Thursday, February 4, 2010


Infant Riley
While pregnant with Riley, I read up on breastfeeding as often as I could. Every article I read said that breastfeeding is essentially what every good mother does; formula feeding is only done by selfish and incompetent mothers. I wanted to be a good mother, so I figured, of course I'll breastfeed. When Riley first got here, I tried, but neither of us were enjoying it. I remember thinking after meeting with the lactation consultant everything would work out fine, but it didn't. Riley was always upset and impatient. She kept trying to latch on but could never manage to do it. I remember dreading to feed her one night because it was a battle that I always lost. But I forced myself to keep at it. I started crying when she started screaming because I felt like I was failing her. Leif took Riley, and began feeding her formula. At the same time, he looked at me and said: "Margaret, you don't have to do this. I;ll support you if you choose to give Riley formula. You're not a bad mother". And right then and there I decided to stop attempting to breastfeed, and pumped instead. I pumped for a good 6 weeks before switching Riley to formula completely.

After I made this decision I got a lot of negative reactions from people - comments like "You didn't try hard enough" to "I don't understand why you wouldn't give your child whats best for them". My own mother was upset about my choice to bottlefeed. I remember being at her house and a friend who was pregnant stopped by, and they both questioned me about why I gave Riley formula. They hinted that I didn't try hard enough, that I wasn't patient and was only doing what was easiest. Honestly, I think in some ways breastfeeding is easier than formula feeding. It bothered me that no one listened when I tried to explain and no one cared to support me. I hated when people asked "How long did you breastfeed?" because it was always the same reaction, they always gave me the same look. It was hard for me to understand why people cared so much about how I fed my child. Why couldn't they simply try to be supportive, even if it wasn't something they agreed with?

For awhile I felt guilty. As if I was the worst mother ever. But then I would remember that my child was healthy, that she was growing and developing above and beyond what was expected. I loved feeding her, even if it was from a bottle, and I loved that Leif was able to feed her so I could sleep at night :) Sometimes I'd get up with him and watch him feed his daughter. I cherished those moments. I wouldn't go back and change things. Not at all. I do wish family and friends had been more supportive, but at the end of the day, I knew that my child was being fed what was needed to help her grow and develop, even if it was formula.

Everyone keeps asking if I'll breastfeed this time around. If it goes better than the last time, then yes; but if it doesn't, I'm not going to sweat it - and I'm definitely not going to beat myself up over it. I'm just hoping for the best:)


Anonymous said...

I feel your pain with attempting to breastfeed the Wee One. I kept getting horrible infections, there was no lactation consultant, and it just wasn't working. Most people told me I didn't try long enough too, but thankfully James Bond gave me the same speech Leif gave you. =)

I am going to try my hardest to breastfeed this time around, and hopefully with all the support I have around me now I can be successful. I am wishing you good luck as well!

Nikki said...

As I've learned after becoming a Mom myself - you do what is best for you, Leif, Riley & Beck!! {{HUGS}} XOXOXO

Sweetydarling72 said...

I breastfed all four of my children for different lengths of time BUT each and every one had to be supplemented with formula because I apparently never could produce enough milk for them to thrive on. They were always hungry even minutes after feeding (I could never even pump more than an ounce at a time and that was with pumping BOTH breasts!)

No one can argue breast feeding IS the best option for any baby but I wish people WOULD be more suppportive of the formula feeding when things just aren't working out because a good mother (as most of us are) tries to provide the BEST nourishment they can. Whether the baby is having difficulty latching, or there are constant infections in the mother or if (like me) you just weren't blessed with the ability to feed a village with your current milk production - I'd rather see a baby drink formula than struggle or STARVE because someone else decided it wasn't time to stop trying.

Do what is best for the baby based on the situation, not on what others think.
- Rania

Shona said...

One thing I have learnt is that it is impossible to do something which will please everyone.
You are the best person to know what is best for you and your baby.

Patty said...

I don't think you are a bad mom if you don't breast feed. There are a lot of advantages but if it didn't work and oh well. I still commend you for trying with Beck! You are a wonderful mom to be so distressed about giving your kids the best :-)

Anonymous said...

You do what's best for you. It's your body. Don't listen to other people that try to force you into something. Do what you think is best for you and your baby.

The Bailey's said...

I haven't read your blog in awhile and I'm kicking myself! Although we have been pretty sick, as you saw.

Anyway, I had almost the EXACT same story with Clint. Tried and tried, bleeding nipples, improper latch, supplementing with a syringe, on and on. When my milk finally did come in, it was barely anything. I was in tears and my husband and sister in law both sat me down and had that same talk that I wasn't a bad mother if I chose not to breastfeed. I pumped for 6 weeks. On my fourth clogged milk duct and after making an average of around 13 oz a day pumping 7 times a day (yes, I set alarms and even did it in the night! boooooo) I called it quits.

I have hated those "Are you breastfeeding? Why not? You should have tried harder" comments. And it didn't help that I have a cousin who had her daughter in October and is still breastfeeding, so I was constantly being compared to her. ugh. Can you tell this pushes a button of mine?

Okay, longest comment ever. But I plan to do the same with my next. Give it the good ol' college try, but if it is as hard as it was the first time, I'll be using formula and concentrating on making my baby healthy!