Is this guilt normal?

Carmen - posted on 02/17/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )




I am currently breastfeeding my 8 month old son. He nurses a few times during the day, and once or twice at night/early morning. I usually offer the same breast during the overnight hours and pump the other when I get up in the morning, as it is usually full enough to pump and store 4 to 6oz. Throughout the early months of breastfeeding, I had a more-than-abundant supply, so I was able to freeze a lot of milk for bottle feeding. At one point, I had at least a one-month supply built up in case I got sick or otherwise was not able to feed my son. This made breastfeeding a breeze...I was able to leave my son with my husband or my mother-in-law whenever I wanted, and not have to supplement with formula.

Since my son started on solids at 6 months, my milk supply has naturally diminished along with the demand for it. By evening, I don't have enough milk in my breasts to keep my son full! I started using the expressed milk to feed my son before bed, just so I knew he was getting enough to sleep through the night. Along with the milk being used when I'm out and not able to nurse him, my "back-up" supply is almost gone. I am afraid that when my frozen milk supply is gone, I will start having to give my son formula. I have tried pumping more often to build my production back up, but am having no luck. I am just "empty" that much earlier at night. I fear the near end to breastfeeding!

When I got pregnant, I really thought that I would not like breastfeeding. But, knowing the benefits, I tried it anyway, with great success! I then set my goal at breastfeeding for 3 months. Here I am at 8 months, and loving it. My goal now is to nurse my son until he is 1 year old, but I am afraid that I am "drying up." I feel extremely guilty for it, as if I have done something wrong. I know that there is nothing wrong with formula-feeding, but my son has never needed a drop of formula and I know how lucky I am to have been so successful at breastfeeding. My son remains perfectly happy nursing and shows no interest in weaning. Is it normal to feel so guilty for fearing the end or am I being selfish for not wanting to lose this amazing bond with my son?


View replies by

Chelsea - posted on 02/18/2009




Stephanie is absolutely right! Having your baby suckle will stimulate your milk much better than pumping. My daughter won't latch on anymore or I would use this method instead of pumping. Your body knows the difference between a pump and the real "baby" thing. :)

Stephanie - posted on 02/18/2009




It is important to remember that breastfeeding is a supply/demand thing, the more your baby wants the more he gets so instead of using a breast pump which is not as efficient as your baby try and just let him suckle even if he isn't getting much, it will send signals to your breasts to make more milk. it should only take a few days for there to be more milk.  At the end of the day you have fed your baby for 8 months and that is a great achievement, not many people in the UK even try to breastfeed or last beyond 6 weeks! i breastfed my daughter for 12 months and never had any trouble with supply but my daughter would not even take a bottle so i had little use for a breast pump and I think this helped.  Now my son is 3 months and also won't take a bottle!

My advice is don't worry so much you have already given your baby the best start by breastfeeding at all, it doesn't matter if your baby has the occasional formula milk feed but try and get your supply up the natural way for a few days and see if that helps!! Also your baby is getting lots of nutrition and energy from solid food and doesn't need as much from you although your milk is an important part of his diet for the first 12 months you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. Give yourself a break!

Rachel - posted on 02/18/2009




You are doing great for breastfeeding your baby! It is not selfish in the least to want the best for him. I have a 14 month-old, and we still nurse 3 times a day. I also have felt sad as my milk supply has diminished because it is such a wonderful bond. But at 8 months your son can start relying more on solid food than breast milk to fill him up. Try increasing his solid food intake instead of bottle feeding. Feeding him some solids within an hour of bed time in addition to your normal nursing routine should fill him up for the night.

Nancy - posted on 02/18/2009




Milk is made in a supply/demand way.  The more you suppliment with your frozen milk the less you are demanding from your body so the less it makes....


Perhaps you and your nursling can set aside one or two days to just plan to nurse all day as often and for as long as desired/willing by your nursling.  Once your demand goes back up your supply should increase also.

Good luck!

Chelsea - posted on 02/17/2009




I can totally relate to your situation. I am in a similar situation but my daughter is almost 5 months old. Every day that I have to use a frozen milk makes me feel like a failure for the day. My frozen supply is getting low. I have been pumping and bottle feeding since she was 8 weeks since she was not latching very well. I got behind on pumping every 2-3 hrs and my supply got low. Now that I am pumping every 2-3 hrs (except overnight) and my supply has increased. I also pump a few minutes beyond the actual expression/empty time to stimulate more milk production. Make sure that you are staying hydrated too. I have also been drinking Mother's Milk Tea (I found it at my Kroger in the Organic/Tea section). I plan on making the cookies that others have posted the reciepe for as well. Good luck to you! You have been a great success in making it so far. Here's the cookie reciepe:

Housepoet's Famous Lactation Boosting Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip & Flaxseed cookies ™
Ingredients :

* 1 cup butter or marg
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 4 tablespoons water
* 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal*
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 cups flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups oats, thick cut if you can get them
* 1 cup or more chocolate chips
* 2 tablespoons of brewers yeast* (be generous)


Preheat oven at 375 degrees F. Mix together 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal and water, set aside for 3-5 minutes. Cream (beat well) margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mix well. Stir flaxseed mixture and add with vanilla to the margarine mix. Beat until blended. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and chips. Add to margarine mixture. Stir in oats then chips. Scoop or drop onto baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment or silpat. The dough is a little crumbly, so it helps to use a scoop.

Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on size of cookies.

Serves: 6 dozen cookies

Preparation time: 15 minutes

*can be found at any local health food store.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms