Why I stopped breastfeeding

I have been promising this post for weeks and have received so many messages asking if it’s up yet. To be honest, I’ve been a bit nervous to write about why I stopped breastfeeding; it’s one of those topics where the parenting police love to weigh in, and honestly, I want none of that on my platform. In saying that though, it’s always been so important to me to be transparent and honest with you about my parenting journey. I know how lonely it can be, and how easily you can feel like a failure; but I also know how empowering it is to connect with someone who has been where you are, and how it can lift your spirits and give you the boost that you need. I really hope that this post can be that for even just one woman.

*Disclaimer: this post is in no way discouraging moms to breastfeed or “give up” breastfeeding. This is just my personal account of our breastfeeding journey and how it ended. This post is also not sponsored in any way or form by any brand.

To give you a little bit of a back story; I managed to breastfeed Aria for 4.5 months before my milk left the building and I started to formula feed. It was emotional and dramatic and I had no idea what I was doing. When Maia was born, I had really educated myself and there were a few things that I was doing differently, and even when my milk supply dropped, I had a whole bunch of tips and tricks to boost my milk supply. Let me be clear, I still stand 100% behind these two blog posts, I will forever rave about the different products and supplements that I used because they really and truly do work.

I was completely focused on breastfeeding Maia, I was religious about my pumping, about taking my supplements and drinking enough water. But of course every now and then, a crazy busy day would happen and I wouldn’t be able to pump or drink as much water, and almost immediately my supply would drop and Maia would be up every 45min at night crying to be fed. As soon as I went back to my milk boosting ways again the next day, Maia would be a lot more settled, but still not sleeping properly and still hungry a lot more than she should be. I also noticed that I was getting less and less out when I pumped, even though I was pumping as much as I always had; I had gone from getting out 100ml a session, to maybe 25ml if I was lucky. Seeing that little milk in the bottle after being so strict with my pumping was just soul destroying.

I knew what was coming, and if I’m 100% honest, I was relieved.

Breastfeeding had become something that I resented, something I loathed and something that was causing me incredible anxiety. Not to mention the amount of money that I was spending on supplements, etc. It was all I could think of all day and each time that Maia cried all night or I got barely anything after pumping, I would beat myself up and feel completely defeated.

I think that my saving grace in this situation was that breastfeeding was never a bonding experience for me. I never felt that connection to my girls when I breastfed them, I bonded with them in different ways. I think if the opposite was true, I would have been even more emotional about the entire situation.

After yet another sleepless night, Dan and I decided that it was time to start supplementing with formula. We bought the same one that we used with Aria and luckily, Maia took to it like a dream. I would still breastfeed her before putting her to sleep for the night, but soon enough I realised that my milk had well and truly dried up and that it was time to move Maia onto formula full time.

It’s been about a month and a half now and I am so glad that we made that choice. Sure, it was difficult in some ways; I really wanted to breastfeed for at least 6 months this time. But it’s been better in so many more ways; we’re sleeping, Maia is fed, full and happy and I’m not an anxious mess.

If we were to hypothetically have another baby I would absolutely breastfeed again, without a doubt in the world. I will never ever challenge the incredible benefits of breastfeeding and I am thrilled that I could give each of my girls a good few months of it, but I also know that formula is not the devils drink that we are made to believe it is. Aria was formula fed from 4 months old and she is an incredibly healthy and intelligent little girl with no allergies or anything of the sort.

If you’re in a similar situation to what I was, I hope that this post helped you in some way, regardless of the decision that you make. Whichever way you go, you’re caring for your baby, you’re feeding and nourishing them, and that makes you an incredible mother. I also want to say thank you for all of your support on both my breastfeeding and formula feeding journeys, and I hope that when I have answered your emails, DM’s and comments, you have felt as supported and uplifted as I have.

Motherhood is such an emotional ride, especially when things don’t pan out the way that you wanted them to but you are never alone, there is always someone who has gone through or is going through something similar. I hope that I was that person for some of you today.

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7 Comments

  • Reply
    Gabriela
    August 28, 2019 at 7:40 pm

    Kudos to you for all your breastfeeding efforts with both girls. Breastfeeding isn’t easy, and add the stress of it not being easy it’s almost impossible! Your girls are gorgeous and you’re doing the absolute best for them and for you. Very inspirational!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      September 10, 2019 at 10:31 am

      Ah Gabriela, thank you so much! It really isn’t easy for everyone but I’m so glad that I tried my best with both of my babes x

  • Reply
    Tanya
    August 28, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    There is so much pressure on moms to breastfeed for at least 6 months if not longer but we also don’t get the support we need to be able to do so. I’ve felt so guilty stopping at 4 months, but going back to work and dealing with all the stress of trying to prove your worth is hard enough without the added pressure of trying to fit in pumping in a less than ideal office environment. There really should be more support for moms making the difficult decision of when to stop.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      September 10, 2019 at 10:32 am

      Totally agree! The lack of support is astounding, especially from places of work. I’ve heard of horror stories of where moms have to pump, there needs to be some serious education for many companies.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      September 10, 2019 at 10:33 am

      I also found it incredibly isolating when I had to stop breastfeeding Aria, like you said, there is no support or education when it comes to formula feeding. Thank goodness my midwife was really helpful and supportive but I still had no idea what to look for when choosing a formula.

  • Reply
    Nazrana
    September 17, 2019 at 7:14 am

    Hi Sarah…
    I’ve been in the same situation as you…my son was born and for 3 consecutive months he cried non stop leaving my husband and myself with sleepless nights…This was all due to the lack of milk I had…We also took a decision thou for me it was tough because being a first time mom you don’t know what to expect and rhis was 1 of my worst feeling…luckily by God’s grace the decision we took was right and my baby felt fuller and slept through out the night…I’m so glad you shared this post…its so important that we share our experiences to the world and help those in need..

    • Reply
      Sarah
      September 17, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      Thanks for reading Nazrana, I’m so glad that you listened to your gut! A fed baby is a happy baby, whether that’s via breastmilk or formula, well done mama x

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