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Living Peacefully in the World of Good Enough and Choosing to Formula Feed

Choosing to Formula Feed 2

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Several weeks ago when I had one of my doctor’s appointments to check the status of my gestational diabetes (GD), the OB was very pleased with most of my numbers. He tweaked my insulin doses a bit and encouraged me to keep working at it because I was doing really, really well “99% of the time.” I think he thought he was challenging me to shoot for the 100%. Ha! If he thought he was throwing out a challenge that I would be eager to rise to, it was completely missed. In fact, it impacted me just the opposite way. My thought was – “Wow! I’m doing great 99% of the time. That gives me a little more leeway than I thought I had.” If he had said I was doing well 95% of the time, I would have even been happy with that.

This is quite a change for someone who is a recovering Type A, First Born Perfectionist. I graduated with a 4.0 in high school and, believe me, it was not based on natural brilliance. While I have been blessed with natural intelligence, my GPA was primarily the result of compulsive work and drivenness. Thankfully, I am no longer that person. And while I still believe in the beauty of excellence, I (try to) no longer worship at the altar of perfectionism.

I think some of this change came with age and experience. I think some came from reaping the rewards of driveness and perfectionism and finding they weren’t quite as satisfying as I thought they should be considering the price they entailed. And some of it is just the grace of God who saved me from myself.

I’m glad that this part of me has changed, especially as I anticipate becoming a mother in a few weeks. I’m glad I’ve learned that everything doesn’t have to be perfect and, in fact, I will never ever achieve perfection as a parent. Some days I won’t even achieve excellence and will have to be satisfied with very good or – gasp! – good enough. And I’ve learned to live peacefully with good enough.

I have not been a driven pregnant woman. I have tried to do well, but I have not been compulsive about following every piece of advice that is given out to achieve the perfect pregnancy. I still drink caffeine daily (although I have cut back quite a bit), I eat albacore tuna, I’ve forgotten to take my vitamins many times, I haven’t done Kegel exercises 100 times a day, I’ve eaten fast food more times than I will admit, and I’ve actually trusted my OB when he told me I would need a c-section from the very beginning of the pregnancy. So this has set me up well for not being a driven new mom. And that has made it (somewhat) easier to make the decision to…

…formula feed from the beginning.

I really appreciated the women who left comments when I asked about formula feeding last week. I mean it. I know this is a very controversial issue and I appreciate the women who left comments regarding their experiences, especially those who have blogs and might not have ever admitted this before to the blog world. I’ve been working through this issue since I found out I was pregnant and I’ve gone back and forth on it numerous times. However, I think always in the back of my mind was the conviction that I really did not want to breastfeed no matter how much I tried to talk myself into it.

So at the risk of becoming the posterchild of the blogging world for all that is selfish in motherhood because I’m not going to breastfeed, I’m going to write why I made the decision of choosing to formula feed. All of the other ladies who left comments did and I would like to show them the same courtesy.

Reasons for Choosing to Formula Feed

First of all, I’m not making this decision out of ignorance. I know some people will think I haven’t read all the information out there that breast milk is so far superior, yada yada yada. Yes, I’ve read it all. Many times. And I’m not even going to try to refute the idea that “breast is best”. Yes, God created a wonderful thing in breastmilk and it is a truly amazing part of His creation.

But one of the things I’ve learned over the past several years is that most issues that are supposedly black and white are not that black and white. Yes, if I were to make my decision based solely on which is superior, I would have to choose breastmilk. And for the past eight months or so, that is what I kept coming back to. And I felt like I would be the world’s worst mother EVER to deny my child that.

But every time David and I talked about the whole feeding issue, there were other important issues that came up as well. Relationship issues, home life issues, health issues, etc. And as so many of the women said in their comments, sometimes other issues come into play and they deserve to be considered and acknowledged as well.

Voices of Wisdom and Experience

One of the biggest issues was well-articulated in a comment I found on a forum. I think what this person wrote sums up in many ways what I feel is really important:

I watched many of my friends struggle with the same BF issues you’re describing. They were exhausted and felt ill and were really at their wits’ end, and then felt terribly guilty for “giving up” on breastfeeding. The first weeks (sometimes months) of their babies’ lives were consumed with the moms’ breastfeeding agony–pain and guilt and fatigue. Breastfeeding became the most important issue in their lives, at the expense of actually living. Since I am only planning to have this one baby, I decided to formula feed from the beginning. I didn’t want to spend one moment of this brief, magical newborn/infant phase miserable or resentful toward my baby, or too exhausted to enjoy her. A few of my friends breastfed with no trouble and loved it, but I didn’t think I’d be one of those. I haven’t regretted my decision at all. You have to do what you’re comfortable with, but don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about whatever you choose. I think a famous French pediatrician said something like, “A bottle offered with love is far superior to a breast offered with resentment.” Formula is nutrition for your baby. Your baby needs nutrition, love, and warmth. If you provide those things, however they come about, you are being the best mom a baby could want. Good luck!

I had been thinking a lot about this comment when the next day I found Kether had left this comment on my blog, which I saw as a confirmation of the final decision that had formed in my heart and mind:

I haven’t read the above comments, but I hope they were kind. I formula fed my precious boy from when he was born. He simply didn’t take to nursing, and I hated trying and it was causing such turmoil in me that I quit and chose formula. I took a lot of flack from the breast is best folks, but ultimately it made my motherhood more joyful. Trying to breastfeed was torment because my son hated it and I didn’t get to fully enjoy being a mother until I left that behind. It was my saving grace. Everyone was worrying about his brain, but formula is very good these days. He’s 19 months old now and knows every letter of the alphabet and counts to 9, so I’m pretty sure his brain is fine. Besides, when I found out that my mother-in-law formula fed my brilliant husband with the Physics degrees, I knew my son’s brain would be just fine. I think it was a great decision for us. It allowed my husband to feed the baby and establish a bond just as strong as I had with him. It was portable, convenient, and I was able to monitor exactly what he was taking in, which really helped me in those early days when I was so nervous. Whatever you decide I wish you all the best. May God bless you and your family.


Enjoying My Baby

The bottom line is that I want to enjoy my baby. I’ve made it my goal from the beginning of the pregnancy to try to savor and enjoy every day of it. I’ve waited a long time for this part of my life. And I think overall I have truly enjoyed my pregnancy experience. Yes, some of it was yuck – like the first fifteen weeks with almost constant morning sickness. But every chance I have had I have focused on slowing down, pondering and enjoying this experience. I know that this may be my only time to do this and I want to enjoy it. I am satisfied that I have met that desire and will be able to look back on this pregnancy with joy and satisfaction.

I feel the same way about Peanut’s early weeks and months. I simply do not want to spend it agonizing over breastfeeding. I know that I am writing off breastfeeding without even trying it and some people will think that is unwise. But I have decided that it really is best for me, my husband and my baby if we just move on to the enjoying being a family as soon as she arrives. I will have enough to do in recovering from the c-section. I do not want to spend those first precious six weeks trying to maintain my stamina and sanity because I am trying to recover physically myself from surgery while trying to do something else physically draining (breastfeeding).

Maybe part of it is that I’ve just accepted my physical limitations and know that I’m not 25 (or even 35!) anymore. I accept my physical limitations and know that I will be a better mom and wife if I am not completely taxed physically and emotionally for weeks on end when Peanut arrives. I will gratefully accept the help of my husband and mom during those early days which will allow me to heal more quickly and enjoy my long-awaited baby from the very beginning.

I suppose some people will see this as an incredibly selfish reason for making this choice and say that I am unwilling to sacrifice for my child. I know I probably can’t convince them otherwise. I just know that a happy baby will be a result of a happy mommy and a happy daddy and I don’t see happiness coming from struggling through the whole breastfeeding thing. So that is our decision. Today we met with the pediatrician we have decided to choose and he asked us about feeding. I told him that we were planning on formula feeding from the beginning. He didn’t even bat an eyelash which was tremendously important to me. He accepted our decision and gave us suggestions for which formulas to try first and which kinds of bottles to use. I was so thankful that he was willing to accept our choice and not try to pressure us into another choice. We also asked if he had any advice for us and one of the things he brought up was related to sleeping. What he said fit exactly with the conclusions David and I have come to and so I saw that as another confirmation that this was the doctor for us. We were thankful to find someone that we can be comfortable with on these important and potentially controversial topics.

So, many thanks again to the ladies who shared their experiences and words of encouragement. Perhaps like Lindsey said in her comment, I was looking for “permission” to make the choice I knew I wanted to make all along. I just know that while David and I fully expect that we will take some flack in the weeks and months ahead from well-meaning people, we are confident that we are making the choice that is best for our little family-to-be. And for that I am profoundly grateful.

Choosing to Formula Feed


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  • “most issues that are supposedly black and white are not that black and white.”

    Oh, amen and amen to that, Sallie!

    I’m so glad to hear that you have made your decision and can leave *this* struggle behind you. 🙂

    Thank you for your honesty. For what it’s worth, I don’t think you’re being selfish at all. You’ve made a decision based upon everyone’s needs. Breastfeeding really is a lifestyle from what I have observed. It’s *okay* to choose a different one!

    I’ve really been enjoying your pregnancy posts. Every time you refer to your wee one as “peanut” I get a lump in my throat because my mom *still* refers to me as peanut sometimes to this day. (And I would have to say I am much more a walnit these days…)


    In Christ alone,

  • Well my goodness Sally…how perfectly odd to be so happy and non-cynical when you are a happily married lady expecting her first baby girl! 🙂

  • As a mother of three teenagers that I breastfed for a year each . . . good for you! It doesn’t bother me one bit that you decided to bottle feed. Why? Because it is your decision to make – not mine. I can’t for the life of me understand why so many people think that other people’s personal matters are their business. Enjoy your baby, love her, and be the best mommy you possibly can. And forget what everyone else thinks!

  • i read your blog a lot but rarely comment. i just wanted to encourage you today. breastfeeding or bottle feeding, to me, is not that big a deal. it’s whatever the mother feels the most comfortable with and the baby is going to be just fine. i breastfed all three of mine but for different lengths of time. it is such a personal decision. it is hard too, much harder than many of the books let on. plus you have your bosom out on display pratically all the time, especially in the first weeks. 🙂

    good luck to you and your new baby. i’ll be looking for the birth announcement post soon.

  • Sallie,

    I totally respect your decision, really I do. I think you are great, and from the very beginging it has been exciting to see you go though this journey………BUT, I do feel somewhat appalled that you make the assumption that you would not be able to enjoy or savor your time with your newborn girl if you were breastfeeding. That, to me, shows a complete lack of understanding about what breastfeeding is about.



  • Hey, Sallie! I’m expecting my first baby in January after a few frustrating years of trying. I’m not sure whether or not we’ll have another biological child, and I definitely want to get the most I can out of this birth and babyhood experience with my little guy. I really don’t think you’re going to deprive your little girl if you don’t breastfeed. My intelligent husband was formula fed, on almost expired formula no less (his parents were pretty strapped for cash at the time), and his brain can give my breastfed brain a run for it’s money any day. =) So my comment has nothing to do with whether or not you’ll be a bad mom for bottlefeeding, because I sure don’t think you will. I guess I’m just wondering, in light of the fact that you never know if this will be your only pregnancy or not, would you have any regrets if you didn’t give breastfeeding a try? I’ve always been curious about it, and I mourned the idea that I wouldn’t be able to do it if I adopted. I guess I’ve wanted to try it because it’s supposedly this special, unique experience between mother and baby. If it doesn’t work for us, I don’t think I’d feel too bad about stopping. I just wondered if you’re sure you don’t want to try it just to see if you and your little girl enjoy it. I’m certainly not sure if we will enjoy it or not, but my curiosity about that makes me want to give it a try and see how it goes. Once again, no pressure. I’m not a mom yet, and I don’t have super strong feelings about breast being best or anything. These are just some thoughts I’ve had getting ready for motherhood, so I thought I’d pass them along.

  • I can just picture the natural-vs.-artificial debate that’s going to spring up when using an artificial womb becomes an option.

    It sounds like formula feeding is the best choice for you. But I fear that in avoiding the struggle of breastfeeding, you will also miss out on the joy of it.

  • Sallie…It really, really, and truly is ok to not breastfeed, and indeed to not even try breastfeeding if you so desire. It sounds like you and your husband have put a great deal of thought into this decision and that you have made the right one for you and your family…there is nothing appalling about making a choice that is different from others. God Bless!

  • How frustrating? I just wrote a long comment and it got errased!!!

    I know what you are afraid of going through. My first baby would NOT breastfeed and I was so stressed, pumping and everything. This agony went on for three weeks. Then I gave up and started supplementing. I still fed him a little, but he loved the bottle so much more and I hated to pump.

    He is now 2yrs old and in the 95th% for height and weight and his cousin, who is the same age and exclusively breastfed is allergic to everything in the world and below the chart small.

    With my second, I approached it (feeding)in a very relaxed way. I decided that I would leave it all in God’s hands instead of trying to make something happen. I listened to my baby instead of what I wanted. Harry (my second born who is 6 mos now) took to breastfeeding 20 min post- partum and never stopped. Breastfeeding is so relaxing and enjoyable. I am convinced that the whole breastfeeding experience depends on the baby. I still supplemented formula because I wanted to have the freedom to have a break and let my husband give him a bottle. He does great with both.

    I am very type B, but I felt so pressured to breastfeed because my sister had breastfed all of her three kids with hardly any trouble.

    Even when my OB asks me about my birthing plans I give a very type B kind of answer, “To have a healthy baby and live through it.” He laughs and says that this is the best attitude to have. He related to me that so many women get disappointed when their birthing plans change beyond their control. I tried to keep the same attitude the second time around with breastfeeding.

    I don’t condemn you for making a final descision before you meet your baby, but I would encourage you to give it a try. If your girl takes to it, it can be very relaxing. I lay on my side to breastfeed Harry. He (and I )really enjoy it. He is starting to wean himself from me. He wants more solids and bottles. Oh, well. It was fun while it lasted.

    Enjoy your last few weeks of heartburn and frequent trips to the bathroom. ; )

  • Sallie, about the “cynical” thing – don’t worry about it, your blog is great.

    I sometimes think that women don’t like my blog because I’m too strong on stuff and don’t write much fluff. Some days I’d like to be like so many other women who write about life and love, but not theology – and get lots of readers and lots of comments and lots of “atta girls”. But that’s very hard for me – you’ve done it really well.

    Don’t change.

  • Sallie — I just want you to know that I LOVE reading your blog. Congratulations on your lack of cynicism 🙂
    As for the whole breastfeeding/bottle feeding question … it is absolutely YOUR decision to make. You have obviously given it a lot of thought and I respect your decision. I’m glad you found a pediatrician who respects this as well. Lord willing, we will both be blogging about our babies very soon!!

  • Just wanted to tell you to enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy! Your little girl will be here before you know it! When I did supplement with a bottle I used Dr. Brown’s which seemed to work GREAT for our gas-prone kids… did you Dr. suggest that one? I’m glad that you’ve come to a decision, and I sincerely hope that you’re completely at peace with your choice. I would dare you to be “consistently flexible” when delivery time comes… you may just decide to give it a whirl, so don’t be afraid if your curiosity is sparked! 🙂 At any rate, like all the others have said, your baby is going to be nurtured and healthy and loved and that is what’s most important! Can’t wait to see those first picures of you guys as a family of 3!

  • Sallie,

    I completely understand your decision and know that you are not a selfish mom. I breastfed my 3 children for a year each and it was the hardest thing of my life. It just was not easy for me. By nature, I’m a very tired person, so I remained tired and stressed the whole time. It did get easier as they started solid foods, but I am not sure I would breastfed again if I am blessed with another child.

    I truly don’t think that I’m any closer to my children for nursing them. I believe I’m close to my children because I have been home with them their whole lives, aside from about 5 months when I worked.

    There are some good things about breastfeeding that I loved, which is the rapid weight loss because of the amount of calories it burns and how rapidly it causes the uterus to heal. I also hated washing bottles! lol But like I said, it was very hard for me and I am sure I would have better memories had I bottle fed. I thought because breast is best that I had no choice.


  • But I fear that in avoiding the struggle of breastfeeding, you will also miss out on the joy of it.

    I agree. I also think you are just substiting one set of struggles for a different kind Babies don’t always take to formula. Some have to go through several kids before they find one that agrees with them. It’s no fun having a baby with a tummy ache! There’s also the hassle of preparing bottles and always having formula on hand, paying for the formula (which sounds like it might be an issue for you too) lugging formual and bottles around with you, over feeding (not an issue with breastmilk) getting a bottle warm inthe middle of the night (can’t use a microwave because the uneven heating might burn the baby.) Given all that it seems to me it would be easier to at least TRY IT for a couple of weeks. And yea, I’ve done the C-section/nursing thing three times. It was a lot easier to pull the baby over and nurse her than it would have been to hold my stomach and lean over a stove heating a bottle several times a day.

    Some things you just have to learn for yourself I guess.

  • Isn’t it amazing how we struggle with judgementalism? Here I am a person who fully believes that each parent should be led by God to make decisions for their own children, and that no one has the right to tell me and my husband whether to use breast vs.formula, or disposable vs. cloth diapers, home vs. public school, or any other parenting decisions, except for God.
    and yet, within my sinful heart lurks the ugliness of judgement for those who choose differently than we do/did.
    As long as you, your husband and God are in agreement on something it is NO one elses business! anyone who buts in to tell you you’re wrong is in a very dangerous position, telling someone that what they have decided with God’s leading is somehow bad, is very close to blasephemy.

    that said, a word of advice, ask your doc and maybe some other ladies what to do for relief once your milk comes in. you never know how your body will respond and some women find not breastfeeding more painful than breastfeeding once the milk comes in.
    wishing you well
    Mrs. Nehemiah

  • This is one of those issues that really places an unnecessary burden on moms, especially Christian moms. I think a lot of times we can become fooled into thinking that if we have a natural childbirth, breastfeed, cloth diaper, homeschool, etc. that somehow our kids will be sanctified through this. While I personally feel that breastfeeding is best, it would be completely foolish of me to think that somehow my child will be protected from sin by it.

  • Sallie

    First, I love your blog. It is one of the bright spots of my day.

    Second, I bottlefed both my children. They are now 8 and 5, extremely healthy and intelligent. I also had a wonderful pediatrician who never questioned my decision. In fact, his nurses often gave me generous samples when we visited the office. It really is such a personal decision, but I still applaud your bravery to discuss it in this public forum.

    Best wishes to your family. You will be a fantastic mother.


  • It’s strange – one of the things I look forward to if I have children is feeding them myself. You and David have clearly thought through the issues and have made up your minds, so I hope that your friends and family can accept this graciously. Thank you very much for a very honest article there.

  • So many interesting comments…

    Thanks to the ladies who left positive comments about enjoying my blog. I wasn’t fishing for feedback, but it is always encouraging to know that others enjoy coming here!

    In the interest of time, I’m not going to respond to each comment, but I will make a few general comments that will hopefully be helpful.

    I appreciate the comments regarding the fact that this is a decision between me, my husband and God. David’s desire from the beginning has been to formula feed because he wants to be very involved with taking care of Peanut. But he was also gracious in allowing me to work through the issue as a woman and as a mom-to-be so I would be happy with the decision that we made. Our marriage has always been a partnership and he is eager to feed, bathe, rock, and play with our baby. And I’m happy to give him the opportunities to do that. We are both eager to bond with our baby and, at the risk of sounding cynical(!), I think breasts have very little to do with whether or not a parent bonds with his/her child. If that were the case, adoptive mothers would never bond with their children and I know for a fact that is simply not true.

    One thing that I did not bring out in what I wrote and that newer readers might not understand is that I have been through two very hard years physically. I was down most of last year with a severely herniated disk in my back. By the time that was mostly healed and I was getting around pretty normally, I discovered I was pregnant. I haven’t had a horrible pregnancy, but the first half was pretty hard on me physically. Frankly, the thought of another significant stretch of demands on my body is not appealing to me – or my husband who has had the task of caring for me over the past two years and which has been a burden on him. So regarding the thoughts about breastfeeding being easier, less work, more relaxing, etc. – not from my perspective. To me, there is nothing easy or relaxing about being the only person who feeds a baby for weeks or months on end. I would rather choose feeling healthy, rested and whole and spend my time washing bottles and nipples! And I would rather have my husband spend happy time with his little girl than taking care of a wife who is still struggling physically. I know myself well enough to know that even if breastfeeding came fairly easily, I would still have a difficult time physically and emotionally coping with the demands of it. And I’ve known of very few women who have had an easy time of breastfeeding, especially during the first weeks and even months. That’s just the reality.

    Several people have raised the question of whether or not I will feel like I missed out on an opportunity, if I will regret not trying breastfeeding, etc. I thought about that question a lot while sorting through this issue and the answer is that I don’t think so. I’ve never been a dreamy woman about the romance of childbirth and feeding. I guess that is why the c-section thing to me was not a huge deal. As long as Peanut and I are both safe and she is out of my stomach THIS month (yeah!), it ***truly*** does not matter to me how she gets out! I know some women will find that hard to believe, but it’s true. The only disappointment I have with the c-section is the fact that the recovery could be a lot more difficult than a regular delivery.

    And so I feel the same way about her feeding method. As long as she is loved, happy, growing, and well-fed, it ***truly*** doesn’t matter to me whether I am feeding her or someone else is. In fact, one of the things that I most look forward to is watching David and my parents feeding her. I look forward to them being able to spend that time with her and it brings joy to my heart just thinking about it now. My parents have pictures of my dad giving me my bottle every day before he left for work and I think they are precious. I think it can be a beautiful thing for the father to be involved with the feeding. (And, yes, I know about breast pumping and using bottles and it does not appeal to me at all.) So allowing others to share in the joy of feeding Peanut is a motivating factor for me as well.

    Well, I’m not sure if I hit everything, but those are some thoughts I wanted to share. I know I could have saved myself some grief and not written about this, but I guess I believe it is important for Christian women who love the Lord and sometimes are led differently than the current way of thinking to voice their thoughts. I know that there are people out there who think that an intelligent person who loves her baby could not possibly choose anything other than breastfeeding, but I’m here to say that, yes, it is possible! It is possible to read hours and hours worth of “breast is best” information and come away with a different conviction! And as I said in my post, issues are not black and white some of the time. I’m not out to convince other women to choose forumla over breast and I am happy for every woman who breastfeeds and enjoys it. But if what I’ve written helps some women be more gracious with themselves and others, then the time and energy I’ve invested in this has been well worth it. 🙂

  • Sallie, I had one natural birth and 2 C-sections. The natural birth was the hardest for me to heal from, because of the injuries (3rd degree lacerations from a 6 1/2 lb. baby). I loved having the C-sections and don’t feel I missed anything by them!!

  • Sallie,

    With regards to the other blogger’s comment about your blog circle being “goody, goody” is pretty funny, and I wouldn’t take it too seriously. Just this morning, I was checking on the various blogs I like to read, and I realized that I avoided blogs that made me feel argumentative or impure in spirit. There was a worldliness about these blogs that made me feel, well, a bit dirty. I do blog myself, and recently, I left the Live Journal community of blogs where the majority of blogs didn’t seem to fit in with my Christian line of thinking. It just made me feel dirty to be there.

    God bless you for having your blog here. None of us are perfect and it’s good to be “real” and talk about our struggles. I appreciate your blog for this reason. You are “real” here, but it’s evident that you also are seeking God’s wisdom for your life.

    Concerning breastfeeding, I do have to agree that ultimately it’s none of my business. But if you do think you might like to give it a little try, you should. And if it doesn’t work out or you just feel it’s not what you want for your family, don’t feel guilty (or made to feel guilty) for choosing not to. Sometimes, it is easy to breastfeed, and sometimes it’s not. And it’s ashame that we would judge other mothers one way or another when being a parent can already be challenging enough. . . I think you know what the most important issue is in your child’s life: Will he or she grow up to follow Christ?


  • I am so thankful that my comment meant something to you. I cried through your post because that decision was the hardest, and most heart-wrenching, I’ve had to make as a parent and everyone seemed to have an opinion about it. It was so bad that I stopped talking about formula feeding because it brought out such ugliness inside me.
    I commend you. You are not selfish. You have made a decision based on the needs of your family, and yourself. A happy mother leads to a good mother.
    Enjoy those early days and weeks, they grow all too fast!

  • I meant to give some unwanted advice, too. A lot of people say what a hassle bottle feeding is, but we didn’t find it was. We had a pitcher that we made up in advance and kept it in the fridge. To heat the bottles, we filled a coffee cup full of water and heated that, popped the bottle in for a minute or two until it was tepid and then gave it to our boy. Our dishwasher sterlizes, but we often just washed them by hand in hot water and never had a problem. I think it was actually less of a hassle, actually. Especially when my husband could do it instead of me 😉
    Eventually we found out that Liam would drink cold milk. In fact, he liked it! I think it was soothing to his gums when he was teething.
    Every child is different and your baby girl will likely lead you to a lot of the answers to your parenting questions.

  • Sallie-
    I had commented on your previous post about bottlefeeding and said that one of the reasons I started bottlefeeding my third one fairly early was that everyone in the family wanted to feed her. My mother has passed away now and I miss her terribly, but I have some lovely memories (and pictures) of her feeding my babies. There is something about how a baby looks at you when she is sucking on a bottle that is just wonderful.
    I also had three c-sections, and no regrets there, either. My recovery from the last two (which were planned) was much faster than the recovery from the first (which wasn’t). Just be sure to stay on top of the pain medication. My doctor told me that I would heal faster if I did, and he was right.
    My children are 18, 16 and 13 now- and from the perspective of a mother coming to the end of my childrens’ childhood, the breast v. bottle debate just isn’t that important. Believe me, it won’t make a bit of difference in how you bond with your little Peanut. Or in how she grows.
    One last thing- I didn’t find bottlefeeding troublesome at all. And there were a lot of things about breastfeeding that I found uncomfortable- like the soreness and the leaking.
    My very best to you!

  • …getting a bottle warm inthe middle of the night (can’t use a microwave because the uneven heating might burn the baby.) …..

    Ok, another bad mother moment. I used the microwave and never burned the baby (although at first I did just heat with hot water). All through that post I was thinking about your back and remembering the aches I went through feeding my baby because I could not afford a super dooper support chair.

    I started with breast and did ok, but the baby was just too hungry and I was too tired so I began to supplement. You know what? It was great! We so easily forget that just because we may have a good experience not everyone will.

    You will be tired and sore and overwhelmed and yet need to enjoy the early days of motherhood so anything that is good for your baby that makes it easier for you is ok! Your baby knows if you are stressed and acts accordingly.

    Keep holding on to your convictions, enjoy these last days, and know that you and David will provide far more love, encouragement and spiritual guidance to peanut than many a ‘breast fed, organically fed, cloth diapered (I could go on for ages but you get the point) child gets in this day and age.:)

  • Sallie,
    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and I love it! I’m especially addicted because I’m 32 weeks pregnant so just a few weeks behind you. I read other blogs by Christian women, and it’s so refreshing to read one where everything is not thought of as black and white. Of course, there are black and white issues in Christianity, but breastfeeding vs. formula and schooling and parenting styles do not fall under that category. I feel like you truly embody the idea of gracious. Instead of mindlessly going with the Christian party line, you prayerfully think things through and then come to a decision for you and your family, without passing judgment on anyone for choosing differently. Thank you for being a great example to me, and challenging me to be more open-minded.

  • Sallie,
    You are going to be a wonderful mom. Trust me, my bottlefed babies, now turned toddlers & preschoolers are doing GREAT and are very healthy and smart.

    I just learned the hard way I was a happier mom with a bottle than a frustrated mom with nursing. When I read this quote in your post:

    “A bottle offered with love is far superior to a breast offered with resentment.”

    I was clapping and saying AMEN!!! 🙂 Because I have so been-there-done-that. I was so pushed to do everything right with my first, that I offered the breast with pure resentment and frustration every time. It made for an unhappy mom, baby and whole family, really. I felt judged and misunderstood by those folks who thought I was selfish.

    And, in a few of the comments above where folks have said they are “hurt” because you won’t even try…my goodness, they are hurt?

    You’ve made your choice and you will all be just fine. Can’t wait to hear about Peanuts birth!

    Oh and by the way, don’t let the standing over the stove making bottles and formula maybe not working the first time scare tactics get you either.

  • Hi. I don’t come here too often and really only discovered you oh…maybe three weeks ago, I’m glad that you made a well-thought out decision.

    As a person who mixed EVERYTHING she did I got flak from all sides. Flak for when I didn’t breastfeed, flak for when I did! Flak for NOT ONLY using cloth diapers, Flak for how could I even consider cloth diapers. It shocked me how much flak people could administer to one 40 year old first time mom! Made me want to say…ENOUGH ALREADY! 🙂 But I did learn to smile and be polite and only occasionally to be slightly sarcastic in my responses. 🙂

    You know what? Kids survive. Whatever you do, just do it. Don’t regret decisions.

    Oh..and here’s another decision you’ll need to make…will you heat the formula or just serve room temp? Expect flak regardless of what you do. 🙂

    Hey…it’s been fourteen months of first time mom new-born flak! So I now can say Cheers! Wish you all the best.

  • oh…i was going to add…has your doctor given you advice on dealing with having a c-section? When I had mine I was shocked to get no advice at all! And even more shocked to discover that most women who get a c-section are only told… don’t lift any thing heavier than your baby.

    They don’t tell you…be careful on stairs. They don’t tell you.. hold your tummy with a pillow when you sit up (makes it SOOOO much easier). They don’t tell you ….. not stand for too long a period.

    Oh…just as a by the by…as one reader said…if you want to give breastfeeding a try just because it helps to keep the potential engorgement down and it’s easy to show down your milk production….it’s really easy when you have a c-section. Just keep the baby in bed with you. When hungry roll over! Feed baby. Baby sleeps alot, will sleep great right beside you.. NO YOU WON’T ROLL OVER ON HER! You’ll get the healing rest you need and things get better quicker! No getting up with sore belly and so forth.
    BUT… your decision is happily made… enjoy your bunchkin regardless. 🙂

  • I breastfed AND supplemented with formula right from the start with both my kids. I enjoyed breastfeeding but I knew I wouldn’t if I had to be on call all the time. This worked well for us. Others could help me during the day, and at night I had them next to me (which is another of those issues that come up!) and I just rolled over and fed them. I stopped breastfeeding before they slept through the night. But we had powdered formula already measured out in containers, and I never gave my kids warm formula but stuck with room temperature. So it wasn’t too hard to mix the bottle. Here in the Philippines, only powdered formula is available, I don’t know if it’s inferior to other kinds. But it might be worth looking into for the convenience of preparing it, and transporting it.

  • Truthfully, I am HUGE beastfeeding advocate. I nursed each of my 5 babies and found it to be one of the most intimate and rewarding parts of parenting yet. What an absolute privelage it has been to experience! I’ve loved it!

    Having said that……when a new young mom asks me my advice on the whole breast/bottle issue, I tell them above, but I also tell them that along with the beauty of nursing, there can be stress. I struggled through times of not enough milk, too much milk and leaky milk. And I suffered through painful mastitus and engorgment. Breasfeeding is, for most women and most babies, a learned skill that takes time and practice to master.

    Sallie, I’ve greatly admired the thought, discussion and most importantly prayer that you have put into this decision. How generous of you to invite us to join you along the way!

    Rich blessings on you and your family!


  • I am happy for you to have come to a peaceful agreement about your Peanut’s feeding. You will all do fine with it I am just sure. I was just thinking about what worked for me while bottle feeding and it was these two things: We made up some bottles in the morning to last through the day. We then would microwave some H2O in a cup and warm up the bottle for a few minutes. We also would use our electric tea kettle to heat up water and that would work too. We used Dr. Brown’s bottles and they helped the baby keep air bubbles out of her stomach. They have more parts to wash, but I think it was worth it. Just take off the bottle cap and nipple when you heat it up or the milk will come up the center tube and the pressure will cause it to spill out. We also fed our baby sitting up so she could pull her mouth away when she got too much milk. That way she could have some control over her feeding and she didn’t choke or get too much milk with a feeding. That served us very well.

  • Sallie, I know it was probably hard for you to post something that you knew would get so much flak. I admire that you did so anyways! I think Susanna hit it on the head when she said, “We so easily forget that just because we may have a good experience not everyone will.” I know Peanut is lucky to have two parents who care for her so much that they spend a lot of time researching and thinking about the best way to care for her! And I hope in the future you will be able to provide encouragement to other moms who are not able to nurse.

  • I just wanted to offer a note of reassurance…I am presently feeding formula to my second newborn ADOPTED infant. My first little boy did wonderfully on formula and my second little boy is headed in that direction. I obviously did not have much of a choice…which made me realize that God is ultimately the provider of the nutrition they need and how they get it! I agree with one of the other comments…the love you give your baby is much more important than how you feed her! Congratulations! Be sure you register with your formula company for coupons…they help a lot!

  • I love reading your blog but decided not to comment last time on the feeding issue even though you asked for our thoughts. I didn’t think it would make a difference if you knew how I had fed my boys etc – I just prayed that God would confirm to you what would be the best way of feeding for you and peanut

    So I will continue to pray for you that as this month passes and the c-section comes and goes that all will be well in the gracious home.

    You are peanut’s mum and peanut is yours. You will experience many days of joy and many days of tears. Along the way you will make sacrifices for your child so don’t think of yourself selfish in anyway.

    Blessings to you and David!

  • Sallie,

    I’m happy to read the comments on the blog and to know you’re doing well, although tired.

    One comment I wanted to add I learned through the Kiwanis’ Young Children Priority One program, that reading to young children is very important and the entire third trimester is a good time for parents to begin reading to the unborn child, even the father. It allows the baby to meet the Dad through his voice and, after birth, David’s voice will be a familiar reassurance to your peanut that all is well.


Sallie-Schaaf-Borrink-060313-B-250x250I'm Sallie, teacher by training and now homeschooling mom of Caroline. My passion is to provide products, encouragement, and information that helps others discover and do what works with their children. I also write about living a cozy life as a highly introverted person. Welcome! ♥

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