Why I Quit Breastfeeding

You guys know that if anything, I am honest. This is a hard post to write because breastfeeding became such an emotional thing for me. And breastfeeding is one of those things that people are so damn judgy about. Here’s the thing, I agree that breastfeeding is best. So please don’t leave me ugly comments chastising me for quitting. Because at the end of the day a fed baby is what is best.

The first thing I did after I was wheeled back to the recovery room after my c section was breastfeed Zoe. She latched right on and all of these feelings came rushing to me. It was the most amazing, incredible thing I have ever felt. We instantly bonded and I thought that I was going to look forward to many months of this feeling. The thing was, her latch wasn’t the greatest. She was getting her milk, but she was destroying me in the process. On the second day of breastfeeding, I was so damaged that the lactation consultants had me pumping. They worked with me on her latch and she would do it right at first but always revert back to not opening wide enough.

I wasn’t producing enough milk in the beginning to feed her, so the supplementing started in the hospital. The nurse would bring down 20 ounces a few times a day and I started worrying about what would happen when I got home and didn’t have their supply. When I got home, I would give Zoe supplemental formula and she would eat on it for nearly an hour. Then I would have to wait until she fell asleep or someone would take her, and then go pump for 30 minutes or more. It was fine when other people were around, but during the day when I was alone it was really hard. I would sit down to pump and then 10 minutes in to it, Zoe would start screaming and need something and I would have to stop and take care of her.

I still wasn’t producing enough and having to use formula for at least 60-70% of her feedings. Then I would miss a pumping session on day because we were out grocery shopping when I needed to do it. Or I was really really really tired and not sleeping and after giving Zoe a bottle and she fell asleep, I needed to take a nap to be a functioning human. It is really hard to feed your baby a bottle and then pump because that is literally all you have time to do.

I started getting stressed out making sure to pump when I needed to. My supply still wasn’t great. I cant tell you how many times I sat there crying while hooked up to the pump. Stressed because I was so damn tired and I knew Zoe would wake up before I could take a nap because I was attached to that pump for the next 30-45 minutes. Crying because I sat back there for 45 minutes and only ten ounces came out and Zoe needed twenty to thirty at one time. It just got to be too much.

My mom, sister, SIL, MIL and best friend were all telling me it was ok to quit. To not stress out about it. After all, my sister and I are formula fed babies. All my nephews were formula fed. My best friend’s kid was formula fed. I have told several of my friends that it is ok that they aren’t breastfeeding. So why was I being so hard on myself???

I lasted three weeks. And one Saturday after I had sat back in the chair and barely got five ounces, I cried one last time and said this is it. I am done. It was like this huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. I knew it was the right decision, because I had no side effects from stopping. My boobs had been sore on and off since having Zoe, so the mild discomfort only lasted another day or two. I had zero leaking ever. It just confirmed my suspicions that my supply would have never built no matter how hard I tried.

Do I feel bad that I can’t have that feeling back that I had that very first feeding with Zoe? Yes. But you know what? I feel grateful I got to at least experience that feeling and I will always remember it. And I know that Zoe is getting fed and the nutrients she needs from the formula because she is growing and was perfect at her last doctor appointment. We still bond when I am giving her bottles because most times, we sit there and stare at each other as she eats. I can see her randomly smile as she is eating and she holds on to my fingers and it is the sweetest thing.

The whole purpose of this post? To those moms out there or soon to be moms…it is ok if you can’t breastfeed. Don’t be hard on yourself if your supply isn’t building up or you just don’t enjoy it. We all have to do what is right for us and as long as your baby is getting fed somehow, what does it matter? Don’t ever feel guilty or like you are less of a mother or woman because of it. That is just simply not true. I know it is hard to just quit. I have been there. But it is ok. Your baby is going to be just perfect regardless. Here is evidence…

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  • Reply Lindsay Latimer February 15, 2017 at 7:48 am

    I’m not a mother but think it’s crazy how judgmental people are over this! As you said: fed is best! My sister had similar problems with my niece and wasn’t able to keep breastfeeding. You know what? She’s a healthy, very smart (and sassy) 3-year-old. I think Zoe will be just fine. 🙂

  • Reply Emelia February 15, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Doing what you need to do and getting Zoe fed is best. I think it’s awful how moms tear one another apart about this issue. My best friend had issues feeding and was so upset she couldn’t. You’re an awesome Mother and know what’s best. 😉

  • Reply Katie Elizabeth February 15, 2017 at 8:35 am

    I love this. I couldn’t breastfeed and it kills me a little bit, but it is so true – a fed baby is what’s best. We need to support each other instead of tearing each other down because this mothering stuff is HARD enough!

  • Reply Biana @ Blovedboston February 15, 2017 at 8:54 am

    You did what was best for you baby which was to feed her!! There is no right or wrong way – all that matters is that your baby is happy and healthy!! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  • Reply kathy @ more coffee, less talky February 15, 2017 at 9:02 am

    fuck those sanctimommy bitches who do nothing but make non-breastfeeders feel bad (about everything, not only BFing). the way i see it, as long as zoe is fed, happy, healthy and safe, that’s all that matters. do you even think she’ll remember how she was fed? HELL NO. kayla was bottle fed because fuck the stress from not being able to BF properly (had the same troubles as you) and i asked her once: do you remember how i fed you when you were a baby? and she said “no. should I remember?” then she grabbed her toy doll bottle and started sucking on it and said “did you feed me like this mommy?” and made a fool of herself. Love that girl.

    so don’t even worry about this and don’t feel guilty! you’re an awesome mom!!!

  • Reply Amy @ The Crazy Wise Woman February 15, 2017 at 9:18 am

    No one prepares you for how painful BF is in the beginning, like send you through the roof pain. I did the same thing. I supplemented with all 3 of my kids and got thru about 6 months of breastfeeding off and on. I could have never done it without the mac daddy pump though because I just wasn’t that great at it. The upside of bottle feeding for me was that they were always full and all 3 of them slept thru the night around 7 weeks. That never would have happened for me with BF. And I like my sleep. You go girl!! Do whatever works for you!

  • Reply Rebecca Jo February 15, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I think this looks so different for every mom & that’s OK. I hate its become such a ‘judgement’ on women on how it works, when in all honesty, 95% of it is so uncontrollable… & like you said, a fed baby is the goal – no matter what or how. & you do it – no matter how – with love for your girl. All that matters.
    I’m sure all the breast feeding mommas of the world appreciate your post today!

  • Reply chelsea jacobs February 15, 2017 at 9:35 am

    DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. I had a similar experiencing and deciding to stop was the best choice I made, because I was instantly able to be a better mom due to getting more sleep, being in less pain, and not constantly stressing about him losing weight.

  • Reply Laura February 15, 2017 at 10:58 am

    You already know where I stand on all of this — but I am so glad you did what was right for you instead of trying to fit into some mold, that frankly, isn’t for everyone. You know how much I love you and that little Zoe girl — so I’m glad you both are happy and doing what worked for you both. 🙂

  • Reply Carly February 15, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Also not a mom, but I’m with Lindsay, and it’s crazy to me how people can be so judgmental over a personal choice someone makes! So glad you finally found what works best for you guys and so appreciative that you continue to be real about your experiences!

  • Reply SMD @ Life According to Steph February 15, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Every mother has to do what is best for her and her child and family. That does not look the same for everyone. Women need to support other women.

  • Reply Lauren @ Oh Hey! I Like That! February 15, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Do not feel badly in the SLIGHTEST! You are an amazing mama, and you are doing what is best for Zoe and yourself! She is a happy and well-fed baby, and you two are bonded, even if it isn’t by a breast 🙂

  • Reply Audrey February 15, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Amen, friend. Never ever feel bad about the decisions you make when it comes to your and Zoe’s healthy and happiness. You are doing great!
    I see the pressure to be “that” mom. The one who breastfeeds and wears her baby everywhere and limits (or forbids) electronics. The one who later on sends massive Valentines to her 2nd grader’s class and signs up for all the PTO parties. Some people love it and it comes natural, some people would rather bond over Daniel the Tiger and formula from a bottle. You know what? The kid is still happy and healthy and loved 🙂

  • Reply Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders February 15, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I’m not a mother, but I still don’t understand why we as women feel the need to beat each other up about our mothering choices. Like you said, at the end of the day as long as Zoe as is fed and happy, that’s all that matters. Obviously breastfeeding doesn’t work for everybody, but you definitely shouldn’t feel bad because it just wasn’t working for you.

  • Reply Sierra February 15, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    I can’t stand how judgemental this topic is either. At the end of the day what is best for you and your baby and that everyone is happy and healthy is what matters. There is no right or wrong way, and each pregnancy and each milk supply might be different. Never feel bad for doing what’s right for you and your family. Beautifully Candid

  • Reply Kate @ Green Fashionista February 15, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    It amazes me how judgey moms can be of other moms, we’re all in this together. All that matters are happy and healthy babies! I knew some of your struggles from our talks, and I just want to send you all the hugs. I feel the side eye from other moms because I’m 99% an exclusive pumper. So people judge me that I’m not getting that connecting from breastfeeding. Her latch wasn’t the greatest either, and no one wants to be in pain while feeing their child. Now that I’m back at work, I’m counting down the days when I’m no longer pumping. Lugging that machine back and forth every day, and stopping to pump is zero fun. Ugh!

    Sending you lots of *hugs* and give one to that sweet little girl <3

  • Reply Kaitlyn February 15, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    I love the one eye she gives you when she takes her bottle. She looks happy and well fed, and that’s all that matters. Baby’s happy, mommys happy, sounds like a win win. Sorry breast feeding didn’t go as planned. Sounds like you gave it an honest effort!

  • Reply Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis February 15, 2017 at 9:35 pm

    I don’t think anyone should chastise you for this decision especially since you gave it a try at first and it wasn’t working out the “normal” way. I think you’d be surprised how many moms have trouble with latching on or not latching on among other things…but as you said, at then of the day Sweet Cheeks is being fed, loved and cared for!

  • Reply Jenna February 15, 2017 at 11:39 pm

    Oh, my gosh! I just wanna give you a huge hug right now. I went through almost the exact same thing, except I lasted maybe four weeks instead of three. I had to supplement at the hospital. I wasn’t producing enough, and what I was producing she wasn’t keeping down. I was able to do half and half breast/formula for a while there, but that was as much as she could take. Before too long, I just couldn’t keep up with the milk production, and that was it.

    I definitely understand the stress and guilt. I went through it all, myself. With all the pressure out there to breast feed, it’s definitely a good thing for moms to hear that (while breast is great) sometimes it just doesn’t work, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you have to bottle feed instead.

  • Reply Jana @ Jana Says February 16, 2017 at 9:23 am

    It makes me sad that you felt you needed to write a post explaining why you made a very personal decision that’s no one else’s place to comment, think, or have opinions on. How you feed your baby is your choice, no one else’s, and fuck anyone who can’t see that. You did what’s best for you and Zoe and, at the end of the day, that’s what matters.

    I bottle fed Erica from day 1. I have no shame, no care, no regret.

  • Reply kristen February 16, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    girl, fuck anyone who has an opinion about how you feed your kid. seriously. fuck em. i don’t even want to acknowledge any of the rest of this post because fuck those assholes that made you feel that way. however, i will still because like you said, you were a formula fed kid and if there wasn’t formula, babies would be dead. so fuck all those assholes. yes, breastfeeding is amazing and fabulous but at the cost of your sanity or health? priorities peeps. and fuck anyone who is judgy mcjudgerson about it.

  • Reply Amanda Elizabeth - Meet at the Barre February 16, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Honestly, it is whatever works for you especially since you are now back to work! Who cares what anyone thinks! It is incredibly stressful to begin with without having the additional feeling like people are judging you on top of it. I’m glad you are feeling better and Miss Zoe is thriving. That is all that matters 🙂

  • Reply Joey February 16, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Thank you for this post. Not enough people talk about this, and I know it took guts and courage to put it out there. A fed baby is the best baby. I’m glad you did what was right for you both.

  • Reply Erin LFF February 16, 2017 at 7:30 pm

    Your post really makes me wish I had written about my experience with nursing and pumping and supplementing… UGH! I absolutely can relate and while I kept up with the craziness a pretty long time, looking back I probably should have just went to formula earlier on. It was SO stressful, SO hard to feel like you had zero time to rest between all the feedings and pumping, and just SO much pressure I put on myself too. Your little angel is PERFECT and that is truly all that matters. I wish we could all see that when we’re in the thick of the tough stuff. xo xo

  • Reply Amanda Bumgarner February 17, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    You are doing what you feel is best for your baby, and that’s all that matters! Formula is definitely not the end of the world, even though it is SUCH an emotional decision for mama, but in the end it’s a huge weight lifted.

  • Reply Jess February 21, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I fully support you, do what you gotta do! I am thinking about supplementing formula, because since I returned to work, Ellie only wants to breastfeed at night, even on the weekend and pumping is a lot of work. BTW, if I got 10 oz in one session, I would feel amazeballs haha. The first few weeks of breastfeeding sucked and I imagine I would have stopped if I had to pump that much. It’s totally exhausting. And painful to breastfeed and/or pump. I pump at work and home now and during the day, I only get about 4 oz each time so you were doing pretty well. I am happy Zoe is fed and content. It’s weird all the mom guilt we feel over these decisions.

  • Reply Jenn @ Optimization, Actually February 21, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    OMG, I was totally not prepared for how hard breast feeding is. I’m also having trouble with production – my supply is low and seriously – you BF for 30 minutes, then bottle and changing diapers for another 30, then it takes 30-60 minutes to get him to go back to sleep, I have 1-2 hours to sleep before he wakes up again and anyone actually expects me to pump before I go to sleep? HA!!! I’m supposed to be pumping after every feeding and I maybe pump once a day. I don’t understand how I’m supposed to fit it in and I don’t care anymore. If my milk dries up, oh well, he’ll be just fine with a formula-only diet. For now he’s doing about half and half and that’s fine too. You do you and don’t worry about it!!!

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