Our Formula-Feeding Journey
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World Breastfeeding Week was at the beginning of this month. For the last 2 years, this week has brought a lot of emotions for me.
When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2015, I had dreamed and hoped of nursing her. Unfortunately, it did not work out for us.
Annabella was born on a Wednesday night, and I began nursing her within a couple hours after she was born. It hurt. It was difficult. But I did not want to give up. I knew it would be hard, because that's what everyone told me.
What I was not told is that some babies cannot digest breast milk, or rather, certain proteins found in breast milk. When Annabella was about 36 hours old, she was diagnosed with allergic colitis. I was told to immediately stop nursing her. She was prescribed Nutramigen formula. The pediatrician who diagnosed Annabella told me that I could adopt a special diet, but she discouraged me from doing so and didn't give me much information.
My head was spinning and all I heard was that my choice to nurse my baby was hurting her.
Looking back, I wish I had asked more questions. I wish I had gotten more information about what I could have done to continue nursing. Instead, I continued to feel like a failure.
Once we were home from the hospital, I had a decision to make. I could change my diet and try to figure out what caused the allergic reaction in Annabella through trial and error, or I could formula feed.
I cried. A lot.
I cried in the shower, I cried while I made bottles, I cried when I looked at Annabella.
And then I made my decision.
A weight was lifted off my shoulders when I decided to formula feed and give up on nursing before my milk had even come in. I knew in my heart that it was the best thing I could do for my baby.
Even though it was the best thing for Annabella, I still felt guilty for months. I would see other moms nursing and I felt jealous and inferior.
Finally, now that Annabella is almost 2, I realize that I made the right choice. She is so smart, strong, and healthy. There was nothing for me to feel guilty about.
I had gotten caught up with the saying "breast is best." What I needed to realize was that what may be the best thing for some families may be the absolute worst thing for others. In our case, hypoallergenic formula was the best thing for my family. While I still think breastfeeding is beautiful and healthy, I now know that it is not the end-all be-all. Will I try again when we have another child? Most definitely. But my worth and value as a mother will not depend on whether I can nurse my babies or not.
Thank you for reading! Here are some amazing products we used while formula feeding. Many of these were life savers!