By Kelsey on April 17, 2012 80

Why I Quit Breastfeeding

This is a post I never thought I’d write. I was sure I’d nurse Rooney until she was a year old and that I’d love it. But then again, not much about my transition into motherhood has gone as I expected.

Successful breastfeeding has almost everything to do with the latch.

But Rooney was born tongue-tied and she could not even stick out her tongue past her gum line.

Our first nursing session took place an hour and a half after her birth. (Looking back, I wish we would have done it sooner.) I wasn’t exactly sure what to do, but I had seen my sister do it for months with her twins and for more than a year with Mylie. I think it’s such a beautiful, amazing thing, and I really enjoyed it in those first days.

But on Rooney’s third day, just hours before we were discharged from the hospital, the nurses informed us that she had lost 9 percent of her birth weight. And they were worried.

They instilled a fear in us.

We immediately started supplementing. It was really hard for me to see her drink that first bottle of formula, especially because I was sitting right next to her hooked up to a pump. But she was eating. And she did so great with the bottle.

So we began a cycle of nursing, bottle feeding and pumping.

It’s a crazy cycle, if I do say so myself.

Supplementing really complicates breastfeeding because you either have to pump afterward to tell your body that your baby needs more milk, or be OK with the fact that you will have to supplement forever until you decide to wean.

I was determined to work extremely hard in these early days so that someday my milk would be enough for her.

But she did so well with the bottle, which made our breastfeeding sessions much tougher on me to train her to nurse and open her mouth wide. The bottle was easier and she definitely preferred it.

On Rooney’s sixth day, we chose to get her tongue clipped. The ENT doctor said her frenulum was the tightest one he’s seen in a year (she gets it from her father), so we felt great about our decision.

I thought we’d see immediate improvement. But, Rooney learned to suck many months ago in the womb with her short tongue, and it was clear that it would take a while for her to get used to it.

But, again, I was determined.

We tried using a nipple shield, I read this book, took fenugreek, and for two weeks we went to 1-on-1 lactation consults and a breastfeeding support group where you can weigh your child before and after eating to see exactly how many ounces they got.

In those two weeks, there was no progress with how much she was getting from me. She would take about one ounce from each breast (which could take an hour total), but the lactation consultant wanted her to get three ounces to regain her birth weight.

Most of the tears I cried in those first three weeks were tied to breastfeeding. I never wanted her to wake up and be hungry because there was so much pressure for it to work. Maybe the pressure was only from myself, but I sort of felt like everyone expected me to do it.

When it went well, it was amazing. When it didn’t, I was so bummed.

We made it three weeks on the crazy cycle. It came to the point when I was going to be home by myself during the week and I just knew I could not keep up with nursing, supplementing and pumping.

I woke up one morning, exhausted and sad, and was desperately looking for permission to quit. Mostly from Eric, but also from close family and friends who had been successful at nursing. I felt like I would let them down if I quit. But every one I talked to admitted that quitting seemed to be the right decision for us (if only for my mental health).

I know there are so many benefits of breastfeeding. And financially it doesn’t get much better than free. I wanted it to work so badly. But even with all our efforts, it wasn’t.

Eric will tell you (and my mom, because she witnessed it, too) that after we made the decision to quit, I was immediately a different person. I was relieved of so much stress and worry and anxiety. Not to mention that I instantly gained eight hours of my day back.

I continued to pump eight times a day, though. I felt proud of the milk I made for her and loved seeing her get it — even if it was in a bottle.

But it does not feel natural to hold your crying screaming baby while hooked up to a pump while your husband makes another bottle because the milk you pumped last time wasn’t enough.

Well, …I made it five days of pumping and then that, too, got really old. Each feeding was still requiring two steps (pumping and bottle feeding), and being home alone with her meant I had to do both steps myself.

Once again I found myself looking for permission to quit.

It was even harder to make the decision to stop pumping than it was to stop nursing. It felt a lot more permanent.

It was enough to bring me to tears. And then Eric reminded me that this was just the first of many challenges God would give us as parents. And that it was OK to quit.

So, we quit.

And I gained another two hours of my day back.

I’m not sure I’ve ever quit anything before in my life, but it ended up being the right choice for us. And I have peace with the decision because I feel like we gave it a great shot.

And I honestly feel like a better mom after stopping. The antibodies she got from me in the first month were great. I know the benefits of breastfeeding continue for months and months, but I couldn’t think about anything but quitting every time I had to put Roo down so I could pump. Her sleeping in my arms was one of my favorite things in those early days, and I wasn’t able to enjoy it because all I could think about was how I should be pumping. I was so darn worried and tired and stressed.

It was a very tough decision, and, honestly, was kind of painful to stop.

But I am much happier now that I’m done.

And I actually don’t miss it like I thought I would. It has been so freeing. It sounds selfish but I’m so glad I don’t have to wear nursing tops or worry about nursing her while we’re out. The fact that I can now smile at her as she wakes up instead of feeling sad and anxious assures me that we did the right thing for our family.

Feeding her is still the most intimate thing we do with her. It’s just with a bottle instead of a boob.

 

Facebook Discussion

Facebook Discussion

Kelsey

I love my husband, my daughter and the Internet.

  1. Kelsey,

    I’m not a mom, so I have no experience on the subject, but all I can say is this is an incredibly BRAVE post. It seems like everyone feels entitled to have an opinion on breastfeeding, and often those who choose not to bear the brunt of a lot of negative opinions.

    You clearly have made the choice that is best for your family. I only hope that those who disagree (I’m sure there will be some) will do so with compassion and care.

  2. Melanie Henderson April 17, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Kelsey, YOU are a great mom. It was not selfish to quit. Bottles and formula are great too. I never breastfed either of my children. I never had the desire and didn’t want to be tied down all the time. I wanted Aaron to be able to help give bottles and be able to have my kids spend the night at my parents and not have to worry about pumping. My kids are healthy and growing like weeds. So formula is great. And love the bottles you are giving here, we used Dr. Brown with Kadence and Austin.
    Enjoy Rooney!

    • Thanks, Melanie. I have a co-worker who gave birth to her second son a week after Roo was born. She wasn’t going to attempt breastfeeding, and I told her that she should NOT feel guilty for making that decision. And then there I was, just a few weeks later, feeling so guilty myself for choosing to quit. Now I love that Eric can feed her, too, and get to know her in that way (and that it allows me a break from time to time!) Oh and we love the Dr. Brown’s bottles!

  3. I couldn’t read this without crying. Kobie is 8 months now and we have been talking about weaning her or at least get her taking a bottle more frequently(which requires lots of pumping and time)- because she is so attached to me that I never ever get a break. She developed a nursing attachment to sleep and is still up several times a night- every hour while teething! :( I’m exhausted every day. It is so hard- Because I feel so guilty but would love that “freeing” feeling you speak of. One screaming-tormenting attempt at a formula feeding led me right back to nursing! So I dont know exactly where we will end up with this, but I’m so glad you got to feel that independence and feel like yourself again

    • Brittni–thank you for sharing the other side of the story. Good luck with your decision and eventual weaning. I know it can be a tough transition and I have to say we were blessed in that neither of us seemed to miss it. The guilt went away quicker than I thought it would, and I hope the same for you.

  4. You’re doing great and don’t let anyone tell you differently!! :) I breastfed my daughter till she was 10 months old but the first 4 months were far from easy. We struggled with thrush and cluster feedings that would leave me nursing her constantly from 5pm till midnight for the first 3 months. Finally my hubby convinced me to give her a few oz of formula each eve so I could get a break and also relief from the pain of the thrush. Best thing I ever did! Baby #2 is due in Nov and I’m hoping to nurse. But if I have the same issues I don’t know if I would push through that long. You are the baby’s mom (and dad :) )you do what you think is best and don’t let anyone get you down when they give you the ‘breast is best’ speech. Your baby girl looks amazing and you two are doing a incredible job!! All the best!! :)

    • Miranda, I am almost positive that I experience thrush as I began to wean. Congrats on your pregnancy and good luck with nursing again. I plan to try it again if we are blessed with another child but will definitely not be so hard on myself if it doesn’t work.

      • Kels if you had thrush you would know and hopefully your lactation consultant would have helped you get medication. I got it right after we (FINALLY!) got the hang of breastfeeding and was the. most. painful. thing I have ever gone through (aside from childbirth) and made it really hard to get my heart into the breastfeeding.

        I struggled like you and we finally got the hang of it. We weaned at 10 months because my supply couldnt keep up with that 9 month growth spurt and it was very freeing like you described. And after 9 months of pregnancy and 10 months of breastfeeding it was nice to have my body back to being mine. I don’t feel selfish in saying that, I think that breastfeeding is complicated physically and emotionally. My only regret is not spending more time prepping for breastfeeding and less time decorating the nursery and picking out clothes, etc. since that has so little to do with her ability to eat and grow. I guess that’s just my thoughts looking back.

  5. As Kathryn above pointed out – you are extremely brave to share this post with us. I for one, commend you. Feeding Rooney is such an incredible bonding experience and it doesn’t make a difference if it’s with a bottle or breast. Having a relaxed, healthy mom is going to benefit Rooney more!

    As always, your post has brought tears to my eyes. You are both providing a solid, loving foundation for your sweet baby girl.

  6. This is great post for moms or moms-to-be to read. I experienced a similar situation with my now 5 1/2 month old daughter. She was born at 5 pounds 1 ounce and weighed only 4 pounds 11 ounces by the time we left the hospital. Because she was so small, we supplemented from the very beginning. I had a C-section with her and breastfed her for the first time probably 45 minutes to an hour after her birth (not sure on time frame exactly – its a very chaotic time, as you know). We had a wonderful lactation consultant in the hospital who came to the room to work with us and my daughter seemed to do okay with it, but to keep her weight up, we had to continue supplementing. I, like you, had been determined to breastfeed all along and kept that determination even after she was born. I began pumping in the hospital and we would give that to her in a bottle to ensure she was eating as much as she needed. My mother-in-law graciously gifted me a very nice, top of the line breast pump and I also felt I had to continue to pump because I didn’t want to see the money spent on the pump to go to waste. (It’s kind of a silly thought but I couldn’t help but to feel that way.) Shortly after my daughter was born, I was also left alone with her and felt overwhelmed by the pump-make bottles-supplement-clean bottles-repeat process. She was eating every 2 hours and I literally felt that as soon as I finished feeding her, it was time for me to start pumping again. And of course, this was a constant cycle. We met with another lactation consultant weeks later to try and get my daughter to latch on better. But things didn’t change much so I just continued to pump and feed my milk to her in a bottle. I did this for about 6 to 8 weeks when I finally decided it was just time to quit. It was a difficult decision and I felt some guilt for stopping. But I completely understand what you’re saying about it being freeing. And my daughter, now almost 6 months, has done great on formula. She does spit up a lot (and always has) but she’s growing great. She’s in the 90th percentile for both height and weight and has had no health problems. Sometimes I do feel judged by other mothers for not breastfeeding my daughter longer but I realize that we had to do what was best for us in our situation.

    Thanks for sharing your story! And congratulations on your sweet baby girl. Having a little girl is an AMAZING experience!

    • I totally understand not wanting your pump to go to waste. I felt the same (I also had purchased a pumping bra) but even 2 weeks of breastfeeding is so beneficial so I decided it was worth it. I am amazed you were able to pump for so long! I do think occasionally about how breast feeding can keep Roo healthier with ear infections and such, so I pray we are as lucky as you in that area. And bottle feeding has its advantages but bottle washing is not one of them :) I hear ya on that one! Haha!

  7. I am so, absolutely, completely the type of person that things that a mom (or dad) has the right to change the way they THOUGHT they would do thing before they had kids once they kids actually arrive. I was no stedfast of many things as far as the first few months of my daughter life went — I was ok with her using a pacifier OR her thumb, I was ok with breastfeeding OR formula, I was ok with her sleeping on my chest OR in her bassinet. It surprises me how set in stone some parents are about certain things that don’t always go as planned … I found that, for my sanity’s sake, it was much better to roll with the punches for a while.

    That being said, I hated breastfeeding. For me, it was not the magical experience that you read about in books. My daughter had trouble latching on at first and my milk never completely came in, so she was always unsatisfied. When I read about you being a different person immediately after making the choice to stop breastfeeding, I completely related. I decided at 3am two days after coming home with her and it was the most relieved that I had remembered feeling since stepping into my house.

    I guess what I’m trying to say with this novel is that you are not alone. Ever. Because, somewhere, there is a mom out there that feels the same as you. You just happen to have the added benefit of having a blog to act as a channel of communication!

    • So true–I definitely didn’t think I would love the pacifier so much (seriously I love whoever invented that magnificent little thing) but I now realize as a mom that you do whatever gets you through the next few minutes or hour or day or night. It is great that you weren’t tied to expectations and just did what you felt was right.

  8. I’m a breastfeeding advocate. I wish more advocates would hear stories like yours to gain more insight & empathy as to why women stop breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is sometimes horribly difficult for people. It is a lot of stress and has huge obstacles to overcome and society just doesn’t offer the whole-package support women and families need.

    I think you did a really good job of trying. You faced one of the most difficult challenges mother’s face and you should be proud of your efforts. You can also take comfort in the fact that you did breastfeed. ANY amount of breastmilk you can get into your baby is highly beneficial.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    • Thank you for your comment and for understanding. I thought that breastfeeding could work for anyone and everyone if you just gave it a good effort. So obviously I was 100% sure it would work for us, which made it even harder when it didn’t. Now I know more of the story. I will definitely try it again, but with less expectations and greater knowledge.

  9. Kelsey,

    We went through the same thing with Cade. He was doing great at the hospital and then we came home and he wouldn’t latch. We tried and tried and he just couldn’t get it. I was so depressed because he wouldn’t eat and I felt like it was my fault. As soon as he got the bottle that I pumped it was like a millions pounds of stressed were relieved. I tried to continue to pump and feed and take care of both kids on my own and it became impossible. We have switched to only formula and now there are the fussy times that I read you also have. Being a mom is amazing, but nothing prepares you for the work that comes with it. I didn’t think going from one to two was going to be that much of a change because my oldest WAS so independent. Things change so quickly. I have to go back to work next week and I am really not looking forward to it!

    I love reading your blog because it seems like we are going through a lot of the same things. You are not alone!

  10. Wow! What brave post. Good for you. I love your honesty. Even when everything goes right, breastfeeding is still a huge challenge! I remember thinking when I had my second that it would be easier because I had some experience, but my new baby didn’t come with such experience. It was even more of a challenge. I remember searching for permission to set myself free of all the anxiety that surrounded it at times and being so torn by “mommy guilt” and expectations I had of myself and that I felt others had of me.
    My difficulty was at the end when I was ready to wean and my daughter seemed like she wanted to nurse until she left for college! I felt bad that I was ready to be done until one of my friends told me something that I will never forget and have passed on to many moms. Breastfeeding is great as long as it is MUTUALLY beneficial. Once it becomes less than that for one or both parities, it is time to reevaluate. I remember feeling free and able to let go of any of the guilt I had been beating myself up with. I felt like I was a better mom to her because our interactions were no longer surrounded with the stress I was feeling and the all consuming thoughts of nursing and when I was going to be able to stop.
    Like you said, you have precious time back with your little girl that is free from all the worry and anxiety that you were dealing with. You made the right decision for both you and her and you are right when you say that you guys gave it a good try….more than most would. What lucky little girl she is to have a mommy like you ;)

    • Angie, I love your insight about how your second baby didn’t have experience and also the point about it being a mutual relationship. I could really connect with a lot of what you shared and I think that we went through the same feelings. I pray that the second time around I knock down all expectations I might have about breastfeeding and realize that every child is different and that maybe I don’t have what it takes to commit to it like I once thought I would–and that I will be OK with that!

  11. Kels, I’m not a mom, but you know I adore Rooney (even if I’ve only seen her online!), and I can tell how hard of a time you’ve had with all of this. But, I think you’d handled everything SO well. I know we’re not seeing everything through this post (because you wrote it after you and Eric made the best decision for you and Rooney), but I can tell how much you care about your daughter, and yourself. You’re not forcing yourself to continue, and I think that’s great, even if it’s not what you had both originally planned. You guys seem to go with the flow and are adjusting really well to being parents.
    If I ever have a kid, I know I’ll be calling you guys for advice!!

    • Thanks, Suze. I really appreciate it. I did sit Rooney down and ask her if she wanted breast milk or formula, and she just stared back at her momma like she didn’t care either way :) Haha. It was silly but it honestly made it easier for me to quit once I felt like I had her approval.

  12. Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone, and especially with Rooney’s tongue, you were in a hard position. As a parent, you will always second guess your decisions and you’ll choose which battles to pick. You made a brave choice and it seems to have been the right one for you. Love you!

    • Yes—I am learning so much every single day about being a mom and what it means and making the decisions that are right for us. I just hope you know that I don’t judge anything you do because I’m not in your exact shoes and never will be. We may be different as moms but neither way is wrong! :)

  13. You are a wonderful, brave mommy and I would say you definitely made the right decision. I can SO relate to your post. My twins were born 6 weeks early and my son was less than 3 lbs. Neither of my children latched properly. My daughter would fall off within seconds and my son never really took it in the first place. We tried lactation consultants, etc., and nothing worked. I so WANTED it to work. It was a huge dream of mine to breastfeed. But I was pumping round the clock and hardly producing anything at all. Not sure if it was from stress or having premature babies or what. I was the only mom bringing ONE ounce of milk to the NICU. It was humiliating but I wanted my babies to have SOMETHING. But I was sore, tired, sad, anxious, and just plain not enjoying it. In the end, I decided to quit trying around 6 weeks post-birth and we were all SO much better off for it. Even the best laid plans often don’t work out and we just have to remember that we did what was best for our babies. Much love to you.

  14. Kelsey,

    I had to make the same decision with Zaylie. Ours was for a different reason though. Basically breast feeding became a battle in the transition to using a bottle for when I went back to work and school. With full time school, part time work, baby and breastfeeding something had to give for us. It just wasn’t enjoyable anymore because she would fuss and cry and get angry ever time we tried to breastfeed and then when her wet diapers began to slow dramatically I decided enough was enough. Since I am a nurse and shortly going to be a nurse practitioner I especially understand the benefits of breastfeeding and I felt extemely pressured to continue. I am also glad you shared your breastfeeding story because there are so many women out there who feel so much pressure/many expectations (especially as a first time mom) to do this because they want to be a “good parent”. In the end I have decided moms should enjoy their new role and if breastfeeding has become a fight and especially if it is causing problems for the chid, then it’s not worth it. After all, you spend the most time with her and know her better than any healthcare professional ever will. Some women aren’t even able to breastfeed at all, so you should be VERY PROUD of the fact you were able to do this even if it was for a short while.

    • Amanda, thank you. And how great for you to make that decision for Zaylie and her health. I think you are right about the importance of enjoying the role of a mom. It’s not that I thought parenting would be easy, but I thought I would at least enjoy it. And breastfeeding was a hurdle for me in enjoying my daughter. Thankfully that is past us now!

  15. thank you SO much for writing this! breastfeeding for me was the HARDEST part of caring for my newborn. no one told me how hard it would be. the possibility of “not producing enough” never even crossed my mind. my baby lost 15% weight in the first week and then we had to supplement. i was determined to keep breastfeeding so had to syringe in formula for weeks. being tied to the pump 5 times a day is NOT fun… but after pumping A LOT, i finally (almost) produce enough for my baby. we still have to supplement a bottle a day (he drinks 30 oz a day at 4 months). especially with having to pump twice at work and 3 times at home, i want to quit every day. i told myself i will go until 6 months and then i’m done. i want the time back in the day to spend w my baby!!

    • sandy—way to go in keeping at it! that is amazing. i hope that you make it six months, but not if it keeps you from enjoying that adorable son of yours :) you’re a great mom!

  16. Yup, I totally could’ve written this post a little over a year ago. My daughter’s tongue was fine, so I blame my boobs. I had to use a nipple shield, which I hated after awhile, and I’m sure the fact that I wasn’t eating enough helped my supply tank way early. But like Rooney, Bridget lost about 10% of her body weight a couple days after birth, and we had to supplement.

    By the time she was about 2-months-old, I was making less than an ounce every time I pumped. It just wasn’t worth it, so I stopped. And really, I was relieved, too. It was right before I went back to work, and it was really convenient not having to worry about pumping during the day.

    My doctor reassured me that the baby gets the most benefit of the breast milk within the first 2 weeks. I wish I had made it to my goal of 6 months to give her more of the benefit, but it just wasn’t in the cards for me either.

    • i don’t mean to blame it all on rooney :) my post-partum depression caused a lack of appetite and i’m sure that, too, caused a lack of supply (along with her latch). there were so many factors! like you i wish i had set a realistic goal for myself to continue, but i am so glad i made it a few weeks for her to get a big benefit from it. i am ashamed in a couple weeks to tell her pediatrician that we quit, but i’m hoping she understands. sounds like yours did–what a blessing!

  17. Hi Kelsey,
    What a great post. I’m having my first baby this October, and I’ve absolutely loved seeing your journey of pregnancy, and post pregnancy. Your posts have definitely helped my Husband and I prepare mentally for realistic situations we are going to face. Breastfeeding, marriage, unhappiness (at times), sleep deprivation, etc : ) Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and please continue to do it! I enjoy every post you guys write! As big Dave Ramsey fans as well, I’m anxious to see how y’alls budgets change, so I look forward to that post! I’m a tad worried about what a baby might do to our budget..haha. I know how expensive formula can be : )

    Thanks again, and stay strong Mama!

    • jesse, congrats congrats! your little belly is aDORable. and we will definitely be writing a post about how a baby affects our budget once we know the full effect :) quitting breastfeeding was at least a thousand-dollar decision, but sanity won over money. haha! thanks for reading—i am so glad the posts are beneficial for you!

  18. As a soon to be mom (T minus 2 weeks!) I appreciate your honesty so much! I have heard from many moms how difficult breastfeeding is, even our pediatrician told us she only made it about 2 weeks. On the money front, the doctor also told us the name brand formula is exactly the same as the Target brand, since it has to be FDA Regulated. Not sure if you can switch brands or the baby needs consistency but maybe that would save a little money! Even if not, of course her health and your well being are worth whatever it costs!

    • good luck with everything, lauren! regarding the formula, we will definitely be switching to target brand once our free similac samples and coupons run out :) we’ll need to make the transition carefully, but if it works we will save at least $10 a week!

  19. isnt it crazy the amount of pressure that we not only put ourselves under but also people closest to us. without them saying a word, we are afraid that they will judge us and most of the time they are.

    good for you for listening to your body!

    • i know! it is crazy. the pressure i felt from eric and rooney was completely unspoken–and in the end i discovered that i had fabricated it all!

  20. Amanda Krumwiede April 17, 2012 at 11:56 am

    My niece is tongue tied, and my sister is as well- they both had difficult experiences with nursing- I think it goes un-thought of sometimes all the things that go into successful baby feeding- whether by bottle or breast! That decision is a stressful one and unfortunately we as mother feel so much pressure to do what others think we should do! I felt it the opposite way- of breast feeding longer than others thought I should and I must say that I equally felt frustrated by it all! my daughter wasn’t ready to be done at a year- and to be honest, neither was I. I NEVER thought I’d say that- but my experience was the complete flip side of yours- she wouldn’t take a bottle at all! So- my point is that everyone’s different, circumstances are different, and a Mom’s gotta do what a Momma’s got to do to get through it all! I’m thrilled that you were brave enough to be honest about how this all made you feel- It makes so many other mom’s out there a little less afraid to do the same. AND the good news is that when our kids are grown- they’ll never say- “gee mom, I wish you would’ve breast fed me a little longer! ” haha the goal is that they say ” Gee- mom, I’m so glad you took time to play, read, explore, etc…..” :) God bless you and your sweet little family!

    • amanda, you make great points. i take for granted how well rooney does with the bottle because i’ve had friends and a sister who went through issues with their babies not wanting that either, or not eating well. and i feel terrible but i actually was sad when i learned that my mom didn’t breastfeed. then i realized that the last thing i needed to do was make her feel guilty about it. and now i understand it all a lot more. plus, i think i turned out ok! haha! :)

  21. What I’ve liked about formula feeding is that daddy can get involved. Michael loves that feeding time which is fun to see because I can relax and enjoy watching them instead of pumping and stressing while he is feeding the babe. I too felt soo relieved when I stopped pumping and went to straight formula. I’m sure Eric enjoys that time with Rooney too :) Breastfeeding is an amazing thing but it didn’t work for me either and I found out that for me letting go created a better me…which made me feel like a better, happier mom. You are doing awesome!

    • danielle, i really have you to thank. you were so honest and open with me about your experience with baby blues and breastfeeding, and it has helped me get through it as well as have the courage to write about it. i’m so glad God brought us together :)

  22. This is what being a Mom is all about: making the decisions that are right for you and your family. You are so courageous, brave, and strong Kelsey! Thank you for sharing your experience.

  23. Here is a link to a post from a blog that I love called Love From Texas about breastfeeding. Jessica is a former nurse and her post about how women who chose not to breastfeed was really well done. http://www.lovefromtexas.com/2011/09/not-your-typical-breastfeeding-post.html

    Thanks for being transparent! Know that there is grace in every season and in every decision!

  24. This brought me to tears. I too was stressed to the gills trying to breastfeeding and too needed permission from the world to stop. I finally cried to my mom and husband and they both said it was my business and no one else’s. I’m surviving and learning to let go of te mama guilt. Thanks for putting it into so many words.

  25. Here is another blog post that may be of help for you, written by a lactation consultant friend of mine about healing after a disappointing breastfeeding experience:

    http://santabarbaralactation.com/blog/healing-after-disappointing-breastfeeding-experience

    Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing a great job! I am sorry breastfeeding didn’t work out for you and Rooney.

  26. Kelsey, I have this new mantra I made up: You didn’t fail, you tried. That is all that matters.

  27. I’m sorry the experience was so fraught with stress for you! I hope you take comfort in your gallant effort to make it work and know that in the end, a happy mama is the best mama.

  28. Kelsey, I am so glad you posted this and am so, so happy that you made a decision that’s made your situation better. I have been there, done that with breastfeeding and completely understand what you’re going through. With our first son, we quite breastfeeding around 8 months because I was 2 months pregnant with our second son. And, like you, after we made the decision to stop, I INSTANTLY felt better. You know when the decision is the right one! Sometimes the right thing for one person isn’t the right thing for everyone. I have to remind myself about this — being a family means making decisions that are the best for everyone involved.

  29. I obviously I don’t know much! However, I hear that it can be so hard and so personal. It is good to see a family making decisions that are right for their family! Our families are all unique. So, we must make the decisions that are right for our family! Big Hug from Oklahoma!! Watching my friends, I know this couldn’t have been an easy decision. (who knew I would be commenting on a post like this! :D)

  30. I gotta say, that first month of breastfeeding was incredibly tough – and we didn’t have any latch or supply issues! You have to make the decisions that make sense for your family. And the most important thing you can give your baby is a sane, healthy mama! That’s far more important than any other choice, in my opinion. I applaud your honesty about how difficult the breastfeeding relationship is at first. Though it does get easier, it’s still a burden to have your kid so dependent on you alone.

  31. I will add that even when breastfeeding is “easy” it’s tough. I had a generally straightforward experience, but struggled with a blister and nipple pain. I had to sheild them from the water in the shower which would have been funny if it didn’t hurt so much : ). Not to mention seemingly endless nurisng days, watching the clock to limit my daughter to 20 minutes per side per session, to give myself a chance to heal. We made it through and are still nursing at 18 months. It’s been a wonderful experience for us, so I am sad that it didn’t work our for you.

    I’m curious if, reflecting on the experience, you think there is anything the hospital staff could have done or said differently to support you? Could they have diaignosed the tounge-tie earlier? Or suggested alternative feeding methods (syringe, spoon or supplemental nursing systems) that might have helped? I understand that hosptial staff are not necessarily up to date on best practices for supporting nursing moms.

    Thank you for bravely sharing your honest story. You’re doing a great job!

    • Raia, good question. I have thought about it a lot. On the day she was born, the pediatrician at the hospital told us her tongue was not a big deal. But the lactation consultant on the third day (not long before we were discharged) said it was very, very short and was probably affecting her latch. We saw multiple lactation consultants and only one noticed her tongue. I wish we had gotten it cut in the hospital (for better breastfeeding success and also financially). I have a friend who was able to get her son’s cut in the hospital, but it was a hard fight.

      I do also think we could have explored alternative feeding methods besides the bottle. They were briefly mentioned to us by the lactation consultant, but we had no idea what we were doing and didn’t have the supplies and it seemed extreme. But it probably would have worked better in the end.

      Oh, and I know what you mean about shielding your nipples from the water in the shower! Been there! :)

  32. Here’s a blog post written by one of my girlfriends; I hope you find it encouraging!

    http://saraevanchick.com/dear-mama/

  33. Our son is almost a month old and in that short time all the preconceived notions I had about how I (we) would parent have gone out the window. Not that my ideals were easy to let go of, quite the opposite, breast feeding being just one of them, but I’ve decided to focus on being a present parent versus a stressed out, exhausted parent that is trying to live up to others ideas. I still feel judged by friends and acquantices alike in regards to some of our choices but each day I feel more confident when I see our family, all of whom are happy! And healthy. Parenting guilt was a far bigger thing than I ever expected.

    • amy, i’m learning that, too! i learn more and more every day about how my expectations were so unrealistic. it is amazing to let go of that. good luck to you!

  34. We had a very similar beginning to breastfeeding. Alma wasn’t tongue tied but I believe she had a tight lip tie that caused a terrible (very painful) latch and my supply took a major hit by the time we figured out she wasnt gaining. I did the nurse-supplement-pump routine for 3 months, while taking a gazillion galactagogues for my supply. Over time, my supply increased and we dropped a few supplement bottles every couple of weeks. At 3.5 months, we were completely off formula, and have been so for a month.

    That said, I absolutely wanted to quit so many times, and I completely understand why moms do. It was grueling at times, but I kept giving myself a timeline. Like if things aren’t better in ‘x’ weeks, I’m going to quit. Sure enough, each time goal things were a little bit better.

    Im not sure if I would do the same if I have the same struggles next time – i do feel like I missed out on just relaxing and enjoying my baby sometimes. But now that nursing is going well, I’m so so glad I stuck it out.

    It’s a really hard situation, and I think more people should talk about it, so it was great to hear your experience!

    • kim, that is amazing! how awesome for you and alma for sticking with it! breastfeeding is complicated but i so wanted your story to be our story. maybe next time!!!

  35. Wowza. You are so brave for sharing this, and I really appreciate your honesty! As wonderful as breastfeeding is, I think there is a tremendous amount of pressure put on women to do it no matter what, when the fact of the matter is: it doesn’t work for everyone. Breastfeeding was, hands down, the most difficult part of becoming a mother for me. We’ve got it down now, but I remember how painful and frustrating those first two weeks were while Everett and I perfected his latch. This might be TMI, but my nipples were BLEEDING. They would bleed and then scar, bleed and then scar. I was in crazy pain for almost 14 days before everything healed up. I really commend you for knowing yourself well enough to make the decision that worked best for your family. Bravo, and here’s to hoping baby #2 is able to breastfeed easily! ;)

    • I am AMAZED at the women who stick with it. I was so far from quitting, until one day when I woke up and knew I was done. The things we do for our babies! I’m so glad it’s working for you! It is so good for the babe!

  36. I appreciated this post a lot, Kelsey. Olivia (my 7 week old baby girl) was born 5 weeks early, and weighed 5 lbs 9 oz — this is good for a premie, but the staff at the hospital had me on the breastfeed, bottle, and pump system from the start to make sure she gained weight appropriately, and when she had newborn jaundice and didn’t gain back her birth weight quickly enough by the pediatrician’s standards, we were encouraged to continue with this regimen.

    I was exhausted, and would cry when I needed to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning to go pump. Eventually I settled on using formula instead of pumped milk to supplement, and was just okay with the fact that I’d have to keep this up due to my body not getting the message that my daughter needed more milk.

    What I’ve enjoyed about this is that anyone can feed her while I’m out and about, and I don’t need to pump before I go anywhere. Also, when away from the house, I can still pull out the nursing cover and feed her if I want, or I can bring a bottle so that I can just grab it out of the diaper bag while conversing with others without even thinking about covering up.

    Truly, I’m loving the freedom and flexibility and still getting to retain some of the closeness of breastfeeding. And it never occurred to me that what I was doing was strange… but whip out a bottle of formula and someone will inevitably make a quip or veiled remark to make you feel inferior for the choice you’ve made.

    Anyway, I think you’re a great mother. And line up all the kids in kindergarten and NO ONE will be able to guess which child was fed in what manner.

    People really need to find better things to get uptight over :)

    • Jill – I’m so glad you’ve found something that works for your family. I hope this continues to work for you as long as you want it to! It seems like you have the best of both worlds: bonding with your daughter through nursing and giving her your milk, and also the freedom to get away without having to pump when you’re away from her.

  37. Kelsey, I read this while I was pregnant and now am reading it again as I have a 6 week old. I can’t tell you how much MORE determined than me you were, I honestly hated breast feeding. We had the same issue, that she wasn’t gaining weight and I wasn’t producing very much, so we started supplementing. She latched WELL, too well – it hurt soooo bad and like you said, I began to get so anxious when she’d start to wake up and get hungry because I knew the whole process would start over again. Again, like you said, as long as my husband felt good with me quitting, I was an entirely different person AND our relationship got A LOT more pleasant that same day. It was just so hard, props to moms who are able to do it for a long time!!

    • You are right – it is so hard! I’ve heard a few women admit that they hated breastfeeding. It’s hard to do something you hate, even when you would do ANYTHING for that little baby girl. I’m so glad you found what works best for you and your family!

  38. I can totally relate to the tears and anxiety! Breast feeding was the one thing that I was so determined to do! Then Jude had jaundice, and at 3 days old they insisted I supplement(looking back, I am so annoyed that they never recommended an SNS feeder)which totally ruined the wonderful latch we had…and it was all downhill from there. Between the lack of(make that more like NO)sleep, and the pumping and the nursing and the bottles, and keeping track of it all, I was brimming with anxiety.

    Finally at 2 weeks, I decided(against the advice of everyone. My lactation consultant was NO help)to exclusively pump. In the beginning that meant seven 30 minute sessions a day, during which I sat indian style on the couch with my little baby in my lap. 8 months later we are still going strong, and I dropped down to five 30 minute sessions(to maintain supply). Now it is a routine for us, not without some sacrifice, but I’m used to it. But I TOTALLY understand how frustrated you were, and ultimately a happy momma is FAR more important for a baby than breast milk!

  39. I linked to my story as I went through the SAME THING. Shorter timeframe, but I went from wanting desperately to nurse, to loving it the first day or two, to it being miserable, to pumping and THAT being miserable… to now exclusively FFing our son. I even tried relactation, with no success. So I hear you! And support you. :)

    (I see you use Earth’s Best Organic. So do we! Soy, though, for his milk protein intolerance.)

    Thanks for this. By reading it, I feel like you’ve supported my decision, too. We totally need more support, us FFing moms. :)

    • Thanks for your support, Stephanie! It’s crazy how similar our stories are.

      P.S. Relactation is very curious to me! I don’t know much about it.

  40. Wow, I honestly could have written this post myself. I’m so glad I came across your story as I have been having a hard time recently feeling guilty over quitting breastfeeding. My son just hated drinking direct from the boob, he never had tongue tie but for some reason he freaked out at every feed and latching became a stressful nightmare so I pumped but it was just such hard work. It takes over your life and also takes away so much precious time that I wanted to spend with my boy instead of being hooked to that damn pump. I managed 5 and a half weeks pumping before I decided to switch to formula. Stopping pumping was the most physically agonising thing I have ever done! I was so engorged I basically cried in pain constantly for days despite taking as many painkillers I could. Only now, after a week, an I beginning to feel a bit better and I can actually hold my son to my chest without being in horrendous pain. I know breast is best but in my case formula feeding its definitely better option but I guess I will feel guilty for a while to come that breastfeeding didn’t work out for us x

    • Hi Tammy, great to hear from you. I hope your guilt diminishes as you move forward with your decision. It is so hard — I hated pumping so much yet it was a very emotional decision for me to quit. I pray you will enjoy your time with your son!

  41. I cant thank you enough for posting this.

  42. Thank you for this blog. I struggled for a month to breastfeed my son. He became jaundiced in the hospital because he couldn’t get anything from me. When milk finally came, he wasn’t getting enough and we were already supplementing due to jaundice. After stressing myself out for a month with pumping, supply issues and really long breastfeeding sessions, my son got to where he was throwing up milk but keeping the formula down. I discussed the issue with a trusted friend and baby expert and finally switched to formula. Today I was reading all the horrible effects of NOT breastfeeding-SIDS, autism, etc and really feeling sad and guilty-but your blog helped. I just have to trust the month of breast milk helped and that Ultimately he will be ok.

  43. Thank you for sharing your honest feelings and struggles. My little guy is 3.5 wks old and I’ve not enjoyed breastfeeding him one bit. His tongue is too big and his mouth is too short so latching is an issue and he hasn’t gained any weight in the last week despite feeding every 1.5-2 hrs. I feel bad because I get so frustrated with him when things don’t go we’ll. my patience gets worn down and I hate that. I want to cherish this moment with him not look back and despise it and regret that. I want to pump and feed but I have the same concerns like how you felt. I know The Lord will take care of him but I don’t know if I can stick this out till he “grows out of it” at the risk of losing precious memories and gaining resentment.

    • Hi Lauren, thank you for sharing. You’re being so courageous! Personally I’ve heard it gets a lot easier after the first month BUT if breastfeeding is not MUTUALLY beneficial, then I think your sanity is way more important. As of now it sounds like no one is benefiting from breastfeeding (although the milk itself is great for him!). I pray that you will start to develop a love for feeding your son — no matter how you do it! xo!

  44. I know these comments are old but thought i would mention-
    Most dentists warn about pacifer use , it can cause misaligned teeth, upper arch of the mouth narrowing, crossbite and affect jaw developement leading to extensive and expensive
    2-3 step orthodontic work later on.

    • Thanks, Susan. Rooney’s dentist isn’t worried about her pacifier use. He says constant use of a pacifier past age 3 would cause concern, but we’ve already limited it to the crib and car.

  45. I’m so glad I stumbled upon this post. I have spent the last 2 and a half months killing myself trying to make breast feeding work. I have spend hours crying over my low supply (I had to supplement my preemie in the hospital). I tried everything. EVERYTHING. Now, I’ve decided to wean and I feel like a terrible mom. Reading this made me feel much better. I’ve felt so alone in this decision. Tank you for being so honest and sharing your perspective.

  46. Just wanted to say good for you for having the guts to do what is best for you and your family, and being able to admit it as well. I admire you for it. I am going on 10 months of nursing my little guy but his teeth have been causing me major problems. I’m ready to quit. And I hate pumping. I’m honestly not sure how much more of this I can take, but at the same time I struggle with the decision. Reading this post has made me a little more okay with the thought of quitting. We should not be defined by how we feed our babies. I would have been a wreck had I been in your shoes having to deal with all that in the beginning.

  47. This moved me to tears. I have been going through a similar struggle with my 4 month old daugher. She has not latched since the first week and I have been pumping and supplementing for 4 months. I’m exhausted and frustrated and overwhelmed. I desperately wanted breast feeding to work, but it just didn’t. Then I thought I could still feel accomplished by pumping. I’m to the point where I’m ready to quit and, like you, I’ve been looking for permission to quit. My husband has been completely supportive but I’ve felt so guilty thinking about quitting. I’m just thankful that you had courage to write this and that I stumbled upon it in my Google search for “how to quit breastfeeding.” Why, as moms, do we feel like we need permission? Who knows. But I completely understand and felt your words, like they were my own. Thank you.

  48. Thank you so much for posting this. I’m in the same situation but due to my son’s food allergies we can’t figure out. There’s so much pressure to make breastfeeding work and a huge amount of guilt that goes along with it. It always feels like there is something more you could have done. But as one of my best friends said, your baby needs a mom functioning at 100%, whatever that means! And it doesn’t mean you love your child any less. I felt the same way about pumping while we were trying hypoallergenic formula. I HATED having to put my baby down right after eating so I could sit and pump.

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