The Great Formula Debate


The Great Formula DebateFirst off, I am very pro-breastfeeding.

Second, I am very pro-formula feeding.

Third, and most importantly, I am a huge fan of “you do you.”

Now that those views are out there…

The other night I was sitting around with some friends having a girls night and enjoying some wine. We made some off the cuff comments about having more children. I don’t know how the topic came up, but we started talking about breastfeeding. We were chatting about the topic when one of my friends mumbled, “If I do it again, I’m going to formula feed.”

Another friend of mine said, “For my next baby, it will be a game-day decision.”

I chimed in, “Honestly, I think I will choose formula again too.”

There you have it.  I formula fed my kids. I and could not have been happier with my decision.

This is a hot “Mommy War” topic. This great debate is a touchy subject with lots of feelings one way or the other. In last ten years, society has sung towards the pro-breastfeeding movement. As a NICU nurse, I help moms work on breastfeeding during my shifts at the hospital.  I help and support my NICU moms in any way I can in the area of feeding. However, I fully realize that there are moms who would rather formula feed.

Let me tell you about my personal experience in the area of feeding babies.

When I found out I was pregnant with twins it was a huge shock. My mind went all over the place during that first ultrasound. Among those thoughts was the question of how to feed two babies at once! My plan was to tandem breastfeed for a full year (duh.. it would be a piece of cake).  Then came September of 2013 when I delivered my twin girls at 36 weeks. The first time I attempted to get one of the girls to latch it was a hot mess. I kept at it, but it was not coming easy for us. I went to  the lactation class, had the help of the lactation consultants, read the blogs, and pulled from my professional experience from working in the NICU.  However, we just didn’t get the memo of how to breastfeed.  The reality of the situation was that my girls happen to be a month early and I had TWO babies to feed every three hours. The struggle was so real.

After four days in the hospital, I left with my twin girls. I had decided that I was going to pump and give my milk in bottles to the babies.  Flash forward to the girls being seven weeks old. In that time, I was pumping every 3 hours and at times trying to nurse. I wasn’t making enough milk and was stressed. I had to supplement. I was so exhausted trying to keep up with feedings. I was just drained.  I literally kicked my pump across my bedroom and cried. I was so over it.

I walked into my doctors office at seven weeks for my incision check. I remember sitting in the office so tired.

My OB walks in and asks,  “So how is it going?”

I said “fine.”

He looks at me and asks, “How is breastfeeding?”

I then confessed to him. He made me feel very comfortable and I felt I could tell him my true feelings about it all. I just rambled on and on about the whole experience. I told him that I just can’t keep up with it and I really am not enjoying it.

He looked at me and said, “Then stop. Stop breastfeeding. You don’t have to do it.”

Did he just say “STOP”?

I was totally not expecting that response. I was prepared for a lesson and a list of all the reasons why I should be breastfeeding. Instead, he told me what I needed to hear.

I needed someone to tell me that it was okay not to be into this breastfeeding thing. I was supposed to be totally into it…right? I mean that is what I am supposed to do? All the other moms around me nurse.

My doctor gave me a great pep-talk and filled my arms with formula samples. I went home and weaned myself over three days.  I felt like a whole new woman. I was a better mom because I made a decision that was best for me. I needed to be in my best form to take of my baby girls.

Once I switched to formula, I felt so good about my choice. I felt like I got to spend more time with my girls.  I also was getting more sleep because of the switch. I felt free. I was able to get out of the house with both babies by myself. I didn’t have to stress about pumping or latching in public. It was just an overall good experience for me.

I tell you my story because there are moms struggling with the great feeding debate.

Have a good gut check with yourself on this topic. Be honest with yourself.  If you feel that you are a formula mom, then go for it! You do you, and that is the best gift you can give yourself and your children.

Until next time…

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Cat I although not an Ohio native, she and her family have lived in Columbus for 5 years and have come to call the city home. She has three children twin girl and a son. She is a stay-at-home mom by week, and a NICU nurse by weekend. Cat has been blogging for several years. She enjoys sharing witty insight to all things parenting. Cat enjoys minivans, hot coffee (that wasn’t rewarmed 3 times) skinny jeans, spicy food, all things gingham pattern, pretty décor, her crockpot, and skiing. She looks forward to sharing her simple pearls of wisdom.