Breast vs Bottle: How to Navigate Guilt Surrounding Feeding Choices

Breast vs Bottle: How to Navigate Guilt Surrounding Feeding Choices

April 30, 2024

Many expectant mothers have an ideal expectation about what their motherhood journey will look like long before their baby even arrives. During pregnancy, you may find yourself daydreaming about what your life will look like with a new baby and many of these idealizations will be a part of your reality soon! Sometimes however, your wishes may be challenged by real life circumstances that cause you to have to make a decision that you were not quite anticipating. For example, while many women feel strongly about how they will choose to nourish their baby by breastfeeding, sometimes their expectations are met with a reality that does not support their initial plans to nurse once their baby is born. If you are a Mama who has been hoping to breastfeed but have found that it is just not an option once the baby has arrived, you may be experiencing feelings of guilt as you navigate this unexpected situation. Take a deep, cleansing breath and stick with us as we help you acknowledge this discomfort, while providing you with the support you need to navigate this situation. 


Reasons Why Breastfeeding Might Not Work & How to Process It 

There are many valid reasons why breastfeeding may not be working that way you hoped it would. Scenarios such as chronic low milk supply, anatomical challenges for the mom or baby, excessive reflux, medical reasons and latch issues are just a few of the very real reasons as to why one might not be able to nurse successfully. You may be feeling as if your body is failing you and your baby if you were especially hopeful that this would work. Despite your best efforts and support from a lactation consultant, perhaps you find yourself realizing that you need to supplement with formula or exclusively formula feed. If this is causing you to feel a sense of guilt, shame or overall anger and sadness, recognize these feelings and process them with a trusted loved one. It is completely normal to struggle to accept these kinds of factors that are outside of your control. Nourishing your baby is a huge responsibility and whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed from a bottle, having strong feelings about this topic is natural.


Where To Go From Here

As you decipher how to offer your baby the very best nourishment, recognize that you have many great options! Whether you are planning to supplement or fully formula feed, choosing a healthy organic formula with high European quality standards is key! This will allow you to provide excellent nourishment for your growing baby, while carefully selecting a formula that meets your baby's unique needs. With various options to choose from depending on your little one's developmental stage along with nourishment considerations, choices such as LebenswertHolleHIPP, & Goat Milk formulas are all great alternatives to breastmilk. 


Celebrating The Fact That Fed Is Best 

While purchasing formula for the first time following breastfeeding struggles may bring up feelings of discomfort, allow yourself to acknowledge and work through those feelings so that you can get to the other side. Once you see your little one thriving because of the nutrition you are providing them, allow yourself to celebrate that win! If that happens to be because of a high-quality formula that you are offering them, know that fed is best, and you are a great Mom! One Mom shared how offering Lebenswert Organic Baby Formula Stage 1 since she could not breastfeed helped her to feel confident in her feeding choices.

Lebenswert Formula Review

Things To Tell Yourself or Others Who Struggle to Breastfeed

Whether it is you personally or a loved one who is navigating this situation, here are a few things you can say to help validate, support and celebrate feeding choices:


  • Acknowledge that feeding a baby is hard, regardless of whether that is from the breast or the bottle. Both options have their fair share of struggles and noting that they are both difficult choices in different ways can help validate strong feelings.
  • Listen & share your own experiences! If you personally are struggling through this, share your experiences with others. If you are supporting a loved one through this, listen an share your own journey. By sharing honestly about struggles and wins in motherhood, you can help yourself and others to do the same. 
  • Don't make assumptions or pass judgement. Everyone's experiences are unique and valid and there is no one right way to feed a baby. Do realize that the reason breastfeeding does or does not work can be completely outside of a mother's control. 
  • Do offer fiercely protective emotional support! When navigating your own feelings or helping someone else do that, offer a whole lot of grace and emotional safety. Offer yourself the same kindness that you would give to a friend or family member and support the choices that are made to make the best of an unforeseen parenting situation. 


Learn More

Interested in reading more about this and other related topics!? Checkout these posts below:

Navigating New Motherhood & Feelings Surrounding Feeding

Debunking Baby Formula Myths

Three Ways to Practice Self-Care in Motherhood

Top Tips for a New Mama

Help! My Baby Won't Take a Bottle! -

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