There were a few things I didn't want do during my pregnancy or those first few months as a new mom. Breastfeeding was pretty much at the top of my list.
Minutes after giving birth to my son, the nurse asked if I was interested in breastfeeding. I was still feeling woozy from the drugs but I figured I'm here, she's here, my baby's here—why not?
My mom was also in the room and before I could respond, she immediately interrupted. (My husband was also in the room but he had fallen asleep. Childbirth tired him out.)
Mom: Oh no, my daughter is very busy; she doesn't have time for that. Just give her the shot so her milk will dry up. My grandson will have formula.
(When my mom gave birth in the 1970s, this was something they did without judgment.)
Nurse (to my mom) : We don't do that anymore.
Nurse (to me): Would you like me to show you how to breastfeed your baby?
Mom: Lisa, you don't have to do all that. Just ask for the formula.
My mother and the nurse continued to argue over whether or not I should breastfeed. I eventually had to tell my mom to be quiet and asked the nurse to help me try.
The nurse was nice about it. But the way she looked at me, the way she held my brand new baby out in front of me, asking if I was going to breastfeed - it didn't feel like a question.
The thing is, if the nurse didn't ask, I wouldn't have even tried. I made up my mind months before. I didn't want to breastfeed.
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Yeah, I knew about the benefits, the bonding and the "breast is best" philosophy but I didn't want to be that mom. I wanted to make my experience with motherhood as convenient as possible.
I know what some of you are probably thinking... what's more convenient than carrying your own supply of milk? But it just seemed like a hassle. The special bras, the nursing tops, the pumps, pumping and dumping if you wanted a glass of wine. I knew I wouldn't be comfortable breastfeeding in public. As selfish as it sounds, I wanted to do what was right for me.
And I was cool with a bottle, powdered formula and water. Anyone could feed my baby, anytime, anywhere.
I only tried breastfeeding in the hospital because nurses kept coming in to show me how. I know they wanted to be helpful and that they were doing their job. But I felt pressured to do something I didn't want to do.
Because I had already started in the hospital, I tried to continue the first few days at home.
I remember waking up at 2 a.m. trying to breastfeed. I was exhausted, my son was hungry and I just couldn't get him to latch on properly. After a while, we were both crying and I asked my husband to prepare a bottle.
Even though breastfeeding was something I never wanted to do, I still felt like a failure at it.
When my breasts became engorged, I was in so much pain I purchased a handheld breast pump. Three hours (yes, HOURS) of pumping resulted in two ounces of milk. That's when I let go of my guilt.
In the great breast versus bottle debate, I don't judge. I don't even ask why or why not. I don't care if you breastfeed in public. I don't care how long you breastfeed your kid. Breastfeeding wasn't for me. I wish I had been given that same kind of courtesy.