A Rational Approach to Formula vs. Breastfeeding…

English: teat, baby bottle nipple (Lovi/Canpol...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a Maternity Monday post by guest blogger, Cristie Ritz-King.  Cristie attended a Perrigo Nutritionals event on behalf of Beccarama.

When I had my first baby I thought I was totally prepared. I had read all the books, taken all the classes and made up my mind about how it would all go down. Then, nothing went as planned and I found myself exhausted, overwhelmed and often out-manned while trying to make decisions. I was often going against either the medical personnel or the lactation consultants, depending on which shift was on duty.

When the nurses wanted to give my jaundiced baby formula or even water from a bottle, I practiced all the empowered statements I was taught. I asked to nurse her more. I asked for more time. Finally, I asked that they use a dropper and not a bottle.

Honestly, I’m not sure that they honored any of my requests because they took her from the room and brought her back swaddled, clean and sleeping. Quite frankly, that was all I cared about at that moment.

What I learned over the coming weeks was that it shouldn’t matter what people think or even what I thought before the baby was born. What I learned was that the best thing for us was going to look only like the best thing for us. It may not look like it did in other people’s nurseries or on the playground or in the coffee shop. My husband and I, and often our baby had to be the only people in on the decision. We sought counsel from doctors and other “experts”, we for sure asked friends and our parents chimed in accordingly, but at the end of the day, we were all that counted.

That’s what I hope new parents learn sooner than we did. When it comes to caring for your baby, if you have armed yourself with all the information, then you will know what’s best. Yes, you will be judged. It’s a sad fact that no matter what you decide about nursing or formula, cloth diapers, nanny or daycare, someone out there is going to think you’re wrong and they will not hesitate to tell you or stare at you or whisper when you walk away. I’m sorry for that fact.

The good news is there are plenty of supportive parents who will do no such thing. There are women and men like those I met yesterday at a lunch held by Perrigo Nutritionals, the makers of store brand infant formula sold at places like Target, Walgreens, CVS and Babies R Us.

As you might imagine, an event sponsored by a formula company can be a risky situation in the parent-blogging space. However, yesterday held no hateful comments or judgments. What we had was an intelligent, honest discussion that reminded me that most parents are helpful and hopeful and supportive no matter whether they agree or not.

What I learned about Perrigo is that their formulas are half-the cost of their name-brand counterparts. And, because the FDA regulates the infant formula industry so tightly, they are nearly identical. So much so that NYC Pediatrician and author of The Smart Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses and Accidents,  Jennifer Trachtenberg (who has incredible whole-patient care incidentally) recommends them to her patients.

Beyond learning about formula, what I took away from yesterday’s event is how fortunate a thing it is to be surrounded by parents who support you for doing the best you can-no matter what that looks like. Remember that power when you wade into the world of parenting decisions. Seek out the ones who hold you up because they are out there and they are irreplaceable.

As a Childbirth Educator and Holistic Health Coach, Cristie Ritz King’s mission is to provide busy women all the information they need to make empowered decisions that work for their best life-judgment free. Read more about what she’s saying about Real Life Wellness here and her life as a mom on her blog, The Right Hand Mom.