It's been a while since I've posted about breast feeding. You know, because I haven't been doing it for six months now. Since I'm more removed from it, I thought I'd summarize my thoughts on it for me. As always, my views on this don't apply to everyone. It's not easy, and it's not for everyone. I have no judgement for those that don't do it.* Okay, so back to my thoughts. I've always wanted to breast feed my babies. I have dreamed of being able to until the babes are at least one, but two babies later and it still has not happened. I'm not sure where and when I got this idea that going until one was my huge goal. I know most of it came with not wanting anything to do with formula. I do realize it has come a long way from what it used to be, but I strongly dislike it. I hate how the baby's BMs are disgustingly smelly and how the formula smells once mixed with water. Oh, and then there is the cost. I feel so wasteful buying it when I know that I potentially could be feeding the baby for free (minus the cost of me eating more food to keep up I guess). I also love the intimacy between the baby and me. It's something that only we can do together and it means the world to me. I truly love that closeness that developed between us. Those months with each of my girls were precious for my little memories even though they were also filled with anxiety and struggle here and there (I'm looking at you, mastitis). If you've read my blog for a while, you know that I struggled to keep my supply up with Audrey right after she turned four months old. She would eat and eat and then cry and cry, no matter what I did. It wasn't enough and I knew it. I felt pressure from some to just switch to formula or at least supplement and let me tell you, that angers me now that I look back. I know that it isn't for everyone, but I should not be guilted into giving up breast feeding just because someone else is uncomfortable with it. Obviously my interests were for Audrey's health. That was one of the reasons I was pushing for continuing breast feeding. The immunity that comes with it is wonderful, and I didn't want to let that part go either. The outside pressure and opinions did not help me out. They just made me feel worse. I also had support for continuing breast feeding, for trying all kinds of things to boost my supply, and for fighting the negative comments and vibes I got. I'm so thankful for that. Ultimately, I knew I had to make the choice to switch to formula when I was barely getting anything out from pumping. I was devastated because I wanted to continue and my body wasn't letting me. Months later, I learned that there was a good chance it was something on Audrey's end. More than likely, the way she was eating was not encouraging me to make more, so my body started making less. I don't know this for sure, but I feel so much better knowing that my body is almost certainly capable of lasting longer than four months. This is why I talk to others about things like this, and why I blog about it. For all of the negative junk that comes with, I learn about things I wouldn't have heard before and it makes it all worth it. I could have fought harder for it. I could have gone to see a nursing consultant or a physical therapist for Audrey, to make sure she was sucking the right way. Looking back, I am tempted to kick myself for not fighting more for something that meant a lot to me. But at the same time, it's not the end of the world. I know that it won't affect Audrey long term and now that we are almost done with formula (we're on our last container!) I can honestly say it wasn't terrible to have to use it. Whenever we are blessed with another baby, I know that I will want to fight for it again. It means a lot to me, it's good for the baby, and it saves us a little money. I already have the "tools" like the pump, nursing cover, and shield. Ultimately, I know I will want to try again, and for longer. *But of course, I cannot end this post without my own little disclaimer. It truly is not life or death. There is not proof that breast fed kids are healthier long term so whether or not you choose to breast feed has more to do with the here and now than the child's adult life and future. Does that make sense? If it is not right for you, then don't stress out about it. Don't feel bad and beat yourself up because you hear "Breast is best" and all that from the granola or natural lovin' moms out there. Sure, it is good, but you need to do what is best for your family. There are a lot of things to factor in and those people saying that aren't taking in your specific circumstances when they declare that. It is a generic statement, not applicable to everyone. On the flip side, and I say this with all seriousness, back off if you don't like it. It's not your decision and it is just as possible to make a breast feeding mama feel terrible by guilting her about it as it is for the breast feeding mamas to make formula mamas feel bad. It goes both ways. Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and looks can mean even more. Nonverbal communication speaks loudly too, and I got a lot of negative feedback in that form. I try to let it roll right off me but honestly, when I was struggling and wanting to keep trying, I felt terrible that I wasn't enough partly because others were going on and on about how hungry Audrey seemed when I was doing my best to feed her with what I thought was best. It was just.so.frustrating. So, those are my thoughts about it. It's a tiny part of a person's life, whether they were breast fed or bottle fed, but it is oh so controversial and can turn people against each other way too quickly. I truly hope that I can be supportive to other mamas who make their tough decision either way. Honestly. It doesn't matter to me which way you go! Make your decision and stick with it. I have enough love for you either way.