As we were talking she asked me about breastfeeding and confided in me that she had heard horror stories about it and was more than a little scared. She said people had told her that it was painful, difficult, and that everyone seemed to have opinions about the subject.
Well, this put me off! Why is it as women we are so hard on one another? Why do we feel the need to judge other mothers for their decisions? We should be building each other up and encouraging to our mommy sister!
With that being said, I am of the mind that everyone has different experiences and/or preconceived ideas about breastfeeding. While research does promote the benefits of breastfeeding, I don't believe bottle feeding is the end of the world. Every baby is different. Every situation is different.
If you are completely against breastfeeding, no one should make you feel like a failure. It really isn't anyone else's business (except your pediatritian) Aside from giving your child nutrition, it is supposed to be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your baby. How much bonding do you think will happen between a mom who is frustrated and a baby that isn't getting the food she needs? I personally believe that mommies have the right to choose what is best for their baby. If both mommy and baby will be happier with a bottle and formula then YOU GO GIRL!
If you are all for breastfeeding, then good for you. I hope you have a wonderful experience. Just remember, it can take some time to get the art of breastfeeding down. While nursing is a natural act, it doesn't always come naturally. Just keep trying and you & your sweet baby will eventually figure it out. Don't stress. It gets easier and easier the more you do it and it really is such a wonderful feeling, knowing that you are able to provide for your baby.
BOTTOM LINE: As a mom, you are going to do what you feel is best for you & your baby. You don't owe anyone any explanations.
When my son was born, I was told by many people to either strictly breastfeed or use a bottle, but not both. I was also told that Breastfeeding was the best thing to do and pretty much told that I would be a bad mom if I didn't! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!?!?! UGH anyway, breastfeeding didn't come easy for my little man and me. I had to go out and purchase an expensive pump to try to boost my milk supply, hire a lactation consultant, and I still had to supplement at first with formula. Guess what? It all worked out fine! Hudson is a healthy and happy 1 year old! He is tall and lean and strong! The lactation consultant (and I am really all for L.C's) had me using an iv bag filled with milk, a long thing tube, and a syringe trying to ultimately trick Hudson into nursing. I'll let you use your imagination on how that looked and went. Let's just say that was extremely difficult! I ended up just pumping for a while and giving Hudson bottles. After a few months, I tried nursing again, and it worked! Maybe we both just needed some time to adjust. Maybe there was just too much going on those first few days after his birth and nursing was just too much.... I don't know. All I can say is that starting at about 3 months we ditched the bottle and started strictly nursing (for his milk, eventually we added food to his diet) and continued until Hudson was 15 months old.
I guess what I am trying to say is if your goal is to breastfeed, try not to get discouraged. There are many many ways to get from point A to point B. It is OK! If you decide that breastfeeding just isn't going to work for you, then Hey, good for you for trying. Good for you for being a mom and having to make tough decisions.
My thoughts on breastfeeding and feeding in general:
- It isn't really painful at first. It is sore, but that feeling usually goes away. Using cream after each feeding really helps.
- Be sure to feed or pump often. If you don't you could end up with clogged milk ducts or mastitis. If your breasts get sore, hard, lumpy (you'll know), and/or red call your doctor. Pumping and using a warm compress helps alleviate the discomfort.
- Nursing pads are not only a great investment, but necessary. You can also use cut up strips of a burp cloth or folded up tissues.
- Even if you are strictly wanting to nurse, I would still invest in a pump for when you are away for any length of time or just cant nurse. You can get single hand pumps for around $30. Pumping even when you can't nurse helps maintain your milk supply and gives you milk to freeze and use later.
- Doctor Brown's Bottles really are wonderful for babies with reflux. They have lots of small parts to clean, but are well worth it.
- Avent also makes a good quality bottle and cleanup is a lot easier.
- If you want to freeze pumped breast milk, get milk specific freezer bags (found in the baby section of most stores). These will store your milk much longer.
- If you plan on pumping a lot, get a duel electric system like Medela double pump. They are expensive, but such a time saver.
- Hooter Hiders makes fashionable and easy to use nursing covers.
- For those using formula, Similac Sensitive was the #1 formula used by me and my friends. It was very gentle on the babies tummies.
I would love to hear your thoughts and stories about nursing.
Good Luck to all you soon to be moms! Follow your gut and do what ever you need to do for your baby. Only you know what is best for YOUR little one.