In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I'm putting myself out there with this picture of me feeding my third-born shortly after his birth.
I experienced difficulty breastfeeding my twins, with frustration of not producing enough for both, difficulty and pain getting one of them to latch properly, and lack of time and help with completing other tasks. I was breastfeeding one, bottle feeding the other, and pumping between feedings in an attempt to increase my supply. But after four weeks, my mother and mother-in-law had to leave and I gave up ... buried in frustration and household chores. I made it five weeks with them until I gave into formula and a better life for my family. I knew it was the right decision for us, but couldn't help feel guilty when I would see a mother of 9-month-old twins breastfeeding with the ease of chewing gum. My twins are healthy kids, rarely sick, and intelligent. I had many opportunities to snuggle them and find intimacy and closeness. I don't regret what I had to do--nor should anyone else who chooses formula.
With my third, it was much easier. I produced enough--even for the little piggy that he was. I enjoyed the intimacy with him. And, I had peace of mind that I was doing the best thing for him that I possibly could. I was also very fortunate to never feel judged for breastfeeding in public. It's quite possible I just never paid attention to it. Or, maybe it's possible people are beginning to accept this act as exactly what it is ... nourishing a child ... period.
There are many reasons why a mother would choose formula over breastfeeding, or have no choice in the matter at all. No matter what mothers choose for themselves and their babies, I think all mothers would agree that everyone should support a breastfeeding mother just as breastfeeding mothers should support a formula-feeding mother. Happy World Feeding Week ... breast milk or formula, we feed with love.
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