10 Reasons I Hated Breastfeeding

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hated-breastfeeding

I hated breastfeeding. HATED IT.

I hated it from the moment my son first painfully latched on until the moment, 57 long days later, when I’d decided I’d had enough and switched to the bottle. I hated every second of every feeding of every day. What a way to waste the first two months of my son’s life.

Breastfeeding has somehow become some sort of qualification for being a good – or even decent – mother. Forgiveness is given to those moms who attempt to breastfeed, but are unable…but the rest of us? Those who choose to feed our offspring factory produced milk rather than providing our own? We’re villainized for it. At least it feels that way.

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For me, motherhood only started being enjoyable once I stopped forcing something that, ironically, felt like the least natural thing in the world. Only then, did I start savoring the time rocking him to sleep, or appreciate the sound of his breathing, or study his thick eyelashes while he looked up at me.

Why did I hate it so much?

1. Breastfeeding consumed me. 24/7, it was pretty much all I thought about, all I planned for and all I did. How could it not be? I had to feed my son every two hours, each feeding took an hour, and by the time I was done, it was already almost time to feed him again.

2. I felt disgusting. I’d somehow though that gaining these porn star boobs would make me feel sexy and powerful. Instead, I felt like a cow. A leaky, stinky, weepy cow.

3. Holy God, it hurt! The feeling of having a tender part of me yanked on until it bleeds is not my idea of a good time. Sorry, Christian Grey.

4. My body was still not my own. By the ninth month of pregnancy, I longed to have my body back, and counted down the seconds until it once again was mine. But while I was breastfeeding, it still wasn’t my own. I was simply a flesh covered food delivery truck.

5. Pumping. No explanation needed.

6. Not knowing how much he was actually eating. My son ate around the clock, but I never actually know just how much he was eating. Did he get enough? Was I starving him? Was he sucking out nothing or milk? I had no clue.

7. My hormones went FUCKING CRAZY. It was like PMS on steroids.

8. I was on my own. I’m lucky to have a husband who wants to be as involved as possible, but as the sole milk factory, he couldn’t do all that much. My baby’s ability to thrive was 100% dependent on me. The pressure was just too much.

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9. I was self conscious. More power to the women who whip out a tit everywhere and anywhere, but I wasn’t one of them. Which meant that the minute anyone came to visit, I dashed off to find privacy. Not the best thing for a lonely new mom.

10. The guilt. Every feeding made me feel like something was wrong with me: Why wasn’t I connecting with him? Why wasn’t I loving providing for him? What was wrong with me? It’s taken me a while to realize that I wasn’t a bad mother, I just didn’t excel at that one part of motherhood. Fortunately for him, and me, I do at others. My role as a mother wasn’t and isn’t defined by how I chose to feed my baby. Hardly.

And neither is yours.

Comments

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  1. Liz says

    This.. fits me three months ago so well you actually made me tear up. The judgements are the worst. My hubby and I got into an argument about it cause he claimed that he needed it for his immune system and such. I agree with that but formula is so advanced now the baby will be fine. Plus his mom with her mean comments saying she wasted mommy on a breast pump.. when she got the cheapest one..that kinda hurt my feelings. but i feel much better and enjoy motherhood like you said now that i can share the responsibility and I am not thinking constantly the next time i have to feed him, etc, etc. Thank you so much for posting this.

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    • Karri says

      What’s best for your baby is that he/she have a mother who enjoys taking care of them and not constantly stressing over the next feeding. Believe me, I’ve been there. I exclusively pumped for 8 weeks because my son just would not latch properly (yes, I talked to pediatricians and lactation consultants). I felt like a freakin’ dairy cow, spending most of my life hooked to pump. After I gave it up, I felt like a much better, happier mother. You have to do what you feel is best for you as a mother and don’t you dare let anyone make you feel guilty for it.

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    • Bri says

      The world would be so much kinder, gentler, loving, compassionate, if only we could stop judging each other. All that matters is we LOVE our children. I breastfeed, but the first 6 weeks was so hellish (paritally due to a two-week stint in the NICU) that I WISH someone would have told me it was okay to use formula. I feel like I missed out on enjoying some of my bonding time with my baby girl because I was so focused on being “perfect” instead of just loving her.

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  2. bombinabirdcage says

    Thank you. For unsaid reasons I absolutely freak out when my nipples are touched and I forced myself to breastfeed for a few weeks. I would weep every single feeding and I just couldn’t force myself to do it anymore.

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    • fearlessformulafeeder says

      Wow- that is a brave comment and I am so grateful to you for putting voice to this. In my four years of speaking with and counseling women who formula fed for a variety of reasons, no one has ever mentioned this. And it was something that definitely plagued me. I wish more women would talk about this issue so that those of us who experienced it wouldn’t feel like circus freaks. If you ever feel up to writing something for my FFF Fridays series (I post stories from people about their infant feeding experiences every Friday on my blog) I would be seriously grateful. It can be anonymous. Let me know, ok? formulafeeders at gmail.

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    • Kayla says

      This happens to me too! I talked with someone about it and they told me it is a condition called D-MER (Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex). Once I read about it and understood it I was able to find what worked best for me with feeding my little girl. The official website is D-MER.org. Check it out and see if this is something you have. I was so relieved when I realized I had this condition because I knew I wasn’t alone. :)

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      • Kate says

        I also have D-MER but didn’t know what that was while I was nursing my oldest two children. All I knew was that I HATED the feeling of nursing. I would tense up and dread the moment I began nursing because I knew a quick, intense wave of sickening gloom was going to wash over me when my milk let down. At the same time, all the women in my family would sit around and grin and talk about how much they had loved nursing their own children and reference the “oxytocin high” they used to get from feeding their babies…I started to think there was something wrong with me and that I would be judged if I mentioned how nursing made me feel. So I ginned and bore it for a year with each baby and never said a word to anyone aside from my husband. When we had our third child, those same feelings came back a third time when I would nurse and I FINALLY mentioned it to my Dr and was told about D-MER. Understanding what was going on with my body didn’t ease the symptoms, but it eased my mind and made the experience more tolerable for me on an emotional level. While I genuinely despised the physical sensations I experienced when I was nursing, I did still enjoy that special bonding I had with each of my babies – which is why I was never driven to the point of switching to formula. However, I could see how some women would opt for that choice, and I respect that.

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    • bombinabirdcage says

      I understand this so so so much. I cannot stand my nipples beinng touched. I have anxiety attacks. The judgement was horrible. Trust me ladies, nothing you are saying or thinking about me has not crossed my own mind a thousand times.

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    • Kk says

      I hate how touching my nipples feels sooo much. I’m on week 4 of bf and while the daytime is tolerable bc I try and focus on other things, at night I cry through most feedings. It doesn’t hurt which makes me feel guilty for hating it – but the sensation just makes me cringe and writhe everytime

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  3. Sequoia Weller says

    I still do it, and it’s a love/hate relationship. My daughter latches poorly and most of the time it does hurt. I’ve worked thru it and either she’s gotten better at latching or I’ve gotten immune to the pain. There were days I felt exactly like this. It is supposed to be bonding, rainbows and sunshine. It’s not for those of us who breastfeeding doesn’t come naturally to, or it isn’t easy.

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    • Stephanie says

      I did not enjoy breastfeeding either but it was what was best for my children so I did it. I’m not trying to say I’m better than you that’s not the point. Women should stick together. You did what you needed to do for you and your family. But don’t think it was roses for those of us who went the other road. You should take a look at how breastfeeding mothers are treated and looked at by other women. I was bullied by hospital nurses, looked at and treated like I was doing something wrong when I needed to feed my kids in public. I was and am put into the “one of them” categories by other women. Which basically means I was left out of conversations and given the attitude why would you give up so much for your kid attitude. I challenge you to look at this from another point of view.

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      • Kate says

        I think how you are “looked at” by other women can vary a lot depending on geography, socio-economic status, and even just the group of people you hang around. I live in an area where breastfeeding is expected, and formula feeding is looked down upon. I was bullied by hospital nurses because I had trouble breastfeeding. I appreciate the author voicing her point of view, because frankly, I haven’t seen it represented in the media as much as the breastfeeding mother’s point of view.

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      • Audrey says

        I was bullied by hospital nurses for trying to breastfeed when after 2 days my ds still couldn’t latch. I felt so guilty I ended up pumping for 12 weeks before my milk dried up and I switched to formula. If I have this problem again, I will automatically go to formula instead of going through that suffering again. Mothers everywhere, unite! Feed how you want, it really is okay!

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    • momof2grls says

      This is exactly why I didn’t even try. It wasn’t going to be a natural thing for me and I was scared to death of all of this. Mostly the not connecting and the not enjoying my baby. 9 years later couldn’t be gladder I chose formula for both my kids.

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  4. shellbee says

    I have triplets and was made to feel Very bad about not breast feeding…I knew with the three babies I was going to need my husbands ( and everyone else I knew) help with feeding., so I choose formula. Everytime someone “advised” me I should bereast feed, I just calmly told them unless I grow another boob it ain’t gonna happen ;)

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    • jennlw says

      Come on! Breast feeding one kid is hard enough! People really thought you should breastfeed three? Did they think you were designed like animals that have litters? Sorry, not trying to offend by referring to three as a litter, as I’m sure some brilliantly “funny” people made the comparison!

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  5. Amy C says

    All three of my kids were formula fed. I too was made to feel like I was somehow less than a mom solely because I didn’t breastfeed my babies. I was told statistically formula fed babies perform poorer in school and don’t thrive physically or mentally as well as their counterparts. I had to do what was right for my babies and myself. My babies turned out just fine. What really helped was realizing that its the bonding that matters…holding my little one and cherishing them, enjoying how they would snuggle close to me as I fed them. Knowing that those moments would be fleeting but precious for us both :)

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    • bernice says

      Formula babies perform poorer in school? I beg to differ. My children were bottle fed (my choice). My oldest graduated in the top ten of her class of 700 students, got a big scholarship for one of the best colleges in our area and is now a successful RN. My youngest is at the top of her class and I am sure will follow in her sister’s footsteps.
      My oldest got numerous ear infections and my doctor tried to tell me it was because she was formula fed.The issue with that theory was her first ever ear infection happened over 6 months after she was weaned off formula. My good friend also told me to not listen to that because her child was exclusively breast fed and she had MORE ear infections AND had to have surgery.
      We need to respect other mother’s decisions. I am sure mothers do their research before making that decision.

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    • Melissa says

      If breastfed babies perform better in school than my 7yr old would be in college by now. hehe. Slight exaggeration but she is a very smart kid and I have been told by both her kindergarten and first grade teachers that “she isn’t bored yet”. She reads advanced and is super smart. She didn’t get it from genetics (no offense to her dad) and I formula fed. Just lucky I guess.

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  6. tallylassie says

    Tried with my first…..horrible experience…crazy hormones, baby not latching, screaming and militant nurses at hospital almost made me lose my mind….at the pediatrician for the 2 week check up, my awesome pediatrician told me…..formula is just as good, has everything you need, I was a formula baby and I turned out just fine….my kids (5) are half formula and half breastfed….it’s up to each of us to make those decisions…love that guy! Switched to full formula and never looked back! Kids are smart, healthy and got everything they needed!

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    • Karen says

      I had that same experience with my first (15 yrs ago!!). Went to the pediatrician, and he said to do what was best for me, and to slowly wean her off breastfeeding one feeding at a time. Um…i don’t think so!! Went home and switched her to formula right away, and we had no problems! Formula-fed my other 2 as well. One of the best parenting decisions I could have made.

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  7. Heather says

    Thank you! I had a horrendous experience breastfeeding with my first. We were both miserable and luckily my husband walked in with the pump in one hand and formula in the other and said “your choice but you can’t go on like this anymore.” I was fortunate that pumping came easily for me and that my husband supported me. But my elder family members guilted me for not sticking with it. When we had our second I tried for two days and went to the pump as soon as I was home from the hospital. Again I got the guilt trip but this time around I had control of the pumping times and could let others feed while I got sleep. I would do it all over again. Both babies had 2 months of breast milk and were on formula for 10 months. I learned to not feel guilty for the choices I make that make my family’s life better.

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    • Jenelle says

      You have an awesome husband :) mine did essentially the same thing and ur comment made me realize i should tell him thank you for that moment 5 years ago when he saved me from myself. He helped me see that a healthy baby AND mom were way more important than a boob in the mouth. (My story ended with a caring lactation consultant who helped me nurse through 15 months – but that is not my point here.) Sometimes we (as women) are our own worst enemies!

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    • ilmom says

      support for your decision, no matter what it is, is so important. i pumped after trying to nurse for three days of hell. so much better. my husband’s mother AND father tried to shame my choice, came into my house telling me i was doing it wrong. what business was it of theirs? hated their attitude.

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  8. Misty Lane Keen says

    I love breast feeding! I fed my oldest until 1 year and plan on the same for my baby now! Yes it hurt at first, but once they learn to latch the pain stops. Bleeding is not normal, something is wrong! I don’t enjoy the looks I get in public, but I am covered and if you don’t like it, don’t look lol! I like the fact that I don’t have to tote bottles everywhere and try and figure out how I will warm bottles while I am out, my milk is always ready to go when my baby needs it! I on the other hand HATE pumping and only do it if I absolutely have to! At least you tried before you decided it wasn’t for you.. It takes a certain type of person to breast feed, if you aren’t able to do it, formula is just fine!!!!’

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    • Didnt Try says

      I didn’t even try breastfeeding my two, gorgeous, healthy, tall, average-weight girls. Oh no’s! The older one isn’t even reading at grade level… she’s reading at 4 grades above her level. If I’d only *tried* to breastfeed before I decided it wasn’t for me – maybe she’d be reading 5 grade levels ahead.

      On a serious note, please don’t quantify what makes it okay for a woman to decide not to breastfeed. You’re contributing to the objectification of women by falling for the stereotype that breastfeeding mothers are somehow better mothers.

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      • Misty Lane Keen says

        Umm I think you need to reread my comment because I never said that I was a better mom because I do it, nor did I objectify anything! I simply said I love to breast feed and why I like it and glad tha she at least tried… I have plenty of family that did not breast feed and never damned them for it! So I guess it is okay for a person to give 10 reasons why they hate it but when someone like me who just happens to state that I loved it, I am being stereotypical, you however are stereotyping me saying that I assume I am a better mother than those who don’t breast feed! Glad your kids are doing well, but don’t pull that shit and put words in my mouth! I believe it is a mothers choice what to do, they know what is best for their kids… I think it is easier for me to feed my babies that way, I don’t really care how you are anyone else feeds their kids… I was just stating from my point of view, if you misinterpreted it, that is all you. That being said, you have a good night!

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        • Amanda A says

          I think your comment was fine, and I’m happy that you’ve had a great BFing journey! However, I think it’s the “at least you tried” wording. This post was aimed at saying, even if you didn’t try you’re no less of a mother or woman :-)

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          • Misty Lane Keen says

            I meant it as at least she tried to do it before she decided that it wasn’t for her! It wasn’t directed towards anyone other than the person who wrote the article. She waned to try, she did and didn’t like it! If anyone else took offense to just 4 simple words, I’m sorry but to say I’m stereotyping because of it was pushing it to far!

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          • nicole says

            Also understand that its not a decision for some.. i didn’t CHOOSE to stop breastfeeding.. my milk supply did for me and it was a very emotional and sad decision. I simply couldn’t produce enough to even put a dent in what my preemie twins needed , I tried it all and nothing worked.

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      • Hayley says

        I don’t think a child being able to read grades ahead of their age is a very good indicator if formula is good or not. I was breastfed and could read 7 levels ahead of my age. So really if I was using your theory, breastfeeding would be the better option.

        Not saying anything about any mothers who BF or use formula. I just thought maybe you felt the need to justify bottle formula feeding and I don’t think you need to.

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        • garpy says

          Unfortunately, formula feeding moms sometimes do feel the need to justify feeding formula to their babies. Just like breast feeding moms sometimes feel the need to justify breast feeding in public or breast feeding past a year. The problem is that moms just can’t win, no matter which method we pick (or that gets chosen for us by circumstances), someone is going to have an opinion. I say stuff it, but when you are recovering from 9 months of pregnancy and then child birth and the crazy-making hormones, you are in a particularly vulnerable place to have to deal with all this crap. It sucks. I don’t think she was trying to say that formula is good because her child is a great reader, I think a lot of us formula moms just like to point out how great our kids are because of all the b.s. about how formula is poison, and will make your kid obese, stupid, and constantly sick. There are a lot of studies that show, on a huge population level, better outcomes among breastfed babies, so some of us do feel the need to show how, on an individual level, our kids are thriving just great on formula. Those studies don’t prove that breast milk creates a better outcome, and correlation does not equal causation. The sibling studies, on the other hand, are the only ones that do a good job of taking other variables into account, and they show little to no difference in outcomes based on feeding methods.

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      • Kristina Layton Cates says

        Dang, lady, calm down. Literally all I said was ‘pardon?’ as I was hoping you would explain the point you were making so that I DIDN’T take offense if it wasn’t intended. But yeah, you do come off as a little passive aggressively judging, which, I am sorry, can be a little offensive, especially to women who clicked on an article entitled ‘I Hate Breastfeeding’. So realize you might not be in the room you think your in, maybe tailor your language a bit, or try to read your statement from the point of view of some of the other mothers on here, and listen to your tone. Or, just ignore the page and pretend someone didn’t disagree with you. It’s fine either way. But calm down.

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