Three years ago at this time I was almost seven months pregnant with Eddie.
Although I was blogging, I hadn’t found the blogosphere yet, but there was no shortage of mommy advice. I mean, almost all my friends had already had babies. All the people I was “friends” with on facebook–especially from high school–already had babies.
And everyone wanted to know…”so are you going to breastfeed?”
It actually never occurred to me to breastfeed. My mom didn’t breastfeed and every cousin or kid that I baby sat for was bottle fed.
Then I looked around and realized everyone was breastfeeding nowadays. Everyone. At least in my life.
I knew the “breast was best” rule and I am aware that a female’s bewbs are there to feed her newborn, but somehow, I just didn’t consider that to be the way I would take.
So when I answered, “no. we will probably bottle feed,” you can imagine the questioning looks I got.
Or rather the raised eyebrows, the barrage of “why in the world not’s”, and the “oh you HAVE to! It’s the best’s!”
So I started telling people we weren’t sure yet.
It was a lie. I was sure.
Something inside of me said, “don’t do it.”
I have learned the hard way that the little voice…not the selfish one…but the nagging one…tells you something, you listen.
I asked my mom what she thought. She said I should do what I want. That we were all bottle fed and turned out fine, but that breastfeeding is considered better for the baby. She said whatever I did was going to be the right thing.
And aside: I love my mom.
I asked Cort what his opinion was. He said it was my choice and that whatever was the case, he would do everything he could to help with the baby.
So. My choice.
And there was that voice from deep within…”BOTTLE”
Yes, it was starting to get yelly, hence the all caps.
But all these people were yelling in my face too…about using my bewbs. They were sure I was being selfish with my choice.
But my choice had nothing to do with my being selfish.
I mean, I wasn’t concerned about what my bewbs would look like. Regardless of whether or not I breastfeed, those puppies will never look the same. Pregnancy coupled with gravity and age are not doing those sweater puppies any favors.
On the other hand, I did hear horror stories from the very people who told me they loved it. Stories about how they wished someone else could take the baby so they didn’t feel like they were always the one that had to be there. I guess selfishly I wanted myself back a bit after the baby was born. I didn’t want to be the one who had to give him every. single. meal.
The cracked nipples and bleeding and clogged ducts and infections and all? That didn’t scare me. It was the part of finally having given birth, but still having a child attached to me constantly. Of not being able to go anywhere without him. Of Cort STILL saying he wished he could do some of it like he says all through pregnancy (and I know he means).
My friends and acquaintances still told me I should try.
Except for a very few who know me very well. They said, “do what you feel is best.”
And I did.
When I went in for my pre-admission appointment for Eddie’s delivery, I answered “bottle” to the question, “breastfeed or bottle feed?” And I braced myself for a lecture.
Instead, she smiled and said, “well then you won’t need the lactation specialists coming to your room! Now, would you like us to use Similac or Infamil?”
I felt good. I felt Ok. I just hoped I didn’t regret my decision.
Then Eddie came along.
And so did his colic. And my PPD. And my PPA.
I’ll tell you what. If I hadn’t had the ability to tag team the night feedings and to hand the baby away to someone else, I might not be here today.
I am so not kidding.
At one point I said to Cort, “what if I was breastfeeding?”
He just said, “Oh God.”
Right? Even if it had gone easily for me, Eddie was a colicky mess and his ped said it had NOTHING to do with feeding. He was just, well, a mess. And he had to work through it.
Had I been the only one who could have fed him during that time? I am afraid I would have ended up hospitalized for my PPD/A. In fact, I am sure of it.
And I never regretted not breastfeeding. In fact, since bottle feeding, I have found other things that have solidified my decision too, but that is not really the issue. I am not trying to convince anyone to bottle feed. I’m just tell you what has turned out to be right for us.
I loved feeding Eddie his bottles…and so did Cort. And our moms. And anyone who was there to help us.
I don’t feel our bond suffered because he was bottle fed. In fact, his bond with his daddy was probably better because he was.
I am repeatedly glad I listened to my gut when it told me to choose the bottle. My brain and heart were already preparing me for the overload they would be handling with a new baby around. They were telling me where to draw the line.
And despite my PPD/A? He and I are just fine. We have developed an even more special, crazy close bond than I could ever imagine.
So yes. We choose the bottle for our children.
And it really just started with “because we want to.”
So the tiny bottles have been taken out of storage, the size one nipples sorted out, and the bottle station set back up.
Because by this time next week, we will have a new little someone to swaddle up and serve up a bottle to.