Monday, May 23, 2011

Breastfeeding - My Thoughts and Opinions

Among women, especially those in their childbearing years, breastfeeding can be a very heated topic. Up until my oldest child was born, I hadn't thought I had much of an opinion on it. As it turns out, I do.

With my son, I had just assumed that I would breastfeed exclusively until I went back to work, then pump as needed after that. What actually happened is that I gave up on breastfeeding the day after we came home from the hospital, tried pumping for maybe 2 weeks, and after that went to formula. As it turns out, for physiological and psychological reasons, breastfeeding does not work for me. I am, by necessity, a full-time working-outside-the-home mom. I have limited waking hours with my kids (and for doing housework), and I feel my time is better spent taking care of my whole family and getting quality time with them, than going through the problems I have in breastfeeding and pumping.

I tried breastfeeding again with my daughter, and had the same problems as before. That time, I went to formula by the end of the first week. I plan on 1 more child, and I will be going straight to formula.

I can hear the die-hards telling me any breastfeeding problem can be overcome, that I gave up too soon or didn't try hard enough. That's fine, they are entitled to their opinion. The fact is, I did what was best for me and my family. I firmly believe that, and I will not be made to feel guilty by the die-hards.

I feel that every new mom (medical conditions aside), should at least try breastfeeding. They should be given coaching if wanted, rather than having it forced on them. No mom should be made to feel guilty who has at least tried to breastfeed, regardless of her reasons for switching to formula. Yes, I agree that breastmilk is best, but formula quality has come a long way, and there is no medical proof that formula feeding is, in any way, "child abuse."

I also feel that, while I support moms who choose to breastfeed in public, they need to keep themselves covered while doing so. Personally, I am uncomfortable with a woman exposing her breasts in public. (For any reason!)

Both of my children were exclusively formula-fed after the first 2 weeks, and I have yet to notice any ill effect. I also have no regrets.  I will continue to support moms in whatever decision they make, whatever their reasons, because let's face it- being a mom of an infant is hard enough without the fanatics breathing down your neck.

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