I think I always knew, even way before getting pregnant, that I would likely not breastfeed.
I cannot tell you why I felt that way. I’m certainly not against breastfeeding. In fact, I idolize women who have, and are able to do so! It’s hard work, time consuming and something you have to do alone while your husband sleeps! I never admitted that to anyone before.
In conversations with other moms to-be or friends, the topic always came up and I was never comfortable enough to say, I don’t plan on breastfeeding. I think society creates a norm that even though “fed is best”, the expectation is that you at least try. So, that was my plan. I was going to try. I got the pump and all the parts and told my doctor I was going to attempt it. Side note, I was pregnant with twins…what was I thinking? I didn’t think it was possible, but the internet told me otherwise. I just needed the right accessories. From pillows to help twin moms breastfeed to extra boob straps for the dad to wear with pre-pumped breast milk, the list was endless and overwhelming.
At the hospital after my c section, I was wheeled into the post op room. I was still on lots of pain medicine and could not fathom having to function enough to feed a baby, never mind two. About 15 minutes later, nurses came in letting me know we would plan to start getting the babies used to the breast. I was exhausted, so loopy from the medicine but there I was, attempting to get two babies to latch. I will never forget the nurse telling me to “hold them each like a football”. Feeding one baby in each arm, holding them like footballs, not even an hour after having major abdominal surgery…WHAT? I lost my patience and asked them to stop. We went to using the tiny formula bottles they have and throughout my stay, those were easiest. I also tried the plastic suction nipple shields on my boobs to assist with nursing but between the exhaustion from surgery and carrying twins for 9 months, it was not happening. It was not a pleasant experience for me. The lactation specialist visited our room almost every day and I always had an excuse for her. Every time she left; I would cry. I felt like the hospital staff were pushing so hard for me to make this work when I knew in my heart it just wasn’t our plan. The next day, I got up the courage and told her I was not going to breastfeed; she never came back.
Though it broke the bank with twins, choosing formula was the best decision I ever made. It freed me of endless hours of the stress with trying to feed two babies at once, needing to pump while they slept and having to always feed them alone. Choosing formula gave me freedom and sanity. I needed both of those things so badly at that time in my life.
With our third, it wasn’t even a question. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I knew I would give him formula too. I have an amazing husband who is so helpful and formula feeding is something we can both do while managing our two other kids, our dog, and our full-time jobs. All of my kids have been well fed, healthy babies who turned out just fine… unless formula is the reason why my eldest son wishes he was Simba from the Lion King and constantly roars?!