One of the things I have picked up on as a new mother is that each of our journeys and choices are unique to us, and that regardless of those choices, we share a common thread…we are mothers who love our children more than anything in the world, and we will do everything humanly possible to nurture them into wonderful people for the rest of our lives.
I was very afraid of being judged that I did not plan to breastfeed Stella. I completely understood the merits of it – the health factors, economic factors, the skin-on-skin bonding. Yet I had to do what felt right to me – and I chose very early on in my pregnancy not to breastfeed.
When Stella was born via emergency c-section, I could not wait to hold her in my arms. I watched as she was whisked off to the nursery and was counting the minutes until I was in the recovery room and could hold her and kiss her sweet face. The nurse handed her to me with a small two ounce Enfamil bottle, and our bonding moment began right there and then. She took to the bottle immediately and made the sweetest sounds as she took her first sips of nutrition. We continued with the Enfamil formula at home, and to this day, Stella is a thriving, healthy-as-can-be twenty-three pound bundle of joy.
There were a few times throughout the last nine months I wonder if I missed out on the opportunity to bond with her via breastfeeding. But truthfully, it has been very much of a bonding process with every bottle, every snuggle, every milestone and memory made. I am proud of my choice and stand behind it to this day.
At around three months old when it was time for me to go back to work, Stella hit a growth spurt. She wasn’t sleeping through the night yet, and I was desperate. I confided in my girlfriends, and they suggested I start putting a little bit of oatmeal in Stella’s night bottle. Of course I was afraid of the judgement, from other moms, the pediatrician….was I just being lazy? I tried feeding her oatmeal in the bowl, and she screamed and cried. One night I gave in and tried a scoop of oatmeal in her bottle. Miraculously, she slept through the night, and a new routine started for us. It worked!
Around four or five months, I had every intention of using a gift we received to make Stella’s homemade baby food purees. One weekend trip to Babies R Us, when I saw the variety of perfectly organic and healthy options from Earth’s Best, I picked up several cases of food. She absolutely loved them all, and it became a simple solution for us between feeding on the go, at home and at nursery school.
I did a lot of research on Baby-Led Weaning and kept up with several blogs and Instagram friends who were big supporters of BLW. One night around six months, I tried giving Stella some steamed veggies. She absolutely hated them! I couldn’t understand. How could so many of my friends’ children be eating all of these adventurous finger foods at the same age, and my baby didn’t like it at all?! We tried a few more times, but she just wanted her purees. The lightbulb went off again in my mind. Each child is different, each parenting decision is different, and we had to do what worked for us and for her.
Now at nine months, Stella is still taking four 8 oz. formula/oatmeal bottles per day, but we are branching out to turkey, cheese, vegetables, puffs, yogurt, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon … you name it, she’ll try it. She had to go at her own pace, and I am glad I let go and allowed our journey to unfold as it has. Each baby gets fed in all different ways, and each way gives you a happy, healthy baby. Isn’t that what ALL mothers want?
This is just perfect Trish! It sums up my feelings so well and the choices we make. I think this is a fabulous way to sum up feeding decisions!
Kudos to you for being so open with your choices. It feels lately that so many others make you feel guilty for not breast feeding that its so nice to hear from someone proud of their decision not to. It’s so important to take home your underlying message that ultimately we all want the same thing…what’s best for our children not matter what we have to do to achieve it! Thanks for this blog got including all points of view on so many mom issues!
LOVE this! Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone!
You’re absolutely right- every baby is different! And so is every mom! I was the same way with the baby food. I saw all the other mom making purees and to be honest, I’m a working mom and I just don’t have time for that! I also went with Earth’s Best and other organic purees until we started Baby Led Weaning, which mine loved. We’re all mommas trying to do the best for our babies. Thanks for sharing!
Trish, I am so glad you wrote this post!! I never breastfed Cameron and feel so judged when we go to a restaurant, and I pull out formula, or when people ask if I breastfeed and I say no. One thing I have learned as a mother is to NEVER judge another parent!! You are an amazing mother, and Stella is THE most precious little girl I have ever seen!! xoxo
Trish, I commend you on sharing your story with us. Don’t worry about not breastfeeding your baby. I breastfed my children and suffered through many breast infections but my doctors made me feel that I should just “get through it”. It was not a bonding experience for me at all! I wish I’d had the courage you have to listen to my own instincts. Good for you and good luck!
Love this post. I formula fed my first child and I breastfed my second until he was 14 months old and I really enjoyed both. And I really do believe that every child is different because my daughter (who got the formula) is healthier, walked sooner, talked earlier, etc than my son (who was breastfed). So, all that pressure that they will be healthier, smarter, less obese is such pressure b/c I have proof that the opposite has happened with mine. Not to say I don’t agree with BF, I LOVED it and would do it again but I have absolutely no problems with formula and wish more people like you would stand up and say that giving your baby formula is fine and you can bond with your baby and love your baby just as much. I love and am bonded to my formula baby as I am with my BF one 🙂
My dearest Trishie! You know how amazing I think you are. I applaud you for being the voice for so many of use who chose not to breastfeed. I love Jane more than anything in the world, but it was never going to be in the cards for me. To read you describe your decision, makes me feel that mine was 100% the right choice. Thanks for tackling such a prickly situation with grace and humility!
I want to caution other mothers that adding oatmeal to a bottle isn’t recommended unless a doctor is consulted. It’s usually only used in cases of reflux. There is no evidence it helps babies sleep at night. Giving solids (yes, adding oatmeal to a bottle is considered solids) too early, especially at 3 months, is dangerous. Their tummies are not built and ready to process it, yet. I won’t go into details, but look up the risks of introducing foods too soon. There is no need to rush into solids, pureed foods, or finger foods.
Carla, thanks for your feedback! I do want to add I did consult my pediatrician regarding the oatmeal in the bottle (as we did go through a spell with reflux) and he did approve. We didn’t really start giving her the bit of oatmeal in the bottles until closer to four months. Thanks again for your comment, much appreciated!