Having Issues Breastfeeding? Its OKAY!

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Are you pregnant and unsure about breastfeeding? Or possibly a new mom who is having troubles breastfeeding and feels guilty about using formula?

 

IT’S OKAY!

Breastfeeding is not for everyone!

When I found out that I was pregnant with my son, I was always unsure about breastfeeding. For some unknown reason, I felt weirded out by the idea. I read tons of articles about the benefits and how it was basically the only option if you want a healthy baby. The articles also included glorious stories about how connected I would feel with my baby while he was nursing. Even though I was unsure about it, in my head I was going to breastfeed my son and it was going to be a wonderful experience.

I was SO wrong.

After my son was born, even in the hospital, I struggled with breastfeeding. I tried everything the lactation consultant recommended: nursing right after birth, nursing every 2 hours, pumping, nipple shields, different positions… nothing seemed to help. It was not for a lack of trying… oh I tried. And guess what? He screamed… and cried… and screamed some more. Even when feeding he was upset. It wasn’t until my mom suggested that he wasn’t getting enough milk that I asked the nurse about supplementing and what a HUGE difference it made. After just one small bottle of formula he was sleeping like a baby (please excuse the pun).

The lactation consultants shamed me for supplementing with formula.

Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that in most cases, breastfeeding is optimal. I also understand that if you don’t continue to breastfeed and give an infant a bottle, they often prefer the bottle because they are less work for the baby. I also understand that most lactation consultants are there to help and that I just got one who was not very understanding. Either way, it made me feel like a failure for not being able to breastfeed my newborn son. I wanted to be able to breastfeed him. I had read every article that I could find and they all told me that in order for my new son to be healthy, I could not use formula. This made me feel awful and terrified that by giving in and using formula, that I was a bad mother.

I decided that I would rather feel guilty, than let him starve.

Even after bringing him home, I tried both breastfeeding and pumping every 2-4 hours to try to establish a good milk supply. It never came in. Upon asking my doctor a couple of weeks later, I learned that milk never coming in correctly happens to quite a few mothers. It was then that I gave up on my dream to have a wonderful breastfeeding experience and began offering formula full-time. Ever since then, he has been a completely healthy and happy baby!

Formula is becoming more and more similar to breastmilk.

They are making formulas now that are so close to breastmilk that a baby can get similar nutrition without breastfeeding. That is not to say that breastfeeding still isn’t optimal for  nutrition, especially in the beginning. But all in all, formulas are now being made to be extremely nutritious and very similar to breastmilk. They also are iron fortified, so formula fed babies do not need to take an iron supplement like breastfed babies often do.

Formula feeding doesn’t have to break the bank

Formula can be expensive. It is easily our highest cost as far as baby care goes. In the beginning, we started out using Similac Advanced. He didn’t personally do very well on it and was very gassy/fussy, so we switched him to Enfamil Gentlease. He did great on this, but we ran into hard times and were looking for something a little cheaper. I had heard great things about Target brand Up & Up formula. I did a TON of research because I was nervous about switching him to a store brand formula. I found out that the store brand formulas have to go through the same FDA testing and regulations as the name brand and are extremely close in both ingredients and nutrition content. I decided to make the switch and have not regretted it one bit! It is half the price and my son does great on it.

 

Don’t feel guilty!

Whether you have medical reasons for not being able to breastfeed, your milk does not coming in correctly, or you just simply do not feel comfortable with it, you should not feel guilty! I now have a happy and HEALTHY four-month old son who I feel completely connected with and love dearly. While breastfeeding works well for so many mothers, sometimes it just does not and that is okay too. All formulas now have to be approved by the FDA and go through rigid nutrition testing before being sold. Even though they do testing and include all needed nutrition for the baby, if you are still worried, they also have some formulas that are specifically made to be closer to breast milk.

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