How do you handle guilt feelings when you stop breastfeeding?

Even moms who intend to breastfeed for the long haul occasionally find out that, for a variety of reasons, they cannot. But then the guilt feelings settle in. What are some ways you can share to help ease those negative feelings in moms who've had to stop breastfeeding?

21  Answers

1 11

No one should feel guilty about having to stop breastfeeding. All you can do is breastfeed as long as you're able. I wanted to breastfeed so badly and was able to for about 4-6 weeks. I pumped and supplemented with formula but I just stopped producing milk. I didn't feel guilty because I breastfeed as long as I was able. Don't let anyone try to make you feel bad, they have no right. It's your body not theirs!

6
0 0

The best advice I ever got, when going through the throes of breastfeeding guilt, was that there is SO MUCH MORE to being a good mother than whether you breastfed or for how long. Care & Attention, Education, Discipline, Decisions, Role-modeling, etc for 18+ years (or a lifetime). Have some perspective - this too shall pass.

4
92 25

my overall goal was to breastfeed for one year but took it in smaller goals. Once i hit the 6 week mark, i went for 6 months, then 9, etc. my first child nursed for 8 months and my second for 7 months. although i was sad when they decided to wean themselves, it was part relief for me that i was now allowed to pass feeding times off to someone else. it gave me a little more "me" time. it felt good to have my body back and i was able to eat more things i wanted to, take medicine when i was sick, etc. i was just happy that my babies nursed as long as they did.

1
85 27

with my first I had no choice and could only BF for about 6 weeks (long story NICU, pumping etc etc) and the guilt was horrendous - not helped by the breastfeeding nazi's.. :-( it wasnt until I had my second who was a completely different set of circumstances and there were no BFing issues that I finally got over the guilt ! My second weaned at about 13 months and there were no issues as it was a mutual decision and neither of us were stressed about it :-) when I come across the BFing nazis now I just say take a look at my two... and tell me which one was breastfed and which was bottle fed.... my daughter was born early and at 4pound with a few issues (bottlefed) and my son was full-term at 11pound (breastfed) both are absolutely thriving, healthy and absolutely happy :D I finally realise that it is not the be all and end all! my daughter doesnt have any of the "problems" associated with bottlefeeding such as allergies, etc etc - in fact the kids I do know with allergies were breastfed! as long as your baby is fed it doesnt matter!! oh and as for the "bonding" side - pfft no difference there either! :D

1
15 1

I breastfed my son for 5 months, then started giving him cereal and adding half breast milk half formula. It was hard pumping at work and my milk supply started to go down. He had no problem when I started mixing breast milk with fomula in bottles. By about 10 months I started giving him just formula in bottles and would nurse when I was home. I occasinally breast fed until he was 12 months old. It was hard beacsue I did feel guilty when I stopped but it became easier to stop once he got older and I noticed that he fed better from the bottle. I think that it is easier if you reassure yourself you did the best you could and it was what your child needed. They are getting so many nutrients from the food they start eating and it is harder for mom than baby!

1
18 5

Just accept the feelings and let them pass. We all go through it, maybe not breastfeeding, but for other parental issues. Emotion happens. When it hits, breathe and remind yourself that these feelings are normal and will not last. You'll notice the feelings gone before you know it!

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2 20

You don't let people make you feel guilty. That was the biggest thing for me was not allowing other people to make me feel guilty. It was my choice and I didn't feel the need to have to explain it to people. Your baby will still thrive even if you have to stop breastfeeding

1
17 21

that is exactly what i think, thank you for sharing, for whatever reason moms stop breastfeeding the outside world should accept that, no (normal) mom wants any harm to her child and i think it is really disgusting how some other mothers, nurses...try to make you feel bad about it, i stopped breastfeeding after 8 weeks, because my son would just spit everything out, as i had a really bad emergency surgery right after giving birth, breastfeeding for me was not that great intimate time with my child, it was painful as i could hardly move, but i did breastfed as i felt i had to do it (not in a negative way - it belonged to taking care of my baby)...so for me it was a relief that my husband could help me feeding our son and he was so proud giving the bottle...a lot of people tried to make me feel bad about it and how i should have continued trying and blablabla...well my son is still alive, has never been sick so far plus he is happy although he was no breastfed very long....moms should support each other and so should nurses, just be confident with what you (have to) do or feel is best, breastfeeding just does not always work for everyone...

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147 31

No Idea I let the baby wean herself my girls weaned around 18 months. No guilt not problems.

1
8 0

This wasn't helpful at all.

4 103

Lots of chocolate helps! lol. It was hard to fully wean both my daughters. I BF until they were two. So they were really good at rubbing in their displeasure that the free ride was over. I gave them small portions of soft easy food like yogurt, or meatballs. Then, I gave them praise for finishing the plate with hugs as a reward. They got to get a lot of the same attention they got from BF and it made their transition much easier. I also had Goddess sit my lap to feed herself at first, then she sat in her own chair at the dinner table. Both girls were exclusively breastfed until 2. No other food or drinks at all, aside from water.

1
1

My son was born with an attached frenulum which made latching really difficult- even after we had it clipped. So I chose to exclusively pump. It was what I thought was the most difficult and heart wrenching decision. I had such high expectations of what my breastfeeding experience would be and I cried the first time I fed him breast milk from a bottle. But I realized that it was still breast milk and after a few days we settled into a schedule of pumping and bottle feeding, which turns out is more work than just breast feeding. But I was committed. But now, after 6 months, my supply just keeps going down and I have started to have to supplement with formula along with the solids he's eating. And I can see that the end it coming. And I have never felt so sad and guilty in my life about stopping pumping. I want to stop. I know that the small amount, as nutritious as it is, isn't enough. But yet every time I think "Today I'm going to start dropping pumps" I don't. I can't. I can't shake the guilt that I feel- from having watched my sisters nurse their children 9+ months, from watching my close mom friend's nursing, to all the pressure from breastfeeding enthusiasts. I know that I did my best. I could have quit after that first week, but I didn't. I gave him the best gift that I could for these 6 months. I shouldn't feel guilty. But I do. And even with the support of my family, and husband, it's still hard. I read this blog by another mom, and she summed up exactly how I feel. And I know that when I'm ready to let go of the guilt and stop, that I will feel relived, glad to have my body back, and happy that I held on for as long as I did.

http://wordsofwilliams.com/why-i-quit-breastfeeding/

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288 1

I bfn my twins for nearly 11 months. I tried hard pumping at night and having to supplement some here and there. I felt so so guilty when they both decided to ween themselves. My goal was 12 months but, I fell short. I got over the guilt but, I was sad about it. I felt like I failed.

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8 0

That's an incredible run! I'm having trouble feeding just ONE baby exclusively pumping for only 2 1/2 months now. You did AMAZING!

38 23

with my 1st I was guilty even though he weaned himself at 6 months. I wanted to go at least a year, but that didn't work out. I don't really remember getting any comments from anyone about it negative or positive so I can't say I felt terribly pressured. However, ANY amount of breastfeeding is better than none at all!

I am a HUGE supporter of breast feeding, and I don't really care for formula (for my own reasons that would go into a huge tirade so I'll leave that out lol). Regardless, I keep some formula on hand for emergencies only with my 2nd baby who is EBF right now. Although, I am concerned that as we are preparing to move him to a crib (we co-sleep) he will stop nursing as often and I will dry up =/ I pump as well, but the pump I have doesn't suction well for me. It was a gift, but I cannot afford a better one so I am trying to do what I can with what I have.

I know I will be brokenhearted if I stop nursing before 1 yr again, but I know that I had that special connection with my baby, and nothing can take that away!

My suggestion for anyone interested: keep a camera nearby and take pictures of your LO nursing! They don't have to be shown to anyone if you don't want to, but they can be there for JUST MOM to put in a scrapbook/photo book so you can capture funny faces, sweet sleeping at the breast, milk dribbles, etc. The joy of looking at those captured moments will help you to focus on the time you DID have nursing and not what you are missing out on as much =]

And even though I am kinda anti-formula, I don't think it's right for any mom to criticize how a mother cares for her baby! If that works for you go for it! Do what you need to do to make sure your baby is happy and healthy! Some will say at least pump, but I know from experience that pumping is an undertaking all on it's own, and not easy to schedule during your busy days! Do what you can with what you have and screw everyone else ♥

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21 0

If you tried nursing and couldn't do it for whatever reason that doesn't make you a bad mom. What drives me crazy is all these women out there who make you feel like a bad mom if you aren't nursing. I'm sure it comes easy and without pain for many women but for others it does not. With my daughter I only nursed her 3 weeks (only exclusively for less than a week) and because everyone told me nursing would be so EASY and healthy I never asked to see a lactation consultant or read any books or did a lot of research I just took the advice from the nurses in the hospital who told me I was doing a good job at it and that it would hurt but eventually the pain would go away. Turns out I never latched her on correctly (I have very large breasts and nipples) and it became very painful for me every time she latched on I would cry and in turn I felt like a failure. When I would give her a bottle I would cry for an hour at least and feel so guilty. I ended up getting PPD which didn't go away until I switched to bottle feeding only. Now I look at my daughter who is 2 years old and you would never know if she was nursed or formula fed. She is healthy, happy, smart and just all around a wonderful little girl. Looking at adults you aren't going to know who was nursed or formula fed based on how successful they are or what type of people they are- you know that from how they were raised and for my daughter to have a sane mother was much more important.
So for whoever tries nursing and can't do it don't let anyone make you feel guilty- in the long run there are many other factors that are going to determine what type of child your baby becomes and what type of adult they become as well.
I'm currently nursing baby #2 exclusively for 2 weeks now and things are going much better because this time I saw the lactation consultant who had to physically show me how to latch correctly and I also expected the worst which doesnt cause unrealistic expectations. With this baby I will nurse as long as I can and see the lactation consultant as often as I need her as well as research research research! BUT if there are problems and I can't reach my nursing goals at least this time I won't beat myself up over it. I really hope no other mom does either.

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103 10

I felt so guilty when i stopped at one month. My dd had bad reflux and while we were figuring out what meds to give her, she had trouble bf. And she had bad jaundice for quite a while that made her not want to even eat..so I had everything going against me right from the get-go. Unfortunately quitting bf-ing was what made things extremely less stressful and I wouldn't have survived if I would have forced myself to keep going.

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5 23

In the end we all want to be the best mothers we can be. Feeding a baby is just one aspect of caring for him/her. Now with my third child (still breastfeeding at 8 months) I've realised ,although nothing can substitue breastmilk, it is more important HOW you care for your children. They will not remember breastfeeding or not. They will just now if their mother loves them. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty if you know you have your child's best interest at heart

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0 23

I bf my daughter exclusively until she was 6 months old and kept on bfing until she was 14 months old. IMO if you can, do it. But if you can't, don't feel guilty. My daughter self weaned. Future babies will ideally be bf for as long.

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55 0

I felt a little emotional about having to stop breastfeeding my son at 8 months, but i knew that i couldn't produce enough to keep him happy. At first i felt like i had failed him in someway, but my husband had to remind me that you tried and you did do it! Pat yourself on the back for breastfeeding as long as you did and know that there will be other milestones and bonding experience that will soon replace that one. When i feed him now with the bottle i just hold him really close to me as if i was still breastfeeding him, but he still gets that cuddling effect. Not to mention it is really awesome to see his dad get to share in that bonding with Gabe. With parenting i've learned, we will never be perfect and there will be downs, but don't dwell on what your not doing, do what you can awesomely and they will love you to death for it. Don't feel bad for doing what you have to for their well being, every decision about them needs to be for them is my motto :0)

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19 0

i breastfed all my kids for as long as i could. i had my ups and downs with it, but what made me confident was when i was informed that if you breastfeed for longer than the first year you run the risk of your child having major teeth problems. i knew it was important to not breastfeed for longer than that. it was more important to me than my children though. they will do just fine it is you that will need time to get passed the separation

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61 33

I don't think mothers should feel guilty about stopping breastfeeding. But what you're saying about breastfeeding past a yr causing teeth problems is completely false. The WHO recommends nursing at least two years (obviously whenever possible, but you kwim)

23 31

I had to stop with my youngest after a long stuggle to keep it going I noticed that she was just not gaining the weight she should be and so I chose health and happiness over breastfeeding (not that breastfeeding isn't healthy I mean mental health) don't ever feel guilty by trying you have given your baby the best start.
Always remember the guilt feeling will do you nor baby any good just enjoy the beautiful bundle of joy you have

0
5 14

I needed this! I have a 4 yr old, a 3 yr old, and 2 mo old twins. My oldest needed a bottle while I was still in the OR after an urgent c-section due to low blood sugar. While he never really became a successful nurser, I was able (thanks to pumping as well) feed him almost exclusively breastmilk for several months. My 3 yr old came out ready to nurse, but I just couldn't keep up my milk supply. He did receive breastmilk for a few months, but definitely needed supplementation. Determined to successfully breastfeed my twins, I met with two lactation consultants when one didn't nurse successfully. I knew breastfeeding twins would be a challenge, but I wasn't prepared for all of the other factors that came into play. My son was ready and willing to nurse, it came easy to him. My daughter had no desire. I found that, especially trying to nurse two, it was a struggle for both she and I. It was important to my husband and I that the babies both get breast milk, especially early on. So, every feeding went like this.......nurse my son, pump for my daughter, feed her breastmilk from a bottle, supplement my son because I didn't have enough milk for both rapidly growing babies. Each feeding was about 2 hrs. The pumping took time away from my babies and the 2 hr feedings took time away from by preschoolers too. I started pumping (which I could do when the little ones were sleeping, etc. and then bottle fed both breastmilk. It was also nice to share the feeding duties. Despite the hours of pumping I did everyday, I reached a point where I could only get a bottle or two worth or milk :( My husband, though extremely supportive, was also a great voice of reason as we made the decision to switch primarily to formula. Oh, the guilt...... The bottom line is that you need to make the decision that is best for you and your baby. Everyone is faced with different situations and circumstances. No one knows your and has any right to make you feel guilty. You will have enough mommy guilt as it is. That said, anyone have any tips for me to get rid of my guilt, lol?!?!

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6 6

I nursed my son until he was 12 mos. He is eating things like grilled cheese, yogurt, spaghetti and some baby food occasionally. I never felt guilty for weaning him. I miss it mostly for my own attachment and closeness to my son. Here's the reason I decided it was time; I never knew how your nipples could crack and bleed. I even used the lanolin. I introduced him to whole milk when he was 10 months. I continued to nurse him on demand. One day, after he had bumped his head he needed comfort. After he was done nursing, I saw blood on the side of his mouth. It was bc my nipple was bleeding! Not just a smudge, but he looked like dracula. I said, 'that's it. it is time to stop'. He never tried to nurse fter that. So, I think that if I hadn't made it a point to try to nurse him, he would have weaned himself sooner. I thought it would be difficult to wean him because he enjoyed nursing and did so often. But he began to only want to nurse for comfort reasons; after geting a boo-boo or before bed time. That was about it. Hope this helps other mothers! Only you will know what is right for you and your baby. Every mother/baby relationship is different

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