I'm done breastfeeding. I will never again use my body to feed another human being (barring some sort of crazy Donner Party-esque event). That does make me a little sad, but I am so proud and grateful that I was able to feed both of my boys for as long as I could.
The question, dripping with disgust and judgement, as though you were talking about dancing naked in the middle of the highway during rush hour traffic. Why, yes, yes I am still feeding my child arguably the most healthy and best liquid in the world for him.
I know World Breastfeeding Week is officially over, but I've still got boobies on the brain and I thought I'd share my favorite recipe for delicious and effective Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies. These are an adaptation from some recipe I found on Pinterest years ago, and I have to say that not only are the absolutely yummy, they really do boost my supply whenever I eat them.
August 1st through the 7th is World Breastfeeding Week. Last year, I posted a little about the history and motivation behind WBW and I focused on being supportive of breastfeeding moms without criticizing those who use formula for whatever reason. This year, I am celebrating nearly 11 straight months of breastfeeding with Kylar
I was initially slightly offended by the push for breastfeeding because I, like many moms, struggled to bf my baby and felt incredibly guilty about it. You can ask my hubby, there were several occasions where I was in tears because Connor was sick and I felt like if I had been able to keep bfing, he wouldn't have gotten the cold I brought home from work. Moms are held to extremely high standards these days, and everyone has an opinion about everything and for some reason they think they have the right to tell you everything you're doing "wrong" for your baby. It took me longer than I'd like to admit to tell those people to fuck off. These are my babies and the only people who have a say in how they are raised are the two people directly involved in their creation. Everyone else can suck it.
Now, back on topic. WBW seems to be a very supportive movement to help encourage bfing and bring a focus on lactation consults, tips, advice, and other things to try and help make the whole experience easier and more successful for those that choose it. I think that's great.
Bfing seems like it should be easy. That's what boobs were created for, right? It should come natural and easy for everyone. HA!! Not even kinda true. Yes, for some it's easy. They have an endless supply, their baby latches like a pro, and they never have any bumps in their breastfeeding road. That is not actually the norm. There are at least 100 things that can go wrong and make it hard for a momma to feed her baby from her bosoms. That's ok! Maybe you baby doesn't latch. Maybe your supply doesn't ever come in, or isn't enough to satisfy your babe. Maybe you see your boobs as a fun thing for your partner and the idea of using them to feed someone freaks you out. Maybe you have some other reason and can't or choose not to bf. That's OK!!
Formula was created to fill a need. It's very effective and will help you to raise happy, healthy babies, without a doubt. For decades, doctors pushed formula over breastfeeding, because they believed the science said formula created healthier babies. Now, they say the opposite. Yes, boobs do amazing things, reading the baby's saliva and altering the milk to fight off any antibodies the baby has encountered. That's fantastic. However, not breastfeeding is still a safe, healthy and very valid option. The truth is, without formula, thousands (if not millions) of babies would die every year.
Raise awareness about all the help that's available for the struggling bfing momma, but don't discount those who use formula or diminish their choices because you saw a billboard once that said (in big BOLD letters) that breast is best. Fed is best. How you feed them shouldn't matter as long as they are healthy.
I have been told that I am a very "crunchy" momma. While, yes, I do subscribe to some of the crunchy momma choices, I never considered myself crunchy. I'm not trying to be eco-friendly. I'm not overly concerned or aware of the chemicals in processed baby food or disposable diapers. I'm not concerned that formula feeding isn't as good for my babies, or that "breast is best" as they say. I'm cheap.
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