I love data, research studies, and expert opinions. When I found out I was pregnant, I downloaded apps and purchased three different books about healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. When it came to caring for my newborn, the clear consensus was breastfeeding was the most natural and healthiest choice. The problem was, I had a very strong aversion towards the thought of nursing and nothing about it felt natural for me. I’m not against breastfeeding by any means, I just knew it was never going to be for me.
The more reading, thought, and time I put into this topic, the clearer it became that I wanted to formula feed my children from birth.
Unfortunately, mothers who choose to formula feed without attempting breastfeeding first receive a lot of negative comments and opinions from others. If you have the opportunity to breastfeed, and you decide not to, this apparently opens the door for vocal judgement. I was frequently lectured (not educated) about my decision not to breastfeed and I have spoken with many women who confided that they didn’t want to breastfeed but were pressured into it by family or their medical staff.
The role of your medical team is to provide information and let you make the decision, without their bias. You will be the person taking your baby home, it is not others’ decision how to feed your baby, it’s yours. I knew formula feeding was the best choice for my family but I was told more than once that I wouldn’t bond or love my infant if I didn’t breastfeed.
But let’s be clear and honest: not all women feel an instant bond to their newborn, whether they breast or bottle feed. Had I forced myself to breastfeed when I didn’t want to, I can only imagine how negatively that would have affected our bond.
As an adult who was only provided formula from birth, along with my three other siblings, I can tell you that we are healthy, productive members of our community. My two children are thriving toddlers, who don’t have allergies, and have the same health and cognitive abilities as their peers.
If you are a mother on the fence about breastfeeding, I want you to feel confident about the decision you make. You are not alone; there is a healthy, caring group of mothers who weren’t interested in breastfeeding either, and that’s okay. You are welcome and safe amongst our ranks and you should never feel ashamed to choose what works best for your family.