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“It Has Been an Emotional and Painful Struggle”. Why Some Women Choose Not to Breastfeed

“Whether she’s not latching on properly, whether I’m not producing enough milk, whether my nipples are adequate or not — whatever it may be, it’s been an emotional and painful struggle,” shared Angela Burzo in her Instagram post about breastfeeding. And she’s not alone in these struggles. Some women even decide not to breastfeed at all for the same reasons Angela mentioned or simply because they just didn’t want to.

We at Bright Side support every woman’s choice about what she wants or doesn’t want to do with her body. But we were curious to learn a little more about why some mothers decide to feed their baby formula.

Either she or her baby has a medical condition.

Certain medical conditions can prevent a mother from producing milk. Some women have inverted or flat nipples, which can also make breastfeeding challenging. There are newborns who can’t suckle the breast without losing it due to birth compression or a condition called tongue-tie, which limits their tongue movements.

It’s psychologically difficult for her.

Some women experience postpartum anxiety or depression, and breastfeeding is too overwhelming for them. Others might feel embarrassed, self-conscious, or just mentally uncomfortable when they’re breastfeeding or just at the thought of it, so they might decide not to do it.

Her baby won’t latch.

This can be due to the fact that the baby spent some time in the neonatal intensive care unit, or the mom herself had complications and it wasn’t possible to establish a latch in the first few days. There are also other reasons this can happen, like if the mom was given medication while in labor, for example.

She has to or wants to go back to work.

Whether it’s her own desire to go back to work or she has to do it to support the family, it’ll be impossible to breastfeed with the new schedule. And it would be very difficult to squeeze in pumping milk during breaks, not to mention it’s very unlikely that the mom will find a room where she can do it comfortably.

She wants to have her body back.

Sharing her body with another human being for 9 months can make the mother feel like it’s not her own anymore. And then, having to be there for the newborn 24/7, ready to breastfeed at all times, can make her feel like she’s just a feeding machine.

“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,” says one mom who breastfed. And while she chose to do that, others may decide they’d feel better if they didn’t. “After sharing my body with my daughter for nine months, I needed to reclaim it to feel safe again,” another mom explained.

She wants to have more time for herself.

If a woman chooses to breastfeed, she’s the only one who can make that decision. So every time the baby is hungry, she needs to be ready, and no other relative can take the mom’s place when she`s tired. And pumping milk is also a very time-consuming process.

What is your experience with breastfeeding? Did you do it or did you decide it wasn’t the right thing for you?