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.
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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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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