days and my schedule were unpredictable and, often, not very flexible. I know women I worked with who did pump while working and they did it successfully and without problems, so I’m certainly not saying it can’t be done. But my job schedule was a big factor in our decision. As the main source of income at that time in our family, I couldn’t really afford to have my job impacted by having a baby. I struggled with the guilt about this, too. Was I choosing my career over my baby’s health? But in the end, I decided that Bean would be getting all the nutrients that he needed from a bottle and that I was still providing for him by not compromising my good-paying job. I should mention here that it is illegal for employers to penalize you for taking maternity leave or the choices you make as a parent. And even without the legal stuff, I never truly worried about losing my job over something like having to step out and pump occasionally. My boss and company was very understanding and supportive of families. To me, it was more of an issue about being able to continue working at the same level of commitment I had before I had Bean. That was important to me.

 

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The biggest factor in our decision to use formula was Chris. By nature, Chris is a stand-offish person. If there are other people involved in the task, his tendency is to step back and just let them handle it. It’s not that he’s lazy, by any means. He just doesn’t really feel comfortable stepping up when others are staring at him. It was for this reason that we asked our family to give us the first week at home with Bean alone. I knew that if there was family around, Chris would have a hard time stepping up to diaper changes and feedings and holding the baby. He’d just stand back out of everyone’s way and neither of us wanted that during that critical bonding period. So, everyone left us alone for that first week at home and Chris was able to be as hands on as he wanted to be.

 

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If I had chosen to breastfeed, Chris would have wholeheartedly supported that decision, but he would have also unconsciously chosen to step out of that whole part of parenting. I don’t blame him for that. I don’t judge him for that. I don’t love him any less for that. It’s just part of his personality. And I wanted him to be part of the process. When I was first pregnant with Gracie, I was going to the health department for my prenatal visits because I was unemployed and uninsured. When one of the nurses asked why I didn’t breastfeed Bean, I explained simply that I wanted Chris to be more involved. I didn’t go into detail or talk about the finer workings of his personality. I just made a short little statement that we wanted him to be just as involved as I was. And she said to me, “Let him change the dirty diapers. That’s how husbands are supposed to be involved in the process.” I was horrified and, though I realized her statement wasn’t a reflection of the thought process of all women, it just confirmed to me the reason why Chris’s involvement in feedings were so important to me.

 

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I didn’t want him to miss out on any part of parenting. I didn’t want Bean to miss out on having that bonding time with his Daddy. I didn’t want Chris to default to clean up crew while I shared something so private with Bean that Chris couldn’t be part of. Parenting to me is communal in our family. There are very few experiences that Chris or I have with Bean that the other isn’t able to be a part of. And I know that as he gets older, we will probably start to value one-on-one events with Bean, but as a new family, a young family, we made it a priority that we were going to learn how to do this completely together. And, for us, that’s what formula feeding helped us to do. It put Chris and I on the same page with Bean. I had no frustrations that Chris couldn’t understand. He had no experiences that I couldn’t help him through. We were experiencing the same things at the same time together. And I love that formula feeding gave us that opportunity to grow together as a family.

 

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The only hesitation that I had about not breastfeeding Bean had nothing to do with his health. I never worried about nutrients or if he was getting what he needed to grow up big and strong. There is no doubt in my mind that breastfeeding provides the most nutrients for babies. I’m not stupid enough to deny that. But I feel like formula wouldn’t be an option offered by the medical community if it wasn’t safe and healthy for Bean and so the health aspect of the decision didn’t weight any heavier for me than any other aspect. Good thing, too, because in the end, I have a healthy, happy toddler who doesn’t seem to be the least bit impacted by whether or not he had formula.

 

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The most significant part of breastfeeding to me was the bonding that you always hear about. I worried so much that if I bottle fed, Bean would grow up to be distant and aloof around me for the rest of his life. I pictured him shaking my hand instead of giving me hugs and kisses before bedtime. I wanted to be as close to this baby as I could be. That was so important to me. And so my biggest concern about bottle feeding was the lack of bonding with him.

 

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I cannot lie. At times, I felt like because I hadn’t nursed, Bean was closer to Chris than me. I still sometimes wonder about how different our relationships might be if I had breastfed. Chris and Bean are just so tight. So close. Bean doesn’t love him any more than he loves me, but he certainly adores his Daddy. And, it’s true. That could be because I didn’t nurse him. Or it could be because I had a c-section and so it was Chris who did most of the caregiving during those critical first few weeks. Or it could be because I’m the disciplinary in our house and Chris is the goofy one. Or it could be because Bean thinks Chris is cool. Or it could be his age. Or it could be because they are boys and I’m a girl. Or it could be because Bean loves me so much that he knows I’ll always be there, so he makes more effort with Chris. Who knows! It could be anything! And it could change at any moment. But why would I want it to?

The fact that Chris and Bean are so bonded is exactly why we chose not to breastfeed. It was to make it all equal. There wasn’t anything that I had given Bean that Chris himself couldn’t have given him, too. And because of that, Bean has grown up knowing both his parents can provide for him. Knowing both his parents are head over heels in love with him. One parent never had any advantage over the other.

 

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Looking back, we had such a positive experience with formula. Bean slept for much longer periods of time than most breastfed babies I knew. He was sleeping in four hour chunks from the time he was born. Though many breastfeeding moms will disagree with me, I believe this was because formula feeding made it easier for me to tell if he was getting enough and so he stayed fuller longer. Because of this, we were able to get him on a schedule relatively quickly – which was good for everyone! Formula feeding also allowed Chris and I to take turns with nighttime feedings and some of our sweetest memories of Bean’s first few weeks at home were of sitting up with each other while one parent fed Bean. We all bonded during that period.

 

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It was definitely more expensive to bottle feed and it required a little more planning than nursing would have. We had to figure out how to warm bottles when we were out somewhere and we had all this extra crap we had to carry around, as opposed to nursing mommas who pretty much have their “equipment” with them at all times… But ultimately, it was a really positive experience for our whole family and I have no hesitations about doing it again with Grace.

So, those are our reasons for choosing to not breastfeed. It wasn’t because we were lazy or selfish or irresponsible. Even good parents make deliberate decisions sometimes that aren’t popular. For us, we had our own set of priorities that were important to our family and we made the best decision that helped us keep our priorities centered. For your family, maybe you have different priorities. Or maybe you have the same priorities, but you have a different way of achieving them. To each his own. I truly believe that. But when you make a decision to breastfeed or not, make it with all the confidence that you are doing what is right for your family. Don’t make it out of guilt or expectations. Really think hard about the priorities and values in your family, then research what choices are available to help you achieve those priorities and values, and then hold your head high. Whatever decision you make is the right decision.

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167 thoughts on “Why I Chose Not to Breastfeed

  1. You made the right choice and are not afraid to stand up for it, I admire that.

  2. I haven’t had my own kids yet, but have considered breastfeeding when I do. I was a formula baby, but definitely want to explore both options when that time comes. I think you wrote this so eloquently and gave some really great points to consider.

  3. Oh Katie! This made me cry! (I’m not even a mom, just a tad emotional today!) I love all of the reasons you chose to bottle-feed, and girl I totally support you! I have no clue what I will choose if and when the Lord provides me with a family, but I know I will remember this post!

    My mom choose to bottle feed all 5 of us children, and growing up I LOVED when I got the chance to help out mom and dad by feeding my little brother and sisters. It really did help us as a family work together and grow together.

    Also, coming from someone who worked in the infant room at a daycare for over 4 years…I LOVED bottle fed babies. Warming up breast milk(especially since it isn’t mine) had to be one of the grossest things ever! I can remember being as careful as ever to make sure that it did NOT spill!!

    Blessings as you continue to rest your back and prepare for the sweet little Gracie Girl!

    1. mamma8

      bit harsh saying human breast milk is “gross.” people readily drink milk from animals like cows. women have breasts for a reason and its not just so men can oggle. if they choose to deviate from nature, thats their “choice”. i dont know a single breastfeeding mother racked with the guilt i have of returning to work full time and allowing my child the second best option of formula. i thought it was for the bet at the time. i will regret my choice forever. it was for “convenience” becauae i wad the main breadwinner. but the father could have worked. yes the income would have been less but in retrospect i know that vitality and the best possible nourishment outweighs income. at the time i was naive and felt pressured by societt to feel shame if i breastfed.
      fathers can be just as close but in a different way as nature intended, afterall mothers are equipped to be the feeder their child. mamma is latin for boob.
      i do not feel like a complete mother because i did not breastfeed. thats just my story.

  4. My sister-in-law just had a baby a little over a month ago. I don’t live near my them and have only been able to see my brand new niece twice, while my brother and his girlfriend could see her everyday because they live so close. When I have been able to see her my sister-in-law has let me feed her, which she can do because they are bottle feeding. Not only does it get my brother in on the whole process (I totally agree with you on the closeness factor between dad and baby that come with bottle feeding) I get to feel like I am bonding with her too. That being said, who knows what I will do in just a few years when my husband and I have kids of our own. Thanks for sharing on this difficult and controversial topic!

  5. Melanie

    What I have come to realize as a mom and a friend of so many moms with so many different feeding ways of their babies, is that EVERY single one of them did what was best for their family. I am still breastfeeding at 14 months, and the way my family has worked it out has been wonderful. I have a different type of bond than hubby has with my little guy, and that’s okay by us! πŸ™‚ Sounds like your decision was the BEST for your family, and I commend you for that!

  6. Melanie

    What I have come to realize as a mom and a friend of so many moms with so many different feeding ways of their babies, is that EVERY single one of them did what was best for their family. I am still breastfeeding at 14 months, and the way my family has worked it out has been wonderful. I have a different type of bond than hubby has with my little guy, and that’s okay by us! πŸ™‚ Sounds like your decision was the BEST for your family, and I commend you for that!

  7. Susan

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! This was a great post. I do not have children (yet), but I had a breast reduction when I was younger and had to make the decision at that time that I MAY not be able to breastfeed in the future. People often get very angry that I made that decision saying I was selfish and how much better it is for the baby to breastfeed. For me, I had to have the breast reduction because I was having so much back pain. I couldn’t imagine being able to move if I got pregnant and didn’t have the reduction. So I made the decision when I was 22 (having wanted it since I was 15), and now, 10 years later, I’m married and contemplating having a baby. And even now, I would make the same decision all over again. My own quality of life for the past 10 years has been so much better, and being happier will make me a better mother in the future. I also think like you, and that it’s important for the father to be involved in the feeding. Even if I am able to breastfeed, I would want to pump to allow my husband to feed our child as well. It’s such a special time and I wouldn’t want him to feel left out. Since we do everything else together, it would be strange not to share the experience. Even though my husband IS a huge fan of breastfeeding, the decision will ultimately come down to if I am ABLE to breastfeed and our work/financial situation. We’re both ok with that, which is ultimately most important. Thank you again for this thoughtful well written post about what is ultimately a very private decision – no matter how much pressure family, friends and strangers put on you.

  8. Kelly

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for posting this! We have made the decision that I will not be breastfeeding, and I am starting to face that flack and negativity that you posted about. We made this decidion for the EXACT same reasons you did, and its so reassuring to know that there are people out there making this decision. I do wish people would realize that there are multiple approaches to parenting, and one decision does NOT make you a better parent than another (well in this case anyways.) Thank you for bringing this more public for us!

  9. Great post Katie! I especially like the part about it being just you two and the baby for the first week. My husband has a very similar personality to Chris and I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make him feel comfortable when our daughter arrives. My family can be a lot to handle! I’m not sure how exactly I’ll set these boundaries yet but it was good to read about how you handled it. Thanks for sharing!

    ~GGG

  10. Very well written Katie! You are such a good mommy and Bean seems sooo happy! When I had my first daughter in 2005 I tried to breastfeed and was never really shown how to do it properly. I too was modest in not wanting to pop my boobs out in public and also bc I am “very well endowed!!” Haha, I was afraid I’d poke someones eyes out with those things. I tried for 1 week exactly and it hurt so bad. I found out later I was doig it all wrong and only putting the nipple in her mouh instead of the whole thing! I would cry when she would wake up in the middle of the night because I knew how much pain was coming. I stopped after a week and went straight to formula and bottle feeding. She transitioned very easily and we never looked back. When I had my son in 2006 it was so soon after so I didnt think I would even try again because of the past horrific time I went through but I decided to give it a try again. The nurse was so helpful this time and showed me the proper way and from that moment he latched on perfectly and I breastfed him for 4 months(until I had to get back on my meds. again) He slept in 3-4 hour stretches every night and I was able to pump in between so my hubby could help feed him bottles as much as he wanted!! I loved it so much that I breastfed my 3rd for the same amount of time. They have awesome “hooter hiders” now so you never have to pop em out in public! It was such a bonding time for me and my hubby because we both got to feed the baby and was soooo much cheaper(which was my fav part!)
    I think whatever you choose the baby will be happy & healthy no matter what! I guess I would just maybe suggest to give it a try…it cant hurt anything and if you dont like it or it doesnt work out you can up and switch to formula anytime. Cant wait to see pics of Gracie Girl πŸ™‚

  11. Liz M.

    I loved the section where you said that you had no frustrations that Chris couldn’t understand. I breastfed my daughter for a year, and it was the hardest, most frustrating thing I have ever done. At times it felt like jail… she wouldn’t take a bottle, or even a pacifier (and we tried!), so my husband couldn’t help feed her at all. It was all Momma, all the time. I go back and forth about feeding options for my hypothetical second child, and I just wanted to thank you for your clear views on this post.

    1. Jessica Kazantzidis

      May I ask what you decided? I’m thinking ahead to our next child and I am terribly conflicted. I’m leaning towards formula but am feeling guilty because I am totally able to breastfeed. I am just overwhelmed by it and feel so trapped sometimes.

  12. Alyssa

    My husband and I are about to start a family…err…try to start a family next month πŸ™‚ We have discussed breastfeeding vs. bottle and have decided that I’ll try and breastfeed for those first couple of weeks but that we’ll likely be bottle feeding. I am going to send this blog to my husband for him to read. It’s really a wonderful piece that sums it all up for me πŸ™‚

  13. I feel that you should always do what feels right for you and your family. I really don’t like the way women are pressured into breast feeling or made to feel that they are not good mothers or lesser women if they don’t.
    I was a formula baby but I did breastfeed all 3 of my children but it was different with all 3 and sometimes it was good and sometimes it felt really bad.
    With my first I had huge pressure from my mum to not breastfeed, she felt that everyone missed out on being able to feed the baby themselves. I managed 4 months & then just stopped. My second I struggled for 2 weeks to breastfeed but just felt so low & unhappy I stopped. My last child breastfeeding went really well, I even fed him through a bout of mastitis but again stopped at around 4 months or so.
    Basically, as I said earlier, you need to do what feels right for you, not anyone else. That may mean breastfeeding, it may mean formula, it may mean a bit of both. You can’t please everyone πŸ˜€

  14. A

    Formula fed babies do sleep for longer stretches at night because they stay fuller longer. This is not because the baby was getting all the milk it needed, vs. getting less that it needed from a breast. The reason is that formula is harder for babies to digest and they stay fuller longer. Breastmilk is perfectly designed for the baby and digestion happens easily, which means they happen to feel hungry sooner.
    I do agree with you that the nutrients are probably all there in the formula, but what about the antibodies? No baby will get the immune system benefits from a can of formula that they can get from their mother’s MUCH more developed immune system. Sure all babies are going to get sick, but breastfed babies get less severely sick than formula fed babies. There have been recent studies about the billions of $ and hundreds of babies lives that could be saved by our society is more babies were breastfed.
    Pumping is a great way for dad to bottlefeed on occasion and participate in bonding time at feedings.

    1. Tae

      @A I’m glad that you brought up the facts behind the different composition of breast milk vs artificial milk. The antibodies simply cannot be replicated.

      1. cathie

        Thats funny- I did’t breast feed my sister did. my son doesn’t get sick, hers does. makes sense right? hahahah.. Anyhoo I’d rather feed the formula than aluminum deodorant laced breast milk.

    2. Cidalia

      Not in my case. My breastfed daughter (until she was almost 3) got sick way more often than her older, formula-fed brother (he had a high palate and just couldn’t latch). You’d think with all the colds I caught as a child and the chicken pox, that I’d be passing on some pretty good antibodies. Nope. It was constant problems with her…UTI, colds, ear infections, and at 6 months old, she caught chicken pox from her brother, and had it really bad. It’s a crapshoot, really. And I felt so trapped. She would never take a bottle, and wanted to be fed every 45 minutes, I couldn’t go anywhere without her and, because of that, a cavity I didn’t treat right away became a root canal later. I also refuse to whip out a boob in public, so going out with her was not convenient. A beautiful sling I made to hold her and cover up while nursing proved useless because she’d freak if I covered her head. I can’t go through that again for antibodies that seem to do nothing.

  15. Kristin

    I can see both sides to this issue. My husband and I were both exclusively BF babies and I did not consider formula as an option. However, even as a BFing mom, I got some negative energy from our pediatrician’s office when V was first born. She was extremely jaundiced and they were encouraging me to formula feed so we could know exactly what she was getting. I remember being extremely offended and felt pressured to stop BFing. BF is not easy and it’s not convenient, but I wouldn’t do it any other way. From the beginning, Ryan would take one of her night time feedings (I would pump during the day) which allowed him to bond but also allowed me to get some sleep. V and I have a great bond – but she is extremely crazy for her daddy! I have gone back to work and I’m extremely fortunate to be the one “in charge” and I can take a break every 3-4 hours to pump in the private office. I even have access to my own refrigerator at work so I don’t have to be embarrassed about my milk being in the refrigerator. I don’t know what I would do without such a supportive employer who also BF both of her babies! I must say though, I do NOT get naked in public — we bring milk in bottles when we go out. I just wanted to speak up and say that formula feeding mothers are not the only ones who get negative public attention. I have seen the looks BF mothers get when they feed their babies in public- even when being extremely discrete. I even had several people say to me in a shocked tone recently, “You’re STILL breastfeeding?” Yes, I am – my baby is only five months old, people! We all need to remember that everyone has an opinion and it doesn’t make it informed or even worth paying attention to. Props to you Katie for sharing your story and helping us all see that every family makes decisions for a reason. πŸ™‚

  16. Well said, mama! I firmly believe that any mother taking the time to judge another mother isn’t spending enough time with her own kids. Seriously, people. Motherhood is hard and, as long as our decisions for our own families aren’t harmful to our kids and the society around us, Moms should be supported, celebrated, and given a parade. We wanted to exclusively breastfeed and a really bad birth process stopped that cold. The main reasons for wanting to breastfeed for us? 1) It was free food. (People tend to forget that one….) 2) I wanted to see if I could do it. 3) I was going to be home with Nate for a while so I had the time. It was hard. Really hard. Harder than grad school. I am glad I did it but do not begrudge any mother who decides to go a different route. And no, dear nurse, a father’s role is not to change the dirty diapers. He’s there to care for his family, as they care for him. Now that your family is growing, even Bean can get in on the bottle feeding action!

  17. We chose to breastfeed and we chose it for one reason…it was free. We also got tons of formula samples in the mail and so we used it…because it was free. It didn’t take long (about 2 weeks) to realize that a bottle feeding about once a day was a GREAT way for me to catch a break. Sometimes I would pump just so Brad could feed her and I could have a break. From about 2-3 weeks old Zoe has been 90% breast and 10% bottle. I have ZERO qualms about feeding her formula. Breastfeeding is one of the most demanding/confining/annoying parts of being a new mom. For me, to have somebody CONSTANTLY need you is emotionally and physically draining. Now that she is older she eats much faster and I don’t mind breastfeeding at all. Now I find it to be very convenient b/c my “equipment” is definitely always with me. Which, by the way, my modesty has definitely taken a hit! I’ve whipped out my boob in more places than I care to admit…but I have a great cape that keeps everything well hidden (unless Zoe decides to swipe it away). I will say that yes, there is a special bonding in breastfeeding, but Zoe certainly doesn’t love me more because I breastfeed her.

    Two things we did with formula/pumped milk. 1) we gave her whatever formula we had on hand. Like I said, they were samples in the mail so it was pretty much every brand. Now we buy whatever formula we have a coupon for. (We use formula for her rice and oatmeal). 2- We never heated anything up. I never wanted her to know that was an option. Actually, I never knew I was supposed to and then when I found out I figured…well, she’s never seemed to mind, so we continued with either room temperature or cold (pumped breastmilk). It worked..and it’s one less step in the middle of the night if it’s Daddy’s turn.

    Either way…breast or bottle…you do what’s right for your family.

  18. As a public health professional I just wanted to put in a word for the protective benefits of breast feeding against breast cancer. While nonbreast feed babies can still get all the nutrients they need, but there may be health benefits to the mother that you haven’t considered.

    That being said, I’m not a mother yet so I’m not speaking from personal experience. Just want to put another thought out there for the discussion.

    1. Kelly

      Hello Megan….I am not pro or con BF, however, I am not sure where our health departments gained the whole “breastfeeding fights against breast cancer”…….My mom and her 2 sisters all had breast cancer (my mom being in stage 4 now), and all 3 were breastfed. Breast cancer is also hereditary….actually all cancers are. That’s why it is asked on all doctor forms if cancer runs in your family history. I just wanted to throw that out there.

      I am currently doing both (breast and formula, just b/c I am not producing enough milk for my baby, and she actually lost a lot of weight due to that : ( So I actually have to pump now). So, even though my daughter is getting 50/50 daily, she would still be at risk of breast cancer, as will I be.

      1. tj

        The lowered risk of breast cancer is for the woman who is breastfeeding her baby, not the baby who is breastfed.

        http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/NotBreastfeeding.html

  19. Kim

    Great post (again)! I formula-fed all three of my kids. For the first two, I was young and very uncomfortable with the whole idea of breastfeeding. While pregnant with my 3rd, I started to wonder if I had really missed out on something special. So I told my hubby I was considering it. His response was PLEASE don’t, turns out he was even more uncomfortable with it than I was. It was wonderful to have his help with feeding and it also allowed me to get a full night of sleep once in a while. So we made the right decision for our family.
    Now the kids are 24, 22 & 18 and I am happy to report they are all healthy, happy young adults and they have not suffered any ill effects of our decision.

  20. Nikki

    Thanks for being brave enough to post on this subject again! While we don’t have children yet, I have already made it known that our children will be formula babies. I was a formula baby and I’m 5’10” and have never been had much more than colds my whole life. I might change my mind when we do finally have children. But I know that whatever choice we do make, it will be as a family, and it will be what we think is best for the family! I hope you’re feeling better today and have a well rested weekend!

  21. Thank you for a wonderful, well-thought, and informative post. My husband and I do not have children yet, but we’ve already discussed topics such as this. I don’t know how things will pan out but I do know that have stories like yours, that show the other side of the coin, are what will keep me sane in the middle of the night. So preach on Sister.

  22. You have to do what’s right for your family. I breastfed my son for 20 months. It was difficult but it saved us a ton of money, seriously we never used any formula, bottles, pacifiers, or washed any of those things. We have no bottle brushes or drying racks or anything. It was nice. I didn’t set out to do that but it just happened and worked out for us. That woman who told you to let your husband change diapers to connect to baby was ignorant. Please don’t think that breastfeeding moms make daddy’s change dirty diapers as the only way to bond. My husband never ever changed a dirty diaper and obviously didn’t feed the baby but they bonded just fine. Daddy was the best swaddler and could rock our son to sleep in a heartbeat. He played and read to him and had fun, just like any dad. The only difference is he never held a bottle. I am happy I was able to provide for my baby for so long and I tend to want moms to breastfeed only because I know how special it was to me and my son. It really was a sweet, almost magically moment between us. Now that I’m pregnant with baby girl I will breastfeed again. But just because I feel so strongly toward breastfeeding my babies doesn’t mean others have to. Stay confident that you’re making the best decision for your family. Happy Mommy = Happy Baby = Happy Family πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  23. Thanks for sharing this. It’s great to hear your side of things, so honestly and well-thought-out-ed-ly. (Is that a word?)

  24. Kat

    I have no idea why anyone should offer any kind of opinion in your personal choice!!! I chose to bf for many reasons, and a lot of them are selfish so I don’t think that your decision to formula feed is selfish! I just really like free hehe. One small thing though- Jon gets lots of bonding with Peanut even in feeding. After first two weeks we gave Peanut at least 1 bottle a day with my pumped milk to make sure she’sld get used to it bc I have to go back to work and it gave Jon the chance to bond with her all the same. He would step out of the way too but bc I can’t be the one to give her the bottle to avoid confusion at first, it involved him. Anyways, go YOU for your choice and for voicing your choice loud and proud.

  25. Very well written. I feel strongly about breastfeeding, I didn’t do it for years with my boys, but did do it for 6 months and switched to formula then. I do not think either decision is a bad decision, I honestly think it is was is best for your family! Great post!!!

  26. Rachel

    Thanks Katie! I had planned on breastfeeding my daughter when she was born 15 years ago. She was 2 weeks early & only 5 lbs. My milk didn’t come in and she was not interested in eating… I was stressed. Everyone I turned to made me feel inferior, helpless, & a failure because it wasn’t working. I turned to LaLeche & they wanted more $$ than I thought I could afford to just talk to me… I had 3 sister-in-laws that got pregnant & breastfed with out any issues at all (I miscarried twice b4 this pregancy). They were supportive, but not particularly helpful. Everything I read made me feel like a horrible mother for choosing formula, but it was that or watch her starve to death. The main negative point I read about formula was that “breastfed babies are smarter” and my now 14 year old gets straight As & was reading at a 3rd grade level in kindergarten. She could write her full name shortly after her 3rd birthday, and we weren’t pushing any of those things… When my son came along, I breastfed & suplimented with formula for about 2 weeks & then went to straight formula, but I’m not sure how much breastmilk he actually got. Both my kids are the smartest, healthiest, best kids you’ll ever meet. =) (not that I’m biased though!)

    Thanks again for putting this out here. Back in 1996 there weren’t any articles out, and this would have helped me tremendously.

  27. ally

    i formula fed my first, pumped for my second. it saddens me that we (formula using moms) are considered “brave” or “admirable” to admit this and talk about it openly. it’s ridiculous that the amount of criticism that comes from breastfeeding moms sometimes makes people feel less respected or like failures. moms are moms and we’re all (hopefully) doing what’s best for our babies and families.

  28. Thank you for this post! I’m not pregnant and we’re not looking to start our family for awhile, but when we do I’m not sure yet which path we’ll take. I really really appreciate hearing (reading?) well thought out discussions about why people choose breast feeding or formula. Whatever choice works best for your family is clearly the right one, and I’m so happy that this has worked so well for you and Chris (and Bean! And soon little Gracie!).

  29. ashley

    Thank you! I got so much critisism when I stopped breastfeeding, that it’s refreshing to see someone else that had the ideas I did! I didn’t WANT to breastfeed, but felt like I had to. I tried, but my son couldn’t latch on and I had no milk. I was so THANKFUL for that!!! Formula made our lives so much easier, and gave me more freedom. I could go out alone, we could get babysitters, even overnighters early, my husband could do night feeds… I think formula feeders get ridiculed too much… you’re not doing what’s best… well ACTUALLY we ARE! Formual is what is BEST for us!!!

  30. Sandy

    how about the view from a twelve year old boy…the other day i was going through my hope chest and found the paperwork where i listed the time/length of breastfeeding my son. when he saw it and asked what it was, i told him…he promptly ran away screaming =o)

  31. Becca

    Excellent post. While I ultimately chose to breastfeed my son, I experienced a similarly negative reaction when I chose to use pain-killers during my labor and delivery (pre-C-Section, that is – nobody begrudged me the epidural once “regular labor” failed and I had to have surgery). These topics, in addition to the working mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate, always seem to strike nerves with people. But why these nerves seem to touch off ad hominim attacks and moral judgments is beyond me. Neglecting or abusing a child? Worthy of contempt. Caring for a child in the best way for your family? Worthy of praise. End of story.

  32. Kristen

    Ah, Katie, I’m so glad you decided to post about this again. I appreciated it the first time, and I appreciate it now.

    One of the things that can drive me crazy sometimes is women snarking at or judging other women. I have a degree in Women’s Studies, and work full time at a Women’s Center at a university. I’m also a certified domestic violence counselor. A lot of people assume that I have some very strong opinions about how women should or shouldn’t do things, breastfeeding among them. In truth, the only thing I have very strong opinions about is the right for women to make their own decisions – about their bodies, their careers, their families, their feelings. And I think women should, generally, support other women.

    Thank you so much for making an effort to reach out to the moms and would-be moms who are considering their options. And I think it’s lovely that you are making an effort to have a household where both parents are involved in care-taking. I think it’s also probably a great way to make sure that your relationship with Chris doesn’t suffer. Young couples can go through serious rough patches with new babies, because dad can sometimes feel left out or forgotten – and understandably so! I admire your choice, and I admire your choice to speak out. Stay strong, girl.

  33. Leslie Sundmyhr

    Hopefully this doesn’t get too long. My opinion on the matter is that I believe in feeding babies. So whatever way works for your family is the right way as long as most importantly it involves food for your child! I am still breastfeeding my 10.5 month old son. I didn’t love it at first. I am a very modest person, and I have breastfed my baby mostly in the privacy of my own room. However, we’ve taken transcontinental flights, road trips etc and it was VERY convenient. I don’t know how formula feeding mommas travel with their babies. It was just so easy to go wherever and do whatever because his food was always right there. I had an oversupply or abundant supply of milk so I never used a pump as that would only have made the issue worse. We had to lay down to nurse for a few weeks otherwise he would almost be choking on the rapid milk flow. I LOVE the bond I have with my baby. I love our nursing sessions right now more than I ever have. At this age he isn’t much in to cuddling but these two nursing sessions a day are a great chance to cuddle up and be close. My only problem with breastfeeding is that I do think it develops more of a connection with mom and baby than dad and baby. I know this will change as he grows up but it certainly has been nice to have. I also want to note that my child has never, ever been sick. He is extremely healthy… even though I have had a few really nasty flu’s/colds during the last year he has never once gotten anything even though we have always been together, or only apart for not more than 4 hours. I think everyone should do what is right for their families, and understand that everyone’s situation is different. On a different note, my husband is norwegian and people in norway pretty much exclusively breastfeed thanks to a campaign done in the 70’s to encourage it. You can go out in Oslo to the cafe’s during the day and there are mom’s everywhere just breastfeeding their babies and no one looks twice. It is completely normal and natural. So different than what you see here in Canada. I thought it was so cool.

  34. Beret

    Thanks for writing this. Mothers who talk about bottlefeeding their children usually preface it by sayign something like, “I tried and tried everything but he had a bad latch. I sought support and nothing we did worked so we had to turn to the bottle, and it ended up being ok!”

    Rarely do you hear a woman say, “I bottle-fed by choice. It was my FIRST choice.” We shouldn’t have to preface that or defend it at all.

    When I got pregnant with my first child I planned on breastfeeding because I felt pressured it was the “right” was to feed her.

    I attended breastfeeding classes, read books, stocked up on supplies but all the while in the back of my mind I just couldn’t imagine putting this child to my breast (and I’m not modest either!). I didn’t want to admit to myself the truth: I didn’t WANT to breastfeed.

    So she was born, I tried breastfeeding, it was a disaster (because my heart was not in it). A week later we started on formula and never looked back. My husband could get up in the night and let me sleep! I could leave the house for more than 2 hours! She was growing like a weed and so healthy!

    Fast forward 4 years to when my son was born. We used formula from the start with him and it was such a nicer “babymoon” not having that stress.

    I don’t know why I didn’t want to breastfeed, but I didn’t. All I do know is my kids did just fine. Unbreakable bonds were formed, pounds and ounces were gained, and here we are years later and it’s all ok.

  35. Mitzi

    Thank you for sharing why you didn’t nurse. The only person I know who didn’t nurse by choice said it was because “She didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to.” Which to me seemed silly, considering there is much about parenting that I don’t want to do (discipline? – not fun but necessary). Anyhow, it is enlightening to see your reasoning. I nursed my little girl but had low milk supply. I worked so hard to nurse her, pumping after every nursing, taking supplements, drinking teas, lactation consultants, and pounding my head against the wall. Well, not the last one but I felt like it most of the time. I look back and wish I hadn’t put so much pressure on myself to nurse her. She was supplemented with formula from week 2 but her mommy was stressed out big time for 7 months about it. My advice to my friends now who choose to nurse and have a hard time is, just go with the flow. And if the milk isn’t flowing, just go with the formula. It’s better to have a calm mom then some breast milk. At the end of the day, it’s the love the baby will remember.

  36. Oh how I wish my baby would take a bottle! I am exclusively breastfeeding my 9 month old, and man, is it hard work. My husband and I tried and tried and tried to get her to take a bottle, but she just did not get the hang of it. When she was first born, I just started breastfeeding because that was what I thought I was supposed to do, and I decided to give it a try. I think getting my Masters degree was easier. And to this day, I do not enjoy breastfeeding. No one can help me, no one else can feed her. I am glad I am giving her “the best” but it is hard work. I commend you on your choice – everyone must do what is best for their own family.

  37. I was not able to beastfeed Sullivan and it was amazing the judgement I got from a lot of people. I had 2 lactation consultants refuse to give me formula in the hospital even the day after he was born. At that point I just wanted him to eat something. We continued to try bfing but no go so I would just pump and then bottle feed it to him. It was honestly great to get to take a break once in awhile and let mike feed him. But when he was 2 weeks old we had to switch to soy formula. I received so many pity looks from other women when I told them we had to switch. Lots of “I’m so sorrys”. Heck, I wasn’t sorry. Is my son eating? Yes. Is he screaming bloody murder when he eats? No. Is he a happy, smiling baby, perfectly healthy otherwise? Yes. That was all I needed. Sullivan is doing great on formula, developing perfectly, and I love the fact that my husband can have the same experiences as I am.

  38. Thank you for posting this. I found being a food source very, very hard. Porter was born early and didn’t know how to latch properly for the first two weeks. Those two weeks were some of the most unhappy for me as a new mom. With practice it all did click, but it was exhausting for me. When I wasn’t feeding, I was pumping–which gave Aaron a chance to feed Porter, but pumping made me feel like a cow–not a person. By the time we worked out the whole breastfeeding thing, I went back to work. I was a one woman department working with all men. Every time I closed the door to my office to pump, I was interrupted by a guy with a question. And my job was so physical and the environment so hot (Florida in the summer with broken A/C) that I couldn’t keep hydrated enough to keep my supply up. I was miserable. I felt like a failure and my issues with breastfeeding directly affected my PPD. Next time around, I would like to try breastfeeding again but I won’t put nearly as much pressure on myself like I did before. If it doesn’t work for the next baby, then that is okay.

  39. susie

    i’m new to your site, and oh how i love it!!! i only for a short while breastfed my oldest son before going back to work.. and then switched to bottles. i felt like i was reading my own thoughts! i see my son now (4) and he is such the daddy’s boy too. for all the reasons you wondered if breastfeeding would have helped you bond more, i wondered too!! but that bond i see with him and my husband is amazing. i now have 2 boys and the youngest is mine all mine : ), in a good way of course! he sure loves his daddy, in the same way my older one does, but he and i have a special bond as well. you have that to look forward to with the new baby!!

  40. Micki

    I’ve been a long time reader…. and while you’re funny and a good writer this issue simply puts me off… It’s very judgemental to say that families that breastfeed do not have an equal parent thing going… If you choose to use bottles fine… but to jump to the conclusion that Bean has an equally strong relationship with you and Chris because you bottlefed is just plain too-lazy-to-think-through-kind-of conclusion…

  41. Thank you so much for posting this! I am pregnant with my first child and have been trying to decide what I want to do. It seems to be a big decision and everyone else seems to have an opinion on what I am going to do. This post and comments has showed me that just because something was right for one family, it doesn’t mean it’s right for MY family.

  42. Ann G-B

    Thanks for sharing this. I am sure that is not easy to have to justify this very personal decision. And it isn’t until after I had my son and went through a year of breast feeding and pumping that I can truly appreciate what you had to say. While Kevin was incredibly helpful and present (he did all the diapers) during those first few weeks, it would have been nice to have him participate in feedings as well. And it would be nice if Kevin could handle some of that middle of the night screaming….. Breastfeeding is hard! Pumping is harder… But rewarding in other ways too… It is cheap and you can all the girl scout cookies you want!

  43. Heather

    This was wonderfully written! When I had my first child the Dr forced me to attempt to nurse even though I didn’t want to. I tried it once and I was so uncomfortable with it that I couldn’t ever try it again. I have been told my harsh people in the past that I was making the wrong decision by bottle feeding but I wasn’t breast fed and I am perfectly fine and so are my 2 children. Everyone makes their own choices and it is a shame when someone has to slam your decisions. I love reading your blog everyday! It is part of my routine πŸ™‚

  44. Jocelyne

    I admit to some mixed feelings about this topic, probably because I breastfed both my kids until 19 and 22 months. However, and I think this is a huge factor, I’m Canadian and was off work WITH pay for the entire first 12 months. While I think breastfeeding is ideal, I cannot imagine trying to juggle it with working full time.

    I wished, at times, that mine would take a bottle of formula. God, I was so jealous of my neighbour when she handed her 8 week old to grandma and just LEFT! FOR HOURS! But both of mine were extremely particular and even if they were starving, there was no way they were taking even an ounce of that stuff.

    Funny story: I cannot tell you how many times I had one or the other of them at the ER or doctor and they would ask “How much does he eat on average?” And I would just look down and say “About a boob and a half?” Usually that was enough to help them realize what a ridiculous question it was to ask a breastfeeding mom.

    Do What Works Parenting. It is the only way to go.

  45. I just had my first baby and chose to breastfeed but it was seriously the hardest part to start with- the pain, the latching, the tears (mine not the babys!) and all the local mums I met felt the same. It definitly got better with help & now at 16 weeks it is a breeze (it was fine by 8 weeks actually). I live it now & it’s so convenient & allows me to be totally lazy & not fuss with bottles, sterilising etc etc. But I have the extreme benefit of 52 weeks maternity leave so could take all that time to faff with it. I hate pumping & if I had had to go back to work early there’s not a chance I would have continued breastfeeding! My husband & I were both in exactly the same place when it came to choosing breastfeeding to try & I love the times when I’m feeding & he lies with us & rubs my back, strokes gabeys head etc. He is totally bonded with our son & now the only problem is Gabe gets so excited when he hears daddys voice that he pulls off the boob to see him!
    Anyway all that waffle is just to say really that I don’t think the form of feeding matters as much as that both parents are on the same page with the decision. Great post.

  46. Jenn

    I appreciate you taking the time to write out your thoughts on this. There is no doubt that Bean is a happy and well developed little boy. However I find it interesting that you also call him healthy.. Looking back over your blog he seems to be ill an awful lot. Might be co-incidence, might not be, but research in my country has shown that formula fed babies are more than twice as likely to need hospital admission in their first 6months of life. Thats huge to me.
    I can’t pretend to understand your decisions as they seem very forign to me, but I appreciate your right to do what you see is best for your child. I was also wondering if you had considered at least giving Gracie some colustrum?

  47. Jami

    Great post and discussion, Katie! I am a long time reader and first time commenter, and this is a topic I am definitely passionate about. I have a son just a few weeks older than Bean and I breast-fed him exclusively for a year and am still breastfeeding him currently at nearly 2! If there’s something as controversial as not breastfeeding at all, it might be continuing to bf after an age society considers too old. It’s interesting to consider other people’s thoughts, but like you said, every parent does what is best for their family, and to each their own. For me, breastfeeding involved major sacrifices, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! I went back to work full time after 9 weeks home, and pumped 5 times a day, 3 of those time at work, during my lunch and two breaks. I got used to eating lunch in the bathroom stall, and occasionally my coworkers accidentally tripping over the extension cord to my breast pump. I also lost a lot of modesty I previously had, as I now have no qualms about whipping it out when needed. Other people being uncomfortable don’t bother me, it’s my baby’s health and happiness that is most important. The bond I have with my son I know would not have been as strong without breastfeeding. I don’t mean to offend or put down non bfing mothers, but this is something I know is true for my son and me. That being said, my husband also has an amazing bond with our son even though parenting in the feeding arena is not quite equal. My husband did feed him with a pumped bottle very often though when he was bfing exclusively. I love the experience of breastfeeding and feel it is best to at least try since it has been proven hands down to be best for the baby. I do respect those who choose not too or just plain cannot, and thankfully becuase of this blog I am learning to understand why some women choose not to breastfeed.

  48. Katie C

    Props to you for being brave enough to write this…AND post it!! πŸ™‚ People are so judgmental. Honestly, it is no one else’s business whether you breastfeed or use formula. I only have one child, and he was formula fed. From the first second of being pregnant, I knew that I would formula feed. I am with you on being kind of squeamish about it!! People probably did judge me for this. But what most people didn’t know was I take a maintenance medication that is expressed in breastmilk. Basically, my baby did not need that medicine; therefore, there was no way I was breastfeeding…even if I wanted to. BUT no one should have judged me either way. And they shouldn’t judge you! It is a personal decision. I think the world would be a much better place if all of the judgment would cease!!

  49. Mellen

    We do what works for our family. I was able to breastfeed my daughter from the day she was born until she was 14 months old & I needed to have my wisdom teeth removed. I never thought I would reach that milestone! It wasn’t always easy and it wasn’t always painless…but it was what needed to be done. My daughter would NOT take bottles – she would scream bloody murder when we would try to give her expressed milk. With baby #2, we will breastfeed again, but will try to push a bottle when the baby is younger than we did last time! The largest bonus I have seen with breastfeeding is that DisneyWorld has very nice nursing suites in their Baby Care Centers…it was a very nice place to hide for a few moments in A/C last summer! :O)

  50. As someone who breastfed three kids for a year each, I am a huge breastfeeding proponent. But, I also say every time I talk about this subject, that it’s all about having choices and thank goodness we do, because if this was Little House on the Prairie, there would be no choice.

    And to Commenter No. 3 who said she worked at a daycare and breastmilk was “the grossest thing ever” I need to ask, do you drink cow’s milk? Because when you think about where cow’s milk comes from, well, perhaps you’d like to amend that statement? (Not trying to be annoying, but it’s breastmilk, not a biohazard!)

  51. I just wanted to give another voice to supporting whatever decision parents make for their own children. I was exclusively breastfed, my husband was formula fed, and when I give birth in a couple months, I plan to attempt to breastfeed, but realize that I may not be successful. My husband had so many allergies as an infant that it was easier to formula feed than to figure out what they all were and eliminate them from my MIL’s diet. We both obviously turned out well, and because of our experiences, my eyes are open to the arguments on both sides, which I could not be more greatful for. Best wishes!

  52. What a wonderful post, Katie! All of your reasons for bottle feeding make total sense, and you make a great case for it. I always thought I’d breast feed when I had kids (not for a few years yet, we hope!) but your reasons are great as well. I never even thought about it from the perspective of being on the same level, and keeping my husband involved with the feeding. Thanks so much for this, and presenting different viewpoints to consider! πŸ™‚

  53. Anna in Ohio

    I have to disagree with #40, in that Katie didn’t say Bean definitely wouldn’t have bonded with Chris, or that all breastfed babies don’t bond with their dads. She simply expressed it as a (valid) concern.

    Well written, Katie.

    And, as a side note: we formula feed our son and have NEVER warmed a bottle. We use gallon bottles of water at room temperature for mixing. When we go out, we simply put the powder in the drop in and bring a plastic, 32 oz. nalgene bottle with ounce markings with us and mix as we need. Just a thought for when Little Miss Gracie arrives! πŸ™‚

  54. I’m glad you posted this. While I personally am a huge breastfeeding believer and would not make a decision to formula feed unless I had to, I do love to see other parents being honest about their choices. Too much of parenting has become political or judgemental and it really shouldn’t be. Every family needs to make their own informed decisions about what will work best for them. Thanks for sharing yours in such a matter-of-fact open manner.

  55. I had a c-section with my son and it took a full 7 days to get any kind of substantial milk. In those 7 days I was so super stressed because I needed to be able to feed my baby! I started pumping to help encourage and then I ended up in the endless cycle of pumping/bottle feeding and still trying to successfully nurse. By 6 weeks I was a basket case and my OBGYN actually told me to STOP. He said “You are killing yourself.” and WHALA – off to 100% formula we went and I have never looked back. My son is now 12 weeks and we are all happy, healthy, and I don’t regret it one single bit. You have to take care of yourself because if you aren’t happy, how can you be a good mommy?

  56. Although I have breastfed all 3 of my kids, I completely respect other mother’s decisions not to. I think it’s very brave of you to publish this post, but it’s clear that you’ve thought through the matter and come up with the best decision for your family. That is all that matters.

  57. Cheryl

    What a great post, Katie. I read faithfully, but have never commented, but felt compelled to on this one. I think you’ve written wonderfully about your choice! It’s sad when you have to defend yourself no matter your choice. I breastfed my first and am currently breastfeeding my 7 week old but that is what worked for me. I did want to just comment that my 2.5 year is COMPLETELY attached to my husband (sometimes it’s like I don’t exist), so don’t question your bonding:) Once I switched to bottles at 8 months a trick I’d use for when out in public is carrying the pre-boiled and warm water in a thermos when we travelled and the formula in separate containers… that way we didn’t have to worry about having to warm it up. Anyway, this is sounding rambled and silly (which is why I don’t usually comment) but I really felt I wanted to commend you for your post and your decision!

  58. Leslie

    I’m with you Snarky Mommy. Commenter 3 should have thought her comment through. To say, “warming up breast milk was the grossest thing ever” seems a bit immature to me. I find it hard to believe breastmilk is “the grossest thing” at a daycare center. Poopy blow outs are coming to mind. πŸ˜‰

  59. Lindsey

    Loved this post πŸ™‚ Breastfeeding was the darkest, most frustrating time of my life! I stuck it out for three months, and my supply just dwindled and dwindled. Baby was always hungry. We switched to formula at 3 months and I seriously saw the sun shine for the first time that day. That’s not to say I won’t try breastfeeding again, I will. It might be a whole new experience with baby #2, but baby #1 couldn’t latch, and the pump was my hell!!

  60. Lindsey

    And PS – I also never warmed bottles. We used room temp water – it was so much easier! When we would go out, I would fill each bottle with hot water, and by the time it was time to feed, the bottle was room temp!

  61. I don’t have any children of my own so I am not speaking from any sort of experience but I agree with you! Breastfeeding is a personal choice and no one should judge you because of it!
    My mother had a really hard time breastfeeding me and so I was basically bottle fed (as were my younger siblings) and we are all healthy and have a great relationship with my mom!

  62. Jeanna

    I have to agree with Jenn (#46). When it was asked in the Q&A if you considered BFing with your long break from work, I was surprised you said formula feeding had worked so well, so why consider changing? The frequency of Bean’s illnesses and his hospitalization would make me think that formula wasn’t working so well.

  63. I am also a formula baby. My mom sometimes says she wishes she would have breastfed so we could be closer but I don’t see how that possible because we are the best of friends. I myself will choose breastfeeding when I have kids. It isn’t because of the bonding aspect but it is more because I am frugal to the bone. I’d just rather breastfeed and as the baby grows make home made baby food. I do respect you for the choice you made and educating people about your choice while also being respectful.

  64. Courtney

    First of all, Chris and Bean remind me so much of my husband and son. Secondly, as a bottle fed baby myself, I never thought much about breast feeding. My mom didn’t really push me to breast feed either. When my son was born 5 weeks early, I couldn’t nurse. I did try to pump mostly because he was premature and really needed the nutrients. However, after 3 weeks of fighting to get him to take an ounce of a bottle (mostly formula), then pumping for 30 minutes, and only sleeping about an hour and a half at a stretch, I completely lost it. I had no milk, I was exhausted, and on the brink of major postpartum depression. My doctor ordered me to put up the pump, prescribed birth control to even out my hormones, and told me not to do anything but feed the baby and sleep. You know what within 48 hours I felt better. My poor husband, however, got a lot of rude comments from people at work who kept asking if I was “nursing” and then giving their opinion on the fact that I wasn’t. I don’t think anyone has a right to criticize anyone else. You do what is right for you and your family. I actually think that after I stopped trying to pump (which isn’t the same as breastfeeding I know) I was much more able to bond with my son. Thanks for sharing.

  65. Very well said, the best advice I have ever heard about parenting is “do what makes you comfortable and you will have happy babies”

  66. Courtney

    And I have to add for those of you (#46 and #62) who think that Bean is sick because of taking formula, it’s more likely Bean gets sick because he’s in daycare. I have friends who breastfed and their kids are sick with the same frequency (sometimes more) than those of us who bottle fed. And my son’s ENT specialist said that most ear infections happen because of the slant (or lack thereof) of the eustachian tube. Not because of lack of breastfeeding.

  67. Emily

    I was very lucky in that after I had my c-section, my nurse ( who knew my birth plan was to b-feed), put my son directly on me to start breastfeeding. We were able to have that precious time for about an hour before he was bathed, etc… However, the 3 weeks following that were a nightmare. I was, pardon the term, hell-bent on breastfeeding and fell into the cycle of nurse for an hour, pump for 15 minutes…. repeating every 2 hours. With all my hormones and my supply painstakingly small, I had to supplement my son with formula. At the time I was so afraid that all my hard work and no sleep was only going to make him like the formula more and thus refuse to nurse. To make a long story short…. for me, I wanted desperately to breastfeed and that was probably the only thing holding me to that decision. I cracked and bled and spend 2 weeks going to lactation appointments. in those 2 weeks. So now… I can understand where others can make that decision to formula feed. Sometimes it’s just a better fit.
    Me? I’m the idiot who will do it ALL OVER AGAIN… in a heartbeat!

  68. Great post! I am not breastfeeding because of working full time and because of the anti-depressant I take-I didn’t want to pass the medicine directly on to my little girl. Anyways–good post–it is always good to hear positive things from other people who think the way I do on this issue….usually it is all negative πŸ™‚

  69. Julie

    Dearest Katie, thank you for posting this for all to read. I have been breastfeeding my little girl for almost 4 months now. It was hard the first few weeks because my boob are HUGE and I have to position her just right for her to latch on. We are pros now but she hates taking a bottle from her daddy or her grandparents. She is getting used to it, but warm milk is just easier for us. However, that being said many of my friends and family have chosen to bottle feed by choice and by the fact that they couldn’t breastfeed because they couldn’t keep the milk down. As for as sickness goes, I have a cousin whose 4 week old got sick and she was breastfeeding him, so sickness can hurt anyone, formula or breastmilk. I do not feed in public so I have to plan my life around when to feed and when to be social and it seems to be working out so far. My husband gets the smiles from our little one too. He is the goofy fun guy that gives her a bath and she just adores him. I think a mom just has a different place in the little one’s heart.

  70. Jen

    Love this post. It’s all about doing whats best for your family! Thanks for sharing about such a sensitive subject!

  71. Meredith

    What a great post. I remember the first post about breastfeeding bean and also thought that was very well written.

    I think posts like this are one of the many reasons that people come back to your blog; you post about real problems, depression, moving… things that everyday people deal with but few have the courage to speak so openly and honestly about. And of course, always written in a respectful, insightful and often humorous manner.

    I am SO glad you posted about a semi-controversial topic. Even though its a hard topic, gritty, polarizing, even, the more discussion generated the more understanding, compassion and less judgment there is on both sides. And my goodness, what courage to post a controversial topic on PARENTING, where people seem to go batty no matter what you choose. Props to you for tackling such a hard and personal topic. I LOVE your blog and your FAM!! and if I’m ever in Florida, Ill totally baby sit for Beaner and Gracie.

  72. Heather Ben

    I could not have said it better. I attempted to BrstFd with my first but it only lasted 2 months and the last week or so was with my little one screaming all the time. I thought – early teething, gas, colic, etc. etc. – because EVERY. SINGLE. BrstFd. BOOK. EVER. WRITTEN. – said, as long as you are consistently nursing enough times each day – the milk is there. even if your size goes down, the milk is there. and they warned – many women quit bc they think their supply is dwindling when it really isn’t. SO, perhaps i am slow or perhaps it was my sleep deprived state of mind but it took two weeks for me to think – maybe she is hungry? and wouldn’t you know it – she sucked that first bottle down in literally about 30 seconds, as we never looked back. Moral of the story – you do what works for you and yours. I too agree that BrstFd is the best nutrimental option but the LLL book even warned about having any formula in the house whatsoever, bc you might be tempted to try it late one night when you are tired and things haven’t been going so well. They said, you need to keep with it! And while it is great encouragement etc. etc., I just didn’t like the way it was presented. I am going to guess if someone offers formula in the middle of the night for the first time ever there exists a good reason for it and I don’t see why the LLL would want to add on top of whatever other stress is going on a midnight or later run to the store to pick up said formula bc an emergency stash is not available. Perhaps I am harping on a small absurd part – but I just wish they advocated a little more flexibility in their teachings because I think they have so much influence. While you state that €œThere is no doubt in my mind that breastfeeding provides the most nutrients for babies. I’m not stupid enough to deny that.€ I feel like a BrstFd organization should likewise admit that BrstFd may not work for every single mother out there. I feel so bad thinking about those two weeks that my first was starving and yes, I did everything the books said you are supposed to do. It just went away. So, I started bottle feeding my second from birth and I have never, ever, felt or had a glimpse of bonding with the 2nd any differently that the first. In a lot ways, the 2nd was so much better bc I didn’t have all those other issues to deal with. But again, that’s just want worked for me. And thanks for writing this, even though you didn’t really want to. BTW – have you read the article by Hanna Rosin €œThe Case Against BF€ – it isn’t as slanted as the title suggests.

  73. You explained yourself very well, and you have a point.:))

  74. It’s astounding to me what medical “professionals” think it is appropriate to say. I’m pregnant and when I recently went to a hospital to visit a family member who had just given birth a conversation came up with a nurse who was checking on her about how I’m having a baby and want to TRY to go as natural as possible, as with anything I have a lot of reasons behind this but none of them have anything to do with me being particularly earthy or against medicine. However as soon as the words were out the nurse SCOFFED at me and said “Oh. No. thats not how it’s done. You take the drugs.” It left me stunned but also super happy that I’d chosen the hospital I did, one that is known for respecting women’s choices and offering as many options as possible, and didn’t go with the one my aunt did!

  75. Cindy In Owensboro, KY

    I think that it is amazing how many responses that you have gotten on this topic. The take home message should be that it is a very personal decision that each couple needs to make and stand behind. I breastfed both of my children, one for 11 months and one for 17 months. It was the hardest thing that I have ever done and I wanted to quit many times but I just felt it was that important to continue and now that it is done and over it really wasn’t that bad. With my last child I got so much criticism about still breastfeeding when she was over 12 months that I don’t ever try to judge anyone anymore because it really hurt me when people would make rude comments about me still breastfeeding. I also don’t like it when people act like you shouldn’t breastfeed in public, I feel like as long as you are being discreet that people need to just get over it. I never showed my boobs and I never made anyone look at us while my kids were eating so I don’t understand the problem. Just enjoy your little bundle and don’t worry about what other people say!

  76. Andriani buck

    It is PROVEN that breastfed babies (particularly those breastfed exclusively for the first six months) have stronger immune systems. I can post numerous links on this subject. People, like 46 and 62, aren’t saying that breastfed babies never get sick but that they are less likely to do so. They are also less likely to be obese later in life. And there are countless other benefits that I would urge people to research before making a decision one way or another. Some of the ingredients in formula are scary and someone is scared of spilled breastmilk?! Regardless of your decision to breastfeed or not there can’t be any argument that it is more nutritious, as Katie herself recognizes. The benefits of breastfeeding and risks of formula feeding should not be ignored just because you choose to formula feed. Any decision should be an educated one.

  77. Annette

    Well said! When I had my son in 2005, I wanted to breastfeed, mostly because it’s way cheaper, but my milk just never came in. So, we bottle fed and he ended up being a 30 lb. 1 yr old. Trust me, formula did not stunt his growth at all. He’s almost 6 and the size of a 7-8 yr old. Bottle feeding was so easy and great that there was no question about it when I had my daughter in 2008, even though my milk did come in this time, oh well. I never felt there was any bond missing and now I’m my daughter’s go-to person and my husband is my son’s. I think it’s just a boy/girl thing. I will tel you, though, my daughter DID NOT at all, like the same bottles or pacifiers that my son did, had to buy all new, go figure. Also, Wal-mart or Sam’s Club formula is so much cheaper than name brand and is the exact same thing. My son had Wal-mart’s and my daughter used Sam’s. Very affordable. Good luck!

  78. angie

    Thank you so much for this post. I decided to bottle feed for all the reasons you mentioned with my son. There is really not much more to say than to each his/her own πŸ™‚

  79. Tan

    This is tough choice for parents and I also dislike the debate. The one thing that makes me sad in the debate – which you acknowledged but so many don’t – is that breast feeding is totally natural. It makes me sad that people get “grossed out” by this process which is certainly less gross than actual birth or diapers or vomiting…all part of parenting and life! I tried for 6 weeks to get my supply to come in – with lactation consulting, supplements, pumping, you name it – with no luck so we moved on to the bottle. With 6 weeks to go to baby #2 we will be more prepared to bottle feed if needed…we were so sure the breast would work previously and were caught off guard. I think being ready for each scenario eases the situation.

  80. Beth

    Whew! I’m not a mom, so thankfully i have not had to make this decision yet.

    I just wanted to say that i was breast fed and i was sick ALL of the time. Still am. Lol. And my niece, she was bottle fed and she has some of the same issues as me. So really i feel like anyone who is even suggesting that Bean’s past illnesses are from his being bottle fed, well they need to look at the bigger picture. Perhaps even go to medical school and lean something.

    Very sad to see people attack a mother who is making the best choices for her and her family.

    You go girl!

  81. Jessica

    As Always Katie…Thank you!!!!

  82. SarahJ

    I loved this post! I couldn’t agree with it more, how you feed your baby should be a totally personal choice. Sadly, mothers who choose to bottle feed are often ridiculed and made to feel inferior.
    On the issue of breast fed babies being healthier, I would have to disagree. I have 2 kids (both teens now). I bottle fed my first and other than a few ear infections while teething he has been perfectly healthy his whole life. He has had only 3 colds and 1 bought with flu in 17 years. My second child on the other was breast fed. It didn’t go well and I had to stop just after the 6 week mark. Two days after I stopped he was in the hospital. It turned out that my immune system was supressing a serious kidney problem. He had been born with a condition that caused urine to back up into his kidneys and he had a really bad kidney infection. Had I not stopped when I did the infection would have caused serious kidney damage. As it turns out he has been sick A LOT in his life. He’s been in the hospital 6 times for serious illness in 15 years.
    If I had it to do all over again I wouldn’t have bowed to the pressure of those pushing me to breast feed. I would have bottle fed him too! I’m equally bonded with both my children. Bonding is what you make it. It’s not any better one way or the other; bottle or boob, it really doesn’t matter.

  83. I am a huge proponent for breastfeeding, and I am so glad to see all of the women here having this discussion. There are so many good comments on here already so I only want to add a couple of points. With the exception of medical issues (prescriptions, surgery, etc.), for me, there was NO reason not to breastfeed. Parenting is all about hard work, and bf is no exception. When I hear mothers talking about not wanting to bf because of inconvenience, I wonder if they are really ready to have a baby in the first place. Because being a parent is all about inconvenience – getting up in the middle of the night, changing diapers, doctor visits, potty training, and on and on. None of that stuff is “convenient”, but we do it because becoming a parent is about giving up what YOU need and want for what’s best for YOUR CHILD. Breast feeding is not easy for everyone, but I urge everyone to at least try it. Yeah, it is weird (and a little painful) the first few times. But, you learn how to get it right over time. And if you need help, there are plenty of (free) places to get advice and support. At least try it for the 6 weeks off that you have with your baby. It is the most rewarding part of being a new parent. (And if you want someone else to take over for a feeding or two, pump a couple of bottles and get some rest!)

  84. Hi Katie, I read all the time and never comment, but this post made me want to. I’m so glad you wrote thist. I did not breastfeed my daughter. I was a really young mom (barely 20), and I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t know how to change a diaper, much less breastfeed. It was so frustrating, and I remember having a screaming baby in my arms and no milk would come out and it just wasn’t working, so I asked a nurse for formula (and she screamed at me, btw). After switching her to soy formula a few days later, we had absolutely no problems at all. I never thought twice about it back then, it just seemed the right thing to do because it worked. It was convenient, she was happy, we were all happy. I know advocates of breastfeeding say how much better it is for the baby, and I’m certainly not disagreeing that anything natural has got to be better than something made in a lab, but I say each person should do what works for them. The issue for me now is considering what I will do for a second child. I would feel bad breastfeeding one and not the other, so I will probably bottle feed if I have another one, too. I just think the attitude around this issue has greatly been to condemn mothers who don’t breastfeed, and I think it’s so important to consider the fact that each person has a unique situation, and no one should be made to feel like less of a mom because they choose to formula feed.

  85. I would also like to add, because I’ve noticed it mentioned here and there that there are so many people out there to help new moms learn how to breastfeed, and that is NOT true. Again, it comes down to each person having a unique situation. As for me, I lived in a foreign country and did not fluently speak the language. Resources were extremely limited or nonexistent. I didn’t get to go to lamaze class, learn breastfeeding, or anything. I went into the whole thing cold turkey! And look, we made it, happy and healthy.

  86. Meredith

    WOW! Alot of people commented.. and I’m surprised to see that so many are positive! It bothers me SO MUCH how everyone has to shove their opinion and beliefs down other people’s throats! Yes, breastfeeding is known for all these things, and its fabulous for the mother and baby and everything, but there are other factors in people’s lives as well. The information is out there to defend either decision. I just hope new mothers and future mothers feel ok with making whatever decision is right for them, and don’t fret too much on what others will think of their choice. That goes with anything really. Do what is best for you and you family! Other people who don’t agree can just GO AWAY!!! lol
    Good job Katie on holding to your own and knowing you have the full right to make your own choices! πŸ™‚

  87. I might love you, a little bit. Everything about this post is what all discussions on a personal choice should be – logical, calm and accepting of all sides. On this topic, I’m of the opinion that people should feed babies. No one is obligated to explain why they feed their own baby in a certain way, nor is anyone obligated to make any kind of judgemental or ‘well-meaning’ comments about how someone else feeds their own baby. It’s really no one’s business, but I applaud you for standing up for your decision.

  88. Ella

    I breastfed my first baby with success and weaned her at 15months. WIth my second baby i wanted to breastfeed but had trouble getting him to feed and ended up bottlefeeding. He was the most settled out of both babie and always slept well and seemed contented. We are planning on a 3rd and hope to get pregnant sometime this year. Ill definately be bottle feeding this baby as well as it was such a good experience. Whatever works for your family is the right decision and really has nothing to do with others however well meaning.

  89. Natalie

    I breastfed my son for 9 months, we had some tough times, but overall, i loved it. I also pumped so that his daddy, and other family members could feed him.

    Commenter # 3, warming up breast milk is NOT the grossest thing ever. (My jaw dropped in reading that.) You do realize, that when you drink milk, it comes from another mammal, what is the difference?

    I support every mother in whatever decision she makes. I just hope that any mom who does want to breastfeed, gets all the support she needs, to be able to be sucessful at it. Too often you see mothers giving up, because they are having trouble with it.

    It shocks me that in this day and age, we aren’t more supportive of each other. Formula feeding moms are made to feel bad that they aren’t breastfeeding, and breastfeeding moms are made to feel bad for a plethora of reasons.

    We’re all in this together.

    Go Katie, you’re an awesome mom!

  90. Krista

    I feel like you need to do what is best for you and what will make you a better, unfrazzled parent. Formula is a ver fine option and you kids will thrive regardless. I breastfed for 6 months for each of my kids and formula for 6 months. I made my choice because I stay home, but had i worked outside the home from the get go, it would have been formula all the way. Congrats on your very informed decision and choosing what is best for both you and Gracie.

  91. I really appreciate you being brave enough to have this discussion. It hurts me when people condemn others for choosing not to breastfeed. I have not yet had children, but I have been warned that breastfeeding may not be a possibility for me since I had a breast reduction six years ago. It’s sad that some people are so opposed to the choice to formula-feed and that some feel the need to be so hurtful and negative. At the end of the day, the choice is very personal and children fed in either form do very well. πŸ™‚

  92. Jenn

    @ beth #80, I can only assume you meant my post at #46 in your comment. Its a shame you chose to get personal, as you can see in my comment I commended Katie for sharing her opinions and didn’t attack her at all.
    But I couldn’t help but laugh at your suggestion that I go to medical school. because I have been, I’m a registered health professional and have done a lot of reading of evidence based research on this very matter. Unfortunately anecdotal evidence can never outweigh the scientific research that has proven time and time again that on a population level (not just in your family or your neighbourhood) formula fed babies have more health issues than breastfed. Its a fact. BUT as Katie has said herself, theres more to the decision than simply the health one.

  93. J. Tannachion

    I belive that breastfeeding your baby is a very intimate experience. I also feel that it is somthing women should not be ashamed of. When my son was born my wife chose to breafeed, which I supported. After about a month, my wife had to start antibiotics, which would have been passed to our son, so it was formula time from then on. It was and can be difficult for a parent to find the right formula for their child. Our little one wound up with colic, and didn’t handle changes real well. After speaking with his pediatrician, we found he was lactose intolerant and eventually wound up on rice milk. ??? He tolerated my wifes breast milk but not formula…. What gives? Well we were fortunate that we found what was wrong but it took time. My advise is- moms – it is your body, and your baby, make an informed decision stick to and don’t let anyone put you down for your choices. That is just the opinion of this dad.

  94. Mary K

    I am not criticizing anyone’s decision, you are the one who has to feed the baby I can’t make that decision. However, it is commonly overlooked that formula feeding is actually the fourth option for infant feeding, after breatfeeding, a wet-nurse and bottle feeding breastmilk from a milk bank. Formula does provide nutrients, but it is like eating bagged sugar free whole wheat bread (good for you) and homemade nothing extra in it whole wheat bread (better for you). Also anecdotal evidence does not trump real research on either side of the “debate”. There are many factors which influence a person’s health, weight and intelligence. Being fed as a baby is only one of them.

  95. Hilda

    Just in case anyone doesn’t know, anecdotal evidence refers to comments such as my niece or my son. In science there is a specific method that has to be performed to produce valid results and it’s only in aggregate that bottle versus breast can be compared. It’s not to say that some bottle fed babies wont be healthier but as a whole they are not. Similar to the fact that although one woman might be faster than a man (my sister is faster than my brother in the 100 yard dash) it doesn’t mean all women are, bc in fact in most cases the result will be the opposite. There really isn’t science that supports both sides. Breast milk is more nutritious although I understand it’s not the only consideration. It’s actually pretty amazing that breast milk has been proven more nutritious given the enormous amount of money formula companies put up to back studies to the contrary. Formula is such an accepted option bc of the money behind it and convenience not the health benefits. It’s like feeding your child mcdonalds. It might be convenient and you might do it for other reasons but you shouldn’t argue it’s the healthiest option bc it’s contrary to evidence.

  96. Nova Kristin

    Well said Katie! I admire your strength to tackle this topic with such grace.
    I breastfed both of my kids for two reasons. The first was it didn’t cost us anything and the second was the immunity I was able to provide them. My daughter nursed for 9 months before she decided to go on strike. In hindsight I wish I would have worked her through it as she was lactose intolerant and it took us awhile to figure it out so she screamed alot, poor baby. She was exposed to chicken pox twice in 9 months and didn’t get it either time as I already had it. My son nursed for 26 months. He , like Bean, had eating issues and was exclusively nursed for 12 months. From there he went to regular milk as well as nursing and table food.
    I loved every minute of it and mourned the extra special time with them when they were done. They are both just as attached to their dad as they are me.
    Had we been able to afford formula I probably still wouldn’t have bought as we were committed to all the benefits I could provide them by nursing. I also enjoyed the no cycles thing as well πŸ˜‰

  97. Catherine

    Katie – This might be too much information, but my twin sister and I were born through emergency c-section 6 weeks early. We were only 4 pounds a piece and my sister was born with pneumonia and nearly didn’t make it. Our bodies weren’t even developed enough to handle breast milk and we would get sick on it. We were formula babies and we turned out just fine πŸ™‚ I wish more people would respect how personal of a decision it is whether or not to breast feed. I think it’s a shame you have to defend your decision to others. I support you πŸ™‚

  98. Katie — I LOVED reading your reasons for bottle-feeding. I just adore this post! When I had my son last year, I tried to breastfeed. I always thought I would and so I tried to. I had 2 lactation consultants at the hospital trying to help, I had one come to my house after we were home and it was just not happening. I just couldn’t get my baby to latch…ever. I felt so defeated and like I was completely failing — on top of all the other new mom feelings. For a month after that, I exclusively pumped — so I was getting up to feed him and then would spend another 30 minutes pumping for the next round. I was exhausted. Finally, my mom said, “You have got to stop this. This isn’t good.” And so we switched to formula. And it was the best decision we ever made. For us. I do not regret it. I wish we’d made the decision as soon as we saw we were having issues. My child is healthy and happy. I have loved having “bottle time” with him, and I know my husband has too. It was still a special bonding time for us. I, like you, worried it wouldn’t be special — we wouldn’t be bonded. But it was, and we are. What I really want to say is — breastfeeding IS great. But, for us, bottle feeding turned out to be pretty great too.

  99. Libby R

    Hi Katie. Do you hear the round of applause coming from the Gulf Coast? Well done with this post. Thank you for reaching into the blog world and saying “you know what-formula is ok, heck formula is good.” I have found as I blog surf casually or religously that the strong and often harsh opinions in favor of breastfeeding are plentiful and the guilt that one can be left with is painful. I have a 20 month old and a 6 month old. I bf the 20 month old for 8 months and am still bfing the youngest. Let me just say that the guilt of supplementing with formula (with Camille, my oldest) and eventually having to wean was tremendous. And you know what, for no true good reason. The guilt came from the world around me, not from me. I was relieved to give her formula, happy. I could go to dinner if I needed, it was heaven. But, the opinions of so many around me and the opinions of the blogs I trusted and adored, whispered in the background. Why is the opinon on breastfeeding “typically” so extreme? Why must it be such a cruel approach. I have heard the term “breastfeeding nazi” and often have been referred to as one. But truthfully, even though I love bfing- I LOVED formula. I had FREEDOM with formula. My husband gained responsibility with formula. Those were two new things in our family-two NEEDED things in our home. Also, it does infuriate me that the nurse would say such a thing. I remember in a bfing course-the nurses told us that for the middle of the night feedings not to wake daddy because this is our job. Really, really? Motherhood is hard enough, but to be told sleep deprivation is your sole responsibility? What ever happened to “if mommas not happy-nobody is happy”? Why must there be such a defined and rigid approach to feedings? My husband needed to do middle of the night feedings to appreciate me more and better understand how ridiculously tough it is to do this role night after night. Yep, he didn’t just appreciate me from the start-he had to go through it as well to truly transform. Katie, thank you and well done. Moms need a break more often than not. And to cause an unnecessary stress of “failure is no option” breastfeeding belief is absolutely unfair and ridiculous. Congratulations Katie on your baby girl! And congratulations for once again providing an opinion and dialouge for the other side. It is appreciated and well needed.

  100. Fantastic post Katie. Although I must agree, I really don’t understand why it’s anyone’s business and why people were asking you what you planned to do with your body. I would never think to walk up to a stranger and ask so I can’t imagine asking someone who blog I read. But kudos to you for writing such a personal post such as this. It took guts!

  101. I nursed all four of my children, including a set of twins. It was difficult at times and fantastic at times. I nursed them all up to different ages. My first until he was 6 months, and then due to stomach issues switched to formula. My second for 8 months until I became pregnant again and suffered a missed miscarriage resulting in surgery and the loss of milk supply. My twins until they were 6 and 9 months old but I supplemented one bottle per day to get ahead on my pumping. One prefered the bottle to me anyways, and it is hard to supply milk for two with two older kids, life, stress.. you get the point. I never felt guilty for switching them when I did. They are all four healthy happy children. It is a very personal decision and no one should ever judge those who choose not to, or can not breast feed. There are pros and cons to both, and the decision is ultimately up to you. I am glad I chose what I did, and glad I stopped when I sensed it was right. Formula is NOT evil, it can in some cases be a life saver- for mommy and baby.

  102. Nicole

    I am about to be a first time mother, a little earlier than we had planned due to complications from vaso previa. I am at 32 weeks and have been on bed rest since 29, sometimes at home and sometimes at the hospital. We are now at the hospital, again, until Natalie is born. She will be a planned C-section during week 34 unless something catastrophic occurs before then. So here I am 40 and about to be a first time mother who has never given this topic much thought. I am an overly-endowed woman who has long wanted breast reduction surgery, but was just never willing to take the risk that surgery would eliminate breast feeding as an option should I ever be so blessed to become a mother. However having no plan and having our time line escalated, I have realized that it is something for which I need to plan. And as I have read my book and this blog and comments, I have realized that her early arrival may well be a stumbling block for the only “plan” I had which was to breast feed based on how I have related to a body part I have disliked my entire adult life (Now that I am thinking about this more, that is definitely NOT the best reason to make such an important decision.). Now beyond that initial reason I have been told over and over both before and during pregnancy that it is the best for the baby, but now I see there can be so many other considerations and concerns. I now know that with her early arrival, getting my milk to come in may be an issue and we don’t even have a breast pump, so now I feel woefully unprepared. This pregnancy has been so rocky physically that I think I have bypassed serious thought on some serious issues and I thank you all for bringing up your many points and making it obvious that my base plan of breastfeeding may be more difficult to achieve than I ever thought. Now I know my husband and I need to have a more serious discussion on this topic. Thank you Katie, for starting this discussion thread, because those who said this should be a personal decision not open to judgment from outsiders is right. All parents have to make the decision that is best for them in their circumstances and we should not judge because we can never truly know the full extent of others’ circumstances. Sorry for the rambling length. The nurse has already given me my pills for the night and I think they are making me a bit sleepy! πŸ™‚

  103. Hi Katie! First let me say that I am an advocate of breastfeeding and have a 6 month old that we exclusively BF. That said, I think your post is extremely well written and I am proud of you and Chris for making decisions that are best for you and best for your family. Dont be swayed by peoples thoughts and opinions and as they say, different strokes for different folks. Society, opinions and family pressure can make raising kids and decisions like these tough and you should be commended for the way you and Chris work through it, come to an agreement and how you communicate it with others. Even as an advocate of breastfeeding, I firmly believe that all of us must do what works for our family. Its crucial for you and Chris to be on the same page and for yall to be at peace with it. If you agree, then no other questions should be asked!! For me it was kind of the opposite as I never considered formula. I saw breastfeeding as a challenge and as I am a cheapskate, I didnt want to pay for formula if I could produce it. I set small goals and took it one nursing at a time. Still some days I am SO freaking over it and I just have to take it one feeding at a time. I like you am EXTREMELY modest – like wont even change clothes in front of my husband and I AM MARRIED TO THE MAN modest – and so that has been a challenge for me. I do all of my feedings in the bedroom and shut the door. I plan outings around feedings or I pump bottles to take with us. Sometimes I get up in the middle of the night to have extra bottles. I feel like a giant cow when I am at work and hooked up to the ole pump, but in the end, I am proud of myself and the fact that I am able to provide for my baby and in the ways I have had to work to make it happen. I feel weird even talking about it, but I just try to reassure myself that my body was made to be able to do this and as long as it works for us, I just try to roll with it. As hard as it has been for me, I think it has been a great decision for our family and I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to do it. We have a ton of friends who have gone the formula route. Their kids are all healthy, growing, sweet and wonderful! Formula wouldnt be out there if it wasnt okay for the child and the main thing is that Bean and Grace are happy and healthy. From all of your writings, they are doing wonderfully! …Probably those snickers that you are feeding Miss Gracie!!! πŸ˜‰ Praying for you and the delivery of your little girl and we cant wait to see pictures! …p.s. I think you should send your post to the formula companies! Maybe they will sponsor you and you can get formula free for the year for Gracie Girl! hehehe!

  104. We are adopting and thus formula feeding as well. Thanks for writing this, I often get offended when people talk about breastfed babies being “better” because we don’t have an option. Yes, we could go on birth control and induce lactation, but that process does not seem natural to us. We plan to use formula and trust that it will be what our baby needs.

  105. Hilary

    Bravo, Katie, for taking a stand on a very controversial topic. I tried to breastfeed my first child – it was very hard and I hated it. I dreaded feeding and holding my baby. I felt like I was never doing it right and my boobs were always sore, my nipples were chapped and cracked and every time I talked to a different expert – pediatrician, nurse, lactation consultant, La Leche leaguers, friends/relatives who breatfed – they all had different advice. Change my diet, only feed for fifteen minutes at time, use a shield, try pumping, get more rest, get vitamins, use a special tea, etc. It was HORRIBLE. Not to mention, I felt myself pulling away from my baby, rather than bonding with her. When I switched to formula after six miserable weeks, I felt so relieved and terribly guilty at the same time. I had to get beyond that. My mother breastfed my brother and I because she didn’t have a choice. Neither of us ever had serious health issues, we went through gifted and talented programs in school. I am an English teacher and he’s a physician. When my son was born, I said I’d try to breastfeed again. And I did. For one week. My son was an awesome latcher. I hated it. He was just as fussy as my daughter, fell asleep constantly at my boob and it wasn’t a good bonding experience at ALL. I switched to formula and felt immediately at ease. I do want to tell you that my daughter has always preferred her father and I also felt like not breastfeeding longer was the problem. I had failed and she was showing her father more love and attention to punish me. However, I breastfed my son for only one week and he is a momma’s boy! So I’ve come to realize that breastfeeding has nothing to do with whether or not your baby will bond with you. Any baby will bond with anyone who provides constant love, attention, and meets the baby’s physical needs. If you can breastfeed, that’s great. Many women do it because they truly enjoy it. But if you don’t and you choose formula, it doesn’t make you any less of a mother. Just like natural child birth doesn’t earn you a medal. Oops, hope I didn’t start another controversy! You are clearly a fabulous mother, Katie, and you’re making the right choice, the BEST choice, for your family.

  106. Vicky

    Katie, Thanks for this wonderful post! One thing that never gets talked about is that one of the reasons that breast feeding is encouraged so strongly is that there are places such as some parts of the US and third world countries where there are poor water supplies and unhygienic practices and so preparing formula has resulted in devastating results for babies. Of course breast feeding is the best option since it eliminates these risks. Sadly, there is a myth out there that breast milk will produce smarter and healthier children than if you used formula and perhaps that is why there are such strong emotions from people regarding this topic. Sure, if you have a sick child with recurrent bacterial infections they will not learn and thrive but that is not due to the formula itself. Anyways, I’m a lucky stay-at-home mom whose done bottle and breast and my mother-in-law is a retired pediatrician who explained all this stuff to me.

  107. Jennifer

    Hi Katie, I just recently found your blog and am enjoying it very much. I have a son who is a few m onths older than Bean and I have a daughter who just turned 5. I can relate to a lot of your posts. In relation to t his issue, I can really relate. I chose not to breastfeed either of my kids for many of the same reasons as you. I considered it heavily only because of the harsh judgement that comes along with choosing NOT to. I never felt like it was the right option for me/us. About 8 mos into my my pregnancy with my daughter I finally made the decision to bottle feed. During my daughters delivery I had a very serious complication (affecting me and not her thank goodness) and was very drugged up for a period of time following the birth. I asked my doctors if I would have been able to breastfeed at all, had I chosen to do so, during those first weeks. They said No. I took that to be my little sign from God that this decision was the right one and I needn’t second guess myself. Today I am happy to say that both my kids are happy and perfectly bonded to both me and my hubby and they are extraordinarily healthy. Thanks again for sharing your thought process. I agree it is a very personal decision (like many other parenting decisions) and there is no right or wrong answer.

  108. allison

    This was a great post. I think it’s sad that people have to defend such a personal decision! It seems to me that people should not be judgmental about how one chooses to feed her baby!

  109. mary

    16 months ago, when I was heavily pregnant with my first son, I think I would have thought you were crazy– denying your son the bonding, nutrients, etc of breastfeeding. However, after struggling myself to nurse for 6 mos., going back to work, not making enough milk, stressing, stressing and yes, more stressing over it– we (baby and mama) both called it quits. And now, pregnant with our second son, I already know that, while I will breastfeed as much as I can at first because I do believe there is a benefit health wise and with bonding to it, I am not opposed to adding in formula. And if it becomes too much, I’m going all bottle.. and I’m ok with that– now. To each his own, and when you look back on things, are the issues you feel or had with nursing worth it when you’re missing out on other precious moments? I think not. Good luck to you and your family. πŸ™‚

  110. Nicole

    Ok, I have only reached comment #64, but I felt I needed to stop there and put up MY voice. I am so tired of people saying formula fed babies get sick more often and need to be hospitalized more. If this were the case the formula companies would have to put on their labels, “may cause your baby to become sick and need to be hospitalized more often if you choose this method to feed you baby.” Come on people, that’s just stupid. My son was 2 months premature. I tried and tried to pump, to give him whatever I could because I was told with him already having one big thing against him, breastfeeding would be the best for him. I pumped and pumped and pumped. Was put on meds to make my milk come in faster which in turn made my PPD 10 times worse.(the pills) on top of that, my son was in the NICU for 13 days with me having to pump at home every two hours and driving to the hospital up to 3 times a day. Granted I would move the world for my son but when you are already going through PPD,your baby doesn’t even get to go home with you, people never thought to come over to just talk or do whatever (no baby, why bother, maybe?) it was a ton of pressure for me. I breastfed for maybe a month, maybe. I was so much better off when I stopped. But all I heard was, your baby is going to have so many health problems. Well, he is almost 6 now and in his life so far he has had one ear infection, one stomach virus with fever and strep throat ONCE. That’s it, rarely even a cold. And yes he was around school age kids daily, teach at a private school and he was allowed to be,with me until he turned 2.(I teach middle school) Two of my best friends solely breastfed and their kids are sick all the time. Both kids have had tubes in their ears because of so many ear infections, runny noses all the time, one had his tonsils removed last year at age 4 because of numerous strep throat episodes. The other had been in the hospital a few times with tons of breathing problems. Both have used breathing machines since about age one. Bean seems to get sick just like any other kid. He doesn’t seem to be sick all the time or more than any other kid. He’s in preschool for goodness sake! Germ infestation! Lol! My daughter will be 3 next month and she rarely gets sick just like my son. She, like Bean, gets sick occasionally. But it happens and they get better and we move on. Katie, I think you are a wonderful mommy and wife. Doing what’s best for your family is the only way to go! (Oh and I thought about you the other day when my daughter was having a major tantrum over a CRACKER, OY. So, I videotaped her so I could send it to you so you won’t feel alone! LoL!)

  111. Kudos to you for standing up and voicing your opinion. I think all women have a strong opinion on breastfeeding vs formula.

    I was only able to breastfeed my son for the first 2 weeks and then my Dr. told me I needed to stop as my girl parts weren’t healing due to sleep deprivation. I am so glad I switched to formula!! It gave my hubby that bonding time that he would have otherwise missed.

    My daughter was born 4 weeks early and I told the nurse whenwe got to the delivery room that I wouldn’t be breastfeeding. She was very snarky with me about it & tried to make me feel bad about my choice. At the time I had a 16 month old, a hubby that worked full time & really it was the best choice for my baby & me. My daughter, now 4, is allergic to cow’s milk/lactose/milk fat. And had I breastfed her it would’ve takenso much longer for us to figure it out.

  112. Melissa

    I should start off with a few disclaimers: a) I don’t have children; b) I work in the field of public health research (primarily physical activity and nutrition for children); c) I am addicted to Marriage Confessions :). I have read this post and the comments 5 or more times trying to make sure that what I say here isn’t offensive, is based in fact, and shows compassion. First off, more than anything, I believe that healthy, happy, emotionally stable parents are what create healthy and happy children. I believe in feeding babies. Fomula, breast, whatever. Do what works for YOUR family. I was so happy to see that Katie acknowledged that breast milk is the healthiest option. IT IS. @Nicole, #110 – I’m tired of people saying that McDonalds french fries aren’t good for you because they are tasty deliciousness, but the fact is, they’re not a healthy choice. Breast milk is healthier for babies. Your argument that if formula was so unhealthy formula companies would be forced to put labels on the containers explaining the danger is an illogical argument. No one is saying that formula causes sick children, we’re saying that breast milk provides a level of nutrition that cannot be replicated by formula. Similar to the way that broccoli provides a level of nutrition that a processed, frozen dinner cannot. We all agree that pre-packaged processed foods are not healthy for adults and that the more nutritious option is whole grains, fresh fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. Breast milk VS formula is the EXACT SAME argument. Again, I am NOT saying that parents who formula feed are bad parents. They are making the choice that works best for them. However, it is important to acknowledge that by choosing to formula feed without even trying to breastfeed is saying that the convenience of formula was more important than the health benefits of breast milk. Just like almost every night, I bypass the super healthy veggies in my fridge, throw a few chicken strips in the oven and call it dinner! I’m fed, I have time to do other things, and more importantly, I didn’t beat myself up trying to prepare a gourmet meal that would only leave me angry and exhausted. My mom used to end meals by asking, “Is everyone full? Is everyone happy?” At the end of the day, those are the two most important questions. If baby is full and happy, job well done.

  113. Melissa

    I think all mothers have to do what works for them. My son never took to my breast, and I don’t feel I was given the time I needed in the hospital to really try with him. Once we got home, I was so exhausted and stressed from the feeding issue overall, that bottle feeding is just what we ended up doing so that he could eat! I had a huge milk supply, so I exclusively pumped for 2 months. I couldn’t keep up with his demand, so we switched to formula. I still feel guilty for feeling like I just “gave up”. But in the end, he is a happy, healthy baby and I’m a much better mother for doing what was best at the time. The analogy that this is the same as bypassing fruits and veggies and feeding your kids processed food, is not even the same thing at all! Giving birth to a baby is the most challenging thing a woman can do and then bringing that baby home from the hospital is even harder. Everyone is in survival mode and the baby has to be fed. Every mother knows that once that “hard” stage is over with and you start to feel somewhat human again, you have more time and energy. Making a decision that you feel is best for your family, is not the same thing as throwing your hands up and doing something for the sake of convenience.

  114. Nicole

    Hmmm…@#112,no it’s NOT the same argument because that would mean you are saying breastfed babies are getting all the fresh fruits, veggies, and lean meats and formula babies are getting fast food and all the prepackaged, unhealthy foods. I’m pretty sure that’s not what you were trying to say BUT that is how it comes off.

  115. Andriani

    It is the same argument. It might be more excusable to not breastfeed versus feeding your older child processed food every day because new moms are notoriously tired, stressed, etc. but the differences in nutrition are analogous. Just like there aren’t labels on fast food warning about obesity doesn’t mean that because there aren’t labels on formula it is healthy. The US is notoriously bad about labeling food products. In Europe all food products with genetically engineered crops in them are labeled as such, in the US it’s not done because it might confuse consumers (in actuality because big money lobbyists pay a lot to ensure that labeling does not occur). There are reasons for not breastfeeding but nutrition CANNOT be one. It is contrary to all evidence. It is not just based on third world countries and water supply. Sure those are the cases where infants DIE from formula but the health benefits of breastfeeding and risks of formula extend far beyond. Below is just a little of the scientific research found in a medical journal. I urge you to look up more on the subject before you argue that formula produces babies that are just as healthy.
    €œThe evidence is broad, strong, and consistent. Breast-feeding saves lives and reduces infections; it diminishes the likelihood of obesity, cancers, and diabetes in children later on. The list of diseases against which breast milk offers protection is long. Its amazing capacity to transfer immunity against Haemophilus influenza meningitis (aka €œHib€ on the vaccine schedule) measles, and even diphtheria has been widely published. La Leche Leauge International’s website notes its protective effects against ear and respiratory infections, pneumonia, allergies, urinary tract infections, and even SIDS, the third leading cause of death in infants. Besides protecting against diseases for which you carry immunity, your breast milk allows colonies of beneficial microflora to take root in your baby’s gut. These reduce odds for allergies and asthma later in life. Formula does a lesser job at this, and encourages less optimal microbial species. Formula manufacturers will do what they can to mimic a first food for our babies, but they simply will never get it right: Human milk has thousands of distinct components that support the immune system in some way, including antibodies, lactoferrin, and dozens of different prebiotic oligosaccharides – that is, carbohydrates specific to beneficial microbes in the baby’s gut. According to a 2007 UNICEF report, breastfeeding is the number one reason why child mortality has dropped worldwide€¦followed by vitamin A supplementation, and mosquito netting

  116. Heather Ben

    “i am a proponent of feeding babies” – several commentors said it and it is worth repeating. Like labor, it doesn’t mastter if you have a birth plan or want vaginal or water tub or no drugs or whatever. If you have the baby, whatever way works for you and your situation, then it’s a success. Similarly, if your baby is feeding, whatever way, that’s a success.

  117. Amy

    My number one priority is seeing my baby grow and be nourished. I will stop at NOTHING to see that this happens- breast or bottle.

    1. Anna

      I want to steal this quote! Perfectly said.

  118. You handled what is such a controversial topic with so much grace! I only hope that with my growing blog that I’ll be able to handle such taboos and potential bombs with as much poise as you!

  119. Jeanna

    Thanks for the thorough information Andriani! Formula doesn’t make babies sick, breastfeeding makes babies SOOO much healthier.

  120. When I was pregnant with my son, I got asked all the time if I planned to nurse. WHY is this everyone’s business? And I don’t say that in a “why did you blog about it” because I think that it is great that you did. I love this post. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and it is high time we stopped judging other moms for their decisions. You handled this topic well! Thanks for this.

  121. I tried for over a month to breastfeed a newborn with a tongue tie who was not able to latch on, and it was just horrible. She also had acid reflux, so she was screaming as I was trying to shove her to my breast. It was a pretty horrible way to start out my time with her. For over 2 months, I pumped every time she ate, while my husband fed her breast milk from a syringe (for the first month). I felt like my connection to her was lost, because I felt like all I was was a cow. Switching to formula was the best thing for us, and we start phasing it in at about 2 months old. I had to stop going to the mother’s groups because they were all run by lactation consultants, and while they weren’t trying to make me feel guilty, they did. Now, my daughter is 7 months old, and I wonder how to handle this with the next kid (if we have one). Do we go straight to the formula, or give the breastfeeding another try? In many respects, formula is so easy. It’s portable, and it means that anyone can get up with her in the middle of the night. While I feel like I missed out a little in the beginning because I was always pumping, I value the quality time she got with her dad. It’s such a sensative topic. I remember reading your original post and asking you a question. I can’t remember exactly what, but I know now, as a mom, it wasn’t fair for me to ask you anything about your decision, and I am sorry. I tried to keep this mantra during those early weeks – you have to what works for you and your family. Also – in all aspects of parenting – don’t compare yourself to others – it’s not a problem, unless it’s a problem for you.

  122. I am currently 19 weeks pregnant and we’re in the deciding mode of do we breastfeed or do we go the formula route. As of right now, if everything continues to progress as it should, I plan to try and breastfeed but am in no way set that this is the best option for our family. I also plan to move the baby to formula by the time I return to work because I have a job and schedule that would make it difficult for pumping during the day. We’ll see. Thank you for your post – my husband and I both thought that it gave us a lot to think about.

  123. Deepa

    I think it is amazing that I find myself nodding and agreeing with almost all the parenting decisions you and Chris make, except for this one. I can’t imagine not breastfeeding if you are physically able.

    To me, breastfeeding is just part of the pregnancy. Even after you give birth, you body has more to give your baby for development and nutrition. Through the miracle of modern medicine and science, women are able to supplement with various drugs and procedures and vitamins. And I completely agree that we should take that help when we need it. I popped bottles of Flinstones gummies because getting all the vitamins from food was not an option when I was living on clementines and nuked potatoes. I had to have the Pitocin and took the epidural gleefully because of complications with my pregnancy, and when my milk took a while to come in, we gave my son formula because he was loosing weight very quickly. For those who cannot breastfeed, for those who try and try, or who cannot because they are on medication, or because of other health problems, formula is a gift. Pumping at work was so hard, I had to stop after my son turned 6mo. I was hoping to make it to a year, but as many commenters said, a sane, unstressed, happy mother is better for a baby than a crazy lady who is chained to a pump. But for those who can breastfeed, I strongly feel like they should at least try. If more and more people make the decision to go straight to formula for non-health reasons, it makes me think of a future where women with bad morning sickness make the decision to grow the baby in a jar, since it is easier. Scenes from Margaret Atwood books flit through my head. Feeling the baby grow and kick and move is something a mother has a special connection to. How is breastfeeding different? It is what our bodies are supposed to do. With all the complications I had and the trouble with my milk coming in, I gave so much thanks for doctors and formula, but I kept trying to do what nature intended. I loved breastfeeding. I am so glad I kept at it, even if it was just for several months. Sure it can be awkward at time when you are our and about, but so is waddling around 9 months pregnant. Sure you’ll get a few stares, but it is part of the whole pregnancy package.

    That said, I respect the decision you and Chris made for Bean. You did what was best for you, and I am glad you have the support that you have. While I feel women should try to breastfeed if possible, even for just the duration of her maternity leave, there are mothers out there who would say that I should have kept pumping for a year, and those who say two years is best. Everyone has an opinion; thank you for sharing yours and letting us share ours on your site.

    1. Tae

      @Deepa I really appreciate this comment. I think it is beautifully worded: breastfeeding is just an extension of pregnancy. The sacrifice (and rewards) do not end with childbirth.

  124. I am so glad you posted this. I am not a mother or pregnant, but I don’t think the day is too far off so I have been thinking about this a lot more lately, as well as talking about it with other women. I was upset and discouraged (okay, and rather p*ssed off) when I told two of my coworkers that I don’t think I want to breastfeed because, like you, I just don’t like the idea of whipping out my boob and sticking it into someone’s mouth. They rolled their eyes and said, “You’ll get over that.” How do THEY know I’ll change my mind? Not all women are the same. They can’t tell me what is or is not important to me, or what will or will not be. I am constantly amazed at how much judgment there is on this subject. Not that this matters to anyone, lol, but what I’ve thought about the most is the idea of pumping and giving my baby breastmilk indirectly. And again, I’ll be like you and admit that it’s for a selfish reason – I want the weight loss help that comes from breastfeeding, and I want the decreased risk of breast cancer. I am totally, 100% confident that my baby could get safe and healthy nutrients from formula.

  125. I learned once my son was born that no matter what you choose, someone will tell you that you are wrong. There is much pressure to breastfeed, and that was something I really wanted to do. That being said, I didn’t have any difficulty doing so, but if I had I probably would have quickly switched to formula. Anyway, I felt pressure to NOT breastfeed…to keep him full longer, help him sleep, etc. Every mom will get criticism no matter what she chooses. Good for you for standing up for your choice.

  126. Lindsey

    In response to those who think Bean gets sick more often because he’s formula fed? That is bogus! My two year old was formula fed and has only been sick once in her entire life and has never required hospitalization. To make such a blanket statement like that is absurd. Bean is in a daycare and therefore exposed to a lot more germs – it’s not because he was formula fed! I know a lot of kids who are breastfed and sick CONSTANTLY. No one’s blaming it on mother’s milk so don’t blame it on formula.

  127. Bravo to you Katie for writing your feelings on this subject when it may not be “politically correct”. It is sad that I even need to say that. It is your decision. PERIOD.

    When I got pregnant with Q-Tip I was bound and determined to breastfeed. And…when I had Q-Tip I was so bound and determined that I didn’t even have a thought that my baby might not be getting enough food and THAT was the reason she was crying and crying and crying. She lost weight and I lost my mind. I did EVERYTHING I could do to boost my milk supply including taking prescription medication. The kind I now see on commercials saying it has caused people all kinds of problems. Even after taking the medication I went from getting .5 oz to 1 oz out of each breast. CLEARLY that is not enough to feed a child. When the prescription ended I went back to .5 oz. Because of all the breastfeeding and pumping I was doing I was a zombie. I got no sleep and couldn’t even enjoy my baby for the first 6 weeks of her life. I regret my decision to continue chasing after breastfeeding when it obviously wasn’t possible for me. I wish I would have been able to enjoy that time with her more. Having said all this…I will admit that it is a little bit difficult for me to hear moms say that they are going to quit breastfeeding or that they aren’t going to at all because it is an inconvenience of some sort to them…but I say nothing. Because that is MY problem to deal with…not theirs and they need to make the best decision they can for their family. And if breastfeeding doesn’t make them happy then they should stop regardless of nutritional value, bonding and such. Because ultimately€¦if mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy.

    I love your blog Katie. I think you are a fantastic mom to Bean and I think you will be even more fantastic with Gracie because it’s your second time around.

    Blessings to the Brown family!!

    πŸ™‚

    Megan

  128. My first pregnancy was a twin pregnancy and as much as I wanted to breastfeed, I didn’t know if I’d be able to do it. When the time came, I was determined. To the point of emotional breakdown when things weren’t going well and my preemie babies were really struggling to eat. We had to supplement with formula and bottles around the clock and it was soooo hard to try to make the decision of whether to keep trying or just stop. I remember one day when they were about 6 weeks old, literally crying all day long b/c I so badly wanted to give up, but so badly wanted to succeed. I had talked to so many moms that gave me encouragement to try and keep nursing but my husband finally said maybe I needed to talk to someone else. Someone who DIDN’T breastfeed. Someone would could tell me that it was ok to NOT nurse them. someone to talk some sense into me.

    I did talk to that person and it did calm me down greatly – it helped me see that formula feeding was perfectly fine too and in some ways – (esp at that point!) much easier.

    In the end, I did end up sticking it out but we did continue to supplement with bottles/formula when I couldn’t keep up with the milk supply. You could say my babies (& us parents) had the best of both worlds that they were both breastfed and formula fed. Its what worked for us and they are now very healthy, happy 4 year olds!

    Good luck with your next baby! What an exciting time!

  129. Syd

    I think it’s great that you are talking about your choice. It is very helpful to people who are struggling with their own.

    That being said, in all categories breast milk is better. When it comes from your body it is custom made for your baby. There is no way that formula can adjust itself to your baby’s needs the way your body can with breast milk. The human body is so amazing, it is designed with a purpose.

    That is not to say formula isn’t good. It is, but it’s the runner up.

    Choice. It is totally a choice. And it is clear that you have weighed all the options and made a choice that is right for your family. I don’t think there is anything wrong with choosing second best, because of the thought you put into it means your are number 1 as a Mom. And that’s the part that counts. πŸ™‚

  130. Elissa

    I have five children, the youngest are 2-year-old twins, all of whom were formula-fed. I believe we experienced beautiful bonding moments during our feeding times, through touching, eye-contact, etc. Just a bit of advice a nurse gave me to make bottle feeding easier…don’t warm them up–sere it room temp.–they’ll take it. They give them room temp. bottles in the the hospital. I never warmed up a bottle for any of my babies. Kept filled bottles of water, canister of Enfamil powder, etc. on my nightstand, never had to leave my bedroom in the middle of the night when they were newborns.

  131. Alexis

    Breastfeeding was the absolute worst part of new motherhood. We had every issue in the book. I cried and screamed. My daughter cried and screamed. My husband didn’t know what to do with us. And yet, I pressed on because this is what you do. I “wasted” my maternity leave figuring it out only to return to work in a few short weeks. and that was if in any way we could even work it out. I spent 8 weeks crying and depressed. And one month weaning off pumping before returning to work. Not the enjoyable bonding time I had imagined. AT ALL!

    As we begin trying to conceive baby #2, breastfeeding guilt is one of my largest concerns and I am heavily considering not even trying this time. But, then the guilt comes. I can’t handle it and so I sit on the fence. This post really helped me realize that perhaps breast is not always best. At least not for my family.

  132. sarah

    thx so much for sharing this:) i am so far away from being a mom but the thought of bfing makes me squemish too. im so grateful there is someone else out there strong enough to share your own personal choice:)

  133. Holli

    I decided I wasnt going to breastfeed, while I was pregnant and then decided to once my daughter was born. I hated it. It wasn’t what I expected and it just didn’t feel natural. I took breastfeeding classes..the whole shabang..nothing, nada, hated it. I also had a severe case of PPD and was on some medication, so I didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of those drugs possibly being passed on to the ol’ kiddo.
    I’m a twin and my sister had her son 6 months after my daughter was born. She was the complete opposite. She thrived off of breastfeeding for several months and only has good things to say about it.
    I will bottle feed with my next baby also.

  134. […] confidence in my decisions. I could never have handled all the negative feedback I received about choosing not to breastfeed if I hadn’t been 110% comfortable and confident that I was making the right decision for […]

  135. Aja

    This is how I feel about our choice not to circumsize our two sons, even when people look at me like I have two heads for our decision. It’s just something we would never choose to do to our children.

  136. Jacquie

    I absolutely loved reading this. Thank you for writing such a refreshing and honest piece. I am in the process of making the decision on how to feed my baby and leaning towards bottle feeding for various reasons. It is so good to read a positive account on bottle feeding and equally as nice to read the messages of support underneath. Us women should support each other and I really feel uplifted by this blog and it’s comments.

  137. Christina Hare

    Situations in life are rarely equal. Your husband still didn’t get to carry his baby for 9 months. Job performance is not more important than God’s gift to you.

  138. Alyssa

    I am poster #12 on this post. I got pregnant in May 2011- and our LO was born 4 days ago. I sit here crying over my lack of wanting to BF and the fact that I gave up without even really trying on day 2. I remembered you did 2 posts about BFing and came back to the blog for emotional support. Thank you for your posts! They are helping a new mom who is sitting here in her living room sobbing over not being a ‘good enough parent’ who ‘makes sacrifices’ for her LO. There is SO very little support for formula feeders out there and it’s just hard.

  139. Maribeth

    I too am on the fence about whether to bf or bottle feed, and appreciate reading your non-judgemental blog about the subject. Thank you! My son was born 3 weeks ago and my milk did not come in as I had hoped. So I’ve been nursing, pumping, and also formula feeding to make sure he gets what he needs. I’m miserable. I dread feeding him because I know that even after nursing him for 40 minutes, he’s still hungry, and I’m left feeling exhausted and inadequate.

  140. Suegal

    I wanted to say Thank you so much for posting this blog! I have a 10 month old whom I breastfed for 5 weeks. He ended up having horrible reflux and a dairy allergy. He cried all the time and feeding him was horrible, I used to cry. I finally decided to stop and felt so guilty, even my husband was not that supportive. Breast feeding has become such a big deal that you can’t even find out information about formula feeding. My son is doing great and I am now happy with my decision. Breastfeeding is not for everyone and we shouldn’t be made to feel horrible about choosing not to.

  141. Cantaremos

    Nice post. Your photos are lovely…
    May I cite you: “Though many breastfeeding moms will disagree with me, I believe this was because formula feeding made it easier for me to tell if he was getting enough and so he stayed fuller longer. ”

    Well breastfeeding mums are WRONG. Of course BFed babies cry much more, they have enough food to survive, not to be nice…hunger makes babies suffer. And breast is not always best.At least not for everybody. When breasfeeding fails, formula saves babies.
    But La leche league do not want us to know that…

  142. CZ

    Thanks for this post and also for your zero-tolerance policy on the comments. I am leaning towards not breast-feeding but have found very few stories online where I hear the formula side of the story without being made to feel like a horrible person for considering it. Like you, of course I know the benefits of breast milk. I also though can’t imagine that formula is so awful if they are giving it to other babies. Also, I’ve made it 33 years so far on this planet after being a formula-fed baby. So thank you.

  143. Tarcy

    Thanks for a great post! Yours is the first I happened on in my start to find others who chose not to breastfeed. My biggest “guilter” right now is my sister and I need to find other people that I can believe feel as I do. (I figured they had to be out there.) Thank you!

  144. Donna

    Just wanted to add my compliments on your post. I am not even remotely interested in breast feeding, I barely tolerate being pregnant if I’m honest. That doesn’t mean I hate babies or that I’ll be a terrible parent. I already have one super healthy, happy child whom I’ve kept that way for over a decade. I just value myself, my feelings, my happiness and that doesn’t include breast feeding. I’m not lazy or selfish just a person looking at a bigger picture where formula is a viable alternative. Personal choice is everything. Good luck and best wishes to all.

  145. Yari

    Formula is good, but breast IS best. My baby has had both, and his father has fed him both, expressed milk and formula, he does much better with breast milk, formula will make him fussy when he was a few weeks old. There is nothing compared with the bonding experienced while nursing your baby. And there is a reason why fathers don’t produce milk, men and women are not equal, we will never be, I am a working mom, but still cherish the opportunity to do something great for my baby while I am away from him. It is a small sacrifice to pump at work. He nurses before bedtime, and sleeps well, 5-6 hrs. Also he is a happy baby and does not cry a lot. Every baby deserves at least a little bit of what nature intended as his or her source of nutrients.

  146. Although I am a staunch breastfeeding supporter, one of the reasons I stopped attending my local LLLI meetings was because I don’t like how all breastfeeding mums are made to feel better and bottle-feeding mums are made to feel worse. I chose to breastfeed because I don’t like supporting corporations that try to convince me that their products are somehow better than something I could make myself. That doesn’t make me a better mum than you, or you a worse mum than me; we’ve just got different styles, and as long as our kids are happy & healthy then there’s nothing wrong.

    You bring up many totally legit reasons to choose bottle-feeding! I do agree that it gives fathers an opportunity to bond more. Sometimes I wonder with my own daughter if her associating me with mealtime puts me at an unfair advantage when it comes to that.

    A lot of breastfeeding activists I’ve met come off to me like abstinence-only supporters; they believe that offering healthy alternatives to breast milk will only encourage people to not breastfeed. People, for many reasons that are only their business, will continue to choose not to breastfeed. (The only thing I can’t agree with personally is women who refuse to breastfeed because they believe it makes the boobs saggy. It doesn’t; pregnancy does–and pregnancy makes a whole lot else saggy, too.) We must seek to find ways to make formula healthier and more affordable for all women.

  147. Brandi

    I’m sorry but these are all very selfish reasons even if you did not want to you can not deny that it is made for your baby over millions of years this is what our bodies were made for and formula has many chemicals and no live enzymes . Why not pump? By law no matter what job you have you are able to. These are all selfish reasons. You as a mother should be putting your child before everything that is what a parent does. I’m not saying you’re a “bad mom” I’m saying this is a selfish choice. I know women that dont enjoy it. You know what though? They do it for the best interest of their child through breastfeeding/pumping. You cant make milk? Many mothers that find human milk banks/donors. As a LAST RESORT organic formula / or live enzyme made formula can be used. I just dont understand.

  148. Anna

    Thank you for this post. Baby #1 was formula fed (not by choice, just didnt produce quality milk due to getting sick for a month) and with our soon to be Baby #2 we are choosing to formula feed. We have soooo many reasons behind this choice and feel very much at ease with this decision. I have been afraid of telling others, but your post gave me the encouragement to stand by my well thought out decision. Thank you for saying the things I was afraid to say!!

  149. Marilu

    Love this post my friend recently had a baby and is breast feeding she says it’s painful for now her mom breast fed all her kids and her sister also breast fed they tell me it’s better and healthier and I am currently pregnant and I’m considering on using bottles because I don’t think ill feel comfortable and I also want my husband to have that bond with our baby I also use to prepare my little brother bottles and I loved helping so I’m sure everyone in my family will also enjoy helping πŸ™‚ I know ill still have a healthy baby πŸ™‚

  150. BettyD444

    Just wanted to say thank you, we are having our first and i feel very guiltly for chosing bottle over breast. People are very pro breast and I can see why including the health professionals. I wish I felt I could be as up front as this it’s the reaction I know I will get after hearing other expectant moms discuss it. Thank you got this helped me feel a lot more supported in my decision and less like the odd one out or the bad mother of the group.

  151. Amanda F.

    I just want to thank you for writing this blog. The anxiety I have had about breastfeeding has been overwhelming. I thought in the beginning I wanted to breastfeed, but after a miscarriage at 17 weeks, trying to get pregnant again, and now being on month 8 of this pregnancy, I just didn’t think I had it in me. I selfishly want my body back. But all the negative options came my way saying this is what was best for my little man and that I was being selfish. I admit, I feel selfish, and I do not want to miss out on that “bonding” everyone talks about. This blog helped me to realize I won’t. I will share it with my husband who like Chris, would be hands off if I chose to breast feed. Not because he is nt interested or lazy, but because like Chris, he wasn’t needed. My apologies for blabbing on…but thank you, thank you, thank you. You have made my anxiety go away and I feel very confident in not breast feeding now. πŸ™‚

  152. Maria

    Thank u for posting ur experience. I formula feed my daughter and felt like a horrible mother when people would ask me why. But she is the healthiest two year old. Never got sick, and to this day still doesn’t get sick. I am pregnant with my sexing child and feel perfectly find with formula feeding.

  153. Heidi

    This was a wonderful post. I bottle fed my son not because I couldn’t breast feed but because I didn’t want to. I hated when people would ask me if I was breast feeding and then give you a look of disapproval when I said no. I like hearing positive stories of other mothers out there thank you!

  154. beth

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I am pregnant and struggling with a nearly identical set of concerns. Finding this gives me strength to make the decision that is best for me.

  155. Danielle

    Thank You so much for posting this. I’m currently pregnant with my second child and debating breast feeding vs bottle. With our first, I hesitantly chose to breastfeed, actually enjoyed it the first couple days and then took B to his first appointment. We found out he had lost too much weight, my milk wasn’t coming in (took 8 days to finally appear) and then B ended up jaundiced. The experience ended with a HUGE fight between my husband and I and us switching to formula and me dealing with the guilt of failure for months on end.
    My husband is against me trying to breastfeed again. I’m hesitant and worried about a lot of factors but everything you hear and read advocates how breast is best. It’s just nice to hear the other side of things as I try to research and make the best decision for my family!

  156. SpringsHopeful62

    LOVED this post! I appreciate your honesty and admire your confidence, as well as your willingness to share your thoughts and the factors you considered in coming to the best decision for you, your husband and your little one. All mothers who are dedicated and intentional in their parenting should be trusted to make the right decision for their families – no explanation or justification required. It’s a personal decision, period. I never understood how or why women came to feel so entitled to judge or comment on how a mother decides to nourish her infant. We don’t feel it’s appropriate to nose our way into what each other eat, or what is fed to older children, so how infants somehow became everyone else’s business has always baffled me… I was formula fed and am perfectly healthy, no allergies, don’t need glasses, don’t struggle to maintain a healthy weight, etc. A child isn’t doomed if their parents choose the bottle instead of the breast! What is best for a family is their business, not a communal decision. Breastfeeding feeding is hardly the sole requirement for being a good mother! As for bonding, I live 1,500+ miles away from my Mom yet consider her one of my best friends, one whom I pray lives to be 100 bc I can’t imagine my life without her. We talk more days of the week than not. Her love and support have always been evident and I certainly don’t feel like I was shorted bc my mother opted to bottle feed me. It’s a personal decision, and nobody deserves to be bullied for the choices they make provided they are making well educated, thoughtful decisions. God bless all Mothers, your job is hard enough as it is!

  157. Christina

    I took a food anthropology class, and the professor told us of the dangers of bottle feeding in other countries. I guess in america you can afford the cost of fake vitamins, “as in formula”. I would never feed my baby fake food, and as a side note you can lose the baby weight faster if you breast feed, not to mention the awesome immunity boosts and other benefits that come from breast feeding.

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