Formula Crisis

I was lucky. I loved breastfeeding. It worked for me, it worked for my baby and it worked for our family. I made plenty of breastmilk that nourished and fed my son until he was ready for food, and then he continued on to be physically nourished and emotionally nourished by breastfeeding, along with ingestion of solid foods.

Breastfeeding worked for us in the idealized way. I am both grateful and aware that it is not that way for everyone.

Let us demystify some illusions about breastfeeding. 

🕯 Breastfeeding is free :: I suppose that is true if we do not consider all the time and energy it requires. This time and energy is often lumped in with all the other kinds of free emotional labor of women in our world. Breast milk does not cost money. I nursed my baby for almost 4 years. We loved it. It was a special time and there were some real challenges. All the hours spent, despite the beauty, took me away from income producing activities that would have been helpful as a single mama. Nursing in less than ideal positions created body pains at times. Not to mention, the plethora of experiences, usually with men, of being chastised and stared at for breastfeeding in public. 

🕯 Breast is best :: indeed, nothing compares to breastmilk in its physiological composition and what it offers to babies. And not all mothers and gestational parents make enough milk for their babies. These folks often really had their heart set on breastfeeding and feel like either they or their bodies have failed them and their babies. It is extremely emotional for these folks to turn to formula. 

🕯 Because breast is best, if you got it, use it :: I have worked with many women who have suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse. For some of these folks, breastfeeding was extremely triggering and re-traumatizing. Many described that the feeling of nursing “on-demand” while delightful for many, made them feel like their bodies were being used all over again in ways they did not always feel in consent with. Many of these women, clenched, braced themselves, and dissociated while nursing. Our babies can feel this. This internal experience releases a specific hormone cascade that the baby takes in physiologically and emotionally. For these folks, even if they are making plenty of breastmilk, unless they can get themselves present and in full consent with their experience, breastfeeding is not always the best choice. 

So, please, let us acknowledge the REAL problem of formula shortage. And look to REAL solutions. And completely stop gaslighting and shaming the women and parents who truly cannot breastfeed for a variety of reasons, that are ultimately NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. 

Here are a few practical tips for the current formula crisis: 

🤍 There are a couple of European brands that can be purchased online, HIPP, Holle and Byheart. 

🤍 Generic brands of your formula may be available. 

🤍 See if your pediatrician’s office has samples to share. 

🤍 Powdered goat milk for babies 6 months and above. 

🤍 If you have someone you know and trust who is breastfeeding and able to share milk, that can be a great option. 

🤍 I love alternatives and making my own of lots of things, but formula is hard to replicate and it is so important to get the nutrients and trace minerals to your baby. The only recipe I would consider if I were in this position right now, would be the one from Nourishing Traditions.

About Chaya Aronson

Chaya Leia Aronson, RN BSN is a bodyworker, health and sexuality coach, dancer, lover and mother. Chaya believes that we source our creative, life force expression through our pelvic bowls and if the energy is blocked here, it greatly affects our capacity to be our full authentic selves in the world. Her passion is to support pelvic and abdominal health and healing. The main forms of bodywork she practices are the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy® and Holistic Pelvic Care™. Bellydance, contact improvisation and yoga have been the central core of her spiritual and physical practice for over 20 years. She weaves the knowledge she’s gained about movement patterns and body structure with her playful and intuitive spirit to support her clients in actively healing their own bodies and spirits.