I've gotten emails and comments from many readers over the times asking me why I didn't/don't breastfeed my kiddos. It's quite a hot topic, isn't it? Although, maybe it's not anymore. It's a topic that has been beaten to death, that is for sure. It seems to me like most people breastfeed these days...most just assume that everyone else does. So, when asked if I'm nursing and I say "nope" I often get a raised eyebrow.
I get it. It's what has been proven to be the best choice and yadda yadda yadda. I get it.
But, you know, I feel like asking someone if they are going to breastfeed is a personal question. And usually the people asking me are strangers. These people don't know me from a hole in the wall. But they want to know if my baby is going to be breastfeeding? It just strikes me as odd. Maybe it's just me?
Did you know, a stranger scolded my cousin for her choice to bottle feed her baby. She was at the grocery store and a stranger commented that she should be ashamed and that "The breast is best." My cousin was shocked and told her to mind her own business. Well, I would have added a few more choice words to the conversation!
First of all, what we choose to do in our own lives is our own business and not up for others' judgement or advisement unless asked for. Furthermore, this woman had no clue about what my cousin's circumstances are. What if she were seriously ill and on medications? What if she were suffering from depression, and again, on medications? What if she'd had breast cancer and had a double mastectomy? What if she just well didn't want to breastfeed? Do people ask themselves these things?
We can't know what someone is going through just by looking at them. We never know the back story. That being said, I now think carefully when I feel like I want to judge someone when I see something I don't agree with. Unruly child? Perhaps the child has a behavioral disorder and isn't just a pain in the neck. Crazy person cut me off in traffic? Perhaps they are rushing to get to the hospital to see their dying mother (although unlikely! Hmph). My point is, we can't rush to judge others and we must let their choices be their own and be supportive. Or, "zip it" if we don't agree (once we know the whole story of course).
All that being said, I should end the post here.
But, in the spirit of sharing I'll continue.
I'm not breastfeeding because I suffer from Pressure Urticaria. It's a condition that developed when I turned 22. In a nutshell, I am allergic to pressure on my skin. Any weight or pressure on my skin causes a burning itchy hive to appear there. They also cause pain and swelling. I'm often covered with them. I've spent the past 11 years dealing with this ailment and there is no treatment. No cream helps; no special concoction can fix it. It is what it is. I'm always itchy. Always swollen. Always scratching and bleeding. Needless to now say, adding a newborn attached to the breast would make the condition WAY WORSE. I don't think I need to go on.
I knew I wouldn't ever breast feed because of this, so I never got the feeling that I SHOULD be breastfeeding or felt guilty about it. I DO get defensive because people have judged me over it when they don't know anything about me or what kind of mother I strive to be.
Truthfully, I LIKE bottle feeding. It's easy to do (We make up a bunch of bottles to store in the fridge each day and take one out to warm up well before it's time for the feeding). I always know how much food is being taken so I don't have worries. I still feel bonding, even if it's not so physical. And Chris gets to participate in our newborn's daily feedings. I go to bed nice and early these days (shooting for 8:00 pm)...and Chris does the feedings that go until midnight. I do the feedings that go after that. This way, we each get a chunk of sleep. I get lots of rest so that I can function positively the next day. Important when you suffer from depression! I enjoy the convenience of being able to come and go as I please and not have to worry about being the only source of food...see? Lots of positives. Obviously, I'm not knocking breastfeeding. But, I'm here to say that bottle feeding isn't a horrible alternative. I've had so many friends beat themselves up when breastfeeding didn't work out for them for one reason or another. That made me sad for them. Why is there so much PRESSURE? It's just not right. I just wish everyone would just let the whole topic drift off into the wind. But here I am, discussing it. AGAIN.
Here's my 2-cents: You do what ya gotta do. The kiddo has to eat. You gotta make it happen one way or another. You go ahead and choose what is right for you, your kiddo, your family, and your situation. When that all aligns, you have what is best. And I applaud you, whatever that choice is. If the kiddo is able to eat anything and grows, you are in success! Otherwise, I'm sure you are dealing with bigger fish to fry.
I'm off to prepare the next bottles for my 3-week-old now! It's been 4.5 hours since the last feeding; time to go again!