Hi! I'm Ashlee and I blog over at "Growing Up A Thomas". I'm a wife to Chris and mom to an 18 month old ball of energy named Luke. I call myself a "recovering perfectionist." I'm your typical type-A, undiagnosed borderline OCD, schedule crazy, list making, get-er done woman.
Because I’m a “planner” by nature you better believe I had all sorts of “plans” for my baby. I read every book, took every class, and read every internet message board I could find about “babies.”
And all those things I swore I would never do? Guess what I did them. My labor didn’t go as planned. (You can read the full birth story here). But it turned out perfect and I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I gave Luke a pacifier when he was barely 4 days old. And we were done breastfeeding by the time he was 5 weeks old. Yep, my kid was a formula baby. (Insert horrific gasp here.)
I can’t tell you how much guilt I had those first few weeks after we quit breastfeeding. When anyone would ask if I was nursing, I would respond with, “No, because…” and launch into a 5 minute explanation of why it didn’t work out. I thought for some reason I needed to justify my choice.
I finally came to the realization (after people stopped asking – of course) that it was my choice and I didn’t owe anyone an explanation. I was happy and healthy and my baby was happy and healthy and that’s all that mattered.
Breastfeeding didn’t work for us for a number of reasons but I won’t get into them here because they aren’t important. What’s important is that there was another option to feed my baby and keep him healthy. Praise the Lord. Formula isn’t a “bad” choice, it’s just different. I was formula fed and I turned out alright (at least I think so.)
I think moms in general are too hard on themselves and WAY too hard on each other. Breastfeeding, formula feeding, whatever the choice may be - we need to extend grace to one another and offer support, not judgment. The last thing a new mom needs is to feel judged for a decision she has made. What a fragile time in a woman’s life! Why not take advantage of it and offer life-giving encouragement instead of harsh criticism.
I used to think I would most definitely breastfeed my next child, because that’s the response I felt you were supposed to give after you failed the first time… “It’s ok. I will try harder with the next one!” But now that I think about it, I really don’t know.
I believe there are pros and cons to each choice and I think that you do what’s best for your family. And what’s best for your family could change with each child. Am I going to give it a shot? Certainly. I don’t think you can argue too much with the health benefits of breast milk. But will I beat myself up over it if I can’t? Absolutely not. But I will make that choice when the time comes and stand firm in my decision that I’m doing what I believe is best for my baby.