When Breast isn't Best...

Can you believe Ronin is a week old already? I know I can't!

Bringing home a second baby was much easier than bringing home the first. We are pros at this point, aren't we? And so many of our questions were already answered. Where will the baby sleep at first? When will he move to the crib? Are we giving him a binky? We learned through trial and error with Keegan and so by now we already had so much of this parenting thing figured out and perfected to what fits best for us.

Now, what is the baby going to eat. Breast milk or formula? Naturally I want what is best for my child, I mean really, what mother doesn't?  And I know that there are many proven benefits of breastfeeding.

-Breast milk is rich in nutrients and antibodies to help build his little immune system.

-Breast feeding can help reduce the risk of disease for both mom and baby.

-Breast feeding burns calories, meaning I lose the baby weight faster.

-It's free!

-Breast feeding will build a strong bond between mother and child. *

That all sounds great, why wouldn't I do it? I'm not by the way... See that little star up there, the one that usually means there is some fine print somewhere? Yes, I disagree with the last one, mostly because it isn't always true.

-Rewind about two years!-

As I said earlier, I want what is best for my children and breastfeeding seemed to be the obvious choice when Keegan arrived. As soon as he was born we started breastfeeding. It hurt at first but the doctors and nurses let me know that my nipples would be sore for the first few days, they just needed to get used to it. They also gave me Lansinoh cream to help with any cracking. I trusted them and left it at that, surely in a few days it would get better. The lactation consultant visited me before I left the hospital and despite the pain of feedings, she ensured me that Keegan was latching well and the pain would go away once my nipples had adjusted, just keep using the cream is what she assured me!

I went home and continued to breastfeed. Days turned to weeks and it continued to be painful every time I fed K. I used the cream and even tried pumping to relieve the pain and give my boobs a break.. but even that hurt. It became so dreadful that I would put off K's feeding for as long as I could and sometime I would even cut him short. Breastfeeding Keegan brought me to tears nearly every time after the first week or so.

My husband suggested we switch to formula, but I refused. Because what kind of mother would I be if I didn't give my baby the best? I felt as if I wasn't a good enough mother because of what I could not provide. I should be able to breast feed. But I couldn't. It broke me. I couldn't even look at my child when he was eating because I was so hurt and frustrated that he was hurting me. It wasn't his fault, but I couldn't even look at him... what kind of bonding is that?

After eight painful weeks, (yes I am that stubborn and held on for that long!) I gave up on breastfeeding. It was a matter of deciding what really is best for my child. If I cannot look at him, bond, with him, and give him all of my love all the time, then surely that can't be best. It took me eight whole weeks to come to that conclusion. We switched to formula, and Keegan and I have a stronger bond than anything I've ever known. I'm convinced that the outcome would be much different if I had held on to breastfeeding.

Even though Keegan and I began to grow a stronger bond, I still beat myself up over not breastfeeding. It was hard not to notice the glares from other mothers as I pulled out the formula in public, or the rude questions from friends and even strangers. It was frustrating when doctors and nurses would constantly remind me at check-ups that breastfeeding really was better. As if I had no important reason for making the switch... they never asked. All of the glares, questions and reminders only made me feel worse. Like I didn't do my very best.

My breastfeeding experience with Keegan was truly traumatizing and as Ronin's birth became fast approaching, what to feed him was one of the last questions I left to answer. Though I had an awful experience breastfeeding K, I still wanted what was best for Ronin. I promised myself that I would try. I wouldn't let myself suffer or sacrifice those precious bonding moments in the early weeks and I wouldn't be influenced by harsh words at the mouth of my doctor or nurse. I would try, because that's the very best I can do.

I breastfed Ronin for the first 3 days, just enough to get the colostrum! It was painful but I still tried, my goal was to make it to a week. After a morning feeding, I looked down to find an entire layer of blood filled skin dangling from my nipple... that was it. I was done.

Yes, breastfeeding and breastmilk have many many undeniable benefits, but none of them outweigh the relationship with my child. Ronin is one happy baby eating just fine. He does not go hungry and mommy stays happy too. And HAPPY IS HEALTHY!!

Ladies, don't knock yourself down too hard if you can't live up to your own expectations. Don't let anyone else's opinion lead you to believe that you are not doing something well enough. Motherhood is all about trial and error. What works for you and yours might not work for the next, but that's what is all about. You need to find what works for you and only YOU will know.

Good luck!

What have been some of your trial and errors?
Did you have any of your own expectations you didn't meet?
Tell me I'm not alone!


  1. Hello Dear! Congratulations on your new bundle! My eldest just had his 3rd birthday yesterday*sigh* I can barely remember how little he used to be:)

    I am your newest follower and would love if you visited me too!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I feel your pain! My oldest just turned two and I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone! And now that Ronin is here he just seems so much bigger!

  2. Great post girl! This sounds a lot like our 2nd and I didnt even try with our 3rd and got a lot of crap for it. Doing whats best for you and your baby is whats most important.
    Thanks for stopping by Monkeys & Tutus today. I am following you now and looking forward to reading more! Congrats on the new baby! hes precious!

  3. Returning the follow. Thanks so much for stopping by Naptime Review and thank you for linking up!

    Congrats on baby #2!

  4. Wow, I love the inside look to the cons of breastfeeding. I'm expecting my first in January and I'm so nervous about breastfeeding. I like that you gave it a try but allowed yourself to be ok with other options and that through that, you two were able to bond so well. Thanks for linking up for Mommy Moments Monday!

    1. Don't be nervous! Everyone is different and it may be great for you!!! All you can do is try!

  5. I had to formula feed my now 2 year old as well and get upset when people say that there is "such a connection" made only when breastfeeding. Umm, no, not the case. I bf my daughter in the beginning but couldn't anymore. She wasn't gaining weight. So, you and I are doing what's best for our babies, and that's al that we as mothers CAN do. So, good for you for doing what's right.

    And? My daughter and I are the very best of friends. The Husband was able to bond with our daughter too because he could give her bottles. So, whatever to the naysayers. ;)

    Congratulations on the newest bundle of joy!

    Found you through the linkup.

    Newest follower! Swing by my page if you can.


    1. Yes! I love that my husband can help with feedings! My two year old also loves to help hold the bottle, and by helping with the baby, he's adjusting better to the new little guy being around.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I didn't even make it out of the hospital before I "gave up". My baby was formula fed and is perfectly fine. And anytime I got any crap for it, I would tell people to mind their own business. But, it helped that my pediatrician whispered in my ear at the hospital that his babies were formula babies. I'm your newest follower via GFC. Check out my blog if you get a chance.

    Sarah @ Our Family of Three

  7. I love this post. Your honesty speaks volumes to those moms who may feel guilt when it comes to the ever so conflicting topic of breastfeeding.
    My son was formula fed from Day 1 and I have honestly never gotten any crap from anyone about it. I was so fortunate to have doctors and nurses who never once looked down on me for choosing formula. They knew I loved my baby and that my personal choice had no direct correlation to what kind of mother I would be.

    Congratulations on your second beautiful baby! I'm sure your hands are full these days but thanks for taking the time to post!

    Im stopping by from the mommy moments blog hop and looking forward to following your posts.

  8. Thanks for stopping by!

    It's so good to know I'm not alone!

  9. Hi Ashlee~I found your blog through the mommy moments blog hop and I just wanted to say thank you for this post! I had a VERY similar experience with my daughter. I felt such guilt...and still sometimes do for choosing to formula feed after two weeks. It was so nice to read that I'm not alone..thank you! :)


  10. I was able to breastfeed all three of my babies, but I am not judgmental against those who can't. I appreciate you trying and you realizing what was best for you and your baby. Thanks for following my blog, I look forward to following yours. Enjoy your new baby!

  11. I'm a first time grandparent and my daughter had trouble breast feeding. She felt awful about it but I assured her that her baby would be just fine. And guess what?? She is doing great--Mama and baby have a wonderful bond!! New GFC follower from the MMM blog hop. Would love it if you could visit my humorous blog site and follow back--I'd be super grateful! Thanks of sharing! http://Menopausalmother.blogspot.com

  12. Hi Ashlee - I found your blog through the MMM. My son is just about 5 mo. I had hyperemesis my whole pregnancy, was on bed-rest for 6 months, I couldn't eat anything, and survived because I had a permanent IV line in and got fluids every other day. Anyway! After my son was born, he was diagnosed with acid reflux. I was told that I could breast feed him, but I would have to restrict my diet to completely bland foods. I love my son, but after a whole pregnancy of not eating, I couldn't continue a bland diet unless I sacrificed my sanity. So, we switched to acid reflux formula and I was able to eat what I wanted without feeling any kind of resentment or frustration. I'm sure that formula was much better for both of us. I bonded with my son while bottle feeding and don't regret it at all. You're a great mom because you're feeding your kiddo! Formula v. breast milk - your baby is fed :)

    1. Wow!! Well I'm glad everything worked out!!! I agree though, even without the pain I think breastfeeding took a toll on my sanity! There are so many things I wouldn't do or places I wouldn't go because I knew how many times I would have to feed him and I was just more comfortable doing it at home since it was so frustrating!

  13. Congrats on the new baby! I love the newborn stage.. It goes by wayyyyy to fast

    I"m your newest follower from the GFC blog hop
    followme@ www.studentswife.com

  14. Adorable photo! Interesting story- I don't have kids yet but I love hearing all different views of how things go.

    Just found your through the Hop. I am excited to follow you and read more! Would love for you to stop by and follow along if you'd like :)


  15. congratulations on your bundle of love!! and hey, you are 100% right in that breast may not be best for you and your baby. it's not the most important thing in the world. a loving and nurturing (and may i add...pain free happy mama) is what's most important :)

  16. Following from the GFC blog hop!!! Your blog is adorable and I can't wait to read more!!
    Molly Kay @ Fiddle-dee-dee

  17. What a little cutie. I definitely think that breastfeeding builds a strong bond, but strong bonds are built when bottle feeding too. I'm glad that you tried it. We STRUGGLED with breastfeeding, but our midwives were very determined that I get it. They were so patient and kind with me. Our little miss had to be adjusted as her shoulders and jaw was a little tight. That definitely affected her feeding. But all is well now. You are doing a great job, and don't let anyone tell you different :)

    Please come by and visit Hurley Love

    1. Ooh, I like how you put that link in the comment! I'm not that tech savvy yet... How'd you do it?

  18. congratulations on that sweet angel!

    Have a wonderful day! Would love for you to stop by and say hello!

  19. Congratulations on your beautiful new bundle of joy, i miss the newborn stage! New follower from the GFC Blog Hop!! I would love for you to stop by and follow back ;)
    Vikki xx

  20. I just want to say thank you to everyone for the support! This really was a tough decision and the mommy guilt kicks in from time to time! I love knowing I'm not alone !

  21. I love that you shared your experience with breastfeeding your children, and I think you absolutely made the right choice! We had a really painful, rough start with breastfeeding too, and for a while I just pumped and fed him with a bottle for the same reason you listed - if I'm dreading feeding my son because of the pain, that's not helping our bond! There is alot of pressure to breastfeed these days, but sometimes it's better not to - I totally agree! Glad you linked up - new follower! :-)

  22. I really appreciate this post as a mom who was unable to breastfeed due to medication I have to take. I cannot count the number of times I was asked "why" I wasn't breastfeeding as if I were depriving my baby girl. It was unbelievable how many lactation specialists popped into my hospital room to hound me with the benefits of breastfeeding. It has honestly infuriated me so many times on how naive people can be but at the end of the day I do not feel like I deprived her from anything with being on formula and she is developing along perfectly. If only everyone could read this post!! :) I'm a new follower!

  23. Ashlee, I think it's great that you were strong enough to say "enough is enough" and let that special mama-baby bond develop between you without the physical pain factor this time around. (Kudos for sticking out 2 months of pain with baby #1...I don't think I'd have been strong enough to last if it hurt that badly). Glad you linked up with me this Monday. Enjoy your tiny blessing baby!