Breastfeeding is a little bit awkward for me to talk about. Not for the reasons you may think, though. The truth is, breastfeeding was a very difficult road for me from the beginning with my first daughter born in 2009. Before I talk about why choosing not to breastfeed was right for me, I want to quickly give you my story.
Why Choosing Not To Breastfeed Was Right For Me
So, we all know the facts. Breastfeeding is hands down the best nutrition you can ever give your baby. It is filled with magical goodness, magic juice as I like to call it, and there is no doubt about the insanely amazing benefits that come along with breastfeeding.
Before I had my daughter, my breasts have ALWAYS been extremely sensitive. I am that person who when I was younger, I’d shower with my hands over my breasts because I couldn’t take the water beating down on them.
I used to sleep with a bra on. Now let me tell you…after marriage, both of those things quickly changed. I don’t hold my breasts in the shower anymore but I don’t put them underneath the water either. And after having 5 kids, the bra comes off at night.
However, when I had my daughter, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. My mom was there, the nurses were amazing and they really tried to teach me the right way to breastfeed. I had colostrum, my milk came in, and I did what I could as soon as we got home.
The truth is- when we got home it was a nightmare. I was frustrated, the baby was hungry. My nipples were cracked, bleeding, sore and engorged and I remember sitting on the couch crying and my mom trying to help get my daughter to latch but it just wasn’t really working out for either of us so, ultimately I decided to formula feed and that was the best decision for me and my daughter.
And so I devoped a bit of a pattern…
You read that right. I’m now a mom of 5 and now we have a routine that probably won’t change even when we have baby #6. After each baby, I breastfeed and give the baby colostrum in the hospital along with mostly formula.
By the time we get home from the hospital I will try and breastfeed once a day for maybe a week or two but by that time, even trying to breastfeed once a day for a few minutes is excruciating to me. My nipples still get cracked, bleed, sore, and then eventually I get engorged and that’s when I make the decision to fill my bra with cabbage (this REALLY works!) and formula feed.
So, for many reasons, that is why choosing not to breastfeed was the right decision for me. Now, let me tell you a few things if you’re reading this and you’re also choosing not to breastfeed!
1- You Did NOT Fail
This breaks my heart every time I see or hear someone say this. But the truth is, I have been there too and I go through this every time I know it’s “it” and time to stop and formula feed. I know exactly what that feels like, and it’s not a good feeling. We all need someone to tell us that we didn’t fail and I am here to tell you that you did not fail! Not by a long shot.
It doesn’t matter if you didn’t try at all, tried a “little” like me, or if you full-blown tried everything you could possibly do and it still doesn’t work…you did not fail, mama!
2- No One Else’s Opinion Matters
When it comes to breastfeeding, like many other “controversial topics”, you are bound to get opinions whether you want them or not. The thing is, you simply don’t owe anyone an explanation!
Whatever you decide is your decision and that is it, period. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s either they get it, or they don’t. And it’s honestly okay if they don’t!
3- Do Not Compare Your Journey
This is SO hard not to do. One of the top rules I’ve learned since becoming a mom is: Do not compare yourself to others! Every pregnancy, every breastfeeding journey, every body, and every child is different and I always see so many posts comparing these things.
Breastfeeding is a unique journey that only you really understand once you do it. Your story is not your neighbors, the people on Instagram, friends, or somebody that someone knows.
Our bodies are all unique and we all have our own journey to navigate. It’s great to grab advice, but please don’t compare! The reason someone else is choosing not to breastfeed won’t be exactly the same as your reason.
4- It’s Okay No Matter What Your Reasoning Is
No matter why you’ve chosen to formula feed your baby, it’s okay. I know that I needed to know that when I first became a mom and tried to breastfeed. So, if any of this at all is resonating with you–you need to know that too!
As mama’s, we make the best decisions we can for our baby with the information we are given. We try our best and we all know that a happy mama makes for a happy baby. It would not make my baby happy if I was not happy. If I would have made myself miserable by still trying and being in so much pain, my baby would have felt that.
So whatever your reason, it’s okay, mama.
If you are struggling with breastfeeding or struggling to accept your decision on choosing not to breastfeed, pray about it! God will see you through! He tells us to bring our burdens to Him and that is exactly what we need to do.
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.Phillipians 4:6-7
6- Fed Really Is Best
I know, I know. Everyone says this, but it is so very true. A fed baby is best. If there is anything you take away from this, please let it be this! Your baby needs to be fed and as long as that need is being met and mama is happy, that is really a win/win.
No matter if you’re struggling in the early days of motherhood or if you’re a seasoned mama who wants to try breastfeeding again…reach out for help!
There are SO many resources out there for breastfeeding, it’s mind-blowing. Here are a few things you can do for resources:
- Check to see if the hospital you’re delivering at has lactation consultants
- Check your local clinics (most of them have a 24/7 phone number so you can reach them at any time!)
- Check out websites like KellyMom and MommyDidYouKnow, both of these websites have fantastic information on breastfeeding!
I’d love to hear about your journey of choosing not to breastfeed! I would also love to hear about your breastfeeding successes! We are all winners here!
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