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How I learned to stop feeling guilty about not breastfeeding

I wasn’t planning on bottle-feeding my daughter before she was born.


I had actually read and researched a lot of information about breastfeeding when I became pregnant. I even paid to take a breastfeeding class while I was expecting because I really wanted to do so after my daughter’s birth.

However, after a complicated birth and recovery from a c-section it was very difficult to get my daughter to latch. So my husband and I decided that giving her formula at least for the first hours would be best, so I could get some rest.

Throughout our stay at the hospital, as I recovered, I continually tried my hardest to breastfeed my baby. We had nurses and a lactation consultant help me with little success. She did latch on for a couple of seconds, but it always ended with her screaming at my chest unable to eat. This continued as we arrived home. After a few weeks of failed feedings I didn’t know if to continue or stop.

Stopping made me feel guilty that I couldn’t do something I thought should have been natural.

But after trying and trying to get my daughter to latch naturally, my husband and I decided to give pumping a try, and see if that would solve our problem. And It did for a little while. However, we continued to run into the problem that if I hadn’t pumped enough, we again had an unsatisfied screaming baby at my arms. And it seemed as though my pumped milk was never enough for her.

So after much talk (and some tears) with my husband we decided to bottle-feed her formula.

Once we made this decision known to other people we received encouragement and understanding from some, but surprisingly a lot of judgement and comments from most. I did feel guilty about not breastfeeding, and at times I even felt like I was failing her as a mother for not doing so.

However, with the support of my husband and my family and seeing my baby grow healthy and strong, the feelings slowly started to fade away. And with time I felt stronger and more secure when telling people we had chosen to bottle-feed.

Now 8 months after her birth, I can confidently say I don’t regret making the decision to formula feed my daughter. With my complicated birth experience I was already emotionally unstable and adding yet another pressure on myself for not being able to breastfeed even after weeks of effort would have really affected my well-being.

As a first time mom, it was relieving and encouraging for me to see my daughter growing healthy and happy through her formula feedings.

Though difficult to make at first, this experience taught me that there will be times where I will have to make some tough choices and though some may not agree I will have to trust my gut and make the best decisions I see fit for myself and my family.

Here’s what I want new mamas to know: Not being able to breastfeed doesn’t make you a failure. And it says nothing about how good of a mom you are and will be. Just the fact that you care about wanting to do what is best for your child shows how incredible you already are as a mom.

If you are still wanting and trying to breastfeed—seek help. The shame of feeling like I had failed kept me from seeking help. As a first-time mom I didn’t know how much help is available to women who wish to breastfeed.

There are breastfeeding support groups at hospitals, schools, and even churches. There are plenty of lactation consultants and even volunteering mothers that have helped plenty of women to successfully breastfeed. Ask other moms for help. Local mothers are full of information and resources that can lead you to the right person.

For my future babies I still would like to try to breastfeed. But next time I will go into my journey with a lot more knowledge that breastfeeding, like motherhood, is not always easy and I cannot do it alone.

And I’ll feel more comfortable standing my ground on the tough decisions.

Becoming a mom has taught me to be fearless and confident in the decisions I make, and I hope you can feel that way also.

Whatever choice you make—You’ve got this, mama.

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Mom life demands efficiency. Because while the amount of hours in the day are the same as before kids, now a sizable chunk of that time is spent caring for and loving on those little people. Compromises happen—and let's just be honest, the old beauty routine is one of the first things to get cut.

But, wait! You don't have to sacrifice putting on mascara or, worse, skipping the SPF. Instead, why not flip it, reverse it, and look at the bright side? Here's your opportunity to streamline your morning makeup routine. With some savvy skin care and beauty hacks, you can get your radiant glow on in record time.

Here are our tried-and-true hacks passed down from Motherly mamas:

1. Embrace multipurpose items

If the most pressing issue is limited time, consolidate multiple steps of your beauty routine with a multipurpose item. For example, instead of starting with a SPF moisturizer, followed by spot concealer and a blendable foundation, you can take care of all of that in one go with one of our favorites: Earth Mama's 3-in-one Lady Face™ Tinted Mineral Sunscreen. The beauty stick also allows you to easily fold SPF 40 into your routine, because Lady Face doubles as super-safe, clean sun protection. Even better? The sunscreen blocks blue light from those ever-present digital screens with a ray-scattering, non-nano formula.

2. Revive dried mascara

Especially after a sleepless night (#motherhood), mascara can make a major difference in how well rested you appear to be. If you realize your tube of mascara is dried out, don't write it off as a lost cause. Simply soak the sealed tube in warm water to loosen up the mascara — or add a drop of a multi-purpose saline solution into the tube. That should do the trick until you have time to buy a replacement. (But let's face it: You're a mom. It's okay if you're tired.)

3. Keep coconut oil handy

Coconut oil isn't just for the kitchen. From a DIY hair mask to an in-a-pinch lip balm or naturally removing makeup at the end of the day, coconut oil's cosmetic hack-list is long. For summer, we especially like adding a thin swipe of organic extra virgin coconut oil to the cheekbones at the end of the makeup routine for a bit of an extra glow.

4. Multitask while deep conditioning

If your hair needs a bit of TLC, consider applying a natural, paraben-free deep conditioner before doing chores around the house or even a short workout. By working up a bit of a sweat, the conditioner will set even better before you rinse off in the shower.

5. Start your hair care routine the night before

As you work to find your new normal morning routine, it can help to simply reschedule a task or two—like hair. If you shower the night before, get a jumpstart on your look by blowdrying, straightening or even braiding it for loose waves in the morning.

6. Even out your skin tone

Between multiple wake-ups during the night and wavering hormones, complexion issues can become a thing for most mamas. Thankfully, the hack for managing that is as simple as finding a great foundation that goes on smoothly and doesn't cake or crack through a morning of momming. Scope out the ingredient list for naturally nourishing components like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax — and skip the stress (and the return process if the shade doesn't match) by going for something that easily blends with most skin tones.

7. Find brands your feel great about

As a mom, you might find yourself considering bigger life questions: Are my cosmetics safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding? Are they helping the world my children will grow up in? Can I trust the ingredients and mission? Pro tip: read the ingredients on all your personal care products, memorize the ones you want to avoid, and look for third-party certification to ensure the product is actually what it says it is. When you find a brand that walks the talk, you're going to want to be loyal.

8. When in doubt, go for a bold lip

With happy hours swapped for play dates, your daily routine may look a bit different than it used to. But who says you have to leave your personal style behind? If you've always been a fan of makeup and going a bit glam, keep going for it, mama! The extra 60 seconds it takes to apply lipstick or whatever else gives you a bit of pep in your step is well worth it.


This article was sponsored by Earth Mama Organics. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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When expecting a baby, there is a lot you can test-run in advance: Take that stroller around the block. Go for a spin with the car seat secured in place. Learn how to use the baby carrier with help from a doll. But breastfeeding? It's not exactly possible to practice before baby's arrival.

The absence of a trial makes it all the more important to prepare in other ways for breastfeeding success—and it can be as simple as adding a few of our lactation aiding favorites to your registry.

MilkBliss chocolate chip soft baked lactation cookies

MilkBliss lactation cookies

Studies have shown the top reason women stop breastfeeding within the first year is because they are concerned about their milk supply being enough to nourish baby. Consider MilkBliss Lactation Cookies to be your secret weapon. Not only are they wholesome and delicious, but they were formulated specifically for breastfeeding moms based on the science of galactagogues—also known as milk boosters. They also come in peanut butter and wild blueberry flavors.

$23

Evereden multi-purpose healing balm

Evereden multipurpose healing balm

Also up there on the list of reasons women stop breastfeeding: the toll the early days can take on nipples. Made from just five ingredients, this all natural healing balm is ideal for soothing chafed nipples, making for a much more comfortable experience for mama as her body adjusts to the needs of a breastfeeding baby.

$20

Lansinoh milk storage bags

Lansinoh milk storage bags

For a breastfeeding mama, there are few things more precious and valuable than the milk she worked so hard to pump—and it's the stuff of nightmares to imagine it spilling out in the fridge. With these double-sealed milk storage bags, you can be assured your breastmilk is safe and sound until baby needs it.

$12.50

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Belly Bandit bandita nursing bra

Nursing a baby is a 24/7 job, which calls for some wardrobe modifications. Because Belly Bandit specializes in making things more comfortable for the postpartum mama, they've truly thought of every detail—from the breathable fabric to the clips that can be easily opened with one hand.

$47

boob-ease soothing therapy pillows

Boob Ease soothing therapy pillows

For nursing moms, duct can quickly become a four-letter word when you suspect it's getting clogged. By keeping these soothing breast pillows in your breastfeeding arsenal, you can immediately go on the defense against plugged milk ducts by heating the pads in the microwave or cooling them in the freezer.

$25

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

Belly Bandit perfect nursing tee

A unfortunate reality of nursing is that it can really seem to limit the wardrobe options when you have to think about providing easy, discrete access. But by adding functional basics to your closet, you can feel confident and prepared for breastfeeding on the go.

$59

Bebe au Lait premium cotton nursing cover

Bebe au Lait cotton nursing cover

Nursing in public isn't every mama's cup of tea. But babies can't always wait until you've found a private place to get down to business if that's your preference. That's where a nursing cover comes in handy. This one is made from premium cotton and features a patented neckline that allows for airflow and eye contact even while you're covered.

$36

Lactation Lab basic breastmilk testing kit

Lactation Lab breastmilk testing kit

Curious to learn more about the liquid gold you're making, mama? The testing kit from Lactation Labs analyzes your breast milk for basic nutritional content like calories and protein, as well as vitamins, fatty acids and environmental toxins to help boost your breastfeeding confidence.

$99

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