Okay, so whatever got you here, you feed your baby formula. Welcome to the club, we’re glad to have you!
While I know there are some negatives associated with formula feeding, there are some bonuses, too. When Charlie was taken to the NICU, he was almost immediately given formula, and there we were: the choice was made for us. I was okay with it because I didn’t want him to be hungry – It was the last thing I wanted to worry about. And with our second, it didn’t take me long after returning to work to realize pumping enough to feed her appetite wasn’t a viable option. So back to formula we went.
But, in addition to providing your baby with nutrition, there are some bonuses to using formula! Here are just five tips and tricks I want to share with my fellow formula-feeders that help make life just a little bit easier.
1. Automatic formula-dispensers: There are a couple of brands out there, and we’ve only tried one, but OMG. It makes life so much easier to be able to press a couple buttons, and have a perfectly warmed bottle ready to feed your baby. It literally takes maybe 15 seconds to make a bottle, and it’s so easy a monkey could do it (probably.) Using our automatic formula-maker, I can make a bottle at 4 a.m. while still staying in a state of REM sleep. Okay, not really, but still, it’s so much easier than the elaborate bottle-making-warming system we previously used. Plus, once she holds the bottle on her own, I can just hand her a bottle and back to sleep we go…
2. On-the-go formula packs: I keep a box of these bad-boys in my diaper bag/car, and a couple bottles of room-temperature water, and we have an instate bottle wherever we go. They work a lot like any instant powdered drink: add the appropriate ounce-age of H2O and you’ve got a bottle ready for your baby! This is great because you’re never in a bind: I can always have a bottle ready in an instant.
3. These nipples you can attach to a water bottle: Again, if you keep a couple of those formula packs on you, and you have one of these nipples, you have a bottle anywhere you can buy a bottle of water. This came especially in handy when what was supposed to be short trip to the mall lasted several hours. As usual, I pushed my luck and ended up with a hangry baby. I didn’t have any empty bottles with me, so I popped into a coffee shop, grabbed a bottle of water, added the formula pack, attached this nipple and there I was…with at least another hour of shopping power.
4. Anyone can feed your baby: While this is true for anybody who feeds their baby a bottle, I just keep bulk-sized packs of formula at all the grandparents’ houses, and I never worry about whether they have enough to feed the baby if they’re babysitting. If she’s hungry, they can just make her a new bottle. Because I was never able to pump enough to have a back-up supply (but do have friends who were, so I know this may be true for breastfeeding mamas, as well), I would have been worried about leaving my baby without a back-up plan. With formula, I don’t worry about that.
5. You don’t need to pack it: Okay, this isn’t always true- like if you’re vacationing and staying in a rental or hotel. And it’s certainly also true if how you feed your baby is attached to you. But, for those of us for whom formula is a reality, this is an awesome bonus. We happen to have family across the country, so if we’re traveling, it’s typically to someone’s house. What’s great about that is I can order formula and bottles online and have them sent to their house with a couple clicks on my phone. I hate packing and keeping track of things, and it’s just so much easier to send a box of formula and empty bottles and have them there waiting for us. We also do this with diapers and wipes so we don’t have to pack those either. To be fair, as we are going to someone’s house, we can usually also just go buy these things locally, but this is way more convenient (and usually cheaper).
And there you have it! If you’re like me and feel some guilt about not breastfeeding, just try to look on the bright side. It is what it is, and I’m grateful formula exists. Otherwise I don’t know how I would have fed my babies (other than hand them to one of those friends able to produce a back-up supply.) I’m grateful for the science and, well, guiltlessly grateful for the convenience. So if you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, just enjoy what formula has to offer!