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Usually, I would be highlighting all of the amazing advantages of breastfeeding but today I wanted to turn the tables a bit and talk about the top 10 disadvantages of breastfeeding.
I was never able to nurse my first child, as she was in the NICU and would never latch after she got the bottle for almost a week. However, I was determined to breastfeed my boys and I did!
My boys were boob boys 100% and I have no regrets at all. I really loved that connection a mother has with their breastfeeding child.
I am totally pro-breastfeeding and it comes with amazing benefits. However, there are also some negatives and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I breastfed my middle child for 6 months and my third for thirteen months. I can tell you with confidence that there are several disadvantages of breastfeeding.
1. Frequent Need To Nurse
Something you want to know about breast milk is that the digestion process is a lot faster than if you were feeding them formula. Because of this quick digestion, your baby is hungry more often.
Newborns will most likely nurse every hour to every 3 hours. This is so hard especially during the night when all you want to do is sleep. Once you get comfortable in your bed, your baby will wake up for a feeding.
This process goes on and on and it used to drive me crazy. It made for many groggy and exhausted days.
Those first few months were seriously brutal!
2. Cracked And Bleeding Nipples
The first few weeks of nursing are the most difficult for me. Your nipples aren’t used to the constant suckling of a newborn and you are going to feel pain. Sometimes, your nipples will crack and bleed.
Lanolin will be your breast(best) friend during this time. I slathered that stuff on constantly. I even used my own breast milk as a way to heal the cracks on my nipples. It actually does help.
Many lactation consultants will tell you if it hurts, then you’re doing it wrong. I would have to disagree. I believe if any vacuum is sucking on the skin, your skin is going to be sore and dry out. Don’t you think?
After the first two weeks, my nipples were toughened up enough to where it didn’t hurt in the slightest anymore. I didn’t even need to use lanolin after this point.
There was a point where I was so close to quitting with my third. The pain was just too much but I pushed through and everything was totally fine.
3. Engorgement And Mastitis
One of the biggest disadvantages of breastfeeding to me is being engorged and having mastitis. I have experienced both and can tell you its no fun.
While you’re building up your milk supply in the beginning, your breasts are going to fill up so full with milk that they feel as if they will burst. My boobs were ginormous and looked comical.
This engorgement is super uncomfortable. It also hurts to wear a bra because the pressure makes it even worse. I had to wear super loose shirts so it wouldn’t feel too bad. Even then, it was still awful.
If you don’t relieve the pressure in your boobs by pumping or breastfeeding, you can definitely get mastitis. This is when your milk duct gets clogged or if milk gets trapped in your breast.
The area around your breast will become red, warm, and extremely tender. The positive is you can keep breastfeeding with mastitis and it can be treated with an antibiotic.
4. Difficult To Nurse In Public
Babies need to eat no matter where you are, rain or shine. This can make it a bit difficult when you’re out in public with a screaming and starving baby. You just need to whip out the boob as fast as you can.
Nowadays, they have some pretty cool nursing covers that will completely cover you. Babies do tend to move around and the chances of your bitties showing are high if you don’t have the right kind of nursing cover.
Breastfeeding in public can be weird too if you feel like you’re being watched. However, when your baby needs to eat, you just push it all aside and feed your baby.
This was a big disadvantage of breastfeeding for me. I felt weird out in public even with my nursing cover.
Here is the link to the nursing cover I used. It really did save me.
5. Hard To Measure How Much Milk Your Baby Gets
At times, you’ll need to measure how much your baby is eating. Especially if they were in the NICU and you need to know exactly what goes in.
This is a disadvantage of breastfeeding because you can’t ever really be 100% sure how much your baby got out. You can try and guess but you’ll never completely be correct.
Babies are way more efficient at getting milk out of your breast than a breast pump so basing it off what you can pump and how long you nurse isnt accurate either.
There really is no sure way of knowing, that is all.
6. Nursing Pads Are Necessary
Have you ever noticed when you start nursing on one boob, your other boob starts to shoot out milk? Ya, I have leaked through many shirts because I forgot to wear my nursing pad.
Nursing pads are super annoying too. They are literally a pad to soak excess milk. They can get gross if you don’t change it and that’s just nasty.
There is a cool gadget called the breast shell which you put on the opposite boob while you’re nursing so when you feel the letdown, your milk goes into the shell to collect your milk and it won’t go to waste. They sell it on Amazon too which is super nice.
7. The Baby Is Attached You Constantly
One of the biggest disadvantages of breastfeeding is that you will not have any freedom anymore. Your baby is constantly attached to you. Your husband won’t really be able to help you with feedings unless you pump and bottle feed.
Many women don’t want to bottle feed because of the possibility of nipple confusion. It takes an effort to establish nursing so throwing it all away because of nipple confusion is heartbreaking.
If this doesn’t sound terrible to you then, by all means, go ahead and breastfeed.
8. Pumping To Increase Your Milk Supply
There were several times when I was nursing and my babies would fall asleep so fast on the boob. My boobs weren’t even close to being empty and I still felt engorged. I always had to pump after nursing in the early stages.
In order to keep up your milk supply, pumping after you nurse is important for the supply and demand. Your boobs need to be emptied in order for signals to be sent to your brain to make more milk.
I know that once your baby gets a bit older, around 3 months and up, they are able to empty your boob out pretty good so pumping after you nurse is no longer necessary.
Pumping can be such a pain in the butt because all you want to do it sleep but you can’t because you need to nurse, pump, wash the pumping supplies, then if you’re lucky you can lay down for thirty minutes before you have to do this all over again.
9. While Breastfeeding You Need To Watch What You Consume
It’s important when you’re breastfeeding, if you drink, to pump and dump your breastmilk. This is such a waste to me. I don’t drink but if I was a drinker, I would just not drink because wasting breastmilk like that would just kill me.
Also, some things we eat can affect your babies stomach. Sometimes, they can’t handle dairy or spicy foods. It’s all a balancing act until you figure out what works and what doesn’t work.
Some medications you might be taking could hurt your baby so if you are taking any medications, you’ll need to make sure with your doctor that it would be ok.
10. Breastfeeding Is Like A Full-Time Job
If you couldn’t tell, breastfeeding is like a full-time job. There are so many moving parts to it and if you’re determined to breastfeed, you need to push through it all.
Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing and I have no regrets with my experience. I am truly happy I was able to do it. However, I think it is important for other mothers out there to understand how hard it is.
Some days, you’ll want to quit or cry because you’re exhausted. Bottle feeding can be easier and you’ll want to go that route when your feeling discouraged.
It’s important to keep going because eventually, it will get easier, I promise.
I really hope you enjoyed this post about the disadvantages of breastfeeding. I would love to know if you are breastfeeding or did in the past and what you think of your experience?