Wife, Mummy, Nurse: Crying Over Formula {#BFBlogHop}

12 April 2012

Crying Over Formula {#BFBlogHop}

Before my daughter was born, I had planned to breastfeed her exclusively for at least the first 6 months.  My biggest regret is that did not happen.  I sometimes feel guilty that my daughter sometimes received formula instead of my breastmilk.  As I previously wrote,
My husband and in-laws gave my daughter formula a few times.  I didn't want it to be done and hated it.  The first time Drew gave Charis formula I cried for an hour.  But, sometimes I didn't have enough milk pumped in the freezer or some spilled or I was cancelled and the milk I took out of the freezer the night before was wasted, and I was not able to replace it as quickly as I would have been able to had I worked, or I had to be at the hospital until 9:00 PM because my patient was crashing that day and had to do catch up charting. 
I have since come to realize a few things.  Breastfeeding my daughter was an idol, and it should not have been.  My worth is not in whether or not my daughter is breastfed, but it's in Christ.  I looked down on mother's who were not able to breastfeed exclusively and that too was wrong.  Does that mother care for and love her baby?  If she does, then who cares how she feeds her baby?  Her baby is not entrusted to me.  I viewed myself as a failure, but this did not make me a failure.  Yes, I tried to be more careful about how much milk I had and my husband would give her the breastmilk first, then the formula if he ran out.  I also realized I should be thankful that I was able to breastfeed without many issues.

So even though I regret the fact that my daughter received formula, it's bitter-sweet what happened.  I'm more understanding of when parents choose formula.

Do you have any guilt over decisions you made over breastfeeding or breastfeeding issues?


  1. It's like so many decisions that we parent shave to make. Some are made out of necessity, some aren't really made at all but you can't really judge or define a parent based on those things. If they are doing their best with the hand they have been dealt, well, you just need t let it be.

    I like your comparison there- Breastfeeding has been placed on a very high pedestal at my house. I need to give it less power in my life.

  2. I just ran across this blog, and I have to say thank you so much for speaking (er...writing) these words. I wanted so badly to breastfeed my son, but it just wasn't in the cards for us. He was a preemie who had lost weight at the end of my pregnancy (yes, in my womb-my placenta totally gave out and he would likely have died if not for an emergency c-section). In the nicu, the number one goal was to teach him how to eat and gain weight. I spent hours trying to get my milk going and pump as much as I could for him. As soon as I could, I worked with the lactation consultants to teach my boy how to bf, but the nicu nurses would only let me nurse 1x/day. Quickly he decided he wasn't into breastfeeding, so if we did nurse, he wouldn't get enough to count as a full feed, and they would put his feeding down his tube. He had to go 48-72 hours without a single tube feeding in order to go home, so we had to stop breastfeeding him. He never could get the hang of it afterwards.

    I thought, "sure, I'll just pump his feeds." Eventually, my body couldn't produce enough through exclusively pumping. I think some of it was to do with pain from major problems caused by improperly sized breastshields, and I just couldn't relax enough for my body to produce. Finally, when I couldn't hold my son anymore because I was in so much pain, I decided to give it up. Pumping was keeping me from my son, and that was out of balance. I cried and felt so guilty, but I also felt such relief.

    I really want to try to bf next time, but for now I still have a little milk left in the freezer that my son gets once a day. I figure it's enough to at least help a bit. But I hate the feeling of fear and shame that I get when I pull my formula bottle out in front of crunchy, breastfeeding moms. I know so many of them will feel like you and I did, but none of them understand. It's just really nice to read your blog as it extends kindness to those of us who do it differently.

  3. You did great! Even for 6 months is perfect. The first three months is awesome too. The beginning of a newborn life is the most important time for them to receive breastmilk. Things happen for a reason. You just go a long with life in what is best for everyone. Either your baby was fed with breastmilk which was super awesome you did or with formula. Your daughter was fed. If doctor said her health was great. And she is doing great right now. Don't regret. You did an awesome job caring your baby.

    I want to add that for those mom's who are low in frozen breastmilk or can't pump enough milk. You can always check in Facebook if there is a local breastfeeding group. I have one local to my home and they donate breastmilk to other moms. You can ask for spare of breastmilk. The mom's don't mind. They donate with love. It's great for moms to feel happy.