What to do when you can’t breastfeed

What to do when you can't breastfeed at thebensonstreet.com

On Monday I shared my birth story. Well, there is more to share. One thing I am continuing to learn is: Make a plan, but be prepared to change it. My original plan was to breastfeed my beautiful baby. In the hospital she started out great. She latched well and wanted to eat constantly. Those first nights in the hospital and at home were rough. The first night Miss JJ wanted to nurse A LOT. Like every half hour or else she was upset. The lactation consultant brought us some information about cluster feeding (it seemed like she was cluster feeding all the time not just at a certain time of day). 

Make a Plan

My Breastfeeding Story

We battled through the first few crazy days as parents. We had a doctor’s appointment a few days after Miss JJ was born. At the appointment we weighed baby and she had lost a pound. The doctor wanted us to supplement because she had lost too much weight and she was super fussy (because she was hungry). The doctor thought my milk hadn’t quite come in yet. His suggestion was to nurse ten minutes on each side then supplement with the formula until she was satisfied. It was such a huge difference. She slept better, didn’t cry or fuss as much, it was so wonderful except for it was a little rough on me. I was to try this and see if my milk would come in. 

At her two week appointment Miss JJ’s weight was doing better and the doctor said I could back off on the supplementing. I decided to cut her off the formula cold turkey. Huge mistake. She was a mess again. Crying all the time and wanting to nurse constantly but wasn’t getting what she needed. Then I had some troubles with baby eating from both sides so I called the lactation consultant who made me feel all out of sorts. She told me not to give her anymore bottles. The next couple of days were horrible and then we decided we needed to wean her off the formula. Again, it helped so much. I continued to nurse and supplement but try to back her off until her one month appointment.

At the one month appointment her weight was back to being off track again. The doctor said she was getting most of her nourishment from the formula and we needed to continue on it because my milk still wasn’t coming in how it should. He told me some women never get their milk no matter what they do (I had been pumping and nursing a lot and trying to eat certain foods). He also gave me the choice to go all formula or continue as I was. I knew she was getting some milk so I continued on to give her any breast milk benefits that I could. 

The good news comes at the two month appointment. Miss JJ is doing great. She is now in the 70th percentile for weight. She knows how to eat and my milk has come in more. I still supplement some but way less then I was before.

So let me share,

What to do when you can’t breastfeed.

Whatever your reasons are for not breastfeeding or supplementing here are some things to keep in mind.

1. Don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up. There are so many different points of view on breastfeeding, formula, supplementing, etc. No matter what you do someone will try to tell you what you are doing is wrong. As a mother, I wanted to do what was best for my baby. I wanted to give her the benefits of breast milk, but wasn’t physically giving her the nutrition she needed. I decided (with the help of my doctor and husband) that it was more important to have a healthy baby than a non-thriving baby just because I wanted to breast feed exclusively. 

2. Use your mother’s intuition. This goes along with how I decided she needed to supplement and with every decision my husband and I have made about her feeding issues. With so many differing opinions and options it can be hard to know what to do with a new baby, but here is the deal, you decide what is best for your baby. Listen to all the advice you want, read what you find on Google, ask you doctor and lactation consultant questions, but in the end you decide what is best for your baby. Listen to your gut.

3. Be Flexible. Remember that quote up there: “Make a plan, but be prepared to change it.” If you planned to breastfeed and something is causing it to not work out, be flexible. Remember no baby is the same and sometimes we have to different things to make it work.  Take things easy and one day at a time. 

4. Hang in there. If you continue to try breastfeeding, hang in there. If you switch to formula and others make you feel horrible because of it, hang in there. No matter what you are doing for your baby, hang in there. You are doing your best and many babies have been fed formula and are doing just fine now. 

5. Know that there are strict standards for formula. Formula has strict standards it must meet. It might not be breastmilk, but it is fortified with proper nutrition that will help a baby thrive when breastmilk is not available or to use as a complement to breastmilk.


I still believe breast is best and if I have another baby I will try to breastfeed again, but sometimes plans have to change and it’s okay.


What is your breastfeeding, supplementing or formula feeding story?


Hi there!

I’m Emily, a mom and wife with a passion for crafting, celebrating holidays, and creating memorable moments. From Idaho to the world, The Benson Street is a treasure trove of easy, fun DIY projects, delightful printables, and delicious recipes. With over a decade of experience in blogging and a love for all things seasonal, I’m here to share my tips, ideas, and occasional mishaps. Join me in adding a dash of joy and creativity to every day! Read more…

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