Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding – Why I’m Choosing to Formula Feed My Second Baby

**Updated June 14, 2018:

Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding? That was the question I debated early into my second pregnancy. I have now given birth to my second daughter and eventually made the decision to only formula feed her. This wasn’t the easiest decision to make, especially with how much society and doctors push us to breastfeed. For example, this is what the American Academy of Pediatrics states about breastfeeding:

“Breastfeeding is a natural and beneficial source of nutrition and provides the healthiest start for an infant. The AAP reaffirms its recommendation of exclusive breastfeeding for about the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by breastfeeding in combination with the introduction of complementary foods until at least 12 months of age, and continuation of breastfeeding for as long as mutually desired by mother and baby.”

This statement is then followed up with all kinds of statistics from different studies supporting their claim. (You can read the full article and policy here.)

Needless to say, the amount of information out there telling us that breastfeeding is better than formula feeding is overwhelming – and I’m not saying they are wrong.

I completely understand that breast milk does have it’s own benefits over formula but, I am definitely not here to say one way is better than the other. I personally agree with the phrase “fed is best,” whether that’s fed with formula or breast milk. As long as the baby is healthy and drinking as much as they are supposed to, then I think that’s what’s most important.

Here, I share my experience with breastfeeding my first daughter and the main reasons why I am choosing to formula feed my second baby.

The First Time Around

There was never any question with my first baby whether or not I would breastfeed her. It’s not something I had thought about too much but as her arrival approached, I just knew that I was going to breastfeed her and that was that. I knew that breastfeeding has lots of benefits and also doesn’t cost anything so why not?

I had just been moved to a small room after my C-section and was holding my daughter when a nurse came to check on me. She suggested that I try and feed my daughter. I instantly felt scared. I had no idea what to do! Thankfully though, the nurse was there to guide me through the process.

The first few days of feeding my daughter went as well as breastfeeding can go. She seemed to know exactly what to do. There was no trouble with her latching on, she seemed to be getting enough milk and it wasn’t painful – yet.

Soon, I was discharged from the hospital and we were on our own. At home, I continued to breastfeed our daughter but it wasn’t easy. It started to become more and more painful. I produced a lot of milk so my breasts constantly felt swollen and extremely tender.

I also started to feel resentful towards my husband. The first couple of months with a baby are overwhelming and exhausting enough as it is, and when you are the only one that can feed the baby, it just adds to your exhaustion. While I did buy a pump so that I could pump into bottles and let my husband feed the baby, that didn’t change the fact that I still needed to get up to pump.

What’s Wrong with Me?

The bottom line is that I was miserable and because I felt miserable, I began to feel consumed with guilt. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I enjoying this process of feeding and bonding with my daughter? Did this mean I wasn’t a good mom?

I had heard stories of how bad breastfeeding could be, stories about cracked nipples, it being painful when the baby latched on, or the baby not being able to latch on at all. You hear lots of horror stories like this when researching breastfeeding. However, I wasn’t experiencing anything close to this. Yes, the process was painful sometimes but it wasn’t intolerable. So, if my experience wasn’t as bad as it could be, why was I hating it so much?

Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding, Why I'm Choosing to Formula Feed My Second Baby, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, Bottle Feeding, Motherhood, New Baby

Looking back, I realize now that what it comes down to is how it made me feel and I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to resent my husband and I didn’t want to feel guilty all the time.

RELATED: UPDATE ON BABY- Why I’m Choosing to Formula Feed My Second Baby

All of these things came to mind as I debated whether or not I was going to breastfeed my second baby. Ultimately, I decided to formula feed and below are the main reasons why I feel it was the best decision for me and my family.

1.) I will have help

Knowing that I won’t be the only one that can feed the baby takes a lot of pressure off. Not only does this give my husband a chance to participate and bond with our daughter, but it also gives other family members (such as Grandma and Grandpa) the chance to help out with feeding as well.

Many people claim that formula feeding causes you to lose the bonding experience. I personally don’t agree with this. When feeding my daughter, I hold her close and in a very similar position as if I was breastfeeding and I still get to look her in the eye. It still feels like a very special experience.

2.) More rest

What I learned in those early days with my first daughter is that sleep is CRUCIAL. Especially for me. I’ve never been able to function well without it. I seem to transform into this irritable and grumpy monster that doesn’t want anything to do with anyone. Not being the sole person that can feed my baby will allow me and my partner to take turns, therefore allowing me to get some more rest.

3.) I will be able to still spend time with my toddler

One major difference this time around is that I will also have a three year old to take care of. I remember back when I was breastfeeding her how time consuming it was! I want to make sure that she doesn’t feel left out all of a sudden once the baby arrives and by choosing to formula feed, this will allow me to still spend some time with my toddler while also giving her a chance to help and be a part of the process. She is always wanting to help Mommy and I think it will be an awesome experience for her to be able to help feed her baby sister.

4.) Less guilt

It’s funny because on one hand, society tends to make us feel guilty about choosing not to breastfeed our baby. I think we are made to feel like less of a mother somehow if we don’t breastfeed and it sucks. However, I am very comfortable with my decision to only formula feed and it has actually removed much of the guilt I felt the first time around. I won’t have to worry about whether or not I am doing it right, or if my baby is getting enough milk or wonder why I’m just not enjoying the process. I think less guilt (along with more help and sleep) will overall make me a happier mama this time around.

5.) Don’t have to worry about my diet or pain medication

My baby was born via C-section which means there was strong pain medication involved. This was also the case with my first daughter. She was delivered via C-section and I remember being so worried and paranoid about how the pain medication I was taking would affect her. It was just one more thing that added to my guilt. I also worried about every little thing I ate. I felt like I couldn’t just enjoy a meal anymore. This may seem like a selfish reason to formula feed and I guess it probably is. However, I personally believe that the happier I am and the less guilt I am feeling, than the better mom and wife I can be.

The biggest downfall to formula feeding is the cost. It is definitely the more expensive route. On average, we spend about $160 a month on formula. This is a huge extra cost that I understand many families can’t afford. It is something you should consider when deciding whether or not to breastfeed.

Our daughter is now a very healthy eight months old and I have no regrets about my decision.

What are your thoughts? Did you breastfeed or formula feed your baby? I would love to hear your experience!

Choosing to formula feed wasn't the easiest decision to make. However, it was the right thing for me and my family and here's why! | Are Formula Fed Babies Healthy? | Formula vs Breastfeeding #formulafeeding #newbornbaby #breastfeeding #pregnancy #fedisbest #baby #newborn #feedingschedule

This can be such a tough decision that a new mom is faced with. With so much pressure from the outside world, I think it's so important to listen to your body, your doctors and do what's right for you and your baby. Here is my story about why I decided to formula feed my second daughter. | Are Formula Fed Babies Healthy? | Formula vs Breastfeeding #formulafeeding #newbornbaby #breastfeeding #pregnancy #fedisbest #baby #newborn #feedingschedule

Choosing to formula feed wasn't the easiest decision to make. However, it was the right thing for me and my family and here's why! | Are Formula Fed Babies Healthy? | Formula vs Breastfeeding #formulafeeding #newbornbaby #breastfeeding #pregnancy #fedisbest #baby #newborn #feedingschedule

This can be such a tough decision that a new mom is faced with. With so much pressure from the outside world, I think it's so important to listen to your body, your doctors and do what's right for you and your baby. Here is my story about why I decided to formula feed my second daughter. | Are Formula Fed Babies Healthy? | Formula vs Breastfeeding #formulafeeding #newbornbaby #breastfeeding #pregnancy #fedisbest #baby #newborn #feedingschedule

112 thoughts on “Breastfeeding vs Formula Feeding – Why I’m Choosing to Formula Feed My Second Baby

  1. Thank you so much for this. I truly needed this. I have been struggling for the past two weeks, since my beautiful baby girl was born, with this very thing. Every single nurse/doctor that walked in my hospital room was pushing pushing pushing breastfeeding. My baby had a difficult time latching on so they brought in a specialist that wanted to perform a fernotomy which is cutting inside her mouth to make her able to latch on. She was perfectly capable of sucking a bottle, just not a breast. I was immediately mortified at the thoughts of my 1 day old having her mouth cut just to be able to breastfeed, so of course my husband and I decided to try bottlefeeding. I tried to pump but after waiting a week and a half my milk never came in. I could only pump out an ounce a day, between multiple attempts. I’m best friend had a baby a few months before me and she was STILL pressuring me to breastfeed. I told her I only get an ounce a day so there is absolutely no way that my baby could do that. She still kept pushing and punching and told me that if I really wanted to do it then I could make it happen. She made me feel like a horrible mother because my body couldn’t physically produce the milk needed for my baby. Needless to say, that friendship has been bruised and I don’t think it will ever be the same. I am proud to formula feed because I know that my beautiful baby girl is healthy and happy – which makes me happy. Shaming anyone for feeding their baby is absolutely horrible. As long as our children are being fed, it is no one’s business but ours.

    1. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry to hear about your experience! NO ONE should have to go through that. I can’t believe they wanted to perform that on your daughter when she could drink fine from a bottle. It is so crazy to me that we are still having to even talk about this. Formula is a completely healthy alternative to breast milk and hopefully, more people will understand that soon. No one knows what a mom is going through and only she knows what is best for her and her baby. I’m so glad it ended up working out for you. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  2. As I was reading your older article with your first and how time consuming it was for you and how resentful you were towards your husband (not pulling negative sides of this) it seems that you may have had some sort of postpartum depression. While you had no issues at all breastfeeding, on your About Me you put your battle with mental health issues. Going back to your postpartum days, it could seem that it could have been baby blues or postpartum depression. Which all postpartum moms should talk to their OBs or Midwives about postpartum depression and see if that could be the reason for feeling this way for resenting your husband or feeling that breastfeeding is time consuming. Because newborn babies fed about 10-12 times in a day and feeding sessions could last for about 15-45 minutes long. I’ve breastfed all 3 of my children and yes even though I’ve felt this way towards my husband or my children, there was a place of balance. Where once baby is done I could spend time with my husband or my toddlers. Or having a mantra to yourself this is only temporary… husband is my support system. There’s a lot that goes into play into choosing to formula fed. It takes about the same amount of time to prep bottles, clean bottles, fed baby within a 15 to 30 minute time frame , that’s all within putting into breastfeeding.
    If your making breastfeeding and formula feeding open to it. It does get overwhelming because your seeing what is best. What kind of formula brand will baby take. What happens when my baby has a reaction to my breastmilk , what foods can I take out etc. Of course this is my open but what helps breastfeeding moms become successful in breastfeeding is being in supportive breastfeeding groups, talking to a board certified lactation consultant. Breast milk is best in reducing certain illnesses. Formula does not tailor to baby’s needs. It’s finding what works for you and your family, educated, support etc. Having mom and baby happy is best. Again this is from what I have read in breastfeeding books and my own education and experience with multiple babies.

  3. Love this article! It’s so nice to hear someone else with the same mom guilt and reasoning for formula feeding the second time around. Curious to hear how your weight loss/body recovery has been without bf? I ended up exclusively pumping for 8 months with my first and all the weight easily came off. This time I switched to formula around 5 weeks, and haven’t lost a pound since the initial weight loss of childbirth; he’s now 3.5 months and still 20# up

    1. Thank you so much for reading! I actually had the same experience both times. I gained 50 pounds with both of my daughters and had to work really hard to get back to my pre-baby weight (still 5 pounds to go). 🙂 I never felt like breastfeeding helped me with that much. I had to change my diet and work hard to lose the weight, unfortunately lol. Don’t be too hard on yourself about your twenty pounds! My daughter is one and it took me close to a year to get close to my original weight.

  4. I needed this article.. I have been pumping for 3 months for my son who spent a total of 75 day s in the NICU. My milk supply was good at the beginning and he was only on breast milk but with his long stay my stress I think made my milk supply diminish a lot. I now only pump 30mls a DAY! It doesn’t seem worth it anymore to me but everyone always has an opinion on breast is best. It makes me feel so guilty that my body failed again but it’s nice to read on other moms choosing to formula feed as I am so unhappy right now continuing to pump and watching less and less come out. I just need the bump to quit and become happier and let my guilt go.

  5. This topic makes me crazy. There’s no denying the benefits of breastfeeding. It was my personal choice to breastfeed all three of my own kids. I loathe every second of it. I understand completely why someone would choose to formula feed and while the information about breastfeeding is generally accurate, the information about formula feeding isn’t. It’s not vodka. It’s not poison. It’s not McDonald’s. It’s a nourishing, viable alternative to breastmilk and it makes my brain explode to see the negative connotation associated with it.

    1. Yes, yes and yes! Thank you! I couldn’t agree more. The topic makes me crazy too but I felt the need to write this since everything I came across when I was pregnant was about breastfeeding. People talked about formula feeding in such a negative way. I think both choices are fine and it blows me away that we still have this conversation today. Thank you so much for reading!

  6. Thanks for this! With my first son, we started out breastfeeding, but he wasn’t gaining weight, so had to start supplementing with formula at 3 weeks. I was so anxious all the time, worrying about him getting enough to eat, not to mention how much time it took to feed him, then pump afterwards and clean everything. My husband and pediatrician both advised to go to formula only, because they could see how it was affecting me. After we made that decision, I actually started enjoying my son! Plus, as you say, my husband could do some of the night feedings and I could fully recover from birth! He’s now 3 years old (And perfectly happy and healthy) , so when we were anticipating our second son’s birth, I started to think about what we would do this time. I was thinking i should at least try breastfeeding again and see if my supply was better this time, but then i was reading through a breastfeeding guide I saved from last time to refresh my memory and all those anxious feelings came rushing back. I was still undecided when we went to the hospital this time, but then i ended up having postpartum hemorrhaging and needed blood transfusions in the recovery room. My son breastfed once or twice, but we did some formula when it was time for him to eat and I was still getting blood and being monitored. Ultimately, we just decided to go all formula after that. I have so much less anxiety and guilt for that decision this time. I think it’s mostly because I made the decision rather than it being made for us. I still get some judgment from people, but I can just brush it off this time. My baby is gaining weight, is happy and best of all has a mom who is happier and more present!

    1. You sound exactly like me! Although, I am so sorry to hear about the complications you had. That sounds like it was really scary! I’m glad it seems like you are doing okay. I feel the same way as you – I know some people judge my decision, but I know it was ultimately what was best for me and my baby. She’s now a year old and couldn’t be more happy and healthy. 🙂

  7. Thank you so much for this. I feel like I could have written it myself. It is definitely something I needed to hear right now. The guilt has been consuming me. Thank you again.

    1. You are so welcome. I’m sorry to hear you are having so much guilt but just remember to listen to yourself and your body. Only you know what is right for you and your baby – no one else. Wishing you all the best <3

  8. Love this! I am scheduled to have my 2nd baby boy Jan. 4th via csection and have decided to formula feed. My husband is completely on board with it. I didn’t have a great experience with breastfeeding my 1st. I think I lasted 2 weeks but it was mainly pumping because he wouldn’t latch. It was all out so stressful for the all of us. And with this being our last baby I just want to enjoy all that I can and soak it up. Not be stressed about feeding my baby. I am not against breastfeeding but it is just not for me and I know my baby will be fed, happy, and healthy with formula.

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself! That’s exactly how and why I chose to formula feed my second daughter. It was just plain EASIER and I was happier and my baby was healthy. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your experience!

  9. Found this thru Pinterest. I NEEDED this. I’m pregnant with my second, while my first is currently 15 months old. I tried to breastfeed with my first and it felt so wrong and unnatural from the start. I tried, and she would have the perfect latch, but she wouldn’t suck. I pumped and she’d drink from a bottle just fine, but not from me. I was so frustrated and upset – like, what’s wrong with my breasts?! I thought this was supposed to be my bonding experience with my daughter and she doesn’t like my boobs! Pumping was miserable and I felt like I was doing it all the time and slicing my nipples with razors. I was tired and angry and resentful. Postpartum depression hit and nothing anyone said made me feel better. When I talked to the lactation coach, she was actually the one to tell me that breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and IT WAS OKAY TO GO TO FORMULA. She told me how to dry myself out and was so supportive that I broke down in tears. But the SECOND I made the decision to swap to formula, and massive weight came off my shoulders. It was the best decision we made. When I became pregnant this time around I thought about breastfeeding again because maybe it wouldn’t be so bad? My husband was shocked. He actually asked me to reconsider because he remembered how miserable I was. Currently riding a wave of guilt but then I remind myself – my daughter is incredibly healthy and hitting all her milestones and was almost completely formula fed. Neither my husband nor I was breastfed and we’re perfectly normal, intelligent human beings. This baby will be fine and loved and FED. This article is helping me a lot. Thank you!

    1. I am so, so happy that this helped! That’s exactly why I wanted to write this. I completely relate to everything you wrote since it is so similar to my experience. The guilt can be so overwhelming but I hope you can try not to let it get to you too much. I know that’s hard but I, personally, don’t regret my decision at all. My baby is now almost fifteen months and incredibly healthy and I feel much better as well. Wishing you all the best! <3

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