Hating breastfeeding — The Bump
Babies: 0 - 3 Months

Hating breastfeeding

I can't help but to feel like a horrible mother and a failure for wanting to switch to formula. DD and I have such a hard time breastfeeding. We struggled through the engorgement and sore, cracked nipples, and improper latch stage. But now she doesn't seem to be getting enough. She rips and tugs at my nipple and starts fussing after a couple of sucks. If not fussy, she falls asleep at the breast and is impossible to wake up to finish the feeding. I find myself dreading the next feeding, feeling anxious, and sometimes start crying harder than my baby. I'm just not happy breastfeeding. I've expressed my feelings to my mom but she is all for breastfeeding and isn't giving me much support on what else I could do. I just feel like formula would be so much easier and convenient for me and baby, and dad could get involved in the feedings too. But I can't help feeling guilty for wanting to give up on breastfeeding. UGH!

Thank you for listening to me vent

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Re: Hating breastfeeding

  • when i was in the hospital i asked the lactation cosultant how to tell if my baby was done she said falling asleep is one sign she is done.

     but you know if you feel breastfeeding isn't for you then don't do it. it's important that you are happy with what you are doing. so go for  formula if you need to because you and baby both might be happier with that decision. breastfeeding isn't for everyone.

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  • I'm all for BFing, but it sounds like it is so much of a struggle for you and your LO. You will only be able to experience this infancy stage one with your LO. You don't want the memory to be clouded with tears. I'd make the switch to formula and just be done with the stress. And this is about you and your LO, not your mom.
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  • You're doing great and you've already gotten through much of the really hard part! Have you seen a LC? Do you think you could have a problem with overactive (or slow, for that matter) letdown? If so, there are solutions. Try not to quit until you can make peace with the decision.
    image image
    D: Born 7.14.11
    Baby #2: BFP 9.19.12, EDD 5.24.13, natural m/c 10.19.13 at 9w
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  • I had a very hard time BFing and EPed for four weeks. I HATED every second of it! I would cry almost every pump session because I hurt and felt guilty I couldn't BF. I still have a hard time dealing with not being able to BF to this day, and I am making an appt to see a counselor about it. But in all honestly, even if I was able to BF I don't even think I would have wanted to. But I wanted to at least have the option! I say if you are miserable then switch to FF! Happy mommy=happy baby! Your baby will be healthy either way, so do what is best for you! I am just now getting to the point where I don't care what other people think, because they don't know my situation. It's easier said than done, but don't let anyone make you feel bad or guilty for doing what is best for you! Good luck!
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  • It takes sometime to get the hang of it and lots of patience, eventually it will be so easy and simple.  It took me 2 months to get the hang of it with DD.  Now with DS, I feel like a pro and cant believe how much I struggled the 1st time.  Just think of it as a challenge and you can accomplish it!  That helped me get through it.  GL it is not easy and totally support your decision...

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  • My breaking point was the morning she woke up hungry, we fought to get latched on for 20 minutes. I'd already been using the shield, I was severely cracked and sore. She was screaming by then in hunger and whipping her head back and forth, I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a premade bottle that her pedi gave me. The next morning was her 2nd week appointment and her pedi was glad I decided to stop BF. She had only gained an ounce and was almost a pound down from when she was born. Her month appointment she is now 7 lbs. I was so happy to hear that she'd gained a pound. Do whats right for you and baby, and don't beat yourself up or let yourself feel guilty about it.


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  • I never really got a good chance to BF because LO was in the NICU for 2 1/2 weeks. I did, however, pump milk for him for 6 weeks. We discovered LO's milk/soy protein allergy at that time and I switched to formula. If it hadn't been for that, not gonna lie, I was ready to give it up too. It's not comfortable and I felt really good about being able to provide BM to LO for as long as I did, especially given the conditions under which we started. I think it's nice that ppl are trying to encourage you that it gets better, but if it were me, that would just make me feel worse. What I would want to hear is that it's okay to stop if you're not into it anymore. Either way, you're providing food for LO and that, plus your mental state and happiness, is all that matters.
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  • *lurking*

    Don't let anyone make you feel guilty! Any time breastfeeding is a success, even if you choose to switch to formula now. Your LO has breastfed some so you should feel proud. I BF my DD for 6 agonizing weeks before the stress made her stop before me...she wasn't gaining and had colic and didn't latch correctly even though I had seen a LC for several sessions. It isn't as "natural" as everyone makes it out to be. If switching to formula is for you, do it and enjoy your time with baby.....just remember, you have already succeeded! GL!


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  • I think it's very true what a PP said about these tiny-baby stages not being clouded with tears.  Not everyone is going to have the same caliber of breastfeeding success - like another PP said, any time spent BFing is a success!  You have no need to feel like a failure because you haven't failed!  You did a great job and put forth a credible effort.  Good on you, mama!  Now, if you feel you need to switch to formula for your sake and the sake of your baby, then by all means do so, and don't look back!

    // I love you too. //

  • You need to do what's best for you and your LO - it's your baby - no one elses - and as her mother - you know what is best for her - not anyone else.  Do what you need to do so you can be happy and smile when you see your baby, not be stressed.

     If you are determined to give your baby breast milk, has you considered trying to pump and giving your baby BM this way?  It takes time and is a hassle, but is a bit of a "meeting in the middle".  But regardless, do what YOU need to do.

     Good luck and hugs to you! 

    Proud Mom to Baby Griffin!
  • *also lurking* :D

    You did what you could and thats awesome! Now you are making a decision based on what will work for you and your baby and NOT just because of other people. I was so upset that I had to stop breastfeeding, but now that we arnt fighting to latch or both of us crying because of colic and gas or reflux, we are actually bonding and Im SO happy I chose what I did. So go ahead and do what you feel you need to do so you and your baby can BOTH be happy! GL!!

  • We had a great number of issues as well, and at 4 weeks I started supplementing and by now at 7 weeks she is 100% formula. I struggle a lot with guilt, but overall the only regret I have is not switching sooner - I was miserable and I felt like BF and our struggles were getting in the way of us bonding. I feel like a new person and I feel like I have a new baby as well...Don't get me wrong, I still get those moments of guilt and I hope I can be successful at BF #2, but what I keep telling myself is 1) Any BM is better than none and 2) A happy mom makes for a happy baby. Do what you have to do and hopefully your mom will not make you feel guilty about it...Just do what's best for you.
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  • I had a big baby and my last ditch attempt to breast feed was to pump and then  feed. I could see how much she got and I could spare my nipples the pain. Inevitably I couldn't keep up with demand. Don't feel bad if in the end you feel you need to switch. Just don't get upset if it seems formula isn't working either, it takes a bit to find the right one. 

  • Happy mommy = happy family.  Do what will make you and baby happy.  

    With DS1, I gave up exclusive BF after 4 weeks and pumped for 2 wks, supplementing with formula.  With DS2, I exclusively BFed for a week and now pump 6x/day and supplement with formula, with a MOTN BF.  I'm not sure how long pumping will last, but so far it's going ok.  At least with the pumping, I am giving DS2 the benefits of breastmilk, but not in pain or feeling like I'm incompetent.

    I'll tell you what my Pedi has always recommended - Give it one more day. Know that you can stop at any time.  There is no pressure.  Purchase some formula so you know you have it on hand.  Pump after she feeds to see if it's something you may want to try - this may also help supply.  And finally, it's nobody's business how you feed your child.

    Also, neither of my kids has ever experienced nipple-confusion.  With both, we've sucessfully done bottled pumped milk, formula, and a nighttime BF session - so it doesn't have to be "exclusive" anything.



    David "BD" 2/8/07 Spencer 9/12/11
  • It sounds like you are in a growth spurt. The 3 week one sucked for me because my nips were ravaged as well. I started pumping then so H could take over a feeding or two, especially at night. Just having my boobs to myself for 2 hours was a fortifier to my sanity. Once we hit 4 weeks things improved greatly.

     But you are not a failure. All that matters is that you feed your baby, not how. If you ff, ebf, ep, whateverm you are still a great mom.

  • It's okay to hate it. It's not for everyone and I wish more people would understand that.

    Please don't feel guilt about this. You tried, put a good effort forth. There's a point it's not worth the stress anymore and if you feel you've reached that point switch.

    I hate breastfeeding with a passion. **Insert flames.*** I hate the sensation, I hate the wet slimy feeling. I hate being my kid's only sole source of food. I made it two days in the hospital and was over it.

    I came home and took up EPing. I know it's not for everyone but it actually works well for me. I don't have a set timeline on how long I'll continue which really decreased the stress. Every day turns into one more week, which turns into one more month. Basically anyday is a success for me as I never thought I'd get this far.

    The second I'm sick of it, I'll be giving it up. No worries no guilt.

    I refuse to feel guilty about doing something that made us both miserable and especially not over something that won't matter in 5 years. I feel time with babies is so short and comes with enough worry, I'm not spending my time on something that bothers me to the point of stress when I can easily find a solution that works.

    Happy Mom is a Happy baby.

  • It sounds like you really need some extra support. Maybe a LLL group would help out. With our DD at 4 weeks I know I have DEFINITELY been there and there have been days when I want to give up. But I can also say that the older she gets the easier it has been getting as well. Even though we still have tough days, I'm really glad that I didn't give up on those days when I felt like I couldn't do it anymore.

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  • I'm sorry that you're so unhappy! Unfortunately, DD and I couldn't get her latch corrected. She would scream, I would cry, and my nipples were yanked to kingdom come. I felt like such a failure- I had even gone to breastfeeding classes! I was heartbroken. However, I still wanted LO to get breastmilk, so I decided to pump. LO is now 3.5 months old. I pump only 3 times a day (about 8 ounces per session). If she ever needs more than that, I will give her a little formula. I could increase pumping sessions, but I'm not going to kill myself. I need some sanity as well! My daughter was born in June, and my BF goal was always 6 months. I figured I wanted to stick with this when I started pumping. It honestly is soooooo much easier once LOs start sleeping longer. You feel a lot more capable of trying the breast or pumping.

    Everyone needs to figure out what works for them and what they can feel good about. If formula is what you think is best, then do it. I hope my story helped! GL!

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  • I went through the exact same GUILTY feeling. I started to breastfeed, and it just wasn't working out well for me. I didn't think my LO was getting enough either, and being a woman with a bigger chest, I felt uncomfortable. What made me feel guilty is the fact that my LO caught on so quick. She latched immediately every time. But she too would fall asleep and it was impossible to wake her up. I expressed my feelings to my DH who was all for breastfeeding, and I expressed my feelings to my mother as well. I feel like my DH didn't support me, but my mother did. However, after spending countless hours crying my eyes out, I decided to switch to formula, and I'm actually very happy now that I did. My LO is still happy, and seems a lot more satisfied. She sleeps better, and after seeing the pedi, we know she's healthy. It sounds like it would be a lot better for both you and your LO to switch to formula. If you're not happy, and you dread BFing each time, your LO can sense that. Maybe that's why your LO is fussing during feeding.

    Just a suggestion, but maybe you can BF during the day, and supplement formula at night before bedtime. Do a gradual switch (like I did), and see what works best. Maybe you can even pump so that your baby still gets breast milk, but you won't have to feel so anxious about the latching and everything else. Good luck with whatever you decide, but do what you think is best. Don't feel guilty!
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  • I think you are normal to feel bad, but honestly if you don't like it, and it is that hard of a struggle, I don't think going forward with it is a great idea. Why give yourself more stress? You just sound miserable and like maybe your heart isn't totally in it. Remember  your mom isn't the one feeding or caring for this baby,so her opinion doesn't count. Do what works for you, there is formula for a reason :)


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  • What you are feeling is completely okay, and it does not make you a bad Mom or a failure in anyway.

    Sometimes, things just don't work out well. It's so hard to face that when everyone is telling you that everyone can breastfeed if they do it right. But no matter how hard you try, you just aren't "doing it right".

    I tried so hard to BF my DD. She latched well in the hosptial and the LC said it looked like a proper latch. But she lost a lot of weight. By the time she was a week old she had lost over a pound. I kept trying, and she kept losing weight. Then she started to act like your LO is now, fussing, pulling away from the breast, breaking the latch every couple of seconds, and falling asleep. Sometimes she would go up to 6-7 hours without eating because she would sleep. I would try to wake her, but no matter what I did she wouldn't open her mouth.

    I saw a LC. After an hour of work we got one decent, not good, feeding out of her. I make plenty of milk, I have a normal let-down, and my nipples are only slightly larger  than average. Nothing that should cause these problems. So, I started pumping. For about 2-3 weeks I had to pump every 2 hours. But now I only pump every 6 hours...sometimes longer at night. I didn't nurse DD at all for several weeks. But now that my nipples aren't sore anymore, I let her latch. She still can't seem to get enough to satisfy a whole feeding, but we can have that bonding time from time to time.

    I am pumping right now because it works for me. I make enough milk to feed her BM exclusively. But she gets 1 bottle of formula a day just for my own convience and so that I can put more milk in the freezer. I don't feel a shread of guilt over it. And if I decided to stop pumping today, I wouldn't feel bad about that either. You have to do what works for you. That is nothing to feel bad about. As long as you give your child love and nourishment, you're doing a good job.

    As women, especially first time moms, we expect ourselves to be able to do everything flawlessly. We think that as soon as our babies are born that will be overfilled with love and maternal insticts. But that's not always the case. It's okay not to be perfect. Imperfection is just part of parenting. Once you stop sweating over everything and just let yourself be human, you'll feel much better.

    ::hugs:: I've been where you are twice now, and it's not fun. No matter what you decide; sticking it out, pumping, or FF, choose and don't look back. You'll feel so much better after you let yourself off of the hook.

  • I haven't been on this site since my little one was born, almost 7 weeks ago, and I really wish that I had read this before. I have been experiencing the exact same thing with my boy and even though I have had positive support from my family, it makes me feel better that I am not alone!! Thank you for posting this and for everyones responses!

    I tried to breastfeed in the hospital right after he was born but he would fall asleep and we couldn't get him to wake up. The nurses were great but they just told me when I went home to keep trying, I was never shown how to pump or told what to do about formula, just to keep trying. He lost over 10% of his weight before his first dr appt the day after we were released because he wouldn't latch on. The dr gave us formula and we started supplementing with that and attempting to breastfeed, which improved because he wasn't starved anymore, but it never really caught on. We learned a couple weeks later that he had GERD and breastfeeding was probably very painful for him. I have tried to get him to breastfeed at least once a day and I try to pump once a day as well but there just isn't anything there anymore. Anyway, thank you again for posting this and for all the responses!!!

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  • Do you pump at all? How much are you getting if you do? I ask because DD would do the same and it was because my let down was too strong and I had an oversupply. She would clamp down to try and control the flow. She would pull away and cry because she wanted to eat, but it was too hard. If you've had problems with engorgement in the past then that could be it. Try leaning back or laying on your side to nurse. You can also express a little before you put her on.

    I had to get my supply under control by block feeding and giving up the pump. The first couple days hurt and I was really engorged, but now my supply has regulated and she has no trouble nursing. You can do this! I hit 8 weeks with my DD and all of a sudden breastfeeding was so easy. I went through clog ducts, engorged, milk blisters, thrush, discomfert, and just feeling my way around nursing in public. There were times when I just thought I don't know if I can do this. I'm so glad I stuck with it, because now we have no problems. You will get to that point too. Good luck!!

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  • I'm all for BF too, but formula isn't poison...if it will make the experience more pleasant, do it.  :) The last thing you need right now is stress, with all those hormones.  
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