Breastfeeding can be a hot topic for moms, but it doesn’t need to be. Everyone has their own reasons for choosing to breastfeed, how long to breastfeed or if they don’t want to breastfeed at all. Both options are perfectly fine and healthy choices. The most important factor in this choice is making the decision based on education and the health of mom and baby.
I’ve had two very different experiences with breastfeeding. With Ava she was a natural! Great latch, great eater and we breastfed for a year. I made the choice that after a year I didn’t want to breastfeed anymore. She was starting daycare and was babysat during the week on the days she wasn’t at daycare and I HATED pumping. I am sure a lot of moms can relate to the hatred of pumping. It felt time and I could tell she was ready as well because she weaned naturally.
Grayson on the other hand was not so straight forward. We had latching issues in the beginning, I got mastitis after about 3 weeks and then after his teeth started coming in at 3 months it started getting harder. He was a biter before the teeth and once those teeth started, they didn’t stop. After I realized he was getting the bottom two and top two (the perfect combo for a nipple getting bit off) I knew it was time.
I also realized around the time he was 6 months that my hormones may have been contributing to my mental health problems. By this time I had either been pregnant or breastfeeding for almost 3 years which means my hormones had been on a roller coaster for almost 3 years and that combo with the stressors of new baby, toddler and COVID stress, ending breastfeeding felt like it may help regulate the hormones and help my mental health. So that was another factor thrown into the decision to stop.
This is what I mean when I said the decision to breastfeed or not breastfeed needs to be for the health of mom and baby. If mom is not healthy mentally and/or physically then it can be a struggle to feel like a good mom which just contributed to the mental health issues.
I went back and forth with the decision for about a month. I had to let go of the guilt that I breastfed Ava for a year and that it just wouldn’t be that way with Gray, but also the irrational thought that I was failing my child by resorting to formula, especially when I was capable of producing milk. I don’t believe feeding your baby formula is bad or unhealthy in anyway, but when I was faced with this decision all the judgement tried to take over that I know was not real and didn’t make any sense.
Plenty of babies are formula fed, I was formula fed and I am totally fine!
It was hard, the last few times I breastfed I would just cry because I love that bond and drying up your milk is not fun! It is so uncomfortable and painful, but after a couple weeks of cabbage leaves, hand expressing for comfort and taking Sudafed for a few days it dried up.
Mine and Grays bond never changed (he's a huge mama's boy), he drinks a mix of formula and frozen breastmilk I stored up and he is totally healthy and fine.
I made this decision because I knew it would be beneficial to my mental health and Gray was totally fine drinking out of a bottle. If you want to breastfeed then do it! Don’t let the judgement of others influence you on whether to breastfeed or not. I have heard of moms whose families are not on board with breastfeeding, that it is gross or unsanitary. First of all, I will say that is not correct at all. Women have been breastfeeding for centuries and there is plenty of research on the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby.
On the other hand, society can make moms feel bad for choosing formula, it feels like we just can’t win sometimes! That’s why at the end of the day us moms need to tune out the outside opinions and listen to our gut. Do what feels right for YOU and YOUR BABY. Educate yourself on how to fix issues with your breastfeeding if there are issues before giving up, if you feel like you have done all that you can then know that you did your best and your baby will be just fine.
If you never wanted to breastfeed due to the stress of it, your work schedule, the pumping hassle, baby not wanting to nurse or possibly medications you have to be on then do it! It is your body and your baby no one else’s.