If you've had a baby, there's a phrase you are bombarded with before you even get pregnant and start looking for information: "breast is best".
You'll even see it on formula tins.
The very thing some people have no choice but to feed their baby with reminds them they aren't doing the "best" thing for their baby.
It's quite a hard thing for a fragile new mum to hear, as I found out myself a bit over six years ago. And it's made worse if your efforts to do the "best" thing have made you even more exhausted, with all-hours pumping sessions when you just wanted to shut your eyes and recover a bit after whatever trauma the birth brought about.
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I've had three babies and tried breastfeeding unsuccessfully each time due to a lack of supply. So I felt like sharing some of the positives I found in using formula for all the mums out there who have been sucked into feeling guilty about using it.
1. Everyone else can feed the baby
If you are around any mums with children, there is no shortage of people keen to cuddle or even feed your baby. Hand the bottle over and enjoy a little "hands-free" time.
It's a consistent product
Some families have really hard times with unsettled babies who scream all the time, or won't sleep. As if that isn't stressful enough, some breastfeeding mums try cutting foods like dairy or gas-inducing foods from their diets. You don't need to worry about any of that with formula: it's pretty easy to swap to soy or goat's milk or another type that is easier to digest if you want.
3. Sharing the load
Your partner (assuming you have one/one who is willing) can feed the baby or take on some night-feeds if you really need to catch up on some sleep. Even just one night with a bit more sleep can make the world of difference to the sleep-deprived.
4. There's one less thing to question
Every parent hits patches where they feel completely lost because they don't know if the baby is hungry, too full, too tired, or windy. With a bottle, you can at least see exactly how much has gone in, which can provide some peace of mind.
5. It fills them up faster and for longer than breastmilk
Your baby may have longer sleeps and may take less time to fill up. Bonus! Less time on the couch and more time to recover, or sleep, or clean, or do some washing, or shower, or look after your other kids, or whatever else it is it is you need to do that isn't being stuck to the couch for hours at a time.
Oh and let's not forget the main reason formula was best for our babies...
6. It keeps your baby alive
Our kids would have starved if they didn't have formula. Being able to feed them was kind of awesome. With our first, it instantly stopped three consecutive days and nights of crying and weight loss after an all-night labour.
She's now a healthy, sassy 6-year-old. Her brother has just turned 4 and our 3-month-old is following in his tracks.
And guess what? No one asks or cares about what they ate when they were born.