There’s a crazy amount of pressure put on new moms to breastfeed. Believe me, I experienced it first hand. Women are made to feel inadequate if they don’t succeed with it, which is definitely not what a new mom should be worrying about. We all know the phrase “breast is best,” it’s on all the handouts from the hospital and it’s all over the internet as well, only putting more pressure on moms to “tough it out.”
I toughed it out for 8 days. For 8 days, I went through the pain, engorgement, latching problems, sleepless nights, the tears. And I wonder if I would have saved myself from the physical and emotional pain that came with breastfeeding if I wasn’t doing it because it was what I was “supposed to do.” Every time I fed my son (which was sometimes as often as every 45 minutes) I would cry out from the toe curling pain from his latch, even though I was doing everything that the lactation consultant told me to do.
I was also dealing with recovery from delivery. I could hardly sit down without being in a tremendous amount of pain. I had zero appetite, and would go until 5pm before realizing I should probably eat something. Even going to the bathroom was a 20 minute task- with the pain of going and cleaning up- it was like a crime scene in there. (Sorry- but I feel like everyone needs to know just what women go through.)
I was miserable. I was not enjoying this sweet time with my newborn like all these other moms were. I cried every day. And I cried when I fed my baby his first formula bottle, because I felt as though I had failed. I remember googling to try and find some support for moms like me who switched to formula and finding hardly anything. Why is society shaming moms for doing what is best?
My son is almost 7 weeks old, and he now has a mom who is happy, more in the moment, and better rested to be there for him. My baby is also happier, gaining the weight he’s supposed to, and is doing great with formula feeding. I do not regret making the switch. And no mother should. We need to normalize moms who formula feed because of latch issues, or because of poor supply, or because they simply just don’t want to. It’s not only their choice, but it’s also no one else’s business.
I hope any moms that are reading this can feel reassured that they made the right choice for their baby, and to not kick themselves for choosing to stop their breastfeeding journey. Just remember- fed is best!