Breastfeeding came easily to my baby girl Charlotte. She was a NICU baby for two weeks after our labour and delivery, so she was on a feeding tube for her first few days of life. When she was finally allowed to come out of her isolette for breastfeeding sessions with me, she leaped at the opportunity, a real pro. She latched quickly and never looked back.
The first two months were not challenging in respect to breastfeeding. We bonded, she seemed to be gaining weight at a reasonable rate. Breastfeeding seemed to be great (I can go all year – I thought). As someone who never really felt connected to the ‘advocates of breastfeeding’ I chose to breastfeed solely based on my baby’s ability to do it, and do it well. I never considered the effect it had on me as a person, not as a mother, but as a person. The person I was before I became a mother.
3 Reason Why This Mom Stopped Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding began to take its toll on my already overwhelmed state-of-mind. There are a few reasons for this that the advocates of breastfeeding may not tell you while they’re shouting “Breast Is Best” at you from the rooftops of every pregnancy blog out there.
- Breastfed babies eat more often than formula-fed babies. This doesn’t seem like a big deal at first. But after a few months of constant feedings at the All-You-Can-Eat Milk Buffet, my body began to feel beyond drained. The physical exertion I was putting forth to feed my chronically-hangry baby was draining my energy to the point where I couldn’t play with my baby the way she needed.
- Pumping. As glamorous as it may seem, suction cupping your already tender ta-tas, while your milk is being transferred via a robotic rhythm, is actually a time-consuming nightmare. My time was already so precious during these first few months, that any time I spent pumping milk was time taken away from my baby. Add to this the fact that I had accidentally pumped in front of an open window more times than I’d like to admit (“Hi Beth next door- How are you doing today..?”)
- Some breastfed babies refuse to take a bottle from anyone. Only Boob. Only your tired, and emotionally drained boob. That’s it. So when friends would ask me to come out and play, I would respond “Oh I have to stay home and feed the baby, ya know, she’s breastfed.” They wouldn’t understand. “Can’t your husband just give her a bottle?” I would literally laugh out loud. In my dreams Yeah! So, you begin to feel chained to the house, just you and your baby, and your boobs. The resentment starts to kick in around month 3 or 4, and then you feel like a bad parent for resenting staying in to feed your baby. Enter guilt here.
I came to a point in my breastfeeding journey when I asked myself; what is more important? A strong relationship with my baby, one where I am energetic, and able to fulfill all of her needs or one where I am an emotionally drained, weaker version of myself, full of guilt and resentment? I chose the first one, Duh.
A healthy baby is contingent on a healthy mommy. So, I am now one month into my formula-feeding journey and loving every minute of it. I feel rejuvenated and my baby is amazing – our relationship is amazing! I have more energy, and more opportunities to leave the house while my husband can stay in and give our little girl a nice big bottle of formula. She’s even sleeping better at night!
Breast isn’t always best. Fed is best. As mothers, let’s all encourage each other to follow our own paths, finding out what works and doesn’t work for ourselves and our babies. Breastfed – Great, Formula fed – Great too! Healthy happy babies and mommies are what it’s all about!
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.