Breastfeeding Wouldn't Matter to Me So Much If I Could Do It All Over Again

Breastfeeding vs. Bottles - who cares?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

breastfeeding, formula, newborns


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Freela Freela

I'm happy with my bf'ing choices overall. I do regret that I stressed so much over solids. My first two kids were always tiny and I always was told to feed them more fattening foods. I had to go to my doctor for extra 'weigh ins' and I stressed constantly over what and how much they were eating. Ultimately, they were all fine... they were just on the small side. I'm 4'11, what did the doctor expect? When I had my third, I vowed not to stress over it... and as it turned out, she was the big one out of the kids and never dropped off the weight chart so the doctor never worried about her. And it was nice not stressing over how many bites she took at mealtime!

nonmember avatar kkcc

I felt like a failure when my beat milk failed, and it turns out that the failure was mostly my own fault.. I had my first daughter back before the big breast feeding movement and was often made to feel ashamed for bfing in public, so I spent a lot of time pumping in bathrooms, and stressing about getting her to a private place. They also required I pump and bottle feed in the hospital when she had jaundice because she was so bad that they didn't want her off of the pad or from under the light for any amount of time. All the stress I put on myself and some serious nipple confusion because of the jaundice I just couldn't get my supply where it needed to be. This time I'm going to go with the flow.I'm going to try bfing, and refuse to feel ashamed of feeding no matter where I am. If I succeed I'm super excited, but if not I refuse to let it dictate my life again, or how I feel about my ability to be a good mother. My daughter and I have an amazing relationship, she's wicked smart and never gets sick. I'm okay with whatever happens, and I will admit I hope the relaxed feeling I have going into it will make things easier.

Blues... Blueshark77

The pressure for me to breastfeed was enormous. Nurses and doctors were constantly asking me after my c-section. I wanted to. My baby never took to the breast really, even after seeking help. I pumped like crazy so I wouldn't have to use formula and used a shield on the rare occasions I could get my daughter to latch (she'd only latch with a shield). Lactation consultants and nurses would sigh and pretty much tell me that wasn't good enough. By two months I couldn't keep up the pumping schedule and her increasing appetite. It was so stressful, plus I felt like I didn't have enough time to spend with my baby since I was always pumping and cleaning equipment. Still I took 22 supplements a day and drank a ton of water to increase my supply, but it didn't work. She is 3 1/2 months now and only gets 1-2 ounces of breastmilk a day, the rest is formula. She is a really healthy, happy baby and that is what I focus on. 

keelh... keelhaulrose

Kkcc- I had a similar issue with my second, who was admitted to the NICU after birth because she wasn't breathing. I pumped, but I always had low milk supply, even with my first (who would feed for an hour every other hour because that's how long it took her to get enough). She had a feeding tube at first, but as soon as they thought she could handle it they started bottle feeding her unless I was there. With a young child and a lack of babysitting I could only get to the hospital a few hours a day, and she got the bottle more than the breast. No matter how much I tried (with the horrible lactation consultant who insinuated I was a horrible mother for not being able to breastfeed and not producing enough milk) she never got a good laugh on me, and for my mental health (after I had a complete meltdown in the hospital) we bottle fed with whatever milk I could produce and supplemented. I never felt like a failure until I couldn't feed my daughters myself, but I wouldn't let them go hungry, especially since the younger one was on the verge of going back into the hospital for the first few months she was home.

Simon... SimonzKedge

Yes, I am feeding my other babies differently. My 1st switched to formula at 5 months because I went back to work. My second I nursed until 13 months. My third is still nursing at 16 months, and I'm expecting in Jan so will probably be tandem nursing then. I learned to not offer bottles like I did with my first, because that messed up our nursing relationship and to treasure each moment since they grow too fast (my oldest is almost 17yrs now).

irish... irishmama1007

Yes I am feeding my babies different. My 1st was mostly formula by the time he was 1. My 2nd nursed until he was 18months and I will have my 3rd any day now. I hope to exclusively nurse until solids are introduced and then nurse until 2.

amazz... amazzonia

I just don't understand what's so hard about breastfeeding is sad that women completely lost touch with their selfs

nonmember avatar Mary

Wouldn't change a thing. Had 4 children and actually I breastfed each a little longer than the last. I didn't see it as a burden - I felt it was a privilege. Don't get me wrong, there were tired days, and sleep-interrupted nights - but I had the wisdom to realize these were precious times that I would some day miss. I was right. Did I give any formula? Yes, some - like most of us who are working. But the majority of by children's diet was breastmilk.

Andre... Andreamom001

Yes, if I could do things differently, I would not have supplemented my second son with formula and he would have gotten donated breastmilk instead of formula in his lact-aid.  My first son I breastfed until he self-weaned at four years old--I would not change a thing! 

My second son was adopted, and if I could change anything, I woudl have started pumping sooner before he was born so I would have had more milk from the start, and I would have lined up donated breastmilk so he would not have had ANY formula.  I do believe the formula has caused him health problems that he woudl likley not have had if he was exclusively breastfed (eczema, gluten intollerance, and dental caries).

I DEEPLY regret feeding him a single drop of formula (especially since it is mostly GMO corn syrup, cow's milk proteins, and oil--junk food, basically, but FOOD, yes!).  Babies can survive on it, but do not truly thrive on it.  I wish I had known about the virgin gut research, too.

I SO wish my second was exclusively beastfed like my first.  At least he only had formula supplementation for four months and is still breastfeeding at 3 years old.  :-)  Will definitely pump more and avoid formula if I adopt again.

Sewin... SewingMamaLele

I would have put up a bigger fight when the hospital insisted on supplementing my second child after birth.   Other than that... I'm completely happy with my 3 EBF'd baby experiences. 

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