Breastfeeding guilt

Breastfeeding guilt. Something which a lot of women suffer from. I’m one of them right now. 

I managed 24 hours of breastfeeding with little man. And in my head, that wasn’t even ‘proper’ breastfeeding. I had to express for him, because I couldn’t get him to latch on. We tried & tried & tried; with breastfeeding support workers and the midwives, but I just couldn’t do it. I blame myself because I think I could have tried harder. I feel I really did try though. 


I felt so guilty at the switch to formula, because it is drummed into you how much better breastfeeding is for your baby, and how you SHOULD do it. Yes, I know this, but it isn’t possible for everyone. And telling them afterwards that they should have tried harder, or that you are upset that they didn’t, just makes them feel a whole lot worse. And it can last for a long time. A friend of mine still has guilt 6 months later because she had a lot of this from people when she stopped and switched to formula at 6 weeks. Though she should be proud of herself, as she persevered for that long. 


I know formula isn’t the best for my baby (though, it isn’t all that bad, it is as the name suggests, formulated especially for babies), but we were both stressed with the breastfeeding at the time. We were both in tears, him because he was so hungry, and me because I couldn’t satisfy his hunger, and hearing him crying because of that was extremely distressing and upsetting. Now I’m guessing people that were sad I didn’t try harder would rather me let my baby go hungry? Well, I sure as heck wasn’t going to do that. The first bottle he had, he guzzled down, so it was obviously the case. 


Now I’m still feeling that guilt, but, my baby isn’t going hungry, he is in fact thriving. He has gained nearly 3 lbs since he was born just over 5 weeks ago. He’s a proper little milk monster! 

5 thoughts on “Breastfeeding guilt

  1. I think it is a shame that their is such guilt around not breastfeeding. I think the majority of mums know what is best for their baby and would walk through fire for them yet breastfeeding just isnt possible. I didnt breastfeed for other reasons but it was the better decision for my baby and me. Although she has a milk allergy which if I was breast feeding I could have put right quicker and so I have give myself the guilt trip for that but it isnt something I could have forseen. You tried and that is all we as humans can do. You did what was best for little man and you. xx

  2. I'm sure that learning to be a good mummy, is learning how to deal with the decisions we have to make, and with the guilt that often follows those decisions.  You are a good mummy, you made the decision that was right for you both.  

  3. Thank you. I know I did. Looking at him now and how much he is changing and thriving, the guilt is slowly disappearing, but I think a little bit will always be there. 

  4. I think the debates that happen about breast vs bottle is such as shame, breast or formula as long as baby getting feed is what I think is important.  You have done what's right for your baby and you should feel proud of yourself for doing so.  I luckily managed to breastfeed but it was far from a smooth journey and I think no mums should be made to feel guilty for not breastfeeding, its hard work and you've got to do right by your baby.  Its hard work being a parent and having to make hard decisions and feeling regret and guilt but feel proud of yourself for making hard decisions for the welfare of your little one x

  5. You have done well you stopped breastfeeding if breastfeeding wasn't for you.  My mum never breastfed me because she was on medication. She never felt like she (or I) was missing out. That was back in 1980 when milk formulas were not as developed as they are nowadays. Formula milk never harmed me and in fact, there is a study suggesting that formula milk makes babies grow faster and better.

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