Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Confession: I did not like breastfeeding.

'Tis true.

Not only that, I only lasted 6 weeks with each babe. From 7 weeks to one-year-old my kids drank formula from a bottle. And I have no regrets. But the guilt was layered on thick. Yes, I know "breast is best." I also know what is best for me. I lasted as long as I could. Really I did.

What I find amazing about all the "You must breastfeed your babies" information, is that it rarely stipulates how long you must breastfeed in order to get the majority of the benefits. A month? 3 months? 6 months? 12 months? 18 months? And -- don't bother asking a lacto-nazi breastfeeding advocate; you'll just get a "tsk tsk. How dare you consider putting poison formula into your baby's mouth!"

So, I went with my gut. And my sanity. After 6 weeks, I was DONE. Exhausted, frustrated, exasperated, in pain. DONE. I hope my baby got all that good breast milk stuff, cuz I'm done.

All the pro-breastfeeding people make it sound like I'm crazy -- I should love breastfeeding -- right? ALL women love breastfeeding because it is natural. Right?

Let's go down the list of benefits I somehow missed out on...
  • Endorphin effect -- Breastfeeding makes you feel good! Really? That sounds great! Where do I get some of that? Clearly, my body forgot to take the breastfeeding lessons in biochemistry.
  • Relaxation while breastfeeding -- Time to relax? The last thing I would call breastfeeding is relaxing. Stressful, tiring, frustrating. But not relaxing.
  • Quick weight loss -- HA! That would have been nice. But, maybe I didn't last long enough.
  • "Super-plus!" mother-child bonding -- I love my babies, and not because I breastfed them.  My babies love me -- I doubt because I breastfed them.
  • Breastfed babies know their moms and will never confuse them with a sitter. -- OK. That's just rude. My babies were never confused. They were obsessed with momma. 
  • More convenient -- I don't think so. My hubby did half the feedings with formula. I suppose he could have done that if I pumped -- but that means I would have to pump. Hmmm... breastfeeding without even getting to hold my adorable babe? Not my cup of tea.
  • Breastfeeding requires the use of only one arm, so you can multitask! -- Wow. These are some talented breastfeeding moms. I always felt like I could use an extra arm.
  • You can nurse while sleeping -- True. But I could also formula feed while sleeping! OK, maybe I shouldn't advertise that...  
As you can see, it always rubbed me the wrong way when the lacto-nazis pro-breastfeeders tried to convince me that not only was breastfeeding the best thing FOR my baby, but that I should LOVE breastfeeding. I get the first one -- intellectually. I can read the research. That is why I lasted 6 weeks. Pure determination. But, don't tell me I will LIKE it. I didn't.

And I really tried to like it. I tried to convince myself I enjoyed it.  But, I didn't.

So, after 6 weeks of "breast is best," I had to go with "mom's sanity is best."


Rachel M. said...

nurse while sleeping??? what if you roll over on the baby? and they need burped when they are done, are they supposed to give you a big push to wake you up? That's crazy.

I struggled with my first to make it work and with my 2nd it came easy. I think our bodies work differently with each child and if yours was not into it that's fine. Now my husband struggles to give our son a bottle because he prefers me and I work full time! There is no easy way.

Unpolished Parenting said...

I only made it 5 months and it was definitely not something I "enjoyed" nor did I find it relaxing. The beginning was definitely the hardest but you do what works for you, and I'm a big believer in that!

Kristen said...

Give me a break! - I went in with my first all gung ho, It didn't work - the boobs would not cooperate despite about 10 women man-handling my boobs to make it work - I went home with an industrial pump and bled to make it work and it didn't - the moment I gave that baby a bottle he was in HEAVEN. I went in with the 2nd one and JUST SAID NO and got the evil eye, the third probably would have been the best breast feeder in the world, but because of my first experience I was way too scared to go there. I will never forget they day I came home with my 2nd, my husband insisted I take my son to the movies because he was out of sorts. ( I think he secretley wanted that baby girl all to himself) We stood in line, and we talked about his baby sister and these WOMEN turned around, sneered at me and said: "Clearly, YOU aren't breast feeding". I was so hurt and mad - and you know what? My three children are the healthiest kids I know - I think I have had to call off of work excatly 1 time in 13 1/2 years because one was sick. So there! :) DO NOT FEEL GUILT!

Ali@LastSplash said...

Well stated, even though I probably veer towards the breastfeeding nazi type.

In all seriousness, even though I am very much a BFing advocate and try to encourage women to give it a try, I completely agree when you say mom's sanity is best, and a happy mom = happy baby! I love my pediatrician's advocacy stance: "You should continue to breastfeed as long as it's mutually beneficial to you and baby." Sounds like you did that!

Domestic Goddess said...

I totally agree that you should do what is best for you. If you are totally stressed out and unhappy while breast feeding your baby will catch those negative emotions.
I couldn't breast feed with my first. I felt the guilt but it sure was nice to have hubby help. I breast fed number two for 7 months. After that I had had enough. I felt like a cow and wondered why I ever bothered putting a shirt on.
Good for you for going with what you needed to be a sane and happy mom!!!

Thanks for visiting my blog. I am now following you!


Steph, from Be Positive Mom said...

I went with my sanity, too! I lasted 2 weeks with each baby and will spare you the deails. You are right.. go with your gut, what's right for you/your family and forget the critics. They don't live in your body. Bravo KT!

Julia said...

it's so funny b/c i totally agree with you... and i BF for 6 months w/ the first and 9 months w/ the second... but i was NOT in love with it either. i did it to save money... yep, that was the reason. not to bond, not b/c i loved it. to save money on formula. i pumped endless endless hours, frustrating hours of getting only 1 ounce. but i thought i was a failure if i didn't try.

i'm glad i did what i did, but you're right, moms sanity is best

kt moxie said...

I'm so glad to hear that there are woman who feel the same out there! Even women who made it a lot longer than me!

Jennifer said...

Love your post! I lasted one week with my first and didn't even stress myself out with my second. I did not...even a it at all! Me, my babies and my husband were so much happier with formula. (And to my "friend" who said they would be dumber children without breast milk...Have you met my kids? If this is dumb, thank God!)

The Blue Zoo said...

I was a total breastfeeding mom. I was very passionate about it. For myself. I never tried to make anyone feel bad for NOT breastfeeding. In fact there were quite a few formula moms who tried to make me feel bad about breastfeeding! As long as the baby is getting one or the other and is thriving who cares?!

Rachel said...

I agree! I never actually let down while he was attempting to nurse. I pumped for 3 months. Once we were 100% formula, I was actually able to enjoy feeding my son, and bond with him during feeding time. It was wonderful!

I didn't do the WMW post this week, but if I did, I think my confession would be that I probably won't even attempt to breastfeed if we have another child.

Hannah said...

I am a breastfeeding counselor, and while I am extremely pro-breastfeeding, I do not down those who can't do it, especially if they really tried.

Honestly, the most CRUCIAL time to breastfeed is the first 2 weeks when baby's digestive system is still developing all the healthy bacteria in their tract that is needed for proper digestion. 6 months is the recommended minimum, but honestly if you made it a week or two, it's better than nothing. Make sense?

Thanks for following my blog! I'm following you back. :)

amie c said...

I know I am posting rather late but..........Mine got 4 months each. First one was only me for 4 months. Second one was mostly me and some formula. I hated it! First one wouldn't even take a pacifier, refused a bottle of any kind. All me every 2 hours until the second month, then maybe every three or 4 hours. Exhausting! Second would take a bottle from his daddy and a pacifier so it was much easier. But I still quit after 4 months because I did not like it. And I agree with you , A crazy mom is worse than formula any day .

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