I had severe preeclampsia with my son. It resulted in an emergency c-section, and my son being transferred by ambulance to a higher level NICU at a different hospital than I was at, for breathing issues. I didn’t even get to hold him until I was discharged.
So, as I’m trying to heal while my son is at a different hospital, there was a nurse from the other hospital who called my room multiple times telling me that my son would be doing so much better if I would breastfeed. That would mean me pumping and my husband taking everything back and forth. My son was over 7lbs at 37 weeks. He was eating so well and doing great, all things considered. His nurse even told my husband and me how much he loved to eat, and how it was helping him.
I, on the other hand, was a mess both mentally and emotionally. Unfortunately, that never seemed to cross that nurse’s mind. I finally told her to quit calling me because I was not breastfeeding and that needed to be the end of it.
I realize she was just doing her job. But I also knew my son was doing just fine with formula. I had enough awareness to know I couldn’t go there. Mentally, that was not something I could handle. I was sick with dried puke still in my hair from the day I delivered, I was recovering, and I also was devastated at my current situation. Having your new baby that you haven’t even held or seen much of, at a completely different hospital than you, is very traumatic. There was no way I could handle the stress of trying to pump. I do wish that nurse would have been a little more sensitive to that.
We are trying to push for mental health to be taken more seriously. Mental health also needs to be taken into consideration as to why some women won’t, or can’t, breastfeed. The hormones and effects of having a baby for some can be nearly debilitating. So, if breastfeeding is something that a mom can take off her plate to get through the day a bit better, then we need to be supporting her.
The bottom line is, if you want to breastfeed, that’s so wonderful. But if you need and/or want to formula feed, that’s just as wonderful.
God picked you to be that baby’s mama. God is never saying “Oops, I made a mistake because she’s not breastfeeding.” You are an amazing mom doing what’s best for you and your child. Don’t ever let anyone bully you or shame you into thinking otherwise. We have to take care of ourselves if we’re going to be the best mamas we can be.
Ultimately, fed is best. Your baby being fed and having constant access to food, be it breast or formula, is a privilege and an absolute blessing.
So whichever you’re doing, I hope you find the joy and the confidence in your decision. I hope you have the courage to say “enough” if things get to be too much. I hope you have the strength to ask for help when you need it. At some point, we all need it. I hope we all show kindness and grace to every single mama out there willing to offer a helping hand instead of a judgmental tone.
“Through judging, we separate. Through understanding, we grow.”