So this last week was National Breastfeeding Week, I know what you’re thinking, this is a thing? I didn’t know either, but I guess they have a day or week for hot dogs, doughnuts and slurpees, so I shouldn’t be too surprised. I don’t think I would have ever known about this “holiday” if I didn’t move to Ithaca where, I kid you not, I’m the only person I’ve seen feeding my baby from a bottle. “Oh…you don’t breastfeed?” is a common question. When I pull out a bottle to feed Sky, I literally try to sit in a corner and not let anyone see. I feel like I’m smuggling contraband to my daughter or something. I scheduled her a six month check up at a new doctor, where they asked if my baby was bottle-fed or breastfed. Five minutes later, after I spewed my whole spiel about how I used to breastfeed and all of my apologies and justifications for why I wasn’t still, I got set up with a lactation specialist….. Really? No, I haven’t breastfed for months and the last thing I want to do is have a lactation specialist try to start me up on the pump every hour again. Ideally, I would have loved to breastfeed my baby for a whole year if I could, but it wasn’t in the cards for me. I tried taking the herbs and teas, doing all of the regimens to increase my supply and had no success. I was exhausting myself trying to get enough food to my baby. I wasn’t enjoying any of it. I wanted to actually enjoy being a mom and feeding my baby. I know statistics prove that there is nothing better for your little one than breast milk, but my pediatrician also pointed out some stats that show how much formula has evolved and is closer than ever to real breast milk.
My baby is happy, healthy and still has a special bond with me, even though I feed her from a bottle. (Plus, an extra perk of bottle feeding, you can leave them with grandparents for longer than a few hours! 😉 ) People will strongly encourage you to breastfeed your baby, and if that’s what you want, I encourage you, too! What people don’t realize is that, when you have tried feeding your baby that way, and it isn’t working and you’ve made up your mind to bottle feed, all of their “encouragement” can actually be really annoying and unwanted.
Some people will call it “natural” vs “unnatural”, when really, your maternal instinct is the most natural thing about this child rearing process. You know what is best for your baby, because you are their mom. So whether you feed from a bottle or a breast, make sure that feeding your baby is an enjoyable experience and what YOU as their mom feels best about.
PS- If you do choose to bottle-feed, you have to get the Dr. Brown’s bottles. They are amazing! Not going to lie, cleaning them is twice as hard and keeping all of the parts together is a constant battle, but you will be glad you have them when your baby doesn’t have a gassy fit!