I knew breastfeeding would hurt and be challenging, but I never questioned whether I would do it or not. I knew deep down that I would breastfeed and was very much looking forward to it. Just like carrying him in the womb, it was something I could do for my baby that no one else could. Out he came into the world, and unfortunately breastfeeding did not come naturally for either of is. Challenging is putting it lightly. This poor little guy against my monumentally massive mammaries. He never stood a chance!! But I was so gung-ho on breastfeeding I stood my ground and did not supplement with formula even though 2 doctors recommended it. No, he didn't show much interest in feeding the first week and yes, he lost 10% of his body weight (which is normal!). Yes, my "tig ol' bitties" were cracked and crusted and the 1st 10 seconds of each feed was toe-curling excruciating pain. But we persevered, he gained his weight back at record speed and is now at 85th percentile for weight, and now we've got feeding time down to a science! It's crazy to look back and remember what a struggle it was, sometimes I'd be in tears at 3 in the morning because I couldn't get him on and he'd be shaking his head back and forth screaming like "WHERE IS MY MILK DAMNIT!?!?" Poor guy!
Having gone through all of that, I can totally understand why some mothers feel it's just too painful and frustrating and give up quickly. There is such pressure now a days that "breast is best", and it's pretty undeniable that it is, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's SO MUCH BETTER that you should forgo your sanity to make it happen. There is so much judgement in the mommy world, and we should try to understand everyone has a different parenting style and is doing what's best for their family. Whether to breastfeed or formula feed is definitely a choice every mother has to make for herself, and there seem to be so many reasons why a mother might choose to formula feed....
As I mentioned above, the pain and difficulty of breastfeeding may turn a mom to the bottle (vodka bottle, haha!). Some people say women formula feed out of convenience. I'd say breastfeeding is much more convenient!! There's no heating up of water, no bottles to sterilize, just whip out the boob and go! Though, if you're shy about breastfeeding in public, or if you have to go back to work, yes, I will 100% agree that formula feeding is MUCH more convenient in those cases!! The idea of pumping and toting around my milk at work was one of the factors that led me to just outright quit work! Some women really want to breastfeed but their baby just won't latch or they don't have enough milk. In this case, I think many women give up too quickly. There are tons of great lactation consultants out there who can counsel you on diet, position, schedules, etc. Of course, in some cases there is no way around it and you just won't be able to provide for baby in that way, and that really sucks, but you move on. I'm very very thankful that I've had no issues with supply and while I'm dying to shed these final 10-15 pounds of baby weight, I am terrified that dieting or exercising too much will decrease my supply.
Long story short, don't look at a mom and come to some grand conclusion that she is lazy and irresponsible just because she is formula feeding. And don't look at a mom breastfeeding on a bench at the mall and think that she's some crunchy granola hippy trying to make everyone around her uncomfortable. Both of these mamas are doing what they gotta do to provide for their child in the best way that they can. And good for them!!
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!