Best Is What’s Best for You
In the months leading up to our little guy’s birth, the question “Are you going to breast feed?” came up quite frequently. Surprisingly, it wasn’t just docs or my mom who did the asking … but rather what seemed like anyone and everyone. I had read all the baby books, so I knew “breast is best,” that you “should” nurse until a year, that you should not supplement with formula, that bottles and pacifiers could cause “nipple confusion”, etc, etc. Choosing to breastfeed was not really a decision for me … I just kind of always knew I would do it. As with most mothers, the thought of it before the baby was completely bizarre, but regardless, I planned on giving it a go. My son latched right on after birth and my milk came in just fine. I was one of the lucky ones, for whom breastfeeding came really easy. The first few weeks went great. I enjoyed the extra quiet time we got to spend together and secretly loved knowing that only I could nourish him.
As the weeks passed, I started to feel trapped … I needed to be able to get out and get a little time for myself. I needed to be able to get out for dinner with my husband. So, I did what all good breastfeeding mamas are supposed to do … I got a pump. From day one, I hated pumping … actually, I despised pumping. It is hard not to feel like a cow when you have a machine extracting milk from you … ugh. I could not stand it. While breastfeeding had gone really well for me, pumping did not. I could barely get any milk and the whole process of freezing it in baggies was just too much for me. Also, because I obviously had to be pumping in between feedings, I could not help but feel like I was either nursing or pumping around the clock. I just could not do it. So I made the difficult decision to … gasp … supplement with formula. It was the best decision I ever made. It allowed my husband to be involved in feedings, and gave me the opportunity for a little “me time” when I needed it.
All said and done, I breast fed exclusively for about two months, then slowly began supplementing with formula, and completely switched from breast to bottle by four months. In the eyes of the La Leche League or the other hardcore breast feeding coalitions out there, I guess maybe I was a failure. I could care less. I feel like a success. I gave it a shot, and it was a great for a while. I then made a change that was great for baby and me.