Lowell had formula.
I say this not for praise or like it’s some kind of confession. It’s nothing I’m ashamed of. It’s not anything that I need a gold star for or sympathy for. It’s a non issue. I fed my baby just like people all over the world feed their babies every day.
95% of the time Lowell (now nearly 15 months) was exclusively breastfed. 5% of the time, he took formula.
I say this because I was inspired by The Leaky Boob to share a honest account of what successful breastfeeding can look like.
My first two babies, who exclusively breastfed for a combined total of 3 years, never had a drop of formula. I’ve always believed and said that’s largely in part to me being fortunate enough to stay at home with them, and naturally producing a HUGE supply of milk for a long time.
Breastfeeding has certainly presented me with some struggles that I had to overcome, but once I got over those initial bumps in the road, it was smooth sailing.
By the time Lowell was born last summer, I’d reached a point with blogging and speaking that required a lot more travel. The last year has been a great one for me as far as professional opportunities. It’s also been incredibly busy and overwhelming at times.
My first trip away from Lowell, he was about 9 months old, I left filled with worry that he wouldn’t have enough frozen breastmilk.
“So I’ll just get him some formula, ” Scott said matter-of-factly.
To be completely honest, it wasn’t that simple of a solution for me. I did feel guilt for not having pumped enough, but I think most of my anxiety about it came from simply not knowing how his system would handle it while I was gone.
Luckily, we had enough breastmilk in the freezer to mix with the formula and help the transition.
And what do ya know? My baby was happy and healthy and not hungry when I arrived home a few days later.
From then on, I didn’t even bother building my breastmilk stash in preparation of upcoming travel. In fact, I donated what I built up while traveling to a local mom fighting breast cancer with a baby a little younger than Lowell.
Frankly, I quite enjoyed the freedom of being able to agree to a last minute trip without my baby, not having to take into account how much of a breastmilk stash I had built up.
I hesitated to even blog this for a while, NOT because it was something I wanted to hide, but because I didn’t think it was anything to be celebrated. MANY of you who are reading this have fed your babies formula, either supplementally or exclusively. No big whoop.
But I do think it’s important to share that I would still consider my breastfeeding relationship with Lowell to be 100% successful, despite choosing to give him formula on occaision. And I hope it takes some of the guilt and weight off of other moms who are facing supplementation.
A few things worth noting:
1. Yes, I know donor milk is always a great option. Obviously. I AM a breastmilk donor. But my baby was getting plenty of breastmilk. I didn’t feel I needed to find a donor (and take milk away from someone who truly needs it) just for me to supplement because I was, ultimately, too lazy/tired/overwhelmed to pump.
2. If you’re a new mom, and you are aiming to breastfeed, please educate yourself on how supplementing can affect your supply.
3. Alternate title- Successful
breastFEEDING Can Include Formula