A preface: I am not a woman, I do not know the bond between mother and child that is generated from breastfeeding. Furthermore I am not a psychologist and I can not explain the emotional trauma delivered to children who aren’t breastfed.
I am, however, a dad who cares deeply for the well being of his wife and son.
When the Wee Baby T was born we had a lactation consultant visit us repeatedly at the hospital. Her advice was consistent – he will eat until he isn’t hungry, he will wake up when he is hungry, let him sleep. NO FORMULA.
2 days after we were discharged we went to see our paediatrician, who sent us right back to the hospital – the Wee Baby T clearly didn’t know how much to eat and we had no idea how little he was getting, but he had lost 20% of his birth weight.
On our way out the door our paediatrician handed us a box of ready-made formula and said nurse him until he stops, then let him take as much formula as he likes.
We spent the night at SickKid’s hospital, which is truly an amazing experience. They set K up with a breast pump to help kick-start the process, but then brought in bottle after bottle of formula. They weighed his dirty diapers to see exactly how he was progressing, and after 36 hours we were allowed to go back home if we promised to come back the next day to have him checked on again. It took the better part of a week to get his weight up and Bilirubin levels stable. We never would have managed without supplementing his feeding.
At the end of the day, I can’t tell you how to feel about formula. I can say it probably saved T’s life. After about 2 weeks K was pumping enough that we always have a bottle in the fridge for late night feedings, but until then I can only say don’t be so hard on anyone for using formula, especially yourself.
Good luck out there.