HomeArticlesChoosing to Formula Feed from the Start

Choosing to Formula Feed from the Start

I entered the hospital with decisive orders on my birth plan that said: “Bottle feeding only. No breastfeeding.”

I chose this not for any medical reason, not because of low milk supply, or because I couldn’t get my son to latch correctly. I chose it because it’s what made the most sense for me.

I share my story because it is not one I have heard many women talk about. And as time has passed, the more I’ve opened up about my decision to formula feed from the start, the more questions I’ve received from friends, family, other moms, and moms-to-be.

I’m not here to convince you one way or the other, but if you’re curious, or maybe even considering it for yourself, here’s a little glimpse into my experience.

Making the Choice

About halfway through my pregnancy, I made up my mind that I was going to formula feed and that was that. I told my husband, my midwife, and wrote it on my birth plan and never looked back.

My midwife—who is extremely patient-focused in her practice—honored and respected my decision with no pushback, and so did my labor and delivery nurses.

I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that I was confident in my choice and wasn’t looking for anyone’s opinion or reassurance.

Drying Up Your Milk Supply

Just because I chose not to breastfeed didn’t mean my body automatically knew what to do. My midwife walked me through some important steps to help me naturally signal to my body that the milk was not needed.

  • This included:
    Wearing a tight fitting sports bra for a few weeks after delivery
  • Placing cold compresses and frozen cabbage leaves on my breasts every few hours
  • Not exposing my breasts to direct water contact for a few days (In the shower, I’d keep my back toward the water, wore a bathing suit top, and nipple guards)
  • No direct stimulation to my breasts or nipples (if I saw any milk naturally being expressed, I was advised just to leave it be)

It was a bit painful for the first 10 days or so, but after that, things eased up and went right back to normal.

The Benefits

I feel like we’ve all heard the benefits of breastfeeding, but here are some not-so-talked-about benefits of formula feeding:

  • It promotes bonding with ALL caretakers. My husband did all the night feedings for the first three weeks so I could sleep and recover, which allowed him some great father-son bonding time. Any time my mom was available to help out, she was able to feed and bond with him, too.
  • It takes pressure off the mom. After delivery, I felt like the weight was lifted; it was no longer my sole responsibility to keep our son alive. The first night home from the hospital, my mom volunteered to stay the night to help us get some much needed rest. My husband and I got a blissful 8 hours of sleep, and I didn’t have to be woken up at all. I could also freely go out to appointments (hello postnatal massage!), meet a friend for lunch, or run some errands without worrying about getting back in time for the next feeding.
  • You always know exactly how much they’re eating. Because we were measuring out the formula and pouring it into a bottle, we could accurately track how many ounces our son was eating in a day. This helped us know that he was getting the calories his body needed, and in return, he met (and exceeded) all his growth charts, and slept great too!

Overall, I had an extremely positive experience exclusively formula feeding my son. It’s one of the best decisions I made, and I will do it all over again if we have another.



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