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My Family Shamed Me For Giving Up On Breastfeeding. I Felt Like A Failure
PHOTO BY Shutterstokck/paulaphoto
  • Breastfeeding is hard, and moms need all the support they can get as they go throught the journey. In an anonymous post, one mom shares her pain as she experienced mom shaming  from her own family. 

    Nothing prepares you for breastfeeding more than doing it.

    I thought I prepared for it, reading articles and books, getting advice from coaches and other moms. I was so confident that I don’t even remember buying baby bottles while I was still pregnant. If women have done it for hundreds of years, how hard could it be?

    I found out how hard it was a few hours after giving birth. For five days while I was in the hospital, I did baby-led breastfeeding, which felt endless.

    Sure, I felt so happy whenever she would breastfeed. We had no problem with latching. After around a dozen times of calling the nurse to transfer my baby from one breast to the other, I finally felt strong and confident enough to do it. When she would be happily breastfeeding, I felt accomplished, proud, and amazed over what my body could provide for my newborn.

    But the challenging part came when I left the hospital. After each feeding, she would start crying. I wasn’t producing enough breast milk. I was crying while trying to feed her, but nothing would come out, and she would look frustrated.

    I called my pediatrician, crying over my failure. She told me that if I felt like I wasn’t producing enough milk, I could take supplements, drink a lot of water and take in malunggay, and I could also consider doing mixed feeding.


    “She was barely a week old and I was already going to give her formula milk. What kind of horrible mother would do that?” That’s what I instantly thought. I felt like a failure.

    In tears, I asked my daughter’s father to buy formula milk on his way home from work. I remember messaging my best friends to get words of support and encouragement over my decision to mix feed. My mom was on board —  that wasn’t surprising since she didn’t try to breastfeed any of us and went straight to formula milk.

    It was my sister who ripped me apart. The next day, she came armed with state-of-the-art breast pumps, baby bottles, and a lot of unsolicited advice.

    She watched me breastfed my daughter and told me what I was doing wrong. She told me to drink as many fluids as I could until I felt like I was drowning and to hide my formula milk so that I wouldn’t get tempted to use it. She told me to breastfeed “for the sake of my baby.”

    I did everything she asked me to, but my breastfeeding didn’t improve. And sadly, my sister didn’t ask me how I was, or why I chose to mix feed — all she thought was that I wasn’t doing enough of a good job.

    I know she was trying to be helpful, but it stressed me out even more. And without their care and concern, it felt like I didn’t matter.

    My nipples would be cracked and bleeding. I was running on four hours of staggered sleep, pumping milk whenever I was awake, and all I could produce was a measly 3ml — and then cry myself to sleep.

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    Eventually, I found the feeding routine that kept my daughter healthy and preserved my sanity. The daily routine would be breastfeeding first, and then when no more milk came out, we would give my daughter formula milk.

    She was satisfied and started to grow healthier. We both got more rest, and I think I was in better shape to take care of her. As the months passed, I eventually returned to work, and what was mixed feeding turned into full-on formula feeding.

    Did I feel guilty? Definitely. Did I think that I was selfish for not pushing myself harder? Sometimes.

    But as any new mom would tell you, the first few months of taking care of a newborn will be one of the toughest times of your life. It makes you question your ability to be a mom. “I don’t think I can do this” would be a constant thought that would pop up whenever I would fix her a bottle, leave for work, or cry myself to sleep out of exhaustion after she finally went to sleep.

    Now that I look back at those times, I was hard on myself. I desperately needed help, but I was too proud to ask for it. I thought that if I asked for help, I wouldn’t be the best mom ever, that the best moms knew how to do it all out of motherly instinct.

    But I didn’t, and I saw my family’s good intentions as meddling, as telling me that I wasn’t good enough to be a mom. But in reality, they love my daughter and me so much that they want to help take care of us, especially during those times when we needed a lot of love and support.


    After almost a decade since my daughter was born, I’ve realized that I’m not the selfless, chirpy, pleasant, “motherhood is the best thing ever” martyr mom. And that’s okay.

    We do what we can to be at our best, even if it seems to others that you’re being less than a mom for doing so. What matters is that I’m real, I do my best by her, and my words and actions as a parent always come from a place of love. And when your child sees and feels that mommy takes care of herself and loves herself as fiercely as she does her children, they will see that and grow up to love themselves, too.

    Click here for the kinds of support we should be giving breastfeeding moms.

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