Millennial Moms Are Choosing to Formula Feed for Convenience, No Guilt Allowed
The debate about whether or not to formula feed or breastfeed your baby rages on. Millennial moms have had to pave a whole new way of parenting for themselves, from figuring out how to balance work and family, to managing childcare without the built-in support of at-home women and mothers anymore, to navigating an entire country that isn't exactly mom-and-baby friendly. (Hello, no maternity leave available yet two incomes required to live.)
And one major way that millennial moms have changed the parenting game is by establishing a firm “no guilt” rule when it comes to their feeding choices, especially formula. Millennial moms just aren't standing for any weird societal pressure that says “good” moms have to breastfeed or that breast milk is the ultimate altar upon which we should sacrifice our entire bodies, physical health, emotional health, mental health, and relationships. Instead, millennial moms are realizing, more than ever, that there really is more than one way to parent and that, sometimes, what is best for the entire family is formula.
In fact, according to a survey done by a formula manufacturer (and yes, let's all take a moment to acknowledge that a survey done by a formula company could be skewed, but still, this is important stuff), there has been a major shift in younger mothers' attitudes about feeding their babies.
The survey revealed that 79 percent of the formula-feeding moms over age 35 actually reported feelings of guilt about their feeding choices, reflecting that a lot of things in motherhood for us older millennial moms (I'm currently 32, so I define myself as close to the edge of that millennial mom graph), there is literally guilt about everything. Guilt if we breastfeed (are we damaging our bodies or our marriages?), guilt if we exclusively pump (is it the same as straight from the breast?), guilt if we formula feed (OMG, it's poison!), guilt if we do some combination of the two. Basically just guilt, guilt, guilt everywhere we turn. Mostly–and this is just my theory here, let's be clear–because we are motherhood pioneers, making these decisions for the first time, while so many of our predecessor mothers really didn't overanalyze choices for everything like we do. They just mothered, you know?
Luckily, however, the survey revealed that times are a-changing.
As opposed to us guilt-ridden older millennial moms, the younger crop of millennial moms who are under 34 years old, reported feeling “confident” about the choice to bottle feed. What's more is that the moms were not ashamed to admit why they were choosing to formula feed, which (believe it or not), is also something older moms may struggle with. Some moms may be tempted to say that breastfeeding just “didn't work” or they weren't able to produce enough milk because the pressure to breastfeed can be that powerful.
But these younger moms, however, have no shame in their truthful game. Their #1 reason for choosing formula? Convenience. Convenience! That's it. No other explanation needed. And that's something really admirable, because let's be honest: breastfeeding can be freaking hard and it can take a huge toll on not just a mom who is physically producing the milk, but the entire family. Breastfeeding was so hard for me with my last baby that I have questioned the decision ever since. I missed out on so much because I was constantly sick with mastitis, I ruined my daughter's gut because I was on so many antibiotics, and I had physical complications that last to this day, five years later. Was it worth it? Or would formula have been the healthier choice for our family?
I don't know and I never will, but as this survey revealed, more moms are taking a different approach to how they feed their babies and not just looking at it as a simple “breast is best” viewpoint–because there is so much more to the question than that. The decision of how and what to feed your baby means evaluating what is best not just for your baby, but for you, and for your entire family, because as the mom you are responsible for caring for a lot of people and that shouldn't be discounted. But whatever decision you make, you should rock it, no guilt allowed.