Formula Feeding and Why it Was the Right Decision for me and my Baby

This post was kindly sponsored by my friends at Similac® / Abbott. Everything I’ve shared is my own experience.

Having a baby is amazing, but needless to say, your life will never be the same! Even though it’s so rewarding, let’s be honest, all the new changes put a lot of pressure on us, moms! As a first-time mom, my pregnancy journey had plenty of ups and downs. I managed months of non-stop nausea during pregnancy, but still powered through and did all I could to best prepare for the arrival of our little guy. Like many of you I’m sure, after wading through literature galore – books, blogs, and the like – I felt pretty prepared with a bunch of gear, supplies, and toys to welcome our newborn home. When the big day finally came, the pregnancy process was topped off with some serious complications during birth. But none of these steps were a huge surprise because friends, family, and followers had all helped me out with their knowledge and tips to prepare for the needs of our new family member.

Once my tiny, beautiful bundle of joy was finally nestled against me, I was jostled into reality as nurses and doctors came to assist in getting my baby latched for his first meal outside the womb. Although nothing can fully prepare you for the breastfeeding experience, I learned a fair amount about the process through my prenatal group. At first, he wouldn’t really latch, which was super disappointing. I know that many mommas don’t have a smooth transition into breastfeeding, so this thought gave me a little bit of solace to stay positive and stick with it. Due to my birth complications, I basically set up a home away from home in the hospital for about a week. Although I wasn’t excited about spending a chunk of my holidays holed up at the hospital, the silver lining was that so many friendly nurses and doctors were there with tips and help to get my little Greyson feeding like he should be.

By the time I left the hospital, I thought that everything would be okay. Greyson was getting better at latching, and I thought it could only get better from here. Boy was I wrong. Grey latched and tried, but he just wasn’t happy. Then came the doctor appointments. There were so many resources for breastfeeding, which was reassuring. Specialists, clinics, supplements… But this is where it started to go downhill quickly for me. I tried everything; I mean everything. I fed more often, pumped, changed my diet, and took medication, but nothing would help me make enough milk to feed Greyson. The emotional rollercoaster was in full force and I felt defeated. I felt like I had failed as a mother.

After reaching this new low, the most frustrating part wasn’t that everyone seemed to think that if I just did something differently (like eat more herbs or drink more tinctures), I’d produce more milk. It was the constant message I received from almost everyone that the only real way to nourish and feed your baby was by breastfeeding alone. I mean, sure, I always envisioned myself breastfeeding, but it never crossed my mind that there would be such an emphasis and obsession to breastfeed at all costs, even when it wasn’t in the best interest of baby and momma.

At this point, I felt down and out. I was told I’d have to settle on formula feeding. But then I had a conversation that changed my outlook on it all. An appointment with a nurse put it in perspective. She put it to me this way – all your baby needs is a full tummy and for you to be healthy and happy while you care for your new little buddy. Now that I was at peace with my venture into the baby formula world, I again became overwhelmed. Unlike all the breastfeeding resources, there wasn’t much support for us formula feeders. I was basically cut loose and told “uh, it doesn’t really matter which formula you get, just pick one”. Logic told me there must be a better way than throwing a dart while blindfolded, so off I went on another research session.

Let me save you the trouble of doing this on your own and cut to the chase. I tried almost every formula I could get my hands on, and boy was Greyson picky. As a newborn, he had a very uneasy stomach, and we found this out the hard way. After a bunch of research, I discovered Similac Pro-Advance® with 2’-FL. Sounds fancy, I know, but it’s really quite simple. 2’-FL is a new and innovative ingredient with an identical structure to 2’-FL found in breast milk, and is backed by 20 years of research. 2’-FL is the most abundant human milk oligosaccharide (HMO) found in the breast milk of most mothers. In breastfed babies, HMOs, like 2’-FL, help nourish the good bacteria, protect from harmful bacteria in the babies’ gut, and support their developing immune system. Similac Pro-Advance® is the first and only formula in Canada with 2’-FL.

This is Similac®’s most advanced and closest formula to breast milk, so finding this option gave me comfort and peace of mind as my tumultuous feeding journey felt like it was finally settling to a soft landing. So far so good, but one last obstacle remained for my picky drinker… the taste test! Needless to say, I think I would’ve totally broken down if he didn’t like the taste of Similac Pro-Advance®. But fear not; he absolutely loves it!

I know that feeding your little one is such an important but sometimes stressful thing. Each of our journeys involve many deeply personal decisions, cultural norms, and outside judgments. What I want to share with you is what my experience taught me: I tried my best to breastfeed and I am glad I did. But allowing myself to open up to another possibility when things were not working out ended up being the best thing for me and my baby.

† Not derived from human milk; identical structure to 2’-FL found in breast milk.

This post was kindly sponsored by my friends at Similac® / Abbott. Everything I’ve shared is my own experience.

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