In 2017 when I got pregnant with my daughter I knew I was going to breastfeed. There was no doubt in my mind about it. Breast is best right? Not for me! Breast was horrible. Breast caused my anxiety to skyrocket. I do not regret that I made a decision to quit breastfeeding one bit.
The Decision To Breastfeed
At the time I was pregnant with my daughter, I was an infant teacher. The ages of my babies were 6 weeks- 4 months old. Those were prime ages to be breast fed.
A good majority of the moms did it and seemed to absolutely love it. I had several friends that did it, people from church, basically every celebrity did it.
So why shouldn’t I breastfeed too?
I researched as much as I could on breastfeeding and started registering for all the right gear I would need.
Overall, I spent hours trying to find the best pump that our insurance would cover. I bought bottles that were designed for breastfeeding and purchased all the right stuff, down to cruelty-free nipple cream. We signed up for the breastfeeding class as well.
Kevin supported my decision 100%, but he also never pushed me. He just wanted me and my daughter to be happy, and as long as she was fed, he was good.
By the time my daughter arrived, I felt ready for this new journey! I felt prepared, I did my research and had what I needed. What could go wrong?
My Experience Breastfeeding
Ha was I 100000% wrong!!
Our struggles started immediately in the hospital.
My daughter couldn’t latch and I was going to have to use a shield to help her out. The shield worked fine, but it was not a great feeling. I struggled to get it on myself for some reason. Giving birth, I had zero shame in my body.
I didn’t care that Kevin saw everything. But for some reason as I struggled to put a damn shield on my nipple I felt embarrassed. Why? Because he had to do it for me. It was not what I had envisioned.
However, I was determined that she and I could do this. I could do this. My milk came in extremely fast, awesome! At home, I got up and nursed her and every time Kevin joined me to see if I needed help.
Finally about when she was 4 days old, the shield and I started to get along. Maybe this wouldn’t be so bad.
But my anxiety was skyrocketing in at rapid speed.
Kevin only had 2 weeks off, all the feedings were on me, and the baby blues hit hard. I was at the point that I cried every time my parents would visit and then leave.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be alone, I was fine with my baby. I knew how to care for a baby, I was just so stressed and anxious. I wanted to feel like I wasn’t so alone. It’s not that I felt depressed, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be with my baby. I just didn’t understand why I was having such a hard time to feeding her.
Over her first 3 weeks of life she nursed constantly.
She started to get progressively more fussy during feedings and wanted to nurse all the time. I felt trapped and felt like the world was on my shoulders. Overall, she was a perfect baby.
She just wasn’t gaining weight and never seemed satisfied.
Why I Quit Breastfeeding
Around week 4 I was exhausted mentally and emotionally. I thought she was just cluster feeding, but after a few days knew it couldn’t be that.
She was on my boobs constantly. Getting off the couch to do anything seemed impossible. I did learn to get up and move around obviously, but it would be nice to go to the bathroom without a kid attached to me.
After a heart-to-heart with Kevin we decided to just try formula.
Giving my daughter that bottle of formula felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.
Birds were singing, the Heavens opened up and shined down upon us, I felt warm and fuzzy inside.
You may think that was a major over-exaggeration, I can assure you it’s not.
I felt so incredibly relieved that she was satisfied. Her belly was full, and my heart was full.
I tried nursing a couple more times, but I knew deep down we were done. She accepted the bottles of formula totally fine.
She was just happy to be fed. Did she care it wasn’t breastmilk? No.
Did she judge me for quitting only into her first month of life? No.
Neither did her pediatrician, my husband, our close friends. They all said the same, you tried your best and what matters is that she is fed and happy.
I did have some random people ask if I had tried XYZ for my milk supply.
I’m sure they were trying to help, honestly though it just ticked me off. Is breastmilk good for baby? Absolutely!
But formula is not the devil it’s made out to be. I didn’t see the point in going extra miles to just attempt to get some more breastmilk in her when I was absolutely miserable.
My body just wasn’t producing enough for my baby and she needed an alternative. My mental health also just could not handle it. I was quick to accept that and never regretted that decision.
Will I Try Again?
Nope! The decision to quit breastfeeding was truly one of my best decisions in life.
I have zero intention of breastfeeding again with my other child or if there were another surprise baby. I already have planned on declining lactation visits in the hospital and will tell every nurse who gets near me that our plan is formula only.
I loved being able to hand the baby over to someone else to feed so I could make lunch, sleep, or run to the store.
Kevin was able to bond more with K, visitors were able to feed her, and I could leave the house for some me time.
For me, it was a release of anxiety, it was freedom, it was happiness.
Once I quit breastfeeding, I felt like I could really start enjoying the feedings and daily routine. I didn’t dread when she would cry for a bottle, I was able to enjoy our time together.
My decision to quit breastfeeding is solely my own.
I would never ever bash breastfeeding. To you women who can produce milk and feed your baby for as long as you want, you’re amazing and I am so impressed!
I think women’s bodies can do such amazing things and the fact that we can give life and nurture our children is truly a gift.
However, that gift broke me. It brought back my anxiety far worse than I could have thought.
Breast is not best for everyone.
I don’t understand how all of a sudden it has become such a toxic environment for moms when they choose how to feed their babies.
Please know, that I fully support all breastfeeding moms, formula feeding moms, breast and formula combo, exclusively pumping, etc. Personally, fed is best. Fed makes a happy baby, happy momma, happy family.
If you want more information on breastfeeding, formula, or a combo check out fed is best. They are a foundation to help support families in their journey on feeding infants.
This article was originally featured on my former blog as well as Filter Free Parents.