Merry Christmas, order FFFs! This ultra-positive, sick strong post from FFF Jenny is my gift to you. I hope all of us can be as truly fearless about the way we feed our kids as Jenny is, in the long run.
Yesterday, I wrote down my entire breastfeeding experience. I was somewhere on page 5 when I decided to just delete the whole thing.
This is what you need to know: Breastfeeding, for me and my daughter, did not work out. After about two weeks of being born, she was on straight formula.
It’s weird summarizing an experience that changed my life into two sentences. I have written countless journal entries on this subject. I have talked extensively about my experience with all my friends, my family, new moms, experienced moms, strangers in online forums. My therapist. Surely, I would have more to explain than just those two sentences.
But here’s the thing. It was on page five that I realized I wasn’t just sharing an experience. I was trying to justify my actions. I was trying to justify why an educated woman who grew up knowing “breast is best” would be giving her child formula. And the thing is, no matter what I went through, no matter what choices I made, no matter how much I may have struggled, the end result really didn’t matter. I’m giving my daughter formula. There will always be someone who will say I could have tried harder. Someone to say I made the wrong decision. Some to point out all the disadvantages of formula, and all the benefits of breastfeeding that I’m missing out on. I know that this will happen. But I also know:
1) My daughter is nourished. She has all the nutritional requirements she needs to grow and be healthy.
2) My daughter is loved. She has a mother that has her best interest at heart, even when making hard choices. Especially when making hard choices.
3) My daughter is happy. And she has a happy mother.
4) My daughter and I are bonded. I ensure we maintain a close, attached relationship.
5) My daughter’s needs are being met. I can not answer every cry with a bottle, and I am forced to learn what soothes my baby and how to meet her needs appropriately.
What I will say is that I did not come to the decision to formula feed lightly. It was a decision that really took a toll on me. I battled over this decision. I felt like a failure over it. But ultimately, I had to do what was best for my baby and I. And despite all I knew about “breast being best,” in my case, it really wasn’t. I encourage breastfeeding and I am going to take what I learned from my past experience and apply it in the future. But I will not feel guilty if it doesn’t work out—instead, I am thankful that in today’s age, babies have an alternative source of nutrition that is safe, healthy and they can thrive on.
And that is why I am a fearless formula feeder.