This month, we are providing information on baby formula through our blog, podcast, and social media. Whole30 Certified Coach Tannyr Denby Watkins started out with a goal for breastfeeding and realized that it wasn’t going to work for her family. Today Tannyr shares her story today in her own words.

“I wanted to be prepared.”

When I had my first daughter Wilsyn, my goal was to exclusively breastfeed for six months to a year. In my mind, my body was made to do this. I couldn’t wait to experience that bond with my baby! I wanted to be prepared, however, because I knew that some mothers unexpectedly have a difficult time with breastfeeding. Because of this, I decided to find a formula that I liked, just in case.

Learn more in this podcast about formula and milk alternatives.

During a trip to Target, I looked at formulas and was surprised by what I found. I couldn’t believe the ingredients lists for these formulas. Some of the ingredients that made me uncomfortable were soy, maltodextrin, brown rice syrup, and others that I didn’t even recognize. Feeling discouraged, I went home and got online to do some research. That is when I found Danielle Walker’s Feeding Babies Series.

On her blog, she shares her extensive research, and her top choice was a German formula from Organic Start’s website. Because I trust Danielle’s opinion, I went to the Organic Start website to read about the formula myself.

To start, this formula has significantly less ingredients than any of the American formulas I found. It is 100% grass-fed and gluten-free, it uses lactose as a sweetener, and it is free of sweeteners like maltodextrin and rice syrup. It’s also free of soy and does not contain any corn products. I decided to buy one box to have just in case.

“My freezer stash ran out.”

My daughter was born in October of 2017 and was an excellent eater from day one. She had a very strong suction, and breastfeeding was so special to me despite the normal challenges and adjustments. I breastfed exclusively for 3 months and then I went back to work.

My plan was to nurse her first thing in the morning followed by a pump session. I would then pump two hours after arriving to work and again two hours later. I had a freezer stash at home that I thought would be sufficient.

Boy was I wrong! My freezer stash ran out my second week back at work. Every time I pumped I got 3 ounces at the most, and my daughter would devour a six ounce bottle in seconds. I had to face the truth that my goal of breastfeeding exclusively for six months to a year was now unrealistic. I felt like I failed, and that night I went home and told my mom that I was done breastfeeding. She supported my decision, and I enjoyed a glass of wine.

“She gulped the formula down.”

I gave Wilsyn her first bottle of formula that night. She gulped it down in two seconds like it was the same milk she had been drinking for the past three months. This honestly made me a little sad. Deep down I wanted her to reject it. I wanted her to want my milk, but she drank the formula all up, was happy, and slept great that night. From that day on my baby was exclusively formula fed until we started adding solids into her diet around six months. I never noticed any differences after the switch, while helped to reduce the mom guilt I felt in the beginning.

I kind of regret that I didn’t keep pumping, so that I could give her some breast milk along with the formula. But honestly, pumping is a lot of work and I did not enjoy it. It felt frustrated and disheartened because I would only get 1-3 ounces each time I pumped. I know some people will say it’s worth it because it’s the best thing for your baby, but I am just going to keep it real here. I didn’t want to do it anymore.

Wanting to optimize baby’s gut health while using formula? Read Steph’s tips here.

Some days during this transition were harder than others, especially when I saw other moms who were still nursing after a year. I’m so thankful for my husband and my mother, who were both were extremely supportive and encouraging during this time. Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” My hope in sharing is not to make you feel guilty or tell you what you should do. Each of us are doing our best. I want to acknowledge that formula is expensive, and not everyone can afford every option out there. I hope you feel empowered to make the right choice for your family. Do you, mama. And do it proudly!  

My plan for baby #2

Now that I am pregnant with my second daughter, my goal is still the same. I plan on breastfeeding, and will also have a box of Lebenswert Stage 1 Organic Infant Milk Formula on hand, just in case. I will start pumping earlier than I did last time and more frequently to hopefully increase my supply. If things don’t work out as planned, I will not feel an ounce of guilt. If I have to start supplementing or switch to formula, I know that I am giving her the best quality formula that I could find and I know that she will still continue to thrive.

Tannyr Denby Watkins is a Public Affairs Specialist who loves to cook and has a passion for developing healthy and delicious recipes. She’s currently sharing her creations on Instagram and is recently launched her blog, The Delicious Antidote. After doing her first Whole30 in 2014, Tannyr fell in love with the program due to the long list of non-scale victories she experienced. Connect with Tannyr on Instagram.