What Mum Guilt sounds like: breastfeeding v formula

Mum guilt is absolutely real. There’s so much pressure, whether from myself, the people around me, society in general, to do “the right thing.” Whatever that means.

There’s lots of information on the internet about the benefits of breastfeeding. But my favourite source is the book called Cribsheet by Emily Oster. She looked into the studies and concluded that there’s evidence of some short term benefits and no evidence of long term benefits of breastfeeding. You’ll need to read the book to look at the nuances.

This post isn’t about giving advice as I don’t have any. Everyone says, “do what’s best for you and your family,” but that’s not helpful if you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing! It’s also not helpful when it’s said before or after a “breast is best” or breastfeeding advice or support speech.

Baby is 11 weeks old and I’ve only been breastfeeding. I’ve tried pumping, but it’s a logistical nightmare if you’re also breastfeeding and solo parenting for most of the week. I’m still on the fence about whether to slowly move to giving my baby formula. These are my thoughts.

Why I want to breastfeed

  • Baby is thriving – this is really the weightiest factor.
    • When I complain about breastfeeding, I’m told I’m “doing a great job.” And this is true. But now I feel like I “shouldn’t” change anything.
  • I don’t have any breastfeeding issues anymore (boobs aren’t sore most of the time and my supply is fine).
  • Breastfeeding is less of a hassle as I don’t have to think about bottles, especially when out and about. As someone very eloquently put it, “you can just whack him on the boob!”
  • No mum guilt –
    • Society pushes “breast is best,” with the consequently meaningless “do what’s best” caveat. It’s all over social media and government campaigns.
    • I don’t feel like I have to explain myself to anyone.
  • I’m hungry all the time (but this could just be the exhaustion) so I feel justified to eat my weight in chocolate
  • Its cheaper (without counting all the 3am Amazon purchases I make).
  • I probably won’t get my period yet.
  • Breast milk poop is more bearable than formula milk poop (or so I’ve heard).

Why I want to stop breastfeeding

  • I want my boobs back and I want to wear non-nursing clothes
  • I don’t like the feeling of having a baby attached to me all day.
  • Other people can help me feed my baby, which allows me to be free to do other things, either for the house or for myself.
  • I don’t like breastfeeding –
    • I don’t feel the closeness or connection to my baby (please tell me I’m not the only one!).
    • It makes me feel like a cow and that my boobs are there to be used.
    • It makes me not want anyone to touch me.
    • It’s uncomfortable.
  • Because I don’t like breastfeeding, I want to delay feeds.
  • I hate the feeling of comfort feeding.
  • Formula feeding has a more predictable schedule, which will help me build a routine for myself (not the baby).

Why I don’t want to use formula

  • Cleaning, sterilising, and making up bottles are a hassle. I’ll need to be very organised.
  • I might not have time for myself or it might not help me feel like myself anyway –
    • I still have to be the one to do the feeds most of the time.
    • Getting other people to feed my baby will happen only once at night (husband) or only once in a while (if we decide to get someone to babysit).
    • Feeding takes only at most 20 mins. Even if someone else feeds him, I’m still attached to him the rest of the time.
  • Mum guilt –
    • I feel like I have to explain myself to other people (who probably aren’t judging me anyway).
    • There’s so much support for breastfeeding, which is great. But since I don’t have breastfeeding issues, I feel like I can’t justify using formula.
    • It feels like I had “given in” or “given up.” Like I “lost” and everyone else who are still breastfeeding are “better” than me.

I’m at an impasse with myself, constantly arguing one way or the other. On hard days, formula wins. On okay days, breastfeeding does.

Can anyone else relate to this? I hope I’m not going crazy!