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. I have been breastfeeding for the past 5 weeks and also supplementing with formula. I have had sore nipples almost the entire time. I now have and intraductal yeast infection. (infection in the milk ducts inside the breast.) I am so frustrated. It seems I never get any sleep, the baby is still not latching on properly and therefore not getting enough milk. I am now in the process of weaning. Thanks for your website it has helped me feel better about my decision.

  2. Thanks everyone for your posts.
    I have been emotional for the last couple days going back and forth on deciding whether or not I want to continue breastfeeding my 1 week old. Like others have said, with the pain it causes, I have dreaded feeding him and rather than it being a time for us to bond, it’s just a time that makes me miserable. Many of my family members are also uncomfortable around breastfeeding mothers, so it makes it hard when they come to visit. I either watch their uncomfortable faces, or go in the other room and be unable to enjoy their company, when they are here to help and celebrate having our new baby! I don’t enjoy being constantly leaky and wet, and having to wear a bra around the clock just to not get milk all over everything. It is not relaxing at all, and doesn’t make me a happy mommy for either of my boys. It’s still a hard decision to make, but it’s good to know there are others having similar feelings.

  3. I just want to say thank you for this post, I am a mommy to be in a very short while and can’t decide what is right for me and my baby and I have been leaning toward Formula Feeding for the simple fact I just don’t FEEL like breast feeding and have gotten bashed BADLY for it for not having a good enough excuse I guess??

  4. I’m very late on this discussion but I thought my experience worth sharing as it might help someone else some day! My daughter was born after a straight forward birth and fed fine straight away but after a few days I gave up breastfeeding- the usual reasons -bleeding nipples, crying baby, had no idea what I was doing,I knew nobody who had breastfed so had no advise (did have a midwife out 3 days running but that was no help) and basically completely panicked. So swapped to bottles and my diligently fed my daughter with bottles until she was about 10 weeks. At this point I started to research more about infant feeding (I know it seems crazy- why didn’t I do this before I had the baby!) as my daughter seem
    ed to be gaining weight more quicky than the other babies and I was worried I was over feeding her (I was told by countless health visitors that I wasn’t and that you can’t overfeed a baby – I now know this to be untrue). Anyway, following my research I decided to have another go at breastfeeding (felt so guilty having quit) and set about getting my daughter back on the breast, I had to use a hospital grade double pump every few hours, take suppliments, use a SNS (a device with tubes that attach to the nipples-that you pump formula through to encourage baby to the breast)> It was a monumental effort that went on for almost 6 months during which time I had some success and was able to feed my daughter for some feeds (but never exclusively). However, all of this came at such a cost- I was a breaking point, I was on anti depressants, convinced I was a terrible mother and I’d got it all wrong and probably ruined my daughters life by formula feeding her- and even worse – overfeeding her. My daughter is now over four years old (Im happy to report a healthy, average sized, smart child) and I still worry about this and I still google regularly to read other peoples breastfeedig stories to reassure myself that Im not the only one who found it difficult-that I’m not the only mother who found breastfeeding almost impossible. I try to be the best mother I can every day (I have since had a son and breastfed him for 7 months- so much more prepared second time round). But I find it very difficult to leave this behind and it’s great read the other stories and the support on this posting.

  5. The many comments are wonderful. I am a mother of 2 (an 8 week old and a 22 month old). I felt like I was all alone in wanting to stop breastfeeding. I had an emergency c-section and didn’t get to see my son for a day or so and he was started on formula and we have supplemented very minimally since. My son is very fussy and he doesn’t rest well. On the rare ocassions he has gone to the babysitter, he had formula and rested very well and seemed much happier. I’ve wanted to stop breastfeeding for months, but as soon as I make up my mind to stop he has a good day and I feel guildy. This is suppose to be the most exciting time of my life, but it’s not! My son nurses every 2 hours and between nursing, I’m trying to get a little rest and find something to eat or drink to keep my supply up. (Oh yeah, forgot to mention, having to take Reglan to increase my milk supply) Spending so much time nursing or preparing to nurse leaves very little time for anything else. I find myself grumpy, crying, and often impatient with my 22 month old who I feel is being left out of what could be a wonderful experience. Today I said that I am going to begin the weaning process, but I’m so guilt ridden, I’m not sure if I’ll go through with it.

  6. I just wanted to say thank you for all of the posts. My son is 13 weeks old and I struggled for the first 9 weeks. Getting over the pain with the nipple shield for 6 weeks. Then realizing the dairy in my diet was causing some issues. I stopped using the nipple shield cause all the books say so. Also cut dairy out of my diet. The doctor diagnosed him with reflux and put him on zantac at 2 months old.I also wasn’t producing enough milk because of changing from the nipple shield and had to start trying to pump. This poor little boy has been through more in his little life than my oldest did by the time he was three years old. I feel tired and stressed about feeling tired and stressed. He’s a wonderful little baby, finally gaining weight and smiling and giggling. Beautiful little boy and the best thing I can give him is a mommy who can take care of him. I think the guilt will always be there because I’ve come this far, but I’m just so tired and would rather deal with the guilt rather than the stress. I hope everyone makes the best decision for them..and doesn’t think that they are bad mommies and not good enough because of anything that they go through. It makes you a better mommy to make the hard decisions for you and baby!! Good luck to everyone!

  7. THANK YOU for this….I was having the same issues researching this on the internet….my baby is 5 weeks and I just started to stop nursing her, because I decided crying through every feeding ( really…EVERY feeding) due to REALLY sore nipples was not acceptable. YES I have seen lactation counselors and YES she is gaining perfect weight. I think it’s just my anatomy. The few times I have given my daughter formula, we are both more relaxed and engaged in each other…’s like we are both struggling through the breast feeding! Appreciate your post, it helped me not feel so alone!

  8. I know this is old but was so helpful & made me feel so much better. Thank you for your honesty & for the info.

  9. Thanks for posting this. I found it really helpful. I breastfed for 5 months (my plan was for 6 months) but even then I found the Health Visitor looked like she dissapproved when I told her he was totally on formula. I know it’s good that they try to encourage women to breastfeed (since Breast is best)but I think the fact that you tried in the first place is a marvellous thing, when some women don’t even try it at all. I know how you feel. My baby was feeding every two hours for 20mins which then increased to every 45mins but the length of time between feeds was only 3 hours by then! It was consuming my day and buying a fancy breastpump didn’t help as then your day is also taken up with pumping/feeding/pumping/feeding!
    My baby gradually didn’t want to feed from me anymore and his bottle feeds went up. I still fed him at night until he started to sleep through and then I decided to drop the morning feed (which increased to 1hr 20mins!!) and now give him formula instead. I was suprised at my guilt pangs for swapping to formula but I know I shouldn’t feel that way besides my baby made the decision to change to formula.
    Feel proud that you did your best and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad Mum. I’m lucky that the milk has been gradually drying up too. I think if you do it slowly and introduce more and more bottle feeds, your breasts wont engorge and the milk will dry up.

  10. Hi,
    Thanks for your post, I would like to add I was happy breastfeeding in the beginning and thought would continue for 6 months. My daughter is 3 and half month when I decided to go on formula(felt very guilty and did alot of research yet was very emotional doing it) since she would be restless in the night as she didnt get enough milk(and yes I know about growth spurts but it was weeks of restless nights), and I felt I was nursing her all the time. It was either for comfort/hunger/tired/sleep. I tried to do alot of things(breast pump but she wouldnt accept the bottle nor the dummy) which the health visitor suggested then I decided to swap(she cried for half an hr but after that when she realized that I am not giving in she now accepts bottle as well as dummy), now my daughter Anika sleeps through the night and sleep better during the day as well. Travelling has become easier as well and we both enjoy more play time, sharing a bath, swimming etc. I did get a disapproving look and some lectures but I ignored it. I have nursed my baby well and hopefully she will have a good immunity system, I was a bottle fed baby and I feel I am pretty immune to common illnesses. I think it should be a mother’s decison how they would like to feed their baby and its nothing to do with being a bad mum if they bottle feed(which I feel is much more a balanced diet than my breastmilk esp when I used to eat junk). The most important thing is to be happy and enjoy motherhood and show your baby your affection. For me to make her quit at this age was much easier, since the older the baby is the more difficult the parting is. Whatever it is, I do salute mums who can carry on breastfeeding for a year or so, for me I think 3 1/2 months was good enough (enjoyed it and now enjoying it more). I love you Anika.

  11. oh my goodness THANK YOU for this post. it is 1am and i am crying because I want to stop breastfeeding, for the exact reasons you posted, and I feel AWFUL and have not found any helpful information or support to make me feel any better. My little guy would nurse for HOURS all day all night and I am just sooo tired and so sore. I also coulndt pump due to the constant nursing and used formula, which he loved and drank in like 8-10 minutes and would sleep much longer after having it. This post made me feel so much better knowing that moving away from breastfeeding for reasons other than extreme health concerns is normal and shouldnt be frowned upon the way it is. so, again, thank you so much!

  12. Like everyone else on here I have been struggling to come to terms with giving up breastfeeding. I’ve gone back and forth so many times and have felt extremely guilty for not choosing to feed my daughter “the best”. I’ve already started the weaning process and Sophie could not be happier with the formula…took to it like a duck to water. (she actually takes naps now instead of nursing all day!) Thank you for sharing this!!

  13. A great post, thank you!

    I’m the Mum to a happy healthy 12 week old who is entirely bottle fed (combination of 80% expressed breast milk and 20% formula). I’ve been pumping breast milk for pretty much every feed since she was 4 weeks old. I too have no ‘excuse’ to stop other than I’m finding it difficult. Funny how it’s ok to stop if there’s a medical reason but not ok if you just decide you’re done. I found she was a happier baby and better sleeper once I could ensure she had enough milk (why don’t breasts have a volume gage?!). I felt bad about stopping with breast feeding and switching to bottle feeding, even though it was still breast milk, and now I feel bad about switching to all formula.

    After a lot of searching on the Internet and a lot of inner searching, I think I’ve finally been able to realise that it is my choice, and I choose the way that ensures I can provide the greatest amount of love for my child because it’s love that counts most.

  14. Thanks so much for posting this – as everyone else has mentioned, there is no support for moms that just struggle emotionally or from sore nipples which in my opinion is a medical reason to stop. My daughter is 4 weeks old today, she latched well in the hospital, but only fed every 5-6 hours. She went from 15-20 minutes on each side to only 4-5 minutes on each side over the course of that first week.

    By the time we had our home visit the poor thing had dropped a whole pound and had became terribly jaundice and lethargic. I gave up on taking her to breast and started pumping to try and get her as much milk as possible. I discovered that my milk supply ever 2-3 hours was only 1 ounce, no wonder she was jaundice and lethargic! So I jumped through all the hoops to increase my supply. I started on fenugreek – popping 10-12 pills a day, I drank massive amounts of water, made sure to nap as much as possible, heating pads, massages, you name it, we did it.

    After a couple days with barely any change – we were forced to start supplementing her. She gets about 1.5-2 ounces of mommy milk per feeding and another 2.5-3 ounces of formula. The biggest problem I have is that it takes me about 15-20 minutes to pump my measly 2 max ounces every 2-3 hours. I have a baby that only feeds every 3-4 hours, which means we’re not in sync. Its like the most evil schedule ever. I’m either pumping or I’m bottle feeding – that is my day.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I feel I just need to stop. I’m exhausted, the stress of not making enough milk depresses me to no end, and despite having a ton of guilt about taking away the mommy milk, I think having a mom that isn’t depressed and strung out from exhaustion is WAY more beneficial than the alternative.

    1. I am going through exactly the same thing. “Breast is best” keeps going through my head but pumping up to 8 times a day, 45mins- to an hour each time is exhausting, especially when I only get about 40-80 ml. I’m on medication to help and there is also a concern about that going into my milk. I just feel so guilty, but I agree that a relaxed mum that can play and comfort her child is more importnant. People say that babies that are breastfed are smarter and healthier, but my husband was formula fed and has no health problems and has three university degrees!. I was breasfed and have asthma and had skin problems.

      1. It has been great reading these responses. I tried breastfeeding for 5 weeks. I suffered an extreme amount of pain with nipple thrush, cracked nipples, fissure on each nipples, I got a staf infection and mastitis. I was expressing up to 7 times a day plus the breastfeeding my nipples were so damaged they just never had a chance to recover.

        I expressed exclusively for one week as the hospital told me not to put my baby back on the breast as my nipples were so bad. I had supply problems from the get go so no breastfeeding just reduced my supply further til there was not much there. I went to the breast feeding support clinic twice, to a one on one lactation consultant, spoke to the Australian breastfeeding association….everyone and not once did anyone ask me how this affected me and my relationship with my daughter. I was strung out, starting to get symptoms of depression and felt scared of feed times. I in the end decided happy mum…happy baby and went to formula feeding. I don’t feel guilty, I feel sad that my first breastfeeding experience wasn’t what I thought it would be, but I don’t feel guilty. Yes breast is best but babies need love and nurturing more than breast milk.

  15. I am a mother of a 9 1/2 month old and still breastfeeding. This article was very helpful in the questions that I have had for some time now. I’m only a little concerned about weaning, as I LOVE breastfeeding, enjoy the time with my daughter and don’t really want to give it up. The only reason that I plan to is to get pregnant again. I only plan to breastfeed her for a year, but I am already grieving letting that time go with her. I know that it will free up a lot more time, but that wasn’t a huge issue for me, as I am a stay at home mom. I love the bond between my baby and me. It’s such a blessing and God really produced a miracle when he made milk from the breast. Thank you again for this article, as I am not as nervous now about weaning at a year and I have more of an idea how to do it! Praise the Lord for His goodness and mercy to all of us!

  16. It is so hard to get over feeling guilty for not breastfeeding or stopping breastfeeding. My daughter is now 9 weeks old. She ate only breastmilk for the first three weeks of her life. She only ate about 2oz then. My days were spent nursing, pumping, nursing, pumping and NOT sleeping. Nursing was more difficult then I ever thought. In the hospital the LC gave me a nipple sheild or guard whatever you want to call it because I had short nipples. My little one was having trouble latching on. So they told me to wear it and then my nipples would get longer as nursing went on and then to stop using it. What a pain that thing was… I had to hold it on and make sure it didn’t slip while the baby nursed. My little girl would nurse for an hour. I would stop at an hour because I could sit there hunched over anymore. She constantly fell asleep (at night so would I)during feeding.
    Okay so the nipple sheild was hard. I pumped a few oz at a time and my husband would get up once at night and feed her a bottle so I could sleep a little. She did fine with a bottle and slept better after a bottle of breastmilk. I am guessing she wasn’t getting enough while nursing for an HOUR. At three weeks my step son came for two weeks in the summer. He is six. I was not comfortable breastfeeding in front of him. I didn’t want him going home to his mom talking about seeing my boobs all day long. I tried to cover up but with holding the nipple sheild and trying to switch breasts it was just a mess. I couldn’t go in the other room all the time and leave him by himself when my husband was at work. So the baby started getting a bottle for more feedings. Then even after an hour of nursing, she was hungry. We introduced formula at this point after nursing. She began to get formula after every feeding due to hunger.
    Finally we went out to dinner with our friends (5 other couples, four of which has babies this summer, all breastfeeding!) I talked to my good friend, who was pregnant with her second and breastfed her first for a YEAR without every using formula, about my trouble feeding and my feelings feeding. She made me feel a little better about crying when feeding because your so tired! I went home and threw out the nipple guard. This made things so much easier when feeding but now I can’t produce enough milk.
    To sum up to where we are now my production has all but stopped. I am only pumping an oz at a time. Far less than the four she eats at every feeding. My little one has eaten up all the frozen supply I started working on right away after she was born and she is on special Nutramigen formula because she has tummy troubles.
    I know she its getting hardly any milk when I nurse her now. I know my production has all but stopped completly but I still pump and nurse her. She eats probably only four oz of breastmilk a day. My husband says its okay to stop. But I still feel guilty and haven’t completly given up eventhough nothing is coming out.
    We go to the doc tomorrow and I am looking for him to tell me its okay to stop. Even if he doesn’t, reading about all of your breastfeeding adventures has been comforting.
    My husband nor I were breastfed. We both have good jobs, healthy weights (except for the baby weight I am working off) and love our children like crazy. I think my baby girl will be okay without breastfeeding for months more.

    1. My stepson was also 6 when I was breastfeeding. One day I was feeding the baby and he came and sat next to me and asked if he could hold the baby. I said, “Sure, as soon as he’s done eating.” My stepson grabbed his own chest and said “There’s FOOD in there????” He was absolutely disgusted!

    2. Sophie and I only made it to 5 weeks and then we quit breastfeeding. I also felt EXTREMELY guilty about it. I was worried she would hate me for it, that she wouldn’t be healthy, that something would go wrong and it would be all my fault for not breastfeeding. Sophie’s now 4 months old, completely formula fed and absolutely the happiest, healthiest baby ever. And mommy’s happy too! 🙂 Mommies who bottlefeed love their babies just as much if not more than mommies who breastfeed, because we have to give up breastfeeding and deal with the fallout. 🙂 Hang in there… and just tell yourself that you need to do what’s best for you and your daughter, and if that’s formula then that’s ok. good luck!

  17. I have been breastfeeding for 6 weeks and I am exhausted my little one is up every 2 hours to eat and I really need some rest! I produce enough milk but I too am annoyed with leaky boobs and bras 24/7. I really wanna stop at 2 months.

  18. I’d like to say thank you for this site. I have been struggling for days on weather to stop breastfeeding or not. My daughter is just over 2 years old, and I was unable to breastfeed with her. I went through the same feelings with her as I am with my 3 week old son. With my son I’ve been trying Fenugreek, but with no success (except for smelling like maple syrup). Ever since my son was born he’s been supplemented with formula after each feeding. I’m getting a bit tired spending 1 1/2 hours per feeding just to have him want to eat an hour later. I stress about the time, and the benefits, and what society says is best. My husband tries to make me feel better, but it’s hard. The one thing that helps me feel better is the fact that breastfeeding has not been a success on either sides of my family. My mother and both grandmothers were unable to breastfeed, so I feel that it’s an anatomy issue. Still… it’s a hard decision. I truly feel that there should be more support out there for women who make this decision, and not cold shoulders. Thanks again for this site.

  19. hi

    my son was born at 26.5 weeks he is now 6 weeks corrected
    i have been expressing for 19 weeks . I am over it yet i still express , i am trying so hard but with him being extremly prem its a hard slog

    I now express when i can feed him from the boob when i can
    i will not feel guilty

    my mik did drop so i upped the xpressing , now with a super clingy bub , colicky , reflux and tiny
    i cant express 3 hourly , he sometimes rarely stays on the breast for 1 hour and still drinks an entire bottle of formula , so i can completly identify with not knowing whether he has had enough
    it is so stressful worrying about that as he isnt even 3 kilos and is 6 weeks corrected
    so why worry
    im not anymore , if i cant i cant , i cant tell him sorry i have to express he doesnt understand , he spent 15 weeks in the nicu why should he wait
    since supplementing with formula
    he ha sgained more weight as we were told on ebm they just were not happy with his weightgain
    so after starting premgro he has gained more weight
    the pead says it must be what he needs
    the extra iron in the formula means he no longer has anemia
    so it really has helped
    we give only formula at night and now he is sleeping 5 hours and then small stretches of 3-4 afterwards
    broken sleep is better than no sleep at all

    they say babies are hardwired to breastfeed mine is not
    he is a bottle fed baby who occassionally will suckle for comfort
    dont beat yourselves up , you do what you can
    and nobody should make u feel bad for that

  20. Fantastic so find an unbiased opinion in the whole breast feeding thing, i decided to quieet after 9 weeks for many of the same reasons as you. I think people ignore the commitment it takes to breastfeed and that it can take over your life. before i became pregnant i was very active and i of course wanted that again. i feel that i gave my son 2 months of breast milk but now i can give him my time and attention. we can go on walks so he is out in the air etc etc. things like these will i feel benifit him and our bond on a whole other level and allow us to enjoy each others company, not just be close because a feed is involved.

    found this artilce so refreshing that there are others who feel the same. the guilt that is placed on wanting to stop is huge and i feel unwarranted. Healthly babies have enjoyed formula for years and i dont think the stigma attached to formula feeding is fair. i was a formula fed baby and im not over weight i dont have any health problems and i didnt growing up.

    Everyone should feel free to make their own decisions and do what feels right ot them

    Thank you again for a realistic insight inot what breastfeeding can entail.

  21. I totally remember those days!!! And fathers don’t understand what women do all day when they are at home… Breastfeed LOL. I made it ladies. Very hard at times. Socially too. Can’t wait to get my body back from my son, and give him a bottle.

  22. Just this morning I sat with my 3 week old completely tensed up knowing he was going to latch on and it was going to hurt. He’s latching on correctly, but my nipples have cracks in them that are unable to heal because of constantly nursing. After getting a horrific flu bug last week, I took my son to have his weight checked and he had only gained 2oz’s in the past week and the doctor became worried and wanted me to supplement. Instead of me worring if he’s getting enough, torturing myself with nipple pain, and feeding every 1.5 hours, I have decided to switch to formula. It was a hard decision and I feel like I’m doing it in my best interest and not my son’s, but I can’t believe how much happier I am already. I enjoy feeding time now. I’m much more relaxed and can concentrate on bonding with with him versus despising the horrific pain. I’m so glad I saw this and everyone’s comments. It just reiterates the fact that I made a decision that will benefit the both of us.

  23. It helps to know that I am not alone….my daughter now 4 refused to even try my breast. I was hoping and praying my 2nd one would bf well. he latched, my nipples were sore the day he was born. I assumed its all the tiredness. i nursed for 1 week every 15 minutes. he would suck real hard, within a week, my nipples were cracked and bleeding. my 4 year old saw me weep in silence. i would hunch over at night and howl in pain – feverish pain. i despised going to lactation consultants. one night my hubby and i decided formula. he sucked it all in a matter of minutes and slept well.

    i stil read about relactating, i was formula fed and so was my daughter. all the moms here….we are not alone, its a hard decision a very hard one but like someone posted here, a happy baby and mom is key to a healthy baby and mom esp when there are siblings to be taken care of…

    thank you so much……and i pray that we have the strength to believe whats best for our babies!

  24. I am in the same boat ladies! I successfully breastfed my daughter for 1 year (who is now nearly 7yoa) and was really looking forward to breastfeeding my now 6 week old son.
    It didn’t really work out like I’d planned…I had a fabulous supply, baby was gaining 8oz per week and LOVED nursing! That was actually the problem, my husband went offshore to work when babe was 4 weeks and I struggled just to get my daughter to school every day as my little one would scream if I took him off the breast – we would arrive late then I would rush home in a sweat worrying that he was starving and sit with him on my breast more or less until it was time to collect her! I missed lunch regularly (not out of choice but out of time) and babe would suckle so much he would proceed to vomit then want to startbthe feeding process again….they say you cannot overfeed a bf babe…

    it all came to a head when my son was 5 weeks and 2 days – my gorgeous daughter asked when she would start to get as many cuddles again :0(
    I was exhausted and sat and cried when my husband rang one evening. I knew I was putting on a happy face when in fact I was
    beginning to dread feeding. I also felt luke I was spiralling into a depression so made the extremely difficult decision to ff.
    The guilt I felt was enormous. I felt selfish and went back and forth as to whether to relactate or not…
    My son is a day off 7 weeks now and I exclusively formula feed. He is much more contented and I sm having 4 hour blocks in the night! I’m off to the cinema for a girly afternoon with my daughter next week and she is so excited bless her :0) both children AND their mummy are now much happier and although the guilt is somewhat still residing I pacify myself with the knowledge that my little family is a much calmer one since I made my decision x

  25. What a relief it is to hear from other women who feel they would like to reclaim their bodies. I have been pumping for my son for the past 2 1/2 months, and go back and forth on whether or not to continue. I have terrible acne due to the hormones going through my body, as well as sore, sensitive breasts most of the time. I have a 6 year old who plays hockey and requires much of my attention as well, however I have been tied to the pump. I am slowly stopping pumping (trying to do it as painlessly as possible!). I love that there are support for women who choose to stop nursing. We all know that breast is best, so telling us over and over when we mention quitting is not helping! Instead, people need to say that a happy mom is a happy baby.

  26. Thank you for this website. This has been a trying time and I am going to be switching to formula. I have been having a difficult time getting my son to latch and actually pushing himself away and I was getting to the point where I was starting to resent the whole idea of been a mom. This is such a precious time in life, and making more stressful by trying to attempt to breast feed just takes away from the most precious thing in life.

  27. Thank you so much for this. My baby is a month old and also #4 in 5 years. She is the first one that I am breastfeeding, and the feeding goes good, I do enjoy it when nobody is around, but with a bunch of little ones running around that is not often, and they get into everything when I am busy with her. So that is my reason for quitting. All the other kids where formula babies after one week, and they are all really healthy, happy kids!

  28. This sounds exactly like me! Rustling breast pads are a passion killer!Breast feeding is very time consuming and I do applaud any woman who has the patience to stick it out. Aslong as baby is ged and loved that’s all that matters. Its true people,especially midwifes try to guilt trip you into breast feeding. My reasons are quite selfish in that it takes too much time and I’m sick of wearing frumpy bras and I miss just having a glass of wine when I feel like it,and breaat pumps make me feel so ridiculous,like a cow getting milked. But I love my child and it will always have my unconditional love and support,and that’s all that matters!

  29. Ladies, these are very helpful posts. I have a 2 week old who was 9 days early, I had no milk and it seemed the colostrum wasn’t coming quickly enough for the lactation nurses so they had me start pumping in the hospital. I noticed it made me feel nauseous. I didn’t think anything of it as I had just had an emergency c-section, figured it was a combination of the pain pills, lack of sleep and the horrible food. Now that I am home I have been breast feeding and pumping because she hadn’t gained back her birth weight by her first doctors appointment and we needed to make sure that she was getting enough food. The nauseous feeling gets worse every time I pump. I am missing meals because I just can’t eat. I know this isn’t good for either me or my daughter. My decision to formula feed came out of the need to make sure that she gets what she needs and that I bond with her. My feelings of guilt are getting less and less the more I read from great moms like all of you. I understand this push towards breast feeding but to make a new mom, who is already going through a very emotional and hormonal time feel bad about deciding to formula feed, when there plenty of normal happy people who were formula fed as infants, is close to abuse.

  30. As many people have said- thank you for posting this article. It is crazy that there’s tons of support for breastfeeding moms but virtually nothing for women who want/need to stop breast feeding. I have a 3 week old baby girl and I plan to breastfeed for a little while longer but I’ll be going back to work full time in 5 weeks and I know it will be a lot harder since I’ll have to pump at work. I struggled with breastfeeding at the hospital since I didn’t even seem to be producing colostrum. I did have to supplement with formula for awhile and had to use that awful nipple shield. Now she’s latching on just fine but it is a LOT of work! I never get a break- it feels like I’m constantly feeding her and I never get to sleep more than 3-4hrs at a time. I want to stop but I’m almost afraid to because I have a couple of friends (one in particular) who are all gung-ho about breastfeeding. The one friend who is especially into it, is constantly asking me how it’s going, and I just really don’t want her or other people jumping down my throat when I say I’m done breastfeeding! I don’t like when people shove this in your face as the only way to care for your child- I don’t know what the big deal is anyway because it’s not like we can all breastfeed our child forever! You gotta stop sometime!
    My goal is to make it 3 months… then start the weaning process. I’m not even sure if I can make it that long!! My breasts hurt, my nipples hurt and I’m so tired! My husband has bottle fed her with some expressed milk I had and I think he enjoys getting to share in that moment- he talks to her and rocks her while he’s feeding her and I find that I don’t really interact when I’m breast feeding… I know I should be but, as others have said, it just feels like such a chore to constantly make sure my “kitchen” is open!
    My brothers and I were not breastfed- we all grew up healthy, all went to college and have decent jobs- I agree that ‘breast is best’ for the most part but I really don’t think that my daughter will need therapy because I could only breastfeed her for so long!!
    Thanks again!

  31. Just have to say…I posted awhile ago (when I made the decision to quit bf). My daughter is now 1 yrs old and has never been sick a day in her life. Not even when my husband and I were both sick and could’ve given it to her. My nephew, however, who is breastfed has been sick several times already and is only 6 months. BFing in my opinion isn’t necessarily the only factor in a child’s health and well-being. I will be forever proud of my choice for my daughter (and myself. :D)

  32. This whole thread of replies should be given to all mum’s that give birth. My little baby boy is 5 weeks old and I went through sore nipples, thrush,a cluster of 6 blisters on my nipple, cracked nipple and then thrush again. I already have a daughter who is 3 and a half and breast fed till 12mths. I have gone cold turkey three days ago as crying everytime I fed him and being tired and stressed and in pain was sending me crazy. My boobs are in pain due to cold turkey but hoping they come good soon. When we started formula feeding three days ago he happily took the bottle much to my surprise and is happy now to lay on his activity mat and watch the world go by. Sitting on his own was not an option while breast feeding he would cry and cry. I was until yesterday crying everytime he was bottle fed as I felt guilty and that I was a failure as a mum – I was now crying for purely emotional reasons. LASt night I did not cry while he was being bottle fed and have only cried today because my boobies are so full and just the once. When you have a baby not only do u have sore nipples but u are generally recovering from labour, have back pain from moving joints, feel like the size of a house still, hoping that stitches will dissolve fast and that the bleeding you get from childbirth will be over soon this coupled with feeding for hours out of the day and lack of sleep and looking after other siblings and keeping the house in some reasonable state and food on the table is HARD!!!
    THis website has been a god send – wish I had read it three days ago as I have felt terrible. THankyou all so much for helping me to feel good about my decision my sister in law breast fed both her kids to the age of 4 yep I know its a long time but apart from this website she gave the best advice which is HAPPY MUM = HAPPY HOME! I really struggled with the decision to stop but I did it because my husband had a month off work and was retuning to work in 5 days and there is no way I could get through each feed without him here to support me, plus my three yr old watching me cry all day from feeding was not healthy. I am still in the early stages of swapping to a bottle and would love to put him back on my boob to relieve the pressure on them from cold turkey but my head knows that for me to function that bottle feeding is the best option.
    To any other mum’s out there swapping over to a bottle the first few days are hard emotionally u will feel guilty and u will want to put them back on but its ur choice and u should not feel guilty or bad because in my lifetime so far this has been the hardest decision I have made nothing else has been so hard or confronting. What I find amusing is that women will happily talk about their birth stories but when it comes to swapping from breast to bottle we are not so forthcoming. Bottle feeding is OK! It is right and to any others reading this whatever ur reasons for swapping to the bottle if it means u are a happier mother then its the right decision. Plus I agree with one of the other comments I now talk to my baby more and love him more I don’t fret about feeding and I look forward to holding him knowing he is not going to hurt me. Good luck to all the mums out there and thankyou to everyone for wriitng on this it has impacted and helped me greatly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. hi all thank u very much for all the comments they have been so helpfull, im currently wanting to transfer my one n half week old son to formula as i have sore cracked nipples and am so tired n drained, he feeds so much at night it feel like i never get any sleep or a break from feeding for that matter.. my first son also cracked my nipples and sent me into depression everytime i had to feeed he went on formula at just ten days old and is now a happy healhty 2 yr old lil boy. since it was over two yrs ago since i had him i cant remember a great deal about how painful it was to go coldturky form feeding him and was wanted to know how many of u have gone cold turkey and not used the cabbage leafs, and just survived on some panadol? i brought formula today but havnt given him any yet as im a bit weary on how to do it, i find im to tired ns tressed to get any time with my 2yr old or my partner as it is and im not particually wanting to have to drop a single feed each day and worry bout how many feed and times of day to give him formula, i would much rather jsut start the bottle but after going through a c-sec i have ben through enough pain to deal with for a fair while and am not wanting to be in pain from my breast everyday any advice would be much appricated?

      1. Hi
        I have heaps to do tonight so being brief – was just checking my mail and saw the above comment. Cold Turkey was hard and yep boobies were sore but nothing compared to feeding. My sister when all this happened was going thru alot of personal stuff and I didn’t want to bother her but a week after stopping I mentioned and she went cold turkey and said ” sore hard rock boobs is nothing compared to the pain of feeding” so once I heard that it put it into perspective for me. The leaves work as they fit under ur bra and the big leaves fan over the whole breast otherwise if the leaf was too small I would do a mosiac over my chest till it was covered with leaves. I didnt take any pain relief tablets but prob cause I didnt think they would do much. The first three to four days were the worst and after that boobs started to soften up. Its been about 4 weeks or more and baby thriving and I am happy!!!
        WEll as happy as u can be with a baby and a 3 yr old lol…. As for the formula my son is a guts and yours sounds like one too (no offence) the tin said 120 ml 6-8 feeds a day well the first feed he gobbled so we gave him another bottle as he was screaming and he drank that too and 30 min later vomited alot. After that we realised we had gave him too much so tried the 120 only but he would cry till he had more so we increased to 180 but still not enough so now he has 240 ml per bottle 6 times per day – yes its heaps more than it says but he is happy and he doesn’t vomit it up so its working. We went to bottle from 5half weeks and he is 9 weeks now maybe 10 and his fine. The hardest part for me with swap to bottle was the emotional side – that did my head in I felt like a failure and that I was the worst mother in the world for not pushing through it but I couldn’t – crying all day in front of my 3yr old and my baby was hurting everyone. I’ve gotta go as baby will be up soon and have to get work clothes for husband ready and other stuff too but u will be ok if u swap to bottle the first week is hard cause of boobs and emotions but then it gets better. Just make sure u really want to swap over as the clinic nurse said to me one ur boobies are milk free its not going to come back. BUT in saying that my boobs even now when I take my bra off u can see little bits of milk have come out during the day and has left watermark but must not be much as I don’t feel it. Anyway gotta go hope this helps if you swap it does get easier just the first three to four days the hardest. U can do it if thats what u choose. LASt bit cause really have to go – dont express too much when cold turkey – I did it for first 3 ish days and then just tried to leave them and have a hot shower in middle of day to squeeze them a bit so not so tight. First time i expressed on auto pump in less than 2min I had 80ish mls in the bottle from one boob so I had heaps of milk once I realised it flies out of me and had so much so fast I would express about 30-40 mls from each side and on 3rd day tried to do 10 -20 only as the more u take out the more u produce so makes sure u express till comfortable. And one last thing I talked to my sister in law who breast fed her two kids to the age of 4 and she simply said to me happy baby = happy mum = happy home!!! AND that one of her friends had problems like I did only on one side and she simply only fed from one side so that is an option if ur interested – one of the websites says our boobs actually work independently from each other so if ots one side that hurts that may be a solution.. Anyway hope it goes well – whatever choice u make is ok dont let pressure from urself or anyone else get to u.

  33. Hi, my baby is nearly 7 months old now and although I had decided to stop breastfeeding by 6 months,I am finding it difficult!! But the past few nights and tonight my son woke up practically every hour to eat and I believe it’s because he isn’t getting enough milk at one go since I’ve started him on solids a couple of months ago, I’ve been trying to formula feed him, pump, etc but he refuses the bottle, although I tried several types of bottles, he drinks water in them but not formula!! I found your post. And answers attributed to it very helpful and least judging of all,,I think tonight is the night I stop breastfeeding, I have been up all night, I’m sick with flu and my baby keeps waking up to eat!! Again,,I keep telling myself:” I tried many ways and didn’t reach anywhere!! others tried feeding him,,pumping etc”,,I have started cold turkey a couple of hours ago,I am following settling techniques and I’m hoping in a few hours he’ll be hungry enough to accept the formula bottle mixed with breastmilk!It’s so hard but has to be done:(

  34. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!!!!! These comments have made me feel so much better!

  35. What a fab post – much needed after not being able to find much elsewhere on the net!! My baby girl is 2 1/2 weeks old and was only 5lb when born, not premature but I suffered from pre eclampsia, I have decided today that enough is enough and we are switching to go fully on formula! My only concern is how much to give her, have been giving 2-3oz every 3-4hrs?? Does this seem enough, I have seen on some sites that you are meant to give 2 1/2oz per lb of you babies weight?? Thanks so much for this site, I feel less alone and less of a failure!! And even though I am in agony with my breast it will be worth it if it means I can just get some sleep and spend quality time with my baby and partner!!
    We all know that breast is best but should all be proud for knowing we tried our best 🙂 xxx

    1. Hi – Not sure what the correct amount is but I swapped to bottle and first two days we gave him 180 ml and he wanted more so we upped it to 240ml. He was 5and a half weeks old when we started the bottle. He is now 12 weeks and still has 240ml each feed – if after a few feeds your little one cries as soon as bottle over try giving a little more just not too much. First bottle we gave our baby he carried on so we made up another bottle and he drank it all. 30min later he chucked it all up on me so we learnt the hard way. Hope it all goes well for you.

    2. Just to update my little one is just over 4 weeks now and she is almost 7lb have been formula feeding for 2 weeks and we are both doing really well!! Let’s stop being so tough on ourselves and begin enjoying a little more sleep and pain free nipples :)!! Good luck to you all!!

  36. thank you so much!! my daughter, Dakota, is 2 weeks and I have had a very difficult time breastfeeding and I started weaning her and she’s doing very well and I like it better… although I get chastised about it, it is better for me and my baby… Dakota is healthy and gaining weight! thanks for the post!

  37. I know this was an older post but it was SOOO helpful! I’m 2 months in and I have really been doing everything within my power to exclusively breastfeed- much of which you touched upon: time consumed days, 3 hours of sleep at night, sore and cracked nipples (everyday for 2 months I was taking ibprofin for the pain of my nipples!) -and yes he was latched “perfectly” as stated by 3 different lactation specialists! By mid day my output didn’t seem sufficient for my little guy- he was extremely fussy because he was never full and his latches would then begin to hurt as he tried to get everything he could out of my breasts. I know the more you nurse, the more you produce so I would nurse and pump and nurse- but it’s just not that easy when you are in these shoes all the while trying to “enjoy these moments” that you’ll never get back. So, in an effort to enjoy my time with my baby I knew something had to change but repeated info on the web, brought on guilt with placing a baby on formula, until I ran across this which was very supportive and nice to hear that many ladies are/were in the same predicament- and we all love our babies just as much as the mom who does and can breastfeed.

  38. my baby is 10 days old and i am having such a hard time switching him to botle. I’m even willing to keep pumping a while longer and still feel sooo extremely guilty. My nipples are soo sore, I’m crying at feedings now and i just can’t take it. I breatfeed both my other 2 children for 3 months each and that makes me feel even more guilty for wanting to stop already with this one. My biggest guilt is feeling like im cheating him out of “comfort time” on the breast. My other 2 children who are 5 and 10 are so sad seeing me cry every day and my husband keeps reassuring me that my bond with my baby will be just the same, i just wish this wasn’t so difficult. I put him on a bottle of breastmilk this morning and right now when he gets up I’m not sure what to do. Why is this soo hard?

  39. Thank you so much!!! I looked at my 7 week old yesterday and realized that not failing her was more important than feeling like a failure at breastfeeding! Her first 2 months of life were tortuous. My mom even said she’d never seen a baby so fussy. I knew she was latched on well but she still wanted to nurse often (ouch! sore, cracked nipples and I swear I have a yeast infection now!). I was never convinced that she was getting what she needed (the whole “supply and demand” thing doesn’t make sense if there are so many mothers out there with either an overproduction or underproduction of milk). She’s been diagnosed with reflux and I cut dairy out of my diet.
    Now, she’s on formula and sleeps well (I do still breastfeed during the nighttime). Last night, she slept for 6 hours straight (and so did I!).
    I had the help of my sister, who wants to be a lactation consultant and breastfed her babies for 1 year and 9 months so I knew I was doing everything right. I feel inadequate but it’s so good to know I’m not alone! I just felt I must’ve been doing something wrong if my nipples hurt so much all the time and my baby was so fussy.
    Thank you so much for posting this and for all of everyone’s comments.

  40. i am so glad I found this article. every reason you stated are were I am today. I am 42 just had my fourth child. my other three are 18, 17 and 12… I nursed them all my 12 year old for 10 monhs. i was also an at home momn at that time..I am flat out exhausted, not sure if it’s age or the fact that my new born nurses every 2 hours around the clock. my breast are sore and yes she’s latching great. I cant se myself going back to work in 2 weeks exhausted like this and so sore. I also can’t seem to get ride of this feeling of gilt if I stop nursing her. any advise?

  41. Same as you all, I am so grateful to have found this site and read all of your experiences. I had such a hard time breastfeeding in the beginning. I too cried during feedings, which was all the time. I was absolutely determined to feed my baby the absolute best, but feeding her was like torture. I saw a couple different lactation consultants but ultimately I ended up pumping and feeding exclusively breast milk for the first four months. It was exhausting!!!! I tried switching her back to the breast, but she wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Between pumping and feeding, there was very little time to actually enjoy my baby girl!! She is now 6 months and we have been feeding 1/2 breastmilk and 1/2 formula for the last 2 months, which requires me to pump 3 times day. All of you comments have encouraged me to give up this silly charade and finally enjoy my baby girl. I felt guilty just giving her 1/2 formula, but after I did, it didn’t seem as bad as I had made it out to be. I love the comment someone made that LOVE is the most important thing you can give your baby. All we can do is our best, and what our babies eat is just a very small factor influencing their development. I hope this page may help to comfort many other mothers who are struggling and feeling like failures for not being able to breastfeed.

  42. Thank you all so, so much! My son is & weeks old and it has been a fight from day one. I’m a young mom, so i am already judged from the start; so, i was determined to prove that i was a good mom by breastfeeding Liam. However, a solid month of nipple shields, fussy feedings, and TWO cases of thrush made me dread the thought of the next feeding. We were supplimenting Liam with two to four ounces of formula after every feeding, due to him gaining weight very slowly. It didn’t take long for him to start favoring the bottle (even at the lowest flow possible) and resent breastfeeding. I hate the fight that it takes to get him to latch on and it breaks my heart seeing him so upset. I began to start having depression and weight loss from the stress of the whole ordeal. I would tell myself at least once a week “this is my last week of breastfeeding”, but then he would have such a good day that it would make me doubt myself. I loved the bonding of breastfeeding, but now i know that it is proving to be both unhealthy for me and the baby. Thank you all so much; your posts have given me the reassurence that I did the best i can and that i’m not a bad mother because i can’t breastfeed.

  43. Thank you so much for this blog, I felt like I was reading my own personal experience…I’m so happy I came across it, having just decided yesterday that I couldn’t go on breastfeeding anymore due to the time factor (i already have a toddler that needs looking after too, which seems impossible since I felt like I was sitting on the couch all day nursing!) the sore nipples and breasts (I too believe that my son was latching on properly as confirmed by visiting home nurses)and for me, it just didn’t feel like it came naturally – i dreaded getting caught out in public, having to feed him outside of the house, with leaking boobs and all!Your honesty has made me realise I’m not alone in this! Much love 🙂

  44. Here is a word of encouragement for mothers who want to continue to breastfeed but think that they can’t: You can do it even when you think you can’t go on.
    I knew from the moment I was pregnant that I would breastfeed my son for as long as I could. I had no idea how difficult it would be but I kept telling myself that if I could just do it for three months then I would be okay with my effort. Three months rolled around and I told myself if I can just do it for another three months then things would be okay. I persevered. I had sore nipples, I constantly worried about my baby having enough to eat, I often felt like a milk cow, I had to deal with constant feedings and rarely being able to leave the house, etc, etc. I became either attached to my son or the brnastpump. I had to schedule my work and life around feedings or pumpimgs. At four months old we found out that our son had food allergies: dairy, wheat, eggs, and nuts. If I were to continue breastfeeding that would mean that I would not be able to eat any of those food items. I decided to go for it and made it to the 6 month goal. It was hell but I made it. At 6 months I decided to go for 12 months and I did it. At 13 months I have finally quit breast feeding. I had my first slice of cheese pizza in 9 months tonight. It was okay… I had dreamed of cheese and bread for several months but when I finally got it it was bit anti-climatic. I still regret quitting but I know that I gave it my all. My point is that breastfeeding is not easy but it is so worth it in the end. My kid began to get more colds when I began to supplement his breastmilk at 11 months. Again breastfeeding is not easy but it can be done with some sacrifices. You just need to commit.

  45. what a relief in findin this site. Am at my wits end! All i seem to get is peoples advice and support for continuing breast feeding most of whom have never bf so do not understand the pain, stress, guilt, exhaustion that goes with it and that list could go on! Anyway tried the weaning process and was doing well, 2 weeks in had substituted two daily feeds for formula successfully then things turned very sour. Baby decided to refuse formula and even expressed milk. Was advised to go cold turkey as baby would eventually feed when she was hungry. So i tried and baby refused to feed from a bottle for ten hours. She did not totally starve and took maybe an ounce on a few feeds. But for the whole duration cried sore as did i. In the end i gave in now am back to square one exclusively bf. All the enjoyment has gone out of bf and i feel depressed with being stuck at home all day not even having time to enjoy a bath as little one still deeds every two hours. My baby is now 12 weeks and already i am panicking about my return to work. A big thank you to everyone who has posted here it has been a great help and comfort to me

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