Have you ever been asked what kind of milk are you feeding your baby? Or how did you bond with your formula fed baby? Then you are not alone. We have all been told and reminded several times during pregnancy that breast milk is the best for babies. And I see why is that. It has its benefits, easily digested by babies, and no washing and sterilizing of bottles is what every new mom would wish for, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, there are Mamas who cannot make enough milk, some suffer from mastitis, working Mamas who can’t pump so many times in the day and many other problems associated with breast feeding the baby. Thank God for science that babies no longer have to go hungry if the mother cannot supply. Thank God for formula milk that babies can grow and thrive on. Thank God for this miracle milk. Yes I call formula milk, the miracle milk because it saves the day and who doesn’t like a happy baby?
It is sad that formula feeding mothers are shamed on and judged. Every mom has a right to choose the best way of providing to her child and what kind of milk she feeds is her choice. It is sad how new Mamas are pushed to breast feed and put under immense pressure by all the judgments other moms hold.
To all the formula feeding Mamas, I know how hard you work. Washing and sterilizing all those bottles, heating up water, carrying bottles and formula wherever you go and still having all the eyes on you when you feed the baby, waking up for the middle of night feedings and making milk, warming it up, it is all too much. Not to mention, yes formula is harder to digest for babies so you hold your baby upright for longer time trying to burp and burp again. Oh and it comes at a price, not free!! Being a mama is hard. You chose to formula feed the baby for a reason and let not anyone make you feel guilty of it. Your baby, your breasts, your choice, your decision. It is only between you and your baby and you don’t have to explain yourself to anybody. There are million ways of bonding with your baby. I am pretty sure you must have bonded with your baby when you carried him for several months and when you gave him birth and you held him for the first time and when you put him down to sleep and when you hold him for many hours when he cries and the list can go on. On a recent episode of Grey’s Anatomy, I absolutely loved when Alex talks about his foster parents to Owen, “This one guy gave a crap about me. And you my friend are giving so many craps right now.” Whenever I doubt my instincts, I just remind myself of how many craps I give! Trust me, Mamas, formula fed or breast milk fed, your baby is going to bond with you and love you deeply because he is y-o-u-r baby!
To all the breast feeding Mamas, I feel you too. Breast milk is the nature’s original milk. The initial days of hurting and still feeding the baby isn’t the best thing in the world new Mamas go through. I always used to wonder if all that ‘bonding’, ‘fun’, ‘satisfying’, ‘playful’ experience, that all breast feeding Mamas talked about, was ever going to be true for me. I remember that feeling when I was so sore from the last feeding that I would close my eyes, count to three and put it in his mouth. We made Lanolin being my best friend jokes. Breast feeding is one of the first things you would feel as a Mama, where you keep your baby’s needs first, no matter how hurtful it is. I swear, all those places you breast feed your baby at, park, friend’s house, restaurants, bathrooms, car (Ugh, the most annoying), airplane, airport,you name it! And then comes pumping. So when you are not feeding your baby, you pump. You over- produced, you pump. You want to go out for 2 hours, you pump. By the way, if you have ever cried on spilled milk, you’d know, it is a freaking tragedy!! And what nobody talks about is many breastfeeding Mamas use bottles too to feed the pumped milk. So it is double the work. Wash pumping bottles and attachments, sterilize them. Wash feeding bottles, sterilize them. And feeding directly comes with its own glorious pains. If you haven’t faced a real fear, try feeding an infant with teeth! We still do it, because that’s what Mamas do.
Mamas, milk itself is a miracle! You breast feed or formula feed, this is what our babies live on for several months of their lives. They grow, develop and learn so many new things on nothing but from the nutrients they get from milk. Babies are geniuses who we made. We know what is best for our babies. Mamas, let nobody judge you, let nobody talk you into guilt, let nobody hurt you. Breast fed or formula fed, your baby is going to be just fine. And when years will pass by, nobody will be able to differentiate between the kind of milk your baby must have once had.
So Mamas, breast feeding or not, formula feeding or not, you are doing an amazing job of raising that little life! Stay guilt free!!