Should I Give Up Breastfeeding?

I love breastfeeding.

I really do.


It’s just that this time with Savannah, I am finding it really difficult and lately I have been battling with the tired and busy Mumma inside of me that just wants to give it up.

I know how beneficial it is for so many reasons: bonding, health, cost, convenience, and I can’t bear the thought of making the decision to cut that all off.

Breastfeeding Challenges

But there is the other side to breastfeeding that can be so draining. The constant feeding of a tummy that won’t fill up, the constantly leaking boobies, the hassle of discreet breastfeeding in public, the trauma of trying to express milk to cover those times when I need to be apart from Savannah.

It’s only the moments when I get really tired and she can’t get enough from me that I start to think of stopping.

And then the guilt hits

“You are so selfish. This is your child you are talking about. You want to stop just because it suits you more. What about her?”

And then I want to cry for letting her down.

I never experienced any of this with Kalyra, even though by six months I was happy to give it away.

But with Kalyra I was nowhere near as busy.

The guilt hits again.

“Are your kids not important to you? Why is it all about you and your business?”

Because that is the thing that is going to provide for my children. The reason I am working so hard, so we can have oru dream life and be happy. There is nothing your children need more than happy parents.

I think of all those women who have to go back to work when there child is only 6 weeks. Not so much here in Oz, but plenty do in the States. How can they manage to express so much milk while they are gone? I am sure many of them switch to the bottle then.

You have to do the best you can from where you are with what you have.

Turning to the Bottle

Eventually, I had to make a decision as it was stressing me out, which is not good for anyone.

I was really struggling to express milk. Twenty minutes on the pump for 20mls of milk was getting me nowhere. It wasn’t just the hassle of this but the stress that came with trying to work out how I was going to transport the milk from Sydney to Melbourne for the Problogger event  without it going off and having enough to cover me.

What would I do then if I couldn’t even express enough, let alone transport it?

I finally decided to continue to breastfeed, but give Savannah the old bottle of formula milk during those times I couldn’t provide for her, either from being away from her or being stressed and needing some time out.

She took to the bottle straight away.

I felt relief. Relief that she took it, relief that I knew how much she was getting and that her tummy was full.

Mother’s Guilt

But on top of that I felt sadness and guilt.

I did not give her the bottle, but stood in the background watching. I wanted to run and snatch that bottle out of her mouth and put her back in my arms where she belonged,

“No, that’s my baby. She needs me to feed her.”

I felt like I was cutting the cord of our bond prematurely and it hurt.

I imagined her thinking, “Where has my mummy gone? Why has she deserted me?

And then I felt her pain. Pain that wasn’t really there, but projected onto her through my own guilt.

“I feel like so guilty. I don’t want her to think I am deserting her,” I confided to Lina when we were out to dinner and Craig was giving her the bottle.

“She’s not thinking that, all she is thinking is how good it is to be having milk,” Lina, in all her wisdom, put it into perspecitve for me.

As mothers we get so wrapped up in thoughts of not being or doing good enough, like the fate of our children’s health, stability and sanity lie on our shoulders. That any small move we make will somehow leave deep scars that last a lifetime.

We take our guilt at not being good enough and throw it onto our children, eventually leading to a path of sorrow.

“Guilt is a wasted emotion,” Lina said to me, and she is so right. It leads nowhere. It doesn’t empower us or teach us how to be better.

In the end, it does not matter where Savannah gets her milk from.

All that matters is that her belly is full of nutrients so she can grow and her being is filled with love so she can thrive.

Us mothers, need to ditch the guilt and focus instead on doing the best we can with what we have from where we are.

Our children can never be harmed if we just fill them with love.

Your Turn to Share Tips:

Did you battle with guilt when giving your baby the bottle instead of the boob?

posted in: Daily living
tagged with: , ,

  • marina

    hey Caz, if you choose to switch over or just supplement (try Bellamys Formula) by doing what is right for YOUR family – your baby will be happy. Seeing lots of kids from birth to adulthood – I know which ones were breastfed- because I was there . The kids who were bottle fed are strong smart and loving too. That’s the key – loved- you’ve got alot of that to give gorgeous, follow your heart. Bonding comes from love and nurturing. Just provide the best you can.


    • Caz

      Being loved is absolutely the key! That is the best way for bonding , thank you for reminding me of that.


  • Laura Roberts

    Agreed- mothers guilt is not good! You are a great mother who is working to provide for her family. Do what is best for you and your family. You can’t be the best you can be if there is stress, anxiety and guilt. I have been there many times and it does not help my family. I am learning to let go which is making for a more happy and settled family. X


    • Caz

      Thanks Laura! I think letting go is the key and realizing you can’t be and do everything. sometimes you need help


  • Carla

    You need to do what is right for you, majority of us 30 something’s were bottle fed and we turned out fine. The guilt around not being able to breast feed sent me nuts literally , i spent weeks expressing, feeding, expressing, feeding I did not get to enjoy my baby. Sadly the ABA brigade just made it all worse. A happy mum enjoying her baby is worth so much than a stressed mum breastfeeding her bubba..


    • Caz

      Yeah, I was bottle fed and I am doing okay. I think the ultimate is having a happy mum, it will serve bubs so much more. As a friend said the formula milk is that good these days that they get plenty of nutrients.


  • Veronica @ Mixed Gems

    I actually tried to get my first bub on the bottle with EPM but she flatly rejected it, so I gave up. I would have liked the option for more flexibility but I went with the flow. Second time around, I actually tried but more half-heatedly and she also rejected it. I’m ok with that. I’ve been able to manoeuvre around their feeding needs and breastfed my first for 18 months but I was willing to do that and was (still am) nowhere near as busy as you. Lina is right; Savannah is just wanting a full tummy. That’s the priority. It may be, as she settles a bit, that she’ll be getting enough milk. Then solids will come and it may all balance out. I found my second bub has settled more outside of early crazy feeds as she’s gotten older. But if none of that happens, don’t beat yourself up and do what works for you. It’s your life and your journey and that of your family; no one else’s. By the way, the leaks can stop after a few months. I was surprised I forgot about that!


    • Caz

      My leaks have almost stopped!! Its only every now and then which is so nice,, although it makes you freak out thinking your milk is drying out!! lol do we ever stop worrying as mothers. I need a Thai hammock 🙂
      Savannah and I are doing well at the moment combinng breastfeeding with the odd bottle. we are finding our groove and I feel more relaxed


  • Lisa Wood

    Hi Caz,

    When it comes down to it – at the end of the day – all that matters is you, baby and family. If you are happy, then so is baby and family.
    If you are rested, then you can be the Mum you need to be.
    If baby is rested then you will be a Happy Mum.
    If the family is happy, you are happy.
    Do what suits you and those that matter.
    Forget the guilt. All she need is love, hugs, kisses…and milk. How the milk is delivered is not important…you can still give lots of hug/love/kisses and a bottle! As long as baby is sleeping, smiling, wet/poo nappy and gaining weight…that is what is important!
    When she is older she is going to thank you for caring.
    Not for how she got her milk.

    Hope that helps you – I loved Breastfeeding, but wasnt able to feed my oldest longer then six months, and our youngest finished just over 12 months! Our boys let me know when they had finished with Breast Milk. They have never asked me any questions about it 🙂 Our oldest is almost 18 and his never questioned how he was feed 🙂

    PS – be kind to yourself. You are the best Mum for your girls – remember they choose you!


  • Sarah@Mum's gone 2 Aus

    What you describe is exactly how I felt when I stopped breastfeeding my second son. I managed six months with my first son and only three with my second; for the reasons you describe I was drained after three months and breastfeeding just wasn’t working (for me) anymore. I also felt guilty and occasionally I still beat myself up about it, although I know I shouldn’t. I was a much more relaxed mum (and wife) once I’d stopped so I think I did the right thing.
    As other people have said, you’ve got to do what’s right for you and your whole family. I sometimes think we’re under too much pressure from society with breastfeeding; of course breast milk has the best nutritional value for babies but if it causes stress and discomfort it might not always be the best thing.
    Hope it’s all working out now.


    • Caz

      I think women these days too are so busy and have so many hats to wear that putting on yet another hat like the burden of breastfeeding can really break you. It’s definitely not easy. Savannah is having almost one bottle of formula a day now and she loves it. She drains the whole thing which makes me wonder if she is getting enough from me because I swear she doesn’t drink as much as what she does with the bottle. She had one during the day last week and slept soundly for five hours after it. Talk about a relaxed Mumma after that one!!
      Thanks for your supportive comment Sarah


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *