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Marla Smart

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Why it's OK that I didn't breastfeed | Moms

There is a lot of variety in our Douglas County Moms blogger group. It has been interesting to read the different opinions and experiences each of us has on various topics.

For instance, I’m not a stay at home mom, I am not homeschooling, and I did not breastfeed.

I should say I have experienced all three, though, and I would love to share the other side of the coin with you.

Throughout my first pregnancy, I really didn’t have a strong leaning toward or away from breastfeeding.

Like Robbin, I did not have much of an example of breastfeeding where I grew up.

And honestly, it was not a discussion I had with any of my friends before we moved to Oregon when I was seven-and-a-half months pregnant.

There was a very strong opinion in our new community of people as to what would be best for our baby.

There were many suggestions for doctors, diapers, wipes, beds, babysitters and car seats.

There was not a lot of discussion about breastfeeding because it was assumed that it was the plan for our family.

Then, I met and became good friends with another pregnant mama who was very much against breastfeeding.

Our community felt it was important to educate the two of us pregnant moms so that we could in turn make the correct decision.

There were well-meaning conversations, articles clipped from magazines, and side comments about how well their children have turned out because of their choice to breastfeed.

I’m trying to say this very kindly, but the truth is, we both felt pushed – hard.

It was a little embarrassing to my Southern sensibilities to listen to such bluntness on a topic I thought was private.

My friend totally rebelled and began spouting her own anti-breast campaigns, loudly.

Being the newcomer, and not nearly as self-assured, I complained to my husband and friend, but didn’t respond to the others.

When our sweet baby was born, we made the decision to breastfeed. I guess some of the suggestions paid off.

I was ready to bond more fully with my baby and give her everything she would need to be stronger, smarter and healthier than a bottle-fed baby (these were the things I had been told).

What happened over the next few weeks was a miserable mess. Literally messy, as all will understand, but emotionally as well.

I had trouble overcoming my modesty enough to leave the back room. (This was in the days before nursing aprons!)

I was still receiving a lot of opinions on scheduling, etc., and I was overwhelmed, under-rested and brain-fried.

On top of it all, she was not eating well, and at two weeks old had not yet gained her birth weight back.

The pediatrician promptly prescribed some formula supplementation, which over the next few weeks turned into more and more.

I remember the final day, sitting on the edge of the bed weeping because feeding was just too hard.

I looked up at my husband and said, “I’m done. I want to switch completely to bottle.”

Then I cried because I knew the uproar this would cause.

And it did. There were questions and comments and urgings to try again for the sake of my baby.

There were many more tears shed, but with the support of my husband, in-laws and close friends, we all made it through.

Our baby girl has grown up into a beautiful, talented, smart, adjusted person who I have a very close relationship with, as does my husband.

The reason I wanted to share my story is not to be “anti-breastfeeding.”

Truly, I am not.

I wholeheartedly support every mother finding what works best for them and doing it to the best of their ability.

I want to give the resources if they ask, and then stand by to help if needed.

I think some well-meaning people forget that sometimes.

You have wisdom to share, but you are not privy to the inner workings of every situation.

As a friend of a new parent, please be sensitive to that.

And as a new mom, congratulations! You can do this.

Find your support group and do what you feel is best for your baby.

I cried because I knew the uproar this would cause.

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The News-Review Updated Apr 3, 2014 02:59PM Published Apr 4, 2014 11:06AM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.