Sometimes, Breast Isn’t Best: In Defense of the Bottle


That night, we gave her a bottle of formula.  A big one.  And she slept four consecutive hours.  And so did we.  It was as if we were alive in a way that we hadn’t been before. And the next day, my daughter and I played.  And laughed.  And snuggled.  And bonded.  And I didn’t once unwrap my bulging breasts from the bandage I had tied around my chest in an effort to dry up what little milk that had tried to come through. We began to establish a routine and together, the three of us, found our way as a family.  It was one of my first major milestones in motherhood: realizing that sometimes, what is best for you isn’t what is best for everyone else.

I know that for the majority of young mothers out there, breast is best.  And I appreciate and applaud your efforts and abilities.  But my body doesn’t work that way. My milk ducts are severed and I can’t produce enough to feed my babies.  That doesn’t make me a less than mother (even though, for a long time I felt extremely guilty).  This guilt was exaserbated when a mommy-friend questioned and chastised me over my decision to give my daughter a bottle.  I was told that I gave up on her.  I opted for the easy way out.  She offered her own milk stockpile because she was concerned about my daughter’s nutritional well being.  Formula was poison she said.  I politely declined her offer.  We weren’t friends after that.

My daughter was healthy.  And happy.  Growing and blooming.  We as a family were making it.  There were so many other things for me to feel guilt about.  Feeding my child wasn’t going to be one of them.

At some point, Mamas, you have to drown out the noise of all those well wishers with unsolicited advice and you have to do what you know is best.  For your child.  And your family.  For us, it was formula.  In a bottle.  For eleven months.  I didn’t even try to breastfeed my second baby.  She immediately went to the bottle and I immediately bandaged my chest.  Both of my girls are healthy.  And smart.  And thriving.

For us, breast was not best.

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lk herndon is a mother, writer, teacher whose debut children’s book, “Petunia”, has just been released on Amazon.

Shaped by her experiences growing up Southern, lk herndon tells sweet and simple stories. She earned her BA in Political Science, her MFA in Creative Non-Fiction and has spent more than a decade teaching high school subjects such as: AP Language and American Literature, Honors World Literature, World History, and American History.

While her days are spent in the classroom, the balance of time is spent as Mama to her Monogram Mafia (alongside her very favorite partner-in-chaos, former high school sweetheart and now husband of nearly seven years, BJ). Sneaking in time to write between the snuggles and squeals, lk herndon graces the world with a sneak peek into real life adventures sprinkled with overgrown imaginations and uncommon sense.

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  1. Bravo! Truly, from my <3 as a mother who exclusively breastfeeds, and intend to for the first year, I applaud you for your bravery and compassion both for self and for your LOs that you do what is right by your family. I learned the lesson that there is no ONE MAGIC WAY but that everyone has their own magic and the way to discover that magic is our shared mystery. Your path began a very different way than my path with our first borns, but we both were inspired by a singular thing - love and hope and pride for our child(ren). Hurray for not letting others interfere with your path and the path you are embarking on with your LOs. To be able to flex and bend as the wind storms up or lets down -- that is the most important training I have experienced as a #43yearold1sttimemom and I feel kinship in your self-discoveries. Big hugs and thank you for sharing your lessons with all of us, breastfeeders and all! My sister-in-law exclusively uses formula as her experience is very similar to yours. At our first family reunion next month when my 6 month-old meets her 6 month-old for the first time, I will be sure to bring the compassion and sincere appreciation for her efforts, even as they differ from my own. Have a glorious day, LK.


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