An Anti-Formula Mother

The Next Family

By: Brandy Black

I have never been a fan of formula. I swore when I had my first daughter that I would nurse her for at least one year if it killed me.  I made it 14 months formula-free.  This was a hefty challenge, given that I pumped 2-3 ounces no matter what I did.  I tried all the tricks but the reality was my body just didn’t respond to that pump.  My poor wife had to meet me at work a couple times a week just so that we could keep up with the demand.  I would nurse over my taco salad. People asked what my issue was with formula and urged me to relax, explaining that there are plenty of healthy, happy formula-fed babies, but I refused any temptation.  Our daughter didn’t get sick until her 1st birthday and I believe it was due to exclusively nursing.  There aren’t many good arguments that can be had on formula over nursing and I knew this, but more importantly I was following my maternal instincts.
When my twins arrived I again vowed I would go at least one year nursing exclusively.  The only trouble was no matter what  I did, I still could only get 2-3 ounces –yet now I was feeding two!  I tried  Fenugreek, drinking lots of water, looking at pictures while pumping, you name it, with no luck.  It broke me.  I wouldn’t leave the house longer than two hours because I needed to be back to feed the babies.  I was willing to make that sacrifice but when I had to go back to work, I knew I had to do something.
I finally sat down with our pediatrician and she told me to let go, that there was only so much I can do and short of quitting my job to stay home and nurse I wasn’t able to give them all that they needed.  It was a hard transition, I had to invite the enemy into the house and although I worked from home and am still nursing to date, it has been a challenging process.  The babies got sick about a month later and I blame the formula.
The only good that has come of this is that I now understand and have empathy for people that can’t nurse.  I often judged too quickly and didn’t consider that people have their own set of circumstances that have likely been challenging to face like mine were.  Similar to being single and hating people with kids on planes, I now embrace them with an understanding I never knew existed.  I learn from parenting once again.

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