Unpopular opinions are just that . . . opinions. They are ideas that contradict the status quo. And this week, ABQ Moms Blog has a few unpopular opinions that we need to get off our chest. And we want to know if you agree or disagree and WHY. Do you have any unpopular opinions? We wanna know those too!
I was a little under a month into motherhood when I switched to formula with my daughter.
That first month was SO HARD.
I had massive overproduction and couldn’t get it straightened out. My husband and I sought help from lactation consultants. One-on-one consultations, nipple shields, and group meetings only brought frustration.
Our daughter wasn’t getting the nutrient-rich hind milk she needed. As a result she was gassy, grumpy, and wouldn’t sleep.
A few weeks later, with tears in my eyes, I told my husband I didn’t think I could do it anymore.
It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make as a new mom. I felt like a failure. Why couldn’t I get my body to do what it was supposed to naturally do?
Now my daughter is almost two years old.
And if I’m being honest . . . I love formula!!
Once our daughter made the switch to formula, life was very different. I know it’s not a popular opinion during a time when the breast is best campaign is growing. But for our family, formula gave us so many things.
Formula Gave Us Relief
My daughter was SO gassy and uncomfortable from the thin milk she was getting during breastfeeding. Formula gave her stomach the nutrients she needed and relieved her of the gas that was building up.
She wasn’t constantly crying from gas pain. And it didn’t take us over an hour to get her to sleep at night.
That meant we were getting more sleep as well. The change was so quick I was surprised. But her relief (and ours) was encouragement that we had made the right decision.
Making the Switch Broadened Our Team
With our daughter on formula, it was easier for us to enlist people to help with her care.
It allowed me as a new stay-at-home mom to get out of the house for a bit. I didn’t have to worry about her needing a feeding before I could get home.
We also were able to do an overnight earlier than most parents who are exclusively breastfeeding. My in-laws (just five minutes down the road) graciously watched our daughter one night so we could get some much needed sleep.
As an exhausted new mom, that is a HUGE thing!
We didn’t feel alone in our parenting journey. As parents we sacrifice a lot for our kids. New babies need a lot of care and attention.
Being able to get a bit of time away (even if it was just a walk around Target by myself) was helpful for my mental health as a new mom.
A friend commented during the first year that I seemed to be handling the transition well. And the truth is I wasn’t before we switched. But expanding our team gave me even more support and helped decrease the stress from those changes.
Formula Gave My Husband a Bond
An immediate bond doesn’t come naturally to all parents, and for some dads it can be even harder. As a mom we carry our children before they even enter this world. If we exclusively breastfeed, we’re also in charge of feeding the baby.
Since I had overproduction, I couldn’t pump. Any time I tried I still wasn’t getting enough of that hind milk for our daughter. That meant pumping and feeding wasn’t an option either.
This is the #1 reason I love formula.
For my husband that bonding didn’t happen instantly. It took time. And those hours of sitting and feeding her were important to that bonding experience.
Studies have shown that breastfeeding can improve maternal bonding. In this article Jennifer Weaver, a professor at Boise State University, points out that those studies don’t mean formula feeding families can’t get similar benefits during bottle feedings.
There is something that happens as you hold your baby and feed them, no matter what the method.
By being a larger part of caring for our child my husband had even more chances to strengthen that bond. He took time out of his day (and night) to hold her close, talk to her, and respond to her needs.
There are things to consider when switching to formula. Not every path is right for all families.
I had dreamed of being able to breastfeed my daughter. As a new mom I longed for that magical experience people talked about. I wanted so hard to make it work.
But I am eternally glad we made the choice to switch.
If we have more kids, I will try to breastfeed again. But I will always remember how grateful I am to have used formula with my daughter.