I Choose Not To Breastfeed My kid And I Am Not guilty about it!

He had woken up from his sleep earlier than usual and I almost dropped the pan to rush to him. I tried to comfort him but he wouldn’t stop crying. Maybe a feed would calm him down, I thought and had just begun feeding him when my elder son came running to the room, complaining that he was late for his classes and needed his glass of milk. Oh! I remembered, trying to put my baby down in his crib so that I could pack my son off but only to set him howling louder than ever before. My elder child quietly walked up to the kitchen, drew a stool and tried to fill his glass of milk when I heard the crash. As I rushed in panic to move my sobbing son away from the glass pieces, I heard my baby cry breathlessly in the other room and I broke down realising that I had never felt so helpless or frustrated before.

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The WHO (World Health organisation) recommends that you should exclusively breastfeed your baby for six months and continue for 12 months as you introduce other solid food.This immunizes your baby against viruses, colds, pneumonia and other stomach infections like diarrhoea, forges a great bond between you two and yes reduces the risk of obesity &osteoporosis in your body. Wow! Ideal! But does it go as smooth as this?

 

How was I supposed to handle the immobility due to the feeding? I had to run the show alone with no additional help and I could not neglect my elder son or my household chores every single time to rush to my hungry baby .A formula feed seemed like the next best alternative but if only I could contain the pangs of guilt that tugged at me relentlessly, oscillating me between the two choices and pushing me through an enhanced postpartum depression. It was during a visit to the paediatrician that I got talking to a woman who had a medical condition of inverted nipplesand she said she could not feed her baby as it was very painful. It struck me then that I had a choice but so many women didn’t! While some were dealing with medical conditions, others had careers that offered limited maternity leaves.  So were their babies not healthy? Or didn’t they bond enough with them? Here’s my take.

About the nutrition- Although breast milk is a living substance made individually by each mother for her baby and is the perfect food for the baby’s digestive system, the formula milk is also prepared under sterile conditions using a perfect combination of proteins ,sugars and fats to provide the baby with the necessary nutrition he needs to grow. My son put on the required weight regularly as he was a happy, satisfied baby and I don’t remember him falling sick often either.

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About the Bonding- Doctors talk about the bonding that happens during breastfeeding as there is skin to skin contact. And I completely agree that the ideal nourishment for a baby along with the milk is also the connect he feels with his mother and the joy the mother experiences while nursing a baby. That wasn’t happening in my situation at all unfortunately. On the contrary I was always in a rush to get off my baby to attend to other stuff and bonding? Where was the time and room for that? But when I started him on the formula I discovered the content in holding my baby peacefully for a lingering period of time, caressing him and I can say that the bond I established then was definitely missing earlier.

About the convenience and flexibility- Breast milk digests faster and hence the baby requires more irregular feeds as compared to the formula milk which helps create a specific time table. I could plan my day accordingly around his feeding schedule and was able to provide ample attention to my other child as well as the other inevitable mundane tasks. I was more organised and in control of my life.

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About my health- I knew the benefits of breast feeding for my body but I was forever irritated and cranky as I could get around to managing anything or anybody. I guess the crankiness would have given my more medical complications then the breast milk would avoid. What mattered to me was that I was happier, cheerful and I guess I passed that on to my two lovely kids eventually.

‘Oh so you didn’t breast feed your baby is it?’ they ask me and I answer a complacent ‘no’ with a smile on my face for I know what   the trade-off was. And when I reminiscence about the lovely moments I shared with my two angels I don’t feel guilty about it at all anymore!!

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