Many moms cannot breastfeed for one reason or another. Perhaps they are on a medication that will make their breast milk toxic for the baby. Maybe the milk just doesn’t come in well or enough. Maybe their employer isn’t very breastfeeding friendly. Whatever the reason, it’s OK not to breastfeed. Formula has come a long way since its invention in 1865. It now very closely resembles breast milk.
It’s OK to feel disappointed, especially if you had your heart set on breastfeeding for a long time. There’s nothing wrong with you or your body. Your child will be all right. If friends or family members give you a hard time, be honest with them. You are feeding your child the best you can; that’s all that matters. Let them know you’d like their support with the baby. If they are still difficult, it may be time to give them some space. Their hangup with breastfeeding says more about them than it does about you.
You can still bond with your child. Snuggle up with them with that bottle. You also have the added benefit of not being on the clock. You can share feeding duties with family and friends so everyone can share in the joy and responsibility of feeding the baby.
Your breasts may still want to feed even when your circumstances won’t allow it. If you can afford it, nursing pads may still be helpful early on to protect you from embarrassing situations with your milk leaking through your clothes. If nursing pads won’t fit in the budget, extra layers and stuffing your bra with socks or towels will do in a pinch. If they start to hurt, you may be engorged. Taking a hot shower, massaging your breasts, or using your hand to express your milk will give relief. If you have severe pain and a fever higher than 101 Fahrenheit, that may mean you have an infection and need to contact a medical professional.
Remember: There is more to parenting that breastfeeding. Don’t let anyone shame you on your parenting choices.
Resources for information and support:
https://community.babycenter.com/groups/a6694355/formula_feeding_mamas (Sign-up required.)