When should I stop breastfeeding? It a question every breastfeeding mother has asked herself countless times. I’ve been super open about my breastfeeding journey on Instagram stories, but something about writing it all out makes it feel so much more personal and vulnerable. Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is different. Some people choose not to breastfeed at all or simply can’t. I’m in no way at any point in this blog suggesting that anybody else should breastfeed as long as I did or even stop when I did. I’ve just gotten many hundreds of emails, DM’s, and comments from you guys saying that you wanted me to write about my breastfeeding journey so that’s exactly what I’m doing today. I call it MY breastfeeding journey because it is my journey and mine alone. So let me say first that FED is best. I wholeheartedly believe that with every ounce of my being. That’s why parts of my story almost seem contradictory – keep reading and you’ll see why. Even though I know in my heart fed is best, I put so much pressure on myself to keep breastfeeding because I told myself I was a failure if I didn’t. But let’s start from the beginning.
I breastfed Molly for a year. Just over a year to be exact. I made up my mind when she came into this world that I was going to breastfeed her for one year because that is what the pediatrician recommends. It’s funny because when people would ask me how long I wanted to breastfeed, I would always say six months. It’s almost like I wanted to give myself a buffer just in case I didn’t make it for the year. I didn’t want to seem like a failure in their eyes. So silly that we do things like that to ourselves. People would’ve thought it an accomplishment to make it to 6 months! And those who didn’t, to heck with them! Regardless, I didn’t want to say I was going to go a year and then only do 6 months. I didn’t want to be judged about something so personal and I truly didn’t know if I could do.
It’s hard for me to recall all of the specifics when I was breastfeeding Molly because it was two years ago. But essentially I remember that I mostly breastfed, and pumped twice a day. Once after the 1st feed of the morning and then once again at the end of the night before I went to bed. And my supply was pretty good up until around 8 or 9 months. I feel like I remember around 8 months it started to go down a little and then by 9 months I found myself struggling. By 10 months, I thought “oh my gosh how am I going to make it to a year?!?!” It didn’t seem possible.
What about supplementing with formula? I very well could’ve supplemented and easily made it to a year with no stress – maybe even way past a year! But someone once said to me something that stuck with me and I couldn’t get it out of my head. She said “my kids never had formula”. I want to say up front that I know she didn’t mean an harm by saying what she said – I truly believe that. But those words stuck with me like you wouldn’t believe. I would repeat them in my mind every time I thought about buying formula. Every time I thought about supplementing I would see those words in my mind over and over and over. If her kids never had formula why would my kids have to have formula? The “have to have” being the key part of that thought process. Almost like she would look at me and think “poor little formula fed baby”. As you can see, my mind got the best of me. My mom guilt and shame got the best of me.
“My kids never got formula”. I want to take that sentence and throw it in a bonfire somehow. Consider this blog post my metaphorical bonfire. I want to burn every last letter of that sentence until it’s erased from my mind. It’s a toxic thing to think. I was even hesitant to even put those words in this blog post cause I don’t want somebody else to read this and somehow take it completely different way than how I meant it to be read. In other words, I don’t want anyone to internalize those words like I did. Instead, I want you guys to know that I was able to let go of those words with Riley – I gave him formula. And I am so glad I did. He is a happy and healthy baby!
It’s a scary thing for me to admit that I had these thoughts because like I said at the beginning of this post, I truly in my heart believe that fed is best. We all have different lives and different stories and no one‘s situation is ever going to be the same. And it was easy for me to breastfeed Molly at first. I was able to stay home on maternity leave for 6 months! SIX MONTHS! It’s not lost on me how incredibly lucky I was to do that! I’m certain that was a major reason why I was able to breastfeed for so long. Things were a bit different with Riley.
But before I get to Riley, let me just finish my story about my breastfeeding journey with Molly to say that I struggled so hard to produce enough milk to keep her fed and happy every day. I would stay up late to pump and pump in the middle of the night. I would stress so much at the end of the night if I gave her a bottle and she didn’t drink every last drop! I remember at one point she was drinking 6 ounces at night before bed. And then all of a sudden, some nights she would only drink 3-4oz and I would absolutely freak out! I didn’t want to heat up less milk because if she needed more, stopping in the middle of feeding her would sometimes make her stop eating. But then I didn’t only want to heat up a little because I wanted her to eat as much as possible so she would sleep through the night! I didn’t want to heat up too much because I didn’t want her not to finish it. And I didn’t want to breastfeed because I couldn’t tell if she was getting enough to feel full all night. I was exhausted. Heck just typing all that out and re-reading it is exhausting!
I think I told you guys this before but Molly nursed every 3 hours for the first 9 months of her life. Which meant I was up every three hours until she was nine months old – all through the night. That’s when we did sleep training. Which I blogged about here if you’re interested or curious about that.
The stress was eating me alive. I was stressed out about breastfeeding, about lack of sleep, about my marriage suffering – I was stressed about just about everything! And for what reason? Why? Because someone told me their kids never got formula?! I wasn’t gonna let this happen to me with Riley. At least I didn’t think I was going to let it happen.
Let’s talk about Riley. I breastfed Riley exclusively until just over 6 or 7 months. Honestly I can’t even remember at this point because it’s just not that important to me anymore. I was able to let go of those words and not stress so much about how long he was exclusively breastfed. But things are different with Riley. I couldn’t quietly nurse him in my arms when he woke up in the morning or after his afternoon nap. I have a toddler now that’s running around my living room screaming “Let it go!” at the top of her lungs! Not exactly ideal conditions to nurse the baby in. So as much as I tried to breastfeed him, I found I just couldn’t keep him focused on breastfeeding! That’s when I had to switch to pumping for a bunch of his meals. I found the only way I could get him to have a full feed was to pump and then give him a bottle otherwise Molly would distract him. So I was pretty much only nursing him when he would wake up in the middle of the night, for the first feed of the day, and maybe once throughout the day. That was from about 3 months to 7 months.
Around 7 or 8 months, and again the exact timing is fuzzy, I bit the bullet and began giving him formula. I was honestly pretty distraught about the decision at first. I kept saying I was going to start giving it to him and then I would push it off a couple weeks. I kept putting it off because I felt like a failure (SO crazy right?! Post-partum hormones make me crazy!). Just because I didn’t hit my “goal” of of year. I’ve always been competitive with myself like that. I told myself once again that I was going to make it to a year and once again told other people 8 months. Again giving myself a buffer zone in case I “failed”. But once I gave him those first couple ounces of formula mixed in with breast milk it was like ripping the Band-Aid off. All of the stress and things I have been told and pressure I put on myself all the sudden melted away. And he liked it! He wouldn’t drink it straight right away. But then again I didn’t even want to give it to him straight right away. I needed to ease them into it as much as he did. So from about 7 months to 9 1/2 months, almost 10 months, I supplemented with formula. It was such a relief that I thought, oh my gosh I could breast-feed until two years old at this rate! Supplementing took the pressure off of me to produce a certain amount in order to keep him full. I highly recommend it to any breastfeeding moms out there! Don’t feel bad about it, as moms we go through enough.
At 8 1/2 months is when the major bite happened. Some of you may have seen on Instagram stories that Riley bit me so hard when feeding that I was bleeding pretty bad. My breast milk looked like strawberry milk. That’s right, bright pink strawberry milk! And even a little clumps of blood would come out in my nursing bra. Sorry if this is TMI but I just want to be upfront about what it was like. The first time I did it I thought OK I can get through this and fight through the pain and keep nursing. The second and then third time I was done. It was just too much for me. So then I started exclusively pumping. I have the absolute best pump in the world! I talked to you guys about the Willow pump – it seriously makes a mothers life so much easier when breast-feeding! But because I was pumping so many times a day, between six and seven times a day, my breasts were becoming broth. So I kept exclusive pumping for maybe a month and then when Riley was 9 1/2 months I started bleeding pretty bad again. And this was just from pumping! No biting involved. I decided at that point I was done. I think I pumped maybe a week longer and almost made it to 10 months. And it was hard! It’s still hard. My milk stopped coming in pretty easily, I didn’t have to put cabbage in my bra or anything like that. But I remember 10 days after I stopped breastfeeding I noticed that there were STILL little lumps of milk in my breasts. I had to express them out when I was in the shower. And of course I was immediately flooded with a ton of guilt. Guilt thinking that I could’ve made it longer. Guilt thinking that my body wasn’t ready to be done. So so so much guilt!
But I shouldn’t feel guilty. I should feel so freaking proud! 10 months! I made it 10 months breast-feeding with two kids two years old and under! That is a freaking accomplishment. And even as I say those words right now to all of you, there still that little glimmer of doubt in the back of my mind. Thinking I should’ve done it longer. So as much is I can preach to all of you that whatever you’re able to do to feed the baby is the right thing, I can also openly say that even as I say it makes me feel doubt about myself. And that’s what mom guilt is. We all go through it and we just have to do our best to find ways to let go of it. Writing this blog post today is a way for me to let go.
Cheers to all you moms out there whether you bottlefeed, breastfeed, exclusively pump, or whatever you have to do to feed your child – know that I see you, I feel you, and I am you!
This post has really meant a lot to me, so I would love to hear all of your breast-feeding stories in the comments below. How long did you breast-feed? Did you breast-feed at all? Why did you decide not to breast-feed? Please share your stories and everyone else commenting please be respectful of those who are sharing their stories. I want this to be a judgment free zone. I love you guys!
346 thoughts on “When to Stop Breastfeeding”
I had really bad post partum anxiety with my first, so I cut myself off around 10-11 months with him and felt a lot better. But I, too, wanted to hit that one year mark so bad. I felt the guilt too. So i can relate. I am at 9 months now with my 2nd one but definitely having a supply problem and luckily I have some frozen, but have been using a lot of that too. I want to hit one year, but we will see. Give yourself grace – 10 months is amazing. I appreciate your post.
Thank you for reading this and for sharing your story! It’s so hard. We all just do our best! Great job mama!
This post really hits home! I made it to about 7 seven months before I started supplementing. I lost my dad when my daughter turned 6 months and I think due to the stress my supply just wasn’t there anymore.. and as a working mom pumping was getting more difficult. I had, I should say have mom guilt. Not as bad compared to when I first made the decision but there is still that glimmer as you so appropriately described! But my girl is happy and healthy and fed which is all that matters! Thanks for this post (really all of your posts, you are so relatable) I know I’m not alone!
Ali, thank you for sharing this with us. It’s very personal stuff but I appreciate that you opened up to us!!!
I desperately wanted to breastfeed exclusively, but had to deliver a month early via C-section and my son was in the NICU, and my body just could.not.produce.milk. I pumped every two hours for a month straight, because I, too, swore my child would never get formula. (As if it was some badge of superiority?) I ended up having to supplement with formula almost immediately, and the shame was massive. The literal purpose of my breasts was to produce food for my child, and I couldn’t do that? But now I am so thankful for my journey, because it forced me to become educated on formulas, and I can now happily make recommendations to new mom friends who find themselves in similar situations. That is why I am so thankful for you sharing your story. Team “No Shame” all the way!
Hi Sarah, can you please let me know what formula you found best? Right now I’m breastfeeding, pumping, and thinking about supplementing with Similac Pro Advance.
I supplement with similar pro advance and my daughter doesn’t mind it at all!
My son is 5 months and I just made the decision to supplement with 1 formula bottle a day. I went back and forth a million times on this. So much guilt!
So reassuring to hear that supplementing worked for you!
With my first I breastfed for 19months. After 1 year I wanted to stop but I couldn’t get my litttle one to agree (yes I know I’m the boss,most of the time) so I continued. A couple months before I stopped I would get those agitated feelings like why am I still nursing she can eat on her own and Then my mom guilt of how can you feel that way this is your baby girl. Finally weaned her off so I could get pregnant, and magically as soon as she stopped I was pregnant. Now I’m nursing my second (boy) exclusively for 7 months. But I feel the same way, as if I need to be fair and breast feed until one year (that’s the cut off). But with a boy I’m continuously stressed trying to keep up with his appetite and have enough when I work 12 hours days. I wish I could give myself grace and things would be so much better for the whole family.
Thank you for sharing such a personal journey, it really does help hearing you’re not alone.
I breastfed my twins exclusively for the first year & it was by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life!!! Kudos to you for making it as long as you did!!
Mums have it the hardest! Can’t share my own experience as I’ve never been pregnant, but this was an eye-opening read. Stay strong and stay true to yourself, Ali. 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Thank you Charmaine! Thanks for being a bright light!
I didn’t have a good experience with my first time breastfeeding. I wasn’t producing enough to support my baby, so I had to supplement with formula. I’m now pregnant again for the second time and I’m just dreading having to do it again. I do feel pressure like I need to do it. It’s hard! It’s exhausting! I give you a lot of credit for sticking it out!! 🙌
If it makes you feel better, I had the same issue with my first and was so anxious about it when I was pregnant again. But I didn’t have the same experience second time around, and when I did supplement it was by choice not because I had to!
I exclusively breastfed my daughter for about 9 months before I “gave in” to formula… I say that because I felt that same (ridiculous) mom guilt about not making it a year but like you I fed her every 3 hours until I stopped. I was tired. Oh and then a month or two later we conceived our son. I had a tough time with my supply as he demanded a lot more than my daughter did. People might say that’s not true and a baby only eats a certain amount no matter the gender but still to this day (she’s 4 and he’s 2 1/2), she eats like a bird and he eats like a grown man. He also bit me and I felt every time I nursed him after that I was so tense and I stopped enjoying it. I unfortunately couldn’t pump a lot because i would get at most an ounce. My body just didn’t take to pumping, I don’t know why. So long story long (hehe) I stopped nursing my son at 8 months… and of course had mothers guilt that I didn’t make it as long as I did my daughter. Why do we think this way?! Ahhh! But I look back and I’m so grateful that my body gave me two beautiful healthy children and allowed me to feed them for however long I decided.
Thank you for sharing your story. I’m not going to lie after being pregnant or nursing for a total of like 3 or 4 years, it feels good to have my body back… and by back I don’t mean hot to trot in the best shape… I mean it’s not a hotel or food truck for a baby 😉🤣😉
Thank you for this ! I’m currently breastfeeding my 6 month old and have the goal for a year . But I am exhausted , he doesn’t sleep and I feel like he’s glued to me at night . we don’t co sleep so I stay awake through the feedings and move him to his crib . I tried giving him a bottle and he refused every time. I switched to trying a sippy cup but he’s not there yet . My boobs need a break .. and that makes me feel so guilty 🤦🏻♀️
You’re an amazing momma! Love reading all about your journey 😊
I am a new mom and was distraught at how hard breastfeeding was for me. I had to supplement with formula since my daughter was born because I could never produce enough, she was tiny, and she never latched. I pumped all day but could still only get about half of what she needed then one day when she was three months I just stopped producing milk and honestly it felt like such a relief though the guilt sent me into a depression. She is a 4 month old now and happy and healthy on just formula 😊
Something similar happened to me! My little man would throw up my milk and was losing weight so his doc put him on specific formula and he started to thrive.
We (I) chose to exclusively formula feed. I just wasn’t comfortable breastfeeding. I wasn’t ashamed of it at all. I think there is so much pressure put on mom’s out there it’s just not fair. I remember going through childbirth class and the teacher pushed breastfeeding hard, I left in the comments after our last class that she should give the option of the classes that are available but it was very uncomfortable for me, who had already decided what I was going to do, not to mention if there was a mom in there who physically couldn’t breastfeed. Then again at the hospital they pushed it and guilted me in to thinking that’s what I should be doing, even going so far as trying to refuse to bring formula in until I had tried it. I blew up at the nurses and never had a problem after that. At about 9 months I was at Target and buying formula (and she had to be on the expensive formula, I would usually buy a months worth at a time so it was almost $400) and had a cashier tell me I should just breastfeed because it’s cheaper. I very calmly told her that after 9 months it’s to late to go back, it was my choice and as long as I was feeding my baby it was none of her opinion. Like you said in your post, which as a non breastfeeding mom, fed is best, no matter how you do it. There is such a stigma that breastfed is so much better and that really needs to stop because there is so much guilt with choosing not doing it, or wanting to but not producing enough milk, to stopping at 6 months or whenever. But thank you for being so open and honest with your journey. While it’s not something I can relate to I can respect it and respect you for being the best mom you can be
Thank you for your post. You posted with such respect and kindness.
Thank you for your honesty about formula-feeding. I bfed my first girl who was born by natural delivery and formula-fed my little boy after a c-section (born early due to preeclampsia). Two very different delivery stories and two very different feeding stories. I had mom guilt with both – did I bfed long enough, supplementing, formula-feeding, etc. It adds more stress to an already stressful journey. I have learnt to accept and appreciate “mom guilt”… to love mom guilt and understands feel that way because we are good moms and we are trying to do our best for our kids regardless how we feed them. I also have to appreciate what my body can and cannot do and think about my emotional and mental health too. After all, feeding isn’t just about the child… it’s also about the mom. Let us not forget ourselves in the process. I am thankful to have both experiences because it puts me in the shoes of all moms. Moms, whatever your choice is you are a wonderful mother.
Almost the same thing happened to me but at 3 weeks! It was taking me 1.5 hours to try to feed my baby which included breastfeeding, pumping and then giving a bottle of formula. He ate every 2 hours, and I was miserably depressed with the lack of sleep. My family was rapidly deteriorating and our pediatrician and lactation consultant gave me the out.
Once we were only on formula, my son slept better, was happier and started gaining weight! I worked through a ton of guilt but was happier too.
I realized that none of the people in my community were judging me; I was just judging myself. We have the happiest baby I have ever ever seen!!!
I also found that there were tons of bonding moments that felt stronger to me than any of the breastfeeding ones.
So glad to have pushed through that rough patch; it’s so great when we can give ourselves permission to do what is best for our families!
How much formula does Riley drink now?
Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing this! My breastfeeding journey was exactly the opposite of what I imagined, everything that could have gone wrong did. I developed postpartum depression and honestly so much of it I believe was the pressure I put on myself to exclusively breastfeed. It was awful. I cried for 4 months straigh almost daily and only thought about feeding her and the next feed and if she’ll latch and if I’ll have enought milk. The guilt was all consuming but when I quit I felt like I was finally able to enjoy and bond with my daughter!
I felt the same way. And the pressure came from all corners. But especially myself. I finally made the decision to stop pumping and he is 8 months old. The funniest thing was my mother always saying “you need to breastfeed at least until he is 4 months- then 6 months- then a year”. And after talking to her I found out that she was only able to breastfeed (three of us) for a month. Actually, only 10 days with my oldest sister. And look at us now!!! We all made it ….
so much yes to this! I am not a mom yet and candidly I have no intentions of breastfeeding for various reasons and don’t feel guilty about it but my mother already tried to give me guilt – come to find out she only did for 6 weeks!
I never wanted to breastfeed either simply because I didn’t like my breasts to be even touched. I had a rough delivery with my first daughter, which ended in a C-section after 3+ hours of pushing. That was followed by a damaged nerve in my knee, so my mom came to stay for 2 weeks and took all the nighttime bottle feedings so I could sleep. My daughter was exclusively formula fed and was the healthiest baby and child…never a single ear infection! And now she’s a pharmacist!! So being formula fed didn’t hurt her in the least!
I breastfed my daughter for 19 months! When my son came along I for sure thought we would have the same breastfeeding journey, but boy was I wrong! I breastfed my son just shy of 10 months. He was a good nurser in the beginning but once he started foods it almost seemed as though he wasnt as satisfied and needed more. My supply quickly dropped and I couldn’t even pump to keep up with his demand so we switched to formula and he is happy and growing!!! I still miss it some days but he also sleeps through the night- which my daughter didn’t sleep through the night till after a year!
I had pretty traumatic births with my two
Boys, now 7 and 4. I never had the chance to breastfeed at all because my body never responded. I felt guilt too, from pressure, from hospital and clinical medical staff. I kept telling myself, okay okay… but shouldn’t they be fed!?!!! It’s so hard being a mom. Especially nowadays. Everyone is so eager to comment and judge as if their opinion is the only one that works or matters. Thanks for sharing your journey.
Thank you so much for sharing this! I wish I could have read this 3 months ago when my daughter was 10 months old and I was stressed beyond belief constantly worrying about producing enough, taking milk from the freezer, and heaven forbid if we had to dump any milk out at the end of the day! I had the same mom guilt which was making me crazy! When I finally gave her formula it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’m pregnant with my second and when it gets tough (as I’m sure it will) I’m going to remember this post. Thanks Ali!
I tried for about 24 hours to breastfeed my first and I just couldn’t do it. Between the pain and my hormones I gave up. Was it selfish? Maybe. Did I feel guilt about not doing it. I sure did. But my little girl (now 3) did great on formula and was a happy healthy baby. I think though in the end we made the right choice. My husband could help with feedings or any of my other family when they visited, and there was no pressure as to having to worry if she was getting enough milk or if I was producing enough. In the end with her I don’t think i really ended up getting my milk in.
With my son he was born with some minor kidney issues. They told us breast would be the best for him. However it was such a stressful time with being in the hospital and that he needed to have a minor surgery that we ultimately chose to formula feed. In the end it was the best choice for us, especially as i could track how much he was eating while in the hospital as well as when we got home. He is currently 7 months and is happy and healthy as can be. Again I know we made the right choice to formula feed.
My milk never came in! So we used formula (it’s not a dirty word) and after a Csections it made recovery easier. My daughters are both grown and healthy now and rarely got sick as babies!
Same boat! I was so upset I couldn’t provide for my son but he is happy and healthy at 8 months old. I still get a wave of guilt every so often but have to remind myself that he’s a happy healthy boy.
Yes thank you! Formula is not a dirty word. Many kids thrive in formula just as well as on breast milk (in my opinion). My kids were rarely sick either- well that’s until they started daycare hahah! But yes there are many women who can’t produce enough, and it always makes me sad when other people try to shame
Moms who don’t breastfeed or who supplement. If your child is thriving and doing well that’s what matters.
Never feel guilty about having tofully feed your child formula or if you have to supplement! (I know it’s sometimes easier said than done).
Thank you for this, Ali. Honestly, I had the hardest time breastfeeding early-on in my daughter’s life. Like, crying through every. single. feed. for the first 4 months. The fear of “what if she gets sick because I gave her formula instead of breastmilk” honestly stabbed through me DAILY like a knife. This intense pressure and thoughts that we need to give the very best possible thing to our children at ALL times is incredibly hard, and unfair, and such unrealistic standards. Why is it so hard to let go of those thoughts?
My daughter is now almost 2, and we are still nursing once at night. I never did give her formula, but now that I’m coming out on the “other side” of post-partum anxiety (after MONTHS of therapy and self-help), I realize more than ever that FED IS SERIOUSLY BEST, especially if it’s costing mom her mental wellness. (I wrote a blog post here back in the height of this: https://adventuresofbeingmomblog.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/breast-is-best/)
My “goal” has been to make it to two, but honestly, I am going to be so very ok if we don’t. We all hope and wish that our kids will decide when they’re done, but again, this is just the pressure we are putting on ourselves that doesn’t need to be there. I am so proud of where I’ve come with my journey, and so should every single mama, whether she breastfed for 1 hour, 1 week, 6 months, one year, 4 years, or not at all.
Sending so much love!
Thank you for sharing! I was always an over producer until I wasn’t. My supply tanked around 6 months and we had to start supplementing. I couldn’t believe it. We battled a lip and tongue tie and pain while breastfeeding at the beginning. We made it through- to then have my supply completely drop?! I still can’t believe it. I am now pumping exclusively and only get about an ounce or two a day- I’m just not ready to be done yet because I too wanted to make it to a year so so bad. But little man is thriving on formula! So it’s okay! It will be okay- that’s what I tell myself.
I am in a similar spot. My son is only a month old and I am.an over producer. I got mastitis at 9 days post partum and get clogged ducts constantly. I am pumling every 2-4 hours depending on when he wakes up. He had his tongue and lip tie procedure a little under a week ago and it has helped his latch but he is just not efficient on the breast. He comes unlatched constantly so I can’t tell how much he is actually eating. We end up “topping him off” with the bottle. I am just not sure how long I can last stressing about the pumping all the time I feel like I cant enjoy my son because I am tracking how much time until I need to pump again or how long will I have to sleep. Currently lucky to get 2 hours straight of sleep. Once I go back to work at 12 weeks I won’t be able to keep up the pumping schedule either so I am tempted to switch to formula early but like everyone here is talling about the guilt just feels so real!
I breastfed for five days before I was told my son had a possible immune system disorder and it was unsafe for me to breastfeed until some testing came back. The test came back five days later, and I got the clear to breastfeed again. I was so happy! Then, once the immune disorder was confirmed, breastfeeding was taken from me for good because of the risk of me possibly transferring a virus through my milk. I was devastated. And still am about it. On top of all the other “normal” experiences that were taken away from me as a new mom, I couldn’t believe this was taken from me as well.
My son is now 5 months old and we’ve been relocated to LA since January for a bone marrow transplant to treat his condition. Hoping to be back in San Diego soon! I’ve learned that breastfeeding isn’t everything like I thought, and that just being able to be with my baby and have him be healthy is what’s most important!
Audrey! Prayers for your little one that his health improves soon and that the bone marrow transplant was helpful. I agree with you there are much more important things that breastfeeding like a babies health.
Audrey, your experience sounds like my sister’s. Their first child was diagnosed with SCID about a week after birth and had to have a bone marrow transplant at 8 weeks old. She’s now a healthy 3 year old and nobody cares whether she was breastfed or not…we are all just glad she’s here and healthy! But the first 12 months were rough for everyone. Hang in there!
I’m so sorry to hear this! I hope the transplant eas/is successful! My son was born with an autoimmune disorder because his spleen and bone marrow were not working properly, a blood disorder that results in hemorrhaging and bleeding. I definitely did not have a normal experience from the get go. What was agonizing was for about 4 weeks we were given varying opinions on whether my breastmilk was passing on harmful antibodies causing this disorder and was told two different opinions by specialists and it was mentally difficult to ultimately decide to continue breastfeeding until we knew for sure(like I’m the reason making him sick so to speak). FORMULA would have been perfectly fine but I wanted a for sure answer before I let my milk supply stop.
It’s like you are reading my mind. I have been exclusively pumping for my 8 month old since day 1. 7x a day and now I’m down to 3 x a day. I worry all night will he have enough milk to get him through night feedings. Will I have a bottle for him in the morning. What time will I need to pump etc. I also found out my milk has high lipase so all of that amazing milk I worked so hard for he won’t even drink. 2 deep freezers worth of milk he rejecte because it smells soapy.
I want to be done pumping. I’m exhausted and don’t feel like myself. I miss wearing a wire bra and not feeling engorged all day. I feel like pumping makes me anxious I dread it. I just worry how will my son do on formula. Will he take it, will he like it, what type to try. I worry about weaning and how I will feel and how long it will take. It’s so stressful.
Thank you for always being transparent and thoughtful and direct. It’s so helpful for those struggling with the same things you are.
Not to mention my son doesn’t sleep more then 2-3 hr at a time. Thanks to your sleep training post I am starting sleep training tomorrow with a 2 week coach.
What formula does Riley drink?
I’m 9 months in and just found out I’m pregnant again, surprise! I haven’t had a period due to nursing so I don’t know how far along I am. I’d been struggling with low production for a month or so, and I already told myself I’d start to wean at 9 months. I told everyone I’d do 6 months too knowing I wanted to go 12 just in case I “failed” but now it’s hard to stop even though I had told myself I would. I find myself blaming the pregnancy and being upset about it. When I should be greatly i was able to nurse. I also have an entire freezer full of breast milk. But mentally it’s just hard to completely quit.
Ali, thank you for being so open about your breastfeeding journey and struggles. I could relate to so many things you said. I honestly think breastfeeding is one of the best and worst things I’ve ever done — best for my daughter and worst for my own health. But I also felt so much mom guilt that even at my worst times — suffering from bad post partum anxiety, barely sleeping day or night, losing so much weight from breastfeeding/pumping round the clock/exhaustion/stress that doctors told me I should stop — I just couldn’t stop. My daughter is now almost 28 months and I literally just stopped last week. Crazy. And, I really only stopped because I’m pregnant and my OB is worried about it leading to pre/term labor. She said I had to stop by 20 weeks at the latest and that’s exacy when I stopped — well one day late. Until last week, I was getting up many times a night to nurse my daughter and only getting a few hours of sleep. Every. Single. Night. For over TWO YEARS! This sounds nuts as I’m typing it. And, I’m not complaining. Just putting it out there. Now, I’m trying to decide if I will even breastfeed my new baby when the time comes. My entire family (having seen my health suffer) thinks I shouldn’t. I go back and forth. How did you mentally prepare yourself for formula? How did you stop being so hard on yourself? Thanks for your advice (and others who are reading this!)…and keep up the great work!!
I chose to exclusively formula feed before my son was born. There were multiple reasons for my decision. The ease of formula feeding, the fact my husband could feed and bond in the same way I did, he slept longer periods of time, and most importantly, because I simply wanted to. I had zero interest in breastfeeding. He is incredibly happy, healthy, and intelligent. I am a better mom to him for following what I felt was right for me.
Yessssss! Same here. I knew myself well enough to know that I could handle bottle feeding and I did, with both of my kids. Breast feeding was not a mountain I wanted to climb and my kids are healthy and smart and I feel zero shame for doing it the way I knew was right for me/ya.
Exact same here. My daughter is almost 4 and had formula exclusively from day one. She’s happy and healthy. I’m now pregnant with my second and have no plans to do anything other than exactly the same thing. Formula is not the devil. Everyone has to make their own choice for their own reasons.
thank you for posting this – these comments were good to see as I completely agree and feel no guilt about it even though others try to. i’m not a mom yet and have no interest in it for those reasone and more so it’s nice to see others choosing that path and not just taking it as a fall back
I also formula fed my 2 boys. I had no choice, we had our family through adoption. I remember every stranger asking me why I wasn’t breast feeding. It was difficult to answer as I felt I should not have to share my and my children’s personal story with a stranger
That was a very long time ago. 19 years and both my boys are healthy and strong and intelligent. In fact my pediatrician has commented that she only sees me at physicals! The pressure should not be that breastfeeding is the choice, raising happy well adjusted and loved children is !
Thank you for this post! I breast fed my daughter until a year, no formula and it was also a lot of stress. I am avoiding having another baby just because of it which is crazy! I put so much pressure on myself to make it to a year for no reason, she is as healthy as every child on the playground. Also very traumatized from pumping at work, it made it so hard to leave her I would feel so guilty. I never want to feel that guilty again, thank you so much for being so relatable.
Breastfeeding guilt is the worst. My LO had a hard time latching so I exclusively pumped for the first few months then started supplementing with formula in addition to pumping. Even though she was getting majority breast milk, I felt like a complete failure that I couldn’t get her to latch or at least give her 100% breast milk from a bottle. I also was worried that because she wasn’t feeding directly from my breast she wouldn’t be as connected to me as other babies who are breastfed are. It was a horrible feeling to think that. (Even though it wasn’t true!)
I continued pumping till 9 months when my supply was dropping so much it just didn’t seem worth it anymore. Even still, it was SO HARD to stop. I felt guilty every day until about a week or so after I was officially done. Then I felt free!!
We are going to start trying for #2 soon, and I just hope that knowing what I know now, I won’t put so much pressure on myself because it made me miserable. My daughter thrived on the breast milk/formula combo and we have such an amazing connection even though she didn’t spend much time drinking directly from the breast.
I appreciate this post so much, Ali, because I feel like first time moms are in such a haze that they are not able to see that it’s OKAY to breastfeed or NOT breastfeed – as long as your baby is fed, and you are feeling good about your choice!
You couldn’t have written a better post for me to read today. I have a 5 month old and went back when he was 4 months… I was stressing out so badly about my milk supply and saving enough that it was depressing me. I have friends who have made it to a year exclusively breastfeeding and I felt the pressure. Plus, I wanted to anyway. But, I decided to mix bottles with formula a few weeks ago and wow has it changed everything. My son is as happy as ever… I am less stressed and I can live life now still breastfeeding and pumping but never worrying I won’t have enough! I will never do that to myself again if I have a second, it was sucking the life out of me. Now, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I do still have guilt that he’s having some formula daily but I know all will be ok and comparing to my friends that did it without formula for a year isn’t healthy for me.
This means so much to read.
I had my first child in sept. My plan was to breastfeed until a year, formula was never the plan… ever!
My son would always do short feedings, and never enough to get the hind milk. He would feed more frequently because of that. Every 1 to 2 hours. I didn’t understand. It wasn’t until his 4 month checkup the Doctor said he’s behind in weight… how can this be!!!! He’s always on my breast. Down the road I soon found out he had silent aspiration. My breast feeding journey came to a quick end because he needed to have a thickner added to his milk . Pumping was now my reality. I found out quickly my supply was not that good to begin with because of his short feedings. I did everything I could to bring up my supply and even fell asleep from pumping because I was that tired. I realized I needed to give him some formula and I felt like I was giving him poison (how silly was that thought).
I do not have much support here because all our family is in Florida! My marriage was not in a good place because I was pumping all the time and just completely exhausted. I recently decided the make the decision to stop pumping and it has been such a huge load off my shoulders. I am a good mother whether he gets breast milk or formula. I would cry in the shower because my other friends could breast feed and pump so much. I finally stopped believing the lies.
My son is happy and healthy and that is all that matters.
Thank you for sharing!!!
Kelly your comment made me tear up, we also deal with silent aspiration and thicken liquids. My son is about to turn 2 and while each day can be heartbreaking (no ice cream, no popsicles, making sure NO bath water gets into his mouth, no swim lessons…) I then realize he is so happy and that’s what matters!
Breastfeeding guilt is REAL. I say this as I’m nursing my 5 month old. He is my second (I also have a daughter 2 weeks younger than Molly). I made it to 4.5 months with my daughter before I had to start supplementing with formula because I didn’t have enough pumped supply for a nighttime bottle (and i wanted her to sleep through the night!) the first time I mixed 2oz of formula into a bottle for her, i CRIIIIIED. Like hysterically. I felt like I was doing something wrong. Which is so crazy because I also to my core feel “fed is best.” But there is so much pressure to exclusively breastfeed because it’s whats “best” for them.
With my son who is now 5 months, I had to start supplementing with formula at about 3 weeks, which also KILLED me. He was a huge baby at birth, almost 10 pounds, and he was hungry ALL THE TIME. He never seemed satisfied. He wanted to nurse literally every hour. And with a two year old at home, I just couldn’t sit on the couch nursing all day long. I remember he was crying after a nursing session and I just had it; I grabbed a bottle of formula the doctor had given me and gave it to him straight, tears streaming down my face. But after that he was a MUCH happier baby. Which made me a happier mama.
I can relate to every emotion in this post 100%. Thank you for sharing your story!
Thank you for sharing youe experience! With my first, I was only able to breastfeed for a month. I was so pressured by my MIL. She kept saying how my baby was so little and how I was not feeding him enough, when in reality I was. I ended up giving him formula and that caused my supply to disappear. With my second, I exclusively breastfed for 6 months and then supplemented formula at 7 months. I am currently breastfeeding my 3rd and we are 9 months strong. I am feeding and constantly pumping wanting to make it to a year.
Absolutely love this blog! Im a breastfeeding mom to a 7 month old and I’m struggling to pump enough for her daycare bottles when I’m at work and of course panicking and feeling so much pressure to pump other times and piece bottles together. I also know fed is best but I’m obsessed with the idea of breastmilk only until a year, I didn’t even specifically want to breastfeed when I went to have her but the nurses hyped my up about her latch and my supply so here I am! Thank you so much for being so encouraging!
Give me that sentence… ‘my kids never got formula’
I’ll toss/burn it for you!
You’re a great Mother.
I love the way babies look into their mamas eyes when they’re being fed.
Have a nice day!
Thanks for sharing! Both my babies I had to supplement after only a few days of giving birth, they were both loosing weight at an alarming speed and they were both dehydrated.
With my daughter, I was never able to breastfeed after those first few bottles, she didnt want to latch.
With my son, I was able to breastfeed for two months and combine it with formula… I was my own worst ennemy, putting so much pressure on myself, power pumping after each feed, crying all the time because I felt like a horrible mom for not breastfeeding.
I just kept repeating to myself, fed is best. My babies are healty, we are happy, that’s all that matters!
Thanks for sharing your story Ali! You are my favorite mom-blogger! So honest and I can always relate to your stories xox
Love that you posted your journey and also in saying it varies for everyone and no one should judge whatever works best for each of us! I actually was one of the lucky ones in that I breastfed all three of mine, but different For each. First baby I got mastitis and had a cracked nipple but pushed through it, but then found myself pregnant again when she was 8 months old so weaned her to formula in a cup. Second babe easiest by far and nursed to 13 months, no formula, no bottles. 3rd babe to a year, exclusively breast milk but some in a bottle, when I was hospitalized and agonized about having to abruptly stop, but she took whole milk in a cup. I have grandbabies who have been exclusively nursed over a year, some who never had a bottle, some who were put on all formula at 6 months, and a great grandson who is still breastfed at 16 months. Whatever works, ladies! I personally loved breast feeding no matter the challenges, but we are all different! As long as baby and mother are happy and healthy!
Thank you for this. I have an almost 7 month old that I’m exclusively nursing and I have so much guilt about wanting to stop. I have no specific reason as it’s been going great and I feel selfish for wanting to stop. But I do. I had a tough time nursing my first and supplemented from 4-6 months and quit at 6 months. It was such a relief to quit and I promised I wouldn’t guilt myself this time. And here I am. Even though my 3 year old is healthy and happy I’m still afraid to quit. Your blog is such a great reminder to give myself some grace.
Thanks for being so open about your journey. My first is almost 8 months old. I’m still breastfeeding, but it’s a constant struggle. My goal is a year, but I’ve said all along I’d be proud to get to 6 months. We’ve had to supplement with formula since 3 months because I have “skim milk.” It was emotional at first but as soon as I saw how much better he slept being full, I knew we did the right thing and it took so much pressure off of me! The past couple months my supply seems to be way down, so I thought I’d be lucky to make it another month, but it’s suddenly improved so maybe we’ll make it to a year after all. But if not, that’s okay. I’ve said from day 1 how amazed I am that something that moms and babies were made to do is actually so incredibly challenging, so I’m proud that I’ve been able to do it at all!
I’ve been pregnant, nursing, or pregnant and nursing/supplementing for the last 6 years. I felt so much pressure with my first two to exclusively breastfeed and began feeling that way with our third- so much so- that it took me two weeks and four doctors appointments to “give in” and supplement bc our son had lost so much weight after birth. He was so tiny. I look back and think “what the heck was I thinking?!” The pressure I’d created from myself/friends/family/others opinions, truly was just nuts! Supplementing was the best thing for us, and possibly even life saving! It not only relieved this pressure for me, it let me enjoy my baby, get a little extra rest, and just watch him get all fat(he got sooo many rolls!) I continued to nurse/pump/supplement and we slowly figured out a rhythm that worked for us and we didn’t need to supplement anymore. I was totally fine if it didn’t work out and he got formula every single meal. I really think letting go of what I thought and had been told, was huge and has allowed us to continue nursing today(18months later). Does he totally need it now? No. But it’s just kind of kept going on and neither one of us mind. We are thinking about weaning this summer though:)
Oops. I didn’t mean to write a blog. But I guess ever since our experience, I’m extra passionate about “fed is best!” Thank you for sharing your journey with us each day! 😘
This was such refreshing and honest take on a mama’s breastfeeding journey! I’m a first time mama to a beautiful 2 month old. I’m breastfeeding, but have given her a bottle or two of formula when I finally broke. I’ve tried pumping…. but it’s exhausting to think about when I have the time to while also trying to sleep and feed myself let alone all of life’s other responsibilities. I’m also constantly dehydrated from breastfeeding. Can’t seem to keep up with the demand to keep myself hydrated which was impacting me physically and mentally. Still struggling with some guilt, but those supplemented formula feeds have saved me.
I’m so sad to read you felt such guilt over stopping breastfeeding. In our world of social media, it’s nothing but pressure and guilt on so many topics.
I had yeast infections in my breasts from having 5 bags of pennicillin during labor for group B strep. I was lucky to get an ounce after pumping for 15 minutes! I stopped at 12 weeks! My daughter lost interest and so did I! My sisters were like cows! Never one issue.
I am an older Mom, 40 with my little girl, so honestly I could have cared less about anyones opinion (I’m like that in pretty much every parenting issue!).
You are a WONDERFUL Mom!!! Now you can enjoy your little man less bleeding boobs!!
Thank you for sharing! I currently have a 2 month old and I mainly BF and pump for feeds, however I also do the odd supplement of formula as well. Both my 4 year old and newborn were born with tongue ties which damaged my nipples right off the hop quite significantly. With my first I remember feeling such guilt turning to formula and pumping bottles so I could heal, even though doing this was the only way I could in the end continue to breast feed. I learned after having my first that I should listen to the positive encouragement I would give to all my mom friends – like you said Fed is best and you are doing the best with what you are able to do.
Isnt it funny how we do not judge other moms on their choice with regards to breast feeding, yet we judge and put so much pressure on ourselves.
No matter the reason at the end of the day if you decide to breast feed or formula feed, all that matters is that your baby is fed and loved.
Thank you for writing this! I am a first time mom and my little girl is 11months now. I did the exact same thing: hoped for 1 year of breastfeeding but said 6 months out loud as my minimum goal. Haha. At about 10 months I started realizing my supply was decreasing too much to make it. I started supplementing and a lot of stress went out the window. My supply continued to dwindle, but once I ripped off that band-aid it was easier. I think fed is best, my mom formula fed me and my brother exclusively, and I STILL had that thought in my head that since I started breastfeeding and made that goal, I wanted to say my daughter never had formula. Ugh. All that stress for nothing. Your post helps because my husband and I want another baby and I think I can save myself some stress with baby #2 now. 🙂
I have 3 kids and never breastfed any of them. I will never forget the nurse I had with my first baby because she told me my daughter would never be smart because she was being fed formula. It’s laughable now because my daughter scores at the very top of her class each year, it wasn’t so funny at the time. Many of my mom friends have felt so much unnecessary guilt and pressure surrounding how they feed their babies. Caring for a newborn and making it through the first year is an accomplishment whether breastfed or formula fed. I’m glad you put less pressure on yourself the second time around. With each child comes more confidence and it’s a freeing feeling.
I was told the same thing with my second baby. I laughed because my firstborn, who was 6 when his sister was born, was top of his class and testing off the charts. He was also formula fed. I was able to feed my babies breast milk for the first month of their lives but the stress of it affected the quality and both my babies had tummy problems. When I went exclusive to formula, everything cleared up. The stress to BF is overwhelming and it shouldn’t be like this.
This was a great read for me especially as a mom of two little kids. My first is going to be three in June and he never liked so I exclusively pumped for 10 1/2 months and then felt so much stress and guilt stopping but it became so hard to continue up my supply at work and I felt such guilt giving him formula for a month and a half as he would’ve been one. The guilt was worse once he had allergies with the formula and it took a while to finally find the right one. The second time around I tried Yours but we were having issues with Watch again so now here I am almost 4 months in exclusively pumping again and your blog resonated so much with me as I have all of those feelings as well and I keep telling myself that I’ll make it to six months this time around and then the girls Sultan that I do more for one than the other. Mom guilt is the worst thanks for sharing your story it helps to not feel so alone. yours but we were having issues with Watch again so now here I am almost 4 months in exclusively pumping again and your blog resonated so much with me as I have all of those feelings as well and I keep telling myself that I’ll make it to six months this time around and then the mom guilt sits in that I do more for one than the other. Mom guilt is the worst thanks for sharing your story it helps to not feel so alone. I also agree that that is best but it’s amazing how incredibly guilty I feel like the thought of wanting to stop because of how time-consuming it is especially because it’s for my own child.
Oh goodness, your recount of Molly with the late night pumpings and not wanting to waste a single ounce of milk hits a little too close to home! I am a new mom and have been breastfeeding/pumping for almost 7 months, but my supply has been struggling through the many colds I have acquired since my son started daycare. Each time I get sick, it plummets, I stress, I cry, I’m up at all hours trying to pump to rebuild my supply and make sure he has enough for daycare the next day. Why are we so hard on ourselves?! Fortunately, I am healthy right now and have built my supply back to normal, but it is emotionally exhausting; I accidentally knocked over a bottle with no lid the other day and literally cried over spilled milk!! Thanks for sharing your story, it’s nice to hear about other women going through the same struggles, makes you feel a little less alone. I’m hoping I can let go of some of that guilt and be more open to the possibilities of reducing that stress.
I agree with you that fed is best. It is none of my business how another woman chooses to feed her baby. I exclusively breastfed my daughter for 22 months. My goal was a year and she just wouldn’t wean. It is CRAZY to me how much women judge other women. We judge moms for formula feeding. We judge for a mom not wanting to try to breastfeed. We judge moms for breastfeeding past one. We just moms for nursing their baby in public. It’s insane. Can’t we all just be nice and support each other and our differences? 🙂
I’m glad you said this because, yes, you get shamed for not breastfeeding and then for breastfeeding too long…or in my case, don’t breastfeed the second because what about your first child?? Ugh. My second child, born just 17 months after his sister, was my easiest to nurse, the best nurser, and I used to hold my toddler beside me while I nursed him. People told me I couldn’t give my toddler all her attention if I breastfed. What????? Breastfeeding gave me MORE time for her. Then, I nursed him past a year….horrors. My granddaughter is going through this now, as she is still breastfeeding her little boy, who is 16 months. You just can’t win, I guess.
I can do relate. My daughter is now almost 8 years old and I can feel the guilt and agony over when to stop breastfeeding or pumping. I had to exclusively pump her whole first year. And there were sooooo many times my supply couldn’t keep up so we were also supplementing with formula. I wanted to stop but I couldn’t. Once she was a year old I finally stopped with no guilt. Funny thing is she’s my only child and I still have the pump. The only big baby item I can’t let go of. Moral of this is moms stop when you are ready.
Thank you for sharing this! I am going through my own mom guilt right now as I try stopping. My baby was in the NICU for a week so we struggled with breastfeeding initially and I always had to supplement. At 3 months I decided to exclusively pump and have been doing that ever since. We had to switch to a special formula due to a milk protein intolerance and my baby just didn’t seem to want to take it so I put more pressure on myself. I had a goal of 1 year and I met that goal in February. Around that time my supply really dropped due to stress but my baby began taking the formula without issue! At that point I gave myself permission to start the process of stopping. I’m down to 2 pumps a day and only make about 6 oz if that. We are now weaning to cows milk too. And still I find it hard to stop completely even though I’m so over pumping. I’m giving myself to the end of the month. And trying to remember to be kind to myself through all of this. I really appreciated hearing your experience.
I just had my third baby 2 months ago. My first daughter I breastfed for 15 months, she weaned cold turkey when I got pregnant. I had my second daughter and I breastfed her for 2.5 years (and the last 5 months I was pregnant again). She really didn’t want to give it up! She was hard to wean. My boy is here and he is nursing. I don’t really have a goal I guess? I’ll nurse him until he wants to wean. That’s one thing, not ever nursing mother asks themselves, “when should I stop?” Anyway, I have loved breasfeeding, but I also work full-time and I have pumped for over 2 years at work 🙁 I really don’t like pumping!! I give major props to moms who exclusively pump! It takes some major dedication. Congrats on your journey, you did a great job Ali!
My daughter is 11 months old, and I’m struggling right now to make the decision to fully stop nursing (I nurse morning and night, and she gets formula during the day). Thanks for sharing!
First off, thank you so much for sharing! I just had my second and can relate so much to your journey with molly and Riley. With my daughter I was the same in that I wanted to make it to 1 year because I felt like a failure if I didn’t do what was “best” for my daughter. We made it to the year and man was it tough! Now I have my second and my daughter is 2.5. Im already feeling guilty that I miss time with my daughter to feed my son and can also feel the guilt of resenting breastfeeding my son. Mom guilt is quite possibly the hardest part of motherhood! Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves!!?? Thank you for sharing your journey and allowing us to see that all mothers struggle with the same issues we do.
You asked the other day who my favorite mom was to follow. It’s you!
1. Your daughter reminds me so much of mine
2. You keep things real and let us truly see the ups and downs of motherhood.
Wow what a journey and thank you so much for sharing this!
I decided to only formula feed before my daughter was born. Breastfeeding was not something I wanted to do at all. I think I was extremely afraid of post pardum depression and really thought breastfeeding would put me into it. Crazy I know, but that’s just how I felt. I loved formula feeding her though it was easy, my husband was able to feed her or any family member was. We always had visitors over and people loved to feed her. She slept through the night after 2 months old and has been a great sleeper ever since. She is also a very well fed healthy little girl. She actually never got sick until she started at daycare around 13 months old. Not sure if that’s related at all but that’s just our story 🙂
I’m expecting my 2nd child any day now and actually debated trying to breast feed this time – but I’ve made the decision to stick to formula feeding again. It worked wonderfully the first time and if we can stick to the same routine we had with our daughter that would be amazing!
THANK YOU!! Thank you for being so honest and open and vulnerable with this post. I can 100% whole heartedly relate to everything that you have written about.
I am a first time mom to my 3 month old son and have been struggling with my breastfeeding journey. Between him not latching properly, to the pain (because he was not latching properly), to the feeling of lonliness during those early morning and late night feedings. I told myself before he was born that I was going to breastfeed him for a year and like you I keep telling people 6 months just incase I come up short.
Mom guilt is a real thing! Logically we all know that fed is best but there is (or atleast I feel like there is) SO much pressure to continue breastfeeding once you have started. I keep telling myself that I must continue breastfeeding because it has been the only part of my “birth-plan” that didn’t go to complete sh*t during labor. I have contemplated stopping and just pump and even stopping completely and supplement with formula. But then the guilt gets to me and I can’t bring myself to stop. So we are taking it day by day and feed by feed.
As mothers we want nothing more than to give our children the best and to make sure that they are happy and healthy. And while some will say that breastfeeding is the best thing for them. I think making sure that you- the mom- are happy and healthy will make it easier for you to take care of your family.
So thank you again for writing this.
I am 10 months in with my first baby, a girl! I am breastfeeding still and very happy with how it’s going! The nurses at the hospital I gave birth in were very helpful and set me up on a path to success! I’ve thankfully never had a supply issue but she is starting to bite-which stinks! I love our close time together and the bond I feel with her during her feedings! We struggled to conceive her and had to do 4 IUI treatments to finally get pregnant and I try not to take any minute of it for granted because who knows if we will get another chance with another baby! Hopefully we do-I absolutely love having our sweet girl! Thank you for sharing your stories! Breastfeeding is not easy at all. My daughter cluster fed for almost 5 months every night for at least 2-3 hours before bed, I can’t imagine how hard that would be with an older child! I’m hoping to get to a year too, but this post made me feel better if it does not happen! Thanks so much 🙂
This was super hard to read because I had the same pain and the same guilt. With my first born, it never even occurred to me that I could stop and switch to formula. Through all of my struggling, tears, and pain, no one even suggested it! He was tongue tied and my nips wouldn’t pop out far enough and both of us just struggled. The insides of my toes were raw because I would rub them together so hard to distract myself from the pain. It’s crazy what we do out of guilt!
Thanks for sharing your story. I have a 9 week old and within those 9 weeks, I have struggled with breastfeeding, but not because I wasn’t producing, because I was producing too much, because I didn’t realize that pumping so often would confuse my body. My son had bad gas/digestion from about 2-6/7 weeks and I was convinced it was because my supply was too much so he would take in too much air during feeds… I switched to bottles only, changed my diet, convinced myself he needed to go to formula because my milk was the problem… you name it, I thought of it. Eventually I met with a lactation consultant and she helped me realize I need my milk supply to regulate, which it now has. however, I am feeling like I’m constantly attached to the baby and not able to leave (this thought also causes me guilt because I’m so lucky), so we’ve re-introduced bottles and I’m pumping again. I’m not sure how long this will last, but I have myself 6 months and if I need to supplement with formula, so be it. But I know it’s not easy when that time comes so I really appreciate your post.
Fed is best.
I like you was hard on myself with breastfeeding as well but my oldest actually preferred being bottle fed versus being nursed so I stopped at 7 months with her & then supplemented & due to going back to work it made it hard to continue. When I had my second baby, I was aiming to go much longer but having two babies under 3 was tough on me, it took a while for my milk to also come in so I introduced her to formula fairly early which made me so disappointed in myself and I was so hard on myself over it but like you I realized it’s ok if we supplement & I can still b/f which I did until 7 months as well. I stopped completely because I went back to work & my milk was going down from not being able to pump or nurse as often so it still makes me sad that I introduced her to formula so early then I anticipated but I’ve learned to come to terms with it and realize that not everything goes as planned.
I do hate the mom shamers that make you feel bad or make you feel like your giving your child poison if you formula feed them! Even the moms who think because your breaths are smal that you don’t have enough milk or your baby is not getting enough?!
Second time around I didn’t let that stuff get to me, my ob even praised me for making it for as far as I did and that it was OK to formula feed. Every moms b/f journey is different and that’s ok! Thx for sharing your story, made me realize we are not all alone!
I can relate so much to this post! I have a two year old girl and a 10 month old boy- born a few days after Riley. With my daughter, I exclusively breastfed for the first year. She refused to drink out of a bottle so I couldn’t leave her for longer than 3 hours at a time for the first 9 months. It was HARD!
When my son was born, I was determined to get him to drink out of a bottle from the beginning. I started out exclusively breastfeeding and occasionally gave him a bottle of breast milk. When he started crawling around 6 months, it became so difficult to get him to sit still and focus on breastfeeding! My mom guilt was strong but I began supplementing with formula around that time. I was so ashamed, I didn’t even tell my friends. He stopped nursing altogether around 9-10 months.
I was bummed to not make it to a year, but I know I gave it a good try and he’s fed and happy! I try to remind myself of that! Being a mom is hard, and we’re our own worst critics.
Thank you for being real and honest and showing that I’m not alone!
I breastfed my daughter for 2.5 years. Good lord that sounds insane as I type that out. But I actually got a lot of flack/guilt for that as well. People would definitely tell me I was doing it too long etc. But my husband and I are only having one child so I just went for it as long as my daughter and I felt like it. I was so lucky to have zero issues breastfeeding and I know how lucky that makes me. And let me tell you, no one will ever ask her on her college application how long she was breastfed for. We need to stop putting pressure on ourselves and do what feels right! Happy mama, happy baby. You did amazing. We’re all doing amazing!
I’m struggling right now. I breastfed both my boys until 15 months. Now I have my sweet little girl who’s 5 months old and my supply has dropped along with my sanity. I had a huge supply at the beginning so I pumped and froze a ton but now we are using at least one frozen bag a day and it’s dwindling quick! I’ve done all the research to find the very best formula and I even ordered it. It’s sitting on my counter right now and I have so much guilt that I can’t even open it.
The struggle is real!!
Crystal, would you mind sharing which formula you decided on? That is what is overwhelming me right now!
Ugh breastfeeding is so much harder than anyone could ever know until you do it yourself. My first is a month younger than Molly and was born at 36 weeks. We could not get a good latch and my nipples would bleed and scab over. Finally once we got that figured out I got mastitis for the first time (wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy). Then my daughter was diagnosed with a dairy/soy protein intolerance at 8 weeks old, which meant I had to eliminate all dairy and soy from my diet to keep breastfeeding her. After that I ended up with another case of mastitis and one case of thrush. I stubbornly breastfed my daughter exclusively for 15 months before throwing in the towel and giving her the very expensive hypoallergenic formula. Luckily by 18 months she outgrew her intolerances and we could stop formula then. I had my second daughter in January and assumed things would be so much easier now that I was experienced at breastfeeding. WRONG! I had a traumatic birth that left me with injuries I needed to do multiple kinds of therapy to heal (while looking after a toddler and newborn) My nipples were back to cracked, bleeding, and blistered at the start. Battled one round of thrush before finding out this one also has a cows milk/soy protein intolerance so back to limiting my diet- and yet I still stubbornly EBF my daughter! I understand the pressure you felt to BF and the sacrifices us Moms make to do so!
New follower alert! It’s been quite a while since I breast fed…my youngest is six! With our first baby I was so confused why she never slept. I mean she NEVER SLEPT. I was up every hour feeding, crying, stressing because she seemed so miserable. No one ever suggested to me (a new mom who knew nothing) that I might not be producing enough milk for her. Once I discovered this on my own I never felt guilt at all! There wasn’t the pressure to breast feed back then as there is now though which is probably why I never felt the guilt from other moms. But the truth was I wasn’t providing what she needed. I remember the first formula bottle we fed her and she chugged 4 ounces. I refilled it and she chugged another 4 ounces. I quit nursing and never looked back. My biggest guilt came from knowing she wasn’t getting what she needed for months, not the fact that it wasn’t my body not providing it. She is now a healthy, smart, outgoing, funny 11 year old. We have two more kids and one of them nursed for two months and the third baby nursed for about three before we had to switch to formula for them.
Moms need to start supporting each other even if it doesn’t fit into the “perfect mom” persona. My baby started sleeping better and was so much happier having a full tummy on formula then sucking a dry nipple. We do the best we can right?!? And that has to be enough.
You’re doing great and are a wonderful mom!
I loved reading your post. You’re right, there is so much pressure to breastfeed. I tried with all three of my boys and it just didn’t work. I felt shame. But guess what…they all turn out the same! They are 8, 6 and 3. My formula fed kids are just as healthy as their friends who were breastfed!
Thank you for sharing your story! I felt forced and guilted into supplementing early by our doctor (and literally everyone else). My baby is nine months old and she’s a peanut! Because my husband and I are naturally tall, bigger humans, everyone just assumed our daughter would be, too. She’s just a little nugget. A healthy, happy, thriving little nugget, meeting all her milestones early. I still have guilt about supplementing and now I’m starting the guilt of when to stop. You’ve been so candid about your postpartum body struggles, do you feel that once you stopped nursing that your body changed again? I know, I feel selfish worrying about what my body will do once I stop. I feel as though I’m one of the “unlucky” nursing moms whose body held onto weight while nursing vs losing it. Just curious if you’ve seen a change in our own journey. Thanks again for always being so real!
This is 🙌🏻 I just had my first little one and the amount of pressure I was putting on myself to breastfeed was unreal. I was only 1-2 weeks out and feeling so anxious and sad about the whole experience. I was doubting my ability to be a good mom and all I wanted was to just enjoy my little one as much as possible. I made the decision to exclusively use formula within the past day or two and I already feel such a sense of relief. She also seems happy and is eating and sleeping so much better. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. It so great to see someone who is real and willing to share their story.
Just wanted to say thank you for being so open and honest about your journey. There is so much pressure placed on us as moms to make all of the best decisions for our babies. I still feel guilty about stopping breastfeeding my son. And he’s almost 7!! And the guilt is lingering from my daughter. She’s 2.5. I fed them both for about 2 months and then we switched to formula. They are both happy and healthy. That’s what I have to keep reminding myself. 🙂
I’m sure I will get shamed but I didn’t even attempt to breastfeed either one of my children. I had no desire and knew it wouldn’t be right for my family. They only had formula and they are happy, healthy, and very connected to me. It didn’t effect that mother/son bond. I never understand why moms feel so much pressure to breastfeed. So I am 100% “fed is best”!
Same! I have zero guilt and I did have a few people question me but with it being my body, my child, they really don’t have a say!
Hi Ali. Love your story! Gives me hope for my future. I’m 5 months into breastfeeding. The first month was such a challenge. Thank God for my husband he has helped me in so much. About two months, I was so exhausted one night. My husband and I decided to get her a formula bottle at bedtime. That night she slept 8 hrs. Girl! I was so excited! So every night she get an formula bottle. She does great during the night, she may wake up once to nurse but not every night. It’s crazy the guilt we feel. Thankful for my 5 months so far. Praying for a year Only God knows. Love your stories!
Thank you for this post Ali! It’s so similar to my journey’s breastfeeding my babies. My first nursed for 18 mo until I weaned her because I was pregnant with my 2nd baby. Like you with Molly, we just nursed all the time bc I stayed at home with her and had the time. Totally different with 2nd baby bc they totally do get distracted by the older sibling and it’s hard to get good feedings in. My supply tanked and I now use formula for him which I swore I’d never ever do. It’s super hard to accept the “failure” of not nursing much anymore but also my baby and I are so much happier now bc he’s fully fed and I’m way less stressed. You are a rockstar mama and I absolutely love following you and how real you are!
My plan was to breastfeed our twins but my body decided to develop severe pre-eclampsia causing me to be hospitalized for a total of 4 weeks. I had a c-section scheduled for 36 weeks but at 35 weeks and 2 days I had an emergency c-section to deliver our stillborn son. His sister was and still is healthy. Due to all my health conditions leading up to and after delivery my body didn’t produce any milk. I tried to nurse and I tried to pump but grief and the state of my condition wouldn’t allow it. Yes, I was disappointed but I knew I had weeks of my own recovery to deal with along with nurturing my premature baby girl back to health. My heart told me I had to do something for my girl so when it came time to introduce baby food I went all in on making my own. It was my version of breastfeeding.
There is nothing to feel guilty about! Every Mother is different. I had trouble breastfeeding my first child. I barely had any milk and it happens sometimes. I didn’t think twice about it. His nutrition is what came first. I did it again with my second and had no issues. I did it as long as I could at the time. The end. You do what works for you
You go momma fed is best! I’m coming up on 5 months exclusively breastfeeding feeding and man oh man it’s making me crazy! It’s so stressful. I’m one who doesn’t like the feed in public or in front of others so when out and about I hide to feed. My little guy is currently teething and refusing to eat other than after he wakes from a nap and it’s taking a toll on my supply. We try bottle feeding but no way will he take one and we have tried 4-5 brands so far. Formula comes to my mind all the time. I try so hard to push through! Thanks so much for posting this.
My first breastfed for a year while being supplemented with formula and then decided on his own shortly after I got pregnant with number two that he was done. I was sad that he no longer wanted to breastfeed but it also made it easier so I didn’t have to make the decision to stop. Now my second baby is 13 months into breastfeeding and I don’t know how to stop! He is such a mommas boy and I love the snuggles that come with but I really need to stop soon so that I can go on vacations this summer without the worry of pumping and all that! I wish he would stop on his own like my first! Mom guilt is so real no matter the situation.
I can so relate to this post! I have an 8 month old who I breastfeed and also supplement with formula. At first I was so stuck on “exclusively” breast feeding that I was always stressed! Once I finally let it go and gave him a little formula my stress was eased and my supply actually went up! Hoping to make it to a year but definitely know that we will be ok if we don’t. Thank you for sharing your story!
My breast feeding journey this time sounds so similar to yours! This is my 3rd. My first I went until 10 or 11 months, my second about 14 months, and this time she is almost 11 months. Right now I’m breast feeding morning, right before bed, and then at night when she wakes up. My first one was a great nurser until 9 months when she just became not that interested and would try to flip all around so I decided to wean without much guilt because I felt it was her decision. My second also was totally Day weaned by a year but was comfort nursing at night so I decided to weans and sleep train for everyone’s sanity😂. My 3rd has been so hard to nurse for the same reason you mentioned, 2 other kids running around being loud is so distracting, and she will not just be still and it’s so painful! I’ve also gotten so many clogs this time around which is also incredibly painful. And I kept saying I was just going to start pumping for her during the day and kept hanging on as you mentioned. I don’t know why!! Mom guilt for sure! A couple weeks ago she bit me so hard she drew blood and holy cow, ow!! I ended up getting mastitis the following week (which apparently the bite could’ve been a factor because it can let in bacteria when you have an open open cut), and that was terrible. It’s definitely time to start weaning, I do it gradually to help with engorgement, but I’m so afraid of getting more clogs or mastitis again so I’m just torturing myself 🙈. Sorry this sounds kind of rambly, it’s nice to hear someone else is having similar problems! (Side note: I didn’t supplement because she eats solids so well during the day that I know she’s eating enough and getting plenty of nutrients that way so I’m ok with her just getting the milk morning and night, that’s not to say that’s a bad decision whatsoever, it just worked out for me that way.)
I feel you! There is so much shame around feeding babies… and it is so unnecessary! I exclusively pumped for both my kids (same ages as yours- daughter is 2.5 and son is now 10 months) and I felt shame about pumping rather than directly breastfeeding, which is silly. My kids still got the same breastmilk, but some moms made me feel bad about “missing the connection” with my kids. Through pumping, I was able to feed my kids, my best friend’s baby (who was adopted at the same time my daughter was born), and countless other children that I donated extra milk to. Yet, despite all the good that I was doing, I felt like I couldn’t talk about it because of the stigma of “exclusively pumping.” I would constantly stress out if someone took a picture and you could see the bottle in the background because I didn’t want to be shamed for bottle feeding. Now that my youngest is almost 1 and almost done with bottles, I’m able to recognize that this is ridiculous and be proud of my accomplishments. I just wish the discussion around feeding babies could be focused more on the health of the entire family (especially mom’s sanity) and less on whether breastmilk or formula is better.
PS: I love that picture of your breast feeding in your dress!!!! My kids have all been such messy eaters, they definitely would’ve gotten milk on my dress! Haha!
So much of your experience, I experienced. With my first daughter – she destroyed my nipples and I finally had to exclusively pump- and I felt so much shame about it. I hated it, but I did it because I didn’t want to give into the “formula” solution and feel like I failed. I was so envious of women around me breast feeding with ease. My beat friend used to breast feed her baby in her ergo as we would go on walks and I would die of envy. Why was it so hard for me? It was the first time where I felt like trying harder didn’t matter-‘I just wasn’t going to be able to do it 🙁 and on top of that, I had a similar experience where a friends husband said to me once “ their daughter never had an ounce of formula” and I felt the same. I never recovered from that. 3 kids later, I’ve had a different journey with each. Each is healthy and thriving and I tell anyone I can about what to expect with breast feeding because I was not prepared.
I have a one year old and I had such a hard journey. I had an over supply and over active let down. He would choke every time he latched becusse it came out so fast. Then he would bite down to stop it and I would bleed and bleed. I saw lactation consultants multiple times per week. And he was allergic to dairy, soy and wheat. So I cut all of these out of my diet. It was so so hard. I breakfast until about 3 months, the exclusively pumped for 2 more. And then we switched to formula. It was so hard and really upset me, def more than it should have. He is now 13 months and happy, healthy, sweeetest little boy.
Ali, thank you so much for this post! When I was pregnant and people asked if I was planning to nurse (side note-why is this anyone’s business?!), I always told people that was my intention, and didn’t think much else of it. I also told myself if I tried and it didn’t work out I would not care. My daughter was a surprise breech C-section so my recovery was more than expected, and neither me or my daughter could get in a comfortable position for her to nurse. When she lost 10 ounces before leaving the hospital I told the nurses that I didn’t want her to starve and to please give her formula. I felt very defeated but also wasn’t yet too worried about us figuring it out. I am not sure why/when but all of a sudden I became determined to give my daughter only breast milk and that led to my decision to exclusively pump. I pumped 7-8 times a day for almost 4 months. I got up in the middle of the night even though she started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, and came back to work full time when she was 12 weeks. Now at 8 months I am pumping 4 times a day and only getting enough for about 2 bottles. I fought to not let her have any formula until the day after she turned seven months (WHY?!). The self imposed guilt about breastfeeding is the worst I have ever felt, thanks for starting this conversation :).
I have to add my sweet Remi was as perfect the day she had formula, as the day she had my breast milk.
First breastfed for 14 months..second I am exclusively breastfeeding 8 months so far. I am thinking about pumping and bottle feeding to see if it helps him sleep at night but I don’t really want to pump so idk what to do?!
Thanks for sharing! You did amazing. I too stopped bf at 10 months because of a nasty case of mastitis, and just an all around desire to be done. I felt and still do feel twinges of guilt, but should really be so proud! There’s so much pressure to exclusively bf- I remember even feeling ashamed for bringing pumped bottles in public because I wasn’t comfortable bf where people could poke around! So ridiculous… Fed is best! Thanks again for sharing your story!
I can so relate to this. With my first I was planning to breastfeed for a year and was so unprepared for how difficult it was going to be. I overproduced and ended up getting mastitis twice within the first six weeks. It didn’t help that my mother had not breastfed and knew I was struggling so badly and kept suggesting I stop… I, like you, had told people a year and I’d be damned if I gave up after a month! After I finally got “the hang” of it (I don’t know if I can even call it that because I feel like it never got easy), I went back to work and had to make periodic multiple day business trips. I remember pumping in airport bathrooms and airplane bathrooms praying noone else would need to actually use the bathroom on the plane since often times it was small planes with only one bathroom!!! I struggled badly having to pump for more than a day at a time and would end up in so much pain. Then my flights home would always get delayed or cancelled and I would go in a bathroom stall and cry and cry because I just wanted to get my baby on the boob for some actual relief! One time after a cancelled flight I ended up driving the last 6 hours home from Laguardia after I landed at 1AM! Around 8-9 months I finally decided to start to incorporate formula, which was helpful because my supply had been dropping the more solids my daughter was eating. I still didn’t feel myself because I felt too uncomfortable in my chest to exercise, and I felt like I looked sloppy because I could only wear my comfy functional nursing bras/tanks. And God forbid my poor husband tried to get sexual and touch my boobs! Ouch! When I finally decided to switch totally to formula and stopped nursing I was SO HAPPY!!! I never looked back and never had any sad feelings about weaning. My daughter helped as she seemed to notice no difference when I stopped giving her the breast. She did great with formula and never turned into a chunky formula baby like I had feared so bad (crazy I know! NoT that I had an issue with a chunky baby but I wanted her to be however God intended her and I didn’t want formula to change that!). Now a couple years later I’ve got a 5 week old baby, again on my second bout with mastitis since she was born, and already looking forward to the day I can stop breastfeeding… I am trying to focus on the positives but man it is hard!!! I have set much more realistic standards for myself and am just going to play this one by ear and listen to my body – maybe I’ll stop after we get out of cold season, maybe I’ll stop once she starts sleeping through the night, maybe I’ll stop once she starts solids – but I am still feeling guilty at the consideration of stopping! Thank you for sharing your story and for providing a space for me to share my story! I honestly feel its one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life and I am so proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished even if it’s not as much as what others can do! I am so jealous of the moms that have an easy time with it.
Thanks for sharing Molly! I have a 3 month old and I have been exclusively pumping for his whole life. He just wouldn’t latch but it’s so engrained in me that breastmilk is the best option if possible and so I keep pumping all day everyday and worrying about how long I can keep it up. I think its just pure mother instincts to want to do what is “best.” It is incredibly hard to make these choices though but you sharing does help me feel like I’m not alone.
Thank you thank you thank you for this post! I needed to hear this when I didn’t produce enough for my now 18 month old and had to introduce formula. I needed to hear I again as I’m now a mom to a 2 mo old and 18 mo and life is crazy with 2 under 2 and breastfeeding for what seems like every hour out of the day is so hard and seems like I’m neglecting my very adventurous toddler. So so much guilt for everything and anything all day long. Love seeing your stories and reading your blog and feeling like other mamas out there get it!
Charlotte is just over 6 months old. I exclusively breastfed her until she was 2 months old and we discovered that she didn’t gain any weight in that month. Long story short, we discovered that the birth control I had started completely depleted my supply. So we had to switch her to formula immediately, which didn’t give us much time to come to terms with that. I spent over a month getting my supply back to ‘normal’ and because I was so terrified of her not gaining weight again, I chose to exclusively pump from there on out. I have come to terms with the formula, and it’s a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that I don’t have to make enough to feed her each day. Daily Charlie gets half breast milk and half formula and because of this, I have over 700+ oz. stored away in the freezer for when I decide I’m done pumping. Now I just need to come to terms with the fact that I made it to our goal of 6 months and that I can stop pumping without any guilt! Easier said than done, but I’ll get there eventually!
Thank you for sharing your story. Being a mom is not always easy. Your guilt can definitely get the best of you some times. I formula fed my daughter from day one. I felt like so many people judged me.i had my plan from day one and I stuck with it. I was happy and so was my baby girl. My husband was able to feed her which he enjoyed doing too. She is 19 months old now and is happy and healthy:)
You are amazing! I have a feeling that little girl thinks so, too. 🙂
I breastfed my first until she was a year, but we started supplementing with formula when she was 4.5 months (and I felt like such a failure!) and I switched to exclusively pumping around 8-9 months (when she started biting, too). It’s such a funny mind game we play with ourselves. I’m due with my second in two weeks, and I’ve promised myself I’m going to go easier on myself instead of driving myself crazy trying to meet some artificial goal. Thank you for being so open and honest about your journey! It’s so helpful to read other people’s stories.
I breastfed my son for 14 months. My goal was to make it to one year, but we discovered he had a dairy allergy and struggled to find a “milk” alternative for him to drink. I had to supplement him right after he was born because he was jaundiced and my milk hadn’t come in yet. I felt so much guilt over that! I’m a NICU nurse, so I KNEW that fed is best and he needed the hydration to help flush the bilirubin out of his system, but I was absolutely devastated when my milk didn’t come in soon enough. I felt like my body had failed me – and him. It’s amazing the things that postpartum hormones make you think. And mom guilt is so real!
Thank you for being so open and honest about your motherhood journey. I have followed you since your Bachelorette days and I just love you! My son is about the same age as Molly, and I am about 16 weeks pregnant with my second. I have loved seeing your posts about becoming a mommy of two – I love that you share your struggles and don’t try to sugarcoat things. So thank you for being a real and positive light in a world full of people putting their “best” face forward for Instragram and hiding their struggles. As a less-than-perfect mom, I need more of the real-ness and less of the “perfect.”
Oh mylanta! This post hit home for me! I am a first time momma and my son is almost 9 months old. I breastfed exclusivly till 3 months when I went back to work. I then pumped and he got a lot of bottles and some breastfeeding. At 5 months my supply was dipping and I tried literally everything to get it back and nothing helped. I too felt like a failure supplementing with formula and I do was seeing issues and stress in my home life with his dad. I started slowly weening as my supply continued to dip and by 8 months he’s on straight formula! Now going through it I do agree fed it best! And to me I feel breast milk I gold…but my son seeing his momma stressed and in tears isn’t heathy for him either! Now he has a full belly, a happy momma and life is grand! FED is best! Thank you for being so raw about your journey!
Thank you so much for normalizing the struggle that is breastfeeding. Everyone thinks it’s so easy and natural, and it can be for some, but with it comes a lot of pressure and anxiety (mostly societal, but also personal). I breastfed my twins for 14 months, but I recall the STRUGGLE that was the first few months. I constantly questioned whether they were getting enough, whether formula would make my chaotic life just a little easier. I once tried to give them some formula – they of course hated it. You can’t just cold turkey into it (duh, me). So I pushed through. Thankfully, it all kind of worked itself out, but there was always that nagging feeling in the back of my mind. I think as moms, we need to give ourselves grace and forgive ourselves for the irrational things that are going through our mind in the beginning of our journey. I WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with your outlook – FED is always best. Babies need love and comfort and food, in any form, and if you’re providing that as a mom, then you are a RESOUNDING SUCCESS!! Now for my 3rd baby, I’m giving myself the time and grace to figure things out and determine what is best for me and for him. So far so good. Thank you so much for your blog and your stories on IG – they are wonderfully real and honest. Plus, Riley and Molly’s endless smiles are infectious. Good job, momma! Here’s to supporting each other AT ALL TIMES.
Thank you for sharing!! I breastfeed my son for 12 and a half months and pumped while at work so he could have bottles for daycare. I went back to work after 12 weeks so you can say I felt like a bag lady for about 9 months going to and from work 5 days a week! Ha! I’m currently breastfeeding my 8 week old and I’m having mixed emotions about completing a full year. It’s challenging at times because I have a toddler, it’s exhausting having to pump multiple times a day at work, there’s worry about supply fluctuating, and I also feel guilty if I don’t treat my kids the same. I struggle with thinking that things need to be equal so if my first born only had breast milk for a year then shouldn’t my second? Ugh, mom gilt! I’m just going to take it day by day when I return to work in 4 weeks.
I really wanted to nurse but my daughter wouldn’t latch properly so I started pumping while still trying to nurse. I saw multiple lactation consultants and used a nipple shield but nursing was mostly frustrating for both my daughter and I so after a month I switched to exclusively pumping, which I found very hard at first (being hooked up to the pump 7 times a day), and supplemented a bit as I didn’t make enough milk. As time went on I was able to increase my supply, stop supplementing and drop a pump every couple months. When my daughter was six months old I decided to re-introduce formula so I could freeze a little milk every day. Now as she’s almost 10 months old I’m ready to hang up the pump and I have enough in the freezer so she can get half breastmilk and half formula every day until she’s one. I know fed is best but the guilt at the beginning about introducing formula killed me and I wish I hadn’t let it. I wish we weren’t so hard on ourselves as mothers. I’m also so proud of pumping for this long but am ready to be done in a day or two.
LOVE this post & you’re so authentic & relatable ❤ I have a 2.5 yr old and almost 9 month old. Breastfed/pumped for a year with my 1st – I was lucky! I am still breastfeeding/pumping with my 2nd, but I have had mastitis 4x & I just can’t handle if I get it again. I have the WORST mom guilt about formula…you put this to rest – thank you 💕 Thank for sharing & being so honest. Mamas need to lift each other up & cheer one another on 🙌❤
Ali – I feel the EXACT same way that you did. 100%. Can you share a formula recommendation that you like? Please please please! There are so many. *XO*
OH MY GOD that was painful to read. Talk about beating a topic to death. Too much. Just, too much.
I love this post! I just had my first baby a month ago, and all throughout my pregnancy, I was so sure I was going to breastfeed. My husband and I took a breastfeeding class, and the words that keep running through my head is the teacher saying “anyone who truly wants to breastfeed, will”. I can’t get it out of my head, and it’s so frustrating. My daughter was having trouble gaining weight at first, so for the past week I’ve been supplementing with formula. She also has a bad latch, so I’ve been exclusively pumping. And it is HARD! Waking up in the middle of the night is exhausting to pump. My breasts and nipples hurt, and it’s just hard. I keep finding myself thinking “we would all be happier if she just had formula”. But I keep hearing those teachers words in my head… because I truly did want to breastfeed. I wasn’t prepared for it to be this hard! It’s so nice to read this post and know you felt the same exact way and the same guilt. It really is silly… who are we trying to prove ourselves to?!
Thank you so much for writing this post, it rings so true with me!!! I’m in the process of stopping pumping as my little one could never latch and my supply has completely dried up at 3 months. Even though I know it’s okay to give her formula it’s still hard not to listen to that voice in the back of your head. Every single thing you’ve said I swear I went through myself these last two weeks.
The time buffer, trying to keep going even though my milk supply is almost down to nothing and crying in the shower because you feel like a failure for stopping before a year. I also have a 26-month-old in addition to the 3-month-old so I totally get it. Thank you thank you thank you. Xo
Thank you so much for this post.
I literally cried just reading through it. I breastfed my now 3 year old son until he was 18 months old with hardly any issues but he was just like Molly and nursed every 2-3 hours until he started eating table foods. I was that person that didn’t give him formula after we left the hospital with him. He had to have it in the hospital because he was so big (10lbs 5oz) that he had a hard time regulating his own blood sugar. My goal was 1 yr and i went 18 months.
Now I have an almost 10 month old and I thought o this is goi g to be a breeze to get to 1 yr thats all I wanted to do this time. It seemed so easy never even had to deal with soreness this time around. When I took him in for his 9 month checkup he has lost weight and we suspected that he wasn’t getting enough anymore so I started supplementing with formula and within a week he didn’t even want to nurse anymore. This has all been within the last 2 weeks. So I’m still working on trying not to feel so guilty about it and not be upset about it. We are definitely hardest on ourselves.
Thank you for posting this! I remember feeling so much guilt for stopping as well. The mom guilt is real! But we have to do what’s best for our sanity as well. I had to stop with my 3rd at 5 weeks because life was just too hectic and she was so distracted all the time! Now she’s a thriving 8 month old whose crawling and chasing her older brothers!!!
My two kiddos are just a month or 2 different in age than Molly and Riley, so I feel exactly what you’re going through and the guilt you feel! With my first, I had the same mindset “I’m gonna breastfeed til she’s 1” and things started off great. But when she was about 10 months we started supplementing- and almost immediately she started sleeping better and was an even happier baby. That alone should’ve opened my eyes, but even with my second I was still determined to make it one year with only breastmilk. However, when my second was only 4 months old, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it 1 year, if even 6 months, and I felt like a total failure. I kept seeing all these other moms exclusively breastfeeding, and I was so jealous, and in a weird way, I felt like my body had let me down. As soon as we supplemented with my son, the same thing happened, he slept so much better and I never had to worry about if he was hungry at bedtime. As I write this, I feel so foolish that I let my pride nearly get in the way of my kids. We put so much pressure on ourselves as mothers, and we need to give ourselves some grace ❤ And whenever I feel someone throwing shade about giving formula, I just remind myself that I can have as many glasses of wine as I want after dinner tonight 😆
I feel you! I had a hard time with latching at the beginning which made things really painful and stressful. I probably would have given up by week 3 if there wasn’t such a stigma around formula in my head. I felt super guilty just thinking about stopping or supplementing with the formula. My son is 3 months and I would like to say I can make it 1 year but I’m really not sure if I can/will.. we’ll have to see if the guilt gets to me or not!
You are an amazing mom and role model to all of us. I am a breast cancer survivor. Doctor said I couldn’t get pregnant because it would be a difficult pregnancy. I wanted to do it regardless and even thought it wasn’t easy I did and my baby girl is now 6 months and I have been able to breast feed her (just with 1 breast) I did it exclusively for 3 months and I had to supplement with formula and now that she is starting on her solids that’s is helping I’m continued breastfeeding her as much as I can and finishing wat I have frozen. Do t be so harsh on your self and thank you for sharing your experience. You rock mamas!
Way to go momma! You did AMAZING! I breastfed my first until she was 2.5 years and stopped when I became pregnant with my second and suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum. I remember struggling so hard to keep up with the demands of pumping while I worked as she neared a year old. I quit pumping after a year and things were much easier because I didn’t have any more expectations about what breastfeeding should and should not be. I’m currently breastfeeding my second, who is six months old. I find myself looking forward to having my body back sooner. But we will see. I definitely feel fortunate for as long as I’ve been able to breastfeed. Thanks for your post!
Crying as I read this because I’ve been so sick with the thought of not making it to a year. My daughter is 7 months old. Nurses every 2-3 hours. She refuses a bottle or pacifier and I just don’t seem to respond well to a pump. She just started taking a little bit of water from a sippy cup due to the pediatricians recommendation. She’s also dairy, caffeine and soy intolerant so let’s face it I’ve been hangry for 7 months. My husband and I have always said how much we do not want to supplement but the exhaustion from 3 nightly feedings is wearing me down. Thanks for sharing your journey. It’s so incredibly helpful.
I’m currently breastfeeding my first baby and also supplementing with formula. I was crushed when we went to her 2 week appt and found out she had lost weight and would need me to supplement formula. My daughter is 7 weeks old today and i’m still breastfeeding with supplementing and I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to exclusively breastfeed her. It’s definitely a humbling experience because I’ve just had to just realize that it’s not about me, it’s about her. I have to put my pride aside about what I thought my breastfeeding journey would be and just embrace that she is happy and healthy and fed and that is what matters. But I still struggle! Thank you for sharing this post. As a first time mom, it really does help to hear other stories and not have to walk through motherhood alone!
Wow you should be so proud. Both of your journey and also for writing all your feeling about guilt, the mom guilt is REAL!! So crazy how we make ourselves feel so terrible when the only person judging us is ourselves!!
My journey with breast feeding started out so rough. I had to have an emergency c-section at 41 weeks due to absolutely no water left! It was so scary and I think the stress and anxiety it caused as well as the surgery made it so hard to make my milk come in! I struggled for 8 weeks breastfeeding I ended up supplementing with formula but attended a breast feeding clinic twice a week and was finally able to stop formula at 8 or 9 weeks. Unfortunatly my baby girl refused a bottle so I had to exclusively breast feed every feed. And just like your molly she fed every 3 hours up until about 9 months. I still pump every morning to have milk for her cereal but I don’t pump a lot of milk as I didn’t do it from the start. Baby girl just hit a year and she’s so attached I don’t know how to wean her!! I hit the year and now I’m like okay… I’m done…. but I don’t think she is. Hopefully in the next few months she will be more finished with it too as we introduce homo milk. I feel like my supply has tanked these past few weeks so I’m hoping the whole process just slows and stops for us 🤷🏻♀️ Thank you for being so open and honest. You are such a wonderful mom and you have beautiful children!!
That’s awesome you were able to breastfeed that long!!!
My son is 8 months old and I am still breastfeeding. My goal is 1 year if it is possible & will try not to stress, but being a mom that’s what we do. I also produce a lot so I haven’t needed to supplement at all and am truly grateful for this, not that supplementing is bad Bc he did get supplemented in the hospital Bc he was a preemie. He gets sooooo distracted now when he eats and it is very annoying lol. There are times I have to pump afterwards in the morning Bc he just wants to play and not eat. I work PT and have to only pump once at work. We just started giving him bottles before bed to see how much he is taking in and he still fights that, so stressful, and if he doesn’t take it I feed him. So if he does take the bottle I pump at night and store the milk. I have a pretty good supply built up and have always had that in case I need to go back on my blood pressure meds. I have too low of blood pressure
So I cannot take anything while bfing. I’ve been lucky so far that I am doing well without my meds. I like to keep my milk supply up in case that day comes which is why I say I want to bf for a year but if it’s not possible I’m going to try to not let the mom guilt hit. I absolutely adore the bond that we’ve created and shared and it does break my heart a little when he doesn’t want to nurse as much but I know he’s growing and eating more solids and doesn’t need me as much anymore. Thank you for posting your journey I love hearing what other moms have gone through and I like to take it as a learning experience as well and try your tips and tricks!! Us mamas rock!!!
Love this post and appreciate your transparency. I think there is so much pressure to breastfeed especially for first-time moms. I have two littles, a son almost 5 and daughter 2.5 and another baby due in July. With firstborn, I only nursed him for 5 days but I had severe PPD and really needed to sleep. With my daughter, I nursed her exclusively for 4 months and then for almost 7 months altogether with formula. My goal was just to get her through flu season and I accomplished that. With my 3rd baby I’m not putting as much pressure on myself and my hope is to breastfeed for 6 months but we’ll see what happens. My son is going to kindergarten this year and my daughter will be in preschool so I’ll be pretty on the go with this baby. We’ll see what happens but I definitely agree with you that fed is best. I had a lot of mom guilt with my firstborn that I didn’t nurse her longer.
Oh Ali. So much yes to all of this. My twin boys are 14m and I still to this day carry so much guilt. I have guilt that I couldn’t carry them to term, they were born at 32 weeks 4 days and had to spend 16 and 27 days in the nicu. I have guilt that they didn’t come home with us right away. And then breastfeeding. I knew from when I found out I was having twins I wanted to exclusively pump for a few reasons. I knew I was going to need help in the night feeding them and wanted others to be able to feed them too. No way could I (and this is just me, there are twin mommas who do this) but no way could I be sole milk provider. In the beginning I was told I was having supply issues but it was because my body was in shock of having preemies and in a week or so my body would catch up. It never did. I was pumping every 2 hours during the day and every 3-4 at night- even when they were in the NICU. (Nicu mommas don’t get extra rest when their babies are there). I was trying so hard because everyone was telling me how important my milk was for preemies. When they came home, we were on a tight feeding schedule of every 3 hours round the clock. Mix that in with pumping every 2 hours during the day and then after night feeds. I wasn’t enjoying my babies and I wasn’t getting rest. My supply never increased. I was so so so stressed about my numbers and seeing my number decrease when their feeds were increasing broke my heart. I was crushed. I was resenting my pump for not helping me, resenting my husband because he got more sleep than I did, and resenting my body for failing me instead of praising my body for creating and giving birth to twin boys. I finally decided that I was just going to let my body tell me when it needed to pump and be done when my body was done. It ended up being my first Mother’s Day morning was my last pumping session. Somehow that made it okay for me but I still felt like I had to justify my choices to every single person including family. I started to feel guilty too because now we had to buy more preemie formula (we were supplanting from day one so they could get extra calories and nutrients). We were going through a can a day which was about $20 a day. It was rough for a while but once I gave up my pump I finally got to enjoy being a mom. I got to see my boys and play with them. They are now 14m and are perfect in every way. Thank you for writing this blog. I cried through the whole thing.
You are a rockstar mama!
Thank you Jasmine! You are rocking it too! I loved reading everyone’s journey here.
Thank you, thank you for sharing!! Mom guilt around breastfeeding is real. I put so much pressure on myself with my first, and ended up exclusively pumping for her first year (nursing was just never easy for us). It was so hard, and I told myself I would never exclusively pump ever again! Nursing came more naturally for my second, and somehow we have made it to 8.5 months so far with nursing and pumping once a day. But like you, I find it so much harder with a toddler running around!! I have to put my toddler in front of the tv so I can go in his nursery and feed him in the quiet so he can focus. Mom guilt about the tv too! I think about quitting breastfeeding every single day, but can’t pull the trigger! I do have a question – how did you supplement at first? You mentioned mixing formula into the breast milk. How do you even do that?? When did you start giving him bottles with just formula? Thanks again for sharing!
It’s crazy all the thoughts we have like this in our minds, it’s nuts!
My girl is 7.5 months and dealing with many of the same issues – feeling guilty for not making it a year – she’s getting half breast milk now and half formula.
Thanks for sharing, it really does feel good to not feel alone when so much of it does!
With my oldest I ended up having to have a c section, then had about every complication possible that day. I sadly didn’t get to hold my sweet boy until 14 hours after he was born. Thank god for formula or he would have been starving! Due to my complications I ended up not breastfeeding at all. At first I was a little upset, but it was so nice that my husband, mom and mother in law could help feed him while I was recovering from the complications and c section! When we had our 2nd I debated on how to feed. But formula had worked so well for our first we decided to formula feed our 2nd guy too! And since I had a c section with him too I was able to focus on recovery while everyone else helped with the toddler and baby! No regrets on our decision. I applaud all mamas who breastfeed, but also agree Fed is best! Great job making it so long with both mama!
I so needed this today. We are at 8 months and I’m feeling ready to start weaning but am changing my mind daily. We got lucky with an easygoing daughter and so, obviously she chugged her first bottle of formula with no hesitation but I’m still doubting my decision for all the reasons you mentioned.
Thanks for this! I need to let go of this mom guilt.
Thanks for your story Ali! I honestly was so amazed and how long and how much you pumped! I breastfed both my boys exclusively for over a year – but that was only upon awaking and then bedtime – bc with my firstborn I was loving overseas and I had a German friend who said in Germany they went straight to cows milk at 6 months. So I got this super cool Japanese sippy cup (was living in Asia) w a straw and he went straight to that during the day w mashed food and finger food. Same w my second son. I had to cut my son off at 18 months bc I honestly felt I was just his human pacifier and I noticed that friends who did breast or bottle longer than that they did seem to become super attached to breast or bottle to comfort themselves instead of maybe learning how to self-soothe at this point. I did try formula once for my firstborn in the middle of the night and it was such a chore never again! But here’s the thing – I was home for both my kids! So yes Ali – each person’s situation is entirely different! I felt I had no sleep for literally 3 years as my first one was a fitful sleeper and when his brother was born he was waking up again. I never did equate sleeping through the night with being full at all though and I’m so sorry you put so much pressure on yourself for that reason Ali! Maybe my firstborn wasn’t sleeping through the night because of that! Omg now I feel bad! Just kidding. And pumping – I tried it once and never again! But again I had the luxury. And honestly I didn’t work bc not only did we then go overseas during all of this – I had NO help from my ex at the time – and no help from anyone else so could literally not work – bc childcare was not to be found. I bow down to women everywhere who make it work no matter what meaning – fed and safe and loved is all that matters! I feel far worse to this day that my children ended up growing up in an unhappy and ultimately broken home. So for all you single woman out there: who you choose is not only the single most important choice you make for yourself, it is for future kids. And the other thing I would say: be so careful about maintaining work life balance bc the one thing you can’t get back is TIME w your kids. But finding that is what is SO HARD. Bc we need to earn money, we need to make time for ourselves and our partners, chores, exercise and on and on. Motherhood is the hardest job! But the most important one – so props to everyone out there raising healthy, happy, and SECURE kids like you are Ali. It takes a village really and thanks for creating one here. Your blog helps ME every single day! Thank you!
Thank you for sharing your story. There is SO much guilt involved with the decision to stop breastfeeding. About a month ago, I stopped pumping and have just recently stopped nursing my little guy. He’s 8 months now and has two older sisters. There is just way too much chaos in the house for him to nurse. I am so proud for making it that long but at the same time feel super guilty that I could have gone longer. Everything that you wrote about sounds so familiar to my experience (even the strawberry milk). Thank you for being so vulnerable. It’s encouraging that there are other mommas going through the same thing.
I gave a 6wk old & exclusively pumping. I had post partum preeclampsia that forced me back into the hospital for 3 days 8 days post delivery, so my son was taking a bottle while I was there. After that, he was such a lazy latcher, I couldn’t/didn’t have the energy to go back. My goal is 3 months exclusively breastmilk, my husband is very supportive if this, I know this will make me more fulfilled as a mom (ie taking the stress & burden off of me), but I’m still feeling so much guilt. I’m a working mom with a fairly intense/challenging job, so this is best for me, my son & my relationship, but it’s Soooo hard!
THANK YOU for writing this! The first breastfeeding blog where I feel completely heard! The paragraph you described as “re-reading it is just exhausting” HIT. ME. HARD. That type of logistics a breastfeeding mom deals with is EXACTLY what stressed me out too! I searched for blogs to figure out how the heck to manage it all, with no luck! Pregnant with my second babe now and am hoping to also be able to “let go” of the breastfeeding stigma of how long I am “supposed” to do it. Thanks for sharing your journey 🙂
I’ve been quietly waiting for this blog post – your vulnerability and honesty stuck out in you IG stories and I wondered how you were doing. I’ve exclusively pumped for my second for almost 10 months, but my supply’s dipping and my frozen stash is almost tapped out. We started supplementing with formula this week, and I felt like I’d failed because I hadn’t reached that elusive 1 year mark. This post was balm to my anxious soul. THANK YOU. For your vulnerability, for not leaving room for mom guilt, and for being willing to write out what so many of us are feeling.
I am a MCH nurse and lactation consultant. Have been for 45 years. When I taught BF classes or childbirth classes, I would teach choice – with accurate information. No guilt. If mom is unsure, try BF and if it doesn’t feel right, stop. When asked when to stop BF, I would say “when it stops working for you or the baby”. I have 3 children. The last was severely disabled and unable to BF and due to stress, pumping failed. He passed away in 2007. I did the best I could. I was sad not to BF him but not guilty. Thx for you honesty.
I have 4 kids, 3 of them are 3 years old and younger. My youngest is almost 9 months and I’ve noticed that my milk has started to not come in as much and my let down is taking longer to happen. This all started when I started sleep training her and stopped feedings at night (which is going great so far!) I have quite a bit of milk frozen but not enough to supplement until she is 1 and pumping has always allowed me to produce some but not a lot of milk. It’s been on my mind to try formula to see how much it changes her behavior and if she seems happier and more full.
My 3 other children were breastfed until 6 months and even at that 6 months I was struggling to make enough for them. So I’m extremely proud to make it 9 months but have that guilt too that I should try to push through it since I’m so close! But it’s also 3 more months that she needs those nutrients.
Thank you for your post today. It came at a perfect time for me!
6 weeks! Between my postpartum anxiety, my daughters reflux and my milk supply not getting any better we made the switch. I cried so hard her first formula bottle and then she finally had that milk drunk look from being full, I cried even more. It’s an emotional journey and mom guilt is crazy, but being pregnant with my second, I hope it doesn’t come back, that guilt to breastfeed!
I’ve always said “Motherhood is a guilt trip”
Thank you for sharing your story and your feelings about breast feeding. With my first we had a lot of trouble breast feeding – she wasn’t gaining weight we saw the pediatrician we saw the lactation consultant we did it all. She acted like she was eating but she really wasn’t so she wasn’t gaining weight and my milk production wasn’t picking up. I then started exclusively pumping — I would cry when I pumped that I wanted to be with my baby and not a machine but I felt so guilty about the idea of not giving her breastmilk if I could pump it and give it to her. Around 4 months but supply wasn’t enough and we started supplementing and I felt like I wasn’t doing enough and I was failing her. But I pushed through and thought well some breast milk isn’t better then none — for the next 2 months I would pump 5-6 times a day just to get enough for one bottle. then I finally had to come to terms with it wasn’t worth the tears, stress, anxiety and time not with my baby to pump so much for one little bottle. We switched over to formula for the next 6 months. Happy and healthy is was and still is. I can’t believe how much I stressed over it. There is so much pressure and so much judging that goes on about how people feed their babies — it just isn’t right. we all need to support each other in keeping our babies happy and healthy! — thanks for doing just that. I so appreciate you sharing your heart in this post.
I’m gearing up for baby number 2 to arrive in the next 3 months and it is amazing how much I’m already in my head — I’ve said to myself I’m not going to let breastfeeding do that to me again but that I do want to try to breast feed again…but I’m afraid to set up myself up to feel like a failure. Here is to hoping I can keep a good perspective. I may be revisiting this blog post again.
My baby girl is 6months and I was avoiding giving her formula because I wanted to breastfeed her for longer than I did for my first daughter. Unfortunately my job and body just weren’t having it. We started supplementing with formula, I was upset but now she is so happy and is getting those fat rolls, the best! She needed more food and I wasn’t able to do it but seeing her smile is the greatest thing! Thanks for posting this blog, a lot of the stuff you have posted lately has been perfect timing with what I am going through as a mom! You’re the best!
I truly believe fed is best too as I’m a feeding therapist and work in a NICU, but I put so much pressure on myself. I nursed my son until he was 2 and then I was so sick as I was pregnant with my second I had to stop. I felt so guilty and I made it until my son was 2, and it was truly for comfort for him and me at times! The crazy thing is that no matter what you do someone can and will criticize you. If you don’t breastfeed long “enough” you are criticized and just the same I was criticized for breastfeeding “too long”- and sadly this came from my own mother. I wish we could all leave our judgments at our doors and just show love and support to everyone no matter how they are feeding their babies bc at the end of the day being a mom is so hard and we are so critical of ourselves we don’t need it from anyone else! So if you are a mama feeding your baby with a NG, g tube, bottle, breast, pumping, using formula- whatever feeding looks like for you, know that you are amazing and are the perfect mama for your baby! 💞
Thank you for this! My son is 5 months old and had two and a half bottles of formula. I have talked to my friends about the hardest part of motherhood and so far it is breastfeeding and pumping. I have been back to work for two months now and point enough while at work is crazy hard. I really want to make it at least until the start of next school year (I am a teacher) but we will see what happens. It is crazy how much shame we can feel for giving our babies food. I am with you in that whatever works for the mom and baby is what is best. I appreciate all of your advice. After reading your post about sleep training in October I was totally on board of sleep training my son (even though he hadn’t been born yet). We successfully sleep trained him at 4 months and now wakes up once or not at all.
Thank you for everything!
Breastfed my first for over a year, breastfed my second for 2 weeks before I knew it was just NOT going to happen with a toddler around too. The irony? My second is way healthier, happier, easier, and far more advanced verbally/physically than my first was at this age (18 months). Go figure!
I had to laugh at your post because my story is just the opposite. My two oldest are 17 months apart. Breastfed my second the longest, because I honestly didn’t have time to do formula or bottles with a 17 month old running around. I found it so much easier the second time around, too, no cracked nipples or mastitis like the first time. It just goes to show we all have different stories and different ways it works for us! Whatever works, right?!
Thank you so much for this Ali! I breastfed my son exclusively until he was 14 months and with my daughter it’s been such a more difficult struggle! So much of what you said about Riley being too distracted while Molly runs around I think is exact why my milk supply has dropped significantly when my daughter turned 8 months (our kids are almost the same ages! My son is 2.5, and my daughter is 9 months) I’m stressing all day long about keeping up my supply for her because I want to make it to that one year mark as well but she just doesn’t seem interested anymore. I’m still not quite ready to give her formula, and not sure if I will ever be okay with it but this post was so refreshing to read and I felt like you took the words right out of me! You are an amazing mom Ali and it’s been amazing to follow your journey. Thanks for being to open and honest 🙂
Thank you so much for posting this. I have felt that same guilt and shame that you mentioned. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I convinced myself that I was going to exclusively breastfeed. “Breast is best” kept running through my head. People asked if I was going to breastfeed and I’d tell them “I hope to and for as long as possible” but in my mind I was saying “duh I’m going to breastfeed, I wont use formula.” My milk came in 5 days after my son’s birth and it was a struggle every single day. I had to use nipple shields for my son to even latch which was the first blow to my ego. My son was struggling to gain weight, and I knew something wasn’t working. I went to lactation consultants and they were so determined to make me breastfeed. They said my son was getting enough but of course that was with a perfect latch in a controlled environment with experts at the ready to assist. At home it was a completely different story. Instead of a consistent 20 minutes of perfect feeding at the consultations, I felt like I would feed for hours straight. I kept thinking, there’s no way this is normal. Then one day my dad called me. He told me frankly that he was concerned about my son and my health and how much I was struggling with breastfeeding. He mentioned supplementing with formula and my mind immediately shut him out. I can make the food my son needs so why do I need to buy it from a store?! The more I mulled over what he said, the more I realized that plenty of babies in the world (including myself) were raised on formula. What could it hurt? So I gave my son one of the sample bottles I had been gifted and he SUCKED IT DOWN! My heart broke immediately. I was i instantly ashamed of myself and my need to breastfeed. I went right out and bought formula and never looked back. I feel guilty to this day that I didn’t give him formula sooner. His weight gain problems completely disappeared. He became such an easy baby and finally slept through the night. My mind was so twisted around what I SHOULD do that I didnt stop to think about what my son NEEDED me to do. And thank God for that call from my dad. Not only did my sons health improve but so did my spirit. I finally felt like I was winning at mommy hood. I felt so free and relieved and all the stresses I felt were gone. My breastfeeding journey is not something I am proud of but I am glad I had such a powerful learning experience. I learned a lot about myself and raising my son and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
Thank you for sharing your breastfeeding journey! I think you did an amaaaaazing job and should feel super proud of yourself.. but I also understand the mom guilt now that I am one myself. I’m a first time mum to Aden who is 8 months old and am still breastfeeding. The only bottle he gets is the one at bedtime. I have finally night weaned him because he was waking every 2-2 and a half hours and like you I was exhausted, stressed, worried about how lack of sleep was making me a bad mom and bad wife…I knew he wasn’t hungry, he was just nursing to get back to sleep. My goal was always 6 months but now it’s a year (or as long as I can…something I never thought I’d say). I always thought people who nursed longer were doing it for themselves, like it made them feel good some how and thought it was a little weird…now I feel stupid for thinking like that.. I know now as a mom you just want the best for your baby and if you’re lucky enough to have made it this far too just wanna go as long as you can, for the baby not for you. I’m gonna try not to put pressure on myself but already see my supply dwindling since introducing solids and am shocked at how sad and worried it made me…
The guilt to keep breastfeeding is so consuming! Two years later I can look back with a clear head and see how much it crippled me, but in the moment it’s impossible to see out of the haze. Great job seeing through it an finding the right balance for you, and your family.
I have a 2.5 year old girl who I breastfed for 15 months and now a 3 month old boy. I have never left a comment before but I want to Thank you for writing so honestly about motherhood and for sharing your thoughts and feelings. I am Swedish and live all the way in the UK but I feel you! This is what we need more of in this world. This mum guilt!! Needs to be stepped on and put in the bin! It took me by surprise when I had my girl 2.5 years ago…every day I am working on how to overcome it. Reading and following you is part of my ammunition against it. So Thank You! And if you ever doubt yourself and don’t feel awesome, just know that there is a girl all the way over in England who thinks you are the definition of awesomeness ♡
I am a stay-at-home mom to a 6 yr old, 4 yr old, and 9 month old. After my firstborn, I had a postpartum hemorrhaging scare that required 2 ER visits, 2 extra nights in the hospital and eventually surgery. My brand new baby spent a whole night home with my husband and had to take a bottle. She never took to nursing very well after that, so I exclusively pumped for 10-11 months until I had enough frozen breastmilk to feed her for a full year. I overproduced a ton and even donated a lot of milk to a friend who had adopted.
I was determined to try harder with nursing my 2nd. He latched better, but I still loved the freedom that came with pumping and bottle feeding so I did a good mix of both. Again, I produced way more than I needed and was able to quit nursing and pumping at around 10 months with enough milk in the freezer to feed him for a year.
After a week or so of trying to nurse my 3rd but not feeling successful and feeling more tied down and unable to give my older 2 the attention they needed, I decided to exclusively pump again. I’ve been going strong for 9.5 months. I haven’t produced as much this time but still have a decent stash in the freezer. I’ve been hoping to get to a point where I can comfortably quit pumping and know I have enough to feed her through 1 year, but I’m mentally/emotionally wearing thin. The extra time it requires, the 9 month sleep regression we’re currently battling, and just the overall stress is telling me it might be best for me emotionally to call it quits. Knowing that I CAN produce but that I just feel like I WANT to start weaning myself off and might have to supplement a little makes me feel selfish, but I also know I have to do what’s best for me (and my family!) and you’re right, fed is best. I tell people that all the time too, but it’s still hard not to put a certain pressure on ourselves. Thank you for sharing this post. I love hearing others’ experiences, and it truly brings freedom to know we’re not alone!
Thank you so much for sharing your story Ali! I’m a first time mom and have had so much trouble with breast feeding from the start. We had to supplement from the beginning because I had low supply. I felt (and still feel) SO much guilt about this. I remember sitting in the back seat of the car with my daughter sobbing while my husband went in to the store to buy formula. It was an awful feeling but reading your post and comments, obviously I’m not alone!
Today my daughter is 4.5 months old and I’ve just made the decision to ween off breast feeding mainly because it’s causing me stress and it’s still so challenging for me. I am still feeling a lot of guilt around this but I’m working on it.
Thanks for being so open and honest with us. Makes us moms not feel so alone! ❤️
I think our boys are pretty close in age, my little man is 10 months old today! I’ve flowed your journey since Riley was born and relate so, so much to this! I also work full time and have been back to work since he was 12 weeks old. I pump 3xs per day. It is exhausting to say the least. I’ve also had supply issues since about 6 months. The thought of using formula also makes me feel SO guilty! Idk why! I had to supplement with my first and he is perfectly healthy! The pressure is so heavy it’s almost unbearable at times. I have found a medication that has helped me maintain my supply, so for now we’re doing ok again. I know when our 1 year mark hits, I’ll slowly stop pumping at work and only nurse when I’m physically with my son and go however long that allows me. Breastfeeding has been both a joy and a struggle for us, but as you said, it’s our journey ❤️ Thank you for being so open and honest! I’ve loved “sharing” this with you! Many blessings to your family!!
I love your story on breatfeeding my daughter just turned 7 months old and it is hard breatfeeding but I pull through I have done and said what you have that I’m going to bottle feed so my gets what she needs and I have people telling me your baby is going to be over weight if you bottle fed her like you did your son so it scares me so much but you know after reading your blog makes me feel alot better knowing that there is nothing wrong with not breatfeeding a whole year You are truly an inspiration to me this blog really helped me knowing that I can bottle feed my little girl when I can’t breastfeed her when the time comes thank you so much Ali you really helped me
I was lucky, for two reasons. I had no supply issue and I live in Canada so I’ve been able to be at home with my son for 12 months. I knew how fortunate I was (having 2 sister in laws struggle with milk production and mom guilt), so I donated my milk to a program that gives milk to premature and sick babies all over the province.
I am on the other side of the spectrum though. I have a 15 month old (who looks like he’s 3) and am starting to get the looks/comments about when I’m going to stop nursing him.
In this mom world, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I hope you can be happy with your beautiful breastfeeding journey with your kiddos and be content knowing you have happy healthy kids. Because at the end of the day that’s all that really matters.
Thank you so much for being so vulnerable. I’ve exclusively breastfed my 11 month old. It’s definitely been a labor of love and as challenging as it’s been at times, I’m sad our BF journey is almost over. My husband has not been a supporter of me breastfeeding and he is ready for the end of the road. I continue to be so grateful that my body has allowed me to continue for these 11 months. You’re an amazing inspiration and I look forward to your stories every day ♥️
Mom guilt is real! I remember before I had Lili, I would say “oh I’m going to try breastfeeding and if it doesn’t work out then that’s okay.” Then I had her and immediately I felt intense pressure to breastfeed her. I had a really rough start. My nipples were torn up, my left especially was bad. I’d cry every time I had to feed her and subsequently got mastitis twice in the first six weeks from trying to avoid feeding on my left. I remember thinking I should quit because it was so painful, I was barely sleeping and feeling such extreme anxiety over everything that comes with being a new mom. I felt like if I quit I was selfish and a failure, like you said. In the end, I stuck it out and I’m ultimately glad I did because it’s such a positive experience for us now (she’s almost 7 months), but it would have been okay if I didn’t. I think as women we feel like it’s a natural thing we should easily be able to do, but in reality it is hard. It can be painful, it’s time consuming, you have to take on a lot more and lose more sleep when you are breastfeeding in addition to anxiety about production etc. It’s wonderful if we can and it works for us, but at the end of the day we need to remember that fed is really best and happy babies need happy mommies ❤️
Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! I was so ashamed to be using formula. I started out strong, had a good supply and grew to love breastfeeding. Around 10 months my supply started dropping (probably because I was working and only pumping twice during the work hours). I tried taking supplements to get it back up, which 1. didnt work, and 2. made me and my daughter so gassy with diarrhea.
So we started supplementing with formula. I still find myself lying to people, telling them she was exclusively breastfed. Why does formula have such a negative association!!! It relieved me of stress, made weaning easier, and finally was able to take a vacation without and entire carry-on dedicated to my PUMP!
Thank you for sharing your story! Mom guilt is so tough to get through, and I still struggle with it (it’s just new things to feel guilty about!)
I wanted so bad to breastfeed my daughter but she was born with a tongue tie – something I was not prepared for! Her tongue tie caused a shallow latch and very painful breastfeeding for her first 3 days until it was fixed! By that point I was so engorged and my nipples were so raw and cracked (TMI?) that it wasn’t healthy for either of us to continue! I broke down on day 4 and bought a breast pump and pumped exclusively until she was 4 months old, by that time she was eating so much that my supply could just not keep up! I switched to formula but it took lots of tears and support from my family to get through the guilt!
Raising babies is so hard, and mom guilt makes it so much harder!! Thank you for being so open and honest about your journey through motherhood!
Thank you for writing this post! Even writing this comment leaves me feeling pretty vulnerable, so I can relate! I have dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I take medication, which for me has been life changing. My husband and I made the decision to not breastfeed at all, simply because I don’t want my daughter exposed to the medication. My doctors were super supportive of my decision, but I f found myself lying to not only close friends, but random strangers saying that I was breastfeeding, or that I didn’t make enough. Even though I was comfortable with our choice, I felt so incredibly judged. Fast forward 17 months, and we have a healthy, happy, complete mom as girl. As we start the discussion of expanding our fam, I have no doubt that we will exclusively formula feed again. Hoping next time around I have the courage to openly discuss what has been the best choice for our family.
Thank you again for this (and all) post! I feel empowered by the simple act of commenting our story.
Ali- this is amazing! You should feel very proud. Whether you made it to 3 months, 6 months or a year. That is an accomplishment. I felt Breastfeeding is an absolute joy and really such a bonding with my baby. However I went back to work at 6 weeks so I had to exclusively pump all day long (I should have bought the willow pump) however i commend you for sticking to it with both kids! Pumping is hard after you got to exclusively nurse for quite some time and less of a bonding feeling. So good for you to keep pumping to keep your supply up. Breastfeeding, pumping, stressing about your baby not finishing or not eating enough is just hard. You should feel very proud especially sticking to it after the strawberry milk. Fed is definitely best no matter how they are getting it! Thank you for sharing your stories. It really does help to know that the feelings new moms feel we are not alone.
The mom shaming is always so sad and puzzling to me! I was never able to breastfeed due to a rough labor and delivery that put my son in the NICU and me in shambles after losing 2 liters of blood due to postpartum hemorrhage. He never latched, so I pumped for a month even though I was only getting two ounces each time. I eventually said enough is enough. It’s more important to be happy and healthy for my son. Women judge me ALL THE TIME. As soon as I say I’m not nursing,
I feel like there is a ticking time bomb and I have to justify why not as fast as I can. It still surprises me that people are so opinionated about it! I never understand it, but it makes me sad for all of the new moms who don’t know how to tune it out. Thanks for being encouraging to women out there. Fed is best! That’s for sure.
7 months with my first. 1 month with my second (due to lack of production) & 1 whole week with my third! 😂 I absolutely despised nursing but was determined to stick it out but my body had other plans. I tried everything the public nurse and doctor suggested but I think, because I didn’t enjoy it, my body was picking up on that stress and making the decision for me. Honestly, switching to formula was the best decision I ever could have made with my last two: they were happier, healthier and slept so much longer which allowed me to focus on keeping them all alive in other ways, lol, having 3 kids is no joke! It is quite freeing to have the ability to finally (my “baby” is 8) be able to say out loud that nursing isn’t for me because I carried so much guilt for so long, thinking I was a horrible mother for hating something that “everyone else” gets so much joy from. It’s okay to do what is best for you, as a mama, at the time.
It’s insane the pressure you feel to breastfeed. Before I had my little one (14 months now) I always knew breastfeeding probably wasn’t going to me for me/us and our lifestyle but even when I stopped I had a total meltdown. I knew all along I wasn’t going to last long and the guilt you feel is still huge! Thanks for sharing your story! Ive followed you since the bachelorette (actually Jake’s season) but now I make sure to read your blogs and watch your stories everyday. Helps me with all my mom stuff!
Hey Ali! My baby girl is almost 7 months old. She’s my first and I’ve shared so many of the same breastfeeding anxieties you experienced with your babies. I’ve been fortunate so far to have a healthy milk supply but pumping at work has become such a chore that some days I want to quit. Then I feel guilty for thinking that! I will say, I have a greater appreciation for my body knowing all it’s done and still does to care and provide for our little bean. Your post about loving your body post baby really resonated with me as well. Thank you for being so candid. It’s helping first time mommas, like me, find strength and confidence!
What a great post! I had twins almost 9 years ago. I pumped for about 6 weeks, but always had to supplement with formula. I NEVER had enough supply to keep them both fed. I felt so guilty when I stopped pumping, but I could not keep up enough supply for two babies. When we made the switch to formula, it made all of us so much happier and less stressed! The most important thing is feeding your baby, whichever way you can!!!
I first had troubles breast feeding my son at 2 weeks old. He was crying every time I tried getting him to latch and he started losing weight. We started supplementing with formula (reluctantly, because my expectation was to exclusively breastfeed for at least a year) with the intention of it being short term while I worked to increase my supply. I was unable to match his demand and am still supplementing today (he’s now 11 months). I don’t think I’ve truly dealt with the shame I feel about ‘failing’ at breastfeeding but I’ve accepted it for now. I still nurse him once a day at bedtime and as we approach the end of the first year I find myself reluctant when I think about stopping that. Thanks for sharing your story Ali. I wish people would talk about this more often so we realize how common it is!
Congrats on making it so far in breastfeeding with both of your babies. That is such an accomplishment! I identify so much with your internal struggles and pressure with breastfeeding. My son Luke turns one year old on Sunday and we are in the process of weaning from breastfeeding now. I am feeling guilt even though I know that making it to a year is a huge accomplishment. When you weaned Molly from breastfeeding did she transition to another form of milk? Luke prefers water so I am worried about him getting all of the nutrients he needs. He eats a good bit of dairy so I know that helps, but I can’t help but worry still.
Anyways, thank you for sharing your journey. It is so nice to hear such realness from another mom about breastfeeding.
All the feels reading this as I recollect on my breastfeeding experience with my first, and am currently 35 weeks pregnant with my second. I breastfed until my daughter was 19 months old, and when I was pregnant with her wasn’t even sure I’d ever do it. I didn’t feel pressure from others, but I had emergency surgery when she was only 3 weeks old and when I returned home after 4 days in the hospital and pumping and dumping (I was lucky enough to use my cousins breast milk to supplement while I was down and out) I had this awful feeling that my child didn’t need me any more and that I had lost a connection with her. I put so much pressure on myself to get my supply back up and felt that if I didn’t nurse I’d lose the bond. It was really hard…I underproduced. I did everything I could, I set an alarm every day for 3am to pump even though my daughter was sleeping through the night. It was insanity. Then like magic, it became so easy. I was lucky. It honestly felt easier to nurse than it did to make bottles. I was pumping 5 times a day at work, but somehow it just all became a part of my life. I have vowed to not put the pressure on myself once baby number two arrives, but I already have the thoughts creeping in like you described. Am I a bad mom if I don’t bf my second as long? It’s gotta be so much harder when you have another that needs your attention. There is guilt there too. I need to be the best mom for both of them. So yeah, all the feels from reading this. Thanks for being so raw and honest!
I breastfed me daughter until she was one. She started biting around 10-10.5 months and I switched to pumping. And I was able to exclusively pump until a year. I am just starting to quit pumping now, and the mom guilt still comes in and says I should keep going. Even though she is transitioning so well. So I can totally relate to this post! Thank you so much for sharing
Ali, thank you so much for sharing this! I had the exact same feelings of mom guilt. I made it 7 months breastfeeding. And 3 of those months were exclusively pumping once I went back to work. Which as you know is so time consuming! No matter how long you breastfeed be proud of it, it’s way harder than anyone tells you it is. And I 100% agree, a fed baby is a happy baby. No matter how you feed them. Go moms!
I exclusively pumped my entire ‘breast feeding journey’ it’s hard work! I pumped because my daughter was in the NICU then it ended up just working for me… I’m a SAHM but I wanted to nurse as long as I could. I just recently started feeding formula a month ago. I felt so guilty but now seeing her drink it and love it! It makes proud I did it for 9 months! Thank you for sharing your journey- I love your blog!
Congratulations!! Quite the accomplishment. My son was tongue tied when he was born and before he got his tongue clipped I was miserable. Lots of bleeding. Thankfully once it was clipped and I healed up we successfully breastfed until he was about one and a half and then I got pregnant with my daughter. She was born with a congenital condition which put her in the NICU for 56 days so I was left with pumping for weeks before she could even attempt to breastfeed on her own. She got a tracheostomy when she was 2 weeks old and I am happy to say that we were the first successful mommy and daughter to breastfeed at our specific hospital. I was told over and over again that she wouldn’t be able to feed orally let alone breastfeed. I know it was my confidence with my first child that led me to even try it and we did it until she was almost 2. Of course not exclusively but off and on. But I agree with you…fed is best. We all try our hardest and we love our babies and that’s all that matters!
Thank you for continuing to be so relatable! I’m exclusively pumping and my daughter is almost 10 months. My supply is dropping and I’m having to pull from my frozen supply almost daily. Wondering how long my supply will last and am I a failure of I don’t make it to the year mark run through my head daily. I know I’m know a failure but the guilt is so real.
Thank you so much Ali for writing about your experience and feelings. I’m honestly at this point myself. My daughter is just 4 months but I feel like my supply is gone down a lot. I worry all the time that she isn’t getting enough and it’s starting to drive me mad. I don’t understand why there is so much pressure for moms to breastfeed. I totally agree FED is BEST and I wish more physicians would say this without their judging faces on.
Ali, congratulations on YOUR breastfeeding journey with your beautiful babes! I enjoy your blog and your constant openness and honesty! I like your message that you send to mothers regarding breastfeeding and pressure and I personally feel the EXACT same way that fed is best and that everyone’s journey is unique and circumstantial and that’s ok!! I personally was blessed to have two positive nursing experiences that allowed me to nurse my first until she was 2.5 and I became pregnant when she was 17 months and was able to nurse my entire pregnancy and tandem nurse my two daughters and am still nursing my youngest 2.5 years also! I sometimes get judged for nursing TOO long so I am experiencing the opposite that’s I am nursing too long as opposed to not long enough. It’s wonderful to hear a message of acceptance and positivity and encouragement no matter our breastfeeding journey and situation and for that I thank and appreciate you xoxo
Such a wonderful post, thank you for your honesty! I am currently exclusively breast feeding my almost five month old. Mom guilt is such a huge thing! Love the positive vibes you send out, I really enjoy “sharing” in this baby season of life with you.
Breastfeeding is hard.. very hard work. It takes a toll on your body to provide for your baby. I have two kiddos. My son is just older then Molly and my baby is the same age as Riley. I breastfed my son for just over 2 years. I never had any problems with supply. I know that I was super lucky in that department, but my son was a big baby and nursed every 2 hrs around the clock. I was exhausted. I remember feeling trapped before he started eating solids. I could never leave him, he always had to be with me. It was hard emotionally and breastfeeding takes a lot out of you.
I have always promised myself that I would breastfeed either until I had enough supply or when my kiddo wanted to quit. Luckily with my son he said that we was done at just over two years old and I was ok and happy with that.
With my 10 month old baby now, I don’t feel as trapped, I just take her with me. She isn’t as big as my son so breastfeeding happens when it happens. I don’t have a plan right now as to when I am going to stop. I hope that she is like my son and tells me when she is ready.
It has been a rewarding and tough job! I wouldn’t change it for the world. But I truly believe fed is best! Being a mama is a hard job. We all need to be there for one another. You are the best mama for the kids you gave birth too (or adopt, or how ever you became a mama).
I’m so proud of you Ali for sharing your journey with us. It is so empowering. ❤️❤️❤️
Breastfeeding is one of the MANY hardest experiences mothers endure. My first baby was born in 2016 and I struggled to get him to latch, once he did it was great. I did not struggle with undersupply, I suffered with over supply, which let me tell you, is not easy. YES, who would have thought over supply?? Many struggles with him fussy because my let down was fast and the overflow was too much for him. I felt full all the time and had to pump and feed endlessly!! I filled my freezer and to this day can’t seem to get myself to throw it away….in the mist I lost my job and struggled with depression because I was the one supporting our family financially. What a struggle. We made out okay and I have a great job now 🙂 my goal was 6 months which turned into a year…and surprise, my LO wanted to be comforted all day and night, I finally weaned him off of day time feedings and struggled for months to not feed at night but it was the ONLY way I could sleep. I went insane from lack of sleep, I was absolutely depressed from all the pressure I out on myself and my marriage suffered. PHEW! We got through it, things got better and I became pregnant again!! Boy did my anxiety rise!!! My new LO is 11 months old and so far so good as I feel much more experienced, heck I only had a 7 Month break from breastfeeding. My biggest challenge now is pumping at work and working with women who have no children…that’s why I’m lucky to watch your stories while I pump at work and feed my baby at night – it’s something to look forward to. And I SO appreciate the subtitles 😉 You’re such a sweet soul and I feel so connected to you.
Well done mama! You should be very proud! Thank you for sharing & being completly vulnerable! I have a 3 and a half year old and a 7 month old. I have actually breastfed my 3 and a half year old all through my pregnancy with my son (hardest thing i have ever done) and now she is almost weaned. She had a dairy allergy when she was little & my goal was 2 with her. It clearly is so tough to wean a 2 year old. Haha. I miss ny freedom a little & have been toying with the idea of giving my little guy formula (we have 2 weddings coming up) … and would LOVE a night out with girlfriends & my hubby! Your blog has made me feel more comfortable with that idea and realize i am not alone for feeling so much pressure, etc. Thanks again!!
Thanks for writing this Ali:) sooooo many things you said was exactly how I felt, that mom guilt is a REAL thing!! I remember feeling so ashamed buying the first tub of formula. But so happy that I got to 8 months and tried to embrace that and put the mom shame away. My little guy is 9 months and a little chunker, similar to Riley actually, Those boys are so damn cute !! Anyways thanks 🙂
Thanks for sharing! I appreciate the honesty because I’m in the same boat. My baby is 11 weeks old and breast feeding is going well so far but I wonder about the future and how long it will last. I, like you, would love to make it to a year and am dreading the day I will supplement with formula which is crazy because my friends supplement with formula and I think it’s great and don’t look down on them for doing it but for some reason I look down on myself for the thought of having to use formula and it hasn’t even happened! I’m definitely going to have to look back on this post if I need to use formula to remind myself that it’s okay and I’m still a good mom.
Could not agree with you more! My second is 3 months and I also have a 2 year old singing “Let it Go!”. With my first I had to supplement at 4 months which was a disaster because she was allergic to most formulas! My milk production went way down after traveling overseas to see my husband’s family without my pump (I hated it by that point) and then the stress of evacuating for a hurricane was the end of this breastfeeding journey.
This time around I used a Hakka pump to extract milk from the other side while nursing. It was amazing for avoiding engorgement and now I have a whole freezer full of milk! I know already my supply has decreased a bit from my son sleeping longer at night. (Again, I avoid my pump at all costs) I feel better going back to work with a huge supply of frozen milk and now have a portable pump I’m happy to travel with. I feel more prepared this time, but still I’ll be very happy for it to be over. In the end, spending quality time with my children AND my husband is the most important thing. After nearly 3 years straight of pregnancy and nursing I’m also looking forward to my body being my own again.
Thank you for being so open with your journey. It’s so good to hear that all of our breastfeeding journeys are different and it’s all okay!
I had major mom guilt with my three boys. My first weighed over 9 pounds and I wanted to breastfeed so bad but he had a hard time latching on and I had no help or support. He was starving all of the time and I felt like a failure for not being able to breatfeed. I ended Up giving him formula and he was a happy camper. The same with my second son who was 9 pounds as well. When my third son was born, I went straight to formula and didn’t even try. All three are very happy and well adjusted. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves. It’s sad to me that women can’t just support each other and lift each other up.
I love following you and your family. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for doing what is best for YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! At the end of the day, it’s all about you four anyway. You have a precious family!!
Thanks for writing this Ali! I am currently 9 1/2 months in myself and I have all these guilty feelings too! I had to start supplementing when my son was 2 days old because of pressures from the hospital and that I wasn’t producing enough. We then had latching issues, and I solely pumped until he was 16 weeks old, when I decided I wanted to try to see if he would latch, and he did. We still supplement every so often bc sometimes I just don’t produce enough but at this point, it is what it is. 🤷🏻♀️
I am at the point however when I am asking myself, when will I stop. Will that be acceptable? And who I’m asking these questions for I have no idea but they are definitely weighing on me!
Thanks again for your open and honest post 💜
My son Easton turned 11 months old today! I had an extremely traumatic birth with him…HELLP syndrome with an emergency c-section and severe hemorrhaging. I pictured a lovely, simple breastfeeding life for myself. Reality was that my recovery was ROUGH! I exclusively pumped for 4 months. I needed the help with feedings. It was just not physically possible for me to be up all night with him. He got my breast milk for 6 months and he was just as happy to be getting formula as he was my breast milk. I felt guilt for maybe a day…but putting that pump away felt amazing! I still feel the need to justify at times why I exclusively pumped … but it’s no ones concern but my own!
I SO relate to all of this! My baby is 9.5 months and I was home with him for the first 6 months, making it so easy to breastfeed. My supply has dropped drastically the last month, and pumping at work is miserable! The “my baby never had formula” line was pressuring me to kill myself to make it a year just like you but I FINALLY started supplementing and it has changed my life <3 I’m still nursing and don’t know how long I will but your blog just spoke so much to me about all of this! Thank you for sharing your journey- I’ve been following along with you since we were pregnant with these boys and it’s been such a breath of fresh air!!
I breastfed my oldest daughter Austen (4 days younger than your Molly) until about 10 months but I had a frozen breastmilk stash that lasted until she was 13 months old. I have a 5 month old daughter Cora and I’ve managed to have an even bigger oversupply this time, and once I know I’ll have enough frozen to provide her breastmilk until she is a year, I will stop pumping and I will nurse until my supply runs out (I plan on that only being about a month, which was what happened with my oldest). I struggled with PPD my first time around, and a little bit this time as well. I know that when I stopped breastfeeding my oldest, my hormones finally got back to normal and I felt like myself again, so I’m really REALLY looking forward to stopping this time, too. I love my babies, and I’m so thankful I’m able to provide breastmilk for them, and I’m a lot like you… in competition with myself. Once I set a goal, I can’t NOT do it.
I used to stress so much with my first worrying that daycare would accidentally give her formula, so I sent extra bottles of breastmilk every day. Now, I know if they spill some breastmilk, I don’t care if they have to give her formula if there is an emergency. I’m honestly ok with that. I do admit I’m overly-obsessed with building my frozen milk stash, I keep track of every oz frozen in a spreadsheet, counting down the days until I can stop.
I know how fortunate I am to have an oversupply, so I’m trying to make the most of it. And Cora is my last baby, I know I will be sad when the time comes to stop, but knowing from experience… I’ll be SO relieved to have my body back, too!
Love your blog, thank you for sharing your story! Fed is definitely best and we all put too much pressure on ourselves. I wish I had the answer for WHY we do that when we are already going through so much after having a baby. All we can do is support each other!
God does this ever speak to me. I’m a first time mom and my son is just about 4 weeks old now. At 2 days post c section I had literally no milk so we had to supplement and I was devastated Everyone kept telling me that it’s normal after a section, everyone kept telling me it would come in. I did all the things everyone said to do to increase my milk supply but even now I still have a minimal amount. The first two weeks of his life all I did was cry because I felt like a failure. When I was pregnant I always said I have nothing against formula and a fed baby is best, regardless of how they’re fed. But when it came down to it I felt like I was an inadequate mother because I couldn’t provide for my son the way that I was supposed to. Finally I have accepted that he is simply going to get the little breast milk I have followed by formula because at the end of the day all that matters is that he gets the nutrients that he needs; his health is more important than my feelings.
Thank you for always sharing such vulnerable stories with us, I have so much love and respect for you ❤️
Thank you so much for posting, Ali. I tortured and guilted myself so much too. It’s nice to hear that I’m not alone. And that it’s a process. I fought so hard to breastfeed my first she had reflux and I had an over supply and we worked through it all even a nursing strike at two months and we made it to exclusively breastfed till nine months. And I cried so hard when she self weaned and had no interest in the boob except in the morning when she just woke up. I was so frustrated like didn’t she understand I was going to lose my supply?! But then I gave her formula and it was NBD. Except I always had that voice in my head saying I was a stay at home Mom and had no excuse not to make it a year. So cray. My second baby is six months now(my girls are 22 months apart) she only nurses in morning and at night for pretty much the same reason as Riley. I’m a slave to the pump and I’m so tired. I’m going to do my best to let go easier this time though. Sigh, motherhood-it hurts to love something so much!
I had my twins 3 weeks early so my milk just wasn’t ready. I really wanted to breastfeed but after 3 days my gut told me my babies needed to eat and if it had to be formula so be it. My milk finally came in but I decided to exclusively pump as it was too hard to know both my babies were getting enough milk and it stressed me out beyond belief. I pumped for 6 months and it was a lot of work, but it got to the point where I felt like I was missing time with my babies because I was always pumping.
I never realized how many women had problems breastfeeding till I had my kids, like you said Fed is best. No one should be shamed for how they feed their child.
I spent 7 years in grad school to earn a PhD and breastfeeding is hands-down the hardest thing I’ve ever done! We’ve been supplementing with formula since my 6-month old son was a few days old because my milk came in late and he lost a ton of weight. While I was home on maternity leave, he got probably 95% breast milk, but once I went back to work my supply took a hit! I was pumping 3x at work and only getting 6 oz total. My son drinks four 6-8 oz bottles at daycare! I was not even close to keeping up! I quit pumping at work and now just nurse 2x/day, but I felt a lot of strange emotions as I cut back! I totally relate to all the crazy things we feel as new moms! We are pretty happy with our current 2x/day schedule and I feel so emotional when I think about quitting all together, but I’m not sure how long I will be able to maintain a supply. We shall see!
Thank you so much for posting this! I have twins that will be 1 this month and I am really ready to be done..I have struggled with my supply from day one but I was determined I was going to make it a year. Thankfully I have some amazing friends that have oversupply and have donated my boys some milk which made me feel better. I have felt like a failure not able to solely provide them my milk. They have gotten formula as well. It’s so nice to see others going through the same thing.
I tried my hardest to breast feed my daughter. After the colostrum was gone…that was it. Nothing else. Our first night home, Alexandra was up ALL night just SCREAMING. And I was putting her to my breast and she would latch and suck and then fall asleep. Once I took her off, she would wake up screaming. I cried all night long. I begged my husband to go get her formula. He said to wait until we saw our pediatrician the next day (she had bad jaundice and had lost 9% of her weight in the 3 days since she had been born. Should have been our first sign.) So we waited. In my heart I knew she was starving. When we got to the peditrician’s office, she was weighed, and in the 4 days since she was born, she had lost an ENTIRE POUND! Her pediatrician literally ran out of the room, ran back in with formula and a nipple, scooped her up and she sucked down those 2 ounces like she hadn’t ate in 4 days. I was devastated. I sat in the floor of that room and sobbed. He told me to pump and not try on the breast until we got her weight up so we could monitor how much she was getting. So I pumped. After pumping for an ENTIRE DAY, I only managed to produce less than half an ounce. After a few weeks of that, we didn’t even bother trying anymore. She was strictly formula.
Postpartum anxiety(no one really talks about that) lack of sleep, soreness and trying to recover from c-sections did me in both times. I was supplementing from almost the beginning. I get it you don’t get much sleep but for me a little nap helped fight the anxiety. I felt extremely guilty but being so miserable was not working. I was breastfeeding, bottle feeding and pumping and second time around with a 3 year old made me have to stop early on because the stress was so high in the house. I’m convinced if I have a third I need to hire a night nurse. 🙂
I love that you shared this. I just had my second child 2 weeks ago and I have a daughter who is about to be 3. With my daughter my goal was a year as well – same reasons as you: that’s what was recommended and then at a year it was ok to switch to cows milk. I made it about 10 months. I had a job where I was at a desk 8 hours and I could close the door and pump away but then I passed the bar and started practicing and was in the courthouse everyday so I couldn’t pump as much. I started producing less and less so I didn’t have a choice but to supplement with formula. I was stressing about the cost on top of the mom guilt of not being able to provide the nourishment for my child and the loss of that special time with her. I managed to keep breastfeeding in the morning and at night but all throughout the day she was on formula. She loved the stuff and she did so well so it made it all that much easier to handle. This time around my goal is still a year but I know with my work schedule that is going to be hard. I’ve already started stockpiling pump sessions. I wanted a willow pump but my insurance doesn’t cover it so I’ve gotten a freemie. Hoping that makes pumping at work a little easier. If I have to supplement again I’ll be sad but know that it’s is best for my son.
I breastfeed and pumped til my son was 5 months, then I was full forced into work and exclusively pumped. I pumped & frozen milk until my son was 11.5 months. I was able to give away 7.2 cu filled with 5-10oz per bag of breastmilk to my son’s bday twin. At 11.5 months he had fresh and frozen and it took me 6-a month to not be engorged or get clogs. It took another 6 months thereafter to stop producing milk at all. Fed is best. No shame in the mom-ing game.
I absolutely remember when my twin girls were weeks old and I was with 2 other new moms whose babies were a few months older. They both made statements to the effect that their babies had never had formula. I was so naive that I was shocked! I breastfed/pumped for 6 months but supplemented with formula from the beginning. I remember feeling a huge wave of guilt after that conversation, that I would never be able to proudly proclaim that my children never had formula. Needless to say, I was able to eventually move past those feelings of guilt. But those words never left my mind!
I hated breastfeeding. It grossed me out. I did breastfeed for 7 months, but always did a few formula bottles as well as it was impossible to pump as much as I need. THhen one day I came home from work and was like “I’m done” and quit cold turkey and was so very happy about it!
Thank you for sharing your story. As a first time mom 5 months in I know the struggle is real!
Ha! Most comments ever
First time I’m commenting on here – nothing like breastfeeding/feeding to get mamas talkin. My little guy is 7 months and we had such a rough start with feeding. I knew latching was hard for us but I didn’t realize how little he was getting/growing until LC basically said he was borderline failure to thrive… I had to bite the bullet and supplement with formula when he was 1 1/2 months, and after lots of pumping he caught up and supply picked up and I could drop the formula. Ever since I’ve been pumping 5xday and as the weather gets nicer here in VT I’m itching to not have life revolve around the pump so I think we’re near the end of pumping too – so many mixed emotions, excited to be done but also going to feel like a huge “loss?”. Why do we beat ourselves up about this?! I’ve also created this horrible memory association with breastfeeding that I’m so nervous it won’t work out with future babies either. I try to remind myself that when they’re all grown up and playing sports or graduating high school etc, I’m never going to think twice about whether they had breast milk vs formula because that’s not what determines a happy healthy baby/kid, so why do we keep making ourselves think that?! Fed is best, normalize this discussion!!
This post hits so close to home!!! I have a 9 month old and went back to work when he was only 2 months old. I am mostly pumping and am a manager of a business which makes it hard to step away and pump sometimes. I used to have an over supply and I slowly noticed my over supply dwindle around 5 months. I remember when my son started sleeping through the night I would pump 8-9 ounces from one breast! I have cried so many nights because I feel like I’m starting to “fail” at breastfeeding and I always wonder if I’m giving him enough milk. I buy all the vitamins out there that are supposed to help increase your milk and nothing has worked. I was the same and had a goal of 6 months but secretly hoped for a year. I feel like I’m sooo close but yet so far away from making it. I feel guilty because I see myself looking forward to no longer pumping and can’t wait until he’s a year old… how sad is that!?!? It’s such an accomplishment to have made it this far breastfeeding. Think about how long 10 months is! Thank you so much for writing this blog. I follow all your posts on Instagram and read all your blogs, I don’t do this with anyone else.
First, thank you for being real and honest about such a personal journey! This entire post resonated with me. Every word. Even when you said typing it out was freeing but brings up guilt again. It sounds contradictory but it’s so true.
I nursed both of my babies exclusively until returning to work at around 4 months (with the occasional bottle for date night of course). When I went back to work, I felt guilt. When I started using bottles more than nursing, I felt guilt. When I had to dig into the freezer supply bc I couldn’t pump enough in the day, I felt guilt. When I eventually switched to formula (at 10 months with both), I felt guilt. I will say it was easier the 2nd time around but it was still hard to let go of that immense pressure.
I am also so competitive with myself and really cared that I had said I would do it a year. What would people think that I couldn’t do it for a year? How does it change how I think of myself?
We should be celebrating happy healthy babies and not measuring to this standard we set for ourselves. But I’ve been there. I get it. It’s real. It’s raw. And if you let it, it can steal the joy of nourishing your baby!
Thanks again for sharing!
Our boys are a month or so apart in age so I’ve been right there with you since you announced your pregnancy. He has a big sister as well, so we are kind of Mom twins! I breastfed my girl for 15 months – it was amazing. I worked from home and was able to do that effortlessly. With my son, Finn, he struggled with latch and I made the decision at about 4 weeks to exclusively pump. He will be 10 months next week and I’m still exclusively pumping about 24-30 oz a day. I no longer work from home and have a job that has me driving all over the huge city of Houston. I pump in my car often or at night after everyone is asleep and do whatever I can to keep it going because of that mom guilt. This post really spoke to me and made me feel proud. And made me feel that if it gets too hard that it’s okay to stop. Thank you Ali. Xoxo
Reading this has me in tears (both good tears and sad tears) because I am really struggling with this today. My son is a few days shy of being 8 months old and breastfeeding has been such a journey for us. It was so, so tough at the beginning that when it finally got easier I swore I would get to a year. Well just this last week his second tooth has started coming in and he has started biting me while nursing. I am telling myself I can work through this and it won’t last forever but gosh it hurts. Not to mention I worry about him getting enough milk and gaining enough weight. I think I am putting more pressure on myself to keep going than anyone else would, but so much of what you wrote is exactly how I am feeling today. I fought so hard to get to this point I am not sure I am ready to be done. But worrying about supply as well as those little teeth sure make me want to be done ha. Thank you so much for being so honest because it helps so much to hear other mom’s stories!
I was reading your breastfeeding journey with Molly and you said your supply started to drop when you hit about 81/2-9 months which is now happening to me. I exclusively breast feed my daughter and there were so many times I wanted to stop but than she got a milk allergy and I couldn’t give her regular formula and I didn’t want to give her soy. The pediciatrian said the best thing to do is breast feed her so I gave up diary… I started drinking almond milk in my coffee and made lots of changes. Now that she is eating solid foods I feel like she’s still drinking as often which is 5 times a day but not drinking for a long period of time. I work in the office two days a week I’m home the other three and she takes 2 8oz bottles and I only pump 4-5 oz at a time and only in the middle of the night if I try to pump after a feeding I get nothing and now I feel like I’m only getting 4oz when I use to get oz.. I want to keep going until she is a year when the allergy might pass… do you have any helpful advice how to boost supply or maintain?! Or what you did with Molly when your supply got low?
Thanks for sharing, even though it was tough to talk about!
I too agree FED is best and am so so offended for all parents by the term breast is best.
I’m grateful I was capable of producing milk. Yes, the health benefits, but also IT’S FREE!
With my 1st child I had oversupply and that was an adventure to adjust to. Fortunately I had a ton of help from various lactation consultants. I had so much milk that I never worried about wasting any. Ever.
My job is fast paced and making time to pump made me feel like a lunatic every day, so beginning the weening process at 6 months and finishing at 7 felt good to me.
I needed to be in a healthy mindset to be the best mom I could, and taking that stress out of my day was so worth it.
With my new baby my supply was instantly not as good, which was shocking to me as I had SO much before. It’s crazy that it’s just not always the same from one child to the next. I stubbornly pulled out every trick on earth to boost it back to life. And it worked! Hydration is key. Coconut water among tons of other things really helped me.
I think the lower supply added to my post partum anxiety and depression – so when 6 months hit I just needed to stop for my own sanity. One time I spent all night screaming and crying my brains out at my poor husband when I saw he accidentally left 8 ounces out to spoil. If this happened during the last kid’s oversupply time it wouldn’t have phased me. My hormones were out.of.control and getting the best of me.
Single handedly keeping a person alive with my own body, with a bigger toddler and full time job and a commute, was so nuts and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I couldn’t be more relieved that it’s over.
I hope your post shows women they can do what’s best for themselves and their families with no judgement. I don’t remember where I read this but loved when someone said – when you look at a 30 year old are you able to tell if they were breastfed or not? So true.
Ali, it’s amazing that you were able to do something so difficult for so long. Congrats on getting through it.
It’s really nice going through the exact same things at the same time with you and this community!
I so appreciate your vulnerability. I am a chronic comparer…and your right about it being our own journey and it all looks different from everyone else. I’ve particulaely struggled with the breastfeeding comparison because it was so hard with my first, she didn’t want to at all. It got easier with each baby, but my supply was always just lacking. I struggled big time with feeling guilt over not making it longer than a few months…but I had to let it go as well. Thank you for sharing your heart and being an encouragement to me tonight ❤️!!
I wish I had an amazing breastfeeding journey. I didn’t. I wanted so badly to be that breastfeeding mom, I worked in labor and delivery at a baby friendly pro breastfeeding hospital. With my first everything seemed ok and then he started spitting up constantly, a lot, from end of feeding to beginning of the next. He would soak himself and me, I used receiving blankets as burp rags. My pediatrician wasn’t concerned because he was gaining weight. I was feeding him constantly. I changed my diet, lotions, positions you name it. It was suggested that I do 5-10 min on, burp, then continue feeding. Then try upright feeding as well. I couldn’t leave the house, feeding took 45 +min. Then I started having severe pain. I finally stopped at 2.5 months cold turkey. I cried, like you wouldn’t believe. I felt like a complete failure, I had a great supply and couldn’t understand why I was having these problems. I couldn’t take it anymore and pumping wasn’t working. My breasts just didn’t respond well to the pump. Turns out my son was undiagnosed lip and tongue tie, not sever, but bad enough. My second was a lazy feeder on one side wanted to be laying down in my lap, leaning forward over him so it would basically pour into his mouth. I stoped at 3 weeks with him. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, to much pressure is put on moms. Yes it’s best if it works for both of you. At the end of the day fed is best however that happens. I give you major props for lasting as long as you did with both. Your doing an amazing job and are a great mother. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
Thank you so much for writing about this topic! I had my Son in June and had every hope and dream to breast feed him as long as possible, but I simply couldn’t keep up with him. I was put on medication to help me produce, ate every food that was supposed to help produce more milk and pretty well anything in my power but it just simply wouldn’t work. I made it 8 weeks and felt like such a failure, because my sister was able to make it 16 months with her daughter! My husband also came from a family where it was considered frowned upon to give your child formula at all, so I felt extreme guilt and shame from him when I decided to feed my son formula exclusively as my doctor had informed me that my body simply wasn’t made for breast feeding. I am now expecting my second, due in October and I am already having anxiety about having to run after a toddler and potentially breast feeding a newborn! I have no shame in having my second be formula fed, however, I don’t want to feel the shame and guilt surrounding breast feeding that I had felt with my first child.
My first baby was born at 11 pounds…he was so big, and breastfeeding never came easy to us. At 3 months he was eating every 10 minutes….it was miserable. I just was not producing enough for such a big baby. I made the choice to switch formula and it was 100% the right decision, but it took until he was a year and a half before I stopped feeling guilty. I think that’s because that is when people stopped asking me if I was breastfeeding, and stopped giving me looks, and they stopped trying to give me advice on what I could have done differently to breastfeed longer. I think a lot of the guilt comes from outside expectations!!! I think we forget that every baby is different, and every mom is different, so breastfeeding is going to be different.
I had major mom guilt because 3 weeks after my c section I woke up and I was completely dry. I immediately freaked and said “how are we going to feed him?!?! Im a terrible mom!” My husband immediately calmed me down, called our pediatrician for a recommendation of formula and told me that as long as we have a happy and healthy baby, no more complaints. I put so much pressure on myself (especially siche my hubby was deploying in a week or so) that I was only focusing on bad instead of the happy baby and hubby.
I had a 25 week baby (he is perfect now) the nicu gave me a TON of pressure to pump him milk. I was able to give him exclusive breast milk until 2 weeks before he came home. He started eating SO much I just couldn’t keep up and tried everything. I was already so upset and have ptsd from the nicu he stayed in for 112 days. When he came home I tried to pit him to the boob but long story short I only made it til 4.5 months. I felt like a complete FAILURE and worries about how much the nicu told me he needed my milk. I’m still upset about it but also know that I did do my dam best and am just so lucky to have him and he will be ok!! Love you ali!!
Thanks for shedding light on the mom guilt! I only made it 3 months with my first and I felt like a complete and total failure. I had bad ppd, my daughter was constantly cluster feeding and no matter how much she fed was still not gaining weight. She was very colicky and between the feeding every 20 mins, my sore bleeding nipples, the screaming, and the lack of sleep my mental state got to a point where I couldn’t do it anymore. I was embarrassed of myself for not being able to do it as long as others but my daughter needed a happy healthy mama! 2nd and 3rd were different stories! Fed is best ☺️
You are amazing, Ali!!!
My son was born 4 weeks early and couldn’t latch. He was also severely tongue-tied (which wasn’t discovered until he was 12 months old) and had a myriad of other health challenges. I decided from birth that I would exclusively pump. I had the good fortune to be a stay-at-home parent so it was something I felt I should try to do. I did this for 16 months. Due to his tongue issues, he wasn’t even able to eat infant oatmeal until 15 months (after months of speech and swallow therapy.) It was the hardest thing I ever did but also the most rewarding. I was beyond lucky that my milk supply kept up with my son all the way to 16 months. We always had formula at home, in case we needed to supplement.
However we feed our babies should be celebrated and supported! Thank you for sharing your story! You are such an inspiration to me! Thank you!!!!
I really enjoyed reading your story, Ali! I truly think breastfeeding is a huge commitment probably regardless of how easily it comes. I struggled with supply and had to supplement from the beginning. I made it to almost 9 months like this and babes seems to have decided on her own that she prefers the bottle now. I cried a bit as I fed her for what I decided would be the last time but feel proud of how far I made it considering how hard it was for so long. I can also say fed is best and truly believe it but wanted to exclusively breastfeed so bad! Being a mom is the best and hardest thing!
I loved this blog! I’m 7 months with a low supply trying to push through. I told myself 6 months but here I am a month later crying at the thought of stopping. The guilt!! I do supplement and I do totally agree that a fed baby is the best but I still feel guilty going 100% formula. I keep telling my husband I’m waiting for a moment when I feel ready but I’m not sure if that will happen! I really really enjoyed reading this and it feels good hearing someone understands what I’m going through!! 🙂
Ali! Thank you so much for always being so open and sharing your journey. My first daughter I felt like nursing was going well then she wasn’t gaining weight. I felt pressure from lactation nurses that I had to keep going-nurse, pump, nurse, pump. ( I hate how the pump makes me feel) I felt so much pressure. Finally, my baby’s pediatrician said, “It’s okay- she will be just fine on formula she needs to be fed!” A huge weight lifted and I knew yes my baby needs to be fed. Do you know we were both so much happier?! I made it to 6 months with her and so proud.
Now, second sweet baby girl we have made it to a year!!! She is just now at the point where she needs to start bulking up more. But I am so proud of myself to be able to experience this for a year. It’s sad to say goodbye to nursing. But thankful both my girls are healthy and happy!
When I was pregnant with my first baby, I had no intention of breastfeeding, which a lot of people had very strong opinions about. But when I had her, some primal instinct to nurse her kicked in. Once I got passed the painful 1st couple of weeks, I too, was determined to nurse for a year. And i actually ended up nursing for 15 months, with the help of some formula occasionally because I loathed pumping. But like you, a mom friend mentioned to me with such judgement that her kids were NEVER formula fed and it always stuck with me. So when I had my second baby, I assumed that nursing would be as easy as it was with my first. And I was wrong. I nursed my sweet baby for 10 days, before a number of things lead me to trying formula. She loved it and was so much happier being bottle fed than breastfed. But the mom guilt hit me hard, those words from my mom friend screamed in my head constantly…. so for months I rarely slept, waking up all hours of the night, in between bottle feedings to pump, pumping day and night so I could give her a mix of breast milk and formula. I was miserable and not willing to accept that fed is best. I lived like that for months before I finally gave in, quit pumping and just exclusively formula fed her. But the shame and guilt I felt every time I made her a bottle in public or when I had to tell daycare I wouldn’t be bringing in breast milk anymore, would nearly bring me to tears. Even now, she’s 2.5 years old, happy and Healthy and I STILL feel guilty. I’m happy for you that you were able to let go of that guilt! One day, hopefully I can too.
Thank you so much for your honesty and openness. My daughter was born prematurely at 28 weeks, she was 2 pounds, and I pumped 8 times a day to provide her with breast milk to be fed through her feeding tube while she was in the NICU. But when it came time to actually try breastfeeding, we tried…..and she was just not big enough or strong enough to do it and it was so stressful for both of us. She was so tiny and the bottle was easier for her….and what was important was that she was eating and growing because she was still so tiny. I couldn’t keep up the pumping 8 times a day once we got home with her and we eventually had to make the decision that formula was just the right decision for her. I had so much guilt around it….and people kept telling me to keep trying, accompanied by well-meaning comments that were intended to be encouraging, like “Nothing can replace the bond you gain through breastfeeding.” It made me feel like less of a mother. But here’s the thing….my daughter THRIVED on the formula. She is now almost 2 years old and has completely caught up on the growth charts and milestones and she is healthy and strong. I couldn’t be more grateful, and looking back I realize that I did exactly what was right for MY daughter and that’s what matters! I think breastfeeding is wonderful if it’s an option, but it just isn’t for some people, and that’s ok! Thank you for sharing your story. I appreciate your perspective and honesty so much. You are such a pleasure to follow on your blog and instagram!
Hi Ali! I have a 9 month old baby boy and I am currently exclusively breastfeeding. The great formula debate has been going on in our house for a while now and I am starting to go back to work so my milk supply is dwindling. It has given me so much anxiety and stress. Your post gave me so much hope and relief that I’m not alone. Do you have any specific recommendations on how to slowly introduce formula as far as times of day ? or what brand you used?? I’d love to know your thoughts. Thanks for all you share. You and your beautiful family are an inspiration.
Thanks so much for this post! Not sure if someone already asked ( lots of comments!) but I was wondering how Riley dealt with you stopping? I made it to 9 months with my daughter ( which I am proud of) but we are supplementing with formula now during the day while I’m at work. The problem is she won’t let me stop breastfeeding! She will grab my shirt, scream and cry until I give in 😕 I’m so ready to be done, but I feel like she’s not ready, which makes it really tough. Any advice??
Thank you for this post! This is so hard for me to read cause I felt shame every damn time someone asked me about breastfeeding,I had twins last year and breastfed them only for a month,and started formula already at hospital because they were loosing weight soo fast and much it became dangerous. Also i had emergency C section so my mom hormones and milk didnt hit in! I remember all the stress that breastfeeding caused,every time milk fall out of my breast I runed to give it to babies,every time I had to choose which one will get mommys milk, I was pumping for hour and only 30ml came out!I was keeping that milk like a treasure and split it to half for my girls!I remember once my cat accidentally spilled the milk and I was so angry! I felt like a looser mom,who cant feed her babies, I felt like a looser every time someone asked about it,and people ask a lot about breastfeeding(and i dont know whay that is so interesting),also doulas and people in lectures pushes us to breastfeed as only healthy option-i was reading at night all the things that could happen if i dont breastfeed-sickness,weak immunity etc and was so scared. Once we went to ete doctor as one of twins eyelid was bit red and she said: “ well what do you want id you dont feed your baby yourself” in such a nasty tone,I was crying sooo hard in the car! my daughters will be 1 after a month and I hope questions about breastfeeding will go away.And only hurtfull comments about C section and “that it doesnt count as giving birth” and “soo you didnt get the pain and dont understand us” will stay (and there will be a day when I dont care about that too).
Thank you for sharing this!
I am exclusively breastfeeding my son. I made it to 11 months. I am starting work soon and I bought a pump to be able to do it until he is at least 12 months. I find it very difficult to pump unfortunately.
I think I am ready to start on formula but my husband does not agree and he puts more pressure on me. He makes me feel guilty.
Nothing is mentioned about husbands in the comments that I read so far. Are yours involved in your breastfeeding journeys as mine is? I feel he should not be.
Yes,mine was also very pushy for me to try harder,he thought that he is motivating me,but actually he just made everything worse,I definitely didnt felt the support I needed. Stay strong!
I’m so sorry to hear that you husband is making you feel that way. I’ve been so lucky that Kevin fully supported whatever decision I made. I hope your husband can see the sacrifice you have made for the last 2 years of you life by being pregnant and nursing for so long! You’re amazing!!!!
My breastfeeding journey was SO tough. I spent the first few months with my child struggling because I didn’t produce much at all. He had low blood sugar so we had to supplement from the beginnging, which in my head made me feel like a failure right from the start! 3 months in we met with my lactation specialist, and she asked if I felt like I needed her permission to stop. I almost did – which was crazy now thinking about it! She told me “Just enjoy your baby. You’ll never get this time back.” No one had said that yet. Ever. I spent so much time stressing and sobbing that I missed so much. He is now 6 months and has been thriving on just formula. We all have different journeys, but they’re all beautiful. Congrats on you fighting through the tough times – your babies are beautiful!!
Thanks for sharing! I breastfed for a week and pumped for a month. I had twin daughters and it was next to impossible. I had no time for myself plus I was producing so much milk that I was constantly in pain. I love formula! My kiddos didn’t get sick until they were a year old, they slept through the night at four months, anybody could feed my babies, and I could drink wine whenever I wanted! Before I had my babies I promised myself if it didn’t come easily I would quit and I’m so so glad I did.
Good for you for making the best choice for your family!!!! I think that’s so wonderful!
Thank you for sharing your story!! I am currently breastfeeding my 4 month old son and I absolutely love it. But you’re right it’s HARD work. It was so hard in the beginning learning and getting him to latch it took like 4/5 weeks!! I love how raw and honest you are. Again thanks for being so open with your followers I think you’re really helping a lot of moms out
I am so overwhelmed with love from all of these beautiful stories!
My little guy is 10 months and we started supplementing recently with 1 bottle of formula per day due to low supply. The first time i gave him formula i CRIED. The guilt was so overwhleming. I want to breastfeed him 18 months but tell people 1 year in case we come short. Here in Canada we have an incredible breastfeeding support… at the beginning i saw 3 different lactation consultants, nurses, doctors, etc. We battle low weight gain, pain, nursing strike and now low supply. Its hard!!!!
The only thing that made me feel better about the formula is that i spent HOURS researching the best formula for him. I ended up finding HIPP formula.. its besically known as the single best formula in the world. I import it into Canada from Germany. It tastes just like breastmilk and my little guy loves it.
Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing!! I’m 2 months into my breastfeeding journey & it’s still so hard. Due to some health complications we had to start supplementing formula when our baby was still in the hospital after delivery & my milk supply is still trying to work up to my baby’s needs. I was fine supplementing in the hospital when my baby NEEDED it…but I’ve been surprised at how much unnecessary guilt I’ve been feeling over the fact that I still supplement a little bit 2 months later. The mom guilt is real. Thanks for the reminder that this feeling isn’t unique to me & is not founded in truth!
2 months in! Congrats mama! Isn’t having a little more wonderful,scary, exhausting, magical and a million other things all at once?!
I def get the mom guilt when it comes to breastfeeding! I was determined to make it 6 months with my daughter who is also named Molly 😊 but we only made it 6 weeks, she was a very aggressive feeder, she would latch on and rip her head around and make me bleed non stop. I figured it was something I was doing wrong so I had a Lactation specialist come to my house to try to help and she said I was doing everything right that my daughter was just an aggressive feeder. I kept trying a few weeks after that but I would literally be crying and she would be turning red and ripping her head around, I would get immediate stress every time I knew she was ready to eat again. We were both miserable but like you said the guilt of stopping is real and I felt like a terrible mom if I couldn’t push through. Eventually my husband told me that I should stop bc it wasn’t good for either of us and after many crying sessions in the shower while my milk dried up I finally was ok with it. She was happy with the formula and I wasn’t in pain and I could enjoy my daughter and not be so stressed and hurting. So fed is definitely best and it’s different for every women and I do think the hormones are wired in us to make us want to breastfeed, that along with society’s outlook on it puts tons of pressure on women. I plan on having another child at some point and I am still going to start out with an open mind about breastfeeding bc every baby and every experience is different but I know now that it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t work out 😊
I enjoyed reading about your experience, it’s so good to let women know the good and the bad about breastfeeding bc it’s not always that amazing experience you see on tv and in movies of women laying in a field of flowers feeding their baby and making it look magical 😉
Thank yoiu for sharing your story. And you’re so right. It’s not a “rainbows and butterflies” experience. There are ups and downs. Some have more ups, some have more downs.
Currently 5 months into my breastfeeding journey with my daughter. I, too, feel stress and anxiety about if she’s eating enough or I’m producing enough because it’s hard to tell at times but I try not to let my guilt get the best of me. She is happy and healthy which is all that matters. I will do it as long as I am able to or to a year. Formula does get a bad name, I even catch myself cringing when I think negative things about it too. Even though I was a formula baby myself and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it! Mom guilt is the worst. I’m happy other mother’s experience the same things. Your story made me feel better! Thanks for sharing, Ali!
I was in the same boat! I have 2 little girls, now 4 and 1. I knew I wanted to try breastfeeding with the first one, and once we figured it out, I lasted one year. Man was that hard! To say it is a labor of love is an understatement. When our second one came along, I felt like I owed her the same thing – one solid year. I was not anticipating the difficulty with the second child. The work doesn’t double. I swear it quadruples. Plus working full time, and not being a milk super-producer made it so much harder. We ended up supplementing with formula the last few months. And you know what? My girls are happy and healthy and fine. At the end of the day, if they are fed and growing, that is all that matters. Being a momma is a wonderfully difficult job. We are ALL doing an amazing job!! ❤❤❤
My first (and only baby so far) was a lot like your bf journey with Molly. I was determined to make a year! and like you I started to feel a dip in supply around 8 or so months. and started to stress about how i was going to make it to a year. But somehow I kept getting just enough, i pumped 3 times a day at work and again before bed as well as bf’ing in the evening and if there was a night wake up. pumping is soooo much work! so many kudos to the moms who had to only pump from the beginning, you are AMAZING! I can’t even imagine waking up in the middle of the night to pump, its unreal. so around 10 months I was just starting to breakdown mentally from the stress of it all. i decided that a month before his first birthday we would start weaning. I was very anti giving him formula but I decided mentally and emotionally and physically I needed that grace. so at 11 months i started mixing formula, a little more each week so by the time he turned a year i was done pumping, he was drinking 100% formula bottles and we only nursed right before bed. a couple weeks after his first birthday I stopped that too. i tried a couple times and he wasnt ready but one night he didnt fight it and took the bottle before bed fine. I was just so done and ready to have my body back and stop stressing about there being any milk in there for him. the idea of doing it all again when I have another baby overwhelms me! congrats to you for doing it all again for 10 amazing months!
My baby girl is 4 months old right now and we’ve had such a tough journey! She was latching perfectly but never got all of my milk, so im basically exclusively pumping now with an occasional breastfeed. It was super hard at first for me to be okay with, but I realized it’s what works for us and gets her fed! Thank you for this post. I think as momma’s we don’t talk enough about our feeding journeys. If we did, it would help us all not feel so alone!
I breastfed my first born for only 3 months. I had to stop because I had to do chemo treatments since I had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. (Don’t worry cancer free now 😊) I’m currently breastfeeding my now 11 week old daughter. My goal with her is to be breastfeeding/pumping until she is a year old. I will supplement with formula if I have to but I want to do a year since I couldn’t with my firstborn.
Thank you for your post Ali, as you can see it has touched a special spot for many Mom’s, including me!
I have a four month old baby boy who started daycare this week as my 16 week maternity leave has come to an end (talk about another Mom guilt issue!) I recently started supplementing in some formula because I worried that if he stayed strictly on breast milk my frozen stash would get used up too fast and that would be that. So I currently breast feed him in the morning, he takes half breast milk and half formula at daycare, I breast feed his dinner, and Dad gives him a bottle of half and half at night ( I have found this helps him sleep longer!) This has worked great for our family because I can continue to feel the accomplishment of breastfeeding, Dad can be involved, and if I want a night out with the girls (which is important to me!) I don’t have to worry about his feeding as I know he is perfectly happy with the stashed half and half. I hope I can continue this routine when I go back to work but if my breast feeding journey comes to an end sooner then I would have hoped I am ok with that. I believe our bodies are so powerful and we have to be thankful for what they allow us to do. Some can make it a year-great, some can make it 6 months-great, some can’t do it at all-that’s ok too. All we can do is give it our best! I have a happy and healthy little boy regardless if he eats breast milk or formula, and that is really what it’s all about!
Thank you again for sharing your story. We all have our own story to share and you’ve created an open and safe place for Mom’s to do that.
I needed to read this more than you know so thank you so much! ❤️ My daughter is almost 5 months old and our breastfeeding journey has been anything but “natural” like we all have pictured in our heads before we even have children. Before I returned to work she began refusing to nurse during the daytime. She would just scream and not latch but during overnight hours she was too sleepy to care and I am still able to nurse overnight. I can distinctly remember a time at my in laws where Lena wouldn’t latch and I was so upset because I had convinced myself I was a failure for not being able to feed her at the breast and I sat on the floor with my pump and just cried as my husband attempted to calm her. That was my breaking point where we began primarily pumping during the day and only nursing at night. My supply has always been poor so there were nights I would panic at the thought of not having enough milk for her next day at daycare. Sitting up in the wee hours of the night just trying to get another ounce between her night feedings praying she didn’t wake up after I had just finished. I knew of mommas who literally could pump the equivalent of a gallon of milk per day and here I was obsessing over each ounce. I finally started to supplement with formula and the relief was unreal. We are still on this journey but it is certainly comforting to be able to relate with others. Our babies are proud of us regardless.
Reading this as I pump for the 2nd time today for my 8 month old helps so much as well as reading everyone’s comments! It’s so nice to know I’m not alone in stressing about when to pump and if we’ll have enough milk. I also worry about wanting to stop breastfeeding soon so I can feel like I have more time and less stress in my day but her being nowhere near ready. We all go through the same guilty feelings and it helps when we share them!! thanks for always being so truly honest Ali
I am so thankful for you sharing this! My son is 6 months old and I really struggled with postpartum issues after he was born and felt the most ridiculous pressure to breastfeed even though I had so many supply issues. It made me resent him almost for being tied down to a pump what felt like all.the.time. I even lied to people and wouldn’t feed him anywhere other than home so no one knew I was supplementing! I finally decided to wean and since I did I feel like a new woman, our relationship has been so much more positive and I absolutely LOVE being a mom. I knew in my mind it was ridiculous but the pressure and mom guilt was so overwhelming but now I am happy and I have a happy, healthy baby and it is wonderful to know I was not alone in this. THANK YOU!
I love this post. Never feel bad about taking care of your children. Every mother is different and everyone is just doing the very best that they can.
When I was breastfeeding my shame came from doing it too long. I got a lot of crap for breastfeeding as long as I did, but I loved the bonding and as long as I was producing milk I was going to keep on breastfeeding. I breastfed my son for over two years and do not regret it.
Never regret your choices!
This post is amazing! With my first I was only able to breastfeed for 3 months, so I was determined with my second to nurse longer. With my second, I was able to nurse until she was about 9 months before switching to formula. As a working mom, the guilt was real – but FED is absolute best. When I had my third, I had NO desire to nurse. Like you, it didn’t help that I now was chasing a 4 and 2 year old and sitting in silence while nursing my newborn seemed impossible. Thankfully, when I told my husband how I felt, he put my right at ease and said “do whatever you think is best.” So, my third has only been formula fed and I have no regrets! It’s so sad we live in a world where we as mothers have to deal with such an enormous amount of pressure from ALL sides! It’s posts like these that let us all know we’re not alone!
Ali, I’m so proud of you! You are an awesome mama and an inspiration to me.
I was not able to directly nurse my twins due to latching issues and because I was outnumbered. So I exclusively pumped and also supplemented with formula until they were 1 year.
My next baby I was able to directly nurse and fell in love with breastfeeding! It’s exactly the relationship I had wanted the first time around. I started to decrease milk by around 9 months, and I was sick of pumping at work all day, so I switched to only nursing for morning/bedtime and she drank formula during the day. It was a great choice for us! And currently still nursing morning/bedtime at 14-months.
I agree with everything you said except that ‘Fed is best.’ Scientifically, breastmilk and breastfeeding is the healthiest food for an infant and their long term health. I would change the statement to ‘Fed is acceptable’ or ‘Fed is adequate.’ But to put a superlative on it and to say Fed is better than other feeding methods/foods, is not a factual statement. What I believe is best, is a healthy happy mom and baby, so in that case all moms should make the decision that is right for them considering all the various factors in their lives. But the blanket statement of ‘Fed is best’ is misleading I feel. Congratulations to you on your breastfeeding journey and for being able to provide Riley with breastmilk as long as you did. You made such a fantastic sacrifice for him and I hope
you benefited from the experience as well.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your breastfeeding journey with both kiddos. I have a two year old daughter and a now two month old daughter. With my oldest we started out rocky with latching issues and my nipples were absolutely torn apart. I am talking scabbed over and nurses taking me into a room with a needle trying to pick at clogged milk ducts. There would be weeks where all I could do is pump because the thought of having my daughter breastfeed made me cringe just thinking of the pain I would be in and I would just cry. After months of this we were finally able to find a groove with each other and I was able to breastfeed for 15 months. I cried when our journey ended.
Now that this is my second journey with breastfeeding, I will go for as long as we can. This time around I am not pumping as much. (I honestly despise pumping. HA!) I am becoming more at peace with if we get to a point where we need to supplement or completely switch to formula. It will be OKAY. But I know there will always be that wonderful mom guilt to follow. 😉 . Heck, I felt mom guilt because I took five extra minutes to stop at Starbucks the other day instead of rushing home to my babies. AHHH….
Thank you again for sharing.
Can you write a review on the Willow?
I am in this situation right now 🙁 My nearly-8 month old drinks 30oz a day, which I’ve been able to keep up with, but now my supply is dropping; yesterday I pumped 24oz, an entire bottle short of what she needs. I have frozen milk, but definitely not enough to make it to 1 year. I’m thinking of adding formula this weekend to make up for what I can’t pump during the day, but it’s weighing so heavily on me. I know I’ve made it so far, but it’s killing me that I’ll get so close to a year without formula but won’t quite be able to make it.
I’m expecting a girl in a month—my second baby! It’s been nine years since my first, so I appreciate all this info so so much! Hugs mama
This is perfect! With my first two I had very low milk supply and was never able to exclusively breastfeed them. With my last, I was older, more educated and a RN with a background in Labor & Deivery, Postpartum, NICU as well as pretty extensive lactation education. I was determined to exclusively breastfeed him. He went to the NICU for the first 8 hours of his life, he was 3 weeks early and had a really hard time transitioning to the outside. Once given the chance that sweet boy immediately got the hang of breastfeeding and he loved it! I finally stopped breastfeeding him at 38 months. Was that my plan? No. My original plan was 1 year then we made that and next I said okay let’s aim for 2 years, we achieved that goal as well! We surpassed it! Then I went away for 4 days to my cousins destination wedding and thought wow this is going to be it, he is gonna self wean, I’m never gonna breastfeed again! Well that wasn’t the case! That first night home he screamed and cried to nurse for what was entirely too long, there was no soothing him, so I did it, I nursed him! We kept that nursing relationship up another 6 months. At that point we both got sick, I was on a slew of “safe” medications but explained things to him. Told him we needed to take a little break so we could both get better and that was it. He never asked for it again. He was ready! Breastfeeding is by far the greatest achievement of my life, i loved every moment of it but you’re so right, it’s not easy, not at all. It is however, worth every moment! I wouldn’t trade that opportunity for the world! Thanks for sharing your story and encouraging us to do the same. You’re truly amazing!
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences! I am breastfeeding my first son and I can relate to the every three hour feed or pump scenario because I do not have an oversupply! Did any supplements/foods work to increase your supply?
Thanks again for your openness! Xo
We formula fed both our boys from day one. I never had a desire to nurse…it just wasn’t for us. My boys are 10 & 7…amazing, strong, healthy, smart. You do you and what works for your family.
I think young mother’s today needed to hear your story. Twenty two years ago when I had my son I made the choice not to breastfeed for no other reason than I just did not have any interest in it. My pediatrician was on board. If young Mom’s today make that same choice other Mom’s should respect that and vice versa. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a great outlet for having support and sharing, but subjects like this are just such an individual choice, we just need to respect each other’s choices and support them. Kudos to all the young Mom’s today raising your children in such a different environment. Ali keep up the good work and girl, you should be so very proud of your breastfeeding journey with both your two cuties!
I REALLY needed to read this today! I have been BF and pumping for 9 months. Ever since my son started solids and changed to 2 naps my supply has gone down big time. It’s been so hard and I barely get anything when I pump now. I have been supplementing a little here and there but lately I do not have enough to give to my nanny the days she watches my son. It has almost been embarrassing that I have to supplement. My nanny is so not judgmental but it’s still so hard knowing I don’t physically have enough for her to feed my son. I thought for sure I’m doing this for a year, I’ll do whatever it takes. I take supplements, drink tons of water and it is still not helping and I’m exhausted. I’m going to give myself a break and do what I feel is best, nurse and pump a little and supplement. As long as he is fed I’m ok with ending this journey when it is supposed to end. But just saying that makes me feel sad, I don’t want to be done with it all. I hope I can keep up with what feels best to me and still have the special moments with my baby. Thank you so much for being so open. There are so many moms out there that need to read something that is real and honest! Xo
Breastfeeding was both amazing and stressful for me. There were times that I knew I would feel less pressure if I formula fed, but like you I felt pressure to breastfeed for a year. But once I did it, I was so proud of myself. People have said “you’re lucky, breastfeeding was easy for you.” But that’s not true. Breastfeeding is a challenge. Ive said it’s the most selfless thing I’ve done. I’m pregnant with #2 now. Although I know fed is best, I can’t help but still feel the pressure. So we’ll see how it goes. I enjoyed the post!
I’m still in it at 8 months. I have had to travel a bit for work and pumping and sending milk back has been SO stressful, but I told myself a year and really want to make it that far. I feel very similarly to you, I feel so much guilt and like I really have to make it a year, but I also truly believe that fed is best and don’t have a problem with other people giving their baby formula either. Mom guilt is so real!
This blog post meant so much to me. I am a first time mom, my son is a little over 3 months. I was only able to breastfeed my son for about 5 weeks. I felt horrible. I never felt so guilty and selfish in my life. He wasn’t gaining weight, he wouldn’t latch well on one breast, I was cracked and bleeding constantly. I had it set in my head I wanted to breastfeed, and that formula was “bad”. I wish I could say the 5 weeks I did breast feed were full of amazing moments and it was magical, but it wasn’t. Again, I feel guilt for saying I didn’t enjoy it. I couldn’t get past the exhaustion. I couldn’t get past the absolute pain I was in. Sometimes when I would try to feed him, right when he latched on I would instantly be in tears because of the pain and I just wanted to push through so bad. I was getting drained mentally and it was affecting my health. I tired pumping but even the pump hurt me over time. I told my husband I was considering going to formula because he wasn’t gaining weight and I was having such a hard time. I told him I was worried he would think of me differently, like I wasn’t a good mother anymore. All he said was “do it. You’re an amazing mother no matter what.” When I decided to go to formula for our son, I gave him his first bottle, he ate it. He loved it! And he was finally gaining weight! I got my sanity back.
I wish there wasn’t such a stigma on formula, because formula saved me as a mother and my son is so healthy and happy!
Thank you Ali for posting this.
My son made 10 weeks yesterday. I’m currently breastfeeding and pumping, I have a nice frozen storage because I go back to work in 2 weeks. I’m a mother baby nurse and work in a baby friendly hospital. I literally tell myself if I can get to 6 months I will be happy. I completely agree 100% that FED is BEST. I’m currently on antibiotics because I had back to back mastitis. Between my breasts in pain and the flulike symptoms that comes along with the mastitis I felt like pure death. The second time I was diagnosed I thought to myself I can’t keep getting this… I thought about other options mainly because my concern was I would end up with an abscess and admitted to the hospital:/ but I ended up pumping more, shower massaging the ducts etc. Also, since I’m returning to work soon we have been offering bottles more, I’m the only person he will not take a bottle for. He screams his head off for me:/ He knows his mama has the milk:) anyways your blog and everyday mom struggles really hit home. Thank you for sharing your story!
My story is a little different, but much the same in many ways, because I can relate to the mama guilt all day long. I nursed all three of our babies for a year to 15 months, but I was super lucky that I has tons of milk, easy nursers, infrequent and short-lived biters (and I only pumped with our first baby, so that took a lot of headache and stress out of the equation too). Those pink bags of milk you posted made me hurt just looking at them, so I’m amazed you kept going and going, despite the reoccurrence. You are a warrior and that mom guilt can be powerful. 😩 Anyway, I didn’t supplement with my first at all, barely did with my second (probably 20 bottles or so of formula), but my supply completely dropped (as did a ton of weight) when my daughter was 7 months old because of a huge, stressful family drama, and I was beside myself. I was so worried I would have to stop nursing all together and my supply would never rev back up, and it was crazy how much it upset me and stressed me out. I had always been the same in that I would tell people anything they did at all was amazing, and to not beat themselves up if they struggled, or couldn’t, or chose not to breastfeed, but having had such an easy time with the first two myself, (and then suddenly having a huge struggle with our third) it was REALLY hard for me. I tried to relax and tell myself it would be okay if I had I quit, but it was very difficult actually convincing myself that I believed it to be true (even though I totally DID believe it for my friends). It was such a double and unfair standard I held myself to, and it broke my heart. I totally lucked out and my supply came back, and I actually nursed our daughter the longest (probably because she had formula from time to time like you mentioned, which gave me time to fill back up), but I do know that heartache and what it feels like to feel disappointed in yourself. And it’s crszy. We are now pregnant with our fourth baby (8 years since we had our last), 😳and I’ve had a breast lift/reconstruction in the interim since having our daughter because my boobs were saggy skin sacks after being pregnant or nursing for six years straight (I have huge mommy guilt over that too since I’m the mother of a daughter who we teach should never have her self worth tied to looks or body, and yet I had surgery out of total vanity, but that is a whole other bag of worms). Anyway, once we found out we were expecting another little blessing, I instantly panicked thinking I maybe wouldn’t be able to nurse this baby at all, but then reminded myself about how I felt when my supply got low and made myself take a deep breath. I’m committed this time to nursing if I can at all and being happy with what I can do, and not beating myself up if I can’t nurse or don’t have milk come in (which I’ve heard can happen when you have a lift or reduction because the nipple is removed). Sorry, tmi, but I know it will break my heart a little if I can’t nurse this time around, but I’m going to try, as hard as it may be, to remind myself that fed is fed, and loved is loved. So thank you for this post and great reminder. You should never feel like you have to justify anything, but do know you’re not alone in feeling this way., ❤️
I nursed for 3.5 months before I had to cut the cord. I was so fortunate that even after a NICU stay and having to supplement with formua early on that she latched easily and I produced more than enough milk. BUT it was making me CRAZYYYY (I felt isolated, grouchy, resentful, anxious- all the bad feelings!).
I felt so much guilt stopping bc I knew so many women who had such a hard time with it. But once I stopped and let go of the guilt I became so happy and back to myself again. I was finally able to give my best self to my new baby (and to my husband) which made our lives so much happier. My sweet girlfriend had to remind me not only is Fed best (whatever form that takes in your family) but a happy momma makes for a happy baby. We are expecting our 2nd baby this summer and the same guilty feelings are starting to creep in but I just have to remind myself Happy Momma = Happy Baby!
Thank you so much for sharing! I love breastfeeding stories like most people love birth stories (and I love those too🙈). Breastfeeding is so hard, and it’s so hard in so many ways. It’s hard to remember that fed really is best when you have crazy postpartum hormones in your body.
I honestly thought I was the only one going through this. I feel like we put so much on ourselves because of society. It would great if other moms wouldn’t give you the stink eye for not breastfeeding as long as them. The stress from others and myself caused such a dip in my supply, I would cry over it. My husband has been an amazing supporter and he keeps telling me “You did a great job, not too many women make it to the length you did.” I really felt like I was ending a relationship with breastfeeding, hurt just as bad. Your story just makes me feel like great to know I wasn’t the only one. I just wish we could support each other way more sometimes, because breastfeeding is already hard and why make it harder. Great Post!!!
Thank You for sharing! Always!
I only wish I could have had something like this to read when i was going through the Exact same feelings, guilt while knowing i should not feel that way and having the most amazing support from my husband. And promising myself after my first child i would not allow myself to go through the stress and anguish of that guilt with my next child…and yet it happened! Fed is best! Moms mental health is best!
Thank you for sharing your stories. My breastfeeding journey practically mirrored your experience with Riley (minus the bleeding), and I found myself tearing up while reading. My daughter is almost 15 months now, meaning I finished breastfeeding/pumping almost 5 months ago, and I’m surprised by how emotional I got thinking about it all again. Emotional because it was so stressful for me (wondering if she was getting enough, guilt from supplementing with formula, feeling selfish for stopping when I know my body could have gone longer but my sanity just couldn’t take it anymore).
Like you I believe fed is best. I genuinely supported all of my friends when they decided to stop breastfeeding or decided not to breastfeed at all. But when it was my turn, I was so hard on myself. I still feel guilt over not making it to that magical “one year mark”.
Your story gave me the reassurance I needed, the reassurance I so easily give to my friends yet can’t seem to give myself. Maybe I will add the “one year mark” phrase to your metaphorical bonfire and try to let it go too.
Well said! I’m a new mom who struggled to get pregnant and had to do IVF to conceive due to pcos, endometriosis, fibroids, and blocked tubes. I prayed all during my pregnancy for me to be able to breastfeed my baby because I wanted that experience for me and her. After delivery when my milk came in I was hit with a low supply and a tongue tied baby girl. Nursing was excruciating. My nipples were bruised and cracked and bleeding. I would cry when I fed her. The first week postpartum was spent meeting with many lactation specialists trying to get a better latch and increased supply. My baby was losing too much weight and cried non stop because she was hungry. I felt like such a failure because I couldn’t meet her needs. I cried ALL the time. I took supplements, I pumped after every feeding, I ate certain foods to boost my supply but it just wasn’t enough. We had to supplement with formula and it was a nightmare as well. She had a dairy protein allergy and we ended up going through six different formulas her first two months until we finally found one that didn’t cause gas pains, diarrhea, and vomiting. But now my baby is 3 months, healthy as can be, and FED. The pressure we put on ourselves is crazy. I finally realized that, and I’m perfectly fine now with the mindset of —I’ll give her what I can for as long as I can and formula can pick up the slack— She’s happy, Im happy, Hubs is happy… And that’s all that matters! Thank you for your post and honesty! Mama struggles are real, and it’s refreshing to read stories that remind you you’re not alone 🙂
Love your blog! I am a dietitian and was a breastfeeding coordinator at my last job so I feel the pressure to exclusively breastfeed and I was taught babies can always overcome latch issues. My baby is 8 weeks old and I’m exclusively pumping, since he has trouble latching. I try latching before pumping. He was a premie so has difficulty with his suck and has a heart defect (open heart surgery approaching) so he gets super tired trying to latch or bottle feeding my breast milk. He also has Down syndrome so he has low muscle tone in his mouth. I never thought I would have such a difficult experience or difficult pregnancy. I’m starting to realize fed is best and pumping is still great. I can still bond with him and provide my milk. Luckily so far, I am an oversupplier and am donating milk to the milk bank. This isn’t how I envisioned my journey. I feel guilty and judged in public for bottle feeding him my milk, which is CRAZY! I thought we could breastfeed on demand wherever and not have to deal with a pump, but this is my journey this time around and I’m realizing now I should be proud of the time and dedication so far. Thank you for your honesty, I think your story is beautiful! 🙂
Thank you for sharing ❤️❤️❤️ I hope you read this! I love how you addressed the mom guilt. People are so judgy about breastfeeding, it’s crazy. And you’re made to feel like something’s wrong with you if you don’t love it. I didn’t love breastfeeding. I didn’t feel any special bond with my child…just felt like a cow honestly. Breastfeeding exhausted me. It was so constant and I struggled with getting my baby to latch. When my baby was 3 months old, I got the flu and got very very sick. It decimated my milk supply…and honestly…I wasnt even upset about it. I felt extremely guilty though. It tore me up. I wanted to try and make it to 6 months and I failed. And I also felt horrible about having to buy formula now and increase costs for our family. It was a terrible time for me, I was so guilty all the time. But honestly, giving my baby formula made me a better mom!! I started leaving the house more (I had severe anxiety about breastfeeding in public and could never make it work) and I was just happier in general. I know I got some judgment for that, but I became a better mom when I stopped breastfeeding. We want to have another baby soon and I feel so much more prepared now for the next breastfeeding journey, and we’ll see how far I make it!
Oh, mama. The guilt is real! I feel like you were writing my story! I breastfed my first until 10 months but struggled from about 6 months on and had to start supplementing. My body simply does not respond as well to a pump as a baby. I firmly believe if I was a SAHM I could’ve breastfed a lot longer. The pumping is what killed me. I’m still breastfeeding my youngest who turned one a couple of weeks ago but I also had to start supplementing with her around 8 months. My youngest is eating all the solid foods now but because I know she’s my last baby, I’m just not ready to stop nursing yet. I only nurse when she wakes up and at bedtime but it’s our special time (even if her older sister is running in and out of the room yelling something or other). It’s proving hard emotionally for me to stop so I’m going to keep going until I’m ready to stop or she lets me know she is 🙂
Thank you so much for writing this. I love reading your posts!
My son was born at 36 weeks so he had a shallow latch and tired very easily. After about a month of pumping and trying to latch him I switched to exclusively pumping. I pumped for 11 months. The last few weeks I had to mix formula with my frozen milk stash to get my son to take it (I had high lipase so it tasted like soap!) and even that made me feel like a failure. My son is 1.5 now and I feel like a rockstar. Who cares if he got some formula?
Mothers are amazing. We always do the best for our children. You did the absolute best thing for both of your children, and both of them are happy and healthy and so are you!
Thanks again for sharing.
My 1st son was 9lbs, 9oz. I tried breast feeding only to have him constantly crying. Took him to the dr when he was 2 wks old, and come to find out he was losing weight due to not getting enough breast milk. Dr put him on formula right then and there. Plus, we started baby cereal, then applesauce, pears, carrots and squash-all before he was 2 months old!! Plus he had colic for the first 3 months!!
The 2nd son (8lbs, 9 oz) constantly vomited breast milk, any baby formula and then soy formula. But he kept his cereal, fruit and vegetables down! The dr had discussed possible surgery to fix the problem of not keeping any liquid formulas down. At 3 months, I switched him to 2% milk and the vomiting stopped!! The dr was even surprised and no surgery was needed!!
The 3rd son (8lbs, 4 oz) went right on formula. I had given up at this point. He had no issues with the formula and at 6 months switched to 2% milk as well as cereal, fruit, and veggies.
So there you have it!! Three different children and three different situations! Just remember no two children are alike and their little body’s react differently to feedings.
My baby girl will be 10 months old on the 14th, my plan/goal was to just breastfeed for her first year, no formula at all… but since I was home with her for a few months on my maternity leave I didn’t make a habit to pump enough to build up a supply for when I did go back to work, so once i did go back i had to supplement formula in when she went to my in laws and I went to work, but on my days off, I usually only work part time, 24-30 hours a week, I just breastfeed her, no formula on those days.. I have beat myself up so hard about giving her formula at all but the fact is, she has to eat to survive!! If I’m lucky to have more babies down the road I’m going to make a point to start pumping as soon as possible to hopefully have a good freezer stash and hopefully make the same plan/goal again!! And currently, my baby girl just got over an ear infection and was on antibiotics which in turn gave her Thrush and then passed it onto me, I really hope none of you mommies on here have got thrush, it freaking hurts, I’d say it hurts worse than the latch being off in the beginning of the breastfeeding journey!! Other than that, I would definitely breastfeed again if I’m able to , I really do believe breast is best!!🤱🏼
I have been following you from your Bachelorette days you have always been my favorite season!
I follow you on Instagram and your stories about motherhood and everything in between helps so much.
This post on your breastfeeding journey resonates so much with me. I’m a first time mum to a little boy who is 5 months old and I started out breastfeeding him. It came so naturally to me of course with the usual challenges of sore nipples and leaking milk. But I completely went through the whole stressing myself out: Is he getting enough milk? Why does he want to feed so often? Am I producing too little milk? How can I pump and build up a stash and still feed him on demand? Like being a mum isn’t stressful enough we constantly second guess ourselves and make it even more stressful.
I also did the whole buffer scenario where I told people 3 months because I didn’t want to seem like a failure.
I made it to 4 months of exclusively breastfeeding. I have decided to supplement with formula during the day and still give him breast in the morning and afternoons. Deciding to supplement with formula also gave me so much anxiety and like you I kept delaying it.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your honesty and openness about everything you are going through is something I really admire and appreciate.
I am right in the middle of nursing my third! I made it 6 months with my first but had to stop for medical reasons. Made it 9 months with my second, and now I am 8 months in with my third. I am definitely having supply issues. I am not an over producer. We have had to supplement with formula as I am back at work. But when I am home with her, I nurse. She also gets very distracted with her sisters running around. I am shooting for 9 months again. It’s not easy. The thing I struggle with is knowing that this may be my final baby. And that’s hard. I haven’t come to terms with that yet, and I think it will make the nursing hard to give up. It’s one of my favorite things. Thanks for sharing such a personal journey with us! We are all in this together.
I breastfed my son for only two months and it was the worst two months. When my son was born he was rushed to the NICU so I feel that had an impact on my milk coming in to begin with. I have inverted nipples so I had to use a nipple shield, which was a whole other issue. My son was constantly irritable because now looking back he was probably constantly hungry. He was feeding for an hour every 2 hours, which was hard. I feel like I never had a good enough supply.
Looking back I feel so guilty, I should have been supplementing with formula from the beginning, but I’m a first time Mom and didn’t know what I was doing.
Thank you for this post! I had so much anxiety right after my daughter was born because we had trouble with her latching and I wasn’t producing enough milk. We supplemented with formula right away and I pumped exclusively for the rest. I had to constantly remind myself that anything I was giving her was good for her – she was growing and happy! She drank the formula and the milk with the same enthusiasm! At about 6 months, my pump broke – just literally died – and I took that as my sign to stop and I am honestly relieved about it! I was so proud of myself for making it that long pumping for her – even if it was only a few ounces a day. Thanks for being so candid about a topic that is so personal! Cheers to all the moms feeding their babies the best way they can!
Oh my goodness this is so relatable . I was young with my first few and didn’t give breastfeeding much thought but by the time I had my twins I was set on nursing or pumping for them. Unfortunately I went into liver failure and delivered at just 26 weeks and our Maverick didn’t survive past 5 days. Manning went on the have a gtube and trach but I still wanted him to have breast milk . After all he was a micro preemie with a ton of issues . So Much Guilt. I still feel like crud about it but my mental health was important too and I needed to be able to take care of his needs and mine.
Thank you so much for posting your story!! I know exactly what you mean about the buffer zone and mom guilt.
My story is a little different… my labor ended in an emergency c-section and my milk just wasn’t coming in quickly. I wanted to exclusively breastfeed, which at the time I thought that meant exclusively nursing. My son would latch easily on my left side, but there was nothing there for him. Forget about latching on the right side. He wouldn’t latch and would just scream the most blood-curdling scream. Even the IBCLC couldn’t figure it out.
Since I wasn’t producing anything yet, the doctor said I needed to start supplementing. I felt like a failure… I was already failing at this mom thing and I was less than 48 hours in. A day later I finally asked the nurse to bring me some formula. I want to bawl…I couldn’t even give it – my husband had to feed it while I tried to pump for the first time.
I already felt like my body failed because I couldn’t deliver my son naturally and now I couldn’t feed him. Two things I was supposed to do, I failed. Looking back, this was so ridiculous!
At 4dpp the most I was able to get total between both breasts was 4ml…
what I always pictured as being so easy was the hardest thing.
When I got home I stopped trying to nurse and decided to exclusively pump. I knew I wasn’t producing much and knew he wasn’t satisfied and I needed a way to ensure he was eating enough, but not too much. I stressed so much over ounces…
At around a month I was able to stop supplementing and finally got on a good pumping schedule. I was pumping 6 times a day for 30-40 minutes and went from under-supplying to having an oversupply.
Two days after returning to work I got mastitis for the first time. It was brutal…
A month later I got mastitis again. This time it was even more brutal and I told myself I would wean. Easier said than done. As soon as I saw the slightest decrease I freaked out, felt like a failure, and pushed through. As I got closer and closer to having enough fresh and frozen to get my son to 6 months I started cutting out pumps. I told myself if I could meet that goal I could stop guilt-free. Again, easier said than done. lol.
Fast forward a few months. Here I am at almost 9mpp and I’m down to 2ppd. I have almost enough to get my son 16oz/day until he’s a year.. I wish I could say there’s no guilt, but there is still some. I definitely don’t feel like a failure anymore though.
Sometimes I feel like I pushed through more for my own personal satisfaction than for my son. While breastmilk is awesome, my son could care less if his bottle is milk or formula. As long as he’s being fed, he’s happy. When he goes off to school, I won’t be able to walk into the class and pick out the kids that were breastfed, formula fed, and those that had both.
As far as the buffer, you and I are similar. I originally said 6 months to everyone else, but really I meant a year. I just didn’t want people to know if I “failed” or not.
Before I had my son I was (admittedly) ignorant. With so much “breast is best” talk and with how expensive formula can get, I could not figure out why women wouldn’t breastfeed. After going through this journey, I have such a greater understanding and respect for however women decide to feed their babies.
As my pumping journey is coming to an end, I’m enjoying that spring has sprung in the Midwest and that I can take my son for walks, go on errands, etc without hauling my pump around with me.
Thank you so much for posting your journey and telling it like it is. Thank you for also asking to hear other women’s journeys!
Ahh I love this!! I have been exclusively pumping for my little guy for 7 months now. It is so demanding and challenging being hooked up to a pump all the time but so worth it!! I wouldn’t change it for the world to be able to provide for him! We breastfed for the first few weeks and I found him to have a lip/tongue tie and once we had that fixed he never took back to the breast. It’s sad when people tell exclusive pumpers that they can’t call themselves breastfeeding their baby when it’s the same thing, providing the same milk for their little one. I have a blog http://www.mommasmotto.com that talks about our journey as well! 🙂 loved reading your story!!
Someone told me “Breastfeeding has to work for both you and baby” and I recognized that in our situation, we were 0 for 2. Once you realize it’s not working for you, your babe, or both- it’s time to reassess! It doesn’t matter if you’ve been breastfeeding for 0 minutes or 2 years.
After a difficult time with my first child getting the hang of nursing, and sooo much pressure from “nurse wacky”, we finally figured it out after having a consult with a special lactation nurse a week after my daughter was brought home. We loved “our time”, but it was not easy. She would not take a bottle at all, so finishing up my Masters when she was 5 months was not easy. My husband even had to drive 2 hours just to have her nurse one night. Then there was the pumping hell and sleepless nights when I went back to work at 7 months (she felt the need to have her mommy time since she did not get it during the day). This lasted until she was 23 months old (only pumped for about 6 months, sleepless nights, until she was almost 2). It was not easy, but I would not have changed a thing.
Then came child #2. He, just like his sister, refused to take a bottle. I ended up nursing until he was almost 3. From the time we was almost 2, until he finished, about 2 3/4, it was mostly at night. When he was about 3 1/2 he had terrible allergies and we took him to a specialist. At that appointment we found out our son had almost NO IMMUNITY. So weird was that he was not any sicker than any other kid at his daycare (we did home daycare so he was only with a few kids at a time). The doctors contribute this to his continued nursing. I had let him decide when he was finished, and it was by the grace of God, that he lasted so long nursing, continually getting the antibodies from me. Luckily he began building an immunity and by the time he was in grade school, immunity was not an issue.
I never regretted nursing, but it sure was not easy–especially working full time. Thank you for your story. Each one’s story is so different. As moms we do our best and love our children unconditionally each and every day.
Thank you for posting this! I see way too many moms on social media that somehow make it seem like breastfeeding is the ONLY way to feed your baby. I have a 6 month old and I could never produce enough milk. I hired a lactation consultant, ate every food that was supposed to help with production, took every supplement, nursed my baby then gave him a bottle then pumped around the clock for months! And alas, still couldn’t get my production up. After three months of running myself ragged and barely being able to produce enough for 1-2 bottles a day, I had to face the fact that my body just couldn’t do it and I had to accept that I did everything I could. I was proud of myself for trying as long as I did, yet super disappointed it just couldn’t happen for me. Here we are at almost 7 months and I’m so happy I decided to stop when I did. I realized my sanity and sleep were way more important for my health AND my baby’s and you know what – he is perfect, formula and all! We put way too much pressure on ourselves as moms and we have to remember to take care of “us”, not just our kids. Thank you for sharing!
I have two kids 17 year old Max and very soon to be 14 years old Mia. Max was born via emergency c-section after 19 hours of intense labor and we spent 2 extra weeks in the hospital due to his jaundice. Even after we were discharged we were going to the hospital everyday to have his little feet poked to check his bilirubin levels and we got to come home with the “glow worm light” that he had to have on unless he was nursing or it was bath time. I was breastfeeding and I was having issues with him being able to latch on so we actually had to use a nipple shield every time I fed him, it was depressing to say the least. The pediatrician was stumped as to why his levels wouldn’t come up, he was only 10 days early and he was a healthy 7lbs 13oz and 21 1/4. Finally the doctor asked me to stop breastfeeding and start using formula (a certain type and I can’t remember) and shockingly enough within a week his levels were normal and our pediatrician told us to continue with the formula. So after breastfeeding for a month and struggling with latching and all the worries of why his jaundice just wouldn’t go away, I was left wondering what was wrong with my breastmilk and me?! Fast forward to 3 years later with my daughter. Healthy pregnancy, planned and successful c-section and she’s latching like a champ, no nipple shield for these girls! However after week 3 I’m noticing my nipples are starting to go raw and no matter how much cream, lotions, ointments, everything the pediatrician and ob-gyn recommends, my nipples actually start to become open sores! It was horrible, I had blood, puss and I was in so much pain I cried when I fed her! It got to the point where I was crying every time it was time to feed her and I was dreading every second of it. I finally called her pediatrician bawling and asked what type of formula they recommended and again I felt like a failure! Breastfeeding is HARD, it’s not for every mom and it definitely doesn’t make you a better mom! It took me a long time to realize that but today my kids are 17 and 14 and they are happy and healthy and they know without a shadow of doubt that I love them!! (I have no feeling left in my nipples, like they’re completely numb but I can say that’s one of my unique qualities that my daughter gave to me right?!) 😉
I feel like there is a lot of pressure to breastfeed, despite knowing fed is best. For me, i definitely put a lot of pressure on myself, especially since all of my friends seem to be able to do it so easily! My first son was a preemie, so I exclusively pumped for him. He never latched well and I was just wanting him to gain weight so I could bring him home, so bottle feeding worked best! With my second, I was so set on successfully breastfeeding and for something that is natural, it’s hard! He was gaining weight back slowly, which meant lots of weight checks at the peds office, which made me feel like I was failing. Around 3 months, he just did not seem interested in nursing, so I’m back to exclusive pumping. It makes me sad, and I’m trying not to beat myself up about it, but pumping is a huge job in and of itself, so I’m just doing the best I can! Way to go, Ali, on doing what’s best for your kids! You are a great mom and you can really see how much they love you.
Your story sounds exactly like mine!! I just stopped nursing my 10 month old son (we also have a 2.5 yo daughter) and I have such mixed emotions. I’m sad that I will never nurse again (las my baby) but relieved that I get my body back again. I’ve had 6 months since 11/2015 that I was pregnant or nursing. We are badasses mama for sticking with it and don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!! Motherhood is a tough but of so rewarding road and I’m so happy to be able to read blogs like yours that make us know we aren’t alone in this!!
Ali I love this post! I had my first child within a month of you having Riley. I am a labor and delivery nurse. I take hours and hours of breastfeeding education, work with lactation consultants, and I teach moms how to breastfeed! I thought for sure I would be a great breastfeeding mom and my goal was 1 year. I did pretty good on maternity leave, but after those 3 months my supply quickly dropped when I went back to work. I was even pumping at work. I had 3 different pumps I tried, 2 of which were hospital grade. But my body never really reaponded to pumping. I had so many resources… lactation consultants right at work with me, prior knowledge, and 3 pumps! I felt like such a failure when I wasn’t producing and had to start supplementing. I did okay when I would actually latch him, but when I pumped I barely would produce. And eventually I ran into the biting problem at 8 months. I researched how to stop it but he wouldn’t stop. My breastfeeding journey ended around 8 months. I cried and cried and had so much quilt. But I am at peace with it now. And I think this experience will make me a better nurse when educating new moms. It’s okay to supplement or exclusively formula feed! Everyone’s journey is different
Hey Ali…. Love reading your blog you seem so real I followed you forever..I adopted my son from birth and was unable to breast feed and I felt so guilty and that I was missing some kind of beautiful kind of bonding experience. I just had to work thru it. Thanks
Breastfeeding guilt is something nobody warns you about. My oldest is 3 and was a preemie. He could not suck (breast or bottle) for many weeks. I did everything in my power to keep my supply up and give him as much breastmilk as possible-pumping every two hours, renting hospital grade pump, using a breastfeeding scale, every herbal Med that was recommended, Lactation consultants at our house more times than is even normal, and more. I realized that I was spending so much time making breastfeeding my job I wasn’t snuggling my newborn as much as I wanted so I gave it up with so much guilt it consumed me for weeks and makes me cry even typing this. I’m also a physician assistant so being in the medical field and not breastfeeding is as taboo as it comes; hell I even had a pumping room reserved at our hospital when I returned. My son is happy, healthy, not obese, and we are as bonded as they come. I truly believe fed is best now and the guilt we put on ourselves is crazy. What is even crazier though is reading about others breastfeeding journeys still is hard and sadly enough makes me jealous-a trait I normally never have except in this instance. Reading yours, even if hard, makes me proud because as women what we go through to feed our babies and do what is best-whether breast or bottle is nothing short of amazing! So congrats on making it as far as you did and also spreading the fed is best message!
I loved nursing. After I was divorced at age 33 I pretty much gave up the thought of having a child. I came to terms with it and moved on. I didn’t want that to define the rest of my life. However, I met a wonderful man, got married when I was 37. Had my son when I was 38 and it was the happiest time in my life. I had no issues nursing but it was exhausting, that I do remember. I produced so much milk I could have fed a few other children. I pumped and froze my milk and fed John for a few months after I actually stopped nursing. I had a small freezer just for breast milk…..totally nuts, right? I only nursed for the length of my maternity leave; 6 months. Though the good and tough times of that, I loved it. I still remember it with so much joy in my heart. My beautiful boy just turned 18 and will head off to college in the fall. This time went by in a flash Ali. I would go back in a heartbeat. Moral of the story…..enjoy every bit of every moment of this season in your life. You will look back on it with such a full heart. You have made a beautiful life and family for yourself.
Ali! I love this post and love following you and your sweet fam! I breastfed my first until he was 19 months old and only stopped because I was 3 months pregnant with baby #2. My journey with him was relatively easy but he was dairy intolerant so I cut out dairy from my diet the whole time. With my 2nd it was so much harder. He was not great at breastfeeding and was super cranky and would often only eat if I walked around a dark quiet room shushing and bouncing him. It was exhausting to say the least! He also wouldn’t take a bottle. He would only eat in the middle of the night, all night, so I barely slept! I struggled with my supply with him because he didn’t have a great latch those first few days in the hospital which I think is SO important. But we powered through and I still loved our nursing bond so much! When he was 14 months I got a stomach bug and didn’t nurse him for a day. After that he went on a nursing strike and no matter what I tried I couldn’t get him back. I was absolutely devastated because I wasn’t ready to be done! I still have a couple of bags of frozen milk in the freezer more than a year later because I can’t bear to throw them away. I’ve thought about having a piece of breastmilk jewelry made because it was such a beautiful, important time in my life and I’d love a way to always remember it. I want to thank you so much for being so honest and sharing your truth. The mom guilt is real and I still struggle with it all the time. I so appreciate you sharing your journey with all of us!
Hi Ali! I love all your posts and I’m going through everything you are with my baby right now. My little girl is just over 11 months and breastfed. I’m trying so hard to make it to one year or until she’s ready to stop but I’m struggling so much the last month. Since her two bottom teeth came in and she bit me a couple of times, my nipple hasn’t been able to heal. There are open sores. Every feed is so painful that I’m in tears. But I keep on going. It was a wonderful experience until the pain started. I have to start weaning somehow but I don’t know how!
Looking forward to your future posts! Love you and your sweet family!
Today marks 5 months of breastfeeding and it has easily been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life! I joke with people all the time that the pain from my milk coming in was worse than childbirth itself. My baby was born with muscular torticollis (resulting in a bad latch), I’ve had so much engorgment, plugged ducts, sore nipples – I even damaged them for a week or so from having my pump settings too high. Breastfeeding has been a freaking mess for me and for some reason (mom guilt), I’m still in it. My goal has always been 6 months and anything more would be a bonus. But, I also think about all the stress and peer pressure I’ve given into the last 5 months and have regret over being so easily influenced by others’ opinions. It’s so refreshing to read a post like yours, Aly! Been following along with you since your Bachelorette days (you were always my favorite!) and love seeing updates with your family. So glad you found peace at the end of your breastfeeding journey… I hope I do too!
My little guy would latch but wouldn’t suck no matter what tricks of the trade we tried or the LC tried. Day 2 in the hospital they gave me a silicon shield and he hasn’t stopped eating since! 1 week PP we had an appointment back with the LC and she expressed how important it was that we weaned him off of the shield and it would only take about 5 days. Well…here we are 5 months today still nursing with the shield. It makes him happy and keeps my nipples semi-protected so I guess I can say it makes mom happy too. I was able to make it to 14 weeks with no problems. All of a sudden my supply I had stashed during my 12 weeks off was gone and the babysitter was saying we needed to bump it up maybe an OZ or send an extra bottle. I stressed and pumped every 2 hours around the clock unless he ate off of me for a week just to try to keep up with him. I’m with you about the formula shame. I was never one to care how my baby ate. I breastfeed because it’s what’s suggested, convenient (ha!), and way cheaper. My goal was 3m, then 6m, then a year. My husband saw me physically & mentally exhausted from pumping around the clock and was suggesting the sitter was feeding him too much which I knew wasn’t the case because even when I had him on days off he was the exact same way. I cried the whole way home from work feeling like a failure — but looking back was just a hormonal mess. I said let’s try some formula. I had a meltdown with him telling him I know that fed is best and it doesn’t matter that our baby has formula, but something in my mind won’t let me be happy about it. We gave him formula 2 bottles a day and the rest breastmilk. I cried with his first formula bottle, worrying he wouldn’t like it. I fed him with tears dripping down on him saying “Does that taste good buddy? Is that good stuff?” like I was trying to convince my 3.5 month old baby to be okay with my “mom fail”. We keep him on the same milk schedule 7 days a week. I miss nursing him so often but it makes the few times a day we do have that much more special and also allows me to have some sanity and not just feel like a broken milk machine. It’s insane how much pressure we put on ourselves when most people don’t even notice or care how we feed our babies & the heck with them if they do! Thanks for sharing your story, Aly. You’re doing an amazing job with #momlife. 💕
Ali a great post!! ❤️ So for me, I did not breastfeed, it wasn’t something I thought in my mind I could do in public… I wanted my husband to be involved in feeding our son and breastfeeding takes him out of that, I thought… My doctor who is so amazing told me that it was my choice, mine alone and not to listen to negatives!! He told me everything to do. Sometimes I do wonder but at the time I just didn’t think I could do it.
I doubt you will ever make it down to my little comment. But, I went in with the mind set that I was going to breastfeed if I could. I don’t think I knew what that meant but I think that was my security blanket to maybe ease my disappointment. I ‘breastfed’ for three days. The first night home, I was up for 3 hours holding a crying baby trying to feed him. Finally, my husband came to me and said ‘I think he has to eat’. We had pre made formula that the hospital gave us. I handed the baby to my husband and gave him the formula bottle. Went downstairs, laid on the couch and cried for 30 minutes. The future flashed in front of my eyes and all I could see is that I would be dreading feeding my child and I didn’t like that. I went upstairs, my baby was soundly asleep after he finally had some food. I laid in bed and told my husband that I was done. And that was it. I never looked back. I have zero regrets. After reading some stories and hearing other moms, I believe that I am very lucky to be surrounded by people who have never made me feel like I was less then for not breastfeeding.
I’m now breastfeeding my third daughter. I breastfed my first until she stopped on her own at 17 months. My goal was 2 years, but I thought that was pretty good! My second nursed for 27 months and I was done because I got pregnant with my third. She’s now 11 weeks and loves her mama milk. I’ve always had a great supply and am a stay at home mom. I’ve never given formula, but I’m sure if I worked full or part time, it may have been a different story. Much props to the working mama’s. That’s a lot of dedication to pumping, and cleaning parts, and nursing babies!
I’m 3.5 months post partum with baby boy and my daughter is 2.5. I just went back to work full time this week and I agree so much that breastfeeding is just not the same the second time around. I’ve been so stressed about how much he’s drinking while I’m at work and it really is just so hard to breastfeed with a toddler around. Plus, it really seems like boys are just so much hungrier than girls. I’m so proud of you for sharing your experience! Breastfeeding really is overwhelmingly emotional. 💓💓💓
I am a Exclusively pumping mom of 8.5 months, and I was ready to call it quits tonight until I saw your blog post! Your story Inspired me to keep going and to take my journey one week at time. My goal was to breastfeed for 1 month before I had my son. I cannot believe I’ve made it this long. Having moms like you share your stories is true therapy and what keeps me going everyday and reminds me I am not alone in my daily struggles. I so appreciate your words and realness your an AMAZING momma!
I had 2 very different breastfeeding journeys as well. With my first, she was my rainbow baby after years of infertility and 2 miscarriages. I NEEDED to breastfeed her. I also had those “my baby has never had formula” words in my brain from my very best friend. My daughter had a tongue and lip tie. I hired an IBCLC to help me. I found out I have flat nipples as well. I got her tongue and lip tie fixed but nursing didn’t get better. I exclusively pumped for a few months. I got her to 5 months of a combo of breast milk and formula. Guess what. She will be 3 in August and is so incredibly smart. At her 2 year appointment her doctor said she was ready for preschool with all she knows. She also so healthy. I beat myself up for my struggle and decision to switch for so long. Fast toward to my second (born days shy of 22 months after my first), I had an emergency c section. She was in the NICU for 8 days. The moment I was taken into the recovery room, begging for pain meds, I had pumps hooked up to me by nurses. I pumped every 3 hours for 9 days straight for my baby. I made it to 6 weeks of pumping and had to stop for my sanity. She’s thriving on formula at 9 months old and I have ZERO regrets about my decision! Fed. Is. Best.
My oldest son I was able to breastfeed until 13 months. He started biting and I’m like I made it past a year, I’m done. I had to supplement with formula because he was a 9lb baby and I couldn’t get my supply in through only breastfeeding him.
My second son is 4 months now and this time around has been difficult. I begin to think will I make it to a year. I’m sore more often and has begun biting just a bit with his very new bottom teeth. I do say FED is best by stating I didn’t strictly just breastfeed my babies.
Thank you thank you for sharing!! 🙏🏼
I have one daughter, and we STRUGGLED with nursing. Long story short, at 2 months old, we discovered she had a tongue tie. We got it corrected as soon as we could (which was super traumatic for me & I’m so thankful my mom was with me!) but at that point, I couldn’t get my supply up. I started supplementing with formula soon after. Our routine was: nurse (she would nurse 30-45 min each time), give a bottle of formula to supplement, pump, clean pump parts, wash bottles, repeat. I was EXHAUSTED. At 5.5 months I couldn’t take it anymore. My entire day and night literally revolved around feeding. We made the full time switch to formula and a sense of peace and calm came over me and my stress was gone. Not the guilt, but the stress. Sometimes I still feel guilty but then I remember how she completely THRIVED and that having a healthy happy mama is more important than how she is fed!
This post came at the perfect time for me. My daughter will be 9 months on the 15th, and this morning was our last nursing session. She decided she was done, our nursing sessions started becoming such a struggle just to get her to stay latched on for more then 5 minutes. I knew it was coming but I kept trying to push it off, I wasn’t ready to be done yet. I’m still not. I have been crying for the past two days. Like you, a year was my goal, so now I will be exclusively pumping, for as long as my boobs will let me. I just want to say, that mommy guilt is so real, and so fierce. Thank you for being so open and honest, it helps this momma relax just reading another persons journey.
I had to stop nursing my daughter at three months. I’m a single mom, so I had to go back to work when she was 5 weeks old, the money from paid leave wasn’t enough! Nursing was so tough after that. I wasn’t getting any sleep and still getting up for work, dropping her off at daycare, working 8 hours, and picking her up and then doing homework on top of that! And to top it all off she was a two month old that consumed more breast milk than the 5 month old at daycare (she has just always loved food and loves to drink and eat!) after getting mastitis, I couldn’t do it anymore. I was so miserable, and felt like I was going crazy. The first night I gave her a bottle of formula, she slept 6 hours and by 5 months was sleeping through the night. Now she’s 9 months and eats so much solid food, she took to it so well, with a few bottles of formula throughout the day! I am so happy I did what was best for me at this point of life that I am in, I hope in the future that I can breastfeed future children longer, because I really did love the bond! But now my daughter and I bond over other things, like pizza and chicken nuggets!
When I was pregnant I wanted to breastfeed so bad that was no ultimate goal. But I ended up having my baby 2 months early and she only weighted 2 lbs. so we spend time in the NICU and I had to pump and we got donor milk for the first few weeks(maybe a month I couldn’t remember) they usually do it until you get milk.. well needless to say I was pumping like a mad woman basically milking myself. About every 2 hours and sometimes I would power pump for an hour just hoping my milk would come in.. it was so knowing my baby needed my milk but it just wasn’t coming in. The most I would get pumping was maybe 2 oz every time. So at first it was fine because she wasn’t even drinking oz she was getting ML. In the NICU they had to supplement with a special formula so every other feeding she got BM so that helped me build up my supply. I didn’t know how hard exclusively pumping would be but man it was consuming my entire life. Everything I did was based round my pumping schedule and if it didn’t fit in that time then I wouldn’t do it. And that window of time was so small that I didn’t do anything. But I held on for my baby and every time I pumped I would just get so frustrated like “why is my milk not coming in” I tried EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING. So after 6 months of only getting 2 oz each time and killing myself in the meantime I finally sucked it up and stopped for my sanity, marriage, and my baby-all that pumping cut into precious time with her! Thank you for sharing your story. I would always hear and see how so many people would have so much milk and not know what to do with it all and it’s so defeating. But great to hear other moms struggle too!
Ali! How did you ever breastfeed for so long AND reply to all your blog comments!? Add that to your accomplishments list. I’m almost one month in and trying not to suffocate myself with a timeline of how long … But my own husband already asked if I’d thought about it! God love him. Every three hours like clockwork. Luckily though, I’m seeing less of a need to pump thanks to this amazing leak collector my friend told me about! Milkies “milk saver.” I’m a first time mom and she’s on her third. Thank goodness she shared this with me. It collects MINIMUM one ounce per breast so by the end of the day I’ve got storage supply to freeze sometimes more than 7 ounces! We have to talk to each other about these things… personally for us and for the tips!
So well written and I can almost feel how healing that has to be to get out!❤️ I am about 15 months into breastfeeding exclusively but I went in with a lot of anxiety and was very fortunate to not have any pain or supply issues hence why I am still going, but would never judge another mama for choosing a different path. I’m so sorry that you were haunted by that phrase but cheers to being on the other side of it now!🙌
My first daughter I breastfed 3 weeks and made the decision to quit due to poor latch (I had sooo much strawberry milk) and post partum depression. It was only when I switched to formula and was relieved of that pressure to nurse that I really began to bond with my daughter. I am so incredibly thankful I did that for our relationship! At the time, I beat myself up for doing it even though I knew there was nothing wrong with formula. My second daughter (now 4 months old) I am exclusively pumping. But as I’m writing this I know the end is coming to that journey as my supply is rapidly dropping. We moved from San Diego to South Carolina 3 months ago and I am proud I was able to keep it up this long with such a transition and 2 young children. I’ve gotten better about giving myself grace and have stopped focusing on what is expected of me (by others and myself) and just do the best I can for myself, family and our quality of life 🙂
Both my girls, 14 and 10, were exclusively formula fed. They are both gifted students, zero allergies, go to the doctor only once a year for flu shots, and are both tall and skinny. So…modern day formula seems to be okay. So many factors go into how we turn out as humans, I believe that formula or breast is just one tiny one. Genetic research might one day supply us all with precise nutrition profiles to best work with our personal genetics. I’m sorry you beat yourself up for even one moment. The time you have with them as babies is so fleeting, it’s not worth that stress where you won’t be able to treasure every second of it. You are kind to share so much of yourself to help others. Let’s all be more like that!
I really appreciate you writing this and being so transparent. I have a little boy who is 4 months old and he’s my first. I remember telling people I would try breast feeding but if it didn’t work out, then I was ok with formula. It actually grossed me out a little the thought of having to breast feed. I was formula fed and turned out just fine! Well, once the baby arrived I got into this obsession with trying to only breast feed. I felt horrible when I wasn’t producing enough and he was crying from hunger! I felt even worse when I ended up giving formula and he got SUPER gassy and was in pain from the gas. I was at a loss. I cried daily and was killing my self trying to pump and nurse. It hurt insanely bad. I don’t know which was worse, birth or the first 2 months of breast feeding. Then around the 3 month mark my milk seemed to have come in enough to feed him and make him full. I stuck it out but I wish someone would have told me it could take that long.
I had to go back to work so I pump at work but he still gets formula to supplement at times. I also come home at lunch to nurse. I really don’t know how long I’ll breast feed him for. I think about it but I guess it will just naturally stop? I don’t even know! I’m just glad I can feed my baby now without crying at every feed from the pain! Fed is best and I am in awe of all moms out there!
Thank you for being so open! It really is a breath of fresh air to know that we all needlessly struggle with guilt and shame around breastfeeding. I breast fed (mix fed) my twins for 9.5 months and I struggled with guilt thinking I should have made a year at least! It’s been 2 months now since stopping and SUCH a relief now, but just a few weeks ago I was ridden with guilt. I look back now and struggle to know why I felt so guilty!? Those darn hormones certainly don’t help!!
I finally got a chance to read this! I’ve been waiting until I could read the whole thing without being interrupted (have 1 and 2 year old). “Feeding” guilt is so real. It honestly disgusts me. Our society takes something beautiful and natural (feeding your sweet babe) and turns it into something stressful. Whhhyyyyy??? Reading your story just stressed me out and took me back to when I exclusively pumped for a year with my preemie. So much stress, anxiety and guilt if I didn’t make it to a year. I’m proud that I did but I think I would have been much, much, much happier if I had stopped before then. I’ve breast fed my 1 year old for the full year and am now trying to wean but it’s not going well. Mainly because of my guilt!!! My husband and I are going on our first vacation in three years this May, and I have to wean by then. Your blog post is helping me have the courage to do what I need to do! Thank you!
All three of my babes are adopted from birth, so they have been formula fed from Day 1! They are happy and healthy! I agree, fed is best! Whatever works for each person and family! 💗💗
Thank you so much for sharing Ali! I love your honesty and vulnerability and desire to take the guilt and stress off of mamas everywhere!
I’ve not had any supply or other issues with breastfeeding so I breastfed all three of my babies between 14-24 months (depending on when I got pregnant/gave birth with another baby again). HOWEVER I have so many dear friends who have tried everything to be able to breastfeed and couldn’t for as long as they wanted and felt so much agony about going to formula. I’ve wanted to smack anyone who makes them feel bad about it! I truly believe a mother’s mental health is *WAY* more important to a baby than whether he or she is breastfed or not. I’m grateful you’re working hard to help other mamas let go of the shame no matter their story! Thanks for your post 🙂
I had a similar situation to you, though in reverse. My son (now 4) could never get a good latch, no matter how hard I tried (and oh boy did I try – because like you I put a lot of pressure on myself, and even pumping seemed like a level of failure). I exclusively pumped until he was about 9 months when my supply started to drop significantly and I had to start supplementing. By 10 months my boobs were all dried up, and we were 100% formula. And oh man did I feel like the worst mother ever. But you know what? My son was fine, is still fine, and is none the wiser that his journey was “different”.
Fast forward three years, and my anxiety about breastfeeding my daughter had me pumping after every single feeding for the first four months (while I was on leave) to ensure I had more than enough milk for going back to work, and if my supply dwindled like last time. Now I have a deep freezer full of over 2000 ounces of breast milk that I am in the process of donating before it all expires. And an almost 9-month-old that is fat & happy. As you said, every story is different (birth, breastfeeding, parenting). As long as we’re doing our best, we are doing the best for our children!
Thank you for sharing your story. It’s so important that we normalize all kinds of stories, so the stigma can go away.
Thank you for sharing your story, Katie! How sweet of you to donate your extra milk! I’m sure other mama’s are so grateful!
Thank you for your post. I have a 6 week old my first, and have had total
Mom guilt over formula! I always thought I would be the type to breastfeed exclusively, but my son had lost a little over the 10% weight up front so we had to supplement to get his weight off. Honestly, it was game changer…it eased him so much more and quicker than every thirty minutes or an hour on my boob, and he slept! It allowed me some sanity, and my husband too. So, since I have continued to breast feed but also supplement after. It is what’s worked for us. I get exhausted breastfeeding and I’m probably only doing half of what ladies who exclusively feed do. I had and still have mom guilt sometimes over formula, gosh maybe it’s just the word “formula” ha it’s not very pretty, but I’ve learned to accept it. My son is getting fed and I do believe it’s importsnt to have self care as a mom, so if that means giving him a little more formula so I can have a break or he sleep better- whatever it is. That’s been my journey so far. Some days I breastfeed him longer and others shorter I try not to stress it and feel blessed I can even breastfeed. Xo
This post is everything. The mom guilt is insane and hormones are going crazy. My son this past Monday at a little over 15 months just decided to stop nursing. I had been trying to wean him for months and he hated everything about it then all the sudden stopped himself. Now I’m dealing with severely engorged breasts, currently sitting with cabbage in my bra and a glass of cab. I feel so proud of myself for making it over a year then I feel guilty because I wanted him to stop and was trying because it wa starting to hurt and I was over it. Everyone’s journey is different and I’m glad you shared yours.
I love this so much. I had my first 11 years ago and BF didn’t work out. I was absolutely crushed and devastated. Back then, the culture of acceptance towards mothers who do things differently wasn’t even on the horizon. And I lived in a really strong culture of conformity and people were extremely judgmental. I jokingly started calling formula “Satan’s nectar” as a way to kind of inadvertently point out that it ISN’T bad and that it’s okay.
I just came across this today as I am contemplating when to wean my second baby. I have had so many mixed feelings about breastfeeding both my kids. There are times when I have hated it and loved it. Right now I am feeling like I want my body back, but simultaneously feeling sad that it’s almost over because I know that this will be our last baby. And then if course, there is the mom guilt. Thanks for writing this. I feel like there is so much shame and guilt projected onto mothers for all sorts of reasons. We need more open conversation and support, like this. 💕
Thank you for writing this post! I need reassurance from time to time that we are all on our own paths with Childrearing and breastfeeding because of some strongly OPINIONATED family members and friends. I’m currently nursing my first, hes 9 months old and has been supplemented here and there since birth( he had a stint in the NICU and I wasnt on the ball with pumping until my milk came fully in). At 7 months his pediatrician recommended we go dairy free to help with some bad eczema and tummy issues and my supply has plummeted since. I’m eating and hydrating constantly but cant keep up. even now that hes on solids, He still nurses every 3 hours. What’s worse is he gags and throws up the several brands of DAIRY-free formula(even if we trick him by doing half breastmilk, half formula, no ratio has proven him to take to it). so I kind of feel trapped and lost on how to continue this journey with him and have it remain positive. I’ve enjoyed it mostly but felt overwhelmed and anxious to be the sole provider to him. I think breastfeeding is so complicated in that it’s not only physical, but it’s a mental and emotional task as well. Just airing out some thoughts, thank you again for sharing yours!
If there are any new moms out there who are wondering if they should try to get a free breast pump through their insurance, they can read more about it here – https://thebreastfeedingshop.com/why-get-a-free-breast-pump/
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