This is part two of this series, part one can be found Here (A Letter To The Breastfeeding Mom).
This is a letter to the formula feeding mom, from a formula feeding mom. As I asked in the first post of this series, if you leave feedback I ask that it be polite and respectful. You do not have to agree with what I say, But rude comments can be hurtful to those this letter is for (myself included). I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinions and respectful disagreement is accepted.
Dear Formula Feeding Mom,
After 10 months of exclusively formula feeding my son (he is almost 11 months now) I feel that I can say I am almost out of this topic all together on a direct level. Most toddlers wean off formula after their first birthday, and seeing as we have one month left I almost feel a sense of weight lifted of my shoulders. It's unfortunate to call it a "weight" when all it really is, is feeding my child. So after being almost on the other side of things I wanted to share some things with you, the formula feeding mom. Let me say, as I said in the other letter, I support you 100%, weather you formula fed from day one or spent months trying to make breastfeeding work and choose to use formula when you weren't successful. I support You!
First, and most importantly, remind yourself and tell yourself everyday that how you feed your child is 100% your decision. If you choose to formula feed from day one, or spent 3 months fighting trying to make breastfeeding work and then made the switch to formula, It was the right decision. The world does not have a say in how you feed your child. You do. It isn't easy I will say that, watching friends and other mothers succeed at breastfeeding while you pull out a bottle of formula wondering inside what they might be thinking of you. I really wish there were more formula support groups out there. I understand the struggle within to struggle breastfeeding and am so happy there are breastfeeding support groups out there. But what about mothers who can't breastfeed. It's almost like people just assume we are perfectly fine formula feeding and there is no emotional issue there. Wow, are those people wrong!
I struggled for months on the inside with how I wasn't able to breastfeed. I still today have times where I go back to that thinking and question what I could have done different to make it work. Here is the answer, nothing! There was nothing I could have done that I didn't or anything I could have done differently. It just wasn't meant to work for us. And there is nothing you could have done differently either! You are a strong beautiful mother who loves her baby! If you have to write that on a post it note and stick it to your mirror, phone, or even the can of formula then do so. Tell yourself everyday that the decision you made for you and your baby is the best one you could have made.
Here is something else you have to remember... You don't owe anyone an explanation or answer to any question regarding how you feed your baby. I felt for a long time I owed people more than a simple "it didn't work" when they asked (I don't know why i thought that, but I did). To be honest I will never understand why people think it is any of their business how or why you feed your baby the way you do. People don't go around asking about intimate details of your marriage (at least I never have been asked) so why do they think it is any of their business how you feed your baby? It isn't, so don't feel like you owe a response or answer to any question regarding your baby. (This is the reason why I choose to leave the personal details of my breastfeeding journey out of this series, it isn't really anyone's business but mine and I plan to leave it like that. This series isn't about one person's journey, it is for many to relate to)
I want to also remind you, as I remind myself often, the majority of breastfeeding moms are not out to get you and do not think negative thoughts about you. There are a select few that believe the whole "breast is best" to the extent that they make you feel like feeding formula to your baby is poison, (some do think that, for some reason, and I will never understand why). However, the majority are not thinking that at all. I really believe that with all the "breast is best" campaigns and little support for those who go the formula route it can feel like an attack for sure. I know that none of my friends were thinking I was a bad mother, or thinking I didn't try hard enough. I'm sure that even strangers who saw me feeding formula to my son didn't have evil thoughts towards me either. Often times it is the battle within ourselves that we fight the most. That is why support is so important. Everyone enjoy's hearing that they are doing good!
I encourage you to seek out other formula feeding moms in your area to have that support. Find support through those who understand. Sometimes venting about our feelings can be the best from of therapy. well, that and chocolate ;). I hope that this letter encouraged you to not only stand strong in your decision but also reminded you that you are not alone in this.
A Formula Feeding Mom
Until Next Time...