Parenting Decisions – Breastfeeding and Ambivalence

There are always a ton of parenting decisions.  Some are easier than other, of course, while others are a struggle.  Even though this is my third child, I still find that I have some tough parenting decisions to make even though the baby hasn’t been born yet.  Some decisions, like whether to co-sleep or not, are not even issues for me.  My bed is far from a safe place based on a husband who takes sleeping pills, a pillow top mattress, three pillows each, a comforter, and two dogs.  The one that I’m still struggling with, though, is something that’s simple for most people.

I’m not sure that I want to be a breastfeeding mom.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’d rather not be a breastfeeding mom at all.

Before someone gets upset and says that I’m anti-breastfeeding, I’m not, as long as it’s someone else’s breasts doing the feeding.  I absolutely support the right to breastfeed for any woman who wants to do it.  This isn’t about all other moms.  This is about me and my own personal hang-ups.

I’ve already written about the wonderful hang-ups I have about breastfeeding thanks to dear old mom.  I’m not going to reinvent the wheel and tell the same story I told back in October.  It hasn’t changed.

What has changed is that I’ve done some reading.  I’ve tried to use factual data like Dr. Jack Newman’s Guide to Breastfeeding in hopes that maybe reading would somehow magically make it better.  It hasn’t, of course.

But now I’m in an odd spot.  I feel like I have some kind of moral obligation to attempt to give my child the very best that I can give her.  I managed exclusively pumping breast milk for Norton for almost a month before I started to mentally deteriorate… to the point that my lactivist friends were telling me to pack away the pump.  Knowing how that worked out, I don’t even want to pretend that exclusively pumping breast milk is a viable option this time around.  Not with two kids.

My husband, being the wonderful man that he is, is encouraging me to breastfeed… but he will not make an issue out of it because he knows how hard I tried with Norton, and he knows how strong my aversion is.  Part of his reason for encouraging it so much is for bonding.  Norton is and always has been far more attached to his daddy than he’s ever been to me.  He thinks that if I can breastfeed, then I’ll have “an edge” over him because it’s something that he won’t be able to do.  Plus, his job has gotten more stressful over the last couple of years, and not doing the weird sleep schedule thing that we did before Norton started sleeping through the night will be much better for him.

Yet in spite of this self-imposed moral obligation, and in spite of my husband’s support and encouragement… it’s still not particularly appealing to me.  So, will I even attempt it?  I don’t know.  But I guess I need to figure it out pretty quick.  I’m thirty-two weeks pregnant today.  Of all the parenting decisions and birthing options to make for our new bundle, this is the one that I’m still struggling with.

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.

Comments

  1. I struggled with this same decision before my second baby was born. (She is 6 weeks old.) I don’t have the hang ups that you do but breastfeeding was a struggle with my first, and while I did manage to pump for her (for the most part) up until I went back to work at 9 weeks PP, it wasn’t an experience I was looking forward to repeating with #2.
    I really didn’t want to have to spend all that time hooked up to a pump when I could be spending it with my kids or sleeping.
    I still hadn’t fully made up my mind when I went in to be induced but was thinking I would try to breastfeed again but this time without pumping and use formula if baby didn’t take to breastfeeding right away.
    The final decision ended up being made for me when I had to have an emergency surgery the night my baby was born and was put under general anesthetic making my milk undrinkable for 24 hours afterwards. In order to breastfeed I would have had to pump and dump for that first day and I was not interested in going through the hassle of pumping if my baby wasn’t even going to get the milk.
    She is a happy, growing, formula fed baby and I have no regrets. I get to spend more time with my girls and using formula is just so much more convenient in terms of being able to get out of the house.

  2. Hearthstone says:

    My issues were poor milk production (can’t feed a baby on 1 or 2 ounces a day…) so there was never a question of exclusively feeding breast milk. Both of my kids supplemented with formula. (Technically I suppose it was the breast milk that was a supplement, speaking percentage-wise…) I don’t see why you couldn’t combine the use of pumped milk with the use of formula, if you feel up to pumping at all, of course. It would have to be less stressful.

  3. I can see that you are pro-breastfeeding, but just have shadows of your past causing havoc. I wouldn’t worry about it too much – I think that trying to come to a decision can cause a lot of anxiety. You really don’t have to decide now. What if you just ask for skin to skin after the birth and just see what happens from there 🙂 You are a good mommy 🙂

  4. You need to do what’s best for you and your family. Ignore everything else. Your baby will be fine either way 🙂

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  1. […] I’m still uncertain about breastfeeding, and will probably be uncertain about what I’m doing until a couple of days after I start […]

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