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 need to know they’re not alone.

 

The Why

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 die-hard 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.

 

The Reactions

Every time I whip out a bottle instead of a boob I get some looks. I can almost hear people thinking, Is that expressed breast milk or is she giving her child formula? Let’s be clear, IT’S FORMULA. And Will likes it. He has no preference for breast milk over formula. No, maybe it’s not quite as perfectly good for him as breast milk is, but I am way happier not nursing.

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.

 

My Reaction

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.

If you are concerned about how switching how you feed your baby will affect your child, talk to your doctor and your baby’s pediatrician. They can give you a ton of information on all of the options out there. You could try exclusively pumping if you don’t want to give up the breast milk but are tired of nursing. They can give you a nipple shield if your only problem is extreme nipple pain or some latching issues. They also can recommend what types of formula to start on and how to wean if you want to stop nursing altogether.

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! If you just need help figuring out how to feed your child best, get help from your doctors! Do what is best for YOUR family.  Don’t judge others on what is best for theirs.

 

The 18 Month Update

Will will turn 18 months at the very beginning of January. It has been almost a full year since he has had any breast milk. And guess what? He is a healthy, happy, and thriving little boy. Energy is never lacking in that child. He has hit all of his developmental milestones on time or ahead of schedule. The doctors assure me every time we have a well check that he is a picture of health. Switching to formula has not had a major impact on my son’s life.

But it has had a major impact on my life. Out of that decision grew The Naptime Projects. I was so frustrated with the reactions I got from other moms when I quit breastfeeding and I needed a place to stand up against it. Since then, The Naptime Projects has grown and flourished and become a place for women to come and feel validated. It is a safe space to be heard and supported. It exists to help end the mom shaming and to help women support each other.

I always love connecting with y’all, so if you ever have questions, want to chat, or need some support, comment below or send me an email at rachel@thenaptimeprojects.com. 

31 Comments

  1. Good for you! I didn’t get to breastfeed either of mine and they did just fine! I tried on the second and wasn’t successful, so both were bottle babies, and both were chubby, happy, healthy babies. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. It’s your life and your child and your decision, and I’m so proud of you! And a blog! Very exciting. You’ll be great!

    Reply
  2. I’m struggling with this right now- my daughter is 8 months old and I want to quit but feel like I shouldn’t. Thanks for your honesty- I can relate to this and appreciate I’m not alone.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this so honestly. I am thankful to have had a really positive breastfeeding experience (I actually posted about it on my blog), but I was also really thankful to have support no matter what I chose. Breastfeeding can be hard and totally different for every single person. What matters most is that mama and baby are healthy and thriving, and it sounds like you both are. Good for you for sticking with it for 6 months and being self aware when it was time to make a change!

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  4. I couldn’t breast feed and I didn’t force it, I couldn’t agree with you more

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  5. Hey there is nothing wrong with needing to do what works for you! I also hated breastfeeding I found it so time consuming and basically had me sitting around for hours a day. I wanted to quit for so long and chose to stick it out but I totally get why you quit! It is hard hard work! Good for you for sticking with what makes you happy.
    -jackie BabyBearsMamaBear.com

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  6. The important thing is that mom is happy, if mom is happy then baby is happy.

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  7. I firmly believe in doing what is best for YOU and your family! So proud of you for going with what you knew would be best. I get kind of tangled up inside when I think about how much better we should all be at supporting each other. MomLife is not easy, and we need to have each other’s backs. XO

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  8. I can SO relate! I quit breastfeeding my son at 4 months. While I was having some issues, I was also just plain sick of it. I was an exclusive pumper, so being tied to a pump all day got old FAST. Not to mention the feedings every 2 hours and never ending bottle washing. It is so trying on a new mama’s heart. In the end, our decision to stop breastfeeding was a good one for our family. Thank you so much for sharing your honesty!

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  9. I think it’s wonderful if a woman chooses to breastfeed full term but it should also be completely understandable when she stops. Everyone has a different family situation and sometimes finances dictate how much time we get to spend with baby also. You know, the most awesome thing is? You can say that you did it. I don’t think they’ll length of time matters.

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  10. People are always going to judge, I’m afraid. However, your decision to not breastfeed is yours and not anyone else’s to make. There is no neglect in that. You sound like a wonderful momma to me!

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  11. I’ll breastfeed my baby, but I agree with you that whenever it’s time to stop, it’s time to stop. I’ll be going back to work after 2 months so I know breastfeeding is not going to be easy. I’m still going to try to do it but I realize it might not work forever.

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  12. I have a very similar post on my own blog. I quit for the exact same reason – I didn’t enjoy it, in fact I hated it with a passion. My son and I are much happier now that he takes formula. Thanks for posting, I love hearing other women’s stories about switching to formula. 🙂

    Reply
    • I also love hearing other women’s stories about doing what is right for their families! Keep at it Mama!

      Reply
  13. I quit at 6 months too! Pumping at work was a pain, trying to fill bottles up with my milk was stressful, we were already using formula and breastmilk because i couldnt pump enough at work. I also wanted to get back into the gym and be able to take supplements without having to worry about it effecting my breastmilk. My son chugs down a formula bottle just like he would a breastmilk bottle. knowing he is fed & full is enough to make me happy!

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  14. I was so happy to find this post. I just quit breastfeeding last week and I am so excited about it! My daughter had latching problems at the beginning, she cracked my nipples towards the middle and I ended up having to strictly pump the last two and a half months of breastfeeding (pump-feeding ha!). Six months was my goal from the beginning, but decided to go one more month to hit seven. I struggled with “doing the right thing” as well. But when I realized I was actually missing time with my baby because I was attached to a pump five times a day, I just couldn’t do it any longer! I also agree that breastfeeding was lonely and isolating; I felt depressed at times. Every time someone asked me about my breastfeeding experience and talked about how they missed it, my reaction was always the same “WHY would you miss that?!!” I know some mom’s have a strong connection to it and that’s fine, but it definitely doesn’t mean we love our babies any less if we don’t feel the same way. I find more joy in other aspects of life with my daughter. Thank you times a million for writing this honest post.

    Reply
    • Brittany, I am so so glad this post resonated with you! I love finding other ladies who feel similarly about breastfeeding. And you are so right, we don’t love our babies any less! Thanks for your sweet comment, mama!

      Reply
  15. Thank you for your post!!! I had no idea anyone else felt this way. My little angel is just four weeks old and I have already started giving her formula at night time to ease the endless fatigue and painful sleepless nights (hubby can now do night time feeds)
    I do feel guilty but I just choose to keep what I do to myself to avoid unnecessary comments and judgement from people.
    But I thank you for your honesty xx

    Reply
    • Sarah, I am so so glad this helped you. There is no need to feel guilty, a happy mamma is way more important than breastfeeding! Fed is best, no matter how that happens. Sweet blessings to you and your little family!

      Reply
  16. I cannot like this enough! I had low supply and my son wouldn’t latch, so we were in a different situation, but the message is the same. I’m so tired of moms shaming other moms when we should be lifting one another up! Was to go, mama, for doing what was right for you!

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  17. Thank you for sharing your story. I had so much trouble, my son had trouble latching and I had a low supply. I had to supplement, but tried to pump as much as I could. It was exhausting and all consuming. I finally decided to just stop, but I still regret it. It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make. However, It was the best decision for my family. We are happy and others can feed him. I feel like i can actually spend more time with my son, and that makes It all worth it.

    Reply
    • It is a hard decision but I’m glad you’ve found something that works for your family! Thanks for reading and for the encouragement!

      Reply
  18. I came across this when I needed it the absolute most. Thank you for writing this. I’ve been struggling a lot lately and my daughter is only 3 and a half months old. She nurses what feels like non stop. All day, all night. She refuses a bottle and a pacifier. I’m drained. Physically and emotionally and I feel so weak and defeated that I can’t handle something as simple as feeding my child.

    Reply
    • Oh Amber. I’m so sorry you feel that way. I’m so glad this post helped. I’ve been there and I know most moms have been there. Just remember that fed is best no matter how that fed happens. And feeding your child isn’t simple. It’s the biggest need your baby has and it’s a lot to handle. If you ever need any support or even just someone to talk to please feel free to email me anytime 🙂 hang in there mama. Remember that you are the best mom for your baby 🙂

      Reply
  19. It’s been years since I breastfed my youngest and I never experienced the isolation you did when I was nursing. But it really touched me to read about what you were living through. And I can TOTALLY identify with being ready for Dad to take on some of the feedings! I am very sorry that you felt shamed and judged when you were nursing. It should be the most natural thing for a mother to feed her child whenever he needs it and however she is comfortable doing it. We still have a long way to go as a society. It’s all well and fine for the health professions to promote the breast as best for baby and Mom. But what are they doing to address the many social and practical obstacles nursing moms encounter daily?

    Reply
  20. I had a preemie and struggled to breastfeed for weeks after he came home from the hospital. We finally got it but it still isn’t great…he will eat and stop and look around…I get frustrated and certainly do not love it. I feel guilty now for wanting to quit since I took so much effort to help him learn to breastfeed in the first place. I wish I did love it and I feel like I’m missing out on something magical. I keep going with it because I know how good my milk is for him but honestly, I don’t love it and may be a lot happier if I did stop. I worry mostly about the transition since he’s only ever had my breastmilk I’m not sure how he’ll do on formula?

    Reply
    • Hey Rebecca! I had some of the same reservations before quitting. I’d recommend talking with your pediatrician and voicing your concerns and your desire to quit. I honestly think a happy mom means a happy baby. So even though breast milk is so incredibly great for your baby, formula really does do a great job as well. The only issue Will had was a bit of constipation as we switched. But I worked with his pediatrician through it all and we just had to switch him to a different formula. You could also try exclusively pumping before formula if you really want to keep him on breastmilk. I’d love to chat with you more about this! If you have any questions or just need some general support, please feel free to email me at rachel@thenaptimeprojects.com. Just remember, you are a great mom!

      Reply
  21. I loved reading this article. I am so glad there are other women out there that feel the same way I did. I breastfed for 3 months (and that was not without its challenges) then went back to work full time and pumped until she was 11.5 months. And I hated almost every minute of it. I’m glad I was able to do what I could for as long as I did, but I absolutely hated the hours of my already-too-short weekends spent attached to a breastpump. This article holds so much truth in that you really should be able to do what’s best for your family without feeling like you’ll be shamed or looked down upon. Thank you for the supportive and inspiring article!

    Reply
  22. Your post and the subsequent comments were so refreshing to read. Breastfeeding lasted 6 painful days before switching to full time pumping. Both were difficult and extremely time consuming. I couldn’t believe the things people said to me about pumping, bottle feeding etc. I would cry myself to sleep from some of the comments. I eventually switched my baby over to formula and it was the greatest decision for my mental health. While pumping I often told my husband I felt crazy and since quitting I sleep better, I cry WAY less and I feel like myself again. Babies need calories and moms need to stay sane – no judgment on how you make that happen for your family!

    Reply

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Hey there! My name is Rachel and I’m a 23 year old wife and mother. I’m decidedly in favor of DIY projects and decidedly against mom-shaming. This blog is my place to take a stand against superiority and to share ways to thrive in motherhood. My hope is that you leave this site feeling validated and encouraged in your mom-bilities.

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