Breastfeeding was never not an option for me. I always knew I wanted to try it out for the health of my babies so we didn't have bottles or formula in the house. It would have been to tempting at times to back out when breastfeeding got difficult and boy did it ever get difficult.
With Addie, it was painful and exhausting and after two weeks I got such a bad infection from my c-section that I had to go on antibiotics. The antibiotics I was on were ones that's I was unable to breastfeed on. So for nearly 2 weeks I pumped and dumped. If you've ever nursed before you know two things. First, pumping at 2 weeks old and introducing formula can have a devastating impact to your supply and/or your babies ability to switch back to nursing. Secondly, pumping and dumping for 2 weeks is a really difficult thing to do. Whoever made that saying, "there's no use crying over spilled milk" never nursed. That stuff is liquid gold!
I was able to get back at nursing with no issues. Addie didn't have any nipple confusion and she nursed until she was 13 months old. I can't believe I made it to 13 months. It was exhausting and the pumping at work got old, but I kept at it and I enjoyed being able to feed her for such a long period of time.
When Graham was born, again, no questions, I was going to attempt nursing. I was lucky enough to have zero issues nursing him. In fact, he came out with his tongue jutting out of his mouth ready to nurse. He latched quickly with no issues and has to this day enjoyed nursing, almost too much. At 12 weeks old, he nurses every 2 hours during the day. He's gaining weight like a tank.
I've been very lucky to have had two successful attempts at breastfeeding because I know not everyone has a path like mine. My advice to any new moms is always to attempt to breastfeed. You have to make the attempt for 4 solid weeks before you decide if it's not for you. It can be a really stressful time and a you'll probably want to give up quickly but I've heard several instances where it seems nursing was given up pretty quickly. Not everyone does, I realize, and sometimes there are issues with milk production. I highly recommend speaking with a lactation consultant multiple times if needed before switching to formula. If at that point you feel like you've given it all you can and used all your resources, then make the transition. What's most important is that your baby is receiving proper nutrition and gaining weight but the one thing you don't want to do is regret ever trying.
It really can be the most beautiful thing. I love when Graham pops off and looks up at me with milk running from his mouth and smiles a full smile at me. It's amazing!