I’m writing this post while 30 weeks pregnant and before baby’s arrival because I’ve gotten a few questions about my plans once baby boy arrives and if I plan to breastfeed. Maybe it’s a personal question for some, but since I’ve blogged about our journey with both Ainsley and Collins, it is something I’m happy to talk about.
Breastfeeding has been a topic that has been really tough for me. I can see/understand the value that it has for baby and have made an effort to give both our girls a great start with breastmilk both times. As Joe has reminded me, even a couple weeks is better than nothing, and so I’ve made very modest goals both with Ainsley and Collins and given myself the grace to switch to formula after that point if it was what was best for me + our family as a whole.
And that’s what I want to make sure is clear first and foremost: While on paper breastmilk is certainly and undoubtedly the best nutritional choice for baby, as I’ve gone down this path I’ve realized that rarely is the decision of what is “best for baby” as clear as what is nutritionally superior on paper. It’s my main issue with the catchy “breast is best” slogan, because it doesn’t capture the complexity of what goes into being best for baby. Those other factors being:
1. Mom’s mental health and well-being. I personally have found breastfeeding to cause a lot of mental anguish and don’t feel emotionally “normal” until I wean.
2. The family as a whole. Closely tied to what is mentioned above, but each new baby is part of our family unit and it’s important that whatever decision I made in regards to breastfeeding or not takes into account what will allow me to be the best and most emotionally stable and available mom to everyone in our family, not just baby.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking/praying about what decision or posture would be best and healthiest to have toward this baby’s arrival. I’ve gone between wanting not to breastfeed at all, to wanting to fully commit to giving it an earnest try for the long haul. Instead of falling into one extreme or other other, I’ve settled on the following:
My hope is to set a small and modest goal of six weeks to start. Enough to get baby on a good start nutritionally and for me to get my feet under me a bit in terms of finding a groove that (hopefully) works for us. In my heart, I would love to experience what I haven’t experienced prior – which is a more successful long-term breastfeeding experience than I did with both girls. Not knowing if this will be our last baby or not, I find myself not wanting to have any regrets that I didn’t give breastfeeding a real, earnest try before deciding it wasn’t for me.
So, my hope is that I can make it to six months as a best-case scenario, but I’m taking the entire thing with a VERY open hand and very open mind that there is so much more to being a great momma and giving this baby my best than simply breastfeeding any self-imposed amount of time. And if I’m six weeks in and it doesn’t work for us, giving myself a lot of grace to move forward with formula and without a second thought!