Breastfeeding/Formula Guilt

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I know it sounds crazy. Why should I feel guilty? It’s been two long months of the breastfeeding battle. One I have truly fought and won so how come now that its starting to get easy I’m feeling guilty over thinking about switching to formula.

When I had Johnny I was too young. I was 18 years old and immature. I wanted to breastfeed in truth but the minute the nursing staff came in the room and demanded I do it I became withdrawn and quickly retreated in what was easy. Formula.

Then I had Gavin. I was 25 and I had grown up and realized my boobs had another purpose in life and that they really weren’t only for sexual purposes but they had a completely different purpose.

Johnny slept through the night only days after being born and I truly believed it was formula in his belly that made that happen and when I packed my bag for the hospital I also packed a bottle. That bottle was for Daddy and it was to be feed before bedtime each night so he wouldn’t relate the formula to me.

I made it to around a month.

I had Gavin in July and was getting married in October. Having the formula in the house made it easy to just slip in an additional bottle when it was needed or inconvenient to breastfeed. Breastfeeding was frustrating for me with him. I made so much milk I couldn’t leave the house. I didn’t own a pump and wasn’t well educated on all the things I needed to make it easy. Every time I left the house I came home embarrassed and drenched.

Before long he was completely on formula and I didn’t think twice about it.

Until now.

 I have struggled so much to make things work with Sawyer- and finally we’re pretty much there.

I did everything I could to be prepared for it this time too. I invested in a great dual electric pump. I got good nursing bras and tanks. Bought boxes of freezer bags and pads while pregnant. I was prepared.

So why do I sit here at 2 months in staring at a bottle of formula I prepared and can’t bring myself to give it to him?

Because my husband thinks formula is better. Yeah, seriously. He doesn’t like me breastfeeding and he wants me to stop. I know that shouldn’t make a difference but it does. I don’t need the support but I don’t like the pressure. I don’t need the look of disgust from him when I go to nurse of the feeling like I need to hide in the closet when he’s around.

I don’t understand why he feels this way and he won’t talk about it other then telling me he doesn’t like it.

So, what do I do?

Do I feel guilty for feeding my infant formula or do I feel guilty for not doing something for my husband?
Will it make that big of a difference?
Will Sawyer even care?

I did 2 months. I should be happy, right? It’s longer then I’ve given any of my kids and I should be proud of that-

So why is this choice so hard and why do I keep making bottles of formula just to dump them down the drain?

About Jennifer

Jennifer, the mom behind the Mom Spotted blog, is located in Western Massachusetts. She has three boys, Johnny (15), Gavin (9), & Sawyer (3). She is married to her high school sweetheart. On Mom Spotted you'll find a fun selection of recipes, family fun, product reviews, and more! You can also find her on twitter @MomSpotted and Facebook.



Comments

  1. Dani says:

    Wow, your hubby sounds like a real winner. Breastfeeding is best for your child and I can’t believe his ignorance. You should still breastfeed.

  2. Allison says:

    Oh boy. Your husband seriously thinks formula is better?? Have him watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38k2yrDj1nI

    I applaud you for working really hard this time around with breastfeeding. It really IS the best for children. Here is another http://www.nal.usda.gov/wicworks/Sharing_Center/CO/Breastfeeding_Handout.pdf

    As for feeling guilty, I think to some extent, a mother should feel guilty if they are giving formula. If they have the breasts and the milk, and aren’t on any incompatible medications, then I do think they SHOULD breastfeed. When mother’s don’t, simply because they don’t “want to” then yes, I think they should feel guilty. There are many things we don’t want to do as a parent — stay up late, get up early, wipe butts, deal with a sick child when YOU don’t feel well.. but we do it because we have to and its our job. It comes with the territory, as does our breasts.

    I think the fact that you are THINKING about formula is normal. It’s easier, to some extent, at least when Sawyer is still this young. But believe me, I’m almost 2 years into breastfeeding, and I am SO glad I never gave my baby formula. It’s so much easier to not deal with bottles and I feel confidant that not only am I helping HER health (minimizing cancers, increasing IQ, antibodies, etc.) but I am doing the same for myself. The benefits of breastfeeding are NOT just for babies. 🙂

    And personally, I think Sawyer may care. Some day he’ll find out whether was formula or breastfed and he may wonder why he wasn’t granted these easy benefits, if you were able to give them.

  3. Jenny says:

    You keep on doing what you’re doing momma! You know that breastmilk is better and if you feel it’s the best choice for you and Sawyer, then don’t give it up! You will probably regret it later if you knw in your heart that you don’t want to quit. And that would just add resentment.

  4. Summer says:

    No, man. Just no. Each family must do what’s right for them, but this breastfeeding choice needs to be between you and your son. Perhaps your husband can come around given the overwhelming information against his opinion and behavior-if not, perhaps you can come to an agreement that he treat you with the same respect businesses are asked to show to breastfeeding mothers.

    This is your thing. You deserve no guilt and no shit from this action. You’re doing an amazing thing against many obstacles and you’re instinctively fighting to keep doing it because it’s the most optimal course of action.

    Please feel free to email me. I struggled through four months of breastfeeding with my last two kids before we made the switch. It was hard, but when we switched, the decision was left completely up to me.

  5. Jasmin says:

    Both my daughter and I struggled with breast feeding for 6 months we worked with lactation consultants and used every trick in the book. Our issue was she has a really small mouth and I have almost flat nipples the combo made it really hard for her get a good latch even with a shield. I’d have to pump to get the milk flowing for her and to get the nipple pulled out more. It was sooo difficult made nursing anywhere but home next to impossible. So when I was out and about I supplemented with formula. I felt really guilty though all the other moms around me were breast feeding and there I was mixing formula. But I just had to remind myself I tried everything for it to work and tried very hard with lots of frustration and tears. I did get a lot of help from my husband with the nursing it sorta was a two person job especially in the beginning. My goal was to make it to 6 months and we did it she oddly enough weaned herself at 6 months she preferred the ease of the bottle. When we started supplementing she was 2 months old the moment we started feeding her formula before bed we instantly started getting longer sleep patterns to the point where she was sleeping upto 10 to 12 hours straight. But anyways I do hate that no matter our choice there will always be someone out there who will judge us. We just gotta try our best to ignore those who don’t matter to us and focus on those who do matter. Sad your husband isn’t supportive of breast feeding but that’s all not uncommon either, I have a close friend who’s husband doesn’t allow her to nurse in front of anyone. Even covered up. She has to go upstairs to feed. Whatever your decision you are making it cuz it is what’s best for all of you and you are doing it because you care. Don’t know if it helps at all but you have my support in whatever your decision something all of us moms should do. Our jobs as moms are hard enough, we need to stop judging and start supporting. Way to go mommy on raising 3 amazing, happy, healthy boys! (4 if u count hubby) 😉

  6. stephanie Hodges says:

    I choose best for my child over a man any day. That includes my hubby. So if breast is best, he can be discusted all he wants. But the reward of a healthy baby matters more than his pitty sulking. Imo.

  7. Erin says:

    Are you kidding? I would side with what is best for my child over what my husband thinks any day is that not a mother’s job… Breast is best and there is nothing that even can claim otherwise. My husband was very supportive. I think due the money we saved but also because my children are 2 and 1 and have not been sick yet and we believe that is due to my breast feeding. I actually do not think formula is easier in the long run.. I think it was easier to pull out my boob than to prepare a bottle once I got the bfing thing down. I hope you do what is right for your son not your husband.

  8. Christina says:

    I am very pro-breastfeeding, I always say formula isn’t an option for me – I don’t want to buy it, I don’t want to smell it, I don’t want to deal with all those bottle parts, I worry about all the past formula recalls… but of coarse if I *had* to use it, I would.. thankfully I haven’t been put in that position – with my son who had very severe reflux, we came close but I limited my diet – it sucked but he started to improve and then outgrew the reflux by 9 months and I was able to add things back. I also had the support of my husband (my mother & other family members on the other hand? I always had to hear “I don’t know why your bothering with that, just use formula” – made me crazy!).

    That said, I am not sure if your husband would care to listen if you try to show him the benefits – not just for baby, but for you too. I also know how hard it can be when you don’t have any support while trying to continue on the BF’ing journey, especially if you are being hounded to switch – it really can weigh on you over time. Would your hubby be willing to compromise with you? He support you until, say, six months and then you could think about making the switch (and maybe by then he’d be on board?). Two months IS great, especially with the struggles you had in the beginning… just look at how much Sawyer has grown and its ALL from you! I know that you know you need to do what is best for you & your family, but I’d really hate for you to stop due to pressure from those in your life and regret it. It doesn’t sound to me like you are ready to stop completely.

    Sending hugs your way. Hang in there.

  9. Sarah Stevener says:

    Obviously you’re just not ready to introduce formula. That’s ok, you may be ready in a month or so. Trust yourself and if you’re comfortable Sawyer will be too.

  10. Katie says:

    I am breastfeeding my 6 month old and may have to stop as I have to start medication. The thought fills me with dread – breastfeeding is so easy and so good for my baby. I fed my other child until 13mths and he is rarely ill. I wouldn’t know where to start with formula, as for all the measuring, sterilising etc? Sounds complicated to me! My partner wouldn’t dare ask me to stop – and if he did I certainly wouldn’t listen!

  11. Lyn says:

    I cannot imagine what you are feeling right now. If my husband did not want me to breastfeed, I have to admit, I would probably end up not breastfeeding.
    If possible, it might be really good to have a quiet sit down with Hubby to find out if he will open up a little about why he feels the way he does. He might not want you to feel upset about what he feels, but if he knows that you are not going to judge him either way, he might be willing to open up. It may be that he cannot separate the sexual side of things from the nurturing motherly side.
    I am not sure what I would do, but I do think I would probably be writing an identical post were I in your position.

  12. Kelly says:

    Great job breastfeeding as long as you have! I have a 10.5 month-old and we are still going strong. It’s, by far, THE hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my entire life so you are one strong woman to be able to say that you don’t need the support; I did/do. Anyways, I don’t think anyone has a right or enough information to judge your husband for how he feels. He was brought up that way and unfortunately for you he has strong feelings about bfing/formula feeding. He is completely entitled to those feelings and you shouldn’t feel like you have to hide when he’s around. If he doesn’t want to watch, he can leave the room himself.

    As for switching to formula, it sounds like your other kids are doing well and they were mostly formula fed. Think of it this way: if you look into a crowded room, can you tell who was formula-fed and who was breastfed? Absolutely not. Can we say that all or most of our world leaders were breastfed? Probably not. (I don’t think so anyways.) If you want to continue to breastfeed, then great, do it. It really IS proven to be what’s nutritionally best for your baby. If not, then feel proud of yourself for making it this long! Good luck!

  13. anna says:

    what a prediciment. as someone who nursed for a while, it gets even easier – and your husband will be glad when you don’t have to worry you don’t have a bottle when you’re out, etc.

    also – he should so take all the formula savings and buy himself something he really wants. whatever he needs to be motivated!!

  14. Addison Kat says:

    I’m sorry your husband feels the way he does about breast feeding. My husband is all about me nursing. First off, he’s cheap so he’s happy that we don’t have to spend the money on formula. But he’s also been informed about the multiple benefits of a breast fed child and truly believes it. Maybe your hubby thinks bottle feeding is better because it’s easier. Maybe he’s seen you struggle and doesn’t want you to struggle again. I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt because why would he purposefully choose what’s not best for his child?

    I think if you want to continue nursing, then go ahead and do so. Don’t feel guilty for not doing what your husband wants/asks, especially when he won’t give you a real answer other than “I don’t like it”. Heck, there are a few things I don’t like about my husband and he knows it but you think he’s going to change it just because I don’t like it?

    Wishing you the best on this difficult decision…

  15. Sheena says:

    Well, I can tell ya that if you start giving Sawyer formula because hubby “doesn’t like you nursing”, you will start resenting him. I never knew men had issues with breastfeeding and I guess they do… after I had Jayden, a nurse came in and asked my husband if he had any issues with me breastfeeding and he was like “Uh no?”. He just couldn’t believe she asked him that. If hubby thinks he’s the sole owner of the funbags, he’s got another thing coming, lol. Counseling is in order. Whatever his issue is, he needs to get it out in the open and get over it. He should want what’s healthier for baby.

  16. Mary says:

    I bf. but just did it no problems than when I was 3 months into it I read an article of a woman who had died and asked her husband to make sure her daughter was breast fed through her first year..It was that story that made me continue to 13 months.. Why would a person rather have strangers bm than formula.. I read her reasons. there is a reason why they say they are the closest to bm but not it…. Just a thought. Hope you stick wthit.. told my mom the story if yours and she said make him sleep on the couch

  17. Heather Robinson says:

    I personally think that it’s up to you. If you want to breastfeed (and it sure sounds like you do), then do it. If you want to formula feed, do that. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about either way. What you feel is best for you baby is what is best for him. What about supplementing with formula once in a while? I’m not saying you should do this, but maybe that would help? Good luck! And you’re doing great!

  18. Kathy says:

    You have received a lot of good advice and ultimately you need to make the best decision for your family. Everyone just wants what they think is best; just go with your heart. {{hugs}}

  19. Christine says:

    Maybe your hubby feels left out not being able to help feed? I dunno I skimmed through the other comments bc I didn’t want to get upset if there were any breastfeeding nazis posting the “Evils” of formula or hubby bashing. My kids were breast and formula fed and only w/ the last one was it hard to give him formula. I hope things work out for you and Sawyer and that you find peace about this whole situation =).

  20. simone t. says:

    You shouldn’t feel guilty, but I wish you were getting the support you needed from your DH. Perhaps just do the math and figure out how much extra DH will have to work a week to afford formula/ vs breastmilk. Tell him if he wants you to switch then he will have to work that much extra. Win/win! In the meantime, keep doing what you feel is best. In the long run, if everything goes as it should, Sawyer will be around a lot longer than he will.

  21. I have to say that I understand what you’re going through with your husband. My husband never thought formula was better, but he definitely didn’t like me breastfeeding! He’d never look at me while I breastfed our 2 little ones and I could feel the tension. It was like it grossed him out I guess? I can’t say that he was ever supportive of breastfeeding, but he was supportive of ME and never asked me stop…early on. He did insist that I didn’t breastfeed after they started walking, so I weaned both of them when they were 11 months. (They both started walking around 11.5 months.) I don’t know that I have any advice, but I wanted to share that I went through something similar with my husband. ((HUGS))

  22. Liz says:

    I really feel very bad for you. I don’t think that someone that “loves” you should make you feel this bad and uncomfortable. You are doing what is best for your son! What you need to do is draft up a spread sheet on how much the formula using Enfamil is going to cost you weekly,monthly and yearly and then show it to him! And right next to it say here is what breastfeeding costs….NOTHING….I really feel bad for you but I don’t think you should stop just because he WANTS you too :/

  23. Debee says:

    I can’t say I have the same problem with my husband, but I had the same problem with guilt, when my son was born in March, he was unable to breastfeed and I felt guilty because I had breastfed my other 5 children without a hitch and for almost 2 years each. After feeding him formula for 2 days and him having to be on phototherepy for 8 days straight, I went to a lactation specialist and she taught me some new techniques, and since that day he has been able to breastfeed, but is still supplemented every once in a while if I am super busy (5 other kids to help out). I feel a little guilty that he is on formula, but he had GERD and there has been none that he can drink that he does not spit out the entire bottle. He has Zantac and that has helped some. I wish you the best and hope it all turns out for the best. Breastfeeding is way better than formula and the stains are less and the spit up does not smell as nasty either.

  24. Erin Haggerty says:

    Breast milk is best but today’s formula’s try to come close. Maybe your husband needs to be educated on the benefits of bf.. i had my husband at the fact it was free…

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