Okay. Breastfeeding vs bottle feeding babies always seems to be a hot topic. On one hand, we know that breastfeeding is ultimately better for your baby’s immune system and nutrition, and of course is much greener than bottle feeding, because you’re not generating and consuming so much waste. And then there’s the issues around what kind of bottles and nipples you’re using, and if they’re safe, and if the formula you buy is full of safe ingredients, and whether the formula is stored in containers that could be leaching toxins.
On the other hand, we know that bottle feeding is absolutely a necessity for some new moms who cannot breastfeed. This post is for you – the new mom who has tried desperately to breastfeed, and feels defeated and guilty because bottle feeding is the only option. I am here to say:
You will not be depriving your baby by bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding.
Your baby’s future will not be determined by whether or not you were able to breastfeed.
You do not need to feel any guilt, shame, or defeat for bottle feeding your baby.
You are an amazing and wonderful mother for doing whatever your baby needs.
I desperately wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t. I could go into the long list of reasons, but actually, I won’t. Because it’s irrelevant. I don’t need to make excuses for why I couldn’t. The guilt and burden I carried – because of the environmental impact and ultimate health of my child – were overwhelmingly horrible. My experience was that breastfeeding was pushed onto new moms so much that if you couldn’t do it, you were a failure as a mother. I felt guilty and ashamed that as a “green” mom I couldn’t do that for my child, and actually tried to hide it from people. So – sensitive topic? YES! Looking back now, I see that it was totally ok that I bottle fed my baby.
Because I wasn’t prepared for bottle feeding (I had new-mom syndrome where I thought my baby would cooperate with what I planned to do – breastfeed), I had oodles of nursing covers and ZERO bottles other than what the hospital gave us. Plastic, of course. At the time, the only non-plastic bottles I could find were glass Evenflo ones (I broke several of them). This was so frustrating at the time, as I was desperate to find a good glass baby bottle, and there just didn’t seem to be anything out there.
I just bought a Lifefactory glass bottle for grown-ups and am LOVING it. Would have loved to have had this when my daughter was a baby!
Kid Kanteen stainless steel bottle from Life Without Plastic (I did have the sippy cup to use with my daughter and it was fabulous. Best part was that after she was done with the sippy spout, I got a regular cap and we still use the bottle all the time!)
Seeing this one makes me a bit angry because it was Nuk nipples that worked best with my daughter. I spent hours online trying to find a way to get these glass bottles – at the time they were only available in Europe. Hallelujah, they are available here at last!
Some other options:
If you’re bottle feeding, here are some resources for you when looking at bottles and formula:
- Food Babe has a comprehensive post about How to Find the Safest Organic Infant Formula, as does Baby Food-E.
- Healthy Child has put out an eBook for safer baby gear including some pointers about baby bottle materials.
- My Plastic Free Life has a Safer Plastics Guide including information on baby bottles.
- Women’s Voices for the Earth has a Baby Non-Toxic Shopping Guide (pdf download).
- The Mindful Home also has a Guide to Non-Toxic, Eco Friendly Baby Gear.
What’s your experience with bottle feeding?
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