Why I’m no longer breastfeeding my son (and am totally okay with it)

When I went to my son’s six month checkup, I had a feeling the pediatrician would tell me he was a little underweight. I mean, I’m not blind. I could see that he wasn’t gaining as quickly as he should. My husband would whisper, “I think he’s hungry”, especially during a late night scream session. Jackson would wake up in the middle of the night screaming for absolutely no reason. Nothing would help – no Tylenol or anything.

I wasn’t prepared to learn how underweight he actually was. When the scale stopped at 14 pounds, I was shocked. Jackson was 13.5 at his four month appointment. That means he had only gained 10 ounces in two months. That put him in the 4th percentile for weight. Gulp.

My first thought was, Wow, I’m a crappy mom. I mean, I couldn’t even feed my own child properly. I was completely discouraged.

My second thought? Utter relief. I knew my milk production had tanked and if I’m honest, I was ready to go on formula. I was tired of worrying about finding time to pump. I was tired of struggling to eek out 3-4 ounces per feeding. I was just tired.

So yes, I was relieved. I knew formula was the right next step and this was confirmation. The pediatrician handed me some samples and off we went. I fed Jackson that day and guess what? He slept through the night for the first time.

It makes sense. I mean, we’re not at our best when we’re hungry, are we?

The point of this story is to tell you that things don’t always go the way you planned. Six months breastfeeding was my goal, but I was convinced I would last till one year. So convinced that I tossed the free formula samples I got when I was pregnant (dumb mistake. Keep those things just in case. Formula is expensive!). If you had told me I’d be starting formula at six months, I would have called you crazy.

But here we are. And you know what? We’re SO much happier for it. So I’ll leave you with this: it doesn’t matter whether you breast feed or formula feed. Or whether you start out breast feeding and switch to formula within the year. You know your baby better than anyone. Trust your gut. Don’t listen to what others say. You’re the mom. You call the shots.

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3 thoughts on “Why I’m no longer breastfeeding my son (and am totally okay with it)

  1. Thanks for writing this. I’m in this journey right now. Exclusively pumping, and glad I can give my son breastmilk, but also recognizing it’s toll on my sanity. I’ve read a lot of stories and there’s one phrase I keep seeing: “fed is best.” This doesn’t always mean “breast is best”, as is commonly seen and pressured into everyone. Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to go against our plan.

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    1. So glad you can relate, Karen! You’re absolutely right – not everything goes according to plan (very few things with kids do). We need to be flexible and do what’s best for our babies – not what everyone else thinks is best.

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