breastmilk vs formula

The following is a guest post from Lina Forrester at Eccentric Chai. I love that Lina writes from both sides of the “nourish” discussion. We are all seeking to feed our children with love. ~ Shauna

Yesterday I put my breast pump in a bag and set it on the top shelf. With it, I placed bottles I’ll never use again, mindless plastic articles that go with these things. I’ve been formula feeding for three months, but I never got around to this.

Putting these items away made me think about the other side of that fence. Breastfeeding was a brilliant experience, but it was also a stressful one. Still, I have a lot to thank my boobs for.

At first, I wanted to write a post about formula feeding and how awesome it has made my life. But then I realized that route is just as arrogant as the post about how breastfeeding is the best. How can I send a message that one is better than the other, when both of them fed my child?

In my pre-motherhood days, I thought I knew it all when it came to parenting. I always had “advice” to give. I gave weird looks to mothers who bottle fed. Becoming a mother eased that judgment as I grew to understand the tough choices we face each day. As a breastfeeding mother then, I realized why formula was necessary for some.

Then one day, my boobs stopped working.

I never thought I’d get so much crap for ending my decision to exclusively breastfeed. I got judged for using a pump–as I desperately tried to continue giving my baby what had been deemed “best.” I got judged for supplementing. I got judged for being uncomfortable with donor milk.

I got judged for feeding my baby.

After talking with my lactation consultant for the billionth time, she finally said the magic words:

“Lina, if you want to stop, that is completely okay.”

And she was right! When I made the switch, it was like hopping out of a fog and into something more like Oz. Sure, I have less money and I have to do more dishes, but formula has changed my family for the better.

But at the same time, I can’t forget how breastfeeding made me feel. I remember when they first placed her in my arms to practice a feeding session. I cried. I knew I was doing something truly beautiful.

Therefore, I’d like to pay tribute to both sides of the fence.

For the first six months, I was able to feed my daughter without finding a billion utensils.

Thank you, Breastmilk.

Today, I no longer have to worry about whether or not my daughter is getting enough to eat.

Thank you, Formula.

For the first six months, I found a bond with my daughter that nobody else had.

Thank you, Breastmilk.

Today, my husband can have that same bonding experience.

Thank you, Formula.

For the first six months, my daughter looked to me for comfort.

Thank you, Breastmilk.

Today, my daughter has finally doubled her birth weight.

Thank you, Formula.

For the first six months, I gave my daughter a great immune boost.

Thank you, Breastmilk.

Today, I am less stressed–and therefore my husband is less stressed–because I know my daughter is healthy.

Thank you, Formula.

For the first six months, I was able to comfort my daughter with one seemingly small gesture.

Thank you, Breastmilk.

Today, my daughter finishes eating with a satisfied look on her face.

Thank you, Formula.

For the first six months, I was able to feed my daughter in the middle of the night without getting out of bed.

Thank you, Breastmilk.

Today, I can sleep on my stomach.

Thank you, Formula.

One of my favorite moments of the day is cuddling with my goo in her rocking chair, holding her bottle upright, and singing her Wayne Newton. She is so comforted, she falls asleep eating. She is happy and bubbly and beautiful.

I’ve seen both sides of the dotted line. Truth is, we are on the same road, just in different lanes. Both lanes get you where you need to go. Both have beautiful scenery. Both are necessary. It’s time we stop getting onto one another for feeding our babies. Breast is best for many moms. Formula is best for many moms. Making sure baby is healthy and happy is what is best for this mom.

I am proud to be me. Be proud to be you.

What are your thoughts? Did you breastfeed? Formula feed? Are you currently breastfeeding or formula feeding? How have your feeding choices helped you be the best momma you can be? I want to know YOUR experiences!

Lina ForresterLina is a stay-at-home mom of her biggest muse and a wife to her biggest fan. She spends her “free” time writing, submitting, and receiving rejection letters. Her writing has appeared in Conclave: A Journal of Character and her photography has appeared in Photography Masterclass Magazine. She is also a member of the SCBWI and has been running the blog, Eccentric Chai, for nearly two years. One of her favorite parts about being a mom is the never-ending supply of cuddles!

Originally published on Eccentric Chai.

~ Read more posts about doing what you need to do (and rocking it). ~

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  1. Jenny Milchman says:

    Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to what many people would like to see as black and white, as sides. I think you did a great job of identifying several of each. Isn’t it great to have options?

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