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Why I chose to stop breastfeeding and give my baby formula instead

My chest was so lopsided. My left breast felt like an overfilled water balloon while the right one looked like someone had forgotten to fill it. I stood in front of the mirror twisting and pulling at my nursing bra, but no matter what, I could still see it peeking up through the neck of my t-shirt on the smaller side—with nothing to fill the cup on the pancake side, the fabric just kept creeping up.

My son would be six months old in four days. He'd been nursing since birth, and I was ready to quit but felt like I couldn't.

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I was already feeling judged for supplementing with formula when my issues were related to oversupply, not undersupply, and although pumping and leaking through my shirts was making me miserable, I told myself I had to carry on.

Luckily, someone else told me I didn't. "Just stop," my husband told me while I struggled with my bra straps and complained about my breasts. "Just feed him the formula all the time, he likes it."

And with that, I felt like I had permission to call it quits. It happened to be my husband who said it, but I think I just needed to hear those words from someone, anyone, besides myself. It could have been a friend, a family member or even the cashier at the store.

I just needed to hear that it was okay to not nurse at all. That can be hard to understand after a lifetime of hearing how "breast is best."

Before I got pregnant, I never doubted that one day I would follow in my mother's footsteps and exclusively breastfeed. I was very judgemental about formula until I realized, halfway through my pregnancy, that I might need it myself. I was feeling what I now recognize was probably some form of perinatal mood disorder. I went from being thrilled to finally find myself pregnant (after a lot of trying and negative tests) to suddenly, overwhelmingly, over it.

The swing from enthusiastically shopping for nursery decor to being too exhausted and anxious to even bother painting the baby's room was dramatic. I hung decor meant for green walls in a depressingly taupe room before collapsing to nap.

The second half of my pregnancy felt like it took f-o-r-e-v-e-r, and every day I felt less and less love for and connection with my body. I resented that my days had become a blur of puking and napping. As much as I loved and wanted my baby, I hated what pregnancy did to my body. I couldn't trust it not to have to pee a block away from home or throw up on my neighbor's lawn while walking my dogs, so I didn't feel like I would be able to trust it to produce milk when my baby came along.

I started stockpiling formula, but when our son arrived we found we really didn't need it. Despite being born with a tongue tie and being fed from a syringe for the first few days of his life, my son only drank one ounce of formula during his first month in the world. My breasts got the hang of milk-making real quick. Soon I was making more breast milk than my son could eat.

Oversupply sounds awesome in theory, but in my experience, it was painful and annoying. I hadn't planned to pump at all (after all, I had all the formula stashed away) so when my breasts kicked into overdrive on my son's third day in the world my husband had to run out and buy a pump so I could relieve the pressure.

It turned out to be a good purchase because it allowed me to pump enough for my husband to take night duty every other night and give me time to sleep, but I really hated pumping. After nursing my son all day, the last thing I wanted to do was pump (and then wash the pump).

Around the three month mark, I put the pump away and we broke into the formula stash for dad's nights. Our beautiful baby adjusted and I was relieved to not have to worry about washing flanges and breast shields when I could be sleeping. Life was great, but my breasts were not.

As we went from nursing all the time to nursing just 50% of the time, one of my breasts decided to nearly quit making milk, while the other decided to double production.

I knew I should see a lactation consultant, but the breastfeeding mamas group in my neighborhood was not known for being friendly to formula supplementation, so I skipped it. I felt like I was already being judged by people close to me who were critical of my choice to supplement, and I didn't feel strong enough to face more.

I felt like by choosing formula when my body was capable of producing breast milk, I was a bad mom or a lazy mom. I felt guilty making the choice to stop nursing because I was well aware that for many other mothers, it isn't a choice at all. 'Breast is best,' and mine (well, one at least, makes it) so why quit entirely?

"Because you hate it," my husband reminded me.

Sometimes, that has to be a good enough reason.

Quitting breastfeeding made me a happier mom. It made me a mom who didn't have to pump. A mom whose breasts (eventually) started to resemble one another again, and who could feel like herself again.

It's not the right choice for every mom, but for moms who can't breastfeed for physical—or emotional reasons—formula is a valid one. And it was definitely the right one for us.

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These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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