My Biggest Parenting Regret
With three kids all two years apart, I haven’t had a lot of time for reflection over the last few years. As many moms and dads can agree, the early years are such a blur that by the time your kids walk into the doors of their first day of kindergarten, we’re all wondering how it all happened.
Now, with all three of my kids out of the house full time, either in school or daycare, I’ve got a bit of time to breathe and look back on the last six years since I became a mom, and I have a few regrets. With many regrets, I’ve been able to learn from them and become a better mom, like regretting not being patient, let’s say (that one’s still a work in progress). But there’s one major regret that I’ll always have.
I deeply regret not using more formula more with my kids.
Wait, what? I know you’re thinking that’s ridiculous, but hear me out. All of my kids were breastfed, the middle one, completely exclusively. I loved my feeding relationship with my kids, but I also loathed it. When H was born, he had a hard time latching and lost a lot of his birth weight while struggling to regain. My own personal feelings of failure prevented me from continuing with formula once he finally successfully latched when he was 20 days old. Our whole relationship after that was fraught as I struggled to come to terms with my preconceived notions of what makes a good mom.
L never got a drop of formula, but I had recurring mastitis and a very damaged nipple from breastfeeding him that didn’t go away for 11 weeks after he was born. Its still tender and sensitive almost four years later.
And A got a bit of formula because I had gone immediately back to work after having him, and while I mostly work from home, there have been instances where I couldn’t bring him with me.
With all three of them, looking back now, I am seeing the way I totally forced myself into a box that made me exhausted both physically and emotionally, and I 100% regret it. Breast feeding was my cross to bear, and oh boy, did I bear it. To my detriment.
I see now that kids thrive in any environment, but my obsession with an ideal made me a nightmare to deal with, because I felt regret if I gave them formula. I felt regret because of the breast is best movement, which makes many women feel like failures if they don’t successfully breastfeed. Do I think breastfeeding is bad? Absolutely not, but I wish I’d listened when my midwife told me, “There are many ways to feed a baby.” And I certainly wish I’d taken the pressure off myself a bit by just mixing up a bottle and letting the babies go to town.
Obviously, no one is worse for wear, and all my kids are thriving and healthy, but for my own mental and emotional health, I wish I’d just taken some of the pressure off myself and just given the kids a damned bottle.
What about you? Do you have any deep parenting regrets?