This post closes out my weeklong breastfeeding series in honor of World Breastfeeding Week. I probably will not write much more on breastfeeding after this as there are so many other valuable posts from many wonderful bloggers. This week has been fun but whew!!! A post a day is A LOT! I have no clue how other bloggers do it. (My guess is that they aren't blogging in their bathrooms in the middle of the night. J
Anyway – let's get on with this post shall we?
I decided to create my own Mindful Mothering Challenge in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week. This challenge is one that I personally feel is extremely important for ALL mothers. You see, I get very tired of mommy wars in general but the one that really chaps my hide is the one where the “breast is best” camp goes toe to toe with the “formula feeding” camp. Of course there are also the “pump and bottle feed” mamas but no one seems to get on their case.
Let me make my opinion on breastfeeding vs. pumping and bottle feeding vs. formula feeding clear as day. I really don't care how you do it, just FEED your infant/baby/toddler! I mean, there are sooooooooooo many awful things parents can do to their children and formula feeding or bottle feeding IS NOT ONE OF THEM! Getting nutrition into your child is the most important thing a parent can do. Without sustenance, there will be no child right? So just get those babies fed!
Yes, I am a strong supporter of and advocate for breastfeeding, especially extended breastfeeding. My daughter is a testimonial to the health benefits of breastmilk. Without it, she would be in a very bad place. Her health issues are not nearly as bad as they would have been had I not breastfed her and it is one of the most important reasons why I will NOT wean her until she decides she is ready. However, that does not mean that I frown on mothers who formula feed their babies.
I know several wonderful mamas who choose to formula feed. Their reasons may not be justifiable to everyone but when it comes down to it, their comfort level with breastfeeding was just not there. And guess what? If you are continually putting yourself way outside of your comfort zone, you are eventually going to begin to harbor feelings of displeasure and possibly ill will. My formula feeding mama friends are BETTER mothers mentally and emotionally than they would have been as breastfeeding mothers. For that, I commend them. Better to be a present, whole mama than a breastfeeding mama who hates breastfeeding and subtly or not so subtly ends up expressing this in her interactions with her child.
Two of my mama friends truly could not breastfeed and lord knows they tried and tried and tried. This can happen and it is nothing to feel ashamed and embarrassed about. You tried, things did not go the way you planned, you move on and FEED your child! End of story. No guilt needed, no sadness, no anger. The fact that a mama gave breastfeeding a chance should be satisfaction enough.
And then there is my poor friend who was talked out of breastfeeding by her children's pediatrician. She's a young mama and puts a lot of value in western medicine. Try as I might, she is just not ready to look beyond the more mainstream experts. And you know what? That's ok. Her children are healthy, happy as all get out, loved unconditionally, and mothered beautifully. And really, that is what matters the most. As a friend and fellow mother, I can only try to guide her so far. She has to do the rest.
Breastfeeding mothers need to stop looking down at formula feeding mothers. Formula feeding mothers need to stop assuming that breastfeeding mothers are judgmental bullies. The fact of the matter is that we are all just trying to feed our children.
So my challenge to you is to be aware of your thoughts, your words, and your actions towards mamas who are feeding their babies in a different way than you are. We all have enough to worry about in life without freaking out over a mother's decision to breastfeed or not. Let's show each other respect.
Now…I do want to share a recipe for formula that is FAR superior to ANY formula that you could ever purchase in a store. If a mama is going to make the decision to formula feed or has no other alternative other than to formula feed, then the least she can do is offer the highest quality food possible. Right?
So here is what homemade formula looks like. This information is taken from the Weston A. Price Foundation website.
- 2 cups whole raw cow's milk, preferably from pasture-fed cows
- 1/4 cup homemade liquid whey. Note: Do NOT use powdered whey or whey from making cheese (which will cause the formula to curdle). Use only homemade whey made from yoghurt, kefir or separated raw milk.
- 4 tablespoons lactose
- 1/4 teaspoon bifidobacterium infantis
- 2 or more tablespoons good quality cream (preferably not ultrapasteurized), more if you are using milk from Holstein cows
- 1/2 teaspoon unflavored high-vitamin or high-vitamin fermented cod liver oil or 1 teaspoon regular cod liver oil
- 1/4 teaspoon high-vitamin butter oil (optional)
- 1 teaspoon expeller-expressed sunflower oil
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons Frontier brand nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 teaspoons gelatin
- 1-7/8 cups filtered water
- 1/4 teaspoon acerola powder
- Put 2 cups filtered water into a pyrex measuring pitcher and remove 2 tablespoons (that will give you 1-7/8 cups water).
- Pour about half of the water into a pan and place on a medium flame.
- Add the gelatin and lactose to the pan and let dissolve, stirring occasionally.
- When the gelatin and lactose are dissolved, remove from heat and add the remaining water to cool the mixture.
- Stir in the coconut oil and optional high-vitamin butter oil and stir until melted.
- Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients into a blender.
- Add the water mixture and blend about three seconds.
- Place in glass bottles or a glass jar and refrigerate.
- Before giving to baby, warm bottles by placing in hot water or a bottle warmer. NEVER warm bottles in a microwave oven.
I am sure you have tons of questions about this homemade formula business so click here to learn some valuable information. In addition, there are several variations to this recipe along with information on where you can find these ingredients. Click here for more information on that.