Long before I even knew I was pregnant, I knew I probably wouldn’t choose to breastfeed. Looking back, I’m not sure what I based that opinion on, just that I was sure I really wasn’t interested in trying.
When we learned we were pregnant, this is a topic that my husband and I discussed thoroughly. While I knew I probably wasn’t on board with the idea, I figured we should revisit it and talk it out. We talked about the cost savings and health benefits of breastfeeding. We talked about how formula feeding would allow my husband to help me and would provide him with an equal opportunity to bond with the baby. I listened to many people tell me I was making the wrong decision. But in my heart, I knew breastfeeding just was not for me. I knew that breastfeeding came with a lot of challenges. Most importantly, I wouldn’t be in control of the results. I knew I would worry about whether or not my child was getting enough food. I knew I would worry about whether something I was eating was bothering him. I knew I wouldn’t be able to meet run errands or go on a date night as easily. I knew going back to work would be a challenge. I recognize that a lot of these thoughts are incredibly selfish. I also know now that some of these assumptions are wrong. But I really didn’t think it was in the best interest of our family to add all these extra pressures and changes to the already overwhelming experience of becoming new parents.
I quickly learned that this very personal choice brought with it a very inappropriate public opinion. Trust me. I heard it from everyone. From well-meaning friends to complete strangers. From potential pediatricians to the OB-GYN. From the delivery nurse to the janitor that came to clean our room. Every single person I came in contact with seemed to offer their unwarranted opinion on my “poor” choice. It blew my mind. And I began to feel the pressure. And so, I decided I would reluctantly try to pump. I tried and I tried and I tried. And I cried throughout the entire experience. After a few weeks, I felt like a failure and I gave up. Finally, I decided that I had not failed at all. I had simply chosen the best option for MY family and that I needed to focus solely on that.
In the end, we were all happy with this decision. My husband absolutely loved being able to feed his son. I loved the pressure the decision to formula feed alleviated for me. Our son is healthy and happy. I wouldn’t do anything differently the second time around – other than to stand up for what I knew was the best decision for us from the beginning.
How you choose to feed your child is such a personal decision. No matter your decision, or whether you find yourself in a feeding situation you didn’t particularly envision, know that you are doing what is best for your child and your family.