Yes, you read that right.
I thank God for bottles and formula.
When I say that I thank God for them, I don’t mean it in a figurative sense. I literally prayed that exact prayer a few days ago.
Some of you might find that strange. I know I would have if it were me reading this before I gave birth. I confess, back in those days, that I was a silent sanctimommy. I thought that breastfeeding was the only “right” way to feed an infant; that everyone could do it with enough education, support, or willpower; that there would be no other way of feeding for me and my son.
In other words, I gobbled up all of the lactation propaganda and took the lactavists’ bait, hook, line, and sinker. I — who had never been a mother, never had an infant to feed — judged those moms who chose the alternative.
But, fifteen short days after Wyatt’s birth, I became that bottle-toting, formula feeding mom. And now, after four months of bottle feeding my sweet boy, I am proud to explain why I have come to love the objects I formerly so despised.
I thank God for bottles and formula because my baby would be starving without them. Despite his nearly endless nursing during the first two weeks of life, Wyatt really struggled to gain or even maintain a healthy weight. The only thing that helped him get back to his birth weight as he flirted with the “failure to thrive” classification was supplementing. He was a very unhappy little guy before we made the switch, because unbeknownst to us, he was very hungry.
I thank God for bottles and formula because they helped me recover from a debilitating case of postpartum depression and anxiety. Many factors came together during the end of my pregnancy and the early days of motherhood to create the perfect storm in my life, one of which was our breastfeeding “failure.” Bottles and formula enabled me to regain a little sanity and normalcy when my life felt like it was spinning out of control. They helped me repair and strengthen the precious bond I now share with Wyatt.
I thank God for bottles and formula because they have never failed me. Even when I decided to try relactation and was spending hours every day hooked to my pump with little reward, I knew my baby would be fed no matter what. My body never produced enough milk for him and he never fed effectively, but bottles and formula filled the gaps. He doesn’t have to struggle for every meal any longer.
There are people out there who don’t understand why I am so grateful for my bottles and formula, but that’s okay. At one time, I wouldn’t have either.
I know there are other moms who can sympathize, though. Some people vilify and belittle bottles and formula, but for us, they seem heaven sent.