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Why I Took a Hard Pass on Breastfeeding

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I really never gave much thought to breastfeeding with my first son. I simply had the same approach I had to childbirth: no plan, trust the professionals, let it come…or not. I’ll deal either way. I made it 3 weeks before I asked our pediatrician, “how long do I have to keep torturing myself?” She looked at me in shock, and then uttered the most amazing phrase I’d heard in the last 10 months:

Loralei, the end game here is a healthy baby AND mama. He’s not losing weight, but he’s not gaining, and you’re miserable. I wouldn’t care if you had NEVER breastfed; we do not live in a 3rd world country where his sole survival depends on you. Formula has made amazing strides in even just the last few years, and don’t you trust that I would never recommend an option that DOESN’T get us that end game?

I did. I trusted her more with my new cherub’s sweet life than I trusted myself–she was the professional, I was the one screwing up. Or so I had thought, until she gave me the confidence booster I needed to finalize the decision.

For me, breast was not best.

It wasn’t because I wasn’t trying or that I was doing anything wrong. I just had a hungry baby with whom my body couldn’t keep up! Actually, let me rephrase that: hungry babies.

My second son is now here and a few weeks old, I originally wasn’t even going to TRY and breastfeed with him. Why stress myself out? Why feel like a failure and disappointment AGAIN? Alas, my motherly instinct kicked in, and I was able to feed him pretty wonderfully…for about a week. Again, we were back in the pediatrician’s office with a baby not gaining weight. Again, we had a hungry baby who refused to latch on to my right side. Again, she watched my face as she offered the supplementing option, and again, I cried.

Although her suggestion was something I was expecting and even HOPING for, it didn’t make me feel like any less of a failure. Yet, as the relief flooded over me as she (again) made me feel like less of a hot mess, I realized what I had been too afraid to admit aloud all along:

I. HATE. BREASTFEEDING.

Other than the bond I felt with my babies, I legit despise everything about breastfeeding. I don’t think that makes me selfish, or a bad mama in any way. In reality, I was more worried about others finding out and judging me, than I was about my own mental and emotional health on the topic. Cuing my inner Elsa, I decided to just Let. It. Go.

This is what happens when you hit the bottle too hard!! #happybelly #milkdrunk

This is what happens when you hit the bottle too hard!! #happybelly #milkdrunk

Once I admitted that truth to myself, the confidence within me grew again. My first born is a thriving, walking/talking/extremely intelligent toddler. Full of curiosity, with a temper like mine and strength like my husband’s, he has a large vocabulary and runs EVERYWHERE. He’s not obese and has only been sick 3 times, which is pretty awesome considering how much gross floats around daycare! He loves me and (other than bringing a new baby home) doesn’t resent me–our bond is tight.

I am well versed in the benefits of breastfeeding. I’ve read the studies, seen the documentaries and listened to fact upon fact from multiple lactation consultants. Shoot, I completely agree with them, and am no longer jealous of those moms who are able to breastfeed–I adore them! You go, mama!! It’s just not for me.

It was not worth it for me to delve further in to the PPD zone with my first son, by feeling chained to the house and terrified to leave, for fear of feeding time – a bottle and formula helped me become a functioning member of society again. With my second son, who ended up back in the hospital at 8 days old, the decision to go to bottle/formula (and forego any further pumping as well) was an easier decision, for the simple fact that I wanted my baby to EAT and regain his health–which was more important to me than keeping my pride.

Bottom line? There are many scenarios that enable a woman to breastfeed for as long as possible. Maybe they have no problems producing, qualms about feeding in public, or simply need to do it as a money saver for their family. I totally get that. But hear me on this mamas: if breastfeeding is not for you, please do not let anyone bully you in to feeling guilty about stopping–or never even starting. Just as there are so many reasons TO breastfeed, there are equally as many reasons as to why some of us cannot. Breastfeeding should be a personal choice for ALL mamas, regardless of anyone else’s opinion on it (mine included!!).

So latch and feed, or heat and shake, do what’s best for YOU. I promise that everyone around you will be happy just that YOU are happy. Take care of yourself, girl. After everything you just went through to bring this miracle in to the world…YOU DESERVE IT.

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10 Responses to Why I Took a Hard Pass on Breastfeeding

  1. jen August 3, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    I didn’t do well with it either. Do not ever let anyone make you feel guilty for doing what is best for your babies. I made it three months the first time and had to quit when I got food poisoning, and five weeks the second time and for quite a few reasons including my own mental health. I do not regret not nursing my second one longer than that, we were both so much happier and that made for a happier family overall.

  2. Stephanie August 3, 2016 at 9:39 am #

    Literally, I could have written this article. Almost every detail is the same!! THANK YOU!!

  3. Lori August 3, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

    Thanks so much for the awesome article! I tried two out of five baby boys and hated every second of breastfeeding! Everyone else makes it look so easy! Was much happier with the bottle feeding and those three babies didn’t look like E.T.! LOL Now they are all big healthy boys getting ready for back to school.

  4. Brittany August 6, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

    I rarely ever leave comments but thank you for writing this. I felt the exact same way and if I had a second child I don’t know if I would try it again. I had begun to hate feeding my child. And that isn’t healthy for either of us, so I started pumping and that was wonderful. I did that for a couple months before my milk dried up. I never had any problem with formula from the beginning. I just wanted my baby to eat, whichever way worked best for her. And she wasn’t happy when she was nursing.
    So thank you. There is too much mom shaming out there for every topic.

  5. Misty Wood August 7, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    I tried to breastfeed with my first baby but my milk never came in. I tried everything including pumping every couple hours to try and stimulate the milk, took herbal supplements, my doctor even prescribed me medication. I read somewhere that drinking a beer helps or peanut butter but nothing worked and I was forced to put him on formula. I felt like such a failure. When I went to the doctor for our visits I was embarrassed when asked formula or breast fed to tell them formula. There is such a stigma that if you don’t breast feed you are not doing what’s best for the baby. Even members of my husbands family made comments and tried to make me feel like their kid would be smarter and healthier than mine. Well with my second I didn’t even attempt. I didn’t want to go through the stress and frustration along with having a new baby and a 3 yr old potty training. And let me tell you my kids never get sick and my son tests for pre k are off the charts. The teachers told me he belongs with the older kids. As far as a bond. I have such a strong bond with both of mine that no one would no what they took as babies. I’ve learned to not care what anyone thinks. My kids are fine and healthy and that’s all that matters!

  6. Melany August 7, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read about breastfeeding! Thank you for sharing and for your honesty.

  7. Erin August 8, 2016 at 1:16 pm #

    I breastfed my first daughter and did not breastfeed my second. They are both smart, wonderful, thriving kids and I feel equally attached to them and them to me. Don’t believe the hype that you are doing your kids a disservice if you don’t breastfeed.

  8. Cassie August 8, 2016 at 11:08 pm #

    Thank you so much for this article. I only lasted 5 days until I had a full mental breakdown trying the breastfeed. My milk was in but it was just so awful…I was starting to hate feeding time (full on tears when I knew it was coming). I was afraid to call my doctor to ask her about formula out of fear that she would judge me and that others would too. I was totally wrong. With the support of my husband and my doctor (who was the one to calm me down), we switched to formula. My baby began eating better and I was better. She’s now 8 months old and perfectly healthy. It still makes me uncomfortable though when people ask if I breastfed so it’s nice to finally read an article like this.

  9. Lindsey October 8, 2016 at 9:33 pm #

    Yes Yes Yes! Thank you! Can we be friends!?! I am so sick of the mommy shaming when it comes to bf. With my first I made it 3 months and I was so happy to be done. With my 2nd I lasted 6 months and decided I was only doing it if it worked for me. With a 1 yr old, newborn & working full time, I wasn’t going to lose my mind just to bf. I lasted longer because I took the pressure off myself and became ok with part time bf if that’s what worked best for my schedule. I pumped most of the time and gave him what I could and then we eventually supplemented with formula when my supply started to drop.

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