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A no-judgment letter to the mama who didn’t breastfeed

I am tired of the judgment and shame over not breastfeeding. Love is what’s important.

A no-judgment letter to the mama who didn’t breastfeed

Maybe your baby never latched.

Maybe it hurt so damn much and nothing made it better.


Maybe you were given bad advice in the hospital, or by your pediatrician, your obstetrician, your midwife, your mother, your friend.

Maybe you just didn’t want to breastfeed.

Maybe something happened that is none of my business that made the idea of breastfeeding frightening or repulsive to you.

Maybe you couldn’t produce enough milk and you never figured out why.

Maybe your baby was adopted and adoptive breastfeeding wasn’t in the cards for you for whatever reason.

Maybe you tried all kinds of gadgets or interventions to get breastfeeding to work, and it made you feel inadequate and disconnected from your body and you needed to stop trying.

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Maybe you couldn’t nurse because of a medical condition, or a medication you needed to take that was incompatible with breastfeeding.

Maybe the things that went wrong with breastfeeding crushed you so hard you needed to stop trying for your own sanity.

Maybe you just didn’t like breastfeeding.

You don’t need a reason.

You don’t need to explain what happened.

(But I will listen if you want.)

You don’t need to figure out why breastfeeding didn’t work out.

(But I will help you figure it out if you want.)

Maybe sometimes you go through all the possibilities in your head:

If only you’d gotten help from a lactation consultant...

If only you’d gotten a second opinion...

If only you’d had an easier birth...

If only your postpartum depression had been treated sooner...

If only you had waited for the storm of the first few weeks of new motherhood to end...

I want you to know that if you feel a hole in your heart because breastfeeding did not work out, I understand. After birth, it is a mother’s instinct to breastfeed. It is an ancient, primal longing. That is part of why it can feel so traumatic when it doesn’t work out.

I want you to know that you are not alone in that feeling.

But maybe you have no regrets and feel at peace with not breastfeeding.

I want you to know that it’s okay if you made a clear decision not to breastfeed and you enjoyed the conveniences and freedom of bottle feeding.

Whatever it is—whatever your reasons, your feelings, your regrets, your peace—I want you to know this: Breastfeeding is about more than the milk.

It’s true that breastmilk is full of antibodies, antiviral agents, perfect nutrition, and lifelong protections. Any amount of it that you gave your baby was a gift. But if you gave your baby none of it, you did not fail. You found ways to keep your baby healthy. You are a mother. You’d do anything for your children.

Breastfeeding is about more than the milk.

It’s about feeding your baby against your body, the two of you gazing at each other in wonder.

It is connection. It is touch. It is two souls who spent ages looking for one another and are now earthbound, nestled together.

Breastfeeding is about the relief of holding your child safe in your arms.

You can do that no matter how you feed your baby.

Period.

I am tired of the judgment and shame over not breastfeeding.

Love is what’s important.

So let’s choose love over fear. Connection over division.

And let’s talk to one another. Let’s ask for help if we need it.

Let’s hold our children against our beating hearts. Let’s inhale their perfect baby scents. Let’s breathe together. Let’s rest awhile.

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By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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