Why is Formula Feeding Frowned Upon?

Baby Formula is frowned upon because it is not the “natural” way to feed and nourish a baby. And many mothers are shamed and often feel very guilty for having to feed their baby infant formula.

Instead of being supportive and lifting each other up, many moms get into heated debates about how a baby should be fed. Some formula feeding moms are often called lazy. I feel like it’s quite the opposite.

Yes, formula feeding can be easier in some ways but I felt that it was more of a pain to have to get up several times at night to make a bottle all while my baby was crying. Whereas when I was breastfeeding my second child I could simply roll over, grab him and latch him. It was so easy and I felt like it was much easier.

This is just one of the many types of Mommy wars that go on between moms. Mommy wars are an unfortunate part of having babies and raising children.



What are Mommy Wars?

Mommy wars are the great never-ending debates where moms differ in how they believe a mother should give birth, feed, and even diaper their kids.

And of course, there are reasons that back up both sides of the debate.

One of the biggest and most common debates is whether a new mom chooses to breastfeed or formula feed her baby.

I myself have been both a formula feeding mom and an exclusively breastfeeding mom. And I believe the fact that I have experienced both gives me a unique point of view for feeding babies.

Breastfeeding is Considered best, but…

We all know that breastfeeding is the most healthy, cost-effective, and natural way to feed a baby, but sometimes it is not always ideal.

Some moms simply cannot breastfeed for one reason or another but many moms that are shaming formula feeding moms fail to see this.

So Why Do Mothers Formula Feed?

Since obviously breastfeeding is healthier than formula feeding a baby, every mom should just choose that route, right? Well, not always. Many times there are reasons for moms to choose to formula feed. In fact, I have never heard of a mom not attempting to breastfeed. Most of the time, I believe that formula feeding becomes the last resort when life happens and breastfeeding doesn’t work out or is not an option.

Here are some reasons why moms may not breastfeed.

1. Prescriptions

Many prescription medications including anti-depressants are not safe for a baby. And if you are breastfeeding some of the medications and literally everything you take into your body will get back to your baby. Even though studies have shown that babies receive just a little of the medications that we take sometimes there are types of medicines that they simply cannot be exposed to at all.

As a mom who breastfed my second child, I was constantly concerned about any type of medication that I took because I wanted my baby to be safe. But if a mother takes a medicine that is going to hurt your baby you cannot breastfeed. It is as simple as that.

There are some medications that mothers just have to take to function in the world and instead of breastfeeding they decide to give their baby formula.

Makes sense right?


2. Postpartum Depression

If you have ever been pregnant or know someone who has been then you’ve probably heard of postpartum depression. Postpartum Depression is depression suffered by a mother following childbirth. It is caused by hormonal changes as well as fatigue and the adjustment to motherhood.

Unfortunately, when dealing with depression of any kind it can take some time to get better and may even require prescription medication. Because of this, some moms are not able to breastfeed due to their intense emotions.

Related: The Difference Between Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues


3. Having a Baby in the NICU

I definitely have a ton of respect for any mother who has had to give birth to their baby only to see them taken straight to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). But often when you give birth to a preemie baby or your baby has any other medical problems they are rushed away to receive oxygen or other types of medical intervention.

Although I know it is possible to try and pump your breast milk after your baby is born to help feed your baby with a bottle or through tube feedings, it is highly stressful and difficult.

Many mothers who have a baby in the NICU are sent home before their babies and it can be hard and emotional which can interfere with your breastmilk supply.


4. Going Back to Work and Pumping Can Be Extremely Difficult

High fives to all of the moms who gave birth and were able to go back to work after their maternity leave was up.

I do know that many moms are able to use a breast pump while they are away from their babies for the day, but it is not always ideal. There are many moms who have jobs that are not as accommodating to breastfeeding mothers.

Because of this and the stress of having to pump breastmilk multiple times a day many mothers decide to use formula while they are at work and breastfeed their babies when they are home.


5. What if the Baby was Adopted?

This is one thing that people do not always consider. We all know that there are several babies being adopted every day right after being born.

And of course, if the birth mother is not keeping the baby, breastfeeding will make it so much harder to give them up for adoption. So the adoptive parents will likely have to feed that baby infant formula.


6. Having Multiples

Okay I know that it is possible to breastfeed multiple babies, but with you have more than two babies, I kinda think you would never get sleep if you are nursing them all. 

And in the cases where mothers have medical help to get pregnant multiples babies are a big possibility.


7. My Baby Couldn’t Latch Properly

So I think that this is a problem that many moms who try to breastfeed for the first time have. Latching a baby onto your breast takes practice and let me tell ya when your baby feels a nipple near their mouth all they know to do is to attach and suck, even if it isn’t a good latch.

This is why I recommend taking any breastfeeding classes that you can find to learn all you can about breastfeeding from a professional lactation consultant. Here is the one that I love and always tell people to go to.


8. Some Babies have Health Issues

Although we rarely hear of this sometimes there are times where a baby could have some health issues where they simply cannot breastfeed.

When babies are born with rare genetic metabolic conditions where they cannot break down certain ingredients in breastmilk, they may only be able to be fed partiality breast milk and infant formula for the rest of their diet.

9. Low Milk Supply

This is the most common reason we hear a mother talk about, but it does happen.

There are truly sometimes where a mother just cannot produce enough to support her baby’s feeding needs and have to be given baby formula for some of their feedings.

RELATED: 10 Exceptional Ways to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply for Breastfeeding Success


10. Infections or Disease

Unfortunately today there are so many serious diseases including HIV, that a mother can pass to her baby through breastfeeding.

And if I was a mother who had a serious disease I would not want to take any chances.


11. The Mother has Died in Childbirth

Medical intervention has come such a long way but there still are some tragic times where mothers will pass away during or after giving childbirth.

And when this happens the fathers who are left behind to care for the new baby have to resort to using baby formula to help feed their child.


12. Some Moms have to Supplement with Formula

As I said before whether it’s low milk supply, stress, or even just need a break from breastfeeding, moms are human and there are very real times that baby formula is a lifesaver.

Let me just say that I feel like while I agree that if a mother can try to breastfeed it would be beneficial for both her and the baby, I also feel that a fed baby is a happy baby. Formula feeding mothers are doing their best to give their babies the nutrition they need even if they aren’t giving it straight from their breasts.

And as a mother who has formula-fed one baby and then breastfed the other, I know both sides.

My Formula Feeding Story

If you have been following me for a while, you have likely already read my post about how I failed to breastfeed my first baby. And if not here it is below.

During my first pregnancy, I was determined to breastfeed my daughter, but it was not something that I was very familiar with. My family has been using baby formula to feed their babies for generations.

My grandmother has even told me about when she was a young mom who fed my dad and aunt carnation milk as babies.

I knew that I wanted to be the best mother I could be and breastfeeding was just one piece of my mommy puzzle that I was preparing as my due date began to approach. In fact, I took breastfeeding classes through my hospital and tried to learn all that I could about how to achieve breastfeeding success.

But once my daughter’s due date had passed I began to get anxious and then when she finally did make her appearance through a C-Section, I was already devastated and felt bad about not giving birth to her naturally as I had planned.

However, once she was placed in my arms and the nurse helped me latch her onto my breast, I felt thankful that I could at least breastfeed her.

When we made it home, I almost felt a little traumatized after having my C-Section and became very depressed. It was after being up for days with multiple visitors and then having my new baby crying inconsolably that I remember feeling like I must have not been making enough breast milk.

Being so sleep deprived and having to recover from my C-Section, it seemed that giving her a bottle of formula was the only way to comfort her and get some rest. And it worked. Aubrey was only 5 days old and I fed her one bottle of formula and she slept for hours.

At that time I was just happy to get some sleep and have her happy, but I made the decision to switch to formula feeding her.

I ended up dealing with some intense guilt and my self-worth was horrible because of this decision. I felt like I had failed in my journey as a mother so far and could not undo it. Even though I knew that my daughter was happy and healthy, I still felt shame.

Infant Formula has a Place and is Keeping Babies Alive

The thing that we as mothers have to remember is that baby formula has a place and a purpose in this world. Without having baby formula, I am not sure how I would have fed my first baby. And now that I have laid out a few legitimate reasons that some mothers have to formula feed maybe everyone will think twice when they see a mom buying baby formula.

Even though no one ever made an ugly comment about me formula feeding, I always felt guilty for not breastfeeding my first child and that’s not what moms need.


Did you have to give your baby formula? I’d love your input! Do you feel that a fed baby is a happy baby?

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