I Gave My Baby Formula -- There, I Said It!

Gasp! Clutch the pearls! The hell you say? Yes. I allowed formula to cross my baby's lips, and while I'm not proud, I'm not going to feel guilty about it, either. These things happen. My mom didn't give it a second thought - she knew breastfeeding was the best choice, and she was happy and proud to do it, but if she had to teach a class, she left a bottle with my dad. "I couldn't stand those pumps," she told me recently. "I never could get them to work."

I'm a freelancer. A freelancer who, at the moment, is the primary breadwinner for her family, because the economy's in freefall. I have to take the work that comes my way, and I got a chance to go into an office for a couple days to get up to speed on a big project that needed my expert writing ability. Go, me!

More on Baby's First Year: Do Formula Fed Babies Sometimes Act Like Breastfed Babies?

It was just four hours each day, but my little pot roasts are on an internal timer: both kids eat every three hours, rain or shine, and woe be the eardrum that's nearby when there's a delay. I would miss a feed.

Now, could I pump? The black backpack of doom sits in my closet, hunched under my skirts like a malevolent little succubus-troll. I glared at it. It glared back. That effing thing sucked the life out of me twice-three times a day when I was working a miserable day job when Penelope was teeny. The thought of it made me physically ill.

"I can't face it," I told my husband.

"Okay," he said.

"Besides, all the accessories are dusty, in that black box in the basement, and we'd have to run them through the dishwasher before they'd be usable."

"That's fine," he told me.

"The pediatrician told me that as long as she's getting like fifty percent of her feeds from the breast, she's getting the full benefit," I went on.

"I think it's okay to do this," he said, slowly, in case I wasn't listening.

"I just, you know, I think it's safe. I'll get the kind they gave Penny in the hospital."

"Amy. Go. To the store. Get the formula. It's two days, one feed each."

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I got in the car and went to the store. The formula aisle is dizzying, well-stocked with every imaginable sort of faux-breast. I only needed a tiny amount, though, so I sprung for the pre-mixed, individual bottles. They're expensive if you use them all the time, but perfect for my needs - and I didn't have to worry about boiling water or washing bottles (in other words, I didn't have to worry about germy germ germ infestation of germiness ack omg germs and bacteria). (Right, like my boobs are so pristine.)

I was back out and home in record time - I am usually notoriously slow when I do errands, but this one had me so freaked out, I just wanted to run back home. The next morning, I kissed the girls good-bye and stepped out the door with nobody attached to me. It was weird, unfamiliar, like those dreams where you're in your high school naked. Most women get all happy and run down the street doing a "me-time!" dance, but I just trudged to the BART stop in my unfamiliar boots. It was fun to go to work, but it was more fun to stay home.

How did Baby Abby respond to the formula? Read more on Baby's First Year.

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