I never dreamed I would be a “formula mom”. I always thought and pictured myself breastfeeding my children for the first year of their life. I didn’t even consider any alternatives because that was what I wanted to do. Alas, here I sit and my child exclusively drank formula for 8 months of her life (she’s 12 months now). But, I can honestly say now that fed is best.
When Nora was born, nursing immediately was rough. She had a shallow latch and it was incredibly painful. I’m talking blisters and bleeding painful. Also, for the first week she only wanted to sleep and refused to wake to eat no matter how hard we tried. All of that paired with a pushy lactation nurse at the hospital, made for a difficult beginning. Nonetheless, I stuck with it and did the best I could.
I stayed home with Nora for seven weeks and nursing continued to be a roller coaster. Three good days, two horrible. One good feeding, the next awful. One step forward, two steps back. It took Nora a long time to get it down, I even had to exclusively use a shield for a month until the blistering healed (yea, it was that bad).
Finally, Nora got things sort of figured out a month after I went back to school. All along my supply had never been amazing. It was just enough, no more, no less. A few months after returning to work I began to notice a decrease in my supply. Being a teacher, I had two times a day I could pump and they had to be at specific times. Sadly, my schedule was awful! I really struggled when I saw my supply decreasing and there wasn’t much I could do to help.
I fought so hard to continue to breastfeed and the sad thing about it was that I hated it! Nursing was a terrible experience from day one. I never felt that “bond” that moms talk about, I don’t even think Nora and I ever really had a truly successful nursing session. It was always a painful, stressful disaster and I don’t think she was ever really satisfied and neither was I.
As hard as I fought to keep breastfeeding, I fought myself even harder to not care if I gave Nora formula. I had such a negative view of formula and for absolutely not good reason, I just did. So when we struggled so much and my supply began to drop, I took way too long to switch to formula because of my pride and unexplained prejudice.
But guess what?
I made the switch (was basically forced because I lost all supply) and it was the best thing I ever did for Nora (and myself). Once I made the switch (after so many tears) I realized how dumb I was to be so worried about it all. Nora thrived on formula and I no longer got stressed when it was time for her to eat. I knew she was going to get enough food, I wasn’t going to be wincing in pain and she was so much happier!
I still struggled with it from time-to-time. Wondering what other moms would think and trying to make sure I didn’t advertise it on social media. But eventually, when I saw how strong, happy and perfect Nora was growing, I got over it! Because fed is best!
Nora drinks milk like a big-girl now and it seems like ages ago that I was agonizing over what to do. I don’t know what breastfeeding will look like with the next baby. I will definitely try, but if it doesn’t go well, you better believe I will have no problem switching to formula!