‘Even if you’re able to successfully, breastfeeding is NOT free.’: Mom reacts to formula shortage

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“’Why don’t you just breastfeed?’

‘Breast is best!’

‘Breastfeeding is free.’

Have you ever thought this? Be honest! If you have, I’m going to do my very best not to judge you. It hurts, but if I hope for non-judgment, I have to practice what I preach.

The amount of shame and guilt I felt after I stopped trying to breastfeed Selah after a month was all-consuming. I felt like a failure, I felt sick inside, I felt devastated. I couldn’t stop crying.

I also felt silent judgment from loved ones who may or may not have been real. I was terrified to share with friends and family that I was stopping. Why? Because of the reasons above I hear all the time.

Switching to formula was the BEST thing I could have done for myself AND for Selah.

Now that we are in the midst of a horrifying formula recall AND shortage, I’m hearing the same rhetoric…from moms and, frankly, the masses.

MANY moms who are speaking out in favor of breastfeeding have good hearts and the best intentions. Others are malicious and making the problem so much worse. As if moms needed another reason to feel guilty or insufficient?

Let me say, if you successfully breastfed your baby, I am SO happy for you. And a little bit jealous.

For argument’s sake, let’s get one detail clear: Even if you’re able to successfully breastfeed (which is AMAZING!!), breastfeeding is/was NOT free.

In one month, I can’t tell you how much I spent on nursing bras, pumping bras, bra pads, lactation powder, creams, cooling/soothing pads, and pump accessories parts (our insurance paid for our pump, but it was awful) because I haven’t bothered to add it up.

Every mom has her own story and reason why she chose formula.

I struggled with low iron my entire pregnancy. When I gave birth, my blood count was dangerously low and I had to have two emergency blood transfusions. The low iron (YES, I took iron pills and pre-natals) is also what most likely made me unable to produce enough milk both for breastfeeding AND pumping.

I nursed several times a day and also pumped, and not only was Selah super frustrated and not getting enough, but pumping showed me I was producing less and less every day.

Add in the fact that when Selah was born she had to spend two days and nights (while I was having blood transfusions) in the NICU and had to be started on bottles — most likely why she struggled to latch properly (I still have scabs) after we came home — despite desperately trying, researching, praying and trying some more. (I was encouraged to consult an LC, but I was so sick from giving birth, having the blood transfusion, lack of sleep and extreme PP anxiety that it was simply not an option.)

OH! And I should mention I was completely unable to walk for a week following giving birth and had to use a walker— I injured my SI Joint during my last month of pregnancy and giving birth made it worse. I couldn’t carry Selah or do anything with her where I had to stand up or move…it just added to how tough things were. (Becoming a mom is obviously so hard, even under the best circumstances!)

Selah is almost 5 months and the absolutely love of my life. I would give my LIFE for Selah. As I’m sure any mother would. My story may be different from the next mother who formula feeds, but in the end the reason is because it was simply what was BEST for baby under the circumstances. Instead of judging or making claims and statements you don’t fully understand, please pray with us and stand with us…if not for the sake of mothers everywhere, then for our babies.”

Woman smiles for a photo while bottle-feeding her newborn daughter
Courtesy of Rachel Wright

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Rachel Wright of Indianapolis, IN. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories like this here:

‘My heart broke into 100 pieces.’: Woman highlights baby formula shortage after heartbreaking encounter with dad in Walmart

‘We live in a society that pushes formula, only to fail us by not having it available.’: Mom reacts to national formula shortage

‘I am a C-section-having, formula-feeding, disposable diaper, working kind of mom. I do not regret it.’: Mom explains her parenting choices, ‘Please respect my parenting views as I’ve always tried to respect yours’

‘I noticed a decrease in my milk supply. ‘WTF is wrong with me?!!!’ The guilt was beginning to suffocate me.’: Breastfeeding mom urges ‘fed is best’ after switching to formula

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