a daunting question: will I breastfeed baby #3

A lot of people have asked me since we started trying for baby #3, and I've asked myself a lot too - will I attempt to breastfeed after two horrible goes at it (that resulted in only partial breastfeeding as early at 12 weeks and week 1 respectively, and stopping completely at 4 months and 8 weeks respectively).

This isn't a post asking for advice on what's better - formula or breastfeeding. We all know the facts around here. Or a post asking for encouragement to press on and breastfeed despite the horrors. I've dealt with all that and more the first two times I gave birth and struggled endlessly with breastfeeding, and I've made my peace with bottle feeding and formula feeding.

The question is will I attempt it, the question is not will I do it exclusively or for how long.

Honestly, I don't know. I'm nervous putting this out there because I have felt so much criticism and seen it towards other formula/bottle-feeding moms, most entirely by breastfeeding moms. It's scary to say aloud, let alone type that I might not. But that's where I'm at right now. I might not.

For the same reason I partially breastfed Oli for much shorter than with Lily - I don't just have one baby and one job to focus on. With Lily I could sit at the pump around the clock and pump every 2 hours (and I did). When Oli was born, I had to lock my toddler out of the bedroom to pump (and to get enough milk for a bottle I had to use a hospital grade pump for 45 minutes) before then feeding him, and repeat an hour later. Oli's first month of living I hardly saw my daughter. I had a budding relationship with my breast pump and that was about it. I probably could have continued that way for another month or more (because gosh darn it breast is best, isn't it?!), but I chose to be a mother to both of my children instead, and that meant formula feeding Oli full time. Best decision I ever made.

And now, I won't have one job or two jobs, but three jobs to focus on when baby #3 arrives. Yes, I'm referring to my children as work, haha! And I just can't imagine contributing that amount of time to a pump or an ideal and leaving my two other children in front of the TV for hours while I accomplish what it takes to be the "best mother". I just can't.

I haven't made a firm decision yet, but this is where I'm at right now. I may breastfeed for the first week, to get that colostrum out and into baby before switching over. I may breastfeed for as long as I can naturally, but never do the extra pumping that kept me so occupied and away from life to "keep up my supply" and see how we go that way. I may formula feed from day one and save myself all the heart ache and give my other children more of me when I am able.

There's a lot of options for me, so we'll see. But I know one thing for sure, this time I won't let it define me as a mother or a woman. This time I'll make the decision for our family exclusively. I thought after my first experience I would be able to, but still struggled with identity issues and mommy guilt a bit with Oli. Here's hoping the third time is the charm, however it goes.


  1. Anonymous15.2.13

    Good for you (from an exclusively breastfeeding mom)! I really regret breastfeeding as long as I have with my second, because of the price the rest of my family has had to pay. Btw, my milk supply always decreased when I started pumping. My body just didn't seem to be stimulated by the pump like it was with my babies. You never know - maybe this time around will go more smoothly if you do try.

    1. thanks for your encouragement :)

      pumping certainly did increase my supply, if only by a little but I considered any additional milk good since I had chronic low supply from the get go, but sure wasn't very fun!

  2. I breastfed my 1st and only child so far for 2-3 months tops. It wasn't because of low supply or any trouble with feeding, it just stressed me out and I could not do it anymore!! I wanted more time with my daughter before I went back to work and just wanted to be happy. I think I had guilt at first when I had to tell people I was stopping but I honestly moved on pretty fast (but noone really bothered me about it thankfully) because I knew it wasn't worth my unhappiness to please others. I pray that you have peace no matter what your decision and you have a happy heathy baby and a happy healthy you!

  3. Off topic but I noticed that Lily was born on my due date (this year)! Whatever you decide to do, it's up to you and don't let anyone make you feel bad for it. I felt the same about making homemade food for Isaac, I was sure I was going to do that but when the time came around, it was just too daunting and time consuming that I just decided to get the best jarred food I could (organic) and that was that!

  4. I used to be such a breastfeeding Nazi.....pains me to think about how narrow minded I was. Then God saved me and I realized there is SOOOO much more that goes into our kids' development than just their method of nutrition intake! I still feel that if breastfeeding is feasible for a person, it would be more beneficial than formula, but like you said, you will have THREE kids. So you are wise to consider how it will affect the rest of the family if you are on breastfeeding lockdown with your baby.
    Hugs to you and I appreciate your honesty!