Friday, October 10, 2014


I don’t like breastfeeding.

I figure by starting off the blog post that way, super-duper breastfeeding advocates can just stop reading and we can avoid a huge slew of negative comments about my poor mothering skills below (not that I ever have very many comments on any post anyway).

When I was pregnant with Ruby (now 3) I was sick. Typing the word “sick” doesn’t do justice to how I felt. My schedule consisted of grad school and working and puking in between. I’ll spare you the details, but just know that I was sick.

Though I was sick, my pregnancy was a perfectly healthy pregnancy. Baby developed just fine and there were no complications. I’d try to convince myself that I was glad we were “healthy”, but it was hard to remember that when I felt anything but healthy.

I couldn’t wait to have my body back. I wanted to be able to run and swim without throwing up. I wanted to feel normal again. I wanted to be hormonally stable. I felt like those 9 months would never end.

Sometimes (or a lot of the time) I would think about what was on the other side of the 9 months. I knew I’d have my Ruby girl, I knew I’d get to bond with her, I knew I’d get to experience what it is like to love my daughter and I was excited. On the other hand, I was dreading breastfeeding. I knew that though I wouldn’t be puking my guts out, I wouldn’t have my body back to normal for a long time.

I attended two different breastfeeding classes where they filled my brain with information about how much better breastmilk is than formula and gave lists of rules about what I should do to make sure I keep up my milk supply. I read books and articles about what I was supposed to do. Rather than helping me prepare and be at ease, I would come home from classes full of anxiety and worrying about every little thing. I was stressed, to put it lightly.

Months passed and the day finally came where I held my little Ruby girl. I did get to bond with her, I did get to experience what loving a little girl is like, and it was exciting! I started breastfeeding fairly seamlessly. Yes, there were all the normal trials about getting used to it and the nipples hurting. (There were also the abnormal trials like finding out I have a 3rd lactating nipple—but that’s a story for another time.) I nursed Ruby regularly. And my stress levels were continually on the rise. I kept trying to think of all the things that I’d learned in the classes and books and tried to make sure I did everything right. I kept reminding myself I had to do it for at least a year because that’s what a good mom does. And I drove myself crazy.

When I started school and work again at 2 months, I started introducing formula. By 4 months she was completely weaned. And I felt fantastic. I had the flexibility I needed for my work/school schedule. I continued bonding just fine with the little one. I felt like my relationship with my husband was much better. In essence, I replaced breastmilk with a happy mom.

Three years later Ruby rarely if ever gets sick and is plenty smart. I've never regretted that decision.

The week before Ruby’s 2nd birthday I found out I was pregnant with Ivory. Again, I had a healthy baby inside me but felt sick. This time I didn’t feel as sick, but it was still hard. It was easier mentally to think clearly as I’d gone through it all before.

I decided to do everything differently in regards to breastfeeding this time around. I would read no books, attend no classes and hardly think about it. I would breastfeed for 1 day and at the end of that day I would decide if I wanted to do it the next day. That was my only goal: 1 day.

I finished that day and did it the next day and the next. Ivory’s now 8 months and I’m still doing it—day by day.

I feel like I’ve learned quite a bit through my two different nursing experiences and I’d like to outline them here. Some positive about nursing and some negative:
  • ·         Nursing really has gotten easier as the baby gets older. She latches quicker, drinks faster, and (for someone like me who doesn’t like my boobs in the open) nursing discreetly is easier.
  • ·         Since I have another kid, nursing is logistically easier because I don’t have bottles in my already full-of-dirty-dishes sink; I don’t have to remember bottles/formula in addition to the diapers, wipes, crackers, toys, and books on our walks to the park; and when I stumble out of bed in the night to get to Ivory’s crib, I don’t have to make a bottle in the dark.
  • ·         Ivory’s still not sleeping through the night. I know that many 8 month olds aren’t. I read blogs about how babies shouldn’t be expected to. I also know this might not have to do with breastmilk. The truth is, though, Ruby was sleeping through the night long before 8 months and that made life so much easier. Knowing I could get a full night’s sleep every night did wonders for my mental health that I’m definitely lacking now.
  • ·         I don’t feel any more bonded to Ivory than I did to Ruby. I love both of them. I don’t think that breastfeeding has made any difference on that.
  • ·         Figuring out my work schedule is really hard. Pumping isn’t convenient or comfortable or fun. I do it, but I don’t like it.
  • ·         When I read blogs or talk to moms who absolutely love it, I can’t relate at all. I do not feel like it is my calling in life. I also don’t feel like every mother should do it. I quit with Ruby because I felt like having a happy mom was more important than her diet. I still think I was right.

 I’m glad I can do it. I’m glad that I’m healthy, that my baby is healthy and that we can do it. I do not think any mother should ever feel guilty for not breastfeeding for any reason. I’m still nursing Ivory one day at a time and we’ll see where it takes us. I don't know how long it lasts. I know though that you will not see me nursing my daughter on the cover of Time or even hear me gush about how much I love it. I just don't really like it all that much (and I know by saying that I'm still opening myself up to that slew of negative comments on my mothering skills if you breastfeeding advocates made it this far).

BTW: here's a humorous post I wrote shortly after I quit nursing Ruby:
Ivory girl


  1. Feel pretty much the same.... The main reason I kept breast feeding milo is so I wouldn't have to keep up with washing bottles or buying formula when it ran out! Past month 4 it got way easier. First 4 months pretty much sucked.

    1. With everything else to do, not having to wash bottles is nice!

  2. I breastfed all my kids, but I think every mother has to weight the pros and cons. And there are both! I decided to breastfeed for one year and then wean them. I was amazed (and appalled) at all the propaganda out there, urging mothers to breastfeed for years and years! Every time I looked, the La Leche League was promoting longer and longer times. (At one point, I wondered if they wanted me to breastfeed until my "baby" went off to college!) I was a bottle-fed baby and am very healthy. I love your idea that having a happy mom is more important than how baby gets her food. Kudos!

    1. So true that it seems like there's always pressure to keep going!