I Have Mommy Guilt Because I Stopped Breastfeeding

holland2

I have to admit that I hate the term: mommy guilt.

However, I know firsthand that no matter how hard you fight it, it will eventually creep into your life and you’re suddenly faced with regrets and should-haves on a daily basis. I should have played more with my kids today. I shouldn’t have fed them drive-thru McDonalds. Why didn’t I read her that extra story?

Your brain will eventually become overrun with these thoughts and you’ll lay awake in the middle of the night promising yourself that tomorrow you’ll be a better mother.

I stopped breastfeeding Holland when he was 18 months old. And I did it for purely selfish reasons.

He was turning into a big boy and I had committed myself to a slow weaning process. I stopped offering the breast when he was whiny, then I stopped day time feedings altogether, and finally we stopped nighttime feedings. The only feeding he received for a couple of weeks was his morning feeding – his sister would let him out of his crib and he would run into my room, jump into my bed, and lay there breastfeeding for upwards of 45 minutes.

I don’t think I need to explain that a 45-minute feeding first thing in the morning started to become a bit of a nuisance. The whole time I lay there waiting for him to finish I felt like I was wasting time, we all needed to get ready for the day, out the door, get Chanel to school – she was late to school 4 out of 5 days a week at the time.

So finally I stopped letting him feed in the morning. It was a bit tricky, making sure I was dressed and ready before he even woke up – and then distraction techniques all morning (look – toast! look – juice! look – thomas!). But sometimes I look back and feel super bad that I stopped nursing.

I feel like I took away his ‘comfort’.

It’s ridiculous. I know that.

But sometimes you can’t help the way you feel.

Sometimes I feel like perhaps I shouldn’t have been so selfish, that I should be willing to allow him this comfort that he seeks. Isn’t that a horrible idea – that a mother took comfort away from her son?

I know it’s silly.

My son is doing GREAT.

holland

We stopped breastfeeding and he started sleeping through the night, right away – that’s right, I am sleeping again! Sometimes a full 8 hours if I go to bed early enough – isn’t that incredible after a year and a half of being woken up every 2 – 3 hours?

But I still feel like I was a bit selfish in the way it ended.

I didn’t allow him to stop. I didn’t let him decide. I took it away from him.

I am shaking my head at myself even now.

He’s FINE.

Jay always joked that Holland would be five before he decided to quit the boob.

I wanted to stop. I wanted to take my boobs back. I was SO done with breastfeeding.

Stopping has given me the freedom to go out more often, it allows others to watch him and babysit him without worrying if he needs ‘booby’.

There were some days that I absolutely dreaded breastfeeding.

But there were more days where I loved it.

I used to feel guilty about wanting to stop.

Now I feel guilty that I have stopped.

When will this mommy guilt end??

Do you get mommy guilt?
What do you feel guilty about? What do you do about it?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • I think that sometimes it isn’t so much actual guilt, because 18 months is awesome, as it is the mourning process over the connection you shared with breastfeeding. I think that is a very normal feeling to have.. I’m actually starting to feel ‘over’ breastfeeding with my youngest and she’s just over 2 years old. My goal was to get to 2 years and some moments I feel ready to be completely done with it and other times I am so thankful we still have it going on. I’m sure that whenever it does stop I will still feel that sense of mourning that it is truly over.

    • I forgot all about the mourning process, I suppose that must be part of it as well. I do miss it at times, and other times I seem to have forgotten all about it! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Hun, don’t feel guilty – I know, easier said than done. But he’s doing just fine &, like you said, he’s sleeping through the night a huge plus for the both of you. You’ll beat yourself up more than he could ever do to you. It had to happen at some point. So, try not to worry. 🙂

    • He is doing fine, I know! I think it gets worse when I’m around people who continue to breastfeed and I think – why didn’t I keep going? and I start putting the blame on myself, even though I know it was the right time to end it!

  • I’m convinced moms are built with a “guilt” gene. Seriously. No matter when one stops, they will always feel guilty and mourn it. At 18 months that is AWESOME. My baby stopped latching at around 4 months (BOO) and I pumped until she was 8 months. It was exhausting work for me and while I feel guilty, I also feel great that I pumped exclusively for 4 MONTHS. 🙂 Many moms wouldn’t do that!!!

    • Mel that is so amazing – pumping definitely sucks (I did it with my first) but that is so awesome that you continued to do that! I still hear women who stop after 24 months, 36 months – and I blame myself for not continuing. But I definitely think it was the right time for me. So confusing!

  • OH girl. I feel you on mommy guilt. Even if it’s not from someone else, we sometimes bring it on ourselves with the pressure. Noah is still nursing and is almost 15 months. I can’t bring myself to wean him because I really don’t feel ready and I KNOW he’s not ready. But there are times I wish he would slowly wean himself now, and other times I feel a slight panic when I think about him weaning. I LOVE those moments together so much so that I could cry thinking about the many snuggles in bed or during the day while he nurses. I also have those moments, though, where he wants to nurse for the fifth time in an hour and I have to turn him away. And there are times when he’s woken up for the fifth time in the night and it’s ME who has to get up and nurse him back to sleep. I so feel your pain, but I also know you shouldn’t feel any guilt. 18 months is an amazing accomplishment and you’re right- he is fine. It might help to focus on all the other amazing ways he can find comfort with you now that nursing is over. Snuggles, hugs, kisses, all of that doesn’t have to end just because nursing does. I’m curious to see how Noah does this year with nursing and how/if our routine changes.

    • I kept hearing stories of kids who just decided to stop, and sometimes I wished my little one was like that too. And then I’d feel bad. I hear ya on the waking up at night – it was always me, I was the only one he wanted. When we stopped it seemed like he stopped being as whiny and needy, but again, as babies grow they develop so I doubt if it was linked simply to stopping breastfeeding.

  • Mommy guilt never stops. My oldest is only 8, but I am guessing it gets stronger with time, although over bigger things.

    I breastfed my daughter till she was 3.5 and then weaned her. I felt guilty even though it was time. Her little brother just turned 4 and he only nurses for about 30 seconds before bed, and I haven’t weaned him yet because… guilt. I know mothers whose kids self-weaned completely – they just feel guilt about other things. It’s part of being a mother, and fueled by a million articles and books about how you’re doing it wrong.

    18 months is something to feel proud of. Congrats!

  • I’m an eternal optimist. Annoying at times (say my friends). Feel free to ignore what I’m about to say…

    The way I look at it is that I gave 17 months of my time. The best of times. The intimate of times. I gave up sleep. My body. All that I had. And I continue to give. And will until the day I die. I just wanted my body back and I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

    Thanks for the weekly linkup. I’m making my way through the list.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

  • Yes! I completely relate to everything you wrote. If another mama was feeling this way, I would encourage her to do what was best for her and to take care of herself to be able to take the best care of her kids, but when it comes to myself I feel like I always need to do whatever’s best for my kiddo, like breastfeeding.

  • I think this is a lot more common than you think and by writing about it, you’ll find that many moms are in the same boat or have been there!

  • Mothers provide so many wonderful things to their children and yes, milk is one of them. For those of us who can’t, won’t, didn’t or stopped providing milk, it just means that we are able to provide something else. For some who didn’t breastfeed, for whatever reason, it might be providing the best formula possible while still making baby’s mealtime a bonding experience. For those who stopped breastfeeding, for whatever reason, it may mean providing more time for other children or more time sleeping so that we could be better moms in the long run. We all just do our best and that’s all we can do!

  • Oh, PLEASE! If it wasn’t the guilt from stopping breast feeding, you’d feel guilt from something ELSE! Trust me! I had 3 kids…The 1st was adopted, so I COULDN’T breast feed! No guilt there…I always made sure I cuddled, rocked him, sang to him, connected to him while I was bottle feeding him…ALWAYS!
    Then I had a biological child…and I was determined to TRY to breast feed. All I can tell you is it was NOT a good experience for me! She was colicky on breast milk! I never heard of that, but she was! She needed special formula, and it did help. I breast fed her for a whole 3 weeks…so, I felt guilt that I was a bad mother because I couldn’t nourish my infant without making her sick! Well, I got over it as soon as the pain of being engorged went away…LOL!
    I think we as mothers will ALWAYS have something to feel guilt about! You know what…they grow up just fine in spite of our guilt!! Kids are VERY strong!

  • After I weaned my daughter at 20 months she was actually happier! It made her less whiny for some reason! Yes, mommy guilt is real. I think it helps to realize noone is perfect!

  • moms have to look out for themselves. if mommy’s not happy, nobody is. I learned there are times when you just have to break away from the parenting books in order to survive childhood. I just hope I can survive adolesence

  • I think you picked a very good time to ween him off. I know that comfort is what you are worring about in this post but he got what he needed from you and I think you should be proud that you lasted that long! I had to stop after about 2 months due to complications.