Breast or Bottle Doesn’t Define Me as a Mother

breast vs bottleI hate milk, it grosses me out! So when I became pregnant with my first child, I was freaked out by the idea that milk would be squirting out of me.

But after reading and hearing constantly that breast is best, I decided I would probably love my baby enough to get over my milk phobia. Then, I saw what breastfeeding was doing to some close friends.

One friend became so obsessed with only breastfeeding her baby, she isolated herself and was miserable for a good portion of her baby’s first six months. Another friend had a baby six weeks early. She tried and tried to establish a milk supply, but it just never came. This left her feeling like less of a mother because the ‘natural’ process of breastfeeding didn’t work for her.

At this point, I didn’t have children but I watched helplessly as my friends struggled and stressed. I thought, having a newborn seems hard enough and women shouldn’t feel ashamed if they can’t or choose not to breastfeed. On top of it, the process shouldn’t be so stressful that it consumes all of your time and energy.

That’s when I decided I would try my best to breastfeed, but formula was my friend and either way I wasn’t going to let it make or break my first few months of being a mamma.

Screaming newbornThen it was my turn, my baby came and in the hospital I tried to breastfeed. He latched okay, but I had nothing to give. After 12 hours of listening to him scream, I called my friend who had once been obsessed with breastfeeding. I thought this was supposed to be natural, I cried to her. No one ever really talks about how hard it is, and the stress you feel when your baby is starving and you can’t feed him.

She told me to ask the nurse for formula. I was shocked, that’s an option? So I did, and unhappily the nurse gave me formula. We used a little cup thing (to avoid nipple confusion) and instantly my newborn stopped screaming.

Once we got home, my milk supply came in but I had a hungry little fella. One night after feeding for more than two hours {and he wasn’t done}, I couldn’t handle it. Maybe it was my hormones or lack of sleep, but I was done. That’s when I started exclusively pumping, which I did for three months supplementing with formula as needed and then exclusively.

This is what worked for me and my baby and I am pleased to report I have a happy, smart and thriving toddler now. I marvel at the women who can breastfeed without issue from day one until a year plus. I’m happy for them, but I’m also happy I didn’t let my lack of breastfeeding and use of formula define me. Being a mom is hard enough, we don’t need added stress or guilt to make it harder.

Was breastfeeding stressful for you?

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2 Responses to Breast or Bottle Doesn’t Define Me as a Mother

  1. Audra July 15, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    Great post Kim! I enjoyed breastfeeding but it is very emotionally and physically demanding and I felt isolated like your friend too. I nursed as long as I could exclusively then supplemented with formula because I had big eaters and it took a serious toll. My guys turned out just fine with both. What makes a mom is her heart, not her milk 🙂

    • Kim
      Kim July 16, 2015 at 6:27 am #

      Thanks Audra! I think you summed it up perfectly, it’s a mom’s heart and not her milk!!!

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