One thing that I was really concerned about during my pregnancy with Graeme was whether or not breastfeeding would work for me. It didn't go as planned when Owen was a newborn, and I was feeling anxious throughout my entire pregnancy with Graeme about our decision surrounding breastfeeding.
When I decided to forgo breastfeeding, I really wasn't sure what to expect from my body. I felt emotionally and mentally confident with my decision, but I had no idea what was going to happen with my body, and how to cope.
Boobs are boobs...and when your milk comes in, there will be engorgement. It can be painful, and if you are not intending to breastfeed it can be difficult to find relief. Ice in freezer bags, cabbage leaves, and ibuprofen can all help with discomfort and pain.
The best tip that I got from my dear friend Stephanie at A Grande Life was to not let the warm (or hot) water of the shower or bath touch my breasts. Sure, it would bring instant relief that will feel incredible and allow the milk to leak a little, but it would also send signals to my body to make more milk to replace the amount that had leaked out.
Suppressing your supply is probably the most important thing to deal with when you decide that you aren't going to be breatfeeding. Essentially, you have to limit the amount your breasts leak, and you have to not encourage your body to make more milk.
Yes, this means avoiding pumping, warm showers, breast massage and nipple stimulation.
If you're going back on birth control, ones with estrogen have been found to dry up milk supply, and you will want to make sure to stay hydrated as well. Dehydration can trigger milk supply, strangely enough!
At the end of the day, if you decide not to breastfeed...know that it is completely fine. I remember those feelings all too well of guilt, inadequacy, and worry over other people's opinions but ultimately, I had to do what was best for me, my baby and my family. And it didn't make me any less of a mom.
Your supply will dry up. Your hormones will level off.
There will be a day where you feel confident about your decision.
In the meantime, we are here for you to help with the transition.
It's not an easy decision to make, but know in your heart that you are making the best decision that you can for your family. It is absolutely noone elses place to judge, for they are not living in your body, give birth to your baby, tending to your newborn in the middle of the night, or feeling what you are feeling.
Feel confident in your decision. Feed your baby, your way.