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Why I Love(d) Formula-Feeding

water-bottle-baby-bottleSeveral weeks ago, I found myself in the middle of a conversation about breastfeeding with a handful of moms. An expectant mom had reservations about breastfeeding and expressed them to the group. In the minutes that followed, the conversation went a little like this:

“How could you consider not breastfeeding? You know what they say – breast is best.”

“It’s irresponsible not to breastfeed.”

“I breastfed and my daughter was never sick.”

“You won’t be able to truly bond with the baby unless you breastfeed.”

“Give it a try. You owe it to your baby.”

And the mother of all comments:

“If you’re not going to breastfeed this one, maybe you should reconsider having more children later.”

[insert enormous sigh]

Breastfeeding is one of my least favorite parenting topics. It can be incredibly controversial and talking about it can sometimes bring out a mean streak in people who are otherwise kind. I’ve found that if someone asks my opinion about breastfeeding versus formula feeding, some version of “no comment” is a wonderful (read: neutral) response!

During this conversation, I took a different approach. Instead of reserving my thoughts, I looked directly at the wide-eyed (now teary eyed) 23 year-old mother to be and said:

“I formula-fed both of my sons and I loved it. And I would do it again without a second thought and without an ounce of guilt.”

I’ll never understand why some parents work so hard to turn their personal decisions into the universal ideal. Parents who make decisions based on what is best for their family find success regardless if the decision is popular and, let’s face it, there are no true universal ideals. With any given topic, there are always at least two schools of thought.

I decided to formula-feed my babies because that was best for my family, and I ended up loving every minute of it. Here are my top reasons why:

It was less frustrating.
Breastfeeding might be natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. It didn’t come naturally for me or for my first born. It can take a lot of patience and persistence to breastfeed, and can be extremely frustrating for both the mom and the new baby. I didn’t even attempt to breastfeed my second child.

It helped eliminate the guess work.
Parents who decide to formula-feed know exactly what the baby’s intake of milk is, which can help identify a fussy baby’s needs later. The more factors that can be eliminated when trying to determine why a baby is inconsolable the better! I liked having the ability to track when and exactly how much my baby was eating during the day/night.

It was freeing.
It is no secret that I enjoy my freedom (if you didn’t know this about me, check out why I love daycare). There were many occasions that formula-feeding was my ticket to freedom! It allowed me to enjoy some uninterrupted sleep and/or simply get away for more than a couple of hours without worrying about when my baby needed to eat again. Flexibility is also important to me so I liked not being physically tied down to a feeding schedule. Plus formula-feeding allowed my (ex) husband and other relatives or friends to share in the experience, and bond with my little one(s), which they appreciated and still cherish to this day!

It was more comfortable.
Right or wrong, the thought of breastfeeding in public or in front of friends and family made me incredibly uncomfortable so for me formula-feeding was a great, comfortable alternative.


Did you breast or formula feed your baby? What did you like about it?



About Jennifer Woodbury Duval

Jennifer Woodbury Duval
A right coaster now living on the left, Jennifer Duval is a mom to two rambunctious boys, and works full-time in the communications department at a Fortune 500 company. Fueled by logic, she is a no-nonsense type of gal who doesn’t buy into the latest trends, but does like to try new, trendy restaurants. An avid reader, she also loves coffee, chocolate, Zumba, and discovering new places.


  1. Lynnette

    Thank you for this brave post… I think there are a lot of moms like you who stay quiet because the pro-breastfeeding crowd is so vocal. I was one that had a world of problems with breastfeeding my two kids. I evidently make skim milk, as my kids were starving with only my milk. After supplementing with formula, neither would feed from the breast anymore, so I pumped for WAY too long. 6 months of pumping with the first kid, 2 months for the second. It was so frustrating and caused so many tears that I vowed if I had a third kid I’d just skip the drama and go straight to formula.

  2. Jenny Petty

    I think this is great! I supplemented with formula with both of my babies and, honestly, it made breastfeeding easier for me. It took a lot of the pressure off and at times it made me more comfortable traveling, feeding my baby in public, etc. I also had a friend who just couldn’t make enough milk for her baby. She was beating herself up over it. Motherhood is hard enough without adding another layer of guilt and pressure.

  3. After all the guilt and worry about failing at breastfeeding wore off, I LOVED formula feeding too! And my daughter rarely got sick, wasn’t overweight and seemed pretty smart.

  4. Jessica

    Thank you for this! I had a horrible time breastfeeding my first child and I can’t tell you how guilt-ridden I felt for going to formula after two weeks (I started supplementing right away though). And, for the hurtful comments I either heard or received (from friends even). When I had my second I was determined to try harder and be better. Even though I drank lactation tea and did all the things I could to enhance my milk supply, nothing worked. The most I ever pumped was one ounce. Although I did better the second time around (almost three months of breast milk), I supplemented with formula. But, this time, I didn’t care, mainly about the naysayers. I did what was best for me and my baby. Not everyone has a beautiful experience with breastfeeding. I think it’s sad we give moms who don’t such a hard time. I have two happy, healthy kids that were formula fed.

    • Appreciate you and your always brutally honest articles. I did breastfeed my son for 2 years, luckily it happened easily for me. But I would never judge someone who opted to formula feed, your child your decision!!

  5. Great and brave post, Jenn! I did breastfeed all three kids and I also supplemented. I honestly don’t understand the controversy: we love our children, we feed our children. Who cares how they get fed? It’s ridiculous. Each mother should be respected and applauded for doing what’s right for her and her family as long as she’s feeding her child!

  6. I Have 3 kids ages 19,14 and 4 I was 21 when I had my first child and choose to formula feed . I had no issues with it and continued formula feeding the next two. I have happy healthy not even close to over weight kids and one is in college 🙂 we did just fine Thank you 🙂
    And thank you for this extremely brave article!

  7. Ha, I didn’t even know this was your post, Jen, until I got to the bottom. Yes, yes, yes. This is exactly how I felt.

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