While I was pregnant and after I had my son, hands down the most common question I was asked was “are you breastfeeding?” It didn’t matter if these people knew me for five years, or five minutes they felt they should know whether or not I was breastfeeding my son.
I made the decision fairly early on in my pregnancy that I wasn’t going to breastfeed and I was comfortable with my decision. I knew that it was the best choice for our family. But for some reason I was feeling guilty for my answer, “no” I was not breastfeeding.
I was familiar with the benefits of breastfeeding, I have a sister who nursed all three of her children and I admired her, she is one of the best mothers I know. I commend mothers who breastfeed. It just wasn’t for me.
I went through many emotions about not breastfeeding. Then one day I realized I was letting other people in my head and making me doubt my choice. After that day, I never doubted it again and when someone asked if I was nursing, I wouldn’t hesitate when I said “no.”
Then the greatest thing in the world happened, I had my son.
I loved bottle feeding. I loved that my husband could help with feedings, heck, anyone could help with feedings. But in the middle of the night, I enjoyed the extra two hours of sleep I could get when it was my husband’s turn to feed the baby.
It was an easy transition to go back to work. I didn’t have to worry about where I was going to pump at work when the only privacy I could get was the bathroom.
I liked that I knew how much he was drinking. I didn’t have try and guess, I knew when he had two ounces or four.
He has had his share of colds, but he also managed to not get RSV or pink eye when it made its way around the day care when he was six months old.
I don’t know what our bond would have been like if I had breastfed. What I do know is that I have a two-year-old that when he gets hurt, he asks for his mama. When he gets up in the middle of the night, he asks for his mama. When I walk in the room, his face lights up and he runs to me with his arms wide open and says “mama, I love you.” For me, that is all I need.
There are many reasons that people may not breastfeed. Some are like me and just choose not to, some really want to and have difficulty. Whatever the reason is, the most important thing to remember is that they will still be a wonderful mother as long as they give the baby the most important thing for a healthy life, and that’s love.