It’s okay to not breastfeed your baby – period. I wrote some words of encouragement for new moms who chose to not breastfeed.
This was originally posted on January 16th, 2018. It was updated February 15th, 2019.
Here’s the thing – I’m a huge advocate for breastfeeding… but it’s okay to not breastfeed your baby. PERIOD.
Anyone who makes you feel like shit for it is an asshole – point blank.
I’m taking this time to leave some encouragement for new moms who didn’t breastfeed – no matter the reason. Mom groups are full of assholes. As long as you made an informed choice, I don’t care what the fuck you do. And neither should anyone else.
Sure, breastfeeding is AMAZING. But you don’t need anyone making you feel like trash mom – you’re a goddamn rockstar for all you do. DO NOT let anyone make you feel any different!!!
It’s okay to not breastfeed your baby, mama.
Seriously. It’s okay. No need to beat yourself up or let others make you feel like garbage. Find a breastmilk donor, research the best formulas that aren’t full of chemicals, or choose the one you can actually afford that still feeds your baby in the end. Do what you gotta do.
If you’re having trouble really feeling good about your decision, I have a few reasons that it’s truly okay to not breastfeed your baby.
→ It’s really freaking hard
If you tell me that you have never had the thought cross your mind of “Oh my goodness, this is so hard, I don’t know if I can keep going.”, I’m going to assume you’re brand new to the breastfeeding game or you’re a huge freaking liar. Because #truthbomb right now: breastfeeding is not an easy adventure. Is it worth it? Sure. But it’s so hard. Not a little hard. But REALLY flipping hard.
I’ve been through times where I’m curled up in tears because I’m in so much pain. When my milk came in, I almost gave up before I hit the 2-week mark. It took a lot of determination to keep pushing through it. Then I got plugged milk ducts that didn’t’ go away for nearly a week. 3 different times. If you’ve never had the kind of breast pain where you’re literally holding up your breasts while you walk around the house, shift positions in bed, or do anything, I envy you.
Then if you’re struggling with tongue ties, supply issues, or baby not latching … it gets even harder. My heart goes out to mamas who have to juggle all these. It’s frustrating and you want to pull your hair out – I’ve watched my dear friends deal with this.
Oh and then there’s the judgment that goes with breastfeeding. Your MIL is so hung up on the formula that she’s the farthest thing from supportive. You get glares by old ladies if you try and pull out the boob at a restaurant. And your Aunt’s sister’s cousin is commenting on your pictures that make you feel empowered about how “gross” that is.
These things are so hard. Are they worth it? Hell freaking yes they are!! But I completely understand if a mama chooses to give up (or not try at all) because it’s weighing down on her too heavily. It’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Everything will be okay even if you do decide to give it up. Don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise. <3
→ Sometimes things just don’t go your way
Life is hard but sometimes things just don’t go like we expect them to. Even if you’ve tried to fix ties, been to 7 different lactation consultants, tried every remedy to get your supply up, and it’s still not working.
It’s okay to admit it’s not meant to be and to find a donor or switch to formula.
Please, don’t be too hard on yourself. Heck, sometimes our milk can change and cause our baby to be allergic to it. Sometimes our baby ends up with a severe medical condition and can’t tolerate the milk. (I have friends that are going through this.) Sometimes things happen and we aren’t enough.
At the end of the day, making sure baby is taken care of is most important – and sometimes that doesn’t include breastfeeding. And that’s okay.
→ It’s not always the best choice
Sometimes, breastfeeding is not the best choice. This is a controversial topic for some reason, but it is not worth sacrificing your mental health. If you need to switch to a milk donor or formula in a bottle, do it. You need to be your best self so you can take care of your baby. PPD is a real thing and can deeply affect the ability to care for your child.
Or even if you work, have to travel out of town frequently, or anything else that makes breastfeeding way out of reach, you can go with a milk donor or formula. Pumping is hard and some women just can’t keep up. They don’t respond to a pump very well, supply is dropping, or they just can’t juggle it all.
For some families, breastfeeding is not the best choice.
→ Ultimately, the choice is yours
You know what else though? In the end – it is your choice. It’s not your husband’s choice, your sister’s choice, your mother’s choice, and certainly not some snobby knowitall sanctimommy on the internet’s choice. It’s YOURS.
You don’t need to explain yourself. You don’t need to allow them to judge you and treat you poorly. Your baby is taken care of and you are fine with your decision and that’s enough. Period.
Don’t let anyone make you feel like garbage over YOUR decision, mama. You got this, even if you’re choosing a different path than others. You’re a rockstar!
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