Should I buy formula just in case?
In the event that you aren’t able to breastfeed, would you prefer to use baby formula or are you open to using donor milk? Do you prefer organic baby formula or a dairy-free formula? It would be wise to consider which brand of baby formula you would like to use if breastfeeding didn’t work out as planned.
It’s no secret that breastfeeding gives your baby the best start in life. The health benefits for babies are tremendous: It is the most nutritional option, since it contains the perfect blend of fat, protein, and nutrients for your baby. (source)
It has immune boosting properties too: breastmilk contains cells and antibodies that are passed on to your baby. And its properties change every day to meet your baby’s unique nutritional and health needs.
Breastfed babies have lower risks of numerous health issues including SIDS, childhood obesity, ear infections, and type 2 diabetes. Not to mention the numerous benefits for you, including a lower risk of some types of cancers.
As you can see, there are many important reasons to choose to breastfeed your baby. But, it never hurts to be prepared just in case.
My experience buying baby formula
When I was pregnant with my oldest, I was sure that I wanted to exclusively breastfeed my baby. But like most pregnant first-time moms, I had doubts and concerns over whether I would be able to.
Still, I was determined, so I dug my head in the sand and avoided buying baby formula in case it would jinx or undermine my efforts to breastfeed. In hindsight, this may not have been the best way to go.
Breastfeeding turned out to be very difficult for me. I was able to produce enough breastmilk so I never needed to supplement with formula, but my son was allergic to dairy and had a tongue-tie.
We struggled a lot; the first few weeks of breastfeeding were difficult and painful. I found myself questioning my ability to continue breastfeeding.
In a moment of panic one night at 10pm, I asked my husband to run to Target and asked him to get any organic baby formula he could find.
In that difficult moment, I wished that I had taken the time to choose a brand of baby formula beforehand, rather than just running off to the store late one night. I wanted to make sure that I was comfortable with the ingredients in the baby formula, but had no time to do the research.
In the end we were able to continue breastfeeding, but had that not been possible I would have wanted to take the time to thoughtfully select the healthiest brand of formula for my family.
While I am a pro-breastfeeding, I think it’s wise to research baby formula while you’re pregnant – even if you plan to breastfeed.
Choosing the best formula for a breastfed baby
Here are some things to consider when you’re pregnant and wondering if you should choose a brand of baby formula.
- What will you do in moments of frustration? It’s no secret that breastfeeding can be hard. Between fussy babies, lack of sleep, sore breasts and nipples, milk supply, possible mastitis, and your own emotions, it can get difficult at times. Know that it is 110% okay to be frustrated.
You are not alone! Those first few weeks are the most difficult. During those moments of frustration, if you have formula on hand will you resort to using it? Many experienced mothers who have breastfed claim that not having formula in the house was their best option so that they were not tempted to use it. Still, I think it’s wise to know beforehand what brand you would buy should you need some down the road.
And please know that there is nothing wrong with reaching for that formula if you need to. Your emotional and mental health is important and baby needs to be fed one way or another. Don’t let other moms shame you for using formula if you need it, it may be a temporary solution for you or something you have to transition to.
- What will you do if your supply drops or you simply are not producing enough breastmilk? There are many things you can do to boost your milk production. However, if your supply drops suddenly or your baby is not gaining weight correctly, would you be open to supplementing with a good organic baby formula? How do you feel about donor milk?
- Is your preferred brand of baby formula easy to find? If you’re able to run out to the store or send someone to go pick up some formula if you need it, purchasing it beforehand isn’t of much concern. Those who have a harder time just running to the store, or who prefer a formula that would need to be ordered online, may want to buy at least some formula before baby arrives to be prepared. European baby formula, for example, may take a few days to ship so it would be wise to order 1-2 boxes ahead of time – just in case.
I don’t think there’s a perfect one-size-fits-all answer, but I do think it’s smart to research baby formula and see what brands may work for you based on your preferences and budget.
You can often get free samples of baby products, including formula! And if you buy it and don’t use it there are lots of organizations or other moms that would love to have some formula donated to them so long as it has not been opened.
What do you think? Will you buy baby formula before your baby is born? Or do you think you’ll just have a brand picked out and ready to go, just in case?
Yasmine Moussa is the founder of The Gentle Nursery, a site dedicated to helping parents choose healthy, non-toxic products for their baby and home. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two boys.