Do you know what I am sick of? I am sick of hearing that breast milk is always best. I am sick of hearing that if you didn’t nurse you were either selfish or just didn’t try hard enough. I’m sick of hearing nursing is hard and only the mothers who are selfish or uneducated switch to formula.
Here’s a little reality check for those who wish to tell me breast milk is always best.
My daughter, Bella, when she was born weighed 7 lbs 2 oz.
While she was by no means a chunky baby, she was healthy and looked healthy.
I nursed her. Not on a schedule, whenever she felt like it and for however long she wanted to nurse. I didn’t have milk supply issues. It always felt like I had more than enough, but she nursed so much and so often it wasn’t a problem.
I loved nursing her and had hoped to be able to continue nursing her for at least a year or even longer.
Fast forward to Belly’s 4 month check up (which she had at 5 months)
By the time Belly went in to have her check up we did notice that she was much, and I do mean much, skinner than it would seem possible with how much she ate. I wasn’t too concerned because I am tiny, and Zach is tiny. But even with Zach being small he never seemed to be getting smaller, just the same skinniness to height ratio he’d always been. Belly was noticeably skinnier. Family members remarked on it, hell strangers remarked on it. But we didn’t worry because surely we’d know if something was wrong.
She was still mainly nursing at this point, but I’d been encouraged by family and my grandmother, who is a nurse, to try adding a little more to her diet to see if it looked like she would put on weight.
I took Bella to her check up and it was the worst day of my life.
Since Bella had been born she’d only gained a total of 2 1/2 pounds. A few weeks before when I had weighed her for fun she’d been a 1/2 pound heavier than she was at the check up. Bella (up to this point) caught almost every sickness that was around… even if no one she was near was sick. That with her weight worried her doctor. So for the next several months we went through lots of tests, and doctors appointments to find out what was wrong. Her doctor encouraged me to keep feeding her on demand, even to feed her even if she didn’t seem especially hungry, and to try adding just a little more stuff other than just breast milk to her diet.
By the next month Bella did not want to nurse and my milk dried up so we switched full time to formula with a little cereal or baby food mixed in.
And Bella finally noticeably started gaining weight.
Her tests all came back fine and in the end her doctor (along with some of the specialists) agreed it was the breast milk that was the problem. Either her body wasn’t digesting it properly or there was something wrong with the breast milk. Of course by the time they came to this conclusion it was too late to test the milk since I’d long before dried up.
The day my baby developed her first set of rolls I was so happy I cried.
When, at 9 months old she finally completely outgrew her 0-3 month clothes I was beyond happy.
So, don’t you dare tell me breast milk is always best, and don’t you dare tell me that mothers who switch to formula are just lazy or selfish. Me refusing to put her on formula full time or to give her more because I wanted her to be exclusively breastfed was probably one of the most selfish acts I ever committed. Is the case with my daughter the norm? No. But blanket statements are deadly, so think of that the next time you tell someone that breast is always best.