True Life: I am a Formula Feeder

From Day 1 both of my boys received formula as their sole food source for the first 4 or 5 months of their lives.

Not because my breasts didn’t work.

Not because of any meds I was taking.

And not because I was suffering postpartum depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress.

They were fed formula because well before they arrived, it is what I chose.

I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple weeks. For one because I know I already write a lot of “Mommy” stuff over here and I wasn’t sure this had a place here. But I have also been avoiding writing it because the entire thing makes me so angry, it’s hard to type out a post that is not just a ranty ragey mess. I get so passionate that my fingers fly faster than my brain can form cohesive points and counter-points.

I am not pro- nor anti-breastfeeding.

I am not pro- nor anti-formula feeding.

I am pro FEED YOUR BABY. (Unless of course you are feeding your baby cyanide. I am not pro that kind of feeding, obviously).

Why is this argument even a thing? Good old Mayor Bloomberg of New York City stirred the ever boiling Mommy Pot a couple weeks ago with his newest initiative for NYC hospitals: Latch on NYC.

The initiative is to increase/promote breastfeeding.

I can stand behind that.

However, it wants to do so by discouraging and LECTURING mothers if they ask for a bottle.

See, now this is where I start getting all pissed off.

Since this shiz hit the fan a couple weeks ago, I have found myself a lone duck (or at least it feels that way) in a firing range of EXTREMELY PASSIONATE breastfeeding nuts advocates who say I am WRONG WRONG WRONG for being opposed to this. They say BREAST IS BEST! and that I am feeding my sons poison.

Ok.

What?

Someone even used the argument that the initiative should take it a step further and make formula prescription only.

See?  Just typing that made me need an hour break from this post.

I 100% support my friends who have chosen to breastfeed. I give them big fist bumps and hugs when they meet goals they have set for themselves. I hold them and listen when things don’t go the way they hoped.

I did my research and understand the benefits of a healthy mom breastfeeding for a healthy baby.

I also made the decision not to breastfeed.

I don’t really think it’s anyone’s business why I chose not to use my breasts to feed my children. My husband and I discussed it at length. I talked about it with my doctors (yes, plural). And this is our choice.

Now, I don’t live in NYC and my OBGYN and hospital are almost unbelievably supportive of all the choices moms have when it comes to birthing and feeding their newborns. When I hear so many horror stories of birth plans and pain management and feeding support gone wrong, I send up a prayer of thanks for my experiences.

But let’s pretend I did give birth in NYC under this initiative.

I planned to bottle feed.

I also planned to birth vaginally, but that didn’t work out so well.

And I for SURE didn’t plan to have the postpartum depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress that I ended up with.

So let’s say the only thing I knew I was doing right was feeding my baby. I could do that. Bottle in hand, he and I were actually ok.

But what if EVERY. SINGLE. TIME I needed to feed my son, I had to ask for a bottle (in my situation, because they knew I was bottle feeding, premixed bottles of the brand I requested was stocked in my labor/delivery/recovery suite). And each time I buzzed the nurse to tell her I needed a bottle for my baby, I received a lecture that, Yes, I could have it, but really I should be breast-feeding.

No one explicitly tells me I am doing it wrong. Not in those words.

But to a new mom who just had absolutely all of her plans and expectations go out the window, and already feels like a failure, this “talking to” as Mayor Bloomberg calls it, is just another reminder that she doesn’t have it all together.  That maybe she is doing something wrong.

Formula is NOT WRONG.

It’s a healthy choice.  It is.

My sons are thriving, hardly ever sick, and very smart.

They are getting all the nutrients.

Formula is a healthy choice.

Breast milk is a healthy choice (given you’re not on drugs).

Feed your baby. Mind your business.

Support choice.