Choosing Not To Breastfeed

I wanted to breastfeed my first. I tried for about a week. See, what happened was… No, really though. I was uneducated on milk supply and how to pump. So I did it all wrong. I’d feed him, then I’d use a manual pump. It hurt, and I wasn’t getting enough milk for him. After a few days, I got cracks in my nipples, then ended up having to give him formula. Even after my nipples healed, I just continued to formula feed him because he was fed and it was so much easier. With my second, I went on medicine right after delivering her and couldn’t breastfeed her because the medicine would be in her milk supply. I didn’t think much about it. I just wanted my baby and I both to be healthy. Now I’m pregnant with my third child and I planned on breastfeeding. During this pregnancy, I was having mental health issues and needed to be on my medication during my second trimester. My doctor told me the baby would be okay, so I started to ask about breastfeeding on my medication. He said that would be fine too. I even went ahead and ordered a breast pump. Started looking up breastfeeding videos on YouTube and joined a couple of breastfeeding support groups on Facebook. Knowing that breast milk is really the best way to feed your baby, I was excited to start and give this baby what he needs and bond with him. Then I started having doubts about if the medication I’d be on would really harm my child, being that there actually isn’t extensive research on it. So at my next doctor appointment, I asked another doctor at the practice that I go to, her opinion. She looked in her medical book and told me that there are reports about my medication making infants lethargic and not getting enough nutrients when mothers breastfed them. When I heard that, I decided I’d better not risk breastfeeding. That I’ll just formula feed. That that would be the best choice for my newborn, myself and my family. She said that there were other medications I could try that wouldn’t transfer to my breast milk supply and the baby would be okay. But I am not willing to try another medication when I’ve been stable with the ones I’ve been taking for around 3 years now. After giving birth, I’d be especially vulnerable. It’s just not worth the risk of the new medication not agreeing with me and having to switch back while recovering from the pregnancy and delivery. I’d be putting my family at risk of me not being okay and having to be hospitalized.

As you can tell, it was a lot for me to consider, but the decision wasn’t really a struggle for me. It was concise. With my first two, I had so many people bully me into breastfeeding. They told me that it would be best for my baby, that there were other medications I could be on. Now I know for sure what’s best for my family and I. If I am not okay, my children won’t be. Not to mention my husband, who has to deal with the situation if I get sick. And find someone to take care of the kids if I need to leave for a couple of weeks to get stabilized. It’s best to learn your own body, to know what’s best for you and your family, to plan ahead, and not to let anyone tell you differently when you know better.

Did I have a little bit of guilt about choosing not to breastfeed? Yes, initially. Especially because it’s what I planned to do. Even going so far as to order the pump through my insurance and do the research so I could be successful this time. My mom exclusively breastfed all eight of us. My siblings and I. So looking up to her, I wanted to do the same for my kids. There are so many women; Doctors, lactation specialists and mothers alike, who like to shame women when they choose to formula feed their children. To me, that’s wrong. Personally, I have had to just give up the idea of having that experience, knowing that I need to think of my family as a whole. If it weren’t for health issues, I’d definitely be giving my baby breast milk. And until you’re in my shoes and have been where I’ve been, you’ve got no right to judge. At 34 weeks pregnant, I am so looking forward to meeting this little guy. I’ve prayed, and prayed. I’ve claimed the promises of God. My husband and I are planning together, making moves for our family. And we are in a good place. The Lord will provide. I choose to trust him with this decision.

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2 Comments

  1. I breastfed my first but for my second I ended up introducimg formula a LOT earlier. Just had to, life is busier with two. She is happy, healthy, our bond is strong and life is good. Do what you gotta do, momma!

    • Yes! Ideally for me, I would’ve exclusively breastfed all of my kids. Just doesn’t go that way all the time. Thanks for reading <3

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