Motherhood is NOT easy. Every decision involving your baby is tough. Breastfeeding is HARD, feeding your baby takes so much energy, and weaning your milk supply is a process. Here is my journey through it all and the pros and cons of breastfeeding/quitting:
As most of you know already, I decided to stop breastfeeding at six months.
My goal was alway six months, but I guess in my mind I always thought I could go longer. Six months was a realistic expectation, but I think I only set it because I knew I could reach it. Maybe I should have set it for a year, because right when six months hit I was just done.
Leading up to six months I was like wow, that was so fast. I can go even longer. But then I got a clogged duct and Miller was acting really fussy like she needed more, and I just decided it was time.
It was such a hard decision. I struggled with it for weeks. If you asked me one day I would say I was going to keep going but if you asked me another day I wasn’t so sure.
It wasn’t until our Mexico trip when Miller turned 6 months old that I decided I was finished breastfeeding. She was just so fussy. I just knew she needed more. I would pump at night and we would have that during the day to add to her feeds, but it still wasn’t enough. I also had a clogged duct so it hurt so bad when she would nurse on the left side.
I travel so much and Miller was acting like she was never full. When I was gone and she was fed from a bottle she was an angel baby and so happy. But when I was home she would see me and just fuss. All the time. It took awhile to realize it was because she constantly wanted to be fed because she was constantly hungry.
The pros and cons of breastfeeding are different for everyone. I don’t want this post to encourage you to stop breastfeeding. If it is working for you please continue! I know this is a sensitive topic but I am a natural oversharer and many of you have asked for this post.
Pros and Cons of Breastfeeding (Quitting Breastfeeding)
*Please compile your own list if you are trying to make the same decision! One of my pros may be a con for you and vice versa!
-Miller is a much happier baby now. It’s true guys. She was just ALWAYS fussy. I know babies go through leaps but she was continuously fussy all the time (when I was around!) The day we started bottle feeding her was the day she completely changed. It isn’t a coincidence. We now know exactly how much she is getting. She is full, happy ,and growing like wildfire now!
-I don’t have to watch what I eat or drink. I can stop eating everything under the moon for my milk supply. I can stop worrying if the tomatoes in the spaghetti are going to bother her stomach. I can stop worrying that the second glass of wine is going to get to her.
-I feel free. I am no longer on a constant clock. I have ___ long until I need to be done with this or that I need to be back home.
-She is pooping more. I honestly think she is feeling better because she is pooping daily. When she was EB she would go almost 3-4 days before pooping. I know that couldn’t have felt good!
-It is so much easier when I travel now. I went on my cruise and didn’t have to worry about finding somewhere to pump every three hours. If I had found the Spectra9 cordless pump sooner it may have changed everything!
-I don’t have to deal with washing pump parts over and over again.
-The bottles. I am already so tired of washing bottles.
-I feel extremely selfish. And disappointed. And like a failure. All the feelings. It was super emotional at the time that I made the decision and I am still struggling with guilt about it today.
-I think.. based on my pediatrician and research… that breastmilk is ultimately better for her. So I now I am giving her something second best. I know fed is best, but that is just my thought on it.
-I miss the bonding time with her. Now we can just hand her a bottle and she goes to town by herself. She doesn’t even need us to hold it.
-Formula is EXPENSIVE! I wonder how much money I would have saved by continuing to breastfeed.
GO SLOW. That is the best advice I can give. It took me almost 4 weeks.
Skip a pump a day for 3-4 days, then 2 pumps/feeds, etc. And when you do pump during this time make it half as much time as usual. I did 5 minutes instead of my regular 10. After two weeks see how long you can go without pumping. If you cannot wait another second just pump for a very small amount of time. Do that until you no longer have to pump at all! Weirdly I went 5-6 days and had to pump for 5 minutes and then I didn’t have to pump again. I think it was because I was around my best friend’s two week old. He slept on my chest and it really got my milk going again!
If your baby is not used to taking a bottle at all it may be a little harder for you. I would continue to breastfeed half the time and then bottle feed the other half and after a week cut that down another feed, etc.
This is not scientific. It is just what I did and it worked for me. I did not get mastitis or a clogged duct! Consult your pediatrician for advice as well! Most of them have babies of their own and can help find a plan that is best for your situation.
We had a lot of milk leftover so we were able to gradually switch her over to formula. We started with 60% breastmilk and 40% formula for a week, then 50/50 and now we are at around 30% breastmilk and 70% formula. Next week she will be completely on formula. I think mixing it with the breastmilk really helped her take to it faster. If you are considering making the switch continue to pump for a week so you can mix it like we did! (We are also keeping a stash of breastmilk on hand in case she gets sick. It was advised for us to do so by our pediatrician!) Just a tip!
We saw 0 issues with her once she started formula. We are using Enfamil Gentlease. It was in the top 3 recommended formulas by you guys and it happens to be what my sister AND my two best friends use with their kids. She seems to love it.
My dr. also said it was a good one but that it wasn’t as sweet as other formulas, like Similac. She said if you start with a sweeter formula and then try to switch to Enfamil she may not be too happy! We had a container of Similac left from when she was born and needed supplementing. We ended up dumping it out and going with Enfamil from the start.
She hasn’t had any tummy or spit up issues. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome with the switch!
We still feed her formula 4-5x a day and she gets about 7 oz a feed. We incorporate solids as snacks, not as meals right now. I will give you an update when we alter her feeding schedule.
Baby Led Weaning is great for parents who both work or who have multiple kids. It saves money and time. You can literally feed them exactly what you are already eating (provided it is small soft pieces and nothing they can choke on.!)
We did not do Baby Led. We are introducing solids nice and slow with Miller. She has been eating purees since she was 4 months old but we would only feed her those like once a week. Now we try to give her a little bit of a puree a day. When we are eating out or when we cook I try to feed her whatever we are having in small quantities. Just to get her practicing eating solids and swallowing. Some days we don’t give her purees or solids at all, just formula!
The dr also said introducing food at an early age can lead to less allergies later on. She recommended we go ahead and feed her eggs and peanut butter. Both should be in a very controlled setting and you should watch your baby very carefully after. She gave us a apple/peanut butter puree to try. We put some on a spoon and fed it to her and sat and watched. When nothing happened we gave her more. Then we watched her for about an hour after before putting her down for a nap. We did the same thing with eggs.
When she is 8-9 months old she will be able to actually pick foods up from a tray and feed them to herself. This is when we will stop purees completely and give her finger foods.
Every baby is different and feeding them takes sooo much time and energy. If your baby isn’t responding well to finger foods don’t force it. Go back to purees for awhile until your baby is ready. Definitely ask your pediatrician what foods they recommend starting early for allergy reasons.
*I think you are supposed to give your baby formula/breastmilk until they are 12 months old. The food is just an addition to this. I will update Miller’s feeding schedule once we start doing finger foods. My dr. said if you are breastfeeding your baby you should not skip a feed in order to give them solids. The breastmilk is the best thing they could be getting so you will want to continue that and just do solids as a snack. I am sure every pediatrician is different on this so please consult with your own!
-I guess the takeaway from this post is that every family is SO DIFFERENT! In the end you have to make the right decision for you and your baby. A happy mom = a happy household. Make the switch from breastfeeding only when you are ready. When you are ready, don’t let ANYONE make you feel bad for it!!
-When it comes to solids. Take your time. Let your baby set the pace. If they are a finger food champ then keep at it, that is awesome! If they aren’t doing so well with it that is totally fine too. Just try different baby foods and purees and introduce different finger foods slowly! Both methods are completely fine!
FAQ From Instagram:
1.How long did it take for your hormones to even out after? How did you handle the hormones during weaning? I honestly have no idea. I don’t think I feel any different at all. Most of the hormones rushed in during the act of breastfeeding itself. I never noticed a big issue with hormones so I cannot really tell how it has changed since weaning.
2. Does Miller still try to breastfeed. No, but we introduced bottles to her as an infant. Troy would give her a bottle a day and then would give her bottles when I was on trips.
*the rest of the questions asked are answered above!
Leave a comment and let me know what worked best for you guys and if you have any tips or words of encouragement for other moms going through the same thing! Do you have more pros and cons of breastfeeding that I may have forgotten?
PS- Still pregnant? You can read my initial Breastfeeding post HERE.
Are you struggling with a low supply but you don’t want to give up? See how I boosted my supply HERE.
*I am not a dr. This is what I did and what worked for me. Please consult your own dr before making any decisions that will affect your baby*