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For someone who bragged about her other two babies only being exclusively breast fed, for the last four weeks, I’ve been feeding my baby formula at night.

Yes, you read that correctly, I have been giving my sweet, third baby boy formula at night. And frankly, I’m 100% okay with feeding formula to my son because mentally and physically, I wasn’t okay.

The old adage “fed is best,” is true, oh so true but you know what else if true? A sane mama is best.

Leading up to pulling the trigger to feed Rowan formula at night, I was tired, no, EXHAUSTED, running on empty. I physically and mentally was at my breaking point. Every night before bed, I would enter a state of anxiousness (aides by anger) where I dreaded going to sleep knowing that in just a few hours I’d be called awake over and over and over again. I wanted to ask for help but I felt bad for anyone else who had to be awake throughout the night as I understood how hard it was to be awake. I was in a vicious cycle.

Frankly, I was crazy. Bat s*** crazy.

Not to mention our poor son was up half the night with gas pain. He wasn’t sleeping well, and neither was I (or Jordan for that matter). I meticulously watched what I ate, some days not getting enough calories because I was eating such a bland, boring diet and spent most of my time tending to one or all of our three kids. On those days, I’d not only be starving, but I’d also be so mad at myself for potentially letting my milk supply drop from lack of food. I’m telling you, I could mom guilt myself in so many ways.

We took Rowan to the doctor around 5 weeks because I’d had my limit. I was dang sure that I must have been eating SOMETHING to upset him at night and just couldn’t spend any more all nighters awake. Our pediatrician, who is incredibly supportive – I 10/10 recommend you get a good ped for your kiddos, was so helpful in calming my anxiousness surrounding feeding formula.

I KNOW formula is perfectly good for babies – hell, I was born prematurely and only was given formula and I turned out just fine… Jordan may disagree but overall doing okay over here. But because I had toughed out nursing with our first born and nursing our daughter was a breeze, I just put so much pressure on myself to do it again. No questions, no exceptions, I was going to exclusively breastfeed our third baby boy.

I weighed all sides of the situation before making the leap to supplement formula at night instead of nursing Rowan back to sleep. Would the formula make him even more gassy? Would it make him constipated? Would this entire thing backfire and we will be up EVEN MORE than we were just nursing? Heck, I rarely have fed a baby a bottle, let alone do it in the middle of the night while half asleep. I had carefully set up every worst-situation-possible scenario in my head but what I hadn’t done is think of the good that could come from transitioning to formula at night. I mean, I was still nursing during the day, so how bad could this be?

What if formula made Rowan less gassy? What if it allowed him to sleep more soundly, which in turn would allow me to catch a few more minutes of sleep? What if sleeping better meant a happier, less fussy baby? What if feeding formula took a mental weight off of my shoulders? As farmers, we pride ourselves in being comfortable with risk – so really, other than sleep (which is a highly valued commodity in our house), what did I have to lose? I was already blaming myself 100% for the issues we were having at night, at least, if it failed miserably, I couldn’t blame myself any more than I already was.

Guess what? Nothing went horribly wrong. In fact, Rowan took well to the formula. We were advised by our pediatrician to use Similac Alimetum, used for babies with food allergies and colic. And while it smells like old hasbrowns or a follower informed me, dog food, he doesn’t hate it. It did not make him constipated – instead, he poops once or twice per day instead of soiling every single diaper with poop. His gas is much more maintainable, with his gassiness being mostly after 4am instead of starting at 12am. And as for me, we are figuring out how to make bottle feeding work. After feeding Rowan in the night, I stay up and pump before retiring back to bed.

After some serious evaluation with our pediatrician and a lactation consultant, instead of what foods I am eating being the culprit of Rowan’s gas, I think I have an over supply and I nearly blow his head off each time I have a let-down of milk. In five minutes, I can pump 5-7 ounces. Dang, I am proud of that but the over supply has now posed a different problem of an over gassy baby.

We make whatever we have to do work right now. For us, that is nursing (and burping) all day and feeding him two to three formula bottles at night. We all sleep better. Choosing this path and feeling confident in my choice has been the RIGHT decision for our family.

I guess what I am here to say is every baby is different. You think you have it ALL figured out and God laughs (and so does your baby). Fed is 100% best. Happy baby and happy mama is also 100% best. If that means you exclusively breast feed, great. If that means you breast feed and feed your baby formula, perfect. If you feed your baby formula, wonderful. Because what is right for you, is right for YOU!