Formula to-go: A Survival Guide (Sponsored)

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With babies @ 6 months and my caravan of craziness. 
Something happened recently, a sort of rebellion voiced by all of the mothers who DIDN'T breastfeed, who were (and are) sick and tired of being (or having been) ostracized for feeding and/or supplementing with formula. And on behalf of my formerly ashamed formula-feeding self, I'm grateful. (If you haven't read this post by the brilliant and beautiful Casey of Moosh in Indy, you really must.)

I used to mix my bottles behind park benches, in bathroom stalls, my car... all to avoid the stares and whispers of the other moms (and dads) in the park. Being a formula mom, especially in an urban environment is the social equivalent of being... the worst. At least, that was the case seven years ago and then three years ago when I supplemented with Fable.

I don't know if things have changed or if it's me who's done the changing but I haven't once mixed a bottle in public and felt the wrath of anyone this time around. Perhaps it's because I have twins so people are like, "we'll cut her ye olde slack" or maybe I was so insecure in the past that all that "shame" I was feeling was really just me. Or maybe a little bit of both? Regardless, I wanted to write something today for my sisters in formula-supplementation. Because let's be honest, formula feeding support groups aren't exactly a thing.

Which is too bad because "breast is best" although true, is also a very (nice?) way of saying "formula is worst" AKA, "you lose, formula feeding moms! You lose." And that's not exactly easy to navigate. Especially when you're a first time mama. I felt incredibly guilty feeding Archer what was "un-best". And even though I was prepared to fail at nursing (more on that, here and here) it was still difficult. 

So. Because there isn't a FaFormula Foundation and sometimes it's nice to share tips about feeding on the go (for those of us who are not attached to our child(ren)'s food source) here are five of mine:

 Five Tips for Formula Feeding on the go

1. Leave the guilt at home - There were times when I was so ashamed of feeding Archer formula in public that I would run-push his stroller home (as he screamed! starving!) so that nobody would be able to see me mix him a bottle of "f word".  My shame was detrimental to my child's well being. Inexcusable. Ridiculous. No. (By the time Fable was born, I was much more comfortable mixing bottles in public, thank god, and with the twins, I am the most confident bottle-mixing mother in the 323.)

2. Purchase reusable bottles for to-go storage - I feed my girls Enfamil (All of my kids, actually, although I mixed Enfamil with Baby's Only Organic for Fable) which comes in these super handy to-go tubes except they're super overpriced and only fill four ounces. (Four ounces of water + one packet = not enough for a baby over three months old.) So instead of wasting my money, starving my children and creating unnecesseary garbage, I use (ironically) the breast milk storage bottles I got in the NICU when I was pumping those first six weeks. Having bottles reserved for the sole purpose of transporting powdered formula was really helpful for me with the twins. I'd pour six ounces worth of powder into four bottles, six ounces of water into the other four and bring my eight bottles with me everywhere in my huge honking bag. Another helpful item: Purchase a little plastic funnel to transfer formula from dry bottle to water bottle. Otherwise it can (and will) spill and blow everywhere when you're trying to pour it in. 

3. Bring extra everything - Now that the babies are eating mostly solids, I'm lugging around a lot less stuff but in those early months I was like a gypsy caravan of insanity. I had one terrible experience running out of milk in public with two screaming infants and NEVER AGAIN. After my little "fail" I started bringing extra milk with me everywhere. No matter where or what or how. (Two extra bottles of water and two extra bottles of formula per baby. Rain or shine.)

4. Filtered H20 is your BFF: When you're feeding formula the water is just as important as the stuff you're mixing with it so invest in a filtration sustem (or reverse osmosis) that you trust. This happens to be a post sponsored by Brita but I've also been a customer for ten years and have only ever used Brita filtered water to mix bottles. (We change the filters regularly and clean out our pitcher once a week.)

5.  Treat yourself to a waterproof diaper bag: Crying over spilled milk is most likely in your future if you store bottles in a purse that isn't waterproof. (I have also made this mistake.) Bottle feeding can be a messy endeavor and even with secure caps, leaks happen. Best be prepared for some spill action in that bag of yours.
Bo,  Revi and the pillow prop, 9 months

Did I miss anything, fellow bottle'rs? Tips and tricks you've picked up along the way?


Thanks in advance for being respectful of your fellow mamas. This is a delicate subject for everyone, I realize, but I feel very strongly that formula feeding moms are just as deserving of support and solidarity as those who breastfeed. Love to all. 



Beth Anne | 10:29 AM

Seriously love this. Thank you!

I would measure out the powder into either tupperware or formula dispensers & then fill the bottles with the correct amount of water - I'd mix when we were out & about so no formula was wasted. (says the chick who's kid drank $30/tub formula, ouch!)

wonderchris | 10:32 AM

So good. Great post!!

jen | 10:38 AM

Luckily my kids were small bottle babies and the 4 oz serving tubes worked great for us (although, yes, EXPENSIVE).

I'm so glad to see someone else standing up for formula feeders. I *chose* to be a formula feeder and at the time I didn't feel guilty at all. Ironically I've gotten all sorts of shaming and guilt about it recently though.


@wonderchris I turned your link into a tinyurl because it wasn't showing:

(I'm getting new comments, soon, you guys! I know Blogger is archaic!)

megan | 10:41 AM

My biggest hint is to never warm the bottles. My kids were used to room temp bottles from the very start. This made it much quicker to feed them (no need to wait as the bottle warmed). Also, I would put the formula into the bottles and bring them into my upstairs bathroom for the middle of the night feedings, no need to go downstairs and make a bottle! Also, I used tap water which was cheap, easy and exposed them to fluoride.

LindseyA | 10:42 AM

Because let's be honest, formula feeding support groups aren't exactly a thing.

This was my favorite line. I have always wanted to start a formula feeding support group! Formula feeding has its own challenges and we need help too! Especially when your Dr tells you to put your four month old on a diet because he eats too much formula.

Great post, thank you for writing it.

Robyn Devine | 10:43 AM

owen was totally bottle fed after six weeks of lack of boob-milk. and i never looked back!

we purchased some of those "already mixed" bottles to keep as emergency bottles, and they were perfection! pop the top off, pop a nipple on, and owen can drink! for me, it was much easier than carrying around so much extra stuff. one bottle per two hours we'd be gone, plus and emergency bottle, and we were set!

Anonymous | 10:43 AM

I fed my daughter enfamil as well. I bought small tupperware containers, I think they were called mini's, they held the exact measurement of formula to mix with 8 ounces of water and since they were small very easily poured into the bottle, no funnel necessary.

I never once felt ashamed of mixing formula for my dughter, and I cared so much what others thought of my parenting, but that thing? Well, it was sort of like 'I feed my baby, why do you care how?' I was very defensive of my choice to formula feed.

Maybe next time I won't, maybe next time I will.

Harper's Mom :)


@megan GREAT tip! Same. We've always fed room temp, have never heated bottles and it makes life SO much easier. I also would create a little formula station for my girls so in the middle of the night, all I had to do was pour and BAM. Great suggestions! Thank you!

Unknown | 10:46 AM

I breastfed for 13 months and letmetellya it was awful. Recurrent plugged ducts, mastitis, choking my child because of super hard letdown, feeling like I couldn't leave him with anyone for more than 2 hours, hauling a pump and milk back and forth to work, and on an on. When a horrible mastitis/thrush/bleb/WTFelse hung on for a month it effectively shut down one breast and we started supplementing. It was liberating. LIBERATING.

Yes, breast milk is great, but it is hard. Also we do not live in a time when we have the community support we need. I am so tired of the "well WHY can't she do it, that is how babies have been fed for millennia?" crap. Yes, that is how they were fed, but we had community knowledge, we had wetnurses (missed my calling there), and babies didn't survive. Just like I am thankful to live in the time of antibiotics, I am thankful to also live in the time of formula.

And yeah we never heated it. Figuring out that I should fill to go bottles with formula and THEN add water as opposed to the other way around was also a life changer.

Also, if you are using filtered water, formula might actually have less toxins than breast milk:

Also, I am now convince I need to get those Frye boots.


I just remembered one more tip!

WASH BOTTLES WITH UNSCENTED SOAP. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS. I love me some Ms. Meyers but that stuff SMEEELLLLLLLLS and tastes like flowers so no more. (We use Seventh Generation Free and Clear to wash bottles.)

Nikki | 10:50 AM

My mom passed away when my daughter was a newborn and due to the stress I dried up. Oh the crap I got, from my "friends" even! I used Target Formula. Love it.

Heather | 10:50 AM

Thank you! I supplemented my breastmilk with formula because it was so hard to make enough milk and work and not be a crazy person. In the end, less stress actually helped me produce MORE breastmilk. :) Formula supplements helped make me less crazy, better mom. I feel like people who judge are judging out of their own insecurity and narrowmindedness and try to tell myself that is not MY problem.

Käthe | 10:52 AM

You are indeed correct that formula feeders need support. I think the "breast is best" movement began to reverse the trend of formula feeding becoming default rather than alternative. So, I don't think it was to shame, but rather encourage, though it is a bit harsh.
(Breast feeding education still has a long ways to go.)
And as a breast-only feeder, I have to say I have similar feelings feeding by breast in public - that it's so rare to witness and I felt like an outsider *not* using a bottle for my milk.
I think the shame in formula feeding is felt by the moms who tried to breast feed and couldn't (for whatever reason - all valid) and their disappointment colors their feeling about using formula.
You gotta do what you gotta do - there's no wrong or right answer - it's whatever is best for mama and baby.

Pam H. | 10:53 AM

I love your blog already but I'm currently in that "trying but want to give up" breast feeding stage with my second child. The first child never took and we used formula, which I was ok with, so why am I apprehensive with this one? Plus he was tongue-tied which we literally had fixed today at two weeks old. I pump and supplement.
Thank you so much for writing this. We need a support group just as much.

Anonymous | 10:54 AM

Take is easy on the LaLeche group. 30 years mainstream medicine promoted bottle feeding as superior to the breast. The group was founded by mother's who, in the minority, breastfed and needed help to overcome challenges that accompany nursing. We are not to far removed from a generation of women who thought nursing was disgusting and actively rejected it. I have a MIL and GIL who are pretty grossed out by nursing to this day!

I am not affiliated nor ever will be with LaLeche, but geesh, if it bothers you so much, found a group!

If you are doing what is right for your baby, feeling shame for it is only your problem. Have a little more confidence in your decisions!

Anonymous | 10:54 AM

Thank you for writing this. I wish I had something like this to read when I formula fed my son. I hated every day of it and felt guilty for mooooonths and months. That guilt was such a stupid waste of time.

Re: tips, we also always used room temp water and I set up a station at night so in the middle of the night I just had to dump, shake, feed. We also used a Brita pitcher for all his water (still do).

Amber S | 10:56 AM

My advice is to not worry too much about the brand of formula. Baby formula is one of the most closely-regulated/inspected products (according to my pediatrician). Oh, also if you're having trouble weaning your kid(s) from the breast, I have a few tips (I exclusively nursed my twins till 5 months and then was OVER it. However, they refused the bottle and it was awful for a few days). Put them in a totally different feeding position, change up the process completely so they don't expect the breast. Get bottle nipples that match their pacifiers if they take one. Once I put the babies in high chairs to do a bottle and found the right nipple, life has been amazing. And liberating. And now I can feed them both at the same time and oogle at them and make eye contact.


@Anon - What in this post suggests I have anything against the La Leche League?

Becky | 10:59 AM

This is an awesome thing:{keyword}

I always carried this filled, and ready to make 3 6 oz bottles. The hole at the top fits inside the bottle neck, just flip over into the bottle, and add water.

I also have a freezable bottle carrier that keeps an already made bottle cold for about 2-3 hours, depending on how hot it is. If we were just going to dinner or something, it was great to have the bottle ready to go when the baby started crying in a restaurant.

Mommy Unmuted | 10:59 AM

I couldn't produce enough milk, so I had to supplement. Wish I had read this 3 years ago. Great tips!


These tips are SO MUCH BETTER THAN MINE, you guys. Thank you all so much for sharing!

Unknown | 11:00 AM

I love you. And I love this. And I petition to start a formula league. Formula feeders need love too!

Anyway: these things rock, so you don't have to carry the whole formula container or those little packets.

CP | 11:06 AM

Do you know that I am still in denial about having formula fed my 1st from 8 months on? I think I pretend I didn't because of the guilt factor. I tried so hard to breastfeed her and her ped was all, you will produce what she needs, but guess what? I didn't. She was so underweight and now I have guilt for her being hungry when she was little. I am BF my second and it is going much better, but this time I won't feel bad about stopping when it is right for me. Thanks for this!


As another breast-only mama who has felt the shame and guilt for nursing in public (and—GASP!—not covering up), I'm going to throw this out:

Shame is lame.

"Best" is what works for you and your family. Period.

Zoë | 11:12 AM

I used one of these formula dispensers, with my kids, and had the water premeasured, just like Beth Anne.

As for heating the bottles, my son was fine with room temperature bottles from the moment we switched from the breast at 6 mos. My girls, were a little more fussy (they were younger when we switched), so we did have to heat bottle for a few months. My tip for heating bottles on the go include locating a coffee shop and asking for a venti/large to-go cup filled with boiling water. Mix the bottle with the premeasured water and formula, then place it inside the cup of hot water (sometimes upside down if that was the only way to get it to fit). Wait for a few minutes, take out the bottle, dry it off, test the temp on your wrist and serve! When we were going to eat at a restaurant during feeding time, I took one of those big stadium cups with me, as there was no guarantee they would have big enough glasses or mugs to offer, and asked for a pot of water with our drinks order. Worked like a charm, but I was glad when those heating days were over.

moosh in indy. | 11:12 AM

Oh man, my bottle routine was down to a SCIENCE, but it was very involved to those who don't understand the art of the bottle and powder.
I always ALWAYS kept one of those 8oz. premade bottles of formula (Similac) around. One was always tucked away at the bottom of a bag in the car and one was always in my diaper bag.
You never know when the powder will run out (or spill) or if there will be suitable water around.

julie. | 11:14 AM

Props to you for sticking up for formula mamas!! I wish I had heard anything remotely close to this 7.5 years ago when I bottle fed my baby. He was a nicu baby, who was bottle fed the first week of his life. Did he ever transition to the breast? Absolutely not. Was I criticized for 'not trying harder' to force him to make the switch from easy-to-feed bottle to the under-producing breast? Oh, why, yes I was! Funny thing, when my 2nd son was born 2 years ago, I breast fed, but(!) I *so* didn't want to make formula mamas feel crapped on (like I had been) that I almost never talked about, never nursed in public. Women (& men) - we just need to be nicer to each other. Go you, for being one of those women. The nice ones, the cheerleaders. Love that.

Zoë | 11:15 AM

Oh, and I should add that if we went somewhere where there were no coffee shops or restaurants to be found, I took a thermos of hot water with me, and used the stadium cup. By kid #3, I was a pro at this.

Emily | 11:22 AM

This is such a sensitive topic for me. I never wanted to breastfeed, but because of the guilt, I tried. I had a terrible time with it in the hospital after my c-section, so much that I was pumping pretty much all day long. When I was discharged, my lactation consultant encouraged me and hoped my milk would come in soon. I went home and solely breastfed my baby, and when we went in the next week for a checkup, he'd lost 13% of his body weight. I wasn't making enough milk, and he was nearly starving. He wasn't getting enough calories to even stay awake. All his energy was used eating and sleeping. His eyes were sunken in, and he wasn't alert at all. It was the worst day of my life, and I felt like crap. My baby was starving because my body didn't work right. When people give me crap about using formula, I ask them if they'd rather my baby starve, and that usually shuts them up. I wish we weren't automatically bad moms just because we use formula.

Anonymous | 11:31 AM

People give you the stink eye when you mix formula in public. People give you the stink eye when you nurse in public. Can we all agree that people need to fuck off and mind their own business? Pardon my french.

Heather | 11:52 AM

Number 2 was my big thing. Those bottles from the NICU were the BEST for that. I had 400 of them at one point. Literally! But anyway, Number 2! NUMBER TWOOOOOO!

Adrianne | 11:53 AM

It's sad that any mom has to feel guilt about how she feeds her baby, especially when you consider how far formula has come--it's not like formula feeders are giving their babies milkshakes, which would be a legitimate thing to feel guilt about. But formula? No way!

This isn't the first I've heard of formula feeding mamas feeling guilty, but in a way it still surprises me and I guess it's just because I haven't witnessed this shaming firsthand. My daughter is a week older than the twins and I've exclusively breastfed and there have been so many times where I've felt like the freak and that people would be much more accepting of me feeding her a bottle of formula. I've gotten weird looks and snide remarks when I've told people that I wanted to breastfeed for the first year. I too don't feel comfortable feeding my baby in public and always imagined it would be so much easier to just give her a least then my shirt wouldn't have to be up:) Only something like 20% of mothers breastfeed after 6 months in the US, so a formula support group never really occurred to me. You've got support in numbers! Well at least that's the way I always saw it. Thank you for showing me the other side.

The bottom line is that we're all just doing our best and the determining factor of quality mothering has nothing to do with whether one formula or breast feeds! If it were then I might be mother of the year, and I'll be the first to tell you that that is absolutely NOT the case! :)

glenda | 11:53 AM

Both of my kids were on soy formula. I bought the ready to go for outings and then the one you mix with water for home. Both were bottled fed and I never felt guility. I never felt that bottle feeding my kids made me a bad mother. People will always say something. I brush that off my shoulders. :) Whatever works for you is how you go in life.

Adrianne | 11:55 AM

I published my comment (or novel as it were) and then see that "Anonymous" at 11:31 summed up my entire point in like 3 sentences. Well said!

Scooter | 12:03 PM

I want to cry... you took all the words right out of my mouth... I don't live in an urban area, but I live in the country-ish town like setting where everyone is low on money so why wouldn't you breast feed? There are also ALOT of stay at home moms and apparently Wonder Woman had several children, all girls, and dumped them in my town. We DO need a group! My husband and my mother were the only people who supported us when I was up for 48 hours trying to get my first kid on a schedule...I was a human pacifier and I couldn't hang with that... I tried SO much harder with baby no. 2 and it was not a GO... My oldest LOVES making the bottles for her sister... I wasn't really seeing where she would fit into the mix with nursing. My husband is a SAHD and his job has been made much easier by formula. I too get stares... I too get looks... and questions... and I want to scream, EFF YOU ALL!!! But I don't. I just remember, I did what works for us. It isn't harder to formula feed as I am constantly told. "what do you do to heat the bottle on the go?" Uhm, I don't... I don't heat bottles, never have. Makes the kids less demanding... So let's start a group! I'll be in that line!!!

Bisbink | 12:05 PM

Due to my daughter having a milk protein allergy, I decided to formula feed her. I give her Similac's hypoallergenic formula, Alimentum. For those times we are on the go, I carry 6 - 8 of their 2oz. ready to feed bottles (like the ones they give you in the hospital), and two clean bottles to transfer 3 - 4 of those 2oz. bottles to.

Betsy | 12:07 PM

I wasn't able to breastfeed with my (now 3yo) son, and he was fed formula starting on day 2. There was much guilt and shame, and every time I pulled out a bottle in public I felt like it might as well have a skull and cross-bones on it. It got better over time, and I think it helped me to toughen up and not worry so much about what others think. I think at some point everyone finds out that parenting doesn't look exactly like you imagined, I just learned that lesson at the very beginning. When we had our twins earlier this year, I knew what to expect, and have no guilt and shame about what I feed them. All of my kids are happy & healthy, and that's all that matters.

Like so many others have mentioned, the powdered formula dispensers are a lifesaver. The ones I have hold 3 bottles worth of powder, and I carry two in the diaper bag, adding bottles of (Brita filtered!) water when we leave the house. We also don't warm the bottles. We also use the Target brand formula. The formulations are exactly the same as the various name brands, at a fraction of the cost. With the twins, I've taken to buying cases of 6 online. If you use a Target REDcard, you get an additional 5% off. All formula in the US is heavily regulated by the FDA, so there are no worries about safety, even with the generics.

We should start a support group! I get really angry when people are critical of formula feeders. I've started calling myself a Formulactivist, and I preach the non-evils of formula whenever I can. I'm so happy to see bloggers "come out of the closet" about formula feeding, I wish I had seen more of that 3 years ago. However, this article came out after I had my son, and really helped me feel better about my situation:

Great post!

Arnebya | 12:10 PM

Why oh why can't we get to the place where our personal decisions are not flung back at us as though we are uncaring, horrible parents? Whether it's with bfing, formula feeding, natural birth, circumcision, everything? Ugh.

I have no advice for feeding formula on the go. What I do have, though, is support and respect for every mother or father or caregiver who has to feed a child or otherwise make decisions for a child.

@Anonymous -- The shame isn't always just from the mother who can't or doesn't want to nurse. It is societal. It is the media and those around us who want to shame us into doing something that we either can't, don't want to, or need assistance with. I don't read this as a diss to LLL at all.

Christina | 12:15 PM

@anon #1 "have more confidence in your decisions." Jesus wouldn't that be the key to all my mothering neurosis. I breastfed my first for 6 months and then supplemented going forward. My second hardly got ant boob because I was so busy chasing my four year old and returning to a full time school schedule a week after giving birth that my milk never came in.

I used the Playtex bottles with disposable liners, enfamil, and a handy dandy formula container that I bought at target and have gifted to every single one of my mother-to-be friends because it was the best thing ever.

I carried water bottles with me and fed at room temp always.

I can unscrew a bottle, pour, mix and shake with one hand, chase a four year old, type an essay and feed a newborn all at the same time. Hear me roar!

Ladies...we are all doing the best with what we have, we are loving and engaged and sometimes we're not and that's ok too. High fives to all my fellow mamas.

aok | 12:23 PM

Great post- formula/supplementing moms definitely need support.

Two things to add: I haven't read all the comments so someone might have already said this but measuring the water ahead of time and pouring it into the bottle with the correct amount of formula prevents you from having to transfer difficult powder. Just make sure you measure the formula and the water separately instead of in the bottle because the powder will throw it off after it is in there, making your formula too dense and cause constipation.

Also, check out a tumblr anyone can contribute to and share your story! Writing about this intensely personal experience of feeding our children is therapeutic!

Thanks again for talking about this touchy subject.

Kristen | 12:27 PM

Thanks for the support! :) I have twins and did EVERYTHING I could to 100% breastfeed but my body won't make enough milk for two. Half breastfeeding/half formula feeding these days...truly doing the best I can. I hate that all the info out there says breastfeeding or formula is a choice women make...when in reality sometimes there is no choice, we just make the best of what is physiologically possible.
(Not to judge those who can breastfeed but make the choice to formula feed...)

Ashley // Our Little Apartment | 12:33 PM

Man, feeding babies is such a crazy thing. People stare at you if you're breastfeeding, people stare at you if you're mixing formula. Just let the babies eat!

Alaythea | 12:37 PM

This post made me happy! When I had my daughter I had a planned c-sec then I tried nursing & went into a depression trying and went to formula after 6 weeks. I was SO much happier but I felt like so many moms looked down on me because I didn't "really give birth" and then I fed my baby "poison in a can" instead of breast milk. I was kinda ashamed too and I hate that now. But like one reader posted I used to get a little plastic container with dividers and would put the exact amount of formula for each bottle in it. Then pre-measure the water into bottles as well. It was a lot fasted then trying to find clean water somewhere and then measure formula out of the can!

Feministy | 12:43 PM

I was feeliing such shame a few weeks ago when I couldn't keep up with my two nursing babies. My milk eventually caught up & I can fully nurse my nine-week-olds (this is NOT sel-congratulation; more like pure wonder!), but I think I finally chilled out about it and stopped feeling like the shittiest mom ever, and realized that every woman's capacity to make milk is different and not dependent on will alone!

That said, a couple of things about formula irritate me. For one, there's a formula industry! Moms and moms-to-be are inundated with coupons, bottle schwag, giveaways and told that breast feeding is soooooo hard. It can be (it has been this go around for me), but it isn't always. And, let's face it, in most ways it's easier than formula-feeding. No bottles to mix or wash or warm.

So, yeah, there is the breast-is-best militancy out there which I subscribe to some days and chill out about others, but it doesn't e even come close to competing with multinational corporations with a financial interest in getting moms to feed their babies formula.

The other thing is it is impossible to get a soy-free formula in the U.S. I was giving my babies the Wholefoods organic cow-milk formula, but it still had soy. And soy, as many of us know, mimics estrogen in the body and can be linked to early menstruation, obesity, and cancer and is OHMYGOD in EVERYTHING!! Ugh. I do think it would serve babies in this country if there were soy-free formulas available.

Awesome Mom | 12:45 PM

We do have a support group! Is a completely awesome blog for us moms that end up feeding formula for whatever reason.

For on the go bottles I use the Munchkin thingy. It holds up to 8 oz worth of the dry formula and has a funnel esque opening so you don't get everything everywhere. My kids are super picky and like warm bottles so I also keep a thermos in my diaper bag for toasty warm bottles. Store brand formula is awesome and much cheaper than the name brands. I also kept a supply of ready to feed formula in the smaller bottles (a two day supply) in our emergency kit so that if something happened and we were with out clean water we would have something to feed.

Mad Max and Family | 12:45 PM

I love that you are rockin the Ergo.

It's so weird how times change. I'm in my 30s, but I know it was the norm to be formula fed when I was a baby (quite the opposite now). I think my Mom thought it was quite odd I wanted to breastfeed.

I had a lot of guilt about having to stop breastfeeding around 9 months because of working - my milk supply was so low from stress.

I think (most) Moms just try to do what we think is best for our babies and lives - we should try not to be so hard on ourselves! Every situation is different.


Beth | 12:55 PM

Thank you for this -- I'm teaching a class on postpartum/newborn stuff soon, and I've been flailing when it comes to talking about formula feeding, since I breastfeed my son. I really, really appreciate this.

Also, word: ladies need to respect each other. Motherhood is hard enough without treating each other badly.

KellyDove | 1:09 PM

The mommy wars just need to stop.

Haley | 1:11 PM

Not sure if it has been said yet, but be sure to pinch the nipple of the bottle when you first shake the formula powder together with the water.

Otherwise you'll find that either A: you accidentally squirt the person sitting next to you (I know this from experience) or B: the powder will get clumpy and clog the nipple of the bottle (I know this from experience as well).

Erin | 1:14 PM

I was a formula feeder for both my babies because despite trying so SO with the help of lactation consultants, etc, I just couldn't ever make enough milk. And, yes, this is what my pediatrician and lactation consultant said in Berkeley-Breast in Best Capitol-so you know that was the case.

For me, I have no problem with formula feeding (since I did it) but it breaks my heart when I see moms (or any caregivers) prop the baby up with the bottle and go about their business. I think what is best about breastfeeding is the snuggling and warmth and those benefits can be carried over to bottle feeding. Babies feed all the time when they are tiny, so I don't think each feeding requires undivided attention, but at least hold your baby until they are able to hold the bottle themselves!

babymama | 1:14 PM

I used to get dirty looks when I was buying or feeding formula in public. Like, women would go out of their way to give me the stink eye. I just had to laugh because I was the nanny! It didn't make ME feel bad, but it did bother me because that's pretty pathetic.

Now I've got my own and I breastfeed in public and I get dirty looks for that too. Still doesn't bother me. I think it's been good to be on both sides of it because you realize that 1. Most people honestly do not care and 2. it's their problem if they do, not yours.

Unknown | 1:18 PM

I use the Munchkin formula dispenser.

I went to a baby shower recently and brought my youngest who is formula fed and when I mixed a bottle in front of the breastfeeding mom (which was every one) oh boy the looks I got!
I don't care though!

You don't know me homies :P

I too, used to be ashamed, but I nursed until my milk dried so what else should I have done? Let my son starve? I think not!

I proudly mixed a bottle today in line at the grocery store what what!

Unknown | 1:26 PM

Oh and about the whole "breast is best" thing. They recently put up a billboard in my town that reads "breastfeeding is love."

Soooo...I guess my love for my child dried up with my milk?

Kara | 1:27 PM

I applaud your repurposing efforts with using all of those breastmilk storage bottles you had, but yeah you would need a gigantic bag for all of those plus everything else we have to carry! Like others have said, I loved the little three-chambered formula dispenser with the opening that fits right into the bottle. It's definitely a one-purpose tool which isn't the best thing, but they're so compact and simple to use, I felt like it was worth it. I only had to use formula for 3 months with my first baby (second baby exclusively nursed until she was 22 months. . .all kids are different), but during those three months I'd just always have a 32oz bottled water and the formula dispenser in my bag, plus one bottle. Even for a full day out, I'd just rinse the bottle with two changes of maybe 3oz of the bottled water and vigorous shaking, right after feeding, so that it'd be clean a few hours later when I needed it again. Three items and good to go for the whole day! I was thrilled when she turned 1 and we could go to the infinitely cheaper cow's milk, but I honestly missed the convenience of food that didn't require being kept cold/worrying about spoiling.

Jill | 1:28 PM

Thank you for this. I too felt guilt about needing to supplement with my daughter and I don't think it was all in my head - I was actually approached by another mother once, after mixing a bottle in post-natal yoga to ask if I'd prefer SHE breastfed my kid. I would totally join a FaFormula League.

Annika | 1:39 PM

This is great, and I'd like to add a voice in here to those mothers who CHOOSE not to breastfeed. A lot of women defend their choice of formula by explaining in detail how the breastfeeding simply didn't work, but there is still so much judgment towards women who didn't even try in the first place. I have heard many wonderful, progressive, feminist, awesome ladies say things like "There's nothing wrong with formula! But you should at least, y'know, TRY the breast first" As if formula is only acceptable if it's a last resort, and not the plan all along.
Formula is a miracle of modern science. Boobs are awesome. Everything is great, so stop bashing it all!

Zaftig Chick | 1:55 PM

Thank you for posting this. I had to start supplementing when my son was 3 weeks old due to bad latch and subsequent low milk supply. Now he's 8 months old and I still feel weird/shamed (although less weird) when I talk about supplementing with my mom friends who breastfeed. It drives me nuts that it's such a taboo subject. FaFormula League, YES.

Katie | 2:08 PM

This is so great! I worked incredibly hard to produce the little I could, and supplemented the rest. It took me a while to get over the formula stigma (I put it on myself, maybe?)... And I'm about to have #2 and we'll just see how it goes. There's no shame in formula, and shouldn't be any self-consciousness in nursing either. I have my F-off glare perfected. ;)

Formula tips: I pre-measured formula in bottles and added bottled water when needed. For nighttime feedings we premixed bottles and kept them in a cooler next to the bed. So much easier than stumbling around mixing stuff in the middle of the night, and they always got used either that night or for the first morning feeding.

Miranda | 2:12 PM

I loved formula feeding and would do it again in a heartbeat. So many advantages, not least predictable feeding times and shared feeding responsibility. My tips: every morning line up 8 glass bottles (per baby) on the bench and pour in the requisite amount of boiling water. Lid and give a shake: sterilised! (I realise this wouldn't cut it for some, but I'm not a big believer in sterilisation). The bottles cool to room temp quite quickly. Use a formula dispenser like this one You can now make bottles on the fly as needed. Most importantly, never heat your baby's bottle - teach them to drink room temperature milk. This was you don't have to faff around with microwaves and heating etc. 
I loved bottle feeding and even if my boobs did work next time around, I would bottle feed again.

Anonymous | 2:38 PM

Al the excuses invented have poured out of my mouth, jaundice, nicu, could not pump enough, too many random inlaws at my house. Then on to new mom group...everyone breastfed, I was truly the exception.

Now three years later, I am still nursing my 16 month old (although he was supplemented too! My body dislikes making milk, I was working my butt off to do so and caring for a active toddler).

Recently my first born ff kid was diagnosed as T1 diabetic. Here we go again with all the judgements. Everyone knows I could not hack it with feeding my first kid and thinks that my be why he got Diabetes. I seriously think of taking $1000 from savings and disappearing. The mom guilt and judging is so rough,

Andie | 2:48 PM

Thank you for posting this. I'm due with my first baby in December. I decided that I will give myself 3 weeks to adjust to breastfeeding and if it isn't working out by there, I will formula feed. I'm practicing my bitchy responses to nosy strangers now. I only have so long on maternity leave and I don't want to spend it all agonizing over trying to force BFing to work. I refuse to be shamed over the decision. Time with my kid is better than time crying because my boobs hurt.

Deborah | 3:06 PM

I think formula feeding moms would not get such a sticky reaction if they owned their choice a little more. Right after a mother mixes a bottle I often hear all the reasons why they are formula feeding, and half the time they are lame excuses. I’d be much more comfortable just hearing “this is our choice” instead of all the comments about drying up, not producing enough, etc. Moms who breastfeed know these are not really common occurrences and so it’s hard to take their excuses seriously. I’m all for doing what is best for you and your baby. Just own whatever decision you make.

Anonymous | 3:20 PM

My son had a milk soy protein allergy- I dramtically changed my diet to continue breastfeeding. Dramatically people- I got so much flack for not switching to formula. My MIL was so annoyed I turnned down some holiday foods due my restricted diet- she yelled at me for being silly and insisting on breastfeeding. Seriously- why does everyone have to have such a nasty opinion on how you are feeding your baby. Lets support each other ladies! Thanks Rebecca!

BB | 3:56 PM

I too seriously love this. I felt the guilt big time and wish I could go back 5 years to slap some sense into my guilt ridden self. I used these formula doohickies for my son's formula and they were super helpful for mixing on the go!

jenn | 4:38 PM

i have five-month-old twins; i nursed them for six weeks and exclusively pumped for another six weeks, through recurrent plugged ducts, mastitis, and intense hormonal swings that made it hard for me to take care of my babies. i switched to formula, and instantly became a better and more accessible mom. my babies are now in daycare while i work, and we make all of their bottles for the day in the morning. since prepared formula keeps for 24 hours, this is a way for us to be efficient and prepared and know that we're all set with bottles for the whole day (as long as we can keep them refrigerated, of course). we use dr. brown's formula mixing pitcher, which changed my life (no lumps, ever!) :

Dorothy | 4:54 PM

I had to supplement with my second and found it adventageous to be friends with our pediatrician :) He hooked us up every time we went in for a check-up, loading our bag with as much free sample formula that we could fit...I especially liked getting those to-go packets this way!

I like breastfeeding largely because it's free, so I searched for deals and freebies on formula as much as possible - there actually are a lot out there.

Megan | 5:21 PM

I'm sure a bunch of other commenters have already left the same type of message, but I really do think you are so awesome Rebecca.
I'm a huge advocate and supporter of breastfeeding, but you know what? I have no problem with anyone choosing how to feed their baby. None. I just wish everyone could get to make their choice with all the information, and all the support necessary and that way, once you got to actually make an informed choice you'd probably feel great about it, no matter what.
The mommy-wars, or whatever it's called, are so 2009 and just have to stop. Why can't women just sit around and be real, and support each other?
I remember meeting a girlfriend for a day at the mall, we both had 3 month olds. We spent an hour in the damn breastfeeding room, because we were both embarrassed to be seen feeding our children (her formula, me breast) in front of people at the mall. How fucking lame is that?!? So lame.
I find myself loving you more and more as the years go on. Keep it real.

Abi | 5:32 PM

I use a formula dispenser. For easy middle-of-the-night-omg-why-are-you-waking-up-every-3-hours feedings, I have pre-filled with water bottles and a can of formula all set for my Giant Viking Baby.

I carry a formula dispenser in my purse along with bottles filled with water. If we're going to be out the whole day, I have extra formula and bottled water in the car.

I warmed bottles with my first, but with #2 and #3, I give them room temp Brita water.

Cameron Blazer | 5:57 PM

I breastfed exclusively for 13 months because I was "supposed" to and because I had boobs like fire hoses. My kid grew like a champ. He also had colic for more than three months, never slept through the night and was generally frustrated and fussy all the time. I feel sure now that this was due, in part, to the angst I radiated about nearly everything that first year. I had allowed myself to believe there was a right wa to be a mother and had been shamed into guilt and anxiety every time my efforts fell short, as measured by the quantitum of my son's crying. What a load of horseshit.

Here's the deal, as I see it now, six years later: make conscious, thoughtful choices informed by your own circumstances, without comparing yourself to other moms or arbitrary norms. If you are trying, really trying, to do it right, you probably are. And forgodsakes cut your fellow moms some slack.

Anonymous | 6:26 PM

Thank you for writing this.

Nine years ago I had so much guilt supplementing my breast milk for my premature baby. I would feed him in the bathroom and then go and sit with the breast-feeding moms. I wish I could go back in time and support myself!

Beautiful family by the way.

Anonymous | 6:26 PM

Thank you for writing this.

Nine years ago I had so much guilt supplementing my breast milk for my premature baby. I would feed him in the bathroom and then go and sit with the breast-feeding moms. I wish I could go back in time and support myself!

Beautiful family by the way.

Michelle A. | 6:29 PM

Thank you! I formula fed my son, now 14 months, after just 5 days because I never got a supply. OH THE GUILT. But, hey, he's healthy, he's adorable, he's fed, and yay moms for feeding their kids, however necessary.

BTW, I notice you use Dr. Browns. They have a great formula dispenser that is perfect for the narrow-neck bottles. LOVE it. Premeasure for nighttime feedings and on-the-go and you're a ready-to-go mama!

Unknown | 6:30 PM

wow! I love how your words always flow in such a way, that puts everything so nicely. feelings show through everything you write. that's talent. my point.. I appreciate so much that you wrote this because I too was ashamed about formula feeding both my kids,(they're now 8 and 4) especially because I had such hard pregnancies. I had anxiety and post-partum depression and to say I was an emotional wreck is an understatement. I had very good milk production, way too good1 I think I could've probably breast-fed other babies on the side, no joke! I couldn't handle it...I was leaking everywhere all the time, I'd wake up in little milk puddles on my bed.My mom in law would have to place frozen cabbage leaves( home remedy) I couldn't take it. I got judged so much! It's been a long time since but I can't help feel guilty. thank you for writing this its good to know I am not alone!:)

My Joy and My Delight

Anonymous | 6:33 PM

I breastfed with extreme difficulty and lack of supply for 7 months. I also supplemented with formula. I didn't enjoy having to be conflicted and pick, or having to do a bottle because I was out of milk. But shit happens and I got over it. I carried a dispenser with appropriate amounts of dry mix, and used a bobble bottle (flitered refillable bottle) for water. Do what works. That said, I do see a continuing theme of EXTREME amounts of waste in an awful lot of these posts. Carrying multiple bottles of premixed formula or bottled water might be convenient, but it's an atrocious amount of plastic to be throwing away, or even recycling. Feed your babies however you need to do it. But please please PLEASE think about the most environmentally kind way to do what works for you- Being a wasteful consumer is something to feel guilty about.

Meg | 6:53 PM

I am going to bottle feed by choice, and I'm not having multiples! I did the same with my first child and 11 years later, she is healthy and happy and brilliant and we have an incredible relationship (read: we bonded and she never touched my boob). I had to deal with the shame back then and I have been chastised this time around, too. I don't understand why people feel comfortable going there! Thank you for representing! I also wanted to share another blog that I found:
(I'm in no way connected, but appreciated the humor & support!)

Anonymous | 6:58 PM

Really helpful blog post! My daughter was born over a month early and basically just slept at the boob for the first month. We have been unable to wean off the formula supplements and over time, while I still BF her, the majority of what she gets if from the bottle. Pumping didn't work for me, my supply just is not there, partially due to PCOS. The most she gets from me is half an oz a feeding, clearly not enough to grow on! I found a lot of support for formula feeding online but definitely have received my share of criticism and "if you hadn't ever supplemented you would be EBF." Yeah no people, you birth a 5lb preemie and then we can chat. Also no amount of prayer is going to increase my supply, so stop suggesting that. /endrant.

We use Tommee Tippee bottles and they have great little formula dispensers that you store in the bottle under the nipple. I can make a bottle in less than 20 seconds, it's awesome! We also have only given her room temp or cold bottles from the beginning and I'm so glad.

I will not mince words if I receive criticism on how we feed our baby from strangers. It hasn't happened yet, but i'm sure it will.

Kiley | 7:24 PM

Completely unrelated to this post, although I totally support what you choose to do with your boobies. I just know that this will make you smile. I LOVE how at 0:15 they look at each other knowing exactly what the other is thinking. So cute! I bet your bebes do similar things!

Anonymous | 7:30 PM

It has already been mentioned but it is such a great site, it bears mentioning again.


Cynthia | 7:46 PM

I'm a solid believer in breast feeding, but I think how you choose to feed is your business. They only thing I don't agree with is not warming up the bottles. I think it's really mean to give a baby a cold bottle. And yes, room temp does feel cold on the tongue. (mother of 4)

melanie | 8:55 PM

Thank you thank you for this. The entire reason I refused to join a mom's club was because my little Lena preferred formula, and the one time I visited a club with a friend this failure was loudly pointed out. "Who brought the BOTTLE? WOW. If *I* was giving my baby bottles, which I'm not, I would use X brand that is better than this and costs eight times as much at Whole Foods." Okay, maybe that wasn't word for word. But I feel you, here. I was hiding, too. Thank you.

The Fearless Formula Feeder | 9:35 PM

I am seriously frustrated that there are so many women out there still feeling unsupported and alone. I've been blogging for 3 years now about these very issues. We discuss tips, share stories, and also delve into the sociopolitical stuff that complicates the infant feeding debate. I hope you guys will stop by- even if you think the blog sucks, the community that has formed surrounding it has turned into quite the force to be reckoned with. There is support out there, and I blog for those who've wanted to breastfeed and couldn't, as well as those who simply chose not to. We also have many combo feeding parents. Everyone needs good, positive dialogue as well as sound research-based advice. It's a freaking travesty that you have to scour the Internet for this support. (And frankly, a travesty of google friendly key wording that none of you knew it existed. I better get on that.)
Hope some of you will join us. Viva la revolution!


Anonymous | 10:35 PM

I am a first time mom of twins and they never did latch. I have been exclusively pumping and supplementing with formula for almost 8 months. I have wanted to stop pumping but haven't out of pure guilt. Strangers have come up to me to tell me that their baby wouldn't take the bottle. Breastfeeding mothers have even said to me, "as least you can have a drink if you wanted to" as if pumping and dumping wouldn't make me feel guiltier. It's refreshing to know that others out there understand. I love your blog; you have helped me through many of my mother insecurities and are my go to read each day, so thanks again!

Lovey Dovey | 3:35 AM

Thank you! I've felt the guilt of formula feeding too. Sometimes a mom has to do what works best for her and her family and not listen to what the rest of the world is trying to force into our stressed out minds. Thank you again for sharing this. And all your reading your blog.

Anonymous | 3:38 AM

I admit (not without shame), I judged mothers who formula fed before I was forced to feed my first child formula. I got pregnant with my 2nd and didn't make enough milk. I'm sorry that it took a situation of me being forced to formula feed to be supportive of other mothers choosing this for their child.

Formula or breast milk, doesn't matter. Feed your child. And support other mothers and don't judge.

Jessica | 4:58 AM

Is this guilt a new thing? I have 3 kids ages 18, 16 and 9. I breast and then bottle fed (don't remember exact time but stopped breastfeeding before a year) and I don't remember having anyone say anything to me about it. I live in NY and don't have playdates or hang out with mommy groups -maybe that's the difference? I dare someone to come up and tell me what they think of what im doing with my baby!! This all seems so absurd to me. My advice is to not hide in the bathroom. Feed your baby and if someone makes a comment just tell them to mind their own (insert favorite colorful word here) business!

Jen | 5:12 AM

I have read over the comments and love this post SO HARD!! I have a five year old (thriving, healthy, albiet picky eater) son who I attempted to breastfeed. For four weeks we nursed. We nursed at noon, he took a break maybe for 10 minutes around two. Then back at the nursing gig by 2:30. Three more hours of nursing. Ten minute break. Four hours of nursing. if I got lucky he would detach himself for a longer nap so I could shower and eat. The longest he ever left my chest area was 45 minutes in those first four weeks. That's right...FORTY FIVE MINUTES. At his four week check-up I told our family practicioner what was going on and she told me to move to the bottle. He wasn't gaining enough weight and I wasn't producing enough milk. He nursed constantly to keep himself full. I have never felt so awful as I did those first four weeks. I couldn't even enjoy the time with our little guy because I was angry that he was always attached to me. I wish that I was making this up. My poor husband felt helpless. Whenever anyone came by to visit and wanted to hold him, they couldn't for long because he would start screaming for food. After that doctor's visit we transitioned to formula and suddenly he was happy. Would nap for several hours at a time. He allowed other people to hold him. I was actually clean AND groomed. A good friend of mine (who nursed all three of her children for one year each) came by and I told her how guilty I felt about it. She told me to get over myself. We moms have to do what is best for our kids and not worry about what other people think. It was so freeing to hear that coming from nurser of the year, three kids running.

From that point on I let go of the guilt. We had (and have) a beautiful boy who was growing like a weed. He became the sunny little guy he was destined to be. Do we regret formula in his diet? Not for a second. My only regret is not making the switch sooner.

JenAHM | 5:24 AM

Ugh, seriously. People need to mind their own business.
I breastfed my now 16 month old from the start, but at 3 weeks she went on a huge growth spurt and I just couldn't keep up. So I started to supplement with formula.
When I breastfed when certain family members were around (I went to a different room so as to not offend their delicate sensibilities), I got talked of my husband's aunts said that it was a shame I was breastfeeding because it meant no one else could feed my daughter. And why was it taking so darn long? She wanted to hold her! Ack.
And then when I bottle fed out, I got the stink eye from people. Can't win.
My biggest tip? Do whatever you have to do to feed your child. Period, end of story.

Stephanie | 5:32 AM

I welled up when I read your brilliant post. I too had a breast reduction, and when my first, a daughter, arrived last year and wasn't diagnosed with a tongue tie until she was five weeks I struggled with breast feeding. I saw specialists, took natural and prescription drugs, I pumped for four months, and finally at the end of it when I could barely pump half an ounce my husband said "I think it's time to put the pump away." I worried other mothers in my mothers group would judge me whipping out the bottle. And then a bitchy one told us that a if you have a few glasses of wine and baby wakes up, it's still better to give your baby breastmilk rather than formula. Devastated, that day I pumped until my breast bled. I was so stupid. Formula freed me, and made me actually notice my baby and not the pump. You know that look of pure unadulterated love you exchange with your baby when you are nourishing her? That's the most important thing, not how you are doing it.

Unknown | 6:06 AM

thank you thank you thank you!

Mama D | 7:24 AM

Love this post! I, like a PP, am still somewhat in denial that I formula-fed my daughter from 6 months on and supplemented before that. I pumped each night while my husband gave her formula, so I would have enough milk in the freezer when I got back to work. A few months in to a HORRIBLY unsupportive work environment and I dried up completely.
I always have bottled water in my house, so I found it easier to stick a 16 oz. bottle in my diaper bag (2 bottles worth) and premeasure my formula into the actual bottles I'd use. I wish those little formula containers worked better for me, but they constantly leaked and I had sticky powder through my bag. :-(
You mention that maybe the pressure you felt was due to living in an urban area. It's funny; I live in a decidedly rural area and felt so much more comfortable as a formula mom than as a BFing mom with my second. And I can honestly say I only know of ONE employer in the area with somewhere for mamas to pump during the day and that's only because they happen to be a fashion company (American Eagle, in Pittsburgh) with dressing rooms that were actually put in for shoots. Maybe there are a few more around here (I obviously haven't been everywhere), but this area is MUCH more formula-friendly than BF-friendly.
Being completely honest, it's probably just more "feed your kid at home" friendly. :-P

S | 9:14 AM

Love this! I'm a breast-feeder, but when my son was in the 10% range for weight at 9 months old (after being 50% at 6), I had to start supplementing. Because of the whole "Breast is best," I had NO clue how to supplement or heck, even mix formula. I ended up buying the premixed bottles, and you're right, it's really expensive!

He's on whole milk now, but I seriously am grateful to see this if I ever have to go through that again.

The Red Humor | 10:37 AM

Great post. I wish more of us believed in "no guilt" mamahood as strongly as we did in our "breast" vs "formula" positions - with some few and obvious exceptions, what works for you (the mama) also works for baby because guess what, babies are happy when their moms aren't freaking out about their milk supply.

So let me share the skeletal details of my story - I breast fed both children till each was about 6 months. WIth my first I quit because I could no longer handle pumping at work (I was a resident physician working 30 hour shifts, spilling milk on myself in the middle of the night and getting walking in on by my male colleagues) with my second I quit so that I could take a medication to prevent migraines. (The medication is secreted into breast milk.) In other words, I stopped breast feeding both kids out of concern for my emotional and physical own well being.

I really don't feel guilty about that. I hope the same for all you other hard working mamas out there. We are ALL DOING THE BEST WE CAN.


Lyz | 12:39 PM

I love this. I had trouble with the boob. Then pumped for nine months. Then I switched to formula and lost myself in the crushing guilt of it all.


I do love those formula dispensers. Love them.

Anonymous | 12:45 PM

I hate the breast v formula guilt. My son was a micro preemie (1 lb 10 oz) and I was on the fence while pregnant and leaning towards formula. When he was born so prematurely, I figured I should at least try and was lucky to be able to establish a supply. The lactation consultants were helpful but really pushy and I can't imagine the kind of guilt I would have felt if I didn't produce (and um many women don't after losing nearly a liter of blood) in addition to the guilt I felt for not carrying my pregnancy to term. I never talk about what's in my son's bottles unless explicitly asked because I hate the collective shaming of women who formula feed and don't wont props for my ability to pump which is 100% out of my control any more than I want praise for regular bowel movements. For the record, pumping is a huge hassle and not inexpensive if you have a job outside the home. Every time I hear someone say "breast is EASY and FREE" I want to scream.

Unknown | 12:48 PM

Weighing in on this a little late but still. I breastfed exclusively for 3 months then combo fed a month and am now formula feeding. For many reasons but lack of milk supply not being one of them. I'm done with the guilt, it's the best thing for me so I decided it must be the best for my baby. And she is thriving on formula. Us mamas get SUCH a hard time about everything whether by society, each other or ourselves. Motherhood is hard enough I say. Love you for this post.

Forgotten | 1:45 PM

One more quick tip from a mama who both formula fed and breastfed...when you mix the bottle, if you have the water in first and then add formula, swirl the bottle before shaking or some powder can get stuck in the nipple. :)

Amanda | 3:57 PM

@ Anonymous 2:38

I was a baby that liked breastfeeding so much that I went straight from a boob to a cup. I wasn't having any of that bottle stuff....,and I still got type 1 diabetes. If doctors don't know what causes it, you can better believe that judgy non-medical professionals don't.

Rachel | 5:28 PM

+1 for the Dr Brown's formula mixing pitcher - only wish I had discovered it sooner with my LO!

Abbey | 7:38 PM

So I wrote this long tortured comment that got eaten. In very short, this is so much my story. I so wanted to "succeed" but it just wasn't to be. No one in my family has successfully breastfed, but we're all great moms to awesome kids and that maters. As to prepping - we travel with those divided snack tubs that have pre-measured forumula in them as well as bottles and water. It does require a lot of prep and is a messy business, but by kid three we are pros as you clearly are too!

Anonymous | 8:03 PM

The first "leave the guilt at home" resonated with me and I nursed! I would do the exact same thing with, run home with a crazy starving baby before I would nurse in public. People would stare and give looks of disgust when I nursed in public even under and blanket. Why is there so much shame?

diana banana | 8:53 PM

i love that the new moms support groups i go to are of the philosophy of "we support what works for you and your family, no judging to telling you how to do things." it allowed one woman to openly say "i'm weaning my baby off of breastfeeding, even though i make enough milk, simply because i want my body back." is this selfish? maybe, but she was sooo unhappy nursing all the time. ain't nobody happy unless mama's happy!

Mama Smith | 9:13 PM

Adding to the tippy-end of the discussion here, but that article was beautifully written and very moving. It's interesting to hear you describe your insecurities around bottle feeding because although I am also in a city (Boston), I felt quite the opposite.

I did breastfeed and it was a hard road, I needed to be induced a month early, his latch was weak and he whined and cried at feeding time for close to 8 months just because that was my guy. It was almost impossible to feed him in public without exposing myself and earning annoyed looks from strangers because of his fussy temperament and I was always running home with a screaming baby to whip my boobs out in private.

My husband and I are both small people and so is our child... but everyone wanted to convince me that he was small because of some deficiency in my milk and he would grow and sleep better if I would only supplement. It was very difficult emotionally, and all
of my career driven, bottle-feeding friends thought I was nuts and not respecting my own needs etc.

I try as mightily as I can to never judge anyone for formula feeding or going back to work quickly or anything that helps them to be the best mother they can be... In my urban environment I have felt very judged for breastfeeding a fussy and small baby and staying home with him and not jumping back into my former career. I sincerely wish we could support eachother better as women. We all love our babies and we all deserve respect.

Sorry for the lengthy comment! -Lilly

Anonymous | 10:43 PM

I want to scream at ppl who tout breast feeding as 'easy' and 'free'. It does NOT always come easy and when that happens, it ain't free because your time, heart, mind and body are totally jacked and that is costly as hell.

I battled my premature daughter for 3 months (and yes, it felt like I was battling HER, not breast feeding) because I didn't want to feel the formula guilt. I finally realized that all the nutritional advantages were moot if she and I couldn't bond (see: battle), and when I switched, peace returned to my family and I could hold my baby and feed her and we could both be calm and loved.

DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOUR FAMILY. Thanks for writing this post, Rebecca.

Susan | 7:22 PM

Amen!! As a fellow mother of twins (only 7 weeks old), I relate 100%! I breastfed for one month...they were big twins but the doc still had us supplementing due to weight gain-they were slow eaters and burned too many calories feeding. In addition I was feeling very stressed nursing, wanted to know what they were getting, trouble positioning due to two babes and large breasts, postpartum meds, etc. I worked with a lactation consultant even, before deciding it was too much.

Luckily I have an amazing husband who supported me completely and helped me get over the silly "mommy guilt". I still am trying to get over the feelings of shame...I get embarrassed buying formula and wish I could wear a sign. Society has made me feel this way! I know I need to get over it and not issues. So thank you so much for creating this forum. xo

Unknown | 2:39 PM

Thank you for this post! I formula fed my first due to some complications with breastfeeding and a lot moms gave me the most hateful of glances (but not all!).

I am pregs with #2 and I will try to breastfeed again, but I no longer shoulder my earlier guilt because I know I did what was best for me and my child and she is happy,healthy, and wonderful!

Aimee | 6:17 AM
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Anonymous | 6:18 AM

I desperately wanted to breastfeed. With my first, when she wouldn't (seriously she latched for about 30 seconds twice), I pumped for 4 months - getting no sleep as I fed/pumped all day and all night. I landed in a great deal of depression and sleep deprivation. I spent countless hours with lactation consultants, blah blah blah. It didn't work for me. Similar story on my second child, although I didn't let myself get as depressed, but I did give it a good try.

These saved my sanity.

I would see moms lugging the formula can around and thought "Why!?" The containers were so easy and convenient.

I wish there was a support group for moms who bottle feed. We are often do the best we can for our children, not denying them any food or feeding them cornstarch in a bottle.

Betsey | 3:25 PM

I heated filtered water and stored it in a thermos, then kept a thermos of room temp water in another container. This worked wonders for long trips out of the house - mix the two to the perfect warm temp and there was never a need to find a source to heat the water. Great for road trips.

Anonymous | 7:07 PM

Babies need food too! No matter how you give it to them, they are getting the nourishment they need. I carried so much resistance to formula that I actually exclusively pumped and bottle fed for an entire 11 months!! (My daughter was a preemie and never learned to latch). I really wish I had turned to formula sooner. It would have left me with fonder memories of my daughter's first year.

Anonymous | 7:52 PM

Thank you for this post. I have a four week old baby and we have been trying so hard to breastfeed but it just isn't working out for us... We've even stumped a couple of lactation consultants. This post and the comments are just so heartening and supportive. Thank you!

Unknown | 6:54 AM

Well damn, I must be the only person who made up bottles at night, then microwaved them when it was time to eat. (It's only breastmilk that loses nutrition when microwaved.) I'd take the nipple and lid off, zap it for about 15 or 20 seconds, put the nipple and lid back on, shake it like a motherfucker, squeeze the air out of the bag (we used Playtex nursers), and boom.

When going out, I'd zap one and then wrap it in a burp cloth to keep it warm.

I can't imagine lugging around a big ol' tub of formula and/or bottles of water. And how do you get fluoride if you use bottled water?

Alison | 7:01 AM

A little late to the comment party here but I just wanted to chime in with some relevant info about what's happening in NYC. New laws put formula on lockdown in city hospitals, and nurses are now required to actively try to talk new moms out of formula-feeding (link to HuffPost article about it: Ironically, I breastfed both my daughters and for a much longer time than average, so I guess in the mommy wars (team breast vs team bottle) I am expected to support this? But those teams are not real, they are bullshit, and I am HORRIFIED by these laws. What the hell does the city government think it's doing, sticking its hands in moms' business like that?? We should support mothers being able to make the choices that are right for their families AND THEMSELVES. Period. This is such a feminist issue. Either we are on the side of individual women creating their own lives, or we are on the side of government knowing best about our bodies/jobs/lives and telling us what to do. We can't have it both ways. Anyway, just wanted to say right on, Rebecca. And to those of you who had breastfeeding moms judge you for giving your babies formula, I am sorry. Those women are the ones who should be ashamed.

Emily | 8:51 AM

Formula dispenser!!

It has a little funnel so that it pours neatly into the bottle. Each section holds about 4 scoops of formula.

unfounddoor | 11:43 PM

Thank you so much for this. The guilt and shame (and guilt about feeling guilty and then some shame for all the guilt. Awesome eh) I felt when my milk didn't come in properly.
What a waste of fucking time!
Best advice I got (as I wept in front of another lactation consultant - compassionate ones do exist;): if your baby is hungry, feed your baby. The how isn't the important part.

It saddens me that we seem to be so so caught up in this adversarial system of attacking one another's choices as mothers and as women. Not least while massive media and other (predominantly male owned) corporations profit from encouraging this (yes, Time Magazine, I'm looking at you.).

I get that society wide there is a massive under representation of breast feeding take up (and this is, I understand, majorly linked to demographic factors) but, BUT you can encourage one thing as a good thing in and of itself WITHOUT NEEDING TO CRAP ALL OVER OTHER CHOICES (or necessities), right?!

All this false polarisation, pitting us against each other. Pshh.

In terms of tips, for international travel:
- try to find out what type of formula is available in your destination country and see if your baby will eat that a week or two before you go. Trip to local supermarket = always fun, plus you don't need to pack a massive ass tub of powder. (G was on cow & gate here in the UK, but we found Aptamil much more readily available in mainland Europe so switched him to that before summer travels)
- (at least in the UK) you can pre-order formula cartons into airport Boots for collection *after* security, so avoiding that whole 'tasting each bottle' thing.

Thanks again, Rebecca. No guilt, just mothering!

Jermx | 1:20 PM

This is so awesome. I am still weirded out by people who feel the need to comment to complete strangers about how they're feeding their child - whether is be by bottle or breast. I breastfed my son (hell, I'm still breastfeeding my son at 2.5, weaning is hard), but I have to say, reading blogs like yours have made me less judgmental than I might have otherwise been about formula feeders. Because I don't know their story - I don't know what struggles lead to formula as being the best option.