Transitioning from breastfeeding to formula-feeling guilty

Nxw - posted on 10/06/2013 ( 3 moms have responded )




I will be headed back to work soon and I dont have enough stored in the freezer even though I pump everyday, rented a hospital grade pump, tried Fenugreek pills, and Im lucky if I can get 2oz total a day to store. I never had a large milk supply, just enough to feed baby. I will be transitioning to formula after 12 weeks of breastfeeding, I feel incredibly guilty and feek like Ive failed as a nursing mom. If my baby should get sick as she gets older I will always blame myself becausd i wasnt able to breastfeed through 6 months. It is a guilt i cant live with. I feel like society ostricizes mothers who dont breastfeed, as i have received a few looks from people even friends when i mention my transition. How have you dealt with this?


View replies by

Nxw - posted on 10/06/2013




Thank you ladies so much for the support and providing another perspective. I never looked at it that way before- that Ive given her much more as a mom than just breastfeeding. And yes, all babies will eventually get sick and I shouldnt narrow the blame down to my lack of breastfeeding. Being a working mom is tough enough, I iust want to enjoy my time with her without unnecessary stress. Thank you!

Cecilia - posted on 10/06/2013




12 weeks is a great start! Don't beat yourself over it. I know the feeling though. I do understand the disappointment. I had surgery on my one breast to remove a tumor. Because of it, my last baby refused to latch on to that one. So even knowing I was going to be really lopsided I kept trying to feed her using one breast.

She began losing weight. So I began to pump and mix formula and breast milk. After a few weeks of that I was drying up pretty fast (and I was pumping every hour) The one side of course dried up much faster because it never had a great start to tell it to produce. I always wondered what I could have done different and if I did the right thing by even giving her formula. I didn't feel too much guilt though. I knew I did my best for her. It might be because she wasn't my first I knew it just happened.

As far as getting sick, you've already given her immune system a great start. As Rebekah said, all babies will get sick, even one's breastfed for years. It happens.

Rebekah - posted on 10/06/2013




I also struggled with milk production... I was never able to fully provide breast milk for all the feedings he required, so we supplemented with formula from day one. (on top of that, we never seemed to get the latch going, so I pumped from the beginning too). I pumped all during maternity leave and just gave whatever I could and dealt with it. My way of looking at it was that I was doing the best I could and providing for my son in whatever way I could---remember, you do that in many ways, not just breastfeeding (taking your child to dr appointments, loving and bonding with him/her, meeting their various physical and emotional needs). Fortunately, my son was, and is, very healthy and bright. I don't think he (or I) suffered one bit from the feeding method we began with. I agree breastmilk is best when possible, but it is not the only way to have a healthy child, or to bond with your child.
I managed to pump at work when I returned, but unfortunately, because of the pace of my workplace, it was hard to stay on schedule, and my limited milk supply began to taper off and dry out after only a month. I wasn't happy about that, but given the circumstances, that was how it went and I accepted it.
Even though it went that way for me, that isn't necessarily how it goes for everyone. Would you be able to pump at work?
Talk to your pediatrician about the health considerations of babies who are breast-fed versus formula fed. Maybe he/she can shed light on some of your concerns. And the reality is, your baby will get sick at some point. They all do. Take normal precautions--handwashing, limiting exposure to people you know are contagious--but don't beat yourself up over illnesses that are a normal part of living in this world. Yes, its stressful, but you need not heap blame on yourself over that. Her body will work on building up immunity as she deals with what comes along.
I felt more guilt with just returning to work... I don't know if that is part of the issue for you also, but sort out what these feelings are really about, and decide what is priority and what needs to be put in perspective. Mothering can be a very emotional thing (just dealt with something tonight myself, and my son is now 7), and it can be hard to think straight. Take a step back, and consider that other people's opinions don't matter. You do what you need to for your daughter with the circumstances that you have. As long as you have healthy options to choose from, you need not burden yourself with undeserved guilt. I know people can get very passionate about breastfeeding, but not being able to do that makes you no less a woman or mother. Many things constitute motherhood, not just that. I speak as a fellow mother. :)

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