Breastfeeding is a personal choice. Even though “Breast is Best,” you don’t have to breastfeed just because someone told you to.
To breastfeed or not to breastfeed has become a big, guilt-induced decision for every new mom. I remember agonizing about how long to breastfeed both of my sons. I felt immense guilt when I quit early with my second son and, anecdotally, he’s actually the healthier of the two.
The best reason to breastfeed is because you have made the decision for yourself. Yes, breastfeeding is beneficial to both mother and baby, but let’s not forget that infant formula is not the devil’s poison that everyone would like to believe it is. If you opt to formula-feed your baby instead of breastfeeding for any number of reasons, your child is still likely to grow into a strong, smart, healthy adult.
Here are 10 reasons to reconsider your decision.
1. You view it as a personal accomplishment
Meeting your breastfeeding goal might make you feel good, but it’s not something you can put on your résumé. Let it go.
2. You’ve always wanted a cool nursing cover
Here’s a better plan: Buy one and wear it as a cape.
3. You think it will make your baby love you more
Moms agree that breastfeeding is a wonderful time to bond with a new baby, but it is not a cure-all for parental attachment. There is so, so much more that will go into cultivating a strong relationship with your child over the next 18 years.
4. Your husband wants you to
Husbands should definitely get to weigh in on how a new baby is fed, but ultimately, the one with the swollen, red and cracked nipples calls the shots.
5. Your mother wants you to
“I breastfed you for two years. Surely, you can manage breastfeeding my grandchild for six months?” Nope. Sorry. This argument does not hold water.
6. Your doctor wants you to
Every pediatrician is going to encourage you to breastfeed because “Breast is Best,” after all. But a good doctor will understand when it is time to throw in the towel and will help you choose the right infant formula.
7. You want to impress your friends
If playgroup moms grade you on how long you breastfeed, it’s time to get new friends.
8. You’re worried everyone will judge you if you don’t
Just like in high school, most judgment is all in your imagination. And if it’s not, see No. 7. It’s time for some new friends.
9. You want your child to be the smartest baby in the world
Breastfeeding does have a great many scientifically proven benefits, though one 2014 study published in the journal Social Science and Medicine pointed out that the advantages of breastfeeding over bottle-feeding were negligible among siblings.
10. You think it will help you lose the baby weight
Sorry to burst your bubble, but breastfeeding may not be the magic weight loss elixir you’ve been hoping for. Some moms do drop pounds while nursing, sure, but others reveal that extended breastfeeding actually made them gain weight.