This is such a sensitive topic and something that so many people have very intense opinions about. I want to get ahead of all the comments I am going to get about why I chose not to breastfeed and say this is a very personal decision that every woman should make without the input or criticism of others. I have personally received a lot of judgement and unkind comments from strangers about my decision that is honestly none of their business. But I feel like I need to share the reasoning behind my decision so that anyone else going through what I went through understands that they are not alone.
As I have discussed before, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) at 16. The diagnosis and the start of medication changed my life for the better in so many ways. I was on Adderall for 8 years before I got pregnant. Taking my meds was a part of how I got through every day and I know I am better when I take them. I was unable to take my medication during my pregnancy because it can cause harm to the baby. I was not going to take the risk of possibly causing harm to my child, so it was an easy decision to stop taking my medication. After I delivered, I was able to start taking my medication again, but only if I was not breastfeeding.
I have read all of the information on the benefits of breastfeeding. Breast milk is the best thing for your baby. There are studies that show how it can help both mom’s and baby’s immune system (the studies that say it increases IQ have been debunked). However, it is not possible for everyone. In my case, I knew I would be a much better mom once I started taking my medication again. I struggled less with anxiety and I was able to get through each day and meet the needs of my baby. I chose not to breast feed because it allowed me to be a better mom to Jackie. In my mind, that balances out all of the other benefits of breastfeeding.
I am so lucky to have an amazing support system in my husband and extended family when it comes to this decision. No one pushed me. No one told me I was making the wrong decision. They all supported me every step of the way. Interestingly enough, I was not breastfed as a baby and neither were my brothers. My mom was so sick with us when she was pregnant, she was unable to produce breastmilk. Our pediatrician has also been great. They are supportive of us formula feeding Jackie and have not made an issue of it at all.
I am in awe of moms who do breastfeed. It is incredibly time consuming and requires a lot of mom. Because I am not breastfeeding, The Husband gets to feed Jackie. After we came home from the hospital, The Husband got up with Jackie in the night for three weeks so I could sleep. This made a huge difference to me recovery wise. Jackie is also happier because she is formula fed. She is a BIG eater. She can eat up to 8 ounces in a sitting (at 8 weeks old!). There is no way I would be able to keep up with her if I was breastfeeding. So I am keeping Jackie happy and healthy by formula feeding her.
Our doctor recommended that we use the ready made liquid formula for the first 30 days. Jackie liked the Similac Advaced formula, which I was able to buy from Amazon Prime, so that is what we went with. After we ran out of that, we moved onto powder.
We loved the Advent bottles and the Como Tomo bottles. I have read that the Como Tomo bottles are best for if you are both breastfeeding and supplementing with bottle feeding. Jackie really likes both brands of bottles so we have used both.
I do hope that anyone out there who is thinking about not breastfeeding or is already not breastfeeding finds some comfort in this. You are not alone. You made your decision for your own reasons and no one can or should make you feel about it.