5 Reasons for Regretting Not Breastfeeding (incl. Pros and Cons)

women breastfeed her baby

Some moms look forward to the process of breastfeeding. There are however some moms who find the thought of breastfeeding quite stressful. Whether it’s as a result of a personal choice or a medical reason, it could leave the new mom regretting not breastfeeding. 

If you’re a mom who hasn’t or doesn’t plan to breastfeed, it’s important to know you aren’t alone in your choice. My sister with three healthy kids didn’t breastfeed either. Whatever the reason, every mom makes the best decision for both her and the baby at the time. This article covers a few pros and cons of both breast and formula feeding. Read on for some useful information to make the best decision for your situation.

What happens when you don’t breastfeed after giving birth?

Since your body is expecting to breastfeed, your breasts will start making milk in the first few days after birth. This will happen even if you can’t or don’t want to breastfeed. As a result, you may have some milk leaks and your breasts might feel sore and swollen. This process is called engorgement

If you’re not going to breastfeed, you will need some relief for breast engorgement. Some useful tips include the following:

  • Wear a supportive bra for your (wearable) e.g. Elvie pump such as a sports bra for good support
  • Use ice packs to soothe achy breasts for 15 minutes at a time
  • Your doctor will most likely prescribe you medication to assist 
  • Pain relievers such as ibuprofen will reduce pain or swelling

It typically takes an average of 7 – 10 days after delivery to return to a non-pregnant or non-lactating hormonal level. 

Common reasons for regretting not breastfeeding

Many moms who don’t breastfeed often experience a sense of regret. This usually stems from the hype surrounding breastfeeding and the bonding experience you may be missing out on if you don’t breastfeed. This can be a lot to deal with for an already emotional mom-to-be!

It’s important to realize that bonding can occur in a variety of different ways. In general, bonding occurs when you hold or cuddle your baby. You can just as easily bond with your baby by bottle-feeding or by your daily cuddles! 

Some of the common reasons moms can’t breastfeed include the following:

1. Financial

Mom needs to return to work soon after delivery and might opt for bottle feeding. While some working moms might opt for pumping breast milk, others might not work in an environment where it’s impossible to pump milk during the day. For this reason, they choose to avoid the whole inconvenience and rather opt for the bottle-fed option.

2. Low milk supply

Low milk supply happens when an underlying health condition such as insufficient glandular tissue or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). These types of conditions prevent your body from producing sufficient milk.

3. Chronic medication

Some chronic medications for pre-existing conditions could prevent the new mom from breastfeeding. This is because the medication transcends into the milk. Some of the risky medications include seizure medication, sedatives, and chemotherapy drugs. 

4. Health condition of baby

Some babies are born with conditions that make it impossible for them to consume breast milk. One such condition is Galactosemia where the baby’s body can’t break down galactose which is in milk sugar lactose. 

5. Personal choice

Some moms choose not to breastfeed at all. This is a perfectly normal decision! As long as your baby gets a nutritious formula, there’s absolutely no harm in your choice!

Pros and cons of breastfeeding

As much as many people advocate breastfeeding, it’s important to consider the pros and cons before deciding what’s best for you and your baby. 

Pros

  • Saves the expense of formula which can be quite considerable
  • Builds a strong immune system against common illnesses
  • Doesn’t involve the timeous task of preparing formula
  • Breastfed babies experience less diarrhea and constipation
  • Lower rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Breast Milk is easy to digest and essentially more nutritional
  • Research has shown it helps moms lose weight gained during pregnancy
  • Can protect mothers from breast & ovarian cancer

Cons

  • Moms may feel discomfort during the first few days or even weeks
  • Mom can’t take certain medications or caffeine as this passes through the milk
  • Newborns and this can be exhausting for a recovering mom
  • There’s no way to measure how much the baby is actually drinking 
  • Nursing in public can be uncomfortable as not all moms are comfortable with doing it anywhere
  • You’ll require special bras and nursing pads 

Pros and cons of feeding baby with formula

Formula feeding doesn’t negatively affect your ability to be a good mother! Reading my article on the qualities of a good mother will show you that there’s a lot more to being a great mom than simple breastfeeding options! So, if you’re considering formula-feeding, there are a few pros and cons to give some thought to.

Pros

  • Formula feeding is convenient and easily prepared in advance
  • A relative or friend can assist with feedings without needing you to pump milk first
  • It allows your partner to feed the baby and also bond with the little one
  • It’s easier to schedule feeding times in advance
  • Moms can eat anything without having to worry that it will make the baby sick
  • It’s easier to feed baby’s on the go, without having to find a discreet spot
  • Anyone can assist with preparing the formula when mom is busy

Fortunately, there are an extensive variety of healthy, nutritious formulas to consider. I’ve written a few articles on the choice of formula and feeding bottles to help you find the best option for your baby. Some of these include:

Cons

  • Formula preparation takes time and effort
  • Formula, bottles, and cleaning agents are an added expense
  • The formula might not be as nutritious as breast milk

Can you switch back from formula to breastfeeding after some time?

A common question formula-feeding moms often ask is, Can I go back to breast milk after formula?” This might happen when the issue that prevented you from breastfeeding gets resolved. Such as low milk supply. 

The good news is that if the initial medical condition is resolved, or your situation changes, it’s perfectly normal to switch from formula-feeding to breastfeeding. It’s perfectly fine for your little one. This process is called re-lactation and refers to breastfeeding after several weeks of formula feeding. 

Alternatively, you can opt to feed your baby with both breast milk and formula. This process is referred to as supplementing and indicates a combination of breastfeeding and formula-feeding.

If you’re going to formula feed your baby, it’s important to know what your options are regarding formula types. Watch this clip to see the types of formula and their nutritional value. 

Conclusion

While the choice to breastfeed might be considered quite controversial in some mom circles, it’s important to remember that breastfeeding isn’t the only way to provide your baby with the necessary nutrition. Many babies get the nutrition they need from formulas such as Elecare or Neocate

If you’re concerned with the bonding aspect, it’s worth mentioning that these bonds will strengthen each time you hold, cuddle or swaddle your baby. Babies don’t need to be breastfed to be healthy or happy and at the same time, you can be an amazing parent!

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