Let me brag for a minute: I am the happy mom of a 6-year old boy. He’s reading at a 4th-grade level, does well in math, loves Science, and has a delightful sense of humor. I really couldn’t ask for much more in a kid. I’m very proud of him.
But guess what? This is going to really shock some people: I had a c-section AND I fed my kid formula.
I know, I know. Studies show, and personal anecdotes show, and cool people say that natural, drug-free birth — ideally at home and in your own bed — is the best way to go.. However, I had brain surgery when I was a teenager, and because of that, I have a tube that goes from my head to my stomach. Pressure is not my friend. Pushing a baby out would make me pass out, and likely burst some crap in my brain. In fact, the c-section drugs that made me numb from the chest down really screwed things up in my head, so the next time I have a baby, I’ve got to be put under anathesia and have the c-section while I’m out. So, yes, my kid was cut out of me, and I have a very faint scar down by my girl parts, and he and I are just fine, thank you very much.
Then there’s the formula thing. I know breastfeeding is good. I might breastfeed my next one… maybe. Formula is damn expensive. I remember being pregnant, and studying with a friend from grad school. Her name was Jane, and she was a school nurse who was going to grad school to be a school counselor. We were sitting in a Panera, and I was explaining to Jane how I couldn’t decide if I wanted to breastfeed or not. On one hand, I knew about the health benefits. I also knew how expensive formula was. Still, I just didn’t know if I wanted to go the whole breastfeeding route. It just seemed kind of weird to me. Jane leaned forward and said to me, “Here’s what you do. You take a towel, and you rub it back and forth over your nipples until they bleed. And then you’ll know what breastfeeding feels like.” Well, that scared the crap out of me. I did not need pain like that. So when SC came along, I found it easy to make a decision. I went with formula.
I know this is just an anecdotal tale, but I do feel that mothers who have c-sections or choose to use formula get a bad rap. My kid’s fine. I made a choice that was right for me and my son, and that’s that. For the next kid, I’ll need to make that choice again. Well, I don’t have a choice on the c-section. But I’ll take medical breastfeeding advice into consideration.
Either way, this time, I won’t feel guilty. Fuck that. Every situation is different, and people who think they know otherwise should get over themselves.