Feeding Your Baby Isn’t Always Black and White

Feeding your baby can be done by breastfeeding or bottlefeeding

I tend to be a fairly black and white person, and I have to consciously work toward living more in the grey.

Feeding my second baby has been a journey toward existing in the grey.

I breastfed my first son until a few days after he turned three years old, and while I knew I didn’t want to breastfeed my second son that long, I figured it would be at least a year or two.

Breastfeeding him hasn’t been awesome though. I have an oversupply, baby was diagnosed with an upper lip tie and posterior tongue tie, he had them both revised, we did all of the aftercare just perfectly, and yet…breastfeeding was still uncomfortable.

When he was about 6 months old, I finally admitted to myself that I really, really wasn’t happy. Every time I nursed the baby, it hurt. Not a lot, but not a little either—just enough to make it uncomfortable…every single time.

In my mind, the only other option was exclusive pumping. And I really hate pumping.

That’s when I let myself think—just for a minute—about feeding my baby formula.

I had so many FEELINGS about it!!

Guilt because I have a great milk supply.

Fear of what other people would think.

Anger that I couldn’t make breastfeeding work.

But when I really let myself think about feeding formula to my son, I felt a deep sense of relief.

I admitted to myself that I had been feeling tethered to home, to my baby, because of breastfeeding. And my postpartum depression was tied up in that feeling.

So I started with one bottle, and assumed I would completely wean him from the breast. But 3 months later, we are living happily in the grey, where I feed him mostly formula but breastfeed about once a day.

When he was sick a few weeks back, I breastfed him a lot more. This past weekend I went away with friends and he was exclusively bottle-fed.

Some days I want to wean entirely.

Some days I want to breastfeed forever.

But for today, we are living in the grey, where my baby eats both formula and breastmilk, and we are doing just fine.

 

Elisabeth Lighty is the co-owner of Indianapolis Doulas, a full service doula agency providing birth doulas, postpartum doulas, and placenta encapsulation to growing families in Central Indiana. When she’s not at a birth or with a postpartum family, she’s usually hanging out with her own family or soaking in the tub. She uses her English degree to blog about birth, babies, parenthood, doulas, body image, and whatever else she thinks of.

Elisabeth Lighty is an owner of a doula agency

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