i'm here to talk to you about formula. sounds pretty boring right? well, to me it's everything. the true miracle behind formula & all it's imperfect perfection is an absolute gift to our little family.
firstly, i wanted to quickly introduce everyone to The Honest Company's Organic Infant Formula + DHA Bundle! breastmilk is always recognized as the single best source of nutrition for babies. but to me, the single best source of nutrition for babies is the form of nutrition you're able to safely provide them with & ultimately for me, that option was formula.
wether it's your choice to exclusively formula feed, are supplementing, or if you were held against your will by your own body not have a choice in the matter at all, i'm so happy to report that there are an increasing number of incredible companies & options out there for you & your baby.
Honest's Premium Organic Formula is just that, organic! it's modelled carefully after breastmilk using quality organic nutrition & is made without any GMO ingredients. it's gluten free, Kosher & meticulously blended to ensure optimal support for your growing babe. the bundle also includes DHA which is a blend of fatty acids derived from wild caught, natural sources that is essential in supporting brain development early on in life.
as a formula feeding mom who questioned EVERY SINGLE step in this tumultuous journey of nourishing my baby & just trying to give my children the absolute best in every way, THIS IS A BIG DEAL!
& like every other Honest bundle, it reliably shows up on your door step in well thought out quantities, lovingly formulated & it's all just about enough to make me cry because you DON'T UNDERSTAND the lengths at which i had to stretch myself to find organic, well priced formula for my children.
you can also save an addition 25% off on up to 3 extra items added to any bundle which i recommend using to try their silicone formula feeding bottles & natural feeding nipples to help on your formula feeding journey.
& below you'll find my tale about breastfeeding & formula feeding & what being a good mother looks like & how emotional all of this stuff can get & how you are a good mother too...
when i got pregnant with my son, i would often picture what our lives with him would look like & my vision of it all was blissful perfection. i would be in full control of my birth, powerful & strong enough to do it all naturally, without any complications. it would be an instant connection between him & i, that was unwavering & more solid than any other mother & baby bond that ever existed. but most importantly...
i would breastfeed.
well, as any parent knows once the baby arrives, nothing happens as planned. my birth was complex, very long & full of interventions. the bond between us took time. lots of time, actually.
but the breastfeeding was the hardest on us all. i had it in my mind that no matter what, it was the one aspect of it all i was holding onto. i would breastfeed my son, no matter what.
no matter if my body was trying to recuperate & couldn't get up every hour on the hour to feed him. no matter that my milk wasn't coming in. no matter that my son was losing weight rapidly. no matter that mastitis set in three times, back to back. no matter that the antibiotics diminished my supply even further. no matter that my midwives warned me, over & over again, of the importance that he not lose any more weight. no matter that my husband would beg me, in tears, to at least supplement with formula. no matter that i visited three different breastfeeding clinics who advised supplementing as well. no matter that my baby would shriek in hunger pangs throughout the day & night. no matter that i had lost my mind, literally.
no. matter. what.
my last bout of mastitis dried me up completely. & even if it hadn't, the last round of antibiotics i was given were far too strong to be able to breastfeed while taking.
the tears, the guilt & the fear while i gave my son his fist bottle of formula is nothing i could ever explain. all i remembered thinking to myself was 'you failed, tania. you failed him.'
once he finished that very first bottle of formula was the first times in his six weeks of life that he stopped crying. he flashed a big gummy smile up at me before his little head fell back in the most satisfying bout of 'milk drunk' i'd ever seen. he slept for his first four hour stint. his skin cleared up almost instantly. he started to grow. his sleeping would improve with each bottle. his mood & temperament was of a content baby. he was fed & happy. he was himself.
i cried. i'm crying now just thinking about it. i was right. i had failed, just not in the way i had initially thought. the lack of breastfeeding wasn't the failure. it was my stubbornness. it was the picture i had in my head of how it should be. it was my delirious failure to put my child's needs before my own. & it was the biggest lessons of my life.
my experience of early motherhood was turned on it's head when i honoured, accepted & acted in the absolute best interest of my child & abandoned my perceived notion of what being a good mother entailed.
as new mothers, we are so loaded with expectation. a good mother does whatever it is their child needs. & we're all good mothers because, no matter what, we'll always get there eventually. even if we have to be reminded in difficult ways. over & over. until we get it. even if it doesn't feel natural & we always second guess ourselves. we're trying, we're moving forward, we're following the signs & we're getting there.
as silly as it sounds, i owe it all to formula. thanks to formula i had a safe & healthy alternative to sustain my child. it may sound dramatic, but to me it's not. it's a miracle. it's a blessing. it's empowering. it changed our lives. & it gave me the opportunity to prove to myself that ...
i am good mother.
you are a good mother.
we are ALL good mothers.