“I really wanted to formula feed. There were just so many benefits to it. Everyone said so. The modern world is perfectly designed for it. Formula is specially manufactured to ensure the baby’s nutritional needs are met in excess. I could see exactly how much the baby was getting. Someone else could take over my feeding duty.
I feel really bad that I failed. I really tried. I mean, so many people tried to make it easier for me. From the moment I announced I was pregnant, people were offering me bottles and discounts and vouchers. I was given a second hand steriliser as part of essential baby equipment from some neighbours. I feel I let all of those people down.
And then there’s my baby. Those times when he was really little and all he wanted was a bottle full of heavy processed milk powder. I really let him down by not picking up on that need. Instead I let him suckle for hours at a time on my breast. Sometimes he wasn’t even getting any milk out of it. I feel terrible for that.
And the bonding time with dad. I deprived him of that as well. Because there was no other way dad could possibly have bonded with him. I mean, dads are clearly designed to feed their babies. They’ve got two hands just like me. They can hold a bottle and a baby at the same time.
It hurts being a minority. In a bottle-centric culture, I feel painfully ostracised for my failure. Whenever I switch on the TV there is a formula company telling me that the reason my makeup is isn’t perfect, my baby isn’t walking at 4 months, and my house isn’t interiored by Harrods – like the families in their ads – is because I don’t use their product. I understand why they want me to feel bad. After all, their shareholders are limited to just three Caribbean vacations per year, instead of four, because of people like me.
Also, because my baby is sick less often, I am putting health professionals out of work. I just don’t think I can cope with the guilt of that. Not to mention the poor garbage disposal men and the landfill workers.
I feel like I make excuses sometimes. I couldn’t bottle feed, I don’t have enough time in the day. I couldn’t bottle feed, I didn’t have enough money. I couldn’t bottle feed, my own needs weren’t important enough. The truth is, I wanted to spend the money for formula on other things. The truth is, I put my baby’s happiness above my own.”
– Yours sincerely,
A social deviant.