Formula Fed—Me and My Boys
Not every mom must breast-feed.
By Laura Cipullo RD CED CEDRD CDN
I know as a registered dietitian I am supposed to encourage breast-feeding, but there are enough dietitians indoctrinating “breast-feed only.” I am here to share the flip side. I don’t want moms to feel guilty for not breastfeeding because they cannot or simply because they choose not to. I have formula fed both of my sons, who are now ages five and seven. Neither have food allergies, and neither have been on antibiotics (recently, however, it was necessary for the eldest to take them). I, too, was formula fed and am a healthy individual. Opining for formula is based on my personal experience and not science.
But it can be heartbreaking to want to breast-feed your child and be unable to do so. Moms, please don’t feel guilty. Formula feeding is not to the detriment of your child. You can still bond, and you can still provide your child with nutrition. As a matter of fact, the first six months post birth are important, but our job as mothers is even more important as our babies get older. Providing pure nutrition goes beyond the breast and the bottle. How we feed the baby, what we feed them as their first foods, and the relationship between us and our food—and our child and his/her food—is a lifelong balancing act that is more crucial than breastfeeding.
There are also other times when it may be to the mom’s or the baby’s advantage to choose formula rather than breast-milk.Photo Credit: nerissa’s ring via Compfight cc
Why it may not always be better to breast-feed:
- Mom may be malnourished and unlikely to give baby adequate nutrition.
- Mom may be decreasing her bone density, sacrificing her health in order to give baby enough calcium.
- Mom may not be eating fish, and therefore baby is not getting enough DHA, the essential fatty acid obtained through eating fish.
- Mom may be drinking diet soda and eating diet foods to lose the baby weight. (But do you want to bottle-feed artificial sugar to your baby? Is this different healthier than sugar in formula?)
- Pump and dump?? Let’s face it, many moms imbibe in drinks such as wine, while others even smoke tobacco and proceed to breast-feed!
- Baby may not be getting enough nutrition, and formula may be better choice.
Consider, are you doing this to benefit baby or yourself? If you do breast-feed, make sure you take a multivitamin with minerals, drink enough water, and eat enough real, wholesome food. If you choose formula, know your baby is getting calcium, DHA, and the necessary macronutrients. The sugar in formula is not ideal, but remember milk is a form of carbohydrate, which is sugar. The focus for you and all moms and dads can and should be on what you feed your child for the rest of his/her young adult life rather than on the first year alone.
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