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  • kathrynmcomber

"Making the Choice: Breastfeeding or Formula Feeding - What's Best for Your Baby?"

I am going to share my story with the hopes that the experiences I had with my children will help someone who is struggling with the decision on how best to feed their baby.

Child number 1 - I went in thinking "breast is best!" and I held strong to that. This worked great for me and my child. I truly felt like it was a special bonding experience to be the only one able to feed and provide for my baby in that way. I pumped occasionally so my husband or other family could feed her a bottle but because it was not something she had regularly she did not take a bottle well. My experience breastfeeding my first child was great and the only thing I knew. It was easy because she was my only child and I was able to sit down and feed her with no other pressing things making it difficult.

Child number 2 - I still held strong to "breast is best" but having a two year old and a newborn made breast feeding less of what I viewed as special bonding time and more of a stressful situation. I was stuck sitting with a very curious and busy 2 year old wandering around while trying to establish a solid routine with a new baby. Still holding strong to my desire to breastfeed only I soon discovered that pumping was absolutely necessary and getting my second child accustomed to bottles was a life-saver. And judge me if you will but there was a lot of bottle propping for baby number 2!

Child number 3 - This is when I learned that formula is not evil! After two weeks of struggling to feed my third baby and doing all I could to boost my milk supply she had Failure to Thrive and was 2 pounds under her birth weight.  I never dreamt that my milk supply was so low that she was losing that much weight. She started on formula that day. I had such feelings of guilt and inadequacy. You will hear people tell you that your mom guilt is silly and that things are not your fault or that you did the best that could! Hearing that does not make it any better. What made me feel better was something that my doctor said at a later check up. He told me that by breastfeeding and formula feeding my baby was getting the best of both worlds! 

So what is best? That is up to you! I think that the biggest take away I have had from my 3 very different experiences is that each situation is unique and there is no right or wrong. If you do not like the idea of breastfeeding, don’t let anyone let you feel guilty about that. Formula has come such a long way in providing everything your little one needs. If you feel like exclusively breastfeeding is for you then that is great! If you end up doing both then your baby will get the best of everything! Also, be adaptable! If had not been so set on doing things one way then I would not have been blind to the issues that I was experiencing with feeding my third baby.

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