Why I no longer encourage breastfeeding

why i don't encourage breastfeeding

Breast is best.

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As new mothers, we are bombarded with the slogan of “breast is best”. It’s a campaign to raise awareness surrounding breastmilk and it’s health benefits for mother and child. Breastmilk, in fact, provides all the nourishment that a child will need for the first six months. It is chock full of nutrients that can reduce sickness in a baby while also preventing various illnesses later in their lives. Breastfeeding can increase a child’s intelligence, as well as provide the mother with health benefits such as assisting her uterus to return to its pre-baby shape and reducing her risk of breast cancer.

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Breastmilk is incredible.

Breastfeeding is incredible.

However, it’s truly not for everyone. Throughout my years as a mom, I’ve encountered many different women. I have friends who have nursed their children for four years, some who have nursed their baby for 6 months, some who tried to nurse and hated it, some who tried to nurse and could not, and some who didn’t want to try breastfeeding at all.

Do you know what all of these women have in common? They’re all caring, compassionate, involved, wonderful mothers whose best interest is always in their child.

There seems to be this certain superiority surrounding breastfeeding. Women get shamed at the playground because they’re feeding their baby a bottle of formula. There is often little thought given to why a mom may be feeding her baby formula. There are a few reasons why she may be doing this:

I no longer encourage breastfeeding

-She doesn’t want to breastfeed

-She can’t breastfeed

-She won’t breastfeed

There are many reasons why a mom chooses not to breastfeed her child ranging from her not wanting to, to her having experienced sexual trauma that prevents her from emotionally being able to, to her body simply not allowing it. Regardless of the reason why she chooses not to breastfeed, it is nobody’s business but her own.

I went through lactation hell each and every time I had a baby. I took expensive supplements, ate all the lactation boosting things, and was a slave to the breast pump. I also gave my babies formula because I wasn’t actually able to produce enough milk to sustain their tiny bodies. The choice to breastfeed isn’t always an easy one, nor is the choice to formula feed.

If my opinion is asked specifically regarding breastfeeding I will always highly encourage breastfeeding based on my own personal experience. I loved it. If my opinion is not asked, however, I will not encourage breastfeeding. I once was a major breastfeeding advocate. Whenever I could I would encourage breastfeeding, even when it was clear that a mom did not want to. In recent years I’ve begun to take a different approach. Now, when a mom expresses to me that she’s tried breastfeeding, doesn’t like it, and needs suggestions on how to dry up her breastmilk I don’t intervene. I simply give her suggestions (Oil of Oregano, sage tea, cabbage leaves in your bra) and words of praise and encouragement for the superb job she’s doing as a mom. She’s made a decision that she feels is best for her and her baby! Who am I to say she’s wrong?

We’re all in this together. This mom thing is hard super, ridiculously, incredibly challenging. Moms have enough to worry about with everything that comes with being a parent; nobody needs the stress of judgment and criticism on top of that! Help make sure that all women feel empowered for the way they’ve chosen to feed their babies!

15 Comments

  1. Terri

    Fabulous article ! I hope this message reaches far and wide as it relates to so many facets of raising children.

    1. Samantha Palmer (Post author)

      It so does. It would be wonderful if we could all work together to lift each other up and show each other nothing but support!

  2. Tara

    Love this! Every new mom needs to read this. I’m pregnant with my second child and with my first I killed myself trying to breastfeed. My daughter just wouldn’t latch, so I pumped… while I should’ve been getting rest. Needless to say I was running on fumes and not a very happy camper. Once I decided to move to formula I guilted myself for months. This time around if breastfeeding works out, it works out, if not then formula it is and I’m not going to stress about it!

    1. Samantha Palmer (Post author)

      That’s a great mentality! Good for you for recognizing that it was depleting you. Congratulations on your pregnancy:)

      1. Tara

        Thank you 😉 So glad I stumbled across this!

        1. Samantha Palmer (Post author)

          I’m glad you stumbled upon it too <3

  3. susan

    I did not make enough milk and was discouraged from trying to breastfeed only pumping. Hospitals say breastfeed but then take the baby. We should support the mother’s decision, not breastfeeding

    1. Samantha Palmer (Post author)

      Absolutely we should be! Not every solution works for every mother. It’s sometimes very complicated, and there needs to be acknowledgement and acceptance!

    2. Samantha Palmer (Post author)

      Absolutely we should be! Not every solution works for every mother. It’s sometimes very complicated, and there needs to be acknowledgment and acceptance!

  4. Leslie

    I choose not to breastfeed, I didn’t even want to try. It just doesn’t appeal to me. I’m a highly educated individual with a degree in molecular biology and biochemistry, I’ve done my research. My doctor still lectured me on all of the benefits of breastfeeding. I was mentally prepared for war when I delivered my daughter about the push back I thought I would receive from the nurses at the hospital who are all trained lactation consultants. The nursing staff was amazing! They never pressured me and always brought more formula right when we asked for it. It melted my heart when I got to watch my husband feed our daughter her first bottle.
    Thank you so much for writing this and for including the women who simply choose not to breastfeed. A lot of the time when I see blogs or articles that are more supportive of formula feeding they only talk about women who couldn’t or can’t breastfeed. Fed is best and supportive women everywhere are best. Thank you.

    1. Samantha Palmer (Post author)

      I’m so glad that everything worked out for you:)

    2. Anita

      Yes you have every right to choose what is best for you over what is best for your baby!! Fed is always best! I don’t need judgement for feeding my kids corn dogs and macaroni instead of vegetables and whatnot. Its just works out better for everyone this way. They like it and it’s easier for me. Win win!

      1. Samantha Palmer (Post author)

        There’s always a reason as to why people make their decisions. I feel like if we don’t know the entire rational behind something we have no right to judge it!

  5. Lexi

    This is awesome. I too went through hell trying to breastfeed my first. She had a tongue tie, it was excruciating, she wasn’t eating efficiently so she’d snack 24 hours a day, we didn’t sleep, I had supply issues… I ended up exclusively pumping and became a slave to the pump for 3 months when I finally had enough. I did an absurd amount of research and found a miracle formula closest to breastmilk and she ended up doing AMAZING (here’s a link if you want to check it out https://www.maternityleague.com/breast-milk-alternative/?epik=0iLq4E_IWnxN_ ). Guess what.. she’s brilliant and healthier than all of the babies we know – many of them were breastfed. I recently had a functional medicine doctor ask if she WAS breastfed because she’s the picture of health, she’s literally glowing – iron immune system and digestive system. All that to say, while I totally believe breastmilk is A1 best option, if you can’t/don’t want to breastfeed you can still have a healthy smart child.

    Now with my second baby, breastfeeding is starting to get unmanageable and I am ready to start with formula and I don’t feel an ounce of guilt for it. You need to do what’s best for you, your family and your baby… and IMO, sitting on the pump all day or staying up half the night trying to get baby to latch doesn’t benefit any of the above. Thank you so much for this article!

    1. Samantha Palmer (Post author)

      Good for you, Mama! I’m so glad to hear you have happy and healthy kiddos:)

      Thanks for the link! Hopefully it can help another Mama who’s struggling!

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