The first night I gave my 3 month old a bottle with formula instead of breast milk I was overwhelmed with guilt and emotion. I had breast fed and pumped exclusively for 3 months and the demand was beginning to take a toll on me. Especially when he preferred the bottle at times because he could suck it down faster. I knew I had to do what was best for my baby and that shouldn’t have been a difficult decision. Instead, I had been formula guilt.
I wasn’t opposed to formula since I gave it to my oldest and he didn’t end up with a third eye or anything abnormal. I had to supplement with formula early because he was under weight and I wasn’t producing enough milk to meet his demand.
I just wasn’t prepared for the boob strike.
I am a stay at home mom this time around and had mentally thought I was going to have a perfect breastfeeding run. I pumped bottles so I had some flexibility to take my older son out alone. However, I didn’t think the baby would refuse the boob all together. I felt rejected and deflated.
There is nothing more emotional and defeating then watching your hungry infant wail while refusing your breast.
I dislike pumping and I know I’m not alone.
Nothing feels great about a machine tugging at your enlarged nipples to replace the tender moments felt between infant and mother.
At my oldest son’s gym class, we have an impromptu moms club. A few months ago it was a bunch of pregnant moms chasing toddlers; Now it’s a bunch of baby wearing moms chasing toddlers. It’s nice to chat with other moms and share our stories of success and failures. So I recently confided in a mother that I gave my baby formula for the first time. Her response wasn’t the supportive advice I was looking for.
She said “You poor thing. You must feel horrible.” Horrible wasn’t a thought that had crossed my mind. Guilty yes, but horrible? Horrible is not feeding your child when he is hungry.
I was full of guilt. Did I cop out? Was I not trying hard enough? Should I have tried more lactation cookies and teas? Should I walk around all day with a pump on my breasts while watching my toddler play and my infant lay on his play mat? I couldn’t be that mom.
I’ve tried to come to terms with the fact that you have to do what’s best for you and baby. Who cares what anyone else thinks. Give yourself a break because we know that our kids won’t!