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Breastfeeding Is Not for Me

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Christina Montoya Fiedler: Nine months ago, I gave birth to my beautiful son, Joseph. Long before I knew I was pregnant, I was sure of one thing: that I would not be breastfeeding.

woman feeding baby with bottle

Now, before you read farther into this article, here are a few things you should know. I am not going to cite any studies or doctors regarding the pros and cons of breastfeeding, because I believe that to breastfeed (or in my case, not to breastfeed) is a personal choice that rests more heavily on emotion than scientific fact.

Some might even call me militant about my lack of desire to breastfeed. Here are my reasons right up front: First, I am not all that comfortable with my body, especially not comfortable enough to whip out my boob in public to feed my child. Secondly, I have always been a very squeamish person. The thought of lactating for many months, post-baby, is in no way appealing to me -- I am a person who nearly faints at the sight of blood, and just recently was able to watch a Baby Story on TLC without losing it -- yes, even after I experienced labor firsthand.

Lastly, I have always seen my breasts as sexual objects, and I did not want to start thinking of them for any other function but that -- no matter how "motherly" or "womanly" the task might have been.

My mother and grandmother did not breastfeed. My husband's mother and grandmother did not. Some might say I come from a long line of non-breastfeeders. But, look at me. I turned out OK. So did my husband. We are both healthy, functioning members of society and I have high hopes for my son. He's healthy as can be, and in fact, he's healthier than a lot of my friends' children who are breastfed.

There is incredible pressure on new moms to breastfeed. Just last week, momlogic reported on a woman who committed suicide over the sheer guilt of not being able to breastfeed her child. Yes, she was also diagnosed with postpartum depression, but the fact remains that her inability to breastfeed was what put her over the edge. It's almost like breastfeeding has become a measure that other women judge each other against.

During my prenatal visits, nurses all but shoved the idea down my throat, and shot me disapproving looks -- assuming that I had not done my homework on the subject and did not understand the benefits. I did. I just knew it wasn't for me. At times it was like I was a medical oddity. "Come see the woman who refuses to breastfeed her baby!" Or at least, that's how my pregnant hormones made me feel. My Lamaze teacher corrected me each time I said "bottle" with the word "breast" over and over again, and in front of the other mothers. They were one step short of giving me a scarlet "B" for bottle-feeder to wear for the duration of the class.

Surprisingly, the only person who was supportive in my plight was my doctor. I remember her words clearly like a beacon of light. She said, "If you're not comfortable, no one will be comfortable. What's best for you is best for your baby." Relief at last.

Many of my friends said that I would miss out on the special bond that breastfed babies have with their mothers, and I can tell you that Joseph and I are as close, if not closer, than any mother and child can be. Feeding time has always been our private hour where we can connect and reflect on our love. Just because his food is coming from a bottle, instead of the breast, doesn't mean that he is getting any less affection from my end. I was and am always sure to hold him tight and caress his little body so he knows he is loved unconditionally.

I'm a firm believer that breastfeeding should not define you as a mother. If your child is happy and healthy, and your home is standing, all is well. To each her own.



next: A Wearable Towel?!
155 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sarah B May 26, 2009, 8:27 AM

I SO UNDERSTAND!!! Although I am currently breastfeeding (I have a 14 week old), I will not be doing it again with my second child (whenever ‘they’ come along). Since my daughter REFUSES to take a bottle now, and will not take a pacifier, I am solely responsible for feeding and comforting her. It is really hard on me. I love my daughter very much, but I hate breastfeeding! I too was not breastfed, nor was my husband… we turned out pretty ok, and I am sure your son, and any of my future children will too!!!

Emma May 26, 2009, 9:04 AM

As a mom who breastfeed I have to say that I agree with you. I loved the bonding with my child and everything, but just like everything else, breastfeeding is NOT for everybody. if you can and want to do it great, if not that’s fine too. The most important thing is to be able to enjoy your child and if breastfeeding is not allowing you to so then is not worth it.

Laura May 26, 2009, 9:38 AM

SAME HERE! i tried, and i admit, i was thankful he didn’t want it. my husband was more upset about it than i was….and my mother in law too. but it was right for me!

NELL May 26, 2009, 10:11 AM

Amen, Christina!

Rachel May 26, 2009, 10:14 AM

Good for you! This is such a personal choice, yet women (watch for it - give this post a few hours) will undoubtedly come out of the woodworks to criticize your decision.

nicole May 26, 2009, 10:30 AM

i love what your doctor said. it’s what you chose to do end of story.

kate May 26, 2009, 10:53 AM

wow. this is the best post and responses i’ve read about this on the site. while my baby was breastfeeding last year and i so desperatley wanted to stop I would look on here for insight and articles, yet all i read was the negative, and a little bit demeaning comments for moms who just didn’t want to nurse. I didn’t last that long breastfeeding, about 5 months. Now that I’ve had one child and I’ve learned and grown etc…I am more comfortable with NOT breastfeeding and making it my choice, but on the other hand, I wonder if the second time around I’ll be more comfortable with the whole thing and won’t mind as much. Maybe I’m partial to have the liberty to do both breast and bottle.

Jen May 26, 2009, 11:43 AM

I also did not breast feed my daughter and I have no regrets, though we did get a lot of comments and bad looks from people. My husband and I have both bonded with her because we were both able to experience feeding her. I think that bonding with your baby comes from spending time with her not what she is sucking on.

Seriously? May 26, 2009, 12:44 PM

I am shocked and amazed. I get it that it’s your personal decision whether or not to breastfeed. When I was pregnant I was terrified that I would not be able to, because of a previous medical condition and surgery on my breasts. Luckily for me, I have been able to, and my 13 month old son is still breastfeeding now.

But to try and become “militant” about NOT breastfeeding seems horribly careless. Whether you like it or not, breastfeeding is what is best for every child and trying to encourage others to abandon their children in this way is just wreckless.

NELL May 26, 2009, 12:48 PM

I am happy with this article as well. As I stated in a previous article, I coundn’t do it due to medical reasons and lack of support. Yet everywhere I looked someone was brow beating me and calling me a terrible mother for not breastfeeding. I tried, but even using a pump, I only produced about 2 ounces per day manual or electric. So what do you do? Let your baby starve? It was even comical to watch me try and mix my breast milk with the formula. Yes, next time, I will try harder, but if it doesn’t work out, then so be it. Kudos to people who don’t make a big deal about it or make the moms feel worse.

Christy May 26, 2009, 12:53 PM

FINALLY!! Someone feels the way I do about breastfeeding!! There is way too much pressure! Kudos to you for speaking your mind.

Laura May 26, 2009, 1:01 PM

Seriously? - Just for the record, my son was formula fed (shoot me now - i’m a horrible mother!) and is a lot healthier than most of the breastfed kids i know and he is a mama’s boy. so just because your kid gets the nipple doesn’t mean he likes you more or is more healthy.

Loukia May 26, 2009, 1:01 PM

It’s true, that it is a personal choice. When I was pregnant with my 1st, I swore I would not breastfeed. But I did give it a try - and I loved it. So did my son. And my second baby loved it, too. It was easy and comfortable for me. And I’m glad I did it. However, like I said - it is a personal choice and I don’t look down on anyone who didn’t breastfeed. My mom never breastfed me. And I’m healthy. And her and I are best of friends!

Big Mama May 26, 2009, 1:06 PM

I agree with the peer pressure, sometimes it can be too much. I breastfed both of my children, and wouldn’t change it for the world! For me, there was no other choice. I certainly wouldn’t want anyone shoving “don’t breastfeed” down my throat, I’d probably hit them with my shoe!

kate May 26, 2009, 1:07 PM

I think breastfeeding for the first month is key for immunity and whatnot but after that I stopped and plan on doing the same with my other children. My baby is now 9months and extemely healthy and happy. It is a personal choice and to criticize anyone for a personal decision is ignorant. Good for you for doing what you feel right!

jennifer May 26, 2009, 1:15 PM

I don’t see breastfeeding as a good mommy/bad mommy issue. It is about the health of the baby. I clearly am in the minority here, but I feel that any woman who is able to breastfeed and chooses not to is not making the best choice for her baby.

tm May 26, 2009, 1:21 PM

thank God someone out there is just like me…my own sister even told me how unatural i was for not BFing…guess what i don’t care! i don’t want to and no one is going to make me.
why can’t we be militant about NOT bfing if breastfeeders can be militant about it? thats just stupid!
i love my kids as much as the next person so don’t give me that bonding crap…and my kids are healthy or healthier than my sisters kids who were all BF. it doesn’t make you a better mother or your kids smarter. it sure as heck isn’t “abandoning” your children. what utter rubbish. it is just a different way to feed your child. thats all ! nothing more nothing less. GET OVER YOURSELF !

susie g. May 26, 2009, 1:24 PM

So perfect that you should start with “I am not going to cite any studies or doctors regarding the pros and cons of breastfeeding…”

HOW COULD YOU?

You wouldn’t be able to find one study to support your decision!

Your decision based solely on insecurity about your body and your total self-absorped personality is beyond selfish.

Hilarious that a bunch of equally selfish women quickly jumped on here to post and say “Hooray, I’m selfish, too… thanks for putting it out there and making it okay!”

Well, ladies it’s OKAY… your kids will likely survive anyway. They won’t be quite as smart, quite as independent, or have the strongest immune system possible, but they’ll be OKAY… and, if that’s your goal… success!

Arp May 26, 2009, 1:39 PM

You could have just titled the post ‘I’m Selfish and I don’t care what’s in the best interest of my baby’ and saved people the trouble of reading it. It sounds like having a baby was a ‘thing to do’ and not something you care to think too much about. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised as it’s another example of the ego-driven me me me culture pervading the world. Good parenting is driven by decisions that are focused on the best interests of the children. The implication that you are a ‘bad’ parent is warranted.

That's hilarious May 26, 2009, 1:48 PM

susie g.- Check your knee jerk reaction at the door. I was not breastfed. I earned straight A’s throughout school (could have skipped a grade), earned a BS and MS, and have nothing worse than the occasional sinus allergy. I don’t rely on others (with the exception of my loving husband), and my mother is my best friend. Take a deep breath and get over yourself! It’s not how you are fed, it’s how you are raised.


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