We hear it all the time. Breast milk the best option for your baby. It's the healthiest. It will keep your baby healthy. It will help him/her grow big and strong. It's great bond to have with your baby. Nothing can replace that feeling of soothing and comforting your child while nourishing him/her with your body.
Yeah, that's all well and good until you have to go back to work and you can't take a 30+ minute break every couple hours to pump. Then you get to slowly watch your body fail you and make you feel miserable for failing your baby as your boobs dry up.
When he was born, I swore we'd never use formula, because I had boobs and this was their sole purpose in life, right? 3 days later, his doc tells us to start supplementing because my milk hadn't come in yet and he was seriously jaundiced. Well, f*ck. Ok. Fine, we supplement, but breastmilk is always first, then formula if needed.
Then, when he was 3 months old, I went back to work. Let me just tell you right now: pumping in a darken classroom, hearing students in the hallway, hoping that no one knocks or needs to come in for any reason is incredibly awkward. Indescribably so. I managed to pump for about a week. Then Thanksgiving break from school. By Christmas, he was exclusively formula.
I tried to convince myself it was ok, that it didn't bother me that my supply dried up and I couldn't feed my baby anymore, like I was supposed to.
In all honestly, I felt like a big fat failure. Hubby and I had several conversations about it. He was very supportive. Researched ways to increase my supply, then later, found research stated that our son would be just as healthy as breastfed babies when I was panicking and blaming myself for his first cold at 6 months. I kept saying that if I were still breastfeeding, he wouldn't be sick. Hubby comforted me as best he could, but I was sure it was my fault and I had failed our son.
"Breast is best." That is great, except if you can't breastfeed. Then it's just a guilt trip.
For the record, our son is now 11 months old. He'll be 1 on the 21st. He's very healthy, walking like a drunken person and eating more than me most nights. Breastmilk is great. Formula is great too.
You do what is best for your baby. I plan to breastfeed our next child for as long as I can as well. Now, whether that's 3 months or a year, that all depends on my body. Formula is a lot easier, though; expensive, but considerably less awkward with company and not nearly as painful for my body.
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community