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Didn't breastfeed and not vaccinating

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am kicking myself for not breastfeeding my son. Before he was born, I weighed both pros and cons of breastfeeding versus not. I decided to not breastfeed, especially after hearing both my mom and mother-in-law always say, "I didn't breastfeed and all you kids turned out fine." I thought, true, very true. I also heard horror stories of cracked nipples and such and thought I could do without those. When he was born, we decided to do a selective vaccine schedule, until one day, I decided I didn't want him to have any. So, he is now 2 and completely unvaccinated. I stand by that decision 100%.

The only issue now is that I am constantly questioning myself, "Why didn't I breastfeed???" At the time, before he was born, I didn't put two and two together because I thought for sure we'd be getting some vaccines. But now that our son is now 2 and we decided against vaccines, I feel that I wish I could turn back time and breastfeed. If we have another child, I know for sure I will BF, but I only wish I did that for our Cole and hate the fact that I didn't.

Is anyone else in the same boat and feel guilty for not breastfeeding? OR, is there anyone that would like to say anything that would make me feel better (please?). (If it makes a difference, we fed him all organic formula.) He is really healthy as it is, and I know I can't turn back time so I try to tell myself not to worry too much, but it's a nagging feeling.
post #2 of 20
I think you're being too hard on yourself, mama! The only thing you can do at this point is let that go and move forward. If you have another child, you can make a different decision based on what you know and how you feel then! Everyone has made parenting decisions they don't feel so good about. Just gotta keep on loving that baby the best you can!
post #3 of 20
Im somewhat in the same boat as you with my first son. I wasnt as informed, educated, and didnt have the right support to BF him adequatly. So I threw in the towel at 4 months when I just wasnt able to pump enough milk while at work. So i figured hes being supplimented, why not just give him all formula. Now I hate myself for not trying harder, but whats done is done.

That said, I still have not given him anymore shots SINCE 4 months of age, and nothing will deter that decision for me. NOTHING!
post #4 of 20
is your post about formula feeding guilt or how formula feeding may affect an unvax child from the persepctive of not getting maternal anitbodies via human milk?

theres a few ways to look at it:

1. your son didnt bf so he is more likely to get sick from a VPD and so should be vaxed ASAP
2. your son is at a disadvantage immunologically, and so being unvaxed avoids an unnecessary assault on his already less than ideal immune system

i would go with #2. please dont worry too much about. bf your next child for sure, but dont let obsessive guilt ruin your enjoyment of your wonderful LO. best wishes mama
post #5 of 20
You can't go back in time. You have what is now and in the future to work with. I think it is WONDERFUL that you stood by your decision. Your son is healthy, happy, and has a mom who obviously thinks the world of him. Good moms aren't moms who breastfeed, or who vaccinate or don't, etc; good moms are moms who put their children first with the information they have at that time and who help their children develop loving, secure bonds. Mothers may choose to formula feed for a number of reasons, and quite frankly, it's no one's business why that choice was made.

You have what is now -- a healthy, happy child -- and in the future -- an informed mama who knows how to advocate for what is right for your child. That's something to celebrate!
post #6 of 20
I think we all probably have these "I wish I had known then what I know now" feelings! I don't think it's something to beat yourself up about - you did what you thought was best at the time, and your son is clearly doing great. Just because he was formula fed doesn't mean he didn't get what he needed to be perfectly healthy. Breastfeeding is best as you know now, but you weren't totally wrong to think that formula fed kids can turn out fine.
post #7 of 20
Definitely being too hard on yourself. Be gentle with yourself, we can probably all look back on certain parenting choices and wish we had done something differently. I know how it is to have the formula feeding guilt, but as many other mothers I know in my same position have told me -- it's not rat poison, and I'm not starving her. The only way I could fail my daughter is if I chose NOT to feed her. Just because I'm going about it a different way (formula) doesn't make me a bad mom. I had a lot of guilt for the first few months because there's nothing more that I wanted than to successfully breastfeed. But, as they say, time heals all wounds and I am at peace with how things turned out now. She's happy, she's healthy, and that's all that matters to me.

Personally, I was only able to breastfeed for the first two weeks for a variety of reasons. That said, it hasn't changed my vax stance one iota. I think it's extremely beneficial for unvaxed kids (AND vaxed) to be breastfed, but it's not the end all, be all. I wouldn't have vaccinated whether or not she was breastfed, end of story. I agree with what the pp said--mothering isn't about what you feed your child, there is so much more to it than that.

If it's any reassurance, I know several breastfed babies that have been sick two or three times and they are younger than my DD. I only bf for two weeks and my daughter has never had so much as the sniffles. Not even a fever! No ear aches, no rashes, nada. My DH and all of his siblings were exclusively breastfed. My sister and I were formula fed from day one. My sister and I are far healthier than DH or ANY of his siblings (and have been since birth). This is something he loves to remind me of when I get down on myself for not being able to bf. It's NOT a 100% guarantee -- there are healthy breastfed babies, there are healthy formula fed babies, and everything inbetween.

((HUGS))
post #8 of 20
My mother had five of us back in the 1940s and 1950s. No vaccines because my family has been anti-vaccine for generations. She failed at breastfeeding with number 1 and number 2. They are in their 60s and reasonably healthy. She nursed me for 3 months. I turned 60 this year and plan to keep working as a librarian until I turn 70. The two youngest were breastfed for 11 months and 7 months (this was prolonged nursing back then). They have had the worst health problems of the group, I think because my mother didn't have the resources to pop out 5 healthy kids. She was getting older and somewhat worn out by then. However, they are both still alive and hanging in there, in their 50s. My sister's health problems are mainly due to getting standard medical care as a young woman which messed up her digestion and just about everything else. My youngest brother inherited the family heart condition and started having heart attacks in his 30s.

I guess the point is that there are a lot of factors that play out to define someone's health throughout their life. Breastfeeding helps but not breastfeeding doesn't doom someone to chronic illness, etc.

There are a lot of parenting mistakes I made with my daughter. She kindly transcended my incompetence
post #9 of 20
I think you're being too hard on yourself. I didn't breastfeed, I only lasted six days before stopping because 1. He wasn't passing enough diapers 2. It was extremely painful for me and even after getting help and being told it looked fine it hurt like hell 3. My hypothyroid had gotten out of control so I wasn't producing enough.

Not to completely ignore all benefits of breastfeeding, but your child doesn't just get immunological advantages from breast milk. He also gets it from you while gestating. So your immunological advantages are in him before he is born. Breast milk just boosts it a little more.

I found this site to be really helpful when I felt guilty for not trying even harder: http://fearlessformulafeeder.blogspot.com/

Also, I'm not vaxing at the moment. We went through one round when pressured by the ped and he did not react well. He's very healthy despite no BM and all.
post #10 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! You make me feel better already. You're all so right. We all look back at one time or another and wonder if we should have done things a little differently. That's the way of life I guess. It's all a growing experience. I knew I would get such great support from you guys. I love this forum.
post #11 of 20
Sorry for asking a stupid question -- but I was under the impression that the antibodies from breast milk didn't last all that long and the baby is only protected as long as he is still taking breast milk.

Now granted it feels like many here at still BFing at age 2 -- but I think most people wean sometime after that, if not well before. So I was looking at it as, your son has made it to age 2 and is just fine, so no harm no foul for not BFing KWIM? Absolutely no need to kick yourself.

(Was my impression wrong? Do antibodies from breast milk last a longer time than I think?)
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
My mother had five of us back in the 1940s and 1950s. No vaccines because my family has been anti-vaccine for generations. She failed at breastfeeding with number 1 and number 2. They are in their 60s and reasonably healthy. She nursed me for 3 months. I turned 60 this year and plan to keep working as a librarian until I turn 70. The two youngest were breastfed for 11 months and 7 months (this was prolonged nursing back then). They have had the worst health problems of the group, I think because my mother didn't have the resources to pop out 5 healthy kids. She was getting older and somewhat worn out by then. However, they are both still alive and hanging in there, in their 50s. My sister's health problems are mainly due to getting standard medical care as a young woman which messed up her digestion and just about everything else. My youngest brother inherited the family heart condition and started having heart attacks in his 30s.

I guess the point is that there are a lot of factors that play out to define someone's health throughout their life. Breastfeeding helps but not breastfeeding doesn't doom someone to chronic illness, etc.

There are a lot of parenting mistakes I made with my daughter. She kindly transcended my incompetence
Very well said
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppan View Post
Sorry for asking a stupid question -- but I was under the impression that the antibodies from breast milk didn't last all that long and the baby is only protected as long as he is still taking breast milk.

Now granted it feels like many here at still BFing at age 2 -- but I think most people wean sometime after that, if not well before. So I was looking at it as, your son has made it to age 2 and is just fine, so no harm no foul for not BFing KWIM? Absolutely no need to kick yourself.

(Was my impression wrong? Do antibodies from breast milk last a longer time than I think?)
Nope the benefits are long term. Ex. Breastfed children have protection from HiB well into their preteen years.
post #14 of 20
I would not beat yourself up over it. Whats done is done. There are other ways to promote a healthy immune system. Healthy foods, certain herbs and supplements to support the immune system when sick, etc.

I still would not vaccinate if I could not BF.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lydiah View Post
I would not beat yourself up over it. Whats done is done. There are other ways to promote a healthy immune system. Healthy foods, certain herbs and supplements to support the immune system when sick, etc.

I still would not vaccinate if I could not BF.
Don't worry...I have no plans to vaccinate. No way, no how!
post #16 of 20
I think whether or not you fed your babe on formula or breastmilk, you have made a good, informed decision not to vaccinate. There are lots of ways you can boost your child's immunity with diet, vitamins etc. You should see a naturopath to get some ideas or tictures.
post #17 of 20
I'm another mama who still wouldn't vaccinate even if my son were not breastfed. And FWIW, my mom wasn't even given the benefit of formula as a baby. She got Carnation milk in her bottle. And my mom is one of the healthiest people I know.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lydiah View Post
Nope the benefits are long term. Ex. Breastfed children have protection from HiB well into their preteen years.
TY for posting that; I had no idea. I thought I'd read every single article on kellymom.com but I never came across this. You'd think they'd publicize it more.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by poppan View Post
TY for posting that; I had no idea. I thought I'd read every single article on kellymom.com but I never came across this. You'd think they'd publicize it more.
Another example is in France and several European countries they don't recommend the Pc vaccine for infants who are breastfed for more than 3 months. So there must be quite a bit of long term protection offered.
post #20 of 20

Definitely don't feel quilty about it,if anything be happy that you didn't vaccinate,that might have had a worse impact on him than if you breastfed him and  had him vaccinated also,in my opinion.

Unfortunatelly,I didn't breastfed my son either and vaccinated up to 1 according to schedule,that's the main decision I regret,as now at 4 he is extremely hyper and I am having a lot of issues with him,if I could at least take one vaccine back(hepB at 5 days old?!) I would,but I cannot; a lot of people don't seem to notice,but as a mother you just instinctevly know if something is not quit right.

It goes without saying that brestfeeding is ideal for baby and you,that is if you can do it.With my little daughter,now 6 months,I did breastfeed with great difficulty up  until 3  months,but still supplemented with formula.It has always been a goal of mine to breasfeed,but I just did't produce enough milk.

As far as vaccine are concerned with my daughter I postponed the same as you,one of the reasons being is that she never got sick,my son was sick last week ,she never had a fever ,nothing,where my fully vaccinated son was always sick as a baby,crying all the time.it is a tremendeous difference.Ofcourse ,you still always worry,but I think they are too little to get so many shots.Just curious,how smart is your little boy?

In the near future I will  still vaccinate her against polio,hep,dtap,but little by little.I feel they are a great invasion on their system.

Don't worry,if in the future you'll have another baby ,you can breastfeed then.

Now I am in  a dilema as my son is 4 to get him more vaccines or not?

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