I have thought a lot about this subject, having mothered three infants. But now, you all will know how I really feel about it.
Breast is best.
I would never argue that formula is better. In fact I hate formula, it’s annoying to have to have it, it stinks, and it’s expensive.
I could not breast feed. I tried. I tried very hard. But with each and every child the feedings took an hour to an hour and a half and they wanted to eat every two (sometimes three, those times were amazing, thank you Coen) hours. This meant a 30-60 minute break between feedings. It also meant not much sleep. None of my boys were breast fed past three months (Malachi and I suffered together the longest, Simon lasted six weeks, Coen five (though Coen was breast fed the most because he was not supplemented at all, and the others were)).
I couldn’t handle the stress, and I couldn’t handle the idea that they were not getting enough and that’s why they ate for so long. What I wouldn’t give for a 10 or 15 minute feeding! I did all the things right, and followed all the suggestions.
But I’ve had body issues. And I don’t mean self-esteem issues. I mean, I’ve had problems with that part of my body (of which I will not go into detail). The problems were solved with surgery, and I hadn’t thought about it much since high school. I was meeting with a nurse practitioner a couple of years ago and she suggested the surgeries might be the cause for not being able to nurse effectively. It made sense and it helped me deal with the guilt I was having from not being able to nurse Malachi and Simon long. It helped me greatly (though not fully) when I had to stop nursing Coen.
The pressure to breast feed Malachi, especially since he was a preemie, was great, from so many different directions. It caused so much guilt and pain when it didn’t work out. Both Malachi and I spent most of his first three months crying. It was a horrible time, and I got so little sleep that I don’t remember much of it. I’m sad now, that my memories of his first three months are laced with tears and stress. I vowed I wouldn’t live like that with my second and third. It wouldn’t be fair to myself or my family members. So I quit much sooner with Coen and Simon. Both times it was choosing what was best for the whole. Everyone was much happier, though the guilt was pretty strong until I finally let go.
I don not feel guilty that I couldn’t breast feed. Yes, I agree, breast is best. I would have nursed all of my kids for 6-12 months if I’d been able to. That would certainly have been ideal. But it was not possible. And I am not going to dwell on it.