To all the new moms out there,
Breast is good, fed is better, and a happy mother and baby is best.
Breastfeeding has never been a pleasurable experience for me - in fact, it sucks. It hurts and its uncomfortable. You leak all day, your boobs get engorged, your milk ducts get clogged, and breastfeeding itself hurts. The pain I experienced wasn't caused by a latch issue - both my sons had a good latch and I breastfed successfully (at least according to 3 maternity doctors, a lactation consultant, and numerous nurses working in maternity and paediatrics). And apparently, I'm not alone when it comes to that. My doctor told me that about 40% of women who breastfeed actually report pain and other issues when breastfeeding. Forty percent - thats almost half all all breastfeeding women who deal with pain on a regular basis. She went on to say that the media has done such an incredible job of "guilting" women and new mothers into believing that "breast is best", that the doctors who actually work with these moms, are trying to tell women that thats not the case - breast is NOT always best - not at all costs. Not to the point where they are dealing with post-partum depression and the pain of breastfeeding, and they are now encased with suicidal thoughts. Not when they're in so much pain and struggling between their own health and providing breastmilk for their babies when there's perfectly good alternate options. The best thing for a baby, is a happy, healthy, and present mother.
My first son was exclusively breastfed, and my second son is exclusively bottle fed, and alas, there is no freaking difference to their growth or their development! In exclusively pumping this time around, I have so much more time to bond with (both) my kids because I'm not constantly having to nurse the infant. I pump 4 times a day, and have enough milk to feed my son, and donate about 8oz per day to the milk bank. On both an emotional and physical level, I'm not exhausted from being the only one who can feed my son. Other family members can develop a special bond with him because they too able to feed him as well. So feed away, feed whatever is right for you, you're the parent, and you can't look after anyone else until you look after yourself first. Whether it means breastfeeding, pumping, or formula feeding, it makes no difference.
I started out breastfeeding my second son, and in fact, that could have almost killed him. He had some complications shortly after birth which made him very weak, and exclusively breastfeeding him landed him a one week stay in the hospital. He ended up having a tube shoved down his nose, had to be tube fed, and then finally he was given the green light to be bottle fed. He wasn't able to properly get the amount of food he needed, because for a baby, breastfeeding is a lot of work. But the reasoning behind me not breastfeeding is irrelevant - the bottom line is, that breast is not always best, and my story isn't any different from anyone else. Everyone has a story - it can be that they just don't have the time, it could be that they don't want to deal with the pain and discomfort, it could be that their child couldn't latch, it could be that they can't produce enough milk, and it could be that they simply just don't want to. And it doesn't matter why they chose how or what to feed their child, its not our child to make that decision for. If you don't like it, then don't formula feed your child. But please, keep your judgement to yourself. Or better yet, stop being so judgemental. Focus your time and energy on your own family, and your own kids. Offer support, have some compassion, and show some kindness to fellow mother, because parenting is hard enough as it is without having to feel like you're a failure for not breastfeeding your child.
So, I urge you to share the shit out of this post, because no one should ever feel guilty about not breastfeeding their kid. Breast is good. Fed is better. But a happy mom and baby is best. Till next time, happy feeding your baby whatever it is you're feeding them (so long as its not caffeine or alcohol!)
Babies N' Brews