When my oldest was born, I gave nursing an honest shot. For four weeks we struggled to get it right. Then our pediatrician gently pointed out that Riley was losing rather than gaining weight—not a good thing, since she was born prematurely and already on the small side. I began supplementing with formula and she greedily sucked it down, obviously starving. Even though I kept offering my breasts for another two weeks, she wanted nothing to do with them. Apparently, that bottle was much easier to drink from. So I bandaged my sore nipples and my pride and snapped my nursing bra closed for the last time, officially joining the ranks of bottle-feeding mamas. I felt frustrated and disappointed—but also relieved, because although everyone told me nursing was a beautiful experience, all Riley and I experienced was pain, frustration and tears.
When I was pregnant with Brice, I decided to give breastfeeding another go—but I also knew that if it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. (Riley turned out to be a healthy, happy kid, so a little formula obviously didn’t hurt.) However, this time, no bottle was necessary. In fact, I can count on two hands the number of times my son drank from a bottle in his life. Brice latched on in the delivery room and, other than a little soreness on my part, we didn’t have any problems. He nursed like a pro for quite some time—let’s just say that when we finally called it quits, he was big enough to request his favored side. Breastfeeding was an easy, wonderful experience for both of us—one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.
However, having been on both sides of the bottle vs. breast debate, I’m often appalled at how guilty moms who bottle-feed are made to feel. I wholeheartedly believe that all moms should do what is best for their families, and that only they know what that is. It isn’t anyone else’s place to judge the way someone parents or feeds her child. I strongly encourage all new moms to give breastfeeding a try because, when it works, it is beautiful. But if it doesn’t, don’t beat yourself up or let anyone make you feel bad—you can bond over a bottle too. If you love your baby and meet his needs, you’re already on your way to being a great mom—no matter how your little one takes his daily meals.”
—Lacey, Editor in Chief