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Motherhood Stress: You’re Not a Failure If You Can’t Breastfeed

There’s often no rhyme or reason to nature’s selection process. If you think that abnormal situations only happen to other people, fate may just prove you wrong.

Sometimes, things beyond anybody’s control can happen to you as well. With acceptance, you can gain confidence to move forward and do what is right and advantageous for you, despite challenging situations.

Take new mothers, for example. Even if they have their hearts set on breastfeeding their babies, it’s still possible that their bodies cannot fulfill this plan for some inexplicable reason.

If this happens to you, don’t feel too disheartened. You’re not a failure as a mother if you can’t breastfeed. Breastfeeding doesn’t define the kind of mother you can be.

This article tackles why breastfeeding isn’t the only way to nourish a baby and the ways you can create a meaningful emotional bond with your newborn child even if you can’t breastfeed.

Breast milk is best for babies, but…

While it’s true that breast milk is the best for babies, it’s not always an option for mothers. Whether they’re working, don’t have time, or simply cannot produce the sustenance their baby needs, mothers who cannot breastfeed can still give their children their “best.”

For one, there are great substitutes available in the market today. Branded milk formulas are packed with all the essential nutrients to ensure infants’ proper development.

On top of that, these products also come in special formulations that are more suitable to the changing needs of growing children. Moreover, baby bottles are now equipped with features that can help new moms emulate the breastfeeding experience.

How to Create That Breastfeeding Experience When Bottle-Feeding?

If you look at it with an open mind, breast milk is just another “formula.” But if you can’t help but lament the fact that you can’t breastfeed and it’s stressing you out, creating a very similar experience of sustaining your little one is possible.

Here are a few tips from experts for creating a healthy “breastfeeding experience” for those who can’t actually breastfeed:

  1. Bottle-feed your baby as if you’re breastfeeding

Hold your baby close to your bosom instead of leaving him in the crib or bed and resting the bottle on a pillow. Physical closeness is crucial in making the little one feel warm and secure, which is one of the most important aspects of breastfeeding.

  1. Look your child in the eye as you’re bottle-feeding him

While some consider this a myth since babies do not see very clearly and they drift off to sleep quickly anyhow, creating eye contact still encourages communication and understanding. The eyes are the windows of the soul, and you can sense your child’s emotional state by establishing eye contact during feeding. This will allow you to cater to his physical and emotional needs more effectively.

  1. Try paced bottle-feeding

You’ll need a slow-flow nipple for paced bottle-feeding. You must also change your little one’s feeding position (as is necessary for breastfeeding moms) and burp him frequently.

Basically, paced bottle feeding is a way of mimicking the pattern of breastfeeding. Make sure you pay close attention to your baby’s cues so you can avoid overfeeding, which is the tendency for regular bottle-feeding.

  1. Finger-feed your baby if he just wants to latch onto something

For those moments when the little one really just wants to latch onto something, you can try the traditional finger-feeding. Like breastfeeding, it’s a beautiful and intimate practice that promotes skin-to-skin contact between mommy and baby.

  1. Look into special devices that mimic breastfeeding

Even men can breastfeed now, too, using supplemental nursing devices. Just fill the device with the milk formula, wear the device, and feed your child like you would if you had breast milk.

Recreating That Special Emotional Bond During Breastfeeding

Now, if the main reason why you’re disappointed in not being able to breastfeed is the idea that you’re not able to create that special emotional bond with your little one, there are many other ways for you to create and nurture such a bond.

Have more cuddle time with the little one

That physical closeness doesn’t only happen when the baby’s latched onto your breast. Keep your baby with you as often as possible (attachment parenting) so you’re his primary source of comfort and security.

Attachment parenting is a philosophy that emphasizes parental empathy and responsiveness. It goes beyond just emotional attentiveness and includes continuous bodily closeness and touching.

Bathe together

Skin-to-skin contact is a fantastic way to emotionally connect with your new baby. Not only does this benefit your baby’s emotional development, but it also yields other benefits, such as:

– Improving digestion and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.

– Promoting better quality sleep.

– Regulating the young one’s body temperature.

– Calming him down when upset or irritated.

So, invest in high-quality baby care products, get into a tub of warm water, and create that cozy little moment with your child. This moment is as crucial for them as it is for you.

Be the one to take your baby somewhere quiet

Whenever things in your surroundings are crazy, make it your job to create peaceful conditions for your child. When there are too many things going on in your child’s surroundings, hold him close and retreat with him to somewhere quiet where he can hear your comforting voice.

Sing to him

Don’t worry about him hearing your out-of-tune singing. No matter how off-key you are, your voice is music to his ears. The same goes for the sound of your beating heart. Even humming is good enough to establish that health-boosting intimacy between a mother and her child.

The Best Mother You Can Be

There’s no denying that breastfeeding is a very special experience for moms. But if nature and life (perhaps you have a medical condition that prohibits you from breastfeeding) simply won’t allow it, don’t despair – a different experience is meant for you. You and your child can also benefit greatly from this experience.

Not being able to breastfeed will not make you less of a mother. Remember, the motherhood experience is different for every mom. Be at peace with the mother that you can be for your child. If you have their health and well-being at heart and you’re committed to those, you’re the best mother there is for them.