Why I Decided To Stop Breastfeeding (And You Can, Too)

Breast is best. Did you know? Breast is best. Everyone tells you that. If you don’t know that, you must be totally secluded from women or parents or doctors.

But if you ask me, sometimes, breast isn’t always best.

There. I said it. For me, breastfeeding has been difficult. I have three children, and I have breastfed all of them for various amounts of time. Two nursed only a few weeks, and the rest of the time were fed with bottles of expressed milk or formula. My middle child managed to nurse for 8 months (an incredible accomplishment for both of us), and even though I was also pumping, my supply wasn’t enough for that to be his only nourishment.

I’ve taken supplements, consumed my weight in water, eaten healthfully and plentifully, done everything I could to keep my supply up… It’s just never worked. For me, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t keep up with my hungry babies. And in my household, a hungry baby made for an angry baby, which made for stressed mom, which made for upset dad, and very little sleep for all of us. Our sanity was going out the window, so we threw “Breast is best” to the wind, and supplemented with formula. Our babies grew and grew, were happier and happier, are rarely sick and the most fun and intelligent kiddos I know.

Just this week, as my youngest turned four months old, I had a difficult conversation with Hubby. “I’m tired,” I said tearfully. “I’m stressed, and I want those two hours of my day back.” Those two hours I spend pumping. Those were two hours that I could be spending time with my children, writing, reading, showering, folding laundry, or SLEEPING were always sacrificed to the milk machine. I slaved at the pump to get less than three bottles a day for my little guy (who eats like a horse – what will I do when he’s a teenager?!) when I could be feeding him formula and actually playing with him during those times. Instead, my free moments while the kids were asleep, at school, or playing with Daddy were spent in my room getting a few ounces of what everyone told me was the best thing for my child.

So I stopped.

I stopped my supplements. I stopped charting my water intake. I stopped stressing about a schedule. I weaned myself off the pump.

Y’all, it feels great. I’ve gotten more sleep, spent more time with Hubby and the kids, and I’m less stressed about how I’m going to plan those hours into my day. Breast was only best for so long… and then it wasn’t anymore. Don’t crack under the pressure if it’s not working for you. I’m not staying don’t try – you absolutely should give it a shot. For so many, it is the best. But if it’s not, that’s okay. You’re not broken and neither is your child. There are other ways to nourish them, and certainly other ways to bond with them. You do you, mamas, however it works. That is the best.

17 thoughts on “Why I Decided To Stop Breastfeeding (And You Can, Too)”

  1. I’m literally exhausted from all this breast feeding mess. I honestly don’t believe it’s more convenient.. If anything it’s time consuming and stressful. I hate worrying about having to go somewhere during a feeding or a pump time. She won’t take bottles very well so that’s not an option. And pumping three times a day for almost an hour, with a 4 year old boy, is no picnic!!! I’m still trying to figure out what to do bottle wise when I go back to work. It all seemed like a good idea but it’s been hard, no joke. I can’t imagine the amount of freedom you’re experiencing with it being over! Mainly, I’m jealous you can sleep on your tummy…a thing of the past I desperately long for.

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    1. Girl. Pumping is TOUGH. All the feels for you. It is definitely freeing. I think stick out a little breastmilk as long as you feel yore able, even if it feels like by enough. If Stella is nursing well, I think that’s easier than pumping.

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  2. Oh, LOVE this. Okay a couple things. I had the worst post partum experience ever. Well. It was not what I expected, that’s all. I exaggerate a lot. Lol. Breastfeeding was like the only thing that went well for me. So I kept doing it. Because her scream made my blood curdle and lack of sleep made me vicious, so nursing was the only part of the day that was calm. Ish. And during those years, I became, of course, a shamefully fierce bf advocate. Because, and only because, it had worked. For me. But as soon as I stopped, I looked around and was like. Gosh. Why am I being such a jerk. I did it why? Cause it worked for me. And her. And it made me feel like a decent parent when in fact I felt like a turd parent. So, with my daughter coming up on five years old, I will say this to you—– YES. Rock on sister mama. Do what you need to do to keep your wits about you during that crazy first year. Bf is only one of the million things on the mom of the year to do list. Kudos to you for listening to yourself. For listening to your heart. Nothing, nothing is worth the pain of feeling like a shit mom. Take care of you so you can take care of mini. Loved this post and your vulnerability.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I also am growing to love the safe place that WordPress seems to be. It’s kind of like, we all are trying to write, and write our truths at that, and we all get how vulnerable that is. So it’s just so much more supportive a place.

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  3. Love this post. I had the same issues when I was breastfeeding my son, and it lasted until 5 months old and then I gave in! No judgement. Do what’s right for YOU! 💜

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  4. Yes. This. Why couldn’t you have been on my shoulder 15 months ago?!?! Ok, I’m very glad I persevered because we were able to overcome our issues with time and patience, but I remember thinking I would be the.worst.mom.ever if my daughter’s lips touched a bottle, or ingested an ounce of formula. And now I see friends rocking non-exclusive breastfeeding arrangements (with and without formula) and I’m jealous of how relaxed they appear. It’s about finding what works for you and your family and accepting it.

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  5. You have to do what is best for you and for your kids. If you’re always tired and spent and can’t be the mom you want to be, then doing what fixes that is the right answer. I wasn’t able to provide enough breastmilk either, so I allowed myself to stop pumping at work and now I only nurse in the morning (or pump if he is still asleep) and evening, and supplement the rest of the day. It has given me so much control of my time back and has taken a lot of stress out of my day. You are doing great mama!

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