2nd time around: Formula and Breastfeeding

Little Sir: he did breastfeed for 6 months

Being a “green” blogger, someone who has had one natural (unmedicated, vaginal) birth and is aiming for another, a cloth diapering mama, an advocate of babywearing, and someone who made my own baby food, I think it is probably assumed that I am an exclusive breastfeeding advocate. And, in many ways, I am. I do believe in breastfeeding whenever possible. But I was only able to make it to 6 months with Little Sir, then I made the agonizing decision to start giving him formula. At first I felt like I was poisoning my child, but it helped him so much, and helped our relationship so much to let go of the torture that breastfeeding had become and just relax and feed my baby.

As I approach this second baby, I am actually thankful for my experience with formula because I think it will help me breastfeed longer this time. Hopefully this time I will not be so connected to the breast pump, which I still believe sabotaged my supply last time. I should be more available, time-wise, to nurse on a regular schedule. I am not so optimistic that I anticipate my milk production to be able to keep up with the growing baby at 4-5 months old – I wasn’t able to with Little Sir. My boobs just don’t make much milk, even with massage, supplements, eating superfoods, drinking gallons of water, etc., etc. But, unlike last time, this time I know that I can start adding formula into the mix at any point and that doesn’t mean I have to stop breastfeeding. This time I can breastfeed as long as my baby is willing to keep breastfeeding, even though my production can’t keep up with him/her because I have the option of adding formula into the mix. I am actually very excited about trying this, and I feel a lot of freedom from the knowledge that it is not “all or nothing”.

I guess I’d like to encourage other moms having trouble breastfeeding and thinking about supplementing with formula. I know that formula is demonized by the green and natural parenting movement as a “booby trap”, but for us, it has been the opposite. For those of you who do formula feed and are feeling guilt, I would have to say that one of the best resources I’ve found is a blog called The Fearless Formula Feeder, written by a highly educated mom who is helping us feel less like “bad moms” for feeding our babies in the way that works for us.

I am looking forward to my second breastfeeding relationship, and I’ll keep you updated!