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September 13, 2019

Bottle Feeding Guilt

I am a huge believer in “Fed is best” and I will go to great lengths to make sure my baby is fed and happy and healthy.  Sometimes we have such high expectations for ourselves of how baby will be fed and how society expects us to feed our baby. If you breastfeed it is amazing and you are kicking butt but if you bottle feed you are lazy because your boobs work so why aren’t you trying that. You are formula feeding and people automatically assume you don’t care about your baby and that you should be breastfeeding. When in reality they have NO idea of your story and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter because it isn’t their baby and they should buzz off. When I had my second child I decided that I was only going to breastfeed and nothing else because I wasn’t able to nurse my oldest and I wanted to get that experience. Well, I got a job doing photography when Scar was 5 months old and needed to be gone for a few hours at a time and guess what, she wouldn’t take a bottle.


It was hard because I loved our breastfeeding connection but also needed and wanted to work. I knew how important it was for me to have that time outside of the home away from the kids and to help financially. But because I was set in my ways [NOTHING wrong with doing what you feel is best] I thought a bottle while breastfeeding was a no no and I would be a bad mom if I tried a bottle ...this ended up causing a lot of headache and grief down the road. She wouldn’t take a bottle which means I couldn’t be gone long so I would have to rush home on breaks to nurse then rush back to work. Or she would want to breastfeed so bad she would scream even though I had pumped and left a few bottles. It was exhausting and tiring and complicated for the entire family. So once I got pregnant with my third I just knew that I had to make positive feeding changes so the whole house dynamic could be positive. 



We chatted with our pediatrician and he suggested breastfeeding and pumping for the first four weeks until latch was comfortable and constant, she was gaining weight and didn't struggle while nursing. We were advised to have her be bottle fed a few times a day and breastfeed the rest of the feeds. I had my husband give her the first bottle of breast milk and guess what. SHE TOOK IT. ALL OF IT. And from then on for weeks she would take a bottle from every person in the home and it was amazing to see them all share that connection and bond. However, the mom guilt was for real. I felt like I was dumping her on everyone else and that I was too lazy to breastfeed her. Even though I knew it was good for the kids and my husband to share that experience with her and to bond with her I couldn’t shake that heavy guilt feeling. 



The mom guilt has to stop. We try and try and try and some days it just feels like it is never enough. The guilt of having other people feed her was overwhelming and I felt like a terrible mother BUT I kept up with the bottle and breast routine. As the weeks passed and I realized I was able to work for a few hours at a time, go have alone time or even take a shower because she would take a bottle the more it helped me emotionally. I can cook dinner and clean the house while my husband feeds baby a bottle and gets some snuggles in before bed. I can fold laundry while my older two give her a bottle on the bed while they watch a movie. And at nap times and bedtime she loves breastfeeding.



So over all, we are all getting that bonding experience during a feed and I need to remember that baby is fed, happy and loved by all and I need to stop feeling guilty over making my own life easier. 



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