No, Breast is NOT Always Best.





Yes, I know. Women all over the world have worked so hard to advocate for just the opposite by proclaiming #breastisbest and aiming to #normalizebreastfeeding (I LOVE this movement and I’m obsessed with this hashtag!) but just hear me out for a minute. I always believed that formula is “artificial milk.” Breast was certainly best and I was determined to stick by this mindset with my twins. I remember the day my boys were born. Phoenix was able to come straight to my room and I began to nurse him right away. I was excited to be able to experience this magical first-feed bonding moment that had not been possible with my first two children (my 15 year old and 5 year old were born premature at 28 weeks and 32 weeks and breastfeeding was delayed a couple of weeks). It was as euphoric as I had dreamed it would be. His twin brother wasn’t brought to me until hours later but I had my moment with him as well. My little 3 and 4 pound champs latched on without any issues and I nursed them with no assistance. It was a perfect experience.

Co-sleeping and exclusively breastfeeding since day one. They tricked me into thinking it would always be easy...

Co-sleeping and exclusively breastfeeding since day one. They tricked me into thinking it would always be easy…

A couple of hours after John was brought into my room my doctor walked in with about 6 students as I sat in bed tandem nursing my boys. “Ah! So the lactation consultant already came!?” he asked. He seemed disappointed. “Lactation consultant? No…no one’s come yet…?” The doctor was surprised by my ability to tandem feed twins on the day of their birth without needing help. He had hoped to give me some pointers in the presence of the students and explained to them that many mothers usually require some assistance, especially after a c-section and having had twins. I realized something at that moment. Something I already knew to some extent but never really gave much thought. Breastfeeding my babies came easy for me (I’d done it with my two previous children) but was most definitely not easy for all new mothers. Just how many mothers out there struggle with this?

I was a human ping pong ball, bouncing back and forth between babies during nighttime feedings. Daddy didn't have to get up once. Lucky bas...

I was a human ping pong ball, bouncing back and forth between babies during nighttime feedings. Daddy didn’t have to get up once. Lucky bas…

I used to wonder why any woman wouldn’t choose to breastfeed her baby. It’s common knowledge that breast milk is the absolute best choice for any baby. The ingredients and antibodies offer perfect nutrition and infant formula companies have not been able to duplicate them in their products. Studies have proven that breastfed babies suffer from less illnesses and even score higher on intelligence tests later in life. I can go on and on about the benefits of breastmilk, but that’s not what this article is about so I’ll summarize it with just two words: breastmilk ROCKS. What kind of selfish parent wouldn’t want this for their child? What kind of parent would instead opt to feed their child “artificial” milk formulas that despite advances in science have yet to reap the same nutritional benefits that breastmilk provides?

They woke up starving but it was time to pick up big sister from pre-school. A bottle of formula would have solved this issue.

They woke up starving but it was time to pick up big sister from pre-school. A bottle of formula would have solved this issue.

Here’s the fact of the matter. For many women, breastfeeding can prove to be total hell. Yes, it can be that bad. It can be painful with some women experiencing plugged ducts, mastitis, bleeding and infections. Form many working moms, finding time and a comfortable space to use a breast pump is stressful, and if a mother is rushed, pumping at work can be unsanitary. A baby can suffer from medical issues that prevent him or her from thriving by being fed breastmilk & some women also suffer from conditions that prevent them from producing enough milk. Most new moms will already experience some level of depression and adding additional stress can amplify a mild case of the “baby blues” into full blown postpartum depression. I read a woman’s confession in a parenting forum where she admitted to actually resenting her baby after struggling to breastfeed. Resent her baby? No. It’s not worth it. The bottom line is this: despite all the reasons why a woman SHOULD breastfeed her baby, there are many reasons why she CAN’T or shouldn’t.

Despite John's advice I decided not to use a pump. I created monsters. Monsters who needed their mama every two hours.

I went against John’s advice & decided not to use a pump. I created monsters. Monsters who needed their mama every two hours.

So to go back to the main question: why wouldn’t any loving mother breastfeed? Because a mother’s love is not measured by whether or not she chose to breastfeed. There is so much more to great parenting than that one choice out of thousands that a parent will make in their child’s lifetime. A woman who opts to formula feed doesn’t love her baby any less. If we went by that standard, all us McDonalds parents must really not love our kids right? Today marks exactly 23 straight months of me nursing my twins. I believe in self-weaning and at this point there is no end in sight but we will take It one day at time. My breastfeeding journey with John and Phoenix hasn’t been as easy as I initially thought it would be but to me has been worth it. It takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice to exclusively breastfeed but so does formula feeding. All those bottles to wash and sanitize after each feeding. The cost of formula in itself adds up to a small fortune. Either choice comes with its own challenges.

Word of advice: don't introduce bottles or formula 7 months after having been exclusively breastfeeding. It won't go well.

Word of advice: don’t introduce bottles or formula 7 months after exclusively breastfeeding. It won’t go well.

This should should go without saying and I feel like I say this in every article I write but I’ll say it again – your baby needs you to be in the best physical and emotional state possible. If you’re finding that your breastfeeding journey is painful, causing you to feel depressed, or you believe that breastfeeding is just not for you, hit the breaks and switch to formula. Don’t feel guilty. Don’t feel like you MUST conform to the “ideal standards” of great parenting. Yes, breast IS best, but only if breastfeeding doesn’t distract a woman from being the best possible mother for her baby.

This is what happy breastfed twins look like when they're milk drunk. They look exactly like happy formula fed milk-drunk babies.

This is what happy, breastfed twins look like when they’re milk-drunk. They look exactly like happy formula fed milk-drunk babies.

To all breastfeeding mothers: you are my heroes and are absolutely amazing! Your selfless dedication to feeding your baby and wanting the best for your child is only a part of what makes you so incredible as a mother. That love and dedication certainly does not go unnoticed. Keep up the great work! To all FORMULA feeding mothers: you are my heroes and are absolutely amazing! Your selfless dedication to feeding your baby and wanting the best for your child is only part of what makes you so incredible as a mother. That love and dedication certainly does not go unnoticed. Keep up the great work! Whether you choose to exclusively breastfeed your baby, be a “formula mom,” or try a combination of the two, remember that there is never any need to compare and see “who does it better.” Parenting is tough enough and we need to support and encourage mothers regardless of what path they chose. All mothers are amazing as long as what they do for their child is with love. Let’s not let them forgot that.

4 Comments
  1. Janani Viswanathan 9 months ago

    Nice write up. My twin boys were born premature in 29 weeks. So I couldn’t feed them immediately. It was really disappointing and painful. I was able to feed them directly only after few weeks and it had its own challenges. And I agree with u. Either mother feed or formula feed, It all depends on every one’s circumstance and that doesn’t lower any mom’s love for her kids.

    • Profile photo of Stephanie Waldon Author
      Stephanie Waldon 9 months ago

      Hi Janani, thank you for taking the time to read the article. I commend you for continuing to try to breastfeed your preemie twins. I know the challenges of nursing NICU babies first hand with my singletons but I can’t imagine how challenging it must be with NICU twins! Good for you! And yes, all mothers need support without judgement but I’m glad to see its getting easier for mothers as they find support through social media. Thanks again and I wish you well ❤️

  2. Kimberly 8 months ago

    Your articles are amazing. Im 22 & my daughter has been breast fed exclusively for 7 months & then formula & breast combo .. she’s 17 months now & recently it has been becoming extremely uncomfortable when I breastfeed .. & it makes my body feel weird & drained after .. I’ve been trying to wean her off but its doesn’t seem to be working .. do you have any tips ?

    • Profile photo of Stephanie Waldon Author
      Stephanie Waldon 8 months ago

      Hi Kimberly, thank you for your comment and for taking the time to read my article. First off, seven months of exclusively breastfeeding is fantastic! Good job mama! As for wanting to wean her off the breast, I would suggest looking at breastfeeding forums and credible websites such as La Leche League. I normally don’t advise seeking help on the internet but in this case you’ll find great suggestions. I’m a big fan of connecting and chatting with mothers on Twitter and Instagram (my user name is @steph.waldon / @thewaldonkids if you’d like to connect) and I’ve seen many women seek breastfeeding advice using those platforms. I personally believe in self weaning and am still going strong with my 2 year olds. They make me feel like a human cow! But I understand mothers need to do more than feed their babes all day. Try substituting nursing by giving baby a cup of milk while holding her and reading her a book to distract her from your chest. As if ANYTHING could distract them from our chests right? 😉 Best of luck to you and thanks again! ❤️

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