I'm not exactly sure how I became such a breastfeeding nazi with my first baby. Somehow formula was evil, or at least an indication that I was a failure as a parent.
After having a few more kids, my views completely changed about nursing and formula feeding.
If only I could have seen things back then like I do now, I might have had a totally different, and probably more enjoyable, experience as a first-time mom.
I was so convinced that breastfeeding was the only way to feed my child that I actually did an elimination diet when I noticed her small "reaction" to what I thought was my breast milk. That meant I ate three to four foods for six months. Talk about losing the baby weight.
I also lost a bit of my mind. And myself in the process.
As it turned out, I had a foremilk imbalance and was nursing incorrectly for that condition. And thanks to a little support and education, I was able to remedy this and breastfeed successfully the second, third, and fourth time around.
But my first never took a bottle. We were tied together almost 24-7. And it took its toll on me, both physically and emotionally.
I vowed to not make the same mistake with my other children, and so they each progressively were fed more from a bottle, so much so that my fourth child had formula pretty much exclusively from nine months on due to my work travel schedule and my low milk supply.
I was happier. And less stressed. And a bit more well-rested.
And I was too busy with four kids to even entertain thoughts of guilt, no matter how many people raised their eyebrows at me (seriously!) or accused me of not being a breastfeeding advocate (really!).
I wish someone had just told me that doing the best for your baby means taking care of yourself too. And whether that's exclusively breastfeeding or exclusively formula feeding, or doing a bit of both, then so be it.
Your happiness matters too, moms.
Would you have fed your babies differently if you had to do it again?
Image via Goetter/Flickr
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