What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Bailey. 

From the moment those two blue lines showed up on that pregnancy test with my first child I knew I was not going to breastfeed. I knew in my heart that it was something that didn’t feel right. For me. What I want you to know about choosing not to breastfeed is that I don’t have a deep, philosophical reason why I chose not to. My reasoning doesn’t go far beyond the fact that I simply didn’t want to. I know this does not satisfy the curious minds of breastfeeding moms, moms who breastfeed and love it, moms who desperately tried and couldn’t. My choosing not to because I simply didn’t want to doesn’t feel right. For you.

Choosing not to breastfeed was never a debate for me. It was never a question I wrestled with or went back and forth on. I have made many pro/con lists in my day and formula feeding vs. breastfeeding never made it onto my Steno pad. I always knew. I thought, perhaps, once I delivered my son my heart would change. Once I saw him, perhaps, that motherly instinct to nurse my young would come upon me….but it didn’t. They laid my son on my chest for skin to skin and to my surprise, I was still the same person. I was still the same person that was choosing a synthetic nipple over my own. It was the very first decision I made as a mother. It’s a decision I made again 18 months later when they laid my daughter on my chest. I have never once regretted my decision. I don’t mind being the lone formula feeder in mommy circles. I have never once felt uncomfortable with my dear friends who tandem nurse or extend breastfeeding into the toddler years. They love it and I love it for them. I am comfortable with my decision because it came from my heart. Much like their decision to breastfeed came from their heart.

What I want you to know about choosing not to breastfeed is that it doesn’t mean I’m uneducated and it doesn’t mean I didn’t bond with my babies. I treasure those middle of the night feedings and lullaby’s with them and I scoured all of the books and websites available for first time moms. But what I want you to know is that when I drop my preschoolers off for school and I look through the observation window, it is impossible to tell which child was breastfed and which one was formula fed. All I see is a classroom of happy, bubbly, healthy children and that is good enough for me.

I am due with my 3rd child in October. The cabinets will once again be stocked with bottles and powder. If you see me at the park or at story time I won’t have a cute nursing cover on and I won’t be able to relate to conversations around latching issues or cluster feeding. But I bet if we get to chatting there will be many things we can relate to; like how much we love our babies, like how we’re both doing the best we can. Like how tired we are.

What I want you to know about my decision not to breastfeed is that it may be different and unusual but that doesn’t make it wrong or bad. It’s just different and that’s OK. That’s a lesson in life that goes far beyond the breast or bottle.