This blog post is in partnership with Bobbie baby formula. Bobbie is a brand that I have purchased myself for many months and have trusted to feed my child since he was two weeks old.
Before we hop in, I wanted to share that how you feed your baby is deeply personal and is your decision. There are so many ways to feed your baby – breastfeeding or bottle feeding, bottles with breastmilk, bottles with formula, donor milk, bottles with both and more. No matter how you are feeding your baby, you are doing a GREAT job. I’m sending hugs if you are struggling in any way at all. The pressure mom’s face, from ourselves and society, is paralyzing. The feeding journey, and whether or not to choose infant formula, is just the first of our many big decisions as parents.
When making decisions during our personal feeding journey, I struggled in many ways that I’m going to share with you today. If you are struggling, I have found two things (in addition to my husband and dad’s support) that really helped me cope. First, reminding myself that a baby with a full belly in a loving arms is all that’s needed no matter breast or bottle, formula or breastmilk. Second, finding a mental health professional to help me process this experience has helped me greatly.
Our Feeding Journey with Bobbie
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If I was asked during my pregnancy how our feeding journey would look, I would have said nursing for 12 months. I pictured my maternity leave to be filled with baby wearing, nursing in his rocker and those soft, calm moments. While motherhood has been filled with so many precious, joyful, calm moments that I’ll cherish forever, it has had its fair share of challenges. I’m sure every parent can attest to that experience and that it’s a part of your new normal with a newborn.
We encounter many of these challenges because we’ve entered a new world where our heart is now outside of our body. Your baby has entered this great big world which is very different from them being cuddled up inside your protective belly. You care for this precious child so much and you want to be making all the right decisions, but I’ve learned that finding the right solution or option for your child often comes with trial and error. And that process can create guilt, tears and feelings of being inadequate.
Preparing for our feeding journey:
When it came to feeding my baby, I prepared for many different scenarios— like pumping and using baby formula— even though I was really set on nursing. How could nursing not go as planned? I was as prepared as I could ever be! I took two breastfeeding classes, read all the books I could find and listened to podcasts on the topic during any free moment I had. I wanted to set us up for breastfeeding success and the way I knew how to succeed was through research, determination and preparation. Those three skills are what got my ‘Type A’ self to where I am today, but I’ve learned they’re not enough anymore. Parenthood does not follow a cookie cutter process.
You can prepare ‘by the book’ endlessly and expect something to go a certain way, but then you’re humbled by the fact that as a parent, you have very little control over many things. Although it has taken some therapy and practice to be more gentle with myself, I’ve learned that this does not mean I am a failure.
New parent anxiety:
This topic brings tears to my eyes because being a mother has made me softer and gentler – with myself and others – and I love this version of myself. There is no greater way to lead your life with compassion than becoming a mom. I never would have become the person I am now, especially over such a short span of time, without my precious Luca guiding me into this new version that I was meant to be.
Prior to being a mom, I would have beat myself up over all the things that had not gone the way I envisioned. This includes the guilt I felt during our feeding journey. This is an experience that I’m still working through, but I know that sharing our experience will help other momma’s out there.
Formula feeding with Bobbie:
Yup! We are formula feeding and I’m proud. Why? The decision to formula feed meant prioritizing my own mental health along with the health of my baby.
By the time we were taking our sweet baby boy home from the hospital, I realized that our nursing journey was a chapter closed. I had been consuming nursing content for years before I was even pregnant, but the first chapter ended by day two.
Use code “AMIXOFMIN10” for 10% off your first Bobbie formula subscription order!
Making the decision to formula feed:
I remember the moment I made this decision so vividly. I was lying in the postpartum bed with the highest anxiety I’ve ever felt— breaking down to my husband. I just couldn’t do this. My first humbling lesson as a parent— how my typical skills (determination, preparation and research) wouldn’t always result in the outcomes I desired.
My baby was hungry. Although everything and everyone tells you to be patient because your milk will come in— my mom gut told me otherwise.
My poor baby was gnawing at his hands from the minute he was placed on my chest. I wasn’t sure if it had anything to do with the fact that I hadn’t eaten in three days due to a super long labor or if it was just normal. My baby needed a pacifier to help soothe and he needed baby formula until my milk supply came in. Both of these things are big “no no’s” in the breastfeeding world— and I knew it— but I shut down the literature I had consumed and did what I felt was best for my baby. It’s amazing how fast your mom gut kicks in!
I also had extreme anxiety about how much nourishment he was actually consuming. I’m a data person, and when I couldn’t understand the numbers, my postpartum anxiety escalated even more. I have always struggled with anxiety, but it was a whole new ball game when postpartum anxiety reared its ugly head.
The switch from breastfeeding to pumping:
I transitioned quickly to pumping. With pumping, I could provide Baby S with my breast milk while still knowing how much he was consuming. This greatly helped my anxiety.
With nursing, I also felt like I was missing out on so many moments because any of the time I spent with him involved latching and feeding. I wanted to lounge with him without the pressure of milk production. I wanted to have the energy to change his diaper. Although this aspect may have been different at home, it was a relief to be able to spend time with him outside of nursing.
The decision to end nursing was a mix of huge relief and also of failure. I even asked my husband to hold off on telling the medical staff about the change. I wanted to wait until the night nurse started her shift. This nurse was so accepting and warm. I felt comfortable with her— unlike the day nurse. I asked the night nurse to communicate my decision to the day nurse and let her know that I was clear on this decision. I didn’t have the energy to convince someone else of where our journey was headed.
Switching to pumping was my decision. My body. My baby.
That said, exclusively pumping was not all rainbows and butterflies. It brought its own set of challenges, but also its own set of beautiful moments! Once my milk came in on day three, I will always remember my first pump session that resulted in a bottle full of colostrum. I was so proud of my body! I brought it downstairs to show it off to my husband and I was so excited to feed it to Baby S.
A few days later, we had a pediatrician appointment. Baby S was losing too much body weight. He was close to the 10% range. According to our pediatrician (consult your own!), Baby S needed to get back up to his birth weight. My husband and I decided it was time to supplement with formula.
Supplementing breast milk with Bobbie baby formula:
We went straight home and fed baby S Bobbie formula. We were lucky enough to already have formula at home even though I was intending to nurse exclusively? Yup!
Did you know that 83% of parents in the U.S will turn to formula during the first year (source)? 83%!!
When pregnant, I knew that no matter what our intentions were, there was an 83% chance that we’d need formula on hand to feed our child. It certainly came sooner than I anticipated, but my emotions when feeding my baby his first bottle of Bobbie formula were happiness, thankfulness and ease. If I hadn’t found a formula that I trusted so deeply to nourish my baby, I likely wouldn’t have experienced those positive feelings. I did the research when I was pregnant to find the formula that not only met, but exceeded, my expectations so that I wouldn’t be left to make decisions about something so important during the newborn haze.
My six month old has been using Bobbie formula since he was two weeks old and exclusively since he was two months old. If you know me, you know that I don’t take nutrition labels or what my family puts into their body lightly. This wasn’t going to be any different when it came to my baby!
How I chose the best baby formula for my family:
While pregnant, I started researching formulas. It was just as overwhelming as preparing for breastfeeding because it’s a huge world! From US versus European brands to organic vs conventional to goat vs cow milk… the amount of formula brands and variations is overwhelming.
My formula requirements are –
- The product must to regulated by the US FDA (no EU brands, which are not FDA regulated).
- The product must have organic ingredients sourced from grass-fed cows that were free of synthetic pesticides and genetic modifications.
- I also really wanted to avoid specific ingredients like palm oil and corn syrup.
Formula and/or breast milk is our babies first food! Why would I want to feed my baby anything differently than what I’d put into my own body?
Is Bobbie baby formula good for babies?
- Bobbie prioritizes the importance of baby development. They prioritize the formula ingredient quality (organic and non-GMO) and how the ingredients are sourced (pasture-raised dairy from small organic family farms across the U.S.). I’m relieved knowing that my baby is eating the closest thing to breastmilk that he can get.
- Bobbie is clean. They were recently recognized as the first ever (!!!) baby formula to have the Clean Label Project Purity Award and Pesticide Free Certification. The Clean Label Project independently tests for over 400 industrial and environmental contaminants and toxins including heavy metals, pesticides, and plasticizers.
- Bobbie is thorough. Back to the testing.. they run 2,000+ tests on their product! With the recent recalls occurring with other formula brands (I’m so sorry if this has affected you or your family in any way), this gives me even greater peace of mind. I don’t want to stay awake wondering if the formula that I’m feeding my baby is safe— with Bobbie I know it is.
- Bobbie is transparent. Since the world of ingredients can be so overwhelming for someone that doesn’t have a diploma in nutrition like myself, I love how Bobbie’s ingredient page outlines each ingredient in their formula and describes what the purpose is. You can also trace your specific formula can from where it was packaged to the testing that was performed. Bobbie also has a list of recommended research for any momma’s out there as interested in formulas as I am!
- Bobbie formula is easy on tummies. Bobbie is known for their easy digestion formula! I’ve learned that there are so many medical things at play with a child and wondering if my formula is causing my baby pain or belly issues is not one I want to worry about! Easy digestion with no constipation is a win in our book.
- Bobbie is mom founded and led! The founders of Bobbie are mommas themselves! Laura Modi is a mom of three and Sarah Hardy is a mom of two. They also have an entire ‘Motherboard’ which includes 16 moms that contribute their expertise to build the Bobbie brand hand-in-hand. How cool is that!?
- Bobbie is breaking the feeding stigma. From providing a group of mastectomy moms a full year of Bobbie to raising the voices of so many women’s feeding journeys— the team at Bobbie makes you feel accepted. Whether using formula or donor milk, nursing or pumping— in a world full of judgment, their nook of the internet is a safe space.
- Bobbie provides support to moms. I don’t have a “village”. I don’t have a mom and my best friend who I was going to lean on during this motherhood journey lost her life to domestic abuse when I was in my second trimester. I knew I needed to find a mom community, and I am trying to, but so far in my motherhood journey I have relied on Bobbie’s nook of the internet to hear about other women’s experiences and feel less alone during the start of this new life chapter. Bobbie’s Instagram gives me a community, and on days when I feel as though I’m failing, I always find a mother’s story that made me feel less alone and understood. I also recently discovered Bobbie’s editorial site Milk Drunk which is an inclusive, feeding support site for parents. I can’t wait to dig in!
- I trust Bobbie. This is not an easy feat for anyone that has my precious baby’s health in their hands. From their quality ingredients, immense transparency, and being created by two women that have faced similar struggles to my own – I trust them – and those are not words I share lightly.
In order to help support you and your baby’s feeding journey, Bobbie has provided my community with a generous discount. You can use code “AMIXOFMIN10” for 10% off your your first Bobbie formula subscription order!
Over the last six months, I have learned so much about myself and my beautiful baby. There is nothing else on earth I want to be other than HIS momma. I’m thankful to have experienced the roller coaster feeding journey together. He’s my partner through it all, just like your baby is for you. No matter what your feeding journey looks like, be gentle on yourself and know that you truly are the best momma for your baby. Xo Mindy