I made the choice not to breastfeed and yes my baby is fine
I'm not going to lie to you, even before my son was born, I already knew I wouldn't breastfeed him. Was it a whim? No, not at all. For me, it was a rather thoughtful and obvious choice. But you know what people are like... as they ask you when you're going to have children, they also ask you, once you're pregnant, if you're going to breastfeed and believe me, the answer you give will never satisfy them! Let me be clear, I chose bottle-feeding, but I have nothing against breastfeeding, the only thing I want to emphasize is that this choice is personal and should be made without doubt and without guilt. And you will always have to face reasons as to why you’re wrong, whatever your choice.
> Discover my open letter to my kids
Why was bottle feeding an obvious choice for me?
No one has ever breastfed around me. Not my mom, nor my aunts, nor my close friends. I knew a long time ago that I wouldn't breastfeed, not only because it wasn't part of my upbringing, my environment, but because, I dare say, it disgusts me. What what what what? I put my well-being before my child's health! It's true that there are good reasons to choose breastfeeding; it’s more ecological, more economical, more natural and not to mention all the supposed benefits for the baby's health, but for me it was clear, I couldn't breastfeed and wouldn’t change my mind.
If mom is okay, then baby is okay
Even before I was pregnant and throughout my pregnancy, I knew that I could never put a baby's little mouth to the end of my nipple. Worse than that, the thought of milk coming out of my breasts made me feel nauseous. I don't have any problem with shame. If I had breastfed, I would have done it everywhere without any embarrassment. I don't feel any discomfort when I see a mom giving birth, I must say that I find it quite beautiful, but it's not for me.
During my pregnancy I was very anxious about the state of my child's health and yet it never made me question my choice to give the bottle. A midwife even comforted me in this idea by making me understand that for a baby, breast was best, yet I was still disgusted by the idea. In fact, it doesn't matter how you feed, it's all about making everyone feel good. Except it's not always that simple.
From guilty mom to nightlight mom
I had heard a thousand stories or rumors about maternity wards that made mothers who didn't want to breastfeed think about their decision, or even forced them a little. My son came into the world and even when I saw his adorable face it was out of the question for me to breastfeed him, not even colostrum. Everyone around me, including me, had gone through it and he would be fine too.
And then I still remember the happiness I felt when his dad gave him his first bottle and then his grandparents. I was happy that they could all enjoy this moment of sharing with him. During this time my breasts were producing milk and I pretended they never existed.
Back home the trouble started
When we got home, things got complicated. This whole period is a bit fuzzy, drowned in a cloud of baby blues, fatigue and tears. All I remember is that it was very hard to bottle-feed my baby. He was having trouble burping, I felt like he was going to choke, except that with my husband everything was going well and my breasts were still producing milk tirelessly. I felt like my baby and my body were playing against me. I should have been breastfeeding, obviously everything seemed to show that I had made the wrong choice, and why? Out of disgust? To re-appropriate my body as a woman and lover? To be able to get some fresh air while knowing that Daddy will be able to give the bottle? To sleep a little more than two hours straight? Obviously, I was just a terrible and selfish mother. Luckily for me, no one judged me, I was the only one to inflict this self-flagellation on myself.
And then the milk flow stopped. And then I relaxed. Obviously, my son was doing well. I was always there for him, attentive, listening to him, taking care of him. I watched over him, protected him and... fed him. I came to understand that a mother's love is not defined by a breast or a pacifier. I spent days and nights taking care of him, worrying about him, playing with him, despite my appearance, my fatigue or even my health, not out of self-denial but simply because it is natural, and that is worth all the breast milk in the world!
Editor's Note - Let's Make Mothers Feel Better Their Choices
And when mom doesn't want to breastfeed, it's because she doesn't want the best for her baby. I admit that I would throw the stone that men do, but for once it's not just a question of opposition between men and women. Mothers can be awful to each other and there are a thousand and one reasons to feel guilty about the infinite range of possibilities. Once again, benevolence should prevail, if not silence.
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