One was breastfeeding. I was so gung-ho about breastfeeding at least 1 year, and as long as 2 if my son didn’t naturally wean himself when we started food.
But as I developed PPD on top of pre-exisiting depression and anxiety, my days of breastfeeding became numbered. I tried the top anti-depressants that were safe for breastfeeding because I wanted to hold on as long as I could. In the end, none of them were good enough and I had to seriously consider switching to formula.
Is it more important to sacrifice my health for his health? That was what I asked myself for about 2 months as I tried to make the decision. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to breastfeed for the year+ that I wanted, but I hoped to make it to 6 months at least We made it about 7 and a half before he was completely weaned.
For the longest time, I tried to reconcile with myself that the decision I made was okay. That it was a good decision, the right decision. I knew that formula was going to be enough for my son but I felt scared as a mother that I was sacrificing what I thought of as “perfect nutrition” just so I could go on medication.
In the end, I’m not a bad mom because I switched to formula. I am a better mom because of it. My mental health was more important that breastfeeding when there was a perfectly suitable replacement. My ability to watch my son alone and not have panic attacks every day was more important than a societal notion that “breast is best”.
I’m not a bad mom because I switched to formula, I’m a good mom for making the right decisions for me, for myself and for my family.
Kendra Kantor is a Wellness Mentor and Guide for creative women looking to embrace their self discovery and improve their mental health wellness. She is a Chicago-area stay at home mama to her 2 year old, and splits her days between running her business and cuddling and playing with her rambunctious boy.