original photo credit: Flickr
As a first time parent, you want to do what is "best" for baby. I was so happy I was able to breastfeed, had a great supply, no latch issues. I felt like everyone was my personal little cheerleader when they asked if I was breastfeeding & answered yes proudly.
I breastfed without a cover, I was that loud & proud "breast is best" girl. Everything was great in boobie land for the 8 months I breastfed my daughter. Then came the day I went back to work & just didn't have time to pump or the energy to keep up with the demands of quotas & a hungry child. I had felt so pressured that breast milk was the only option for my child that I felt like formula was poison... Part of me had such anxiety that I was doing the wrong thing & that I would be hurting her by feeding her formula & the other part of me felt like I had done my part & 8 months was good enough. 4 months of formula wouldn't kill her until she could transition to real milk, right? It was tough for me to feel like I was a good parent even though I was stopping breastfeeding.
There, I said it. The dirty words. The words many feel, but few admit and even fewer get help. The day I yelled at my toddler in a rage over spilled milk (literally), I knew I needed help. I didn't want to be a silent sufferer. I made the decision to help myself & stop breastfeeding my newborn so I could take a medication. I wasn't comfortable with the possibility of it passing through breast milk & having my baby consume it. But without it...
I knew I couldn't be the best mom I could be for them & that guilt hurt worse than the guilt of formula feeding. Although I have thoughts now and again that maybe I won't have a strong bond with my son or maybe he'll love me less because I am not breastfeeding him, I have to remind myself that is a crock of crap. We still have a great bond and his little milky smiles looking at me with a bottle in his mouth mid- feeding are some of the highlights to my day.
With my daughter, I was such a judgemental mom who frowned upon moms who didn't breastfeed, that they didn't try hard enough. Secretly, I felt superior. Not once did I ever consider that maybe their overall mental health was more important. Not until the tables turned and I had to make that decision myself did I realize that formula feeding is not going to be the end of the world and those moms are doing the best they can. You are good enough. What is best for you and your baby is good enough. Happy, healthy mom and baby is all that matters.
Jessica Linville is a 20- something mom of 2 beautiful kiddos & married to an active duty member of the Armed Forces. Jessica served 6 years as a Paralegal in the CA Army National Guard & is currently in the Army Reserves as a Finance Specialist. She enjoys volunteering with numerous veteran organizations & writing resumes for fun! She loves curling up with a book reading & her 2 German Shepherd dogs, Rhino & Riley. Oh & wine, can't forget wine. She loves a nice glass (or two) of wine.