Why I chose NOT to breastfeed

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.

k feeding

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.

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5 Responses to Why I chose NOT to breastfeed

  1. Laura August 7, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    FANTASTIC post — I’m so glad you stood up for what was best for your family. I formula fed my son and breastfed my daughters — My kids are all happy and healthy.. ESPECIALLY my son! Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Kristen August 7, 2014 at 10:20 am #

    Thank you for posting this. After breastfeeding my youngest daughter for 5 months and just plain unhappily, I have been a much happier person when I finally chose to stop. It has made a world of difference in our home. I found myself envious of the women that had trouble breastfeeding and finally realized…..can have that if I want!! so I made the change. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Jen August 7, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Great job for making your family’s needs your first priority! It is becoming increasingly difficult to be a parent, being judged on everything we do – from feeding to sleeping to sanitizing, etc. I wasn’t able to successfully breastfeed my children, and I hate having to defend myself over that fact. It’s just one of the downsides of social media, unfortunately, that everyone has an opinion.

  4. Victoria August 9, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

    So thankful you wrote this article. My experience was very similar and was overwhelmed by the pressure to breastfeed. My daughter is happy and healthy. I appreciate your courage to share.

  5. Jenny August 9, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

    While I did breastfeed my son, which I lasted for 6.5 months, I commend you for making the best decision for your family. I hated that when I stopped breastfeeding I felt ashamed because I didn’t make it longer. When I realized I felt this way because of all the extreme societal pressures that are placed on parents, I slapped myself and got over it!! It’s amazing how much everyone thinks they can make the best decision for someone else. You go mama!!!