Let me first say that I’m a huge advocate for breastfeeding. I tried my hardest, but it just didn’t happen for us; I’ve accepted that and have moved on. We each, as moms, have to do whatever it takes to keep our baby healthy and growing strong, and there is no shame in whatever method we choose to feed our baby. That being said, I learned a LOT in that year of formula feeding, and today I want to share why I’m actually glad I formula fed Allison.
I kept my sanity.
I tried so hard to make it work. We fixed her tongue-tie, I tried to pump constantly, I took supplements, ate more oatmeal than I care to share aloud… nothing seemed to work. I was heartbroken; this was not how I imagined Allison’s baby stage! I so wanted that special bond of breastfeeding, but for some reason, it just didn’t happen that way.
Allison was a little over 2 months old when I finally called it quits and stopped trying to pump, and I felt like the worst mom ever for “giving up”. After a few weeks though, I felt free. When she woke up multiple times a night, I had the option of asking John to go feed her, and in that, he got to share some bonding time with Allison that he may not have gotten to do before. Allison didn’t sleep through the night until she was 10 months old, so it was an extra special blessing to have John help!
I became better at budgeting.
If you’re a long-time reader, perhaps you’ve read my most popular post on how we ate for $37 a week for a year. We had just recently decided I was going to stay home full-time with Allison, so our budget was going to be very tight. With a sudden drop in income and a new baby that suddenly and unexpectedly needed formula, I started to panic because we hadn’t budgeted for this! John and I both agreed to pay for her formula out of our grocery budget and just make do with what we had. I was pretty big on couponing and finding the best deals, so after doing some research we saw that Sam’s Club had the cheapest formula per ounce, at $23 for a week’s supply. Needless to say, we learned to eat cheaply! It wasn’t always the best or healthiest foods, but we survived and I slowly learned how to incorporate fresh, whole foods into our meager budget. Nowadays, with our $60 a week budget, I still find myself working to eat as cheaply and healthily as possible, and will almost always end up with a surplus of leftover money to be used on filling my stockpile. I think this was the biggest reason why I’m glad I gave Allison formula; if it weren’t for that tough year, I probably wouldn’t have created this blog to share my story with you all and to encourage those who need help.
I learned that formula-fed babies can be smart, too.
I know that sounds ridiculous, but seriously. While I was still pregnant, I read all sorts of articles saying why breast milk is best, that your children could possibly be smarter by drinking it and all sorts of things that made me ashamed at first of feeding Allison formula. But you know what? She’s turned out great. She turned 2 in October and was fully daytime potty-trained a month later, she can recognize every letter of the alphabet and can say a word that starts with each letter, and can count to ten. My child is smart. She didn’t need breast milk to be able to do those things, and I’m glad she’s living proof of that.
Am I sad that I wasn’t able to breastfeed? Definitely, and I’m sad I won’t get another chance to try again. But I have a daughter that’s healthy, smart, beautiful, and tries to eat food off the floor. If you were able to breastfeed/currently are, you are awesome and are doing great things! If you formula feed, whether by choice or through struggles, just know that there is no shame in feeding your baby. Everyone has a story, and who knows? Your personal story and struggles may have happened to help encourage others. Keep on doing what you’re doing, and just know that your child will do great no matter what!