Monday, February 23, 2015

Why I Don't Breastfeed

In 2013, 77% of all American babies were breastfed. The positives are numerous, varying from nutrients for baby, reduces infant allergies, builds immunities, burns calories, saves money, and many more.

That being said, P's health is the most important thing to me. Burning calories was appealing to me as well. It was settled. I was going to breastfeed my baby. I got everything together. I bought a pump, ice packs, storage bags, alcohol test strips (hey, mama needs a glass of wine from time to time), and read countless blogs on starting a supply, what to eat and not eat and tips for producing. Of course, when the time came I was nervous. I told the hospital I wanted to exclusively pump, but would start when I got home, so P would be bottle fed while we were in the hospital. I had every intention of pumping multiple times a day, building my supply, storing extras, and burning those awesome calories. I was excited to do this for my baby.

But then we came home. Understandably so, the first day home was exhausting and we needed some time to adjust, so P was bottle fed for one more day. The days that followed I had no energy. I couldn't get off the couch and, as we all know by now, I was suffering from post-partum depression. Finally, I decided I had to try. I invested all this money into the act of pumping, so I might as well just try it. It wasn't that bad, although time consuming and the pump was loud, but it wasn't bothersome. The next day I was feeling a little better and thought I was finally getting out of this slump I had been in, so I pumped again. But three steps forward for me also meant ten steps back. I couldn't bring myself to pump again. I couldn't bring myself to get off the couch to do it. I kept telling myself I needed to and that it was the best for P, and me, but it didn't matter. Hubs would ask if I was going to and I would dance around the question and just mix another bottle of formula. Friends and family were well aware that I had made the decision to pump and would ask me how it was going. I would say it was going fine, because it did, but I didn't tell them I had stopped.

When P was a few weeks old I couldn't really avoid the truth any longer. Why was everyone so curious how I was feeding my baby? Why did everyone care? After all, it was my baby, not theirs. Nonetheless, I told them I had stopped and she was exclusively formula feeding now. People reacted like I had just told them I had some super contagious disease. They didn't know what to say. What was the big deal? So my baby drinks formula, get over it.

P's health is still my number one priority, which is why she is formula fed. I was so sad and depressed after she was born that pumping was emotionally and mentally impossible for me to accomplish. I was sick. I needed to get better. If I didn't get better, what would happen to P? Maybe she wouldn't get the nutrients from breastmilk, but I had to get better for her. Being depressed and not dealing with it made me a much worse mother than formula feeding. If I was happy, I knew I could make my baby happy. I would cuddle with her, feed her, play with her....if I didn't focus on myself and getting better, what kind of mother was she going to be left with? That's not what I wanted for her.

I would like to think that eventually other members of the Mom Club will stop judging other members. We all have a reason behind the decisions we make for our children, and we believe that the decision we make is the best for our child, ourselves and our family. I do not formula feed because I am selfish or don't care about my baby's health, I formula feed because I want my baby to grow up with a happy mommy that enjoys every moment they share together.

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