Before I even got pregnant, I decided I would breastfeed my children. I was convinced it was the best option: natural, healthier, and convenient. Why bottle feed if I was literally designed to feed a baby with my body? Breast is best, right?
I'll be completely honest; other than those three factors, I didn't know much about breastfeeding. I didn't research while I was pregnant. I didn't take a nursing class. I was clueless when I picked out a breast pump and breastfeeding essentials for my registry. But I was convinced I was going to do it and be successful.
Fast forward to after giving birth. The nurses advised me to attempt to breastfeed my son but he wouldn't latch. They kind of brushed it off and said, "Oh, maybe he isn't hungry yet. No biggie. You can try again later." So I figured that was normal.
About an hour later, they took him to the nursery while I cleaned myself up. A nurse came to tell me that my baby's blood sugar was low and he was jittery, so they went ahead and gave him some formula. Okay, cool. I'll just try again later...
Later came and he still wouldn't latch. A nurse came in to guide me, but after my son had been screaming bloody murder for about ten minutes, she told me to just bottle feed him for now and she left.
I ended up bottle feeding him the entire hospital stay. We figured out that my nipples were just too flat so they brought me nipple shields. I had no clue what to do with them so I just laid them down. The next nurse seemed shocked that I hadn't been wearing them all day, but I honestly had no idea.
Maybe I should have spoken up and asked for more help, but I didn't realize at the time how much help I really needed. Once I got home, I tried breastfeeding with the shields. It worked! I was so glad my son and I were finally able to experience the bond. But it would soon be cut short.
For the life of me, I couldn't get my supply up. I was able to produce maybe one ounce on a good day, from BOTH breasts. It would take me an hour to pump that and he'd slurp it down in thirty seconds then scream for more.
I ended up quitting and switched to formula. I struggled with this for the first few weeks. I cried, thinking that I had failed my son. This was never in my plans. I wanted so badly to breastfeed but my body just couldn't do it.
To this day, I see so many women bashing us mothers who feed our babies formula. "Breast is best," "you're killing your baby by giving him formula," "why bottle feed when you can breastfeed," and the list goes on. To those women (not that I owe anyone an explanation), I tried. My body wasn't able to produce enough for my son, so it was in our best interest to switch. Am I proud? No. But I'm also not ashamed.
FED IS BEST. Whether you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding, formula or breast milk, it doesn't matter. What matters is your baby is getting the nutrients he needs, one way or another! Stop bashing. Formula isn't the lazy way out. I promise I would love to not have to wash bottles all day long or spend hundreds of dollars on formula every month. But I do what I have to do to make sure my son has what he needs.