Mom shamed for not breastfeeding? It’s a real thing 

How many of you mamas reading this were not able to breastfeed? Let me tell you about my struggle because the mom shame I received was real. When I got pregnant with Madison I fully planned on breastfeeding and pictured it to be a magical and easy thing. No one told me differently. My baby shower gifts were filled with many nursing gifts and my hospital bag was packed with all the necessities including lanolin nipple cream and nursing bra pads. I was totally prepared and excited.

September 5th was born after the easiest labor and Madison latched instantly! Fast forward to the first night we were in the hospital and she cried literally ALL NIGHT LONG. The next day consisted of more crying to the point of our newborn photographer showed up at the hospital and my husband had to ask her to leave because Madison was so cranky and there was no way we would be able to get any photos done. And then it happened… they said it was time for us to leave… with this baby that we just met that cried all the time. So we headed home and the nursing seemed to be going well, but very painful. I had to clench my jaw every time she latched on and my eyes would fill with tears. I would pump to get some relief but then when I would pump I was not even getting an ounce each time.

Three weeks into being a new mom with a very colic baby I realized that I had a very low milk supply. I was sitting in the living room and she was just crying, and my husband said let’s just make her a bottle with the formula. I instantly started to cry as he made the bottle and then I gave it to her… and just like that the crying stopped. I sat there feeding her and sobbing because the mom guilt set in. The pressures of breastfeeding were weighing heavy on my shoulders and my husband looked at me and said “She stopped crying… she is full and happy”. I felt like I was the worst mom and a failure for giving her formula and I posted in a mom group asking for advice. Every single response back was ways to increase my supply, comments that I needed to keep trying and pretty much that formula was poison and “breast is best” comments.

After a few weeks and finally finding a formula that worked for my daughter and the mom guilt wore off, I finally accepted and embraced that I was not able to breastfeed. Madison ended up needing to be on a special hypoallergenic formula called Nutramigen and suddenly became a happy baby after three months of a very colic baby.

When I was pregnant with my son I had plans yet again to breastfeed but that did not work out after he had a unexpected stay in the hospital and I was encouraged to pump, but once again I was not getting anything when I pumped and the lactation consultant told me that I would not be able to produce much. I was okay with it, and I did not feel bad at all. I knew that I would not put myself through those awful feelings and guilt again.

Mom should never be shamed or made to feel like they are bad moms because they aren’t able to breastfeed or choose not to breastfeed. Try it or don’t try it. If you do try it then hopefully it works for you. If you want to just pump then do that. But do not, under any circumstances, let it drive you insane and do not feel like you have to. You are a good mom and whatever decision you choose for your baby is the best for your child, no matter what your family says, friends, co-workers, or the moms in that mom group online. A fed baby is a happy baby and your baby will benefit from a happy mother who isn’t losing her mind with post-partum because of these stresses.

And I am not saying this is a one way street, I full support breastfeeding mamas. You are giving your little one liquid gold and that is an amazing thing. I mean seriously… our bodies create these amazing little humans, we’ve got bigger things to worry about.

The judgment and shame over not breastfeeding has to end. At the end of the day we are all just moms trying to figure out this crazy life, so we can all just uplift each other and support one another? There is no need for constant judgment over things that at the end of the day the only person that can make decisions for your child, is you. Big kudos to all you mamas out there, mamas who are breastfeeding or bottle feeding… or letting your child eat French fries off your car floor… you are all rock stars.
Xo,

Ashley

8 Comments

  1. Sara
    January 19, 2018 / 9:37 pm

    The mom guilt is for real! And about everything. I fortunately was over supplying my daughter with breast milk, so much so that it even came out of her nose while nursing a few times. But I always feel guilty with what I put in my body knowing that it will go into her milk. Soda? Junk food? I think you said it best when you wrote “At the end of the day we are all just moms trying to figure out this crazy life, so we can all just uplift each other and support one another?”
    Thanks for sharing Ashley.

  2. January 22, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    Ugh I am so tired of all of the mom shaming. We all parent differently, it is what it is! Girl, don’t like that crap get to you. You’re doing what is right for you and your family.

  3. January 22, 2018 / 4:27 pm

    i felt so shamed when I wasn’t able to breastfeed my twins. They were born premature and my milk struggled to come in, plus dealing with the stress of the NICU…anyway, excellent blog post!
    Fed is best!

  4. January 22, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    I got a lot of the mom shaming as well when I was unable to breastfeed my twins. We need to all love and support each other as moms. I LOVE this post! Thank you for posting this.

    -Ashley

  5. January 23, 2018 / 12:41 pm

    I hate mom shaming, we definitely should embrace each other and understand one another’s struggles instead of making harsh judgements. I didn’t breastfeed my first (milk supply vanished overnight early into breastfeeding). But I did breastfeed my second. Both are healthy and fine.

  6. January 23, 2018 / 4:04 pm

    My mom was a lactation consultant and so the guilt she was giving me about stopping nursing was a little much. SHe tired to hold it back but she wasn’t that good at it.

  7. March 9, 2018 / 3:35 pm

    Oh my lord this was my life! I got pregnant with my son (now almost six!) and I was going to breastfeed. It was going to be this wonderful journey (oh gag me with a spoon).

    Then there was spontaneous waters breaking at 35+3. Baby born at 35+4 and the paediatrician insisted on formula top ups from Day 0 – with no help for me because “they weren’t legally allowed to advise on formula”

    So there was 3 weeks of mix-feeding hell. I pumped both boobs and at best extracted 50ml in TOTAL. Not enough for half a feed. So I gave up. And cried. So much.

    Roll on 3.5 years. I get pregnant again. I got to 40 weeks. We put the past behind us and began a new journey with a new baby. Surely as she was term, with an excellent latch, we would do well.

    Nope. She was ebf and at Day 8 we were in hospital for me (post natal pre eclampsia equals interminable blood pressure check ups) and I spotted The Poop Chart. Commented we were stuck in Day 3-4. Queue panicking midwives, baby being weighed and worry about weight loss.

    Tried 24 hours of breast compressions, gave up, ran to the store. Bought formula. Fed baby. Baby ate and SLEPT.

    Never looked back! And, like you, second time around I REFUSED the guilt.

    My. Boobs. Don’t. Work.

    And I would rather have alive bottle fed children than have some twisted sense of moral high ground with no children.

    Fed is best.

    Love to all!

  8. Brittany
    November 17, 2018 / 8:45 pm

    I needed this post more than you can imagine. Because of a skin condition and an autoimmune disorder I have made the decision that breastfeeding just isn’t going to work for me and my daughter. I would be unable to go back on the meds that basically keep me healthy (and happy) that I have been without for 9 months due to being pregnant. I also suffer from severe eczema and it hurts at the simple thought of breastfeeding and having to deal with even more pain and agony. I have received so much shame and guilt at the thought of not wanting to breastfeed and so many people have tried to make me change my mind. At this point, it’s my health over breastfeeding and I don’t think it would be fair to my daughter to have a miserable mama when she can survive and thrive just as much on formula as she could on breastmilk.

    Thanks so much for sharing this!

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