When You Have to Supplement

When You Have to Supplement

While breastfeeding is preferable (or as we talked about a couple of weeks ago, formula is less preferable, depending on your semantics), sometimes you will still need to supplement when breastfeeding your baby.  To a mother who is committed to breastfeeding, this can seem like such a failure.  I have been there, and I know the guilty feelings that can come when you are not able to exclusively breastfeed.

The first thing you need to do is accept that you have tried and for whatever reason, breastfeeding is just not going to be enough.  This can be for reasons such as personal preference – breastfeeding can be hard! – or for other reasons, such as a baby’s failure to thrive.  Whatever the reason, if you are going to supplement, you will be better off if you simply accept it as fact and let go of the feelings you may have.

Remind yourself that no matter what, your baby’s health is the biggest priority.  Even if you are choosing to supplement because you are not happy breastfeeding, you are doing something good for your baby’s health.  A miserable nursing mother may not be able to nurture her baby as well, because sometimes nursing can just be downright unpleasant – I’ve been there, too.

Babies have and will continue to do very well on formula, and sometimes they will do even better than when breastfed for reasons that continue to baffle the very doctors who issue that diagnosis of failure to thrive, so supplementing does not have to be a cause for debilitating guilt, even though the temptation is strong.

So don’t give in to the feelings of guilt or negativity if you supplement with formula.  Your baby will be fine and the way he gets his nutrition in the early days is really not that important in the grand scheme of things.  What is important is having loving, happy parents, and a guilt-ridden mother who feels like a failure does not do anyone any good.