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Bottle Feeding
Feeling guilty about weaning from the breast
~ a message board archive

From omygosch ~ I have been breastfeeding my son since birth (getting close to 5 months now). I have decided to wean him. I have finally found a formula that agrees with him--Enfamil with lipil. He is happy with either breast or bottle. In fact he doesn't care who feeds him, just as long as he gets fed when he wants it.

I decided to wean because I work full time and pumping for me is really painful. My nipples have been bruised since I started, despite trying everything under the sun to make it better. I have no supply issues; in fact I have a deep freeze with 350 oz of breastmilk! I also feel like I sometimes resent my son because I am the only one that can nurse him. There's nothing like getting stuck in a recliner for hours on end during a marathon nursing session. So if he's ok with it, why do I feel guilty for weaning?

From TraceyM ~ Please don't feel guilty for weaning. Breastfeeding for five months is something to be very proud of! But you have to make a choice that will make both you and the baby happy. If you are starting to resent nursing, your baby will pick up on that. You have given your baby a great start by breastfeeding so long, and if you need to switch to formula for whatever reason, you should do so with a clear conscience. There is no need to feel guilty for choosing to bottlefeed. As long as your baby, and you, are happy, then you've made the right choice!

From KimMc ~ Don't feel guilty. You nursed for a long time and your baby has benefitted from that. Bottle feeding isn't the enemy! I only lasted 8 days breastfeeding; dd went on 14 hour marathon feedings and was ravenous, anxious and miserable for at least the last 6 days I nursed. I felt guilty about switching at first, but dd wasn't getting what she needed from me and it was a lifestyle that I couldn't handle. I got over the guilt quickly when I saw how relaxed and satisfied dd was after her bottle. Do what's right for you and your family and situation, and don't let anyone add to your feelings of guilt; that will hopefully pass soon. We all do the best we can!

From 2bighogs: I know what you mean about the guilt. I only lasted 8 days breastfeeding my baby. It was the most painful experience I had ever had. Every time she cried because she was hungry, I cried because I had to feed her. In fact, I have given birth twice unmedicated, and I'd rather be doing that than breastfeeding! I felt like a horrible mother. I felt inadequate. After all, I couldn't even feed my own child! The nurse at the pediatric clinic reassured me that it wasn't the year 1842 and that formulas weren't poison. And after two months, the results speak for themselves! Kieran is a big, healthy, happy baby (13 lbs, 10 oz and 23 1/2 inches long at 2 months). And mama is happier too, because I'm not crying in pain. Please know that you have done your baby well by breastfeeding for five months!!!

From Elizabeth: Guilt is such a no-win emotion - but I know how you feel. My baby came down with a bad bout of gastro at 3 months and refused the breast for 10 days but he would take small doses of formula. I had been having a tough time breastfeeding anyway but the illness just topped it all off. Once he was better he didn't seem too fussed about having the boob so I continued with the formula and he is one happy little boy at nearly 8 months now.

My husband (darling man that he is) sat me down one night after I had been weeping whilst making up his formula and in true male pragmatic style ran through everything I was feeling. At the end of it I dropped the guilt, but the regret at losing that "bond" and that "special time" was soon replaced by acceptance that my beautiful boy was healthy and happy AS my dh had taken great pains to point out.

You do what is best for YOU and your baby and everything else will fall into place.

From mom2jazzygirl: You know, it doesn't have to be an either/or situation, especially if you are feeling this way. Many working mothers toss out their pumps and only nurse when they are home. You're body would certainly adjust to the change, and if he's already taking bottles, then baby isn't going to know the difference. Obviously, this *might* lead to weaning, but not necessarily. And, if it does, it occurs gradually, which would be better for both of you. What it would do is eliminate what you hate the most, pumping, and keep what you like the most, actually nursing your baby.

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From shanr ~ Well, I've just weaned my almost 10 month old over the holiday, and I'm feeling much the same. He takes to formula really well, and in most ways it's a lot easier. I did have supply issues, and was always worried that he may not be getting enough. I started back to work when he was four months old, and was pumping 2-3 times at work, and some days once before I went to bed, just to have enough for the next day. I started getting less and less a couple months ago, and could only pump enough for one feeding the next day. I could easily go all day without pumping, and not even feel uncomfortable! At the same time as my supply drop, my son started biting me every feeding, and still did at the time of weaning . . . not very fun at all!

I decided it was time to wean . . . he does not miss it at all, but I do! I feel guilty for not spending every spare moment I had pumping for him to keep up my supply. It's been about a week since I last nursed him, and although everything is going great, he's eating and sleeping well, I feel a little sad! I had the goal of one year, or even longer if he wanted, but it's just not going to happen. Just wanted to let you know you're not alone!

From LeeJ ~ Guilt is actually a very common feeling when you make the decision to wean. I had a very hard time coming to terms with stopping at two weeks with my first (nipple confusion). That was compounded when I read heaps of information that WOULD have helped, after the fact. What was helpful to me, was to acknowledge that I was allowed to feel a little of this guilt. It was normal and natural and it passed quite quickly then. I think it's just part of the transition process. Once your new routine is up and going, it fades away. It's not a rational feeling. Your rational mind knows that everything will work out fine and that your baby will be more than fine. It's emotional.

From pixiewytch ~ It was a tough choice for me to quit nursing after a month. I went to all the classes, talked to lactation consultants and so forth. Besides a lot of pain, I, like you, resented having this extra appendage hanging off my breast. Don't get me wrong, I think it is completely natural and a beautiful thing, but for the sake of my own sanity, I had to stop. I felt tied down enough as it was. It sounds like a selfish decision, but I believe that a mother's sense of wellbeing is just as important during that crucial time. I have moments of guilt, wishing that I would have hung on longer, but at the time it truly was the best decision. Otherwise, I would have continued since nursing was so important to me.

From tazisbad ~ You should be patting yourself on the back for breastfeeding for 5 months. I know how you feel about the guilt; I weaned my ds at 8.5 months. I planned on going for a year; I love breastfeeding and he was probably our last child. I was at the point where I resented every minute I had to feed him. I was feeding every 2 hours and hated it. He was picking up on this and not enjoying such a wonderful experience either. He hated bottles, and it costs money for formula. I was feeling really guilty. But I weaned and was happier and so was he. He loves bottles now; it just took him a bit of adjustment but he did fine. Be proud you have gone 5 months!!! That is 5 months of an excellent start as well as working full time. You do what is right for you and your baby.

From iherrera ~ Don't feel guilty please. You have done much more than the average. Perhaps he will not wean at all. When I decided after 10 months of pumping that I could not longer provide enough breast milk, I thought that would be the end of my nursing days. I was wrong. My son has kept it up and he is almost 20 months. He nurses when I get home from work and during the weekends. I was very surprised at how my supply adjusted to the change since I'm away from him for 12 hours. I hope you can come to terms with the facts and be at peace. If he decides to wean, then it will be his choice. Congratulations on a job well done.

From KariLynn ~ I understand the guilt part. I realized that trying to pump at work was not going to happen after trying to keep up my supply. I resorted to just breastfeeding when I was with Milena, and formula feeding when I'm at work. That worked for about a month, and then nursed only when she woke up in the middle of the night. In the last few days, however, she's been waking up really hungry, and breastfeeding just doesn't seem to satisfy her. A bottle did the trick. SIGH. I feel guilty, but at the same time relieved. There were a lot of foods that I couldn't eat because she reacted so strongly to them. At least with formula, I know that a fussy spell isn't because I had a cup of coffee!

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