No matter if you choose to exclusively nurse, pump, formula feed, or use a combination, we know that the decision was not made lightly – you exclusively fed with love and had the best interests of yourself and your baby (or babies!) in mind! Whichever way you choose (and it’s sometimes out of your control), you are a great mama doing the best you can for your baby and shouldn’t have to defend that decision to anyone. However, when we are asked how we are feeding our babies, we have an instinct to become defensive and provide an excuse for why we have chosen that way.
Personally, I have nursed, pumped and formula fed. It was actually my husband that helped me to get rid of my mommy guilt. He helped me realize that if *insert choice of feeding here* stresses you out or isn’t working, then it might not be the right way. You can’t let fear of being judged bully you into a choice that doesn’t work for you and your baby.
It’s also not all or nothing – you shouldn’t feel as if you need to live up to the title of “exclusive” nursing, pumping, or formula feeding. If what works for you is a combination of all 3 – then that’s what you should do and not feel guilty about it. If it works for both of you, then forget about what anyone else has to say about it. Let’s stop the judgment and embrace that we have all exclusively fed with love.
I asked the FCMB contributor team to share all the different ways that they have fed their babies. Every mama shared their experience with no judgment, hoping to inspire other mamas to make their own choices based on what is best for themselves and their babies at the time, rather than allow judgment to guilt you in to a decision. Here is how our mamas exclusively fed with love…
- Breastfed for 12 months and beyond. One had never planned to breastfeed beyond 6 months, but continued until 18 months because it just worked for them and felt right.
- Formula fed from the beginning. Some made this decision before they gave birth. Some were not able to nurse due to complications.
- Simultaneously breastfed twins until she went back to work at 4 months and continued to pump for both of them until they were 7 months.
- Had to stop breastfeeding and switch to hypoallergenic formula because their babies had allergies.
- Decided to feed formula during the day and still nurse mornings and nights.
- Started exclusively pumping shortly after their babies were born because of nursing complications.
- Gave nursing a try again after she had exclusively pumped for a few weeks.
- Breastfed until they went back to work and then switched to formula.
- Has three “milk babies” who she has helped feed through donor milk.
- Pumped at work during their lunch breaks.
- Nursed, pumped, and formula fed all at once.
We all chose to feed our babies in different ways, but the one thing we all have in common is happy and healthy babies because they were exclusively fed with love.
Did you ever feel judged for how you decided to feed your baby? We’d love for you to share your experience.