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When/how did you decide to breastfeed?
A Message Board Archive

 From mejp ~ I'd be interested to hear all of your stories about the decision to breastfeed. Here is mine:

I knew very little about breastfeeding before I became pregnant. I had a vague notion that it was better than formula but I only thought that because it seemed more "natural." During my first trimester, I figured I would try it. DH really wanted me to do because his aunts and mom did it. Over the course of my pregnancy, I learned a little more about it. During my Bradley childbirth class, we discussed it in great detail and I was sure that I would do it. I was given "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" by the Bradley instructor but I figured I'd just read it in those first few days after the birth. I really wish I had read it earlier but I had no idea how many questions I would have. I wish this was discussed more in our society so people (like me) would have a better understanding of it.

 From AmyC ~ When I was pregnant with my son I was convinced that I would only nurse for six weeks and then I would formula feed. I couldn't stand the idea of having a baby stuck to me all the time. While I was pregnant I was taking a full load of classes at a local university, one of them was a food science class. The TA for the lab was a grad student. She had gotten her bachelor's degree in food science and gone on to work for one of the large formula companies designing infant formula. She was appalled and ended up quitting and returning to school. Being that I was pregnant and a student in her lab she encouraged me frequently to breastfeed. At first I was reticent about the six week thing but then when Ian came and we had problems, the thing that got me through was thinking of this food scientist that manufactured formula that was the greatest breastfeeding advocate ever. Six years later I have had two babies, the first nursed for 3.5 years and the second is almost 2.5 and still nursing.

 From Ktyyyyyyy ~ Even though breastfeeding wasn't really done in my family, for some reason, I always knew that I would do it, even as a little girl. I was originally planning on only breastfeeding for six months. I'm sure I read somewhere that the majority of the benefits to the baby were only during the first six months. Also, I think I thought that at six months, DD would be eating lots of food and wouldn't really need that much milk/formula anyway. Plus, I knew that I would be working full time by three months and only wanted to deal with pumping for a little while. Well during my pregnancy, I did lots of reading and became much more educated. I could no longer justify to myself why I would give something to my DD that was only an inferior substitute to breast milk. It just didn't make any sense. Not to mention, that breastfeeding has been relatively easy, much cheaper than formula, and the bonding is irreplaceable. I do HATE pumping, but I am doing it for my DD, and I would do anything for her, so I do pump 5 times a day so that she can have the benefits of EBM when we are away from each other during the day. Now that we have been breastfeeding for nearly 7 months, I can't even believe I was ever planning to switch to formula. My new goal is to continue until one year and then re-evaluate at that time. Also, it really helps that her pedi. is so pro-breastfeeding. I would have to suffer stern lectures from him if I switched to formula.

 From m ~ Amy, I remember you sharing that story and I have never forgotten it. For me it was a given. I don't know why exactly since I have never known anyone who breastfed before I got pregnant (except for my friend's mom). And I was formula fed and heard bad things about breastfeeding from my mom. I grew up around a lot of animals and saw the babies nursing and I actually think that made me look at it as normal. I always looked at breastfeeding in a positive light. I also never drank cow's milk and see it as something that we aren't supposed to have. I'm a pretty logical person with a scientific background and to me not breastfeeding didn't make sense. I mean your body produces it, it's free, it's made just for your baby, it has immune agents in it, you don't have to make, wash bottles, etc. How could you not?

I read an old copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding that I bought at a used book store and it really got me into a motherly-state. I loved the idealism of the book, even if a lot of it didn't seem completely practical to me. I guess I've changed a lot since the first time I read it because now I read it and I completely relate to it.

 From Celia ~ I never considered not breastfeeding. I don't exactly know why. It's not because I had ever heard anything negative about formula...it just seemed like the thing to do. Maybe I was glad that my breasts finally had a real purpose.

 From Amieee ~ My mom breastfed us. Her mom breastfed her. I just kind of thought that is what women did when I was growing up. I remember my mom telling me how great it was, but I also remember her saying that when my sister was a baby she was so engorged and in so much pain (I guess she had mastitis), she was giving my dad her wishes for the funeral, she really thought she was going to die. My sister also had a difficult time. I took care of babies and gave them bottles, I honestly thought that the moms formula fed when not at home and nursed other times.

I didn't really think of not breastfeeding or it not working out until I was pregnant. It was then I discovered all these women who only formula fed, or breastfed for six weeks only, or who "tried to breastfeed but couldn't" and I started to think formula was an OK option. Other than just thinking it was what was expected, my choosing breastfeeding was purely selfish. I thought it would help me lose weight and we couldn't afford formula. I am ashamed to admit it, it sounds so awful, but I didn't know any breastfeeders anymore, everyone was telling me formula feeding was just as good, and that it was easier to schedule the baby, etc. However, there was no way we could afford it. I would just have to work past any problems or go back to work to pay for formula. During those rough, painful, eight weeks getting started, I learned so much I know that even though my motives were not the best, they helped me make the right decision.

 From LisaD ~ I knew I would because it was the best I could give my baby. I figured that I was doing everything I could to make sure may baby developed properly on the inside while pregnant, why wouldn't I do the same once they were born? What I was unsure of was how long! I nursed Morgan for a year before weaning. Now more educated, I'll probably go longer with Danny.

 From laj ~ I never really decided . . . it's just what you do! The assumption here when you go to hospital to have your baby is that you'll breastfeed, at least in the beginning. Straight after having every baby, the midwife has said, "hang on . . . I'll be there in a sec to help you latch her on!" It's just a given. If not, you need to take everything you'll need with you . . . bottles, formula etc. For mothers that have problems, they have LC's there. They get you to give EBM and then Formula if you HAVE to. But hospitals are very breastfeeding friendly places.

Mot people I know have at least attempted to breastfeed. I was just devastated when it didn't work out the first time, but I learnt a lot from that experience too. Like how easy it is to give up when the experience is so overwhelming . . . you really don't believe the "it'll settle down soon" advice. It's very hard to take.

 From Ruth ~ Here is my story . . . I did not breastfeed my first two children. I never even gave it much of a thought. I was told which formula to use by my doctors and no one I knew breastfed so I just never considered it. My mom along with the rest of my family never tried to breastfeed and some even had very negative comments about it. Some still do not know that I breastfeed Sean. I was asked by my doctor when I was pregnant with Sean (8 years and a different doctor later) but again I chose formula. It worked fine for my other two and that was what I thought I should do.

I went into the hospital for a scheduled c-section (due to health problems with the baby) saying I was going to formula feed. I have no idea when the exact moment was I changed my mind. It was sometime during the second day after giving birth. He was in the Special Care Unit so he was fed through IV's for the first two days. Looking at him with all of the tubes and wires, not knowing if he was going to be o.k. was so scary. Although I hate the fact he had to spend time in the NICU, it was there that a wonderful nurse talked to me about breastfeeding. Yes I know I am 34 years old but no one had ever discussed it with me in a positive way. It was then that I chose to do something for my sweet baby and myself too. I have battled through three cases of mastitis, numerous clogged ducts, bleeding nipples, nursing strikes, and now seven months later I only have one regret . . . I wish I would have met that nurse eleven years ago when I had my first son.

 From catkrazy99 ~ Before I got pregnant I joked that I would NEVER breastfeed because I didn't want DH to miss out on the experience of middle of the night feedings. Then I became pregnant and decided it was something I would do for 6-12 weeks. During my pregnancy I worked for a holistic veterinarian who asked me all the time, "are you gonna breastfeed?" and she always seemed so proud of me when I answered yes. All the girls at work thought it would be wonderful for me to breastfeed as well since nobody there had ever done it. Well, I did it, I love it and today, 7.5 months later, we are still at it. I also always thought that breastfeeding always worked - you just had to want it to work out. I now know that breastfeeding isn't always easy for everyone because I have read about it. We are fortunate because it has always been easy for us. I think my daughter was born with a "silver boob in her mouth." She has taught me all I know.

 From kendallsmom ~ What a great question! Unfortunately, I honestly don't know the answer. Both my sister and I were formula fed and I grew up giving bottles to my dolls but for some reason I remember play nursing too. My family always assumed I would formula feed before my daughter was born and when I said I would breastfeed, they didn't understand why (since formula is just as good and easier, wink, wink). DH was breastfed but MIL always "had" to supplement with formula. I've never really asked why; she was probably just misinformed considering that she did it in the 70's. Anyway, when I thought about having children, it just seemed the way to go. It was free and you didn't have to wash bottles. Then I did some reading and found out it also had so many benefits for the baby. Why not?

 From PaulaSue ~ I don't really know how I decided to try. I guess being a Nanny for so many years and reading all the parenting magazines and books helped. Only one person in either of my families or DH has breastfed before I had Nicole. I was unsure if I could because my cup size didn't grow at all during pregnancy or after her birth. I had taken a breastfeeding class through the hospital, read some breastfeeding books and gone to LLL before Nicole was born. I had a pretty easy road after my girls had their tongues clipped (they were born tongue-tied, as well as myself and my father) and we have had no problems since. My goal was 3 months, then 6, 9 and then 1 year. I ended up breastfeeding Nicole for 18 months and now over one year with Emma, still going strong.

 From skm ~ I don't remember ever thinking of doing it any other way. Ever since I seriously thought about having children I also thought to myself I WILL breastfeed no matter what. I think I just always like the idea of doing things the way nature intended. I mean I have these things for a reason right.

 From noeline ~ In New Zealand they just assume you are going to breastfeed. If you bottle feed people would tend to ask why. Everyone I know breast fed - I think I have only met one person who started their baby on the bottle.

 From midwifetx ~ My Great grandmother did it. My Grandmother did it. My Mother did it. I am one of VERY few women my age (29) who has no bottle feeders in her family at all. They all did it for the same reason, and it's not what you might think. Money. Breast milk is free, and formula is very expensive. I knew I would nurse, what I didn't know was how long! LOL!! I told my DH that with our first, I thought I would nurse nine month. My first child nursed until I was six months pregnant with my second (18 months total). My second nursed until I was six months pregnant with my third (28 months total) and would still be nursing if it was up to him. My third nursed until I was six months pregnant with Evelyn (again, 18 months). That's 5.5 of the last 7 years.

 From Lisa Jo ~ Like Celia, Mouse and others, I just always knew I would. There was no real decision. I did read a lot to prepare myself and went to LLL meetings late in my pregnancy. My sister had breastfed her son (17 months older than mine) and my family was very supportive. Still, we had a lot of trouble establishing our nursing relationship until hitting our stride at about eight weeks. Though my son is almost nine now, I clearly remember the feeling of utter despair I had as I wondered (hormonally) if I would really be able to do this. I was horribly sore, plagued with painful plugged ducts, he was uninterested for awhile, etc. I desperately wanted breastfeeding to work for us, and it did! He nursed till past age 3. With DD I knew we could manage any challenge. She was a wonderful nurser right from the start and is still going strong at 19 months. Breastfeeding is totally intertwined with my parenting style. I can't imagine not having breastfed my kids.

 From TheBennersFamily ~ I had learned about it when my husband was in the Air Force, when I was pregnant with Connor.( 1997) They highly recommended that we try breastfeeding! So, I attempted for about 7.5 weeks. Had a lot of problems - mostly engorgement the entire 7.5 weeks and some problems with latching on one side. MIL was on me, saying that I wasn't feeding Connor enough and all and I couldn't handle the stress because we had moved from New Mexico to Illinois when Connor was only 1 1/2 months and living with MIL and FIL was too much for me so I ended up quitting!

Now, with Duncan I'm still going strong nursing; he just turned 6 months yesterday! Still no baby food and he won't take a bottle I just knew I was going to nurse him much longer and plan to go long as he wants to. Also am talking of TTC for third, but have no clue how yet since I'm still nursing and no AF yet!

 From ShannonP ~ I didn't want to breastfeed at all with my first, mainly because of modesty issues. I didn't want to do it in front of anyone! Well I basically was guilted into it. I did a lot of reading and knew the chance of SIDS was lower and babies were healthier. Little did I know that after doing it I would grow to love it. I wouldn't even dream of feeding formula now. When we thought that Grace could have PKU and I would have to stop breastfeeding I was beyond devastated. Thank God she didn't have it!

 From Kathleen ~ Great question! Throughout my entire life up until the month I became pregnant for my first child, I had never once been around or exposed to a nursing mother; and if I did, I was not aware of it. I had always assumed that I would do as my mother, my aunt, and my cousins had done: formula feed. Around the time I found out I was pregnant, though, a college friend of my husband's spent the night at our house with his wife and his five month old baby. I can still remember to this day how surprised I was to see her breastfeeding her son in my kitchen. It was totally new to me, and aroused my curiosity and interest. I then spent the next nine months reading everything I could possibly get my hands on about breastfeeding. I had no access to the internet at that point, so I spent a lot of time browsing bookstores and libraries for any information I could find. It didn't take long before I decided that I, too, would breastfeed my baby. I am now breastfeeding my third baby, and I have never looked back!

 From Shelley Cates ~ Great question! Although I didn't know anyone who'd ever even made an attempt at it, like so many of you, I always knew I would breastfeed. It just makes so much sense. I've been lucky in that it has been easy for me; my heart breaks for moms who have a hard time of it. I love that it is always ready, it's free, and so good for my baby, in that order... I know, I'm bad!!!

 From KatesMom ~ Don't know when I made a "decision" -- certainly it was long before I was ever pregnant. Two of my best friends had their first children about the time I was married -- one "couldn't breastfeed" (knowing what I do now, I think she most likely just got bad information and inadequate help) and was terribly disappointed. She'd been big-busted since sixth grade and was looking forward to finally putting those breasts to good use, but when engorged, her breasts were too big for her ds to latch on. The other happily and successfully breastfed her son for about a year and just made it seem as natural as breathing. So maybe I decided then, who knows? I took breastfeeding classes during my pregnancy with Kate, but I never considered nursing as long as I have. I think maybe my goal at first was six months, ideally a year.

The closest Kate ever came to having formula was the day after we brought her home from the hospital. It was Christmas Eve, and she'd been going about 2 1/2 hours between feedings, so I got this crazy idea that I could run out to pick up some last-minute gifts. I kept an eye on the clock, but she wanted to eat a little sooner this time, so DH had mixed up one of the packets of formula that had come in the hospital goodie bag (it was the breastfeeding bag, but it came with four single-serving packs of formula). When I got home, dd was crying, and the bottle was sitting on the kitchen counter cooling. If formula took less time to make, she might have had some! But she didn't, and I think that "narrow escape" strengthened my resolve that she'd never have formula.

We made it past six months, and then to a year, with ease. At a year, I started introducing cow's milk, primarily so I could give up pumping the one day a week I worked. I thought about weaning her, because I wanted to TTC. I was 34 when she was born, and we'd had two losses prior, so I could feel the clock ticking. But AF returned just before dd turned a year, and dd enjoyed nursing so much -- and still does -- that I couldn't see depriving her of something she loved so much for no good reason other than American society's warped view of the female breast.

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 From mommytorres ~ I was young when I had ds. I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but didn't know that much about it. It was natural so it would be easy right? HA! He was over nine pounds at birth and after a very hard night the nurses told me I was starving him and needed to supplement. Needless to say, 2 months later he was completely bottle fed. He ended up having severe allergies to formula. We went through them all, including prescription formula (YUCK!), but his gastro tract was still converting the formula into acidic bowel movements requiring burn treatments until he was 12 months old.

When I was pregnant with dd, I swore I wouldn't breastfeed. At one of my ds's many doctor appointments (for his umpteenth ear infection), his doctor asked if I was going to nurse the new baby. When I answered no, he sat me down and explained that what happened to my ds may have been rare, but there was a chance my dd could have the same allergies and require the same treatment as ds. I then changed my mind as there is nothing more painful for a mother as the shrill scream of pain when your baby has a bowel movement that peels the skin right off of his body.

I educated myself from that moment on. I read any book I could find on breastfeeding and I vowed I would give my dd the best chance I could. I found LLL after she was born, but this time it wasn't too late!!

I nursed her for four months following her second birthday. I would have nursed her longer, but had to go on Lupron for my endometriosis. I am now going to nurse my baby that is going to be born via cesarean April 16. There is no other way for me! After seeing the benefits firsthand (dd has never had an ear infection and she is 3!), I could not go back to the weekly problem visits I had to endure with ds. I even nursed him after dd was born (they were 18 months apart) for a few months. He took to it like a pro! I feel that even those few months of nursing him long after he was weaned did good. He has since had no ear infections and both have been overall healthy.

I plan on pumping after my supply is established to give to my dd and ds. Since breast milk never losses its benefit, I figure it would be better than cow's milk!

 From katgirl67 ~ I knew I would breastfeed, but probably supplement, too. That's what my best friend did, and I figured it worked for her, right? Well, I needed to get a baby book to get educated while I was pregnant. I ended up with the Sears Baby Book, and I couldn't even tell you why I decided on that one. Someone's post at Amazon? The breastfeeding chapter in the Sears Baby Book cinched it for me. As I was reading it, I kept commenting to DH, "Did you know that breast milk actually changes its composition to meet baby's needs?" "Did you know it keeps them from getting sick?" At that point, I knew I was going to breastfeed exclusively.

 From tuckersmama ~ I'm a nurse (NICU and L&D) and never once considered NOT breastfeeding I know firsthand its physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits to mom and baby . . . I never said "I'm going to TRY to breastfeed" like I hear so many women say. I always knew I WOULD breastfeed!! I don't know if it was power of positive thinking or just plain good luck, but Tucker latched on in the recovery room and hasn't unlatched yet!!!!! (Or it just SEEMS that way!!LOL!)

 From hedra ~ Okay, somewhat embarrassing, but I think I decided to breastfeed as a way of competing with my mom. She's somewhat of a supermom type: had 7 kids, worked the coolest jobs (like working with the first astronauts), ordained minister . . . And she did natural childbirth long before it was even a blip on the horizon of the national consciousness (more than 40 years ago), and breastfed, too, for about six months for each of us. SIMPLY NOT DONE, in her environment, but she did it. So did the mother of one of my friends (and she let us watch her, too, I think figuring that we'd learn something important that way). My MIL also nursed her kids (though she didn't tell me that she'd extended-nursed DH until just this month!), and my SILs nursed their kids (except one who was severely allergic to his mom's milk, even on a restricted diet, and had to go on very expensive prescription formula), and my two best friends nursed their kids (both for more than a year each).

So I also just knew about nursing and NOTHING about formula, but still, I think the real motivation was to do something better, longer, or more interesting than my mom did. I decided that I'd nurse AT LEAST as long as she had (6 months), and possibly up to a year if I could make it. I figured to wean at a year.

When DS was born, he got a bad scrape with the bulb syringe in the back of his mouth and ended up with an oral aversion. That made him clamp down HARD to keep my nipple from moving back in his mouth, which hurt enough that I had to bite my lips to keep from crying when he latched on. His latch was 'correct' but too hard. For 5 1/2 weeks, it was miserable, and then, suddenly, it started getting better. My friends and my mom and my midwives all encouraged me through the pain, and I'm glad they did.

Anyway, I did end up 'beating' my mom . . . I nursed DS1 for 3 1/4 years, only weaning when I got too sore during this last pregnancy. She doesn't mind, though, and has even come around to support extended breastfeeding, which she initially thought was weird (but then, so did *I* - live and learn!). Now, we're happily going strong with DS2, though with completely different issues (I had an oversupply, and he also tended to give up if things weren't perfect - and he never had a bottle, so it must just be a personality thing...).

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