Being a mom is hard. Having a baby is hard. Taking care of that baby, and raising that baby, is hard. With so many difficult factors in motherhood, it’s really no wonder that so many moms quit breastfeeding. Because, honestly, breastfeeding is hard.
Maybe you wanted to breastfeed. Maybe you had every intention of doing it but for some reason couldn’t. That reason could have been a lot of things. Maybe your body just couldn’t produce milk like it needed to. Or maybe it was just too difficult for you to do. Perhaps it hurt too much, or your baby couldn’t latch correctly.
Whatever the reason, if you’re a mom that has attempted to breastfeed but stopped for one reason or another, this letter is for you.
An Open Letter to the Mom Who Quit Breastfeeding
I know where you are at.
I know that sometimes you feel so guilty for quitting breastfeeding–even if it wasn’t by choice. Maybe you just physically couldn’t anymore. Or maybe you couldn’t emotionally handle the stress of it. Of wondering if your baby is getting enough, or knowing that he isn’t but still trying to increase your supply, even if nothing is working. Maybe you just didn’t want to do it anymore.
I know because I’ve been there. I’ve wanted to exclusively breastfeed and hit a point where it wasn’t enough for my baby. A point where nothing I did increased my supply, a point where I had to accept that he needed more than I could give him. A point where I really didn’t even want to keep trying anymore.
Believe it or not, I understand the guilt that can come from that. I understand the questioning, the stress, the tears.
But let me tell you what else I have come to understand.
It’s okay to quit breastfeeding.
Yes, breastmilk is designed to be the perfect food source for your baby. But ultimately, what matters most is that your baby is fed and taken care of and lives in a safe, happy environment.
That means if you are unable to breastfeed, for whatever reason, it’s okay.
It doesn’t mean mean you a bad mom. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t doing what is best for your baby. And it doesn’t mean that you are insufficient.
You are more than enough for your baby, even if you quit breastfeeding.
I promise, your baby will still grow up to be happy and healthy if you can’t do it anymore.
It’s okay to let go of that goal if the stress gets to be too much. If it’s just too taxing, it’s okay.
Know to, that it’s okay to look for alternate solutions. Have you tried pumping? Or getting breastmilk from a milk bank? Or supplementing with formula?
If you do find that the only solution for you is to quit breastfeeding, know that it is okay. It is more important for you to be physically and emotionally healthy than it is to try to force yourself to continue breastfeeding when it’s not working. Believe it or not, you are incredibly important to and for your baby.
Your baby will still love you if you quit breastfeeding. Your family will still love you if you find that you have to stop.
You are still important.
You are still enough.
Hang in there.
If you know a mom who has had to quit breastfeeding and is struggling with that choice, please consider sharing this post with her, as well as offering your support to her. Take the time to remind her that she is enough, and that she is doing an awesome job.