There is a commercial that is currently running by Medela, a company that produces breast pumps and other baby items. Obviously, they are a pro-breastfeeding company and in the commercial they make the statement that breastfeeding is “best for the baby and best for you“.
But what if it’s not?
Best, I mean?
Who exactly gets to define that statement?
I’m not breastfeeding this baby when it’s born.
I didn’t come to this conclusion lightly and since this is my 4th baby, I feel that I am knowledgeable and seasoned and not making this decision in ignorance or out of inexperience. If anything, it is quite the contrary.
I have always been determined to be a nursing mother, but 4 months is as long as I’ve been able to do it. I’ve struggled to get my babies to latch on and had mastitis each time. Still, I nursed. And despite the problems, I loved it. I loved the closeness and the bonding and that I could give my baby something nobody else could. The positives to breastfeeding are obvious.
The main issue with me breastfeeding and how long I have been able to do it is that I have several herniations in my back and I simply cannot let my babies feed as long as they need to (no matter WHAT position I lie in). Eventually, I have to wave the white flag and supplement and my supply usually dries up.
Still, I have always tried.
This time the scenarios and issues with how I feed are different. Because my last baby died I am already a basket case of worry and anxiety and the kid isn’t even here yet. I’m struggling. I worry about post-partum depression and anxiety. I’m trying to reduce as much stress and “things” as possible because I have no idea HOW I am going to be when he’s here. I think that the worry about keeping this baby safe and alive for the first 6 months are going to be pretty hard on me.
I do not sleep for months with worry over all my newborns-even when I CAN. I literally watch them perpetually to see if they are breathing. When I hear them make the slightest noise I wake up. I was just beginning to chill out when Matthew died. I can’t help but think this will make things worse, ya know?
When I have that much lack of sleep it also really exacerbates negative issues I have, so we are going to try some things to make sure that I get as much sleep as possible to try and be proactive about how I cope when he’s here.
For the first time, I am going to try (try being the operative word) putting the baby in his own nursery next door and use a baby monitor instead of having him sleep in the bassinet next to my bed. I think that this will be really difficult for me but I am still going to try becuase I know if he is next to me I will just sit and watch him.
I’m bottle feeding.
I think that it will be a HUGE help if my husband and I take designated shifts with the baby. Having my husband help out at night should make it easier. He is on board with my decision. He wishes I would try pumping, at least for a few weeks, but I am not going to. It would pretty much nullify most of the reasons why I’m not breastfeeding to do so. (Plus, he is a guy and doesn’t understand the process of milk coming in and then drying up and what an ordeal it is.)
I’ve thought about this for a very long time. Of course, I can’t know everything that is going to happen with this baby or how he is going to be, I can only make an educated guess. But I feel that it is better than putting myself in a situation that I KNOW will leave me more frazzled and stressed out.
To be honest?
I think formula is fine.
I do not think it is poison and never bat an eye when I see someone using it. Speaking of that, I will be on some heavy duty medication for my clotting disorder after he is born that they say should be safe in breast milk, but that makes me a LOT more nervous than anything I see on a package of formula.
I know the arguments are that the breastmilk is best but in my own experience, I can’t say that I have anything but the opposite experience as far as the health of my kids. James, who I nursed the longest, has horrible asthma and allergies and Matthew died of SIDS and he was nursed. In fact, the ONLY healthy kid I have is Christopher and he formula fed because I threw a huge blood clot after he was born and I couldn’t nurse.
Do I think these health issues (or non) with my kids is due to how they were fed?
No, I don’t.
I’m throwing that out there because of a particular internet conversation I had where a well-meaning breastfeeding activist kept throwing out the statistics of better health to me. THESE statisitics in my own family mean more to me, frankly.
I think breastfeeding is WONDERFUL and feel strongly that women should be able to nurse whenever, wherever they need to. I get angered at mothers being asked to leave places due to breastfeeding their babies and I do not doubt that it is the very best option for many moms and babies. I do not mind lactation education in the least and am really glad it is out there to dispell myths and provide support for people who want to nurse, as long as I feel that a contrary decision is respected, if not agreed with.
On the flip side, I also think that the reactions some people have to bottle feeding mothers and what is said to them in the name of breastfeeding advocacy is disgusting. I am weary of the implication that it makes someone less of a mother or a parent. Or that they are selfish if they choose to not attempt to nurse or pump if they don’t have health reasons that prevent it.
I worry about how I will be treated at the hospital when I tell the nurses I am bottle feeding because of the reaction my niece got when she bottle fed. I am hoping I will have that decision respected and will not be hen-pecked to death or pestered by the lactation specialist. I will have enough to worry about without that. I am probably going to be proactive and ask to have it noted in my chart that I just want to be left alone regarding it and hope my choice is respected.
To me, feeding your baby is a VERY personal choice and what works for some does not for others. After all: My boobs. My kid. My life. My choice.
Still, some of the comments I have already gotten at appointments and reading opinions and comments on the internet leaves me a little on the defensive. One person equated formula feeding TO ABUSE.
For feeding a baby formula?
My jaw was on the floor.
I can’t help but wonder why the way a mother feeds her child is the business of another person or why I feel like I have to justify this decision to anyone, including myself.
People who have health issues where they cannot nurse or who have at least “tried” to nurse are usually given a pass on breastfeeding, even amongst the zealous, but what if you just feel strongly that nursing is not for you? Why can’t that be respected as a parenting choice?
I feel that I have plenty of solid and justifiable “reasons” not to nurse.
BUT WHAT IF I DIDN’T?
What if I chose not to nurse just because I didn’t think it would be what was the best option for how my life and parenting works?
OR JUST BECAUSE?
Would that make me a bad, selfish person or less of a mother? Is breast milk so much better to the point that a mother who chooses not to nurse should have condemnation heaped on her head? I just don’t buy that. I just do not think that bottle feeding makes me or any other woman who chooses not to nurse a bad mother or a selfish one, but I know this is the opinion some have (even if it remains unvoiced) and I find that kind of sad.