I was that mom. You know the one who would look at a newborn baby with a bottle in its mouth and judge the mother. I would never smirk or make it known how disappointed I was, but I surely would feel bad for that infant. “Why in the world did that mother not want to give her baby the best?”, I would think to myself. I was intensely judgmental of something I couldn’t understand.
With my first child my breast milk came in like a trooper. It was enough to feed two babies at a time and it was full of the perfect combination of foremilk and hindmilk (according to my doctor). I never went to a lactation consultant (although I should have because my first child had a shallow latch). I toughed out every uncomfortable nursing session and I made my goal of eight months. At eight months old I made my way back to school and work and switched my son from breast milk to formula.
When my second child was born I decided I would visit a lactation consultant and cure the pain of my previous sons shallow latch. I went back to work and school two weeks after my small baby boy was born. I pumped every chance I could and I made it eight months before I got overwhelmed and made the switch to formula.
Now fast forward to my third baby. My sweet 31 week preemie. I pumped every three hours. My breast milk came in full force and was more than enough to feed my three pound baby. But little did I know, there was some karma waiting for me. My sweet baby had severe acid reflux. She could not consume my breast milk due to how thin it was. Her doctors in the NICU recommended mixing my breast milk with formula with added rice. Eventually the decision was made to put her solely on formula. And you know what? The best decision we made for her included no breast milk at all.
I won’t lie and say I wasn’t sad or disappointed because in all honesty I cried. Why did my body fail my baby? In that moment I had an epiphany. Is this how other formula feeding moms feel? I noticed the disgusting looks when I would mix a bottle. I remember hearing “breast is best” as a mother walked past me bottle feeding my daughter. I even remember seeing moms breastfeeding and emotionally attacking myself for something I had no control over. While breastfeeding I also was attacked for my choices. It’s almost as if moms can’t win.
So I would like to put this out there for fellow formula feeding moms…. I’m sincerely sorry. I do not know why you are formula feeding your baby but, it no longer matters to me. Your baby is beautiful and happy. You are doing the best you can. Don’t worry about judgmental moms. They do not know your story. There are so many things I didn’t understand, and still don’t about formula feeding. But, I refuse to be the mom that makes another mom feel attacked. Moms should confide in eachother, support each other, and be an outlet for companionship and tolerant advocacy.