There are few debates among mommies that get more heated than the topic of breastfeeding. I am unapologetically not a breastfeeding mom. It is not that I do not see the merits of breastfeeding. It is certainly not that I do not love my child and want the very best for her; it is simply not for me.
I planned on formula feeding since before I was pregnant. When I was about eight months pregnant, I began to think about it more and more, and I told myself that I would remain open to the idea of breastfeeding. I continued to plan on feeding my daughter formula, but I figured if she was born and I looked into her eyes and changed my mind, well, that was my prerogative. However, when she was born, I didn’t change my mind; in fact, I was not even the first person to feed her. The nurse said, “Since you are not breastfeeding, I am going to let Daddy give her the first bottle!”
In retrospect, that was a bit snarky, and, if I was not exhausted from just giving birth, I am certain I would have had an equally snarky reply but…bygones. You see, from the moment she was born, there has not been a moment where I have wanted anything but absolute perfection for my little Bean, and there has not been a single moment that I have considered breastfeeding. There has simply never been a time in my life where it has seemed appealing. In fact, if I am completely honest, it seems icky to me. Every part of it is unappealing from the chapped nipples to the nursing bras.
The fact of the matter is, if at any point I thought I was depriving my Bean of what she needed, I would have changed my mind in a flash. However, I researched formulas, I read everything I could get my hands on, and I talked to my doctors and mom friends, and, in the end, I knew she could get everything she needed and more with formula. My little Bean had all of her nutritional needs met with her formula. I did not have to give her supplements like what are occasionally needed with breast milk. I did not have to worry about how much she was actually drinking.
Feeding the Bean formula was the peace of mind I needed to know I was doing what was best for her. She is strong and healthy and, well, the most amazing little girl. She is now sixteen months and I am struggling with the idea of taking away her nighttime bottle because her bottle time is a bonding time for me that I have cherished since her very first day. When I give her a bottle, I hold her close, and we rock as I sing softly in her ear or whisper to her all the hopes and dreams I have for her life. She drinks her bottle with one hand and rubs my face with the other, and, with every passing moment, I fall more deeply in love with her and believe her love for me grows as well. The idea of that bonding time over her bottle coming to an end crushes me as I watch my little girl growing up too fast, and it also reinforces my belief that that bottle feeding her was the right choice. For me it was the only choice.
You see, if you want to breastfeed, that is what you have to do; that is your body choosing for you, but I have talked to too many moms that did not enjoy breastfeeding but did it anyway because of a myriad of reasons. They grew to dislike feeding times, and they did not look forward to feeding their little ones the way I looked forward to feeding the Bean. Breastfeeding never appealed to me, so, rather than taint the experience of feeding my daughter in a way I did not enjoy or want to be doing, I fed my little Bean formula, and I never looked back because it was just what she needed.
Bottles of Formula: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bottle-feeding.jpg