I am a big believer in bottlefeeding.
You’re probably thinking: You’re a nurse and you don’t believe women should breastfeed?
Let me start out by saying I nursed all of my babies, and when I was a maternity nurse I encouraged new Moms to nurse their infants.
Having said that I truly believe that not everyone should be nursing.
Sometimes it can be a really difficult experience, from cases I’ve seen first hand.
How do you know when you should stop nursing?
When you have literally seen 3 different lactation consultants and and your baby still won’t latch on properly, you should stop.
When you are crying from pain and you feel like you just cannot go on like this anymore, you should stop.
When your baby spits up and it’s pink tinged because you are cracked and bleeding and your baby is ingesting blood with their milk, you should stop.
When your baby won’t stop crying, and you finally give him a bottle and he gulps down the whole thing like he’s starving, you should stop.
It doesn’t even have to be so dramatic.
Sometimes nursing is just not a good fit for you or your baby.
We live in an age where we have formula that is almost as miraculous as breast milk.
Babies thrive on formula and no first grade teacher can tell apart the 6 year old who was exclusively breastfed from the the 6 year old who was exclusively formula fed.
We all want what’s best for our babies.
Your baby’s MOST IMPORTANT NEED is a mother who is emotionally present for them; A mother who can comfort and soothe them when they are upset.
If you are falling apart because you can’t stop obssessing over your milk supply, maybe you should consider supplementing.
But you’re probably wondering: Isn’t Breast Best?
Breast may be best, but only if your baby is actually getting it.
If your milk supply is low, which likely happens when baby is not latching on well and is seen when breastfeeding is exceptionally painful and when nipples are cracked and bleeding, then it is not best.
I’ve seen so many new Moms struggling with breastfeeding and they are emotionally falling apart from the strain of trying to feed their babies.
It is painful to watch them try and live up to society’s expectation of doing what’s “best for baby”.
These brave Moms are trying valiantly to succeed at something which “should come naturally”, but it doesn’t always come as naturally as we would like.
Sometimes the decision to stop nursing is a guilt-ridden one, as if you’ve failed your baby somehow.
Please support Moms who want to do what’s best for their babies but breastfeeding is just not working out for them.
And if you are that Mom, please tell yourself: “It’s ok to stop, you did your best”.
If this post speaks to you, please support breastfeeding Moms who are struggling, and consider sharing your story in the comments below ⬇
This was a very good read, as a mother when I had my first son the nurses stressed so much that I should nurse but he stop latching on and he was hungry and I was crying so much because my of it. Some the nurses made me feel bad until my mom came to see me and made the nurses give me a bottle to feed my son. But to know that it is ok not to nurse is something that is not said enough so THANK YOU!November 2, 2017 at 12:48 pm
As a mum thats experienced one child that fed with difficulty and one that fed wonderfully. You couldnt have put it better. Well done for putting it out theirFebruary 6, 2018 at 2:18 pm
Thank you I’m glad it resonated!February 7, 2018 at 11:22 am
My daughter had an amazing latch. I did crack a little and there was pain but I was making it through. However, about two weeks in my daughter would eat for 30+ minutes on each side and when I would put her down she would scream as if she had never eaten before. I had done all the things I could to up my supply but nothing worked. Come to find out my milk ducts wouldn’t open. Changing over to formula made me feel so so so horrible. I felt like I was the worst mom in the world and I automatically felt like a failure. But when I saw her start to grow and get big and develop ahead of schedule I was so excited. Her dad was able to be awake and feed her for me so I could get some rest. It ended up working out for the best. It was rough but it was so worth it. It took time for me to learn fed is best.February 10, 2018 at 2:12 am
Did you get her checked for tongue ties?March 27, 2018 at 6:46 pm
This is a great article. My son was in the NICU for 23 days and for whatever reason my body did not respond to pumping. By the time my son was able to nurse my supply was basically gone. Seeing as he already fought so hard to survive I didn’t want to risk him losing weight, so we used formula. I tried everything to increase my supply and spent thousands of dollars all for not. I felt like a complete failure and like my body had betrayed me.
My son is now a perfectly thriving 7 month old and is hitting every milestone beautifully. Formula is not the devil and does not mean that the mother is lazy. It truly saves lives.February 10, 2018 at 8:26 am
Thanks a lot for this post it’s so encouraging.. I am a mother with lowilk supply and my baby don’t latch well so o exclusively formula feed my baby and he is healthy and handsome.February 11, 2018 at 7:26 am
This is a beautiful perspective. I spent so many hours upset that I couldn’t do it. The truth was my little man needed to eat. He became exclusively bottle fed a month after he was born. He is incredible still! We are still good mothers and we are still taking care of our little ones. Thank you for the read.February 21, 2018 at 11:21 pm
Love love love!! I just have a baby 2 weeks ago she was 4 weeks early, and we have had trouble with staying latched we were sent home with the SNS feedings and trying to get her to latch with that was sooo hard and not any real guidance by laction nurses only saying keep trying it was getting to be so frustrating , trying and trying for 20 to 30 min just to get her to maybe latch for 2mins only leaving her and I both in tears I decided to just pump and bottle feed at least she’s still getting my milk just not from the tap;) this article speaks ,everyone has been saying “she’ll get it just keep trying “ but when you’ve tried for 30 mins and not getting anywhere it’s hard to see the light 🙂 so thank you, you saying that it’s ok really helps:)March 3, 2018 at 2:53 pm
This is literally the first thing I’ve found that supports mamas who choose to stop nursing. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was all about nursing. I read everything I could and felt like I was fully prepared. I really wanted to nurse her. After a long labor ending in an unplanned c section, we had difficulty bonding because holding her was painful. I couldn’t pick her up and nursing her hurt my abdomen. I pushed on. In the hospital she did well to latch and I loved it, but one I was home it became incredibly uncomfortable. My milk came in in full force and I had a wicked oversupply which caused issues for her latching. As the first week wore on nursing became incredibly painful. Toe curling, wincing, crying pain. I no longer looked forward to feeding, and neither did my daughter. My husband sat with me in support as she screamed into my face during feeding sessions that lasted sometimes as long as an hour and a half. It had gotten to the point where she didn’t want me to even hold her. If I held her she felt like it was feeding time.. because that’s all I ever did… I quit less than a week after she was born. Mid feeding session I got up, gave her to my husband and went to the kitchen to sterilize all the pumping stuff and a bottle. I started pumping that night at 3 am and never went back. She’s almost 6 months now. We have an amazing bond. And we look forward to feedings.
I was riddled with guilt for giving up on her so easily.. and occasionally I still am. Pumping and bottle feeding is not easy. It’s not the easy way out. Scheduling your day is a nightmare.. but it’s a nightmare I will happily choose for my daughter.
My family doctor was supportive of this decision. He fully supports the “fed is best” movement. But unfortunately her paediatrician gives me grief for not continuing. I wish he could understand the pain that went into nursing for us.. and the toll it took on our relationship in that first week.March 16, 2018 at 3:48 am
Thank you so much for sharing your story. I wish doctors, nurses, midwives, doulas understand that we need to support new mothers and trust them to choose the feeding method that works best for them and their families. Yes I think the “Breast is Best” movement is doing a great job educating us but I think we can all use a reminder that it does not work for everyone. Baby’s first need is a happy, calm, relaxed mom.March 16, 2018 at 5:47 am
By the way I like your idea of pumping and then feeding via bottle. Whatever works!
Thank you for this, I really needed it. ❤️March 18, 2018 at 8:16 pm
Thank you SO much for this honest fresh open REAL take on what matters for mom and baby – I really wish moms wouldn’t be so criticized for doing their best or making their own decisions – if it helps them to be a better mom then it is the right decision!! XxMarch 22, 2018 at 7:11 pm
Really wish I’d had this post 2 1/2 years ago! I had bloody, raw nipples… and my son lost 3 lbs and wouldn’t stop crying until someone finally offered me a bottle for him. I literally felt like I had to just power through, but I was soooo relieved when he was finally fed. Thanks for this!March 22, 2018 at 9:37 pm
This is exactly what I needed. I have always felt so much guilt that I couldn’t nurse my first baby. But I know it’s what was best for both us. Glad to know I’m not the only one.September 29, 2018 at 8:31 am