Deciding to Stop Breastfeeding

Photo by limaoscarjuliet
Photo by limaoscarjuliet

I’m going to post about deciding to stop breast feeding because I couldn’t find hardly anything at all about deciding to stop breastfeeding on the web. As much information as there is on the web, some topics are very hard to find!

I decided to stop breastfeeding after a month and while I was considering it, I searched the web extensively. While there is a ton of extremely helpful information on breastfeeding on the web, it is all centered around solving any problems you might have, not in making a decision one way or the other.  (And if it is about making a decision, they spend pages and pages telling you how good breastfeeding is for your child.)  There’s also no information about, when you decide to quit, exactly what you are supposed to do.  Stop cold turkey?  Gradually phase it out? I did find three pages of information on stopping breast feeding:

  • Ending breastfeeding.  This poor woman had obviously already decided to stop breastfeeding (a hard decision!) and the expert answering her email first questioned why she’d made the decision.  The expert did answer her question about how to stop breastfeeding and said to gradually wean the baby by cutting out a feeding every day or two.
  • Life After Weaning: Ending the breastfeeding relationship.  This was actually the most helpful webpage.  It’s an excerpt from a book and actually talks about both the physical and the emotional effects on the mother and the emotional effects on the child.  (Note that the emotional effects on the child tend to be largely those that breastfeed for several years.  It doesn’t talk about the effects on an infant.)
  • ending breastfeeding….what happens? This was a very short discussion between moms about what happens.  Like the previous article it suggests weaning slowly and points out that you should never completely drain your breasts if you want your milk to dry up.

Deciding not to breastfeed is a very hard decision because while nobody says it’s wrong not to breastfeed, the minute you become pregnant you are inundated with literature and people telling you how good breastfeeding is for your child and offering all sorts of support. (In particular the hospital staff and nurses were awesome. They were extremely supportive, very helpful and offer all sorts of free services to help and encourage nursing moms.) And when I asked friends and family what they thought everyone was very careful not to say anything one way or the other. Although all offered support either way! And many pointed out that there are plenty of healthy children and adults who were not breastfed.

So why did I decide to quit? It wasn’t health reasons, it wasn’t because I couldn’t nurse Caleb and it wasn’t because Caleb wouldn’t nurse. (Those seem to be the “acceptable” reasons to give for stopping breastfeeding.) I quit for many reasons, although it basically boiled down to the fact that I didn’t like it.  Here are the reasons I didn’t like it, pretty much in order of importance to me:

  • Time. It was extremely time consuming. During the day Caleb wanted to eat every 1.5 to 2 hours.  And he ate for 30 minutes. So that means that 25-30% of my waking day was spent feeding him.  That’s a lot of time! And planning around that is very difficult. (And it’s really hard to pump milk so that you can leave him with someone else for an hour or two when you are already nursing all the time. We ended up using formula in those cases and Caleb didn’t seem to mind going back and forth at all.)
  • Worry. I was always worried he wasn’t getting enough to eat (why did he want to eat so often!) or that what I was eating or drinking might affect him. (How many diet coke’s should you drink?  Probably none, right? So what about the two you just drank?) And it turns out he probably wasn’t getting as much in the afternoon as he wanted because he’s much less fussy now. But the doctor said he was getting plenty because he was sleeping 4-5 hours at night and gaining plenty of weight.
  • Sore nipples. A month is a really long time to have sore nipples. And yes, he was latching on and eating correctly. I think just feeding him 30% of all waking hours made them sore. I’m sure eventually they would have toughened up.

Of course I have doubts and regrets. Most of them centered around the health benefits. Breastfeeding is supposed to help kids’ immunity and decrease their long term odds of obesity. Those are the two I worried about the most. But I’m confident that there are lots of other factors that also influence Caleb’s health and the two of us being happy is one of them! (I realized I never talked to him when I was nursing him except to wake him up continuously and to ask him if he was done yet.  When I feed him a bottle I talk to him the whole time and it’s fun!)

I feel a little bit like I’m airing my personal diary in this post, but I wanted to make the information I found available to others and I wanted to add my own experience and decision to the pool of knowledge so that others might feel more comfortable making a decision one way or the other.

299 Replies to “Deciding to Stop Breastfeeding”

  1. thanks so much for the info. this was very helpful. I am considering stopping breastfeeding after 1 week and for the same reasons you were. I am feeling guilty and your thoughts were very real and I could relate to them.

  2. reading this post was like seeing all of my thoughts written out. Your experience is exactly how I am feeling. Completely and totally overwhelmed by the time I spend breastfeeding and ultimately really depressed as I feel defeated by it. The more depressed I get the less milk she gets despite my 40 minute feedings, which means we have a crabby, hungry, crying baby. It is a frustrating cycle. I think as guilty as I feel for wanting to switch after only 3 weeks being happier will make me a better mother in the long run. My only concern at this point is that I will still be unhappy after switching even though I am positive this is the core of the problem right now?
    Thanks again for your honesty!!!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I just decided to stop breastfeeding after 3 weeks b/c i really didn’t like it and i was always worried about what i was eating. I felt guilty making the decision but i knew it was the best thing for me to do, which made my baby happier b/c i was. Thanks again.

  4. I was so happy to see that someone else feels the same way I do. I am an RN and was taught since nursing school how great breast milk is for babies. The one thing they never mention is that it just isn’t for some people. I know the health benefits for my son. I teach them. But my health, as far as sleep deprivation and never any time to eat right, was going down hill. My mental health as well was suffering. Anyone I would talk to would just say that is the sacrifice you have to make. I was sacrificing being a happy, nice, playful mommy. When you mentioned not interacting with your baby when feeding, it struck a nerve! I was always sooooo tired and crying when feeding I am sure my son thought “who is this crazy person?”. I bought a pump to try to pump and bottle feed instead, my son didn’t seem too mind, but then I felt like a cow milking herself every 3 hours, let alone the trouble of cleaning all those pump supplies. I have felt so bad about myself for a while and gave out excuses to people of why I quit, now since I know I am not alone, I will proudly say I stopped to be a better mommy. It is what works for me. -Jennifer and Bryan(3 months old)

  5. I too had trouble finding information about stopping breastfeeding online or anywhere else for that matter. It wasn’t until I had stopped that I came across a couple of women in my town who had similar problems. I cried for days when I had to stop. I wanted to continue but my husband was adament I stop after 10 days of torture. I also cried for days feeding my son before I stopped. Sore nipples was an understatement. I would cry in pain as my son woke up just knowing I had to feed him. It didn’t help I had a UTI since Jacob had been born that went undiagnosed until AFTER I had quit breastfeeding. I was sick on top of being unbelievably sore. It wasn’t good for him or for me. I still feel guilty about bottle feeding him and I guess a part of me always will. It’s nice to know I’m not alone though.

  6. I have to admit that I have had the same feelings that you have expressed on this page. I have been breastfeeding for the last 6 weeks and I have just switched to formula to see if my baby’s behaviour would improve. She has been extrememly fussy lately and never seemed to get enough milk in the evenings. I wish that I knew how much she was getting while I nursing but of coarse that is a mom’s worst fear – “Is she getting enough?” She is already sleeping better, she is a lot less fuzzy, and she is very happy during her alert periods. I have also been pumping the past day or so to try to get an estimated amount of how much milk she was receiving, not very much in the evenings, so I made the right the decision for the both of us. Guilt? Of coarse I will feel a little guilty for “giving up” concidering we had a lot of obstacles to overcome in the beginning but the emotional state of this household had to improve. The more my baby would fuss and puke, the more I would be worried she was not getting enough and then she would not sleep and continue to want to be on the breast ALL day so I became very frustrated with nursing. So thanks again, your information was very helpful as well as the comments from other women. It’s very nice to know that we are not alone….or wrong in any way.

  7. It is great to hear there are other women facing the same dilemna. Before I posted the only people I met that stopped were those that couldn’t breastfeed or never started. So it’s great to hear from women who are having some of the same feelings that I did.

  8. Thanks for all the great info. I am experiencing the same feelings of being overwhelmed, mostly because I just don’t have the time it takes to feed my daughter as often as she would like. She is 6wks old and I would like to stop. I have been replacing some of the feedings with formula, but at what point do you stop? As it is now with just replacing a few of the feedings I am becoming engorged, and would like to just bite the bullet and let it dry up. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  9. Jaime,
    If you cut back on feedings, your milk supply should go down so you aren’t engorged. It might take a couple of days. You could also try pumping instead of feeding her formula. (If you pump, your supply will not go down though so you’ll have to keep pumping.)
    If you decide to just quit, your breasts should go back to normal in 2-3 days. I found it easiest just to quit but I wish I had tried just feeding my baby a couple of times a day. That works for some women; others find they dry up if they go down to just two or three feedings a day.
    Good luck with whatever decision you make!

  10. I have been trying to find information for the past two weeks on exactly how long you should breast feed if you know you are not going to endure the whole year they recommend. I have never had physical problems with breast feeding. Baby latches on, great milk supply, never sore breasts, hardly any leaking, great work environment allows pumping, etc.., However as my baby starts to interact with other family members i.e. my husband and mother I see a difference in his personality. He smiles laughs and coos with them. Any time I hold him he starts searching for my boobs and throws a fit if I do not immediately breast feed. I started supplementing (he is 6 weeks old)he will finish a whole 4 to 6 oz and still the same thing. I feel like my only bond with him at this point is a milk supply and this is frustrating. So I have decided to start to wean him and try and skip more and more breast feedings progressively. My husband is very upset by this choice and I am trying to explain the feelings and reasons, but he doesn’t understand. I hope to have a deeper bond to my son once my milk supply dries up. Thank for posting this and for expressing other reasons for giving up breast feeding. —

  11. I think your post is not just airing your personal feelings but airing the feelings of many. I breastfed my 1st child for 3 weeks and we both cried through every feeding. Giving it up was so hard for me. Now, with my 2nd child I got off to a much better start, but still hated it and so did the baby. Now I’m giving him formula and I’m sure it will make us both happier although the guilt I feel is awful and I echo many of your feelings. All I can say is that as long as you have happy babies then that’s what counts.

  12. Thank you SO much for posting this! I also could not find anything on the web and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out there…I’ve never been able to produce enough milk and have been on meds from day 1 to help with it, but the best I can do is make enough for his daytime feedings and supplement with formula at night…My son is colicky and has some allergy/tummy issues, so his formula is hypoallergenic and costs an arm and a leg as it only comes in small containers–basically it works out to $5 a night to feed him this stuff…Initially, he’d scream when I tried to nurse him if my milk didn’t let down right away, would fall asleep a couple minutes into it (I couldn’t wake him for the life of me) and then never finish his feeding, so after a week I bought a pump and have been bottlefeeding him his milk the majority of the time and then topping him up by nursing afterwards…For the past couple weeks now he’s been refusing to nurse at all, so I’ve been laying awake at night in between feedings going over why I SHOULD continue pumping (his allergy/tummy issues, immune benefits, cost of formula, etc.)…I’m now only making enough milk for 2 (3 at best) daytime feedings and each session takes an hour…I finally realized today just before I found this that the majority of the past 14 weeks have been spent trying to pump to maintain his daytime feedings and cleaning/sterilizing the parts–this has become increasingly more difficult as he’s more active now and my husband is a police officer who works shiftwork with very long hours some days…I’ve been missing out on spending all that time with him! So to hell with the breast is best nazis and the cost–I’ve done the best that I can! Thank you Stormy, your posting and the others that followed have finally brought me tears of relief, not sadness and given me permission to stop! 🙂

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this information. I had my son 3 1/2 months ago. He was 7 weeks early (I had preclampsia) and he is doing just great. He was in the hospital for 17 days and I tried to breastfeed, but he just could not latch on – so I pumped, pumped and pumped some more. He learned to latch on after about a month, but quickly got confused between the breast and bottle and would get extremely cranky. My whole world has become him and when to pump again. I wanted to give him all the breastmilk I could but I still had to add formula for the added calories they wanted me to give him since he started out so small (3 lbs 10 oz.) I decided that I wanted to stop breastfeeding, but had no idea how to go about it. All I could find out about the topic was how wonderful it is to breastfeed, but not how to go about it. I am so glad that I found your information and it is nice to know that there are other women going through the same mental “tug-of-war” about should I or should I not continue to supply breastmilk. Thanks again for the encouragement and information.

  14. I’m 20 years old and completely torn about breastfeeding my husband is 22 and we’re young parent’s. It’s very hard for me to keep from crying while making this decision. I had my baby girl February 27th, 2007 she was 3 weeks early and had a lil trouble breathing at first and was a tiny bit jaundice. In the hospital they first gave her formula so she could breath better and I was trying to breastfeed her also, but she wasnt getting enough colostrum so we used one of those sns kits.Right now I’m not having alot of problems feeding her on the breast she latches good when she wants too but I honestly prefer pumping.I just feel that they both take alot of time and my pediatrician told me to give her formula every other feeding anyways.My husband wants me to keep breastfeeding and keeps saying its natural,yes breastfeeding is natural, but me being sad while doing it isn’t. My mother who had 7 kids and breastfed all of them, also keeps saying “oh look at all the milk you pump” and compares me to my sister who didnt get much from pumping but still breastfed for 3 months but she also gave my neice formula and she got collicky and cried soo much.I’m scared that might happen if I stop but my baby reacts well to formula when I give it to her she’s not a fussy baby at all sleeps good isn’t gassy doesn’t cry much.I just honestly don’t know what to do I feel like a bad motherand I’m under alot of pressure.I don’t know if it’s because of my age or because of postpartum depression I wouldn’t give up my baby for anything. I fear that if I stop she’s gonna get sick or the SIDS risk increases that scares me to death. I have such anxiety over this and am ashamed to talk to my doctor cause I know she has a 9 month old and is still breastfeeding or my mom or sisters I have 3 of them and they all have kids someone help please any advice I’ll take I don’t want to be sad and guilty anymore.Bottom line is I don’t have any problems breastfeeding I just am not happy doing it. Is that wrong? Am I a bad mother?
    P.S. Sorry this post is soo long and I keep rambling

  15. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor. She knows better than anybody that everyone is different and while she can’t and shouldn’t make the decision for you, you should hear her opinion and any concerns or advise she has.

  16. wow. alot of pain and frustration out there.all over something as natural as breathing. how advice; i am a midwife amd mum, breastfeeding my 2yo girl. i have worked with alot of australian aboriginal women who never have any breastfeeding problems. I’m talking real bush mamas here!they breastfeed like animals, gracefully. Most breastfeeding problems in the western world are caused by inhibition and over analysing things, rather than simply slinging the baby on the breast and getting on with life. what do you think would have happened to the human race over the course of evolution if there truly are so many mums and babies who “breastfeeding just doesnt work for”?we would have died out, of position on breastfeeding is rooted in understanding and respect for the physiological norm in infant feeding. Formula is full of shit and should be available on prescription only from lactation consultants. i would go so far to assert that formula feeding is at best neglectful, at worst abusive.and loosen up!!!!!!!!do you have such trouble moving your bowels?

  17. Hi “Midwife and Mama”
    While I agree that if I had lived in the time before formula, I would have kept breastfeeding my baby, I don’t think it would have been any easier then. I would have experienced the same frustrations and pain. Now I have an alternative and I don’t think it’s bad to use it.
    My grandmother breastfeed 11 babies, pumped all her own water, made all her food from scratch, washed all the dirty diapers and lived without a phone. I greatly admire her, but it doesn’t mean I need to do the same.

  18. I am considering stopping my baby from breastfeeding after just one month, for the same reasons you did. Actually she isn’t breastfeeding she wouldnt take to my nipple, so I have been pumping for a month and she has been bottle feeding. So the physical attachment isn’t there between me and her, but it is VERY time consuming because when she sleeps I am pumping so she can have a bottle for the next feeding. Anyways, I was wondering when you stopping breastfeeding, what kind of formula did you start the baby on. This is my first child so I am not sure what kind to use. If you have any advice just let me know. Thank you!

  19. We used Similac with iron and it worked out well but you should check with your pediatrician as well. I signed up for some list and now I get $5 check from them every month or so.
    Good luck!

  20. I think that what Stormy is talking about is a lot of guilt. Of course the human population wouldn’t have continued had it not been for breastfeeding, I get that, but what we are forgeting is the change in societal make-up. We currently live in a culture not fit for parenting. Rather, most women work or need to work to sustain their families. In previous generations (not that long ago) we had “wet nurses” where if I was having a problem feeding my child or was sore, my child could have been fed by my sister, or cousin, etc. I think that we need to have a more open percpetion of what good mothering is. We are so hard on mothers and it’s not fair. We all do the BEST we can for our children and that is all we can do. Let’s not judge and recognize the differences in cultural settings. Stormy, I don’t understand your stance. In one posting you are pro-breastfeeding because it is natural as bowel movements, and the next you are asking what kind of formula to buy.

  21. I guess I didn’t see until now how they listed the postings. I apologize Stormy!!! You weren’t the one who posted about the aborigines.

  22. I have to say this is very encouraging to read. I have had the same problems that you were talking about in your post. My daughter wanted to eat all the time and my milk supply was never enough for her. When I did pump I could only get out about an 1 ounce of milk. Now that I have put her on formula she drinks between 3-4 ounces. For my sanity and my babies I think it was the best choice for me. My other problem was the fact that one of my breasts was supplying a lot of milk while the other one was not supplying hardly any. I think it is great to hear about other women who have gone through the same thing as I am going through. Thank you for your post!

  23. Thanks so much. There is not anything out there except, BREASTFEEDING IS GREAT. Yeah it is great except when it drives you insane. I have had issues with breasfeeding since my son was born 1st i had clogged milk ducts (and people telling me I had no choice but to breast feed, and “pump just pump, you have got to get it to come out” I felt guilty and did that, which increased my supply but still nothing came out. Then my son went 14 hours with no food b/c i felt so guilty I couldn’t remember the last time He actually ate.) The first week we were home was miserable the first few days I didn’t even know I was clogged, so he did not get much food. He fussed so much we got “NO” sleep! We used formula but he is lactose intolerant (we dd not know) he was even fussier. I finally became so engorged it came out! RELIEF!! I started producing a ton of milk having to pump every 2 hours then feed him, clean the pumps clean the bottles clean him up clean myself up change him and then i could think about a possible snack or 5 min nap. (USUALLY IT DIDN’T HAPPEN) I spent every ounce of time feeding and cleaning him. ( I do Have other responsibilities!!) Then I started going down in milk production down down down to the point it was not enough. I’d had it! I told my husband I am done I cannot handle the emotional distress and time consumption. The Cherry on top of it all After I had him I had a Grade 3 Aductor strain (HORRIFIC PAIN) I could barely move and I am still recovering from it after a month. It still hurts to move and to sneeze to cough. I CAN’T HANDLE ANY MORE!!! I need sanity too. I won’t rattle on any more except IT’S NOT PROPER TO SLING OUR CHILDREN ON OUR BREASTS AND WALK AROUND WE HAVE LAWS IN OUR COUNTRY!! I really don’t care what the aborigines do, this is about women who want to stop breastfeeding and no we’re NOT wusses. We want to be good mommies and that’s what we are. THANKS FOR HELPING ME WITH MY Guilt stormy it has made my life easier!! Thanks!

  24. Thank you for this post. I’m considering giving up the little breasfeeding that I’m able to do. My baby is 5 months old, and from the time of his birth, bfeeding has been a pain. Seeing 4 lactation consultants, pumping 8 times (or 100 minutes) a day the first month to build up my supply, taking upteen fenugreek supplements (so many that I ended up smelling like maple syrup), taking banned medication to increase supply… all this and we still had to supplement with formula.
    Please note, the ONLY way I was able to keep up with this manic schedule was because my husband was able to take off 6 weeks, and because I had 3 months at home. It was grueling, and I agree with the other posters who mentioned feeling distant from their children because they spent so much time pumping and cleaning the parts. In retrospect, I wish I had given up sooner.
    Now, at 5 months, my son will only nurse for 10 mins, max, twice a day if I’m lucky. And he still gets 4-6 oz of formula after that.
    We supplemented with formula from the first week home – since he went from 9.6 lbs down to 7.8 lbs – that really hurt, but I’m ok with this now. I still feel guilt – especially since my mother bfed us until we were over a year old – but at the same time, I think that there is more to life than this, and considering how many healthy people have been bottle fed, it should be fine in the end.
    Congratulations to all of us for being the best mothers in the world to our children, and phooey to you to anyone who belittles us for our decisions.

  25. I wanted to stop after one week and my husband was totally against it. We ended up exclusivly pumping. I bought an electric breast pump and loved it! I got the releaf I needed from being engorged and my son was still able to get breastmilk, only from a bottle instead of direct from the source. I pumped every 3-4 hours for 10-15min. This was enough to provide my son with milk for the day and some extra to freeze in case we were short one day. It still took some time, but not nearly as much as it would to spend half an hour every two hours nursing. The best part was that it didn’t hurt at all, unlike nursing which really hurt! I still hated being hooked up to a machine, but it was simply a matter of not being able to afford formula. When he was 10 months old I just couldn’t stand it any more and started supplementing with formula. I really, really, hated nursing…thank god for pumps!! Mine saved the day, although if we ever have another, I will insist on at least some formula from the begining. It’s just way too much pressure otherwise.

  26. I’m so thankful for this website you all have no idea! I had my son this past Saturday (so he is just a couple days old) and have been breast feeding with no pain just fine. The problem was that when I was “done”, he would get up 40 min – 1 hr afterwards. This is very difficult with C-Section pain. Just taking care of yourself is enough. I cried so much! The nurses thought I was crazy. It kind of dawned on my from reading these postings that he kept me up, pretty much because he was not getting enough from our thousands of mini-breast feeding sessions. I was so determined to know how to do it right. I bothered every nurse and a lactaction specialist at the hospital! Today I noticed that when I tried to feed him, it was hurting; like he was biting instead of sucking. This evening, I was actually crying and yelping during a feeding. I felt my nipples (both) and they felt raw to the touch. I checked to make sure I was positioning him correctly and that he was latching on right, but that all checked out. The hospital gave me a free Similac bag with a bunch of free samples in it (I took it because it was free even though they knew I was breastfeeding) and I had bottles from showers because I knew that when I returned to work I would be pumping to bottle. I just had to resort to that. I couldn’t take the pain! I was (and still am) heart-broken by having to do this but I guess this is not for me. I will miss out on all the benefits for my body and my son’s. But I just HAD to start looking on line to see if others had to stop like me and why. Thank you so much Stormy for putting this out there. Your right! There is NOT enough information on this subject out there. Even though I was formula fed myself, it made me feel better about my decision to stop breast feeding and deal with my guilt. Thanks!!!

  27. i’m so glad to have found this site! could someone please tell me how to lessen the pain, especially when you’re trying to stop expresing your milk via the pump machine? i’m doing a 3-hourly expressing of milk as of the moment to provide my daughter breastmilk. but i have come to a point that i need my sanity and want to enjoy the time with my daughter rather than spending all of my time expressing, cleaning the equipments and stuck at home so i could express for my daughter’s next feed. please help!

  28. Thank you, thank you thank you!! It’s fantastic to hear someone with vitually an identical story to mine. My son (also Caleb!) is 4 weeks old today and breastfeeding him has been a total nightmare. All the things you mentioned rung true for me, the frequent feedings, sore nipples (even though I know he was latching on right) and especially not talking to him during feeding. What I had been told would be this lovely bonding experience turned out to be the biggest source of frustration and guilt since he was born. It is lovely to hear that there are others (lots!) who feel the same way as me in that if we had loved feeding then it would have been ideal, however, don’t want to be made to feel guilty when deciding to stop. I have come to the conclusion that what I am doing is not “giving up” but seeing it as the 4 weeks that I fed Caleb gave him a fantastic start, but now, a happier, more content mum and baby are much preferable. Maybe I can now start to enjoy my much wanted, much loved new baby.

  29. Thank you for this website. My daughter is 3 weeks old and we have struggled. I pump 8-10 times a day and do not produce enough to keep her fed (though she gets everything I pump from a bottle). She receives the rest in formula, which we started her on after my milk did not come in for many days. I never expected this to be so hard, but want to do what is best for her (of course!). I am sore from pumping and am struggling with work and the time it takes. Between work and the pumping, I hardly see her awake. I have seen the lactation consultant twice and am going again next week, but I am close to deciding this is not for me. I was never breastfed and agree that in today’s world, we should take advantage of the options available. Still, it is hard with the guilt component. Thanks again for this site. All of the information is great! Best of luck to everyone out there.

  30. Ladies – I hope you don’t mind me adding my story as I have read so many of your posts and they take me back! I had a terrible time breastfeeding my son for the first six weeks – painful, relentless feeds that neither of us seemed to enjoy, and a baby who was not getting back to his birth weight – when I was at the end of my tether I was lucky enough to receive the help of a breastfeeding councillor, who turned it around for us. What I wanted to say was, he is now 7 1/2 months and we have continued breastfeeding until now, and I have cut his feeds down to one feed a day. The guilt I feel for wanting to stop now has been awful! I just wanted you all to know, that it seems to me that WHENEVER you decide to stop, for whatever reason….the guilt kicks in!!! I know I was very lucky in being able to sort our problems out and I hope if we have another baby I can make it work again….but one thing I have always remembered that was said to me in the beginning- ‘no matter how many days you manage to breastfeed, for each day, you should pat yourself on the back’.
    Good wishes to you all and all your babies x

  31. So glad i found this site…I have been feeling so guilty for wanting to quit BF. All of my reasons are selfish (recurrent mastitis, and yeast infections, not to mention the sore swollen ‘milk jugs’ I carry around.) My husband is not overly thrilled that I want to stop but I am finding that I am getting more aggrevated each time I hook myself up to pump.I’m glad there are other moms out there like me who are going through the same thing. I have started weaning three days ago. i eliminated the 3:30am pumping which was easy because he sleeps through the night now at 11 weeks. Next week I am going to eliminate the afternoon pumping session and give him formula. i have enough milk frozen to last a month so I am going to alternate with frozen breastmilk and formula. I am going to buy Enfamil because that is what our hospital recommends.My breasts are soooo swollen though when I miss a session. Geese, and when I pump the next time I get almost 8-10 oz which really makes me feel guilty because I can produce so much. Hopefully next week the engorgement will cease. Thanks for letting me vent.

  32. I am also really glad to have found this site! From the beginning I’ve had trouble breastfeeding my son, who’s now almost 4 months old. In the first few days I had him, he wouldn’t latch on, and when he finally did (with the help of a lactation consultant), he would fall asleep 10 minutes into a feeding. He developed an unbelievable appetite at 2 weeks old (My milk wasn’t filling him), and would feed every hour of the day if I let him. I tried pumping, but couldn’t get enough time without him attached to one side or the other to pump sufficient quantities. He only gained 2 ounces per week in the first 4 weeks, and since he was only 6lbs at birth I was constantly worrying. At 4 weeks I started supplementing with a bottle per day, went up to 2 and then 3, and noticed a HUGE difference. Steady weight gain (he’s now over 11lbs), better sleeps (for him and for me), and he’s a happy baby! I feel so guilty about increasing his bottles and decreasing my breastfeeding time, but I know that it’s for his health and my peace of mind, so when I feel guilty and sad (which I frequently do) I remind myself of that. Thanks for a great site!

  33. I just wanted to add that my son had trouble with formula at first. I had him on Similac Advance (he was supplemented with it in the hospital because my milk didn’t come in until the fourth day after his birth), and I supplemented him with it until he was 2 weeks old, when I finally started producing milk and breastfeeding successfully. When I reintroduced him to it at 4 weeks, he was gassy, fussy and really unhappy. I switched to Carnation Goodstart with Omega 3 and 6 additives, and he had 4 good days (one bottle per) before he again had trouble. I switched him to regular Goodstart, and he’s had no trouble since. I absolutely love this formula and so does he!

  34. hello, it’s me again. reading these stories while at work on the post natal unit, here in new zealand. I am finding it difficult understand how a process that has been honed by evolution over millenia can fail so easily.A few things stick out.1)frequent feedings. Every baby is different. there is no time or frequency a baby”should” feed for. watch for 6-8 wet nappies a day, and poo anywhere between every nappy or once a week for an exclusively bf baby.women, if it’s coming out it must be going in. End of story. If they are weeing often they will be taking in enough calories to gain weight.growth spurts make babies demand hourly, to boost mum’s supply. go with it.this happens every few weeks.for genuinely low supply, maxalon, an antiemitic, can help raise production,ask your dr.2)sore nipples;get checked for thrush on them.I can’t believe american hospitals give out formula samples. That is illegal here.I feel so sad for you all, breastfeeding is the single best thing you can do for your children and yourselves.Inhibition is the enemy of breastfeeding. Take a serious look at yourselves.I mean that not in a spiteful the cave woman within.

  35. Breastfeeding is not the single best thing you can do for your children. There are lots of factors that go into raising healthy children and as a whole generation here was raised without breastfeeding, I think it’s quite possible to raise healthy, happy children without breastfeeding.
    Reading everyone’s comments, they tried very hard to do the best for their babies. Speaking from personal experience, it’s very, very hard to decide not to breastfeed. But it was my decision and it was the best one for me and my baby. My baby is now a very happy, healthy, bright and alert 7 month old and part of that is due to the fact that I quit breastfeeding so that I could be happy with him and for him.
    I wrote this post because too many people say that you must breastfeed and obviously if it’s not working for you it must be that you’re doing something wrong. That’s not the case and breastfeeding is not always an enjoyable experience for all mothers and babies. Every mother and baby needs to figure out what works for them.
    I would strongly encourage breastfeeding but if it’s not working, I don’t think you should feel guilty for having to give it up.

  36. I wanted to put in my two cents. My baby is now 2 1/2 months old. I began pumping exclusively about two weeks after his birth for various reasons (sore nipples and never enjoying the act of breastfeeding are just two of them. If time is the major obstacle to breastfeeding, I would highly recommend pumping. I have used a hospital-grade Medella pump and it is WONDERFUL-I can completely empty both breasts in 10 minutes(however, it is costly to rent at $75.00 per month). I have tried to use some of the personal pumps you can buy, however these in general take way too long and I ended up taking 25 to 30 minutes to pump.
    I am now considering weaning my baby to formula. I find that because I work about 50 hours per week it is very difficult to pump every 3-4 hours. And, dragging a hospital grade pump to and from work every day is a hassle. I must say that I feel some guilt about the thought of stopping…but I will make the decision that is right for myself, my family, and my situation. I figure that any amount of breastmilk is better than none at all!

  37. Thank you so much for this site! I haven’t been able to find anything about this topic on the web – everything is pro-breastfeeding of course. I’ve been pumping exclusively since my son was 2 weeks old. He’s now a happy, healthy 5 month old! I too feel like I’ve somewhat missed out due to all of the time and effort pumping brings. I’ve found myself supplementing more and more and debating to stop pumping at 6 months. I did read somewhere that most of the good things infants receive from bf is within the first 6 months anyway. Has anyone else heard anything like that?

  38. To the Cave Woman Within – I can’t quite believe what I have just read….I really don’t think your words will help on a site like this. It’s not clear whether you are a mother yourself…but I would like to think that if you have had breastfeeding experience that you would have posted a more supportive response be it good or bad, and not the practical medical claptrap you have written. There is a huge amount of pressure to breastfeed, and many many women feel terrible about being unable to or deciding not to – this site is testament to that. So tell me, in New Zealand, when you take your baby home, and after hours of trying to get your baby to latch on, and after tearful sessions of trying to express and getting nothing (or getting 10ml and promptly knocking the container over on the kitchen table…- can you tell I am talking from experience)….do you not give your baby a formula and just let them cry it out??? Come on, get real.
    For the record – I posted before as Julie, but my post has been named as Anne Marie. And also for the record, I’m posting this from Scotland. And finally, my baby had formula, in hospital, on his second nighT…HEAVEN FORBID GIVEN TO HIM BY A NURSE – and guess what HE IS FINE!!!!!

  39. Hi-
    I have being pumping wxclusively for three weeks. My baby did not like to latch on form the beginning. I spend a lot of time pumping. I would like to do both formula and breast milk, but my husband disaprove of our baby getting formula because of all the additive in it. I am miserable abd feel guilty. I feel that I cannot have a social life because I have to pump at all time and when I am not pumping I am feeding the baby who digest the breast milk every hour. Also Also my nipples are sore.I do not know how to make my husband understand that I am having trouble and that it is not working for me.

  40. hi julie, and others.midwife and mama from New zealand here. Yep, i sure have breastfed, for four years and counting(first daughter for 2 yrs, my 2 and a half yr old is still going.)So, in addition to my midwifery qualifications, I believe i am in a reasonable position to comment. The advice was not “medical claptrap” but research based,appropriate information every bf mother is entitled to have. You cannot be said to have made an informed decision to artificialy feed based on “breastfeeding wasn’t working” unless you are aware of basic normal newborn behaivour and the physiology of milk production, which is what i advised on.This was the knowledge i perceived to have been lacking on reading the comments posted.It wasn’t intended to be punitive, but helpful. In answer to your question, every woman in new zealand is entitled to, and receives, daily visits by a midwife every day for as long as needed, then weekly visits for up to 6 weeks.I guess in the US that level of support is not available. well, it should be.Breastfeeding is a feminist issue and a human rights issue. It is the first, and most significant health care choice a parent makes for their child(not a personal prejudice of mine, a world health org statement)Women need, and deserve, all support necessary to enable it.Woman who purely choose not to bf should conider the environmental and social effects of artificially feeding, (in addition to the health aspect,which many women seem to trivialize).(Pollution from packaging and production, etc)I am not posting all of this to be antagonistic!!I am a busy midwife and mummy and have better things to do than harass people. I am passionate about breastfeeding on many levels . women deserve full information: i have seen a deficit, and i respond. That is all.

  41. To Midwide and Mama. Fair enough, you are very well placed to comment on breastfeeding etc, however I do feel that in your capacity as a health professional and more importantly an experienced breastfeeder, you would show more empathy to the women who are posting on this site. As you will know it can be a very emotional time giving birth, not to mention the days that follow, and many of us can remain in a higher emotional frame of mind in these early days and months. If my breastfeeding councillor had suggested that I ‘took a serious look at myself’ and ‘trust the cavewoman within’, I think I would have seen her off the premises!! What I needed at that time (and what I got) was support and encouragement, balanced very carefully with relevant medical information. Whilst I am not questionning your skills as a midwife or mother, perhaps counselling is not your forte, or perhaps posting on a site like this should be left to those with a gentler way with words.

  42. Thank you all for writing your experiences. I’ve been strugling since the first day. First of all he never latched on, so it was a very painful experience for both of us for the first two weeks. Then I decide to continue with pumping instead of giving up. 8 times a day for 30 min… After going back to work on the 9th week, I started to supplement the breastmilk with formula and realized that both me and my little boy are happier and enjoying our feeding time together. Today he is 3 months old, and I decide to stop pumping. Sorry for being that bitter but, if anyone comes and tells me that she is pregnant, my first advice will be “never think of breastfeeding” because that was one of the worst and painful experiences that I had in 39 years (no latching on, not having enough milk, pain and crying while trying to breastfeed, not wet diapers for the first two days, nipple shields, cracked and bleeding nipples, 5 different lactation consultants’ inconsistent advices, being diagnosed as having yeast infection without any physical check by a lactation consultant, feeling guilty, feeling a milk cow while pumping, etc). To me it’s just not worthed.

  43. Hi all – your comments and stories have all saved my sanity (any my wee 9 week old girl) – there are so many mothers out there who feel exactly how I am feeling – should I stop, shouldn’t I stop, what will people say, what will my Plunket nurse say … and so on and so on …. hey what about my babies health, hang on what about my health and the stress free mum that my wee girl has now, after nine weeks of worry – there is light at the end of the tunnel

  44. Hi all – your comments and stories have all saved my sanity (any my wee 9 week old girl) – there are so many mothers out there who feel exactly how I am feeling – should I stop, shouldn’t I stop, what will people say, what will my Plunket nurse say … and so on and so on …. hey what about my babies health, hang on what about my health and the stress free mum that my wee girl has now, after nine weeks of worry – there is light at the end of the tunnel

  45. Thank you so much for sharing this. I BF my son for all of three days, and I hated each and every second of it. It got to where when I heard him cry, my blood would run cold. Having his mouth against my breast made me want to sling my son into the wall, no lie. Switching to formula was the best decision I made. I now have three healthy boys and a beautiful daughter, and I don’t regret a damn thing.

  46. I stopped breast feeding cold turkey and have only been doing it for 2 weeks. It is my 3rd child. The first child I breastfed for 6-8weeks, the second I made it 3 months. I am just really wanting my body back, and not have to worry about what I am eating or drinking could be affecting the baby. Time for me too, is limited, and I can’t get anything done during the day. I do feel guilty about it but am working through that. My last feeding was yesterday and I haven’t even pumped I just want to be done with it before I change my mind. She is doing fine on the bottle , with the formula. My pain however is next to unbearable. I have been taking the tylenol 3’s left from the delivery all day and I hope there wont be to many more days of this pain. I am affraid if I pump my supply will not quit and it will go on forever, but this pain is terrible.

  47. Gosh! What a long list of comments! I have a 7 week old little boy and have been pumping since he was born due to the fact that he would not latch on. We tried and tried but it was just not happening…I have had so many different people try to get him on, all with their own technique, none of which worked! I have been deciding whether or not to stop pumping for the last week or so and have finally decided to quit. It was getting silly to be honest. I didn’t have time to do anything because when I wasn’t feeding I was pumping and really found it hard to leave the house, which was not doing myself or the baby any good. I am just starting to get to the painful part now…I have taken some mild painkillers and I am hoping it won’t last too long! I do feel guilty and its nice to hear I am not the only one but I think sometimes you have to weigh up the pro’s and con’s for your personal situation and make the decision that suits you.

  48. So what happened when you stopped… I have done this before, but it was nine years ago and while this baby looks just like his big brother he acts like his father, he eats too fast and most of what he gets from nursing comes right back up. With the formula it stays down, fills him up, and gives me back some of the time during the day! I’ve already done laundry and dishes and it’s noon! Back to my questions… your breasts become full, hurt like crazy, and what just tuff it out?

Comments are closed.