Thursday, July 21, 2016

6 Reasons I am Jealous of Formula Moms

Before becoming a mom, I never realized that the personal decision on how to feed your child could devolve into a public fight reminiscent of some kind of Hunger Games arena.  You hear horror stories of poor, sleep-deprived moms who can’t escape the formula aisle at Target without some bitchy onlooker muttering “breast is best” as though Mom hadn't heard that before. Seriously, the tributes from District Breast can be such dicks.

And what does that even accomplish? Is one obnoxious stranger muttering a painful cliché going to make a woman who has chosen formula (for one of any number of very legitimate, compelling reasons that are all none of your damn business) suddenly going to realize the error of her ways, throw that Similac back on the shelf, and shove a boob in baby’s face at checkout?

Personally, unless you are filling your child’s bottle with Diet Coke, I pretty much don’t care how Junior gets a full belly. My son was breastfed, and there were things about it that I loved, and things I did not love. I was very fortunate that breastfeeding was (mostly) pretty easy for us. Nonetheless, I couldn’t help but feeling moments of jealousy towards the formula moms I know, because…

1.       They got more sleep. Hey, you, breast feeding enthusiasts, yeah, I noticed that you forgot to put this in the f*ing manual. Not only does formula put your partner on the hook for night feedings, but babies apparently take longer to digest formula. While I was still up every 3 hours when my kid was eight weeks old, my friends that fed their kids formula were blissfully sleeping 6 or 8 hour stretches (though I am sure there are exceptions). Thus, as a reward for breastfeeding, I got another month or two of looking like Pigpen and feeling like I was losing my damn mind from lack of sleep.

2.       They traveled easier. I thought breastfeeding would be the simpler choice- my son would always have food as long as I was with him, right? Well… yes… but particularly in the beginning, I pretty much couldn’t feed without a boppy and a chair with arms. This made going anywhere an ordeal. Meanwhile, formula moms just dumped formula in a bottle and voila. There were no strangers ogling them, and no screaming baby who couldn’t quite latch on while propped up against the counter at a sushi place.

3.       No one stared at their chest. And I am not talking a “I was sitting in a public park with my boobs out and people looked” situation. I mean people would ask if I was breastfeeding, and then stare directly at my chest for the rest of the conversation. 

4.       They didn’t have to sit at work… topless… There aren’t enough door locks in the world to make this feel OK. Pumping at work is just strange. I get bonus points for forgetting to mute my phone on a call with 80 people. Nothing says “embarrassed” like listening to your bosses’ bosses’ boss say “what is that noise? Does anyone else hear that whirring?” and knowing it is you and your milking machine vibrating on speaker phones throughout the country.

5.       They never wondered if their kid only loved them for their boobs. To be fair, babies are blobs of goo and I am sure formula moms also sometimes wonder if and when that blob of goo loves them. However, as a woman, it undermines your self-esteem when your kid gives you the cold stare until face to face with your nipple and then grins. We’re raised to think we’re worth more than just our racks… until we spend 3 months watching the thing we love the most only care about said rack.

6.       Most importantly, the caffeine! If ever I needed 10 cups of coffee to survive, it was when my son was up all night screaming. However, if I drank more than one cup at 7 a.m., he would be up the entire next night dancing. I don’t know how we have pills for everything but keeping caffeine from entering breastmilk. Someone needs to get on that.  

Despite all of this, the decision to stop breastfeeding was one of the hardest of my life. I am also very sure that my formula mom friends have a list similar to this one about why they sometimes wish they could or would have breastfed (like the "eat everything and not gain weight," thing). All in all, those first months are so wonderfully difficult (or difficulty wonderful) no matter how you feed. 

As long as we all have happy, healthy babies, we’re cool… right?

Perhaps the one thing we can all agree on is to not be the asshole at Target muttering “breast is best” in the formula aisle. 

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