Monday, August 11, 2014

How Breastfeeding Was Ruining My Life

Last week was World Breastfeeding Week 2014. My babies and I did not participate. However, I feel like I should write a few posts about my breastfeeding adventures and celebrate the 8 weeks that I was able to provide breast milk for my boys. It's quite an accomplishment! But at the end of the 8 weeks, we switched to formula and haven't looked back. Formula feeding is what works for us - and it took me 8 weeks and a boatload of feelings wracked with guilt to finally accept that.

The boys were breastfed as exclusively as possible. They were only receiving about 1 bottle of formula a day (actually, that bottle was given at night usually) and the rest of the time they were breastfed and then fed pumped milk from a bottle. The odds were stacked against me from the beginning but I was also "blessed" with an oversupply of milk (actually turns out that it's as much of a curse as a low supply!) My babies were premature, they had tongue ties, I did not get to hold them for several hours after delivery as they were in the NICU for the first few hours of their lives. Not a good start for breastfeeding success.

I was enjoying the quality time with my babies. The relaxation of breastfeeding. The feeling that I was doing what was the absolute best I could do for them. But there came a point where I just couldn't do it anymore - I was killing myself. My husband was supportive through the whole 8 weeks although I know he was not completely kosher with not being able to feed them (except for their pumped bottles) and he felt like he was missing out and not able to bond with babies as well. There was this little bit of tension between us because of my insistence to breastfeed even though it was not going smoothly.

Emmett enjoying play time!

Breastfeeding slowly started ruining my life. I dreaded going to bed at night, knowing that I would be up in less than 2 hours - by myself for most of the feedings at night - since my milk did not seem to keep them full at all. I dreaded getting up in the morning - usually giving up the idea of sleep around 5 a.m. and I dreaded the thought of being home with them all day by myself, going through the same vicious cycle. Spending an hour and fifteen minutes feeding every 2.5 hours is rough.

It wasn't until I stopped breastfeeding and switched solely to formula feeding that I realized what I had done to myself. I had been so caught up in the idea of breastfeeding them that I wore myself out and was so exhausted that I was physically unable to appreciate my babies. The very week that we switched to formula I found out just how much time and effort I had been devoting to something that may or may not have a significant outcome in the end. I had so.much.more free time to appreciate and play with my babies. A small bit more of sleep. A much happier husband.

Oliver loving tummy time... and thinking I'm the funniest person in the world!

I am one-thousand percent guilt-free about how I feed my babies at this point. But then there's always those people that can take a nice day and ruin it, oh, immediately.

A few months after these lovely breastfeeding adventures, I came across a completely ignorant article on breastfeeding superiority. I have never seen such nonsense in my life. According to this article, I am lazy. I play the blame game. And I definitely don't have my priorities straight. If you get a chance, read this article just so when you come across a "Sanctimommy" you'll know what she looks like and you'll know to stay away from her. Far, far away. I almost didn't want to link to this article because I don't want to perpetuate it. But it's just...ugh.

I am not lazy. I won't even go into that one. Sure, I love a day on the couch binge watching River Monsters and napping intermittently... maybe some food in there at some point. But I'm not lazy.

I may play the blame game. Fair enough. But why do I even feel like a need to defend my choice as to how I feed my babies to anyone? I know that continued breastfeeding was not in my cards, nor did I want it in my cards after a while. 

I do have my priorities straight. I'm feeding my babies. I'm taking care of myself. I'm not loathing motherhood and feeling like a boob-feeding slave to my babies. I can live my life and feed my babies at the same time - thanks to formula. Seriously. Happy, healthy mom = happy, healthy kids. I refuse to be discouraged in my choices by people who have not walked in my shoes. 

I would love to hear your feeding stories and choices as well as what works for you. No judgements, I promise! :-)


  1. Have read several of your entries and love them. This one was particularly close to my heart. I did the opposite (breastfed exclusively) and looking back should have switched to formula or at least supplemented lots (I wore myself out with endless pumping and was too "dedicated" to my cause to realize it). If we have another baby....I'll probably chose the path you've taken. Enjoy your babies.

    1. If I had another baby (not happening) I would honestly have to consider whether I would want to try breastfeeding again. I probably would. But if I didn't like it or decided I didn't want to anymore, I wouldn't beat myself up.

  2. Just randomly came across this blog post. I wholly agree. I did pretty much the same thing with both my girls and am staunchly pro-choice when it comes to breastfeeding/formula feeding. Between a tendency toward postpartum depression and a fixation on breastfeeding (partly due to the extreme pressure exerted by others), I was driving myself into fits of anxiety over the fact that breastfeeding was not going well for me. My husband watched this and had to convince me with both kids to go ahead and switch to formula. What a great decision! I felt so much more relaxed and like I could actually enjoy being with my babies. Don't hate on the formula feeders, people! I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt good about switching to formula :-)

    1. It sounds like we have pretty similar stories! I definitely enjoyed being able to appreciate and play with my babies more than I enjoyed breastfeeding :-)