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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
George May 28, 2009, 7:54 AM

You are certainly free to do as you choose, and, fortunately, you do have other viable options than breastfeeding. However, I must say that I disagree with your assessment that you turned out okay. You have issues with your own body, with lactation, and with what is sexual and what is not. What’s best for you is NOT what’s best for your baby. You are putting your own issues ahead of your baby’s needs. Fortunately, as I said above, you do have other options. If you lived elsewhere, your decision might well endanger your baby. As it is, your baby will only lose some benefits, but you can live with that, right? I suspect your willingness to put yourself ahead of your child will manifest in other areas and ways as your child grows. Good luck with that.

BA May 28, 2009, 10:06 AM

Women who don’t even want to try breastfeeding, shouldn’t have children in the first place! I did it for 14 months first and 12months second child, how many studies need to be done to prove to you people that it really is best for baby? There are more than 4,000 nutrients in breastmilk versus 40 in formula. Case closed. You should be ashamed of yourself!

This is getting old May 28, 2009, 10:40 AM

BA is full of herself and BS.

Anonymous May 28, 2009, 12:01 PM

I am really suprised at the reaction of some people towards those of us who formula feed. It seems that you are all very judgemental. My baby is formula fed and she is perfect. And how dare people assume that I shouldn’t have a baby simply because she wasn’t breastfed. And since people seem to want to quote studies that promote breastfeeding here is a study for you. Most doctors recemond that if your baby is breast fed that you put them on vitimans because breast milk lacks vitiman d zinc both of which are important to the developement of a baby. What is important is that you raise your baby with love and raise them to be good people. Because in the end our kids are going to remember if we loved them, how we raised them and the values we gave them not whether they ate from out breast.

Really May 28, 2009, 12:06 PM

BA, women with malignant personality disorders should not have children in the first place. Have fun purchasing that glass house in this real estate market.

Ashleigh May 30, 2009, 4:55 PM

That sounds very similar to my best friend, who decided it wasn’t for her either, and of course that was the best thing for her and her amazing little girl! Then when I got pregnant and was considering it, I flat out asked why she had chose bottle feeding and I made my decision on my own after that - which was breastfeeding. When it was more of a hassle and stress than it was worth, I gradually switched over to a bottle and now my son is drinking formula. For us, that was the way to go.

I, however, never felt ANY pressure from anyone either way. Doctors and nurses politely asked what I wanted to do, and they went with that. Prenatal classes mentioned both and if you were interested in breastfeeding, that was the final optional class at the end of everything else. Definitely no judgement from either end, which was amazing!

just saying May 31, 2009, 11:22 PM

breast milk does not lack vitamin D or Zinc, it may contain low amounts, but it is always there. it’s that the mother lacks the proper amounts of vitamin D and zinc, which can usually be fixed with a quick change in diet or by taking vitamins.

Lisa June 2, 2009, 10:16 PM

Only losers bottlefeed and you sound like the biggest loser of all. It’s a shame that you don’t care about the welfare of your own child. You are selfish in every aspect of the word. I feel very sorry for your child.

Yikes June 5, 2009, 8:17 PM

Wow. It’s amazing how bigoted people can be about a personal decision to FEED your child. This is not abortion— where you choose to KILL your child. I wonder how many breastfeeding advocates on here (the more Nazi-like ones) are pro-choice. Seems like a double standard to me.

Kristi June 13, 2009, 9:17 PM

I breastfed for 2 and 1/2 months and it was terribly painful and I cried everytime I had to feed my lil man. I wanted to breastfeed so badly that tried to just grin and bare it even though still after 2 1/2 months I still had huge gashes… My bond with my son at that time was not at all what it should have been solely because I hated breastfeeding. I do think it is the best but for me I did not produce enough milk and I tried everything. I still get comments from people for not breastfeeding but I only produced about 6 ounces a day and I think the pain from feeding was worse than labor… I will try again with my next and I am going to seek help with it as well…

hd June 18, 2009, 10:35 AM

I just wanted to say good for you for posting this. Girls ARE mean (I just read your response to comments elsewhere on the site). Knock on wood, my daughter is 2.5 now and is extraordinarily healthy—much moreso than ALL of my breastfeeding friends’ kids have been. There is so much more to kids’ health and parenting than this single issue.

malika July 1, 2009, 12:01 PM

I do not understand how come it is proven that breastfeeding is best for your baby’s health?

I was not breastfed, neither my sister. We never got anything more serious than the common cold. My sister though decided to breastfeed her first son and did it for a year. And I have never known a more sickly child than he is. Ear infections throughout the year and flu twice a year, milk allergies etc. As a result second son has been bottle fed since birth and he’s a healthy boy!

I have been talking about it with friends and they have similar experiences. Can anybody explain?

carole July 6, 2009, 4:40 PM

Although I happen to love breastfeeding, I fully support women who choose not to. I hve a firend who was miserable trying to breastfeed, felt pressure from her in laws, other people etc.. finally I asked her if stopping the breastfeeding would make her happie, sh Society tries to have said “yes” I replied, “then stop” She enjoyed mothering more, and became alot happier. I think it is a personal thing as well, and I detest it when people push it at you while you are pregnant, and then when you must feed your child in public even discretly they treat you like you are flashing your coochie or something. Society tries to have it both ways.. sorry.

kara July 9, 2009, 2:43 PM

i wish i would have read this when you first published it. tears are running down my face…FINALLY someone who feels like me.

It’s very hard being silently and not-so-silently scrutinized by breast-feeding moms. My child is 20 months old, and her paternal grandfather just this past Sunday told me she gets sick as often as she does because I didn’t breast feed (oh, for the record, she was teething, which caused the fever that prompted this comment from him). My child probably gets sick more than another child because she’s in daycare, which brings on a whole new level of criticism from moms.

i just feel like there is no one out there who respects a woman who loves her child yet chooses to bottle feed (and/or chooses to continue working).

Anyway, sorry for the vent session…thank you for this post.

Angela July 9, 2009, 11:55 PM

Ok I have a lot to say and I hope I can just get it all out. I first want to make a few comments on some of the comments I have read.
1. “Women who don’t even want to try breastfeeding, shouldn’t have children in the first place! I did it for 14 months first and 12months second child, how many studies need to be done to prove to you people that it really is best for baby? There are more than 4,000 nutrients in breastmilk versus 40 in formula. Case closed. You should be ashamed of yourself!”
- BA.
When i read this I got really mad and I couldn’t have been more disgusted! This comment is very PRO ABORTION!!!!!!! Wow I have to say that allowing your child to have a life is better than just MURDERING it!!!! So what the mom won’t breastfeed the baby…as long as she took amazing care of it and was super carefully during her pregnancy, the mom deserves her baby. That baby is a part of her! NOT YOU!!!!!!!!! Also not all babies are planned in the first place (I’m one of those babies). Also i bet there are probably plenty of moms out there that breastfed their baby and down the line probably physically abused them. However, I can’t prove that because when there is a child abuse case people aren’t asking the parents if the mom breastfed or formula fed the baby.
2. “Only losers bottlefeed and you sound like the biggest loser of all. It’s a shame that you don’t care about the welfare of your own child. You are selfish in every aspect of the word. I feel very sorry for your child.”
- Lisa.
This comment is also very outraging! Ok not all moms actually gave birth to the child they have. Like my neighbor couldn’t have kids of her own and she adopted a baby boy. He didn’t get any breast milk. So technically my neighbor and his birth mom are just completely horrible people….Give me a break. Also there are women who really can’t breastfeed even though they love THEIR child so much. So they are just horrible mothers too and they should just hate themselves, go into a deep and horrible depression, and then by that point maybe they wont even take care of their baby because they feel like they are such a failure, or even yet they may just end up killing themselves. I guess if mom doesn’t breastfeed she should just not do anything with her child, thats what it sounds like. Oh and the author is selfish? You can’t really say that because you don’t know how her pregnancy went. She could have not listened to her doctors and not given birth to a healthy baby. I think that is the worse thing a woman can do. However, I’m pretty sure she listened to what the doctor said because I bet she loved her child from the start. Oh hey I have a question. If a mother doesn’t take good care of her baby while its in her womb but once it is born and she just breastfeeds it, does that make her a better mother than those that formula feed? I don’t think it is.
This is getting long and I know but I really feel I need to speak my mind about this subject.
To be a mom you do have to sacrifice a lot but you shouldn’t have to give up everything either. Because that isn’t really fair. If the mom is not taking care of herself emotionally then how can she truly care for her baby? If a mom is happy then the baby will end up being happier in the end. Heck it goes farther than just the baby! I really believe in the saying, “When mom isn’t happy, nobody is happy”. It is very true in the end. Like if mom is in a bad mood you need to watch what you do or else you wont be happy either or you will end up getting in trouble. Moms have a life too. Moms need time to themselves every once in a while. When people work they always like to take a vacation to get away from the stress and all. In fact most of these breastfeeding Nazis (sorry a lot of you sound like that) are pretty much saying that you shouldn’t have your own life, you are here to live for the child only. Man, I think we all should just go back to living in caves. Its all about balance, plus last time I checked it takes 2 to make a baby. I think the fathers deserve to be able to feed the baby too. See if you just completely breastfeed I think you should be the only one cleaning the diapers in the end. The daddy didn’t give that cute, soft, little baby what he needed to make the stuff that is in the dirty diaper. Now, if you pump and allow the husband to feed then it should be different. In the end the fathers really need to also bond with their babies besides just playing with them and changing the stinky diapers.
Also I just love listening to how the breastfeeding Nazis just talk about how much better breastfed babies are. Its almost as if the rest of the life of the child doesn’t matter. I believe I read someone’s comment that was basically saying that if you don’t breastfeed your baby you are abusing them because of blah blah blah…..To be honest with y’all I see mothers every single day “abusing” and harming their child’s health. For the love of goodness look at the stuff moms will give their kids. All of those fried foods aren’t good for them at all but does that stop the parents from giving it to them, nope. And there are a lot more foods out there that harm kids or could end up harming kids. Oh and lets not forget the ppl that don’t sign their kids up for a summer sport because they are just asking for their kids to become obese and lazy piles. Also we can’t forget moms who smoke, they making life for their kids much worse.
I’m gonna tell y’all something. I wasn’t breastfed and my mom smoked the whole pregnancy with me. According to many crazy people out there I probably should have been taken away from my mom. Also after I was born she smoked around me too. And some of the “problems” i have are just completely genetic. Also I have quite a few learning disabilities and I have ADD and i’m gonna tell y’all right now I’m a very bright person! Hell I’m pretty much a straight A student and on top of that I’m not in special classes that many kids will take when they have those problems. I was a kid who worked through my problems. Life is still hard for me as a student but I believe it is my responsibility to work hard for where I get. Also my parents have been supporting me through what I have chose. They loved me and didn’t like hearing me crying myself to sleep at night thinking I was stupid. They did what they could to get me where I wanted to be, but they told me I would have to work extra hard and I have. So far I’ve been successful! Plus I bet there are probably breastfed kids out there that have had the same problems as me. There are people out there that don’t have learning disabilities that don’t do as well as I do.
Oh and for one of my last points, my brother’s roommate just had her first baby a few months ago. He is just one of the cutest babies I have ever seen. However, the mommy is a very strict vegetarian and a lot of it is based off of her morals. Vegetarians are very healthy however, she hasn’t been really supplying her baby with the nutrients he needs and she wont change up her diet. So now she mostly just formula feeds him but she tries to breast feed him but she can’t just go off of that. However, from what I have heard from a lot of people that commented on this article, she is just an horrible mother. She isn’t giving up things that she is extremely passionate about for what is best for her baby. So she just has to be completely horrible.
In the end I just want to say something else. Mothers are more than just mothers. They are wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters, aunts, and so on. Women have many roles to fit in and they should try to take care of each role. And do what is best for her because what is best for her will be whats best for the baby. If a mother is happier she will share that happiness with everyone, especially her little joyful, soft cutie pie. So please respect the choice of other women. You can not just start telling everyone how to live their life or else there is no freedom out there. Let people raise their children the way they think is correct. The only time others should really step in is if that child is fully being neglected. Where it is left alone in a house, being starved, being shook, and so on. Formula feeding is not the worse thing in the world that can happen to a baby. So please open yours eyes and see it. As women we should be supportive of each other. We should just be happy that the baby is getting the love it needs and deserves. So please just be respectful. I know in the comment I haven’t been the nicest and I apologize but I’m just very passionate about somethings. Anyways, for the women expecting and the women who already have kids, just show them you love them with all your heart and they will love you back. =]
~Ang~

Angela July 9, 2009, 11:58 PM

a failure, or even yet they may just end up killing themselves. I guess if mom doesn’t breastfeed she should just not do anything with her child, thats what it sounds like. Oh and the author is selfish? You can’t really say that because you don’t know how her pregnancy went. She could have not listened to her doctors and not given birth to a healthy baby. Or hey I have a good question. If a mother doesn’t take good care of her baby while its in her womb but once it is born and she just breastfeeds it, does that make her a better mother than those that formula feed?
This is getting long and I know but I really feel I need to speak my mind about this subject.
To be a mom you do have to sacrifice a lot but you shouldn’t have to give up everything either. Because that isn’t really fair. If the mom is not taking care of herself emotionally then how can she truly care for her baby? If a mom is happy then the baby will end up being happier in the end. Heck it goes farther than just the baby! I really believe in the saying, “When mom isn’t happy, nobody is happy”. It is very true in the end. Like if mom is in a bad mood you need to watch what you do or else you wont be happy either or you will end up getting in trouble. Moms have a life too. Moms need time to themselves every once in a while. When people work they always like to take a vacation to get away from the stress and all. In fact most of these breastfeeding Nazis (sorry a lot of you sound like that) are pretty much saying that you shouldn’t have your own life, you are here to live for the child only. Man, I think we all should just go back to living in caves. Its all about balance, plus last time I checked it takes 2 to make a baby. I think the fathers deserve to be able to feed the baby too. See if you just completely breastfeed I think you should be the only one cleaning the diapers in the end. The daddy didn’t give that cute, soft, little baby what he needed to make the stuff that is in the dirty diaper. Now, if you pump and allow the husband to feed then it should be different. In the end the fathers really need to also bond with their babies besides just playing with them and changing the stinky diapers.

Angela July 10, 2009, 12:00 AM

a failure, or even yet they may just end up killing themselves. I guess if mom doesn’t breastfeed she should just not do anything with her child, thats what it sounds like. Oh and the author is selfish? You can’t really say that because you don’t know how her pregnancy went. She could have not listened to her doctors and not given birth to a healthy baby. Or hey I have a good question. If a mother doesn’t take good care of her baby while its in her womb but once it is born and she just breastfeeds it, does that make her a better mother than those that formula feed?
This is getting long and I know but I really feel I need to speak my mind about this subject.
To be a mom you do have to sacrifice a lot but you shouldn’t have to give up everything either. Because that isn’t really fair. If the mom is not taking care of herself emotionally then how can she truly care for her baby? If a mom is happy then the baby will end up being happier in the end. Heck it goes farther than just the baby! I really believe in the saying, “When mom isn’t happy, nobody is happy”. It is very true in the end. Like if mom is in a bad mood you need to watch what you do or else you wont be happy either or you will end up getting in trouble. Moms have a life too. Moms need time to themselves every once in a while. When people work they always like to take a vacation to get away from the stress and all. In fact most of these breastfeeding Nazis (sorry a lot of you sound like that) are pretty much saying that you shouldn’t have your own life, you are here to live for the child only. Man, I think we all should just go back to living in caves. Its all about balance, plus last time I checked it takes 2 to make a baby. I think the fathers deserve to be able to feed the baby too. See if you just completely breastfeed I think you should be the only one cleaning the diapers in the end. The daddy didn’t give that cute, soft, little baby what he needed to make the stuff that is in the dirty diaper. Now, if you pump and allow the husband to feed then it should be different. In the end the fathers really need to also bond with their babies besides just playing with them and changing the stinky diapers.

mhm September 8, 2009, 7:32 PM

What a great article Christina - thank you for writing it. Somehow doing research on not breastfeeding (I am interested in a good bra recommendation and/or thoughts on binding), always ends up with the most close-minded breastfeeders demonizing everyone else.
The one thing that put a smile on my face as I read through the responses - the overwheling ratio of Breastfeeders over Non-Breastfeeders. This only means one thing: I am now CERTAIN that most of these mothers who are so concerned about us NOT breastfeeding are soon going to be the same mothers (if they aren’t already)who flock to the local McDonalds to pick up a happy meals for their precious little ones. Take a peek - you can even find nursing mothers at these establishments - nursing right there in the open and eating the food.
Stop being so self-righteous. If you actually serious about what you’re bashing non-breastfeeder for - McD’s and the other fastfood restauratants would have gone out of business years ago. I haven’t noticed a decline in establishements, which means you’re still frequenting and nutrition isn’t your main priority.

A Bowman October 18, 2009, 6:00 PM

hey,
I love how lots of ppl love to comment on the pros of immunity and breast feeding. do you know, 100% of those antibodies you think your baby will not get without your breast pass through the placenta before birth. yes its true!!! our body does it before we even stick it on our breasts. so there goes your immunity arguement. from your breasts is just the same stuff again, but they do already have it. also, a lot of women just don’t want to do it! I have already had my ‘breast feeding education’ lecture from the midwife, and I still will not breast feed. I dont know why, and I can;t explain it, but I find breast feeding makes me feel sic to my stomach. I’m not saying I don;t like women who breast feed, just like it is my choice not to it is your choice to breast feed, it just really seems like its not for me. how dare you condemn us and go on about immunity and bonding and how selfish we are, you obviously have not researched it enough. I am an honours student at the research centre for peadiatrics at adelaide university. and I’m sure there is at least one thing you’ve done through your pregnancy that we will find one day was not very good for baby. but hey! everyone is different, and what works for one person doesn;t always work for another. the greatest impact on a babies development is parents happiness. we even find physical manifestations in children with mothers who are really unhappy and not coping. keep yourself happy, and your family will be happy. good luck, and congratulations to every mother, breast feeding or not, its all a challenge and neither one is better or harder than the other.

tear November 2, 2009, 7:41 AM

I’m a breastfeeder and really encourage other women to do so, but don’t judge if they choose otherwise. But I just had to laugh about the scarlet ‘B’…too funny and I totally know how you must have felt as I have seen my fair share of breastfeeding nazi’s out there and frankly, even as a breastfeeder, they scare me!


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