Feeding Babies No More

Feeding Babies No More | Houston Moms Blog

I’m at the finish line.

My last baby turns one in a few weeks, and I will breathe a sigh of relief and completion as the infant feeding chapter of my life comes to an end. Feeding babies has consumed my mental energy and emotions for much of the past six years, and I’m so ready to move on.

Like so many first time mommies, I was determined to do everything just right for my baby, and in my mind, that meant exclusively breastfeeding. But when G was born, and even for a few months after, no one knew that he was sick. Eating, one of the most basic of human physical functions, was a monumental struggle that would eventually become impossible for him. He never could physically breastfeed, but I did pump for a few months. However, the stress of G’s emerging disabilities combined with my body’s inability to produce enough milk {Yes, this is absolutely a thing.} made continuing to provide my child with breastmilk an unreasonable goal. So we switched to formula, and six years later, G still relies on formula alone to feed his body. He no longer has any ability to chew and swallow food or drink, and his stomach doesn’t work; so he has a feeding tube that slowly pumps formula directly into his small intestine, twenty hours a day.

Please don’t tell me I didn’t give my babies the best.

Formula saved my baby’s life and continues to keep him alive. For G, breast was not best when he was a baby, and organic fruits, vegetables, and meat are not the best now. Formula is best. When I hear women say “formula is poison,” it hurts. It doesn’t sting as much now as it did in the early days, but it does make me bristle at the ignorance behind statements like this.

When Charlotte was born two years after her brother, and then Nolan nearly another three years after that, I desperately wanted breastfeeding to work with both of them. But after my experience with G, I knew I would not sacrifice the health of my child or myself just to provide them with breastmilk. My younger children were born healthy, and I was able to breastfeed them for fifteen months and six months. However, both were supplemented with formula starting at around 3-4 months of age because my body just wasn’t producing the amount they needed to grow and thrive. Both times, I was crushed, and at times even hated my breasts for their lackluster milk production. There were a lot of emotions and deep-seated disappointment at my perceived “failure” to achieve my goal of exclusively nursing at least one of my children.

For several reasons, both physical and emotional, I completely stopped nursing baby Nolan six months ago, and I am so relieved that I’m finally at a place where I hardly ever think about how I feed him. At almost one, most days he’s eating more solid food than his three-year-old sister, and still, he loves his bottles. I confess I’m actually grateful to have my body back and to be able to leave him with whoever and whenever with instructions on mixing a bottle. I’ve started slowly transitioning him to whole milk – and so far, so good. In a few weeks, I’m planning on scooping that expensive powder for the last time and am never looking back.

Both time and experience give us a huge dose of perspective.

I don’t think it can be said enough times, especially to new moms who just want to do everything perfectly, that fed is best. Period. Also, we need to realize that there is so much more behind how we feed our babies than just deciding on breast or bottle. There’s stress, hormones, and emotions. Sometimes there’s illness, allergy, or disability. Some have issues with past abuse, or family dynamics, or the logistics of returning to work. For some women, breastfeeding is natural and comes easily, and for others, it’s a huge struggle. No two babies are the same, and no two situations are completely alike. As I move on from this stage, I have some residual sadness that feeding my babies didn’t work out exactly as I had planned, but I can also appreciate the perspective it has given me and the grace I can have for all women and their choices.

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2 Responses to Feeding Babies No More

  1. Beth August 30, 2016 at 7:14 am #

    Amen! The “formula is poison” nonsense just boils my blood because it’s so false. And I hate feeling the need to justify how I fed my babies.

  2. Annette February 7, 2017 at 9:48 pm #

    Put so perfectly.

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