Donna - posted on 11/04/2013 ( 239 moms have responded )
I want to start by saying that I'm not trying to offend anyone with my opinions. This is truly how I feel about breastfeeding. I understand that many women find it to be a "unique bonding experience" and they love it. To them, I say I am envious.
I agree that breast milk is natural and has health benefits. But I'm tired of women making it seem like formula is "poison" and judging other women who can't or just won't breastfeed. I think this country is extremely hypocritical with breastfeeding expectations. We as moms are expected to exclusively breastfeed until our children are 6 months old or ELSE. Yet, the only two places who support us in our efforts are Nordstrom and Ikea to provide us with a place to nurse. God forbid you are at a restaurant or in your car or ANYWHERE else and you get looks like " ew I don't need to see you breastfeed HERE". What are we supposed to do? Our children are hungry and this is how they eat. Just the other day on a top NY radio station, the discussion was how people were offended and/or disgusted that a women was breastfeeding in a restaurant. seriously? And in the hospital after giving birth, I wasn't given the support I needed. As a nurse myself, I know that nurses are too overworked to sit down and teach women to breastfeed. But the lactation consultants had me sit in a room with 4 other women and learn how to do it. I'm sorry but I'm just not the type of person to whip my breast out. And the breastfeeding classes that I took pre-delivery were anything but helpful. I would have appreciated some warning about just how difficult it is and how much of a commitment it is and how a lot of women get mastitis and how it's okay to take antibiotics while breastfeeding for the mastitis, etc.
I suffered a ton of pain in the beginning of my journey and kept waiting for it to get better as they all say. I hated that no one else could feed him. It's hard to be recovering from the whole birth process and not get to have some relief. I never had a problem producing milk - which turned into my biggest problem. Despite my efforts of sticking to it, my son would either fall asleep at the breast or pull off crying every other second. Eventually, mastitis caught up to me. Antibiotics for 10 days. Then just as I was finishing the antibiotics, mastitis again! More medication. That was when he was 2 months old. Then a month after that, a breast lump appeared which turned out to be a cyst that I had drained. I spent a week worried sick that it was something worse. I've never been to the doctor more times in my life. 3 OB visits, one primary care visit and 3 breast surgeon visits all for my breasts!
I've been almost exclusively pumping for 7 weeks now, which I HATE. I nurse my son in the middle of the night which usually ends up in him getting so frustrated that he falls asleep again. I pump 5 times a day = 3 hours of time that I can't hold him. And it means that I can't be out and away from the pump for more than 4 hours. Why do I continue to torture myself? Because other moms make me feel so darn guilty. But why? I was formula fed and I never had allergies, never had eczema, was sick the same amount as any other kid. And I know plenty of breastfed babies with an array of issues.
I gave my son his first 2 oz of formula this past weekend and I feel GREAT. I take it day by day but plan on having him off breastmilk by 6 months. I need my sanity back. Call me selfish but I'd rather spend the time interacting with him and taking him to new places instead of being a slave to my pump. I just wish new moms were given more support and not made to feel so bad about giving formula.