I am writing this as I sit here for what could be the 10th time today, pumping milk for my child. It is quite tedious. I’ve said I’m going to quit like 2000 times already. But during a pandemic unlike anything I’ve experienced, I just want to make sure I have something to feed my son.
Ellis has been breastfed for 3 months. And I see no difference, except me being more stressed out trying to make milk for him. Now I know what the facts say, and I know breastmilk is “better” but by the smallest margin that I don’t see why it’s such a fuss. I know breastfed babies get less diarrhea and ear infections in their first year of life than formula fed babies. And I know when they’re older there’s a 3 point increase in their IQ when they breastfed. That’s it. That is all that’s been 100% proven and backed up by science.
It isn’t a magical potion. Do not put your baby’s food on their skin and eyeballs to “cure” something. None of that makes sense. Now in countries where there isn’t access to clean water, breastmilk is obviously much better, but in this country, it is almost up to par with formula. So I try to understand why is it pushed so hard on to moms?
Cartier was basically exclusively formula fed from the start, he was born small and I remember they didn’t bring him into my room until about 3 hours after he was born and they had already formula fed him because they said his blood sugar was low. They didn’t make a fuss or anything, they brought me formula and barely said anything about breastfeeding so I believe from the start, he was just meant to be formula fed since I was young and had no idea what I was doing. I did try for 2 months, I pumped until I couldn’t anymore.
Now, Ellis is another story. From the start I felt pressured to breastfeed and made to feel like formula was a poison. I felt uncomfortable at the hospital, my breasts hurt, my nipples were literally cracked and sore and I would cry EVERY time he would latch. I asked for formula to get some relief and the nurse looked upset. Also, a different nurse before her had come in and said “he’s losing some weight, if he loses too much, you both will have to stay in the hospital longer.” So that only added to my despair, am I not producing enough food for my baby? Also my #1 supporter had to go home for the night on my birthday to take care of our oldest since we know he doesn’t sleep well unless he’s with one of us. (My husband speaks up for me more than myself unfortunately so I just sat there, feeling overwhelmed and alone)
I pumped as soon as I got home and gave him bottles of my milk which made him have a preference to bottle nipples obviously. I also would constantly be engorged and leak because I would breastfeed him then I would pump to make sure I was making enough. It was so much stress and for what??? It all feels completely pointless as I look at my completely healthy, intelligent 4 year old. No one can tell the difference now looking at him.
I just want the world to mind their business and not make moms feel bad for how they choose to fed their babies. If I said my child is formula fed, I was met with a “why? Could you not breastfeed?” Now that I’m mostly breastfeeding, people don’t ask why. People seem to approve??? People think you’re selfish and lazy if you don’t even attempt to breastfeed, when I feel like it’s a valid choice to do what you want to do. A happy mom and a fed baby is so much more important than a stressed overwhelmed mom with a newborn.
I feel so much better now that I’m combo feeding my son. I’ll breastfeed when I feel like it and I’ll hand his dad a bottle when I don’t feel like it. I very much enjoy having a CHOICE, and knowing no matter what my baby is happy and okay, and so is his mommy.
I, so very much, want a new mom who may not want to breastfeed or is feeling the pressure to hear this: Formula is NOT poison. Breastfeeding isn’t the only option you have. Your baby will THRIVE, no matter what you choose to do. Boob juice is NOT magic. They’re both FOOD. Whatever YOU do is the BEST for your baby.