Come and Listen to a Story about a Mama {Breastfeeding and Formula Feeding}

by Mrs. BWF on May 3, 2013

(To the tune of The Beverly Hillbillies theme song)

Come and listen to a story ‘bout a mama lost her head
A doting child-bearer keeping all her babies fed,
Then one day an adoptive mommy too
So many wee ones what will she do?
Breast milk that is, liquid gold, Nature’s nectar.

Well the next thing you know one babe is bottle fed
Some folks said “Woman use the breast instead!”
Said “Bottle feedin’ is silly as can be”
But mama chose wisely this I guarantee.
Bottles, feeding that is.  Healthy baby,thriving.

holly4

I have two babies.  I chose to breastfeed one and formula/bottle feed the other.  I could argue that the choice was made for me.  But this much I know is true, my babies are loved equally and with the same fierce mama intensity.

When I was 17 weeks pregnant with my son Ezra I received a phone call on a Monday morning that our 2 year old daughter’s biological parents had delivered a baby girl the day before.  I was asked if we would be willing to pick her up from the hospital when she was discharged and become her forever family.  So with my 8 year old on the floor playing legos, my 2 year old tugging on my leg, my 10 month old on my hip and my baby in my belly I called my husband at work to pose the big question.

I had prepared my heart to hear, “Woman you are nuts!” But instead my amazing husband said “Another daughter?  A sister for Naomi?  Yes!  Call and tell them yes!”

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Two days later I found myself driving to the hospital to meet our daughter.  I gazed into her eyes and fed her a bottle of formula.  I counted her fingers and toes and giggled about how much she looked like her big sister.  This was truly a gift because I was not Naomi’s mommy until Naomi was 6 months old.  Holding Phoebe and bonding with her at 3 days old was amazing.  I was very deliberate about being the ONE to feed her the first few months ,even the feedings that occurred every 2 hours during the night.  This was sometimes a challenge with my growing belly and shrinking bladder.

She slept in our room in a bassinet beside my bed and I wore her in a wrap right on top of my baby bump.  When I was around 34 weeks pregnant my sweet husband began taking over caring for Phoebe during the night.  They shared a room and he got up to feed her whenever she peeped for a bottle.

To this day he is still the one that gets up with her if she needs some love in the middle of the night.  He is a very attentive father.  He is purposeful about his parenting and cares so deeply for our children.  He is my greatest support in life.  He also fully supports breastfeeding and my choices in the way I birth and the way I mother.  When Ezra was born he caught him, handed him to me and asked “When is he going to latch on?”  My lima bean latched on within 5 minutes of entering the world and has stayed latched on for the past 16 months.

holly5

I have breastfed Ezra in one arm while at the same time formula fed Phoebe in the other.  Once Ezra was born I could have attempted to begin breastfeeding Phoebe or I could have pumped milk and given it to her in a bottle.  These options seemed ideal but we did not finalize Phoebe’s adoption until she was 19 months old so they were not actual options but rather just romantic ideas in my head.

The truth is I do not know if I had the choice if I would have done it any differently.

When Ezra was born I had an 8 year old, 2 year old, 15 month old and a 4.5 month old.  I had 4 children in diapers!  My 8 year old became proficient at mixing bottles for me.  Our family was in survival mode in our little incubator of love for the first year of the “twins” lives.  I have no regrets in formula feeding my daughter and breastfeeding my son.  Those were the choices that were right for our family given our circumstances.

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Phoebe is now 20 months old and just weaned herself from the bottle last week.  Ezra is 16 months and still nursing upon request.  My son Zane is 9 he was breastfed and self-weaned when he was 2.5 years old.  Naomi is 3 and was formula fed.  Quinn is 2. He nursed until he was only 11 months old because my milk dried up when I was 5 months pregnant with Ezra.

My children are biological and adopted, breastfed and formula fed.  My children are loved and adored, cherished and celebrated.

I implore you dear mothers to show grace and courtesy to one another in regards to feeding choices.  There are a myriad of reasons a family may bottle/ formula feed their child.  This is not a thing to be judged.  Let’s continue to cultivate a community where we encourage one another in our motherhood journeys.  A community where our hearts feel safe and we love one another.

~Holly

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This is a guest post by Holly, you can read her recent birth story here.

All pictures copyrighted by the BWF Blog or photographer.
Photography credit: Blooming Nest Photography

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jennifer May 3, 2013 at 5:53 pm

I loved starting my day by reading this lovely story. Adoptive families are incredibly special.

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Tanya A May 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Thank you for sharing! It is so hurtful when we as mothers–a community that should be supportive and loving–judge and push our opinions on others, often without knowing the story or understanding another mother’s choices.
You are such an inspiration–your love for all of your children shines through what you wrote!

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Sue // As It Seems May 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm

This is a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing. I love the openness and acceptance of both sides of feeding a baby. I truly believe we are all doing the best that we can. You are amazing.

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Justine G. May 3, 2013 at 7:40 pm

I love this post, I loved reading your birth story awhile back and your family touches my heart in so many ways! I am currently 6 months pregnant with my third biological child and we also just finished our last home study for foster-to-adopt. The idea of adopting when you are pregnant or have very young children seem so crazy to so many people, but families like yours are a shining example that you can thrive in such a situation!!

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Sarah May 4, 2013 at 11:11 am

What a beautiful mother. Loving little ones and raising them is one of the highest callings on earth. Keep your chin up, Mommy!

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Justine May 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Hi mama, this has nothing to do with your lovely post but I just wanted to inform you that Pinterest is removing pics of pins from your site. It sadens me :(. I had pinned some great articles and beautiful birth pictures from here and I was sent an email saying that they were inappropriate bc Pinterest is a “family friendly” site. Which makes no sense to me. Anyway, have a great weekend!

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Cynthia May 4, 2013 at 9:02 pm

LOVE this!! My sister was publicly ridiculed by a birthing instructor. My sister had no choice but to formula feed because she began chemotherapy soon after giving birth.
I’m also an adoptive mama, so I love this for so many reasons! :)

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Maureen May 4, 2013 at 9:42 pm

What makes this story so refreshing is this mama does not make any excuses, just states the choices that she took responsibility for making and why. I love that the confidence in herself that is expressed here. Thanks for sharing it.

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Sarah May 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm

You are simply AMAZING!

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Samantha Vermeulen May 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Beautifully written! I just have a question (and no judgement here, just wanted to ask for clarification) – Quoting this section: “Once Ezra was born I could have attempted to begin breastfeeding Phoebe or I could have pumped milk and given it to her in a bottle. These options seemed ideal but we did not finalize Phoebe’s adoption until she was 19 months old so they were not actual options but rather just romantic ideas in my head.” – Why did you feel that breastfeeding or pumping for Phoebe was a romantic idea and not an actual option because the adoption wasn’t finalized? Were you not allowed to do so because she wasn’t legally adopted? I was just wondering about that. Thanks! :)

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Katie May 6, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Thank you for telling this story. For my own long list of reasons, I BF one of my twins, and ended up having to put the other one on prescription preemie formula after pumping for her for 4 months. I was told by bitter, angry women online that I loved one more than the other. It could not be farther than the truth. I love all of my children equally…to the moon and back.
I did what needed to be done in a less than ideal situation, to ensure that both of my children thrived. I wish I felt as good about the choices I made as you do, though. Maybe one day I will.
Your little ones are adorable. xo

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Liz p May 6, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I have a very similar experience . I love you story and your family is beautiful!

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Ashleigh Swerdfeger May 6, 2013 at 11:19 pm

This a lovely story! It truly celebrates motherhood.

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jennah May 7, 2013 at 3:41 am

what a beautiful family
love all the sweet details

lovely lucky blessed amazing wonderful

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Melissa July 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Wonderful post!! Compassion is, almost, always the best mindset to have

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Esther July 14, 2013 at 5:40 am

I have the utter privilege of working with parents and their newborns and I will ALWAYS support these parents in their choice of feeding their babies- ensuring your child is fed and cared for to the best of your ability IS love.
Your babies are gorgeous with a capital AWWW! and look happy, loved and thriving.
Thank you for sharing. X

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Catlin July 18, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I just wanted to tell you this story was incredibly healing for me to read. I have prayed about adoption with my husband for several years, and had two surprise pregnancies during those years. Needless to say, we have not yet adopted, lol. The process begins soon, though.
I was unable to nurse 3 of my 4 children, and those 3 unsuccessful attempts were very heartbreaking. I used to plan on inducing lactation for an adopted child, (once we get there) but after being unable to nurse my bio kids, even with all the hoops I jumped through…. I just wonder what kind of mess I would have to put myself and a new child through, and would it be worth it? Especially if I end up unsuccessful once again? I have felt guilty for thinking I might be unwilling to try…but no more of that. :)
I have 4 healthy, happy, THRIVING children… and any more added into our family in the future, no matter how they are fed during infancy, will be loved well, and celebrated.
Thanks so much for sharing your story.
<3

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