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Confessions Of A Breastfeeding Drop Out

Inside: Unable breastfeed for some reason? Know you’re not alone in this journey! Banish the overwhelm of getting ready for baby with this guide.

Enough was enough.

I was torturing myself.

My mind whispered it wasn’t a big deal, but my emotions were screaming in protest. I couldn’t appease both sides of myself.

I only wanted the best for my baby. But at what cost?

The Breast is Best Myth | A mom's take on how the "breast is best" movement can cause unnecessary guilt and shame.

You hear it all the time: “breast is best”. And to be honest I agree. As mothers our bodies produce milk for our babies; how could it not be the best food for them? It’s tailored to their specific needs.

I struggled with low milk supply with my first son and scrambled to try everything I could to produce more milk. I did increase my supply but it didn’t solve all our problems. But I did “the right thing” and stuck it out. I nursed him for an entire year before weaning because I wanted to do the best I could for him.

And then my second son was born.

I thought I knew what to expect. I had learned about several resources to increase milk supply and I thought I would have a head start. And it was true; I did have a head start, but it wasn’t enough.

Like my first, my second baby was a ravenous beast. I couldn’t keep up with all the feedings. It was physically, mentally and emotionally draining. Not to mention painful.

I would dread every time I had to feed him. Instead of feeling connected and peaceful while I was nursing, I felt pain, anger and resentment. This wasn’t what everyone said it was like. Nursing was a wonderful experience; A sweet bonding time between mother and child. But this was not my experience.

The Breast is Best Myth | A mom's take on how the "breast is best" movement can cause unnecessary guilt and shame.

How The “Breast is Best” Mentality Tore Me Apart

My mind couldn’t wrap itself around the fact that my expectations and my reality were so conflicting. I would cry, tell my husband I couldn’t do it anymore and then resolve to wean him. But then the guilt set it.

What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t give my child the best?

The answer was clear to me; a terrible one. And I couldn’t live with that. Not only because of my innate desire to do the best for him, but also because of my fear of judgement from other moms.

So what did I do?

Nothing. I continued to nurse and lived with these torturous thoughts for months.

My husband pleaded with me to stop nursing. My mom asked me to consider weaning. And I wanted to with every fiber of my being! But my pride wouldn’t allow it.

And because of my decision my family suffered. I had changed. I had turned into an obsessed, anxious, sad shell who I used to be. No one was happy with the change, including myself. But for some reason I couldn’t wean him. 

After several months of these feelings and countless requests from my husband to supplement our baby with formula I broke down and agreed to it. My only stipulation was the use of homemade formula. My distraught husband conceded and immediately took on the responsibility of full-time formula maker.

Life got better a little bit at a time. I had more time to enjoy my baby outside of feedings and I felt less resentment.

But it didn’t take away all the guilt.

I never wanted to bring the baby bottles out with us in public because I feared the other moms’ silent judgments. It was like I was hiding some deep, dark secret within the walls of our home.

It went on until I succumbed to fully weaning him at 8 months. It was terrible and glorious all at once! I was now free of this heavy burden that threatened to crush my emotional state day after day. But at the same time I was taking away a part of our relationship that we would never have again. It ripped my heart apart.

Now, almost a year later, I look back at myself and just say WHY? Why couldn’t you realize that your baby’s life was worse, instead of better? Why couldn’t you see that your decision was affecting the entire family in a negative way?

Hindsight is 20/20. In my mind I needed to do what was best for my baby and I had blinders on. I only focused on the “breast is best” mentality and I let everything else crumble away.

So to you I say, look around yourself! Don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Don’t spend a year of your life miserable. Don’t make you family pay for your stubbornness.

You are not alone. You are strong. You can see the big picture. You and your family will benefit most by having a happy, thriving mom who takes care of herself before the rest of the family and ignores all the guilt. I know it now. And I know it’s hard, but you can do it.

Tell me, have you ever felt this way?

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Alanna

Thursday 1st of June 2017

Thank you for sharing this! There is simply not enough information out there to help moms like us, who have tried it all and still have to supplement. It is also my second baby, and I nursed the first one for three years, always with low supply. I am now back to work and it is even more frustrating to pump only half of what she needs. I have pleaded to be happy with my situation because I have literally tried so hard! Thanks so much for this, this article has been lifesaving after several months with very negative feelings.

Sam T

Thursday 1st of June 2017

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Alanna. It can be so difficult to change your mindset when you're right in the thick of things. Although I don't know too much, I'm sure you're an awesome mom since you care so much about this issue. Best of luck to you!

Chandra

Wednesday 26th of April 2017

Thank you for your thoughts and your story! I'm experiencing a low supply due to my lack of time to pump because I work during the day with only men so it's not always appropriate for me to pump when I need to. This has caused me a lot of grief! Lately, I've recommitted to pump at least three times a day (which I know is hardly at all) but it's helped! My husband couldn't be more supportive about feeding our little one. He makes bottles, cleans them and encourages me when I feel down about my own milk supply. It's good to know I'm not the only one!! Thanks again :)

Sam T

Wednesday 26th of April 2017

Hey Chandra! Thanks so much for sharing your story :) I'm so glad you know you're not alone in your feelings. And what a great husband!! I hope you're able to keep on going!!

Jennifer

Sunday 4th of September 2016

I am lucky enough to have had a wonderful experience with breastfeeding. Sure, we had a few hiccups along the way, but my son latched well, I produced an abundance, and we had a blissful routine and understanding. ...but at 4 months old I had to return to work for the new school year (I'm a teacher and was blessed to have the last month of school + summer to be with my first born) Now that I'm working again my son, myself, and my boob's have all been thrown for a loop. My supply has plummeted because I go for 6 hours without feeding or pumping till my lunch break (which is only 20 mins and basically only enough time to really get the flow started, then I have to stop) then another 5 hours till I see him again. I pump at night. But it's not enough to fill the supply. My caregiver (my mom) feeds him half breastmilk mixed with half formula during the day. That's even IF I've pumped enough the day before. It's becoming a vicious cycle. And the guilt is eating at my brain and my heart. I don't want to give up yet. Especially since I was so successful this far. I need advice on how to keep it up. Someone out there has figure out the "working mom" secret?

Sam T

Monday 5th of September 2016

That's awesome that you were able to have a great few months with your son before you had to return to work! I'm sorry you're having trouble now; I can imagine that would be incredibly stressful since you know your body can do it. I haven't dealt with that myself, so I'm not much help there, but here are a couple sites I love for nursing support: http://livingwithlowmilksupply.com/how-to-maintain-milk-supply-while-working http://kellymom.com/hot-topics/pumping_decrease/ http://www.workandpump.com/ I hope you can find something and get this all figured out! Let me know how it goes and best of luck to you Jennifer :)

Bethany

Saturday 3rd of September 2016

Thank you for sharing your story. I am currently in the process of weaning early with my almost 4-month-old. I read all the books and took the class, and have had more than 10 visits with lactation specialists, but it's time to stop. My baby has dairy and soy allergies, so I've had to alter my diet radically, and basically can't eat out anymore. I have had mastitis twice and Thrush three times (still treating it now). I also developed a condition called Raynaud's that causes pain in my nipples between feedings. It has never been not painful for me. At some point, as I was on antibiotics, anti-yeast meds, calcium channel blockers (for the Raynaud's), and had upped my dose of anti-depressant, my wise counselor asked if it was actually best to keep nursing, or if I was just being rigid and stubborn in my thinking. She advised me to let myself grieve the ideal that didn't happen for me, and then to move on to a healthier lifestyle through formula.

Sam T

Saturday 3rd of September 2016

Of course, Bethany! Isn't it soooo frustrating when you plan ahead and have such high hopes of nursing, only to realize it just isn't working?! I'm so sorry it didn't work for you as well, but it's great to have a dialogue about how breastfeeding isn't always easy or feasible for every family. I hope that you're able to recover quickly and you're little one flourishes! All my best to you!!

Courtney

Wednesday 8th of June 2016

Thank you!! I am currently debating stopping it all right now. My son won't latch, his tongue tie had grown back after clipping, his lip tie needs to be resolved and he has torticollis. On top of that, the only way we were breastfeeding to begin with was with a shield since I have flat nipples. Right now I am trying to pump enough to get my supply up more and still trying to latch at every feeding. It is exhausting. My husband and I have the same conversation every night when I lose it while washing all the pump parts and bottles. Writing this out now makes me see how silly it is...if a friend told me all this I would never think she was "giving up too early" but that is exactly how I judge myself!

Sam T

Thursday 9th of June 2016

Wow, Courtney, I'm so sorry you're going through all of that! I feel like I know exactly what you're talking about (although I didn't have all those problems). My husband was always trying to convince me to stop, which made me feel like he was working against me at the time, but now I realize he just wanted me to be happy and stop worrying so much!! And, you're so right about the way so many of us moms think we're giving up too quickly; I definitely would advise a friend to stop too. I know we don't know each other, but I would say if you want to stop, then you have certainly tried your best!!! Sometimes it just doesn't work like we'd like, which is just so hard to accept! Anyway, I'm not sure if the idea of formula is something that bothers you (it was for me), so my husband and I ended up making homemade goat's milk formula to ease my worries. Let me know if you're interested and I'll see if I can find the recipe (I have one I found online and one from our naturopathic doctor). Good luck to you <3

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