When You Feel Guilty About Not Breastfeeding

If you feel guilty about not breastfeeding, this is for you.  You see, we have four children and I tried to breastfeed all of them… I couldn’t.

I had to bottle feed two of them.   Our second son was born with hyperonicity (high muscle tone)  and with low blood sugar. The nurses immediately started to give him bottles of special formula.

guilty about not breastfeeding

For the first four days, we did this, while I pumped. Our sweet baby never learned to breastfeed.  I pumped and bottle fed him… for 8 months, but I still felt guilty for not feeding directly from the breast and for not continuing to pump for the full 12 months.

Why? I don’t know. I cried over it. I told people about it. I apologized to our baby for it. Why did I care what he took or how he took it when all that mattered was that he was growing?

If only I had figured out the truth…

Four kids and 10  years later, let me tell you the truth of the matter:  

IT DOES NOT MATTER.

I honestly believe that if it is best for you, it is best for baby.  I have friends that have formula fed and I have friends that have breastfed.  Yes, we hear that breast is best and it is an amazing thing… if you can do it.

I felt such guilt over not breastfeeding our son.

However… Each of our kids have had over 20  ear infections before either were two years old. My friend that breastfed her two girls: not one ear infection.

Two of my children have needed my help with speech (I am a therapist). My friend with one son: no speech delays.  One of my children had such severe allergies that he was hospitalized numerous times for dehydration from the constant vomiting. My friend with three sons: no allergies.

All of this is not to say that yes, while  breastfeeding might be what is suggested and what is encouraged, it is OK if you can’t do it, because those kids are certainly no less healthy than the ones that are breastfed.  

HERE IS WHAT DOES MATTER:  

  • That you are holding your baby while you bottle feed. The beauty of breastfeeding is the close bond that is made when you hold your baby to your bare skin. Cuddle your bottle fed baby. I was tempted, many times, to pop our bottle-fed son in his car seat to feed him, because it was so much easier to have my hands and arms free. But I tried to resist that urge and hold him to feed him.
  • That you are feeding your baby something that works with his/her body.
  • That your baby is growing.
  •  That you feel relaxed and bonded to your baby.

WORDS OF WISDOM FROM OUR READERS:  

“It’s your body, and no one should ever tell you what you should be doing with your own body – all choices over your body are yours and yours alone to make.”  – Helen Cooper

“Our pediatrician said: “Never apologize  for feeding your baby no matter if it’s breast, expressed or formula. You’re doing a great job”. ~ Justine Casey

“Several years ago, formula was more often recommended the recommended thing by a lot of docs. Your baby will still grow and be healthy and if you’re happier, that will help everything work better in your home. Formula is pretty expensive so prep for that continued expense for the next year (amazon subscribe and save helps and coupons). You have to live with your choices and if breastfeeding feeding isn’t sustainable, then it will be okay. My son is 4 and he’s super healthy, tall and smart. Formula is an okay option!” – Sandra Dee

“I got past the guilt when I realised how much happier the three of us were once we moved to formula. The most important things is that everyone involved is happy and healthy.” – Samantha Logan
guilty about not breastfeeding

As moms, we feel guilt every day, don’t we?  (I certainly do!)

Let me tell you this… in the long run, I think that if you can play with your  baby, smile with your family and show them that you love them, you are doing a great job.  You are taking care of them and they will know that you care about them.

Thank you to our readers on our Facebook Page for sharing these great words of wisdom and always sharing their advice.   Please join us over there to read more (and share YOUR best advice!)