Gosh this is such a touchy subject with moms the world over. But I thought I’d weigh in with what I could probably guess a LOT of moms are thinking, and not saying out loud.
The truth is not painful.
It just is. I hear a lot of moms lament because they could not breastfeed. I hear a lot of moms shame the ones who chose not to. But what I don’t hear, are the mom’s who breastfed, cheering on the formula feeders for 1) FEEDING THEIR BABY and 2) Making the best choice for their OWN family.
Yes, by now we all know the benefits of breastfeeding. (If you don’t, I’m sorry, I hope that rock you’ve been living under the last ten years was cozy!) But there are literally a million reasons a lot of moms can’t, or don’t want, to breastfeed. And guess what? None of those reasons make them a bad mother. Not a single one.
My own experience is not unique.
And that’s the good part. The bad part is, the moms who can and do breastfeed like to fling their boobs all over the internet to prove boobs make milk and it is good. That’s great and all, but it can easily make the mom’s who don’t or can’t breastfeed feel like there’s something wrong with them.
If you’ve ever sat in a dark corner attached to a breast pump with tears streaming down your face begging the universe to just make your boobs produce milk and beg your baby to latch, then you understand what I’m saying.
But here’s the thing.
When I see the bags under the eyes of breastfeeding mamas who literally haven’t slept in days, I grieve for their loss of sanity with them; but I do not envy them. In fact, two kids into this whole mom gig and I truthfully see my inability to breastfeed either one of them a blessing in disguise.
Is formula freaking expensive? Uh, yeah. Is it gonna feel like we got a pay raise when my daughter turns one in July? Heck yeah. But not being attached to a pump, my husband being able to help during the night (which he does every night by the way, he is my hero and a saint) and the freedom to practice self care by letting others help is PRICELESS.
In fact, I would go so far as to say I am a better mom because I did not breastfeed my children. That’s right I said it. Not better than other moms, but better than the mom I would have been as a sleep deprived, sore, exhausted breastfeeding mom.
Give yourself a break.
If you can’t go another night without sleep, give it up.
If you feel yourself slipping away little by little because you need to be away, and alone more often; give it up.
If you feel in your bones that you’ll be a better human being for it, and your kids will benefit from a mom who’s whole again; give it up.
And don’t feel guilty about it. Mom guilt is stupid. I don’t know who came up with that crap or why it’s a thing. But let’s just all take a page from Elsa’s book and LET. IT. GO. Go get your hair done. Your nails did. Grab a friend and say “lets have a meal, without our kids.” And for goodness sakes, if breastfeeding feels like torture to you, then it is, so give it up. Repeat after me: You are not selfish.
I will attest to having two smart, sassy children who far exceeded every milestone ever expected of them. They are loved, they are cared for and they are fed; just as much as any breastfed baby. So at the end of the day feed your babies, and let the rest of it go.