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.