Why buy the formula when you can get the milk for free?

(It’s taken me almost 6 months to get the courage to post this but I’m posting it because I imagine I’m not the only one who has faced the breastfeeding guilt struggles.  Although it’s a pretty personal post, just know that I’m writing it to maybe, hopefully, possibly make one or two new Moms feel even a tiny bit better about their decision.  If you agree, pass it on, share it, and remind a new Mom that no matter what she decides, it is the RIGHT decision because she is the only one that will know best what works for her baby)


Guilt, guilt, guilt… isn’t there enough of it in this world already?  I used to think that I knew what the word meant…

I should eat healthier… I should work out more…  I should give to more charities

But it turns out I didn’t even know the half of it until I became a mom.  More specifically, a mom that wanted to breastfeed.

It started out innocently enough.  I was pregnant and I thought, Sure, I’ll breastfeed the baby.   Dogs nurse their pups, and cavewomen breastfed their babies, so It can’t be that hard, right?

In the pre-baby classes there were all kinds of conversations about how “good” moms breastfeed.  I started to realize that if this whole breastfeeding idea didn’t work out I would be in for quite the guilt trip.

But then it got worse.  I had Makenzie and the lactation ladies came in nonstop.  I know they meant well but some of them were really pushy.  It wasn’t going very well and I was starting to feel the weight of the world on my shoulders.

On our last morning in the hospital I asked the nurse for some formula samples and she told me that if she gave them to me I would have to swear not to tell anyone that she did it.  Hmm, did she think I asked for painkillers?  When she finally came back empty-handed a few hours later she admitted that she just couldn’t do it.  She couldn’t get me formula because she was scared to get in trouble.  Get in trouble for giving a new mom formula??  Wow, nothing like hefty NYS mandates to make a new Mom feel terrible for her uncertainty about breastfeeding.

By the time we were home, I was totally overwhelmed.  I swear I heard Jaws music every time the baby was hungry.  It was painful and frustrating and I was grappling with terrible guilt for the fact that I didn’t enjoy it.  I wasn’t even sure I could continue, and the thought of formula seemed like the perfect solution if not for all the guilt.

Rather than enjoying every moment with my beautiful, precious, new baby, I was feeling so sad/embarrassed/distraught because breastfeeding was so darn difficult.  What was wrong with me??  Was I somehow missing the breastfeeding gene?  This is not what I expected.  And as new Mom, I was also sleep deprived.   I was still recovering physically.  My hormones made me a hot mess.  And I was trying to do the 5 S’s non-stop for 24 hours a day.  It was a perfect storm.


So why you ask, did I share this personal story?   Why does this warrant a blog post?  And what is the answer to Why Buy the formula when you can get the milk for free?  Well, the answer is that sometimes it is just better to buy the formula…even when the milk is free.

Yep, I said it.  Sometimes formula is better.  And this is not even because of physical issues, but emotional ones too.  To put it in perspective imagine this… you are thousands of feet above ground in a plane and you have a new pilot flying a plane without a flight attendant.  Would you rather him leave the cockpit to serve you healthy apples?  Or would you rather serve yourself pretzels so he could focus on staying in the air?  Okay, not the best analogy but my point is that new Moms need to focus more on the big picture of not crashing versus stressing over other stuff that our society dictates is the “right” thing to do.

Right now, I’m pretty sure that some of you are in total disagreement with me.  But before you start sending me nasty-grams with “101 Reasons why breast milk is best milk,” and before you start throwing stones at my house, just understand what I’m saying.

Yes, breastfeeding is best!  Yes, I wholeheartedly support Moms that can do it. But Yes, it is a TREMENDOUS committment and it needs to be considered just that.  And if that commitment  isn’t right for the Mom, then it is okay!  Say it with me… It. Is. Okay!

As Moms, as friends, and as a society, we MUST learn to support fellow Mamas!!   We MUST let them know it’s okay however they choose to feed their baby.  We MUST remember that it’s their baby, their body, and their decision.  Don’t new Moms have enough pressure already?

And for those of you that still don’t agree with me, no problem!  You are wholeheartedly open to your own opinion.  But if you choose to make me feel like a bad mom, just remember that the day will come when I might just catch you at McDonald’s buying your super perfect breastfed baby french fries. And then you might just get a taste of your own perfect-mom medicine.


So what finally happened you ask?

Well despite the pain and the frustration, I did end up breastfeeding Makenzie.  I got lucky, and with the support of an amazing non-pushy lactation lady I figured out some tricks to help with the pain.  But it wasn’t easy.  Along the way I had a bout with mastitis and I spent way too many (unnecessary) days and nights in tears over all if it.

And although I won’t make it to her first birthday, Kenzie will be 6 months before we thaw out the last bag of breast milk from the freezer.  And although it’s taken me some time to truly feel this way, I’m happy with this outcome.  It works for us and that’s all that matters.  And part of me is actually pretty proud that we’ve made it this far especially because I wasn’t sure if I would make it 6 days when it all started.


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  1. Couldn’t agree more. Great post!

  2. How did I miss this amazing blog post?!?! I TOTALLY can relate to all of your feelings Erin – especially the guilt!! You should be EXTREMELY PROUD of yourself for doing it for 6 months!!!!! Truly an amazing accomplishment!! I only made it through 6 weeks!

    • Thanks Emily! I appreciate the feedback. For me breastfeeding was THE HARDEST part of being a new mom and I’m guessing I’m not the only one that felt that way. Six weeks is amazing too!! It’s not about what we’re feeding them it’s about how we’re raising them and you’re doing an amazing job. Be proud of that amazing baby girl of yours. 🙂


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