There is so much stress that comes after having a baby. The biggest stress I think is feeding your baby. I mean after all that’s what keeps your baby alive! Right?
You don’t want to make any mistakes and you want to do everything right! All you ever hear is, “BREAST IS BEST!” Which puts an extra amount of stress on you, because what if you feel differently than what everyone else thinks.
Of course, you want what is best for your baby and it’s hard to not believe and know that, “BREAST IS BEST” when it’s being shoved in your face constantly with all the research on it to back it up. You hear it all over the internet, in articles, from doctors, from friends and family. WE KNOW THAT IT IS BEST!
Logically it makes sense it is the safest, healthiest thing for your baby, because it’s natural and coming from you; but that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest and best thing for you and your baby.
Don’t let the fear of judgement and mom-guilt cloud your decision on whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby. You need to do what YOU feel is best for you and your baby.
I personally am a firm believer breast is best! I also am a firm believer that it may not be best for everyone.
Breastfeeding isn’t the easiest thing, it may be for some, but not for everyone.
My first born I struggled so badly with breastfeeding. Honestly it was a traumatic experience and it was so hard on me, mentally, emotionally, and physically.
I went through it all, engorgement, clogged milk ducts, mastitis, cracked nipples (not cracks, but deep cuts on my nipples), I got yeast infections on my breasts, my baby got thrush! My baby was drinking my blood and pooping out black stool. I mean I went through it all.
It was a horrible experience. It got so bad that when I would hear my baby cry I would get anxiety and not want to feed him. I would sit and clench my fists and toes and cry as I feed him. It was so sad and horrifying.
After two months of breastfeeding I decided to give up and only pump. I chose to pump because we couldn’t afford formula and I wanted what I think was best for my baby.
Pumping isn’t a walk in the park either. It’s time consuming to pump for 20 mins and then have to feed your baby for 10-20 more minutes.
It’s hard to keep your milk supply up to reach your baby’s needs. It’s really annoying to have to be hooked up to a machine, and for whatever reason every time I would pump my baby would decide that’s the moment to scream and cry.
It’s so annoying to have to pack your pump where ever you go and to pump at other people’s houses or in the car.
Plus, you have all the parts to the pump you have to constantly wash, on top of the bottles.
I made that choice and sacrifice though, for my family, my baby, and me. I felt that choice was the best decision for us and I felt good about it.
My second baby’s breastfeeding experience was completely different, thank heavens! We had no problems right from the start and I nursed her until she was 9 months old and I could have kept going, but she gave up on me and started showing no interest. It broke my heart! So, we gave her formula until she hit 12 months old.
With my twins I wanted to breastfeed them so badly and had every intention, and we tried, but they really struggled with weight gain. So, my breastmilk had to be fortified with formula, so they would get more calories to gain weight, so nursing wasn’t an option.
I pumped for 7 months with one of my twins and 4 months with the other. Then we just went strictly to formula.
It was such a hard thing for me to stop giving them breastmilk especially for my four-month-old, but she was not gaining weight well on my breastmilk.; she was thriving better on formula. Her doctor and I thought it would be best to only give her formula.
I stopped pumping for my 7-month-old because honestly it was getting too hard on me having four kids, one on only formula, and the other on breastmilk fortified with formula. So, I stopped pumping altogether. At that point he was actually needing more formula than breastmilk to gain weight; I just didn’t see the point in pumping anymore.
See, everybody’s experience and circumstances are different. I did what I felt was best for my family.
I am not against formula. I think formula has come such a long way and they have done such a great job making it healthy for our babies. My daughter thrived better on it than breastmilk, so that’s saying something.
Whatever you decide make sure it is what YOU really want to do. Make sure it the best thing for you and your family and try not to look back or have regrets because that won’t get you anywhere.
Don’t be afraid of judgement if you choose to do formula. No one knows your situation.
I have a friend who suffers from postpartum depression and had a really hard time nursing her first baby. It contributed to her postpartum depression a lot. It got so bad that she was becoming disconnected and distant from her baby and didn’t even want to feed or hold him.
When she got pregnant with her second she was really scared and thought she’d just go straight to formula from the get go.
She later-on decided to at least try and breastfeed because maybe this time around would be different.
She tried and after a week of nursing she decided she couldn’t do it. She could see herself falling back into her depression, so she started formula feeding her baby, it’s made such a difference and she is in a good place.
There is no shame in this! In fact, this shows me her strength and courage to know her limits. She made the best decision she could for her and her family.
You just never know what someone is experiencing and there should be no judgements between us mothers because all we are ever trying to do is our best.
So, here is a list of pros and cons to both breastfeeding and bottle-feeding. Read through it and YOU decide for YOURSELF what is best!
- It’s free!!!!!
- It’s healthy for your baby and gives them the antibodies they need to fight off infections. It gives them all their nutrients they need in a natural way. It also promotes a healthy digestive system.
- You don’t need access to warm, clean water and have to make a bottle every time your baby needs to be fed.
- You don’t have to pack up formula and bottles every time you leave the house.
- You don’t have to wash a ton of bottles on a-daily-basis
- It’s a special bonding moment you and your baby get often throughout the day. When you breastfeed, it releases hormones that connect you and your baby.
- It is healthy for you! It burns extra calories which can lead to weight loss. It helps your uterus get back to its pre-pregnancy size faster. It “CAN” keep your period from returning. It can also lower your risk of getting breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
- It can be painful or uncomfortable. You can get Mastitis, sore or cracked nipples, clogged milk ducts, and engorged breasts.
- You aren’t completely clear on how much your baby is getting. There isn’t a way to measure and see how much your baby is drinking every feeding.
- You may struggle with milk supply and not produce enough milk for your baby’s needs.
- You have to watch certain medications you take, foods you eat, what you drink, and your caffeine intake.
- Keeping up with your baby’s feeding schedule can be challenging. Breastfeeding sessions usually take longer than bottles.
- Sometimes you may not be able to strictly breastfeed and may have to pump, which can be nuisance.
- You can’t have help feeding your baby, especially at night. This may make you feel tied down and cause you to be extremely exhausted.
- It can be hard to leave your baby with a sitter. You have to plan your outings according to your baby’s schedule and can only be away for so long.
- Your baby may not take to a bottle and only prefer your breast which can be hard to ever leave your baby and can possibly make you feel trapped and overwhelmed.
- It can be stressful, cause anxiety, and be mentally and emotionally draining for you.
FORMULA FEEDING PROS
- It’s faster to feed your baby from a bottle than breast
- You can have help feeding your baby by someone else, even your other children. This also gives others the opportunity to bond with baby during feeding time.
- You can feed your baby on the go easier, in a stroller or car seat if needed.
- You experience no physical discomfort
- You know exactly how much your baby is getting
- Formula is more filling than breast-milk, so formula fed babies don’t eat as often as breast-fed babies.
- You don’t have to worry about your diet, what you drink, and what medications you take.
FORMULA FEEDING CONS
- It’s expensive! You can spend roughly 100.00-150.00 a month on formula and that’s with them drinking the regular stuff. If your baby has sensitivities and needs special formula it can cost more. My twins had to take a special kind of formula which was 25.00 a can, we were spending roughly 450.00 a month on formula for my twins! YEAH THAT MAKES ME SICK!
- Bottles and nipples can be pricey
- Formula doesn’t provide the same antibodies to fight against infections
- You need to mix and prepare formula to the right temperature. You’re always making bottles, this is especially not fun in the middle of the night!
- Remembering bottles and formula when leaving the house
- Having access to warm, clean water to mix the formula when you go places
- You’re constantly washing bottles. I remember with my twins my hands would crack and bleed because of all the bottles I was washing.
- Formula can cause baby digestive issues, colic, constipation, and gas
- It’s a slower process for you to lose weight and have your uterus get back to its pre-pregnancy state.
Honestly, by looking at both of these lists it seems like there are about the same amount of pros on each list.
When it all comes down to it, no matter what you decide, your baby will be just fine! There are so many babies out there who have been fed strictly formula, strictly breastmilk, or both and they are all happy, healthy, strong, thriving babies.