When he turned six months old, I decided to quit breastfeeding my son. No, I didn’t have low supply. No, I didn’t have a medical condition or need medications that made my milk unsafe. And no, he had no problem with nursing. I was simply sick of it. I was ready to have my life and body back. I was ready to let my husband take some of the responsibility of feeding Will every three hours. I was ready for a little more freedom in my life.
My goal is not to make a statement for or against breastfeeding for any length of time. Other moms who are sick of nursing just to know they’re not alone.
I mentioned that I had quit to some mom acquaintances recently. They reacted like most people do – with concerned looks and questions. When I explained that I was just ready to quit, I was met with poorly hidden disapproval. One of them mumbled, “Well, you have to do what is best for your family…”
But isn’t that true?
I have to do what is best for MY family. Quitting breastfeeding is what is best for us.
I was never that enthusiastic about breastfeeding. We had some difficulty latching, and by the end, Will was a nursing gymnast. When we first had him, I remember getting asked the same question: “Don’t you just love nursing?” I would smile and try to change the subject. No, I didn’t love nursing. And I was scared to admit it.
Nursing was a hard, painful nuisance. I felt lonely when I went away to nurse Will and judged when I chose to nurse him in public. When I used a cover, I got comments from diehard breastfeeders about how I didn’t need to cover. When I didn’t cover, I made many other people feel uncomfortable. I even got dirty looks. It was so hard to fight the mom-shaming. I was only a brand new mom trying to do what was best for her son.
My son has grown, and so have I. I have decided to quit breastfeeding, and I have decided not to be shamed. I want anyone who doesn’t love breastfeeding to know she isn’t alone. She isn’t an awful person. If you choose to quit nursing, it’s going to be ok. Your baby is not going to be behind on milestones because you switch to formula. You are choosing what is right for you, and that is what is right for your baby.
A happy, confident mom is far better for her baby than a shamed, sad, and struggling mom. If giving up breastfeeding will help you be happier and more confident, then by all means, give it up! If you adore breastfeeding and it helps you be happy and confident, then that’s awesome! Do what is best for YOUR family. Don’t judge others on what is best for theirs.