I breast fed my first three children for over a year each.
Then my twins came along. I fully planned on breastfeeding them. I was completely confident that I would be able to do so since I had successfully breast fed my first three children, but it didn’t work out that way.
My twins were born almost 2 months prematurely and were bottle fed in the NICU. I didn’t try very hard to get them to nurse while they were in the hospital because they were so little and it tired them out and I thought I’d be able to get them to change over to nursing once they came home. I was wrong. I brought my boys home and they would not nurse. They wouldn’t even suckle when I offered them the breast. I felt like a failure as a mother and decided that pumping breast milk was the only other option open to me in order to give the twins the best nutrition possible, but also for financial reasons. I did not want to pay for expensive infant formula for two children when I could offer them pumped breast milk.
Eventually, my milk supply could not keep with the demand of my twins and I started to supplement with expensive name brand formula. Slowly my milk dried up completely and I started to exclusively feed them infant formula. The price of brand-name formula for both of them was astronomical and so I decided to try a store brand. I carefully compared the ingredients and nutritional information and was astounded to see that I could buy a formula with the same ingredients for a fraction of the cost of the brand-name formula.
The medical and scientific communities agree that breastfeeding is best for babies. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes breast milk as the gold standard in infant nutrition.
What do you do though if for whatever reason you can’t breastfeed? You use the safest alternative: infant formula. If you are dealing with guilt like I did, you might feel that you need to use the name brand formulas that claim to offer all of the same benefits of breast milk.
“Buying a heavily marketed, expensive, name-brand infant formula from a big pharmaceutical company does not get your baby closer to human breast milk than a store-brand formula. Mothers can chose to supplement their breast milk with any formula because all formulas are regulated by the FDA and nutritionally equivalent”, reports Dr. Barbara Levine of Weill Cornell Medical College.
After the guilt of not being able to breastfeed my babies wore off, I realized something I wish I had realized sooner: having the ability to breastfeed one’s baby does not make one a good mother. All that guilt I carried around was silly, really, and my babies that were fed store brand formula for 6 months of their lives are every bit as healthy, happy and well adjusted as my children that were breast fed.