The 7 Unspoken Disadvantages of Breastfeeding

It's not all flowers and sunshine.

I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding. I think that all moms should do it if possible (of course, it’s not always possible.)

But there are a number of arguments against breastfeeding that I’ve heard. I’m not here to judge or sway you in one direction or another.

If you choose not to breastfeed, that’s up to you!

Here are the commonly talked about disadvantages of breastfeeding:

1. Breastfed babies need to be fed more often.

A breastfed baby needs to be fed about every 1.5 to 3 hours, which can be inconvenient and frustrating, especially through the night.

However, I think this could easily be seen as a positive thing; it gives much more mom-and-child bonding time. Not only that, but if you’re not bottle feeding, you don’t have to wander around the kitchen at night to warm up a bottle. You can simply breastfeed yourself, and put them back to sleep quickly and peacefully.

2. There are dietary restrictions.

When you’re a breastfeeding mom, there are some dietary restrictions you have to be mindful of. Whatever it is you eat, you’re passing onto your baby! Some moms feel that it’s hard to go even longer with the dietary restrictions after having gone 9 months already.

Alcohol should be kept to a minimum: about 3 glasses of wine per week, and cigarettes should be avoided altogether. Many medications will not be suitable for a breastfeeding mom either, so that’s something to keep in mind.

3. Nursing in public isn’t always fun.

If you’re like me, the idea of breastfeeding in public isn’t exactly making you jump for joy. I’m a discreet person, and for others like me, it can be troubling to try to breastfeed in public.

There are some options, such as nursing covers, but your little one might outgrow them before they’re done breastfeeding.

If you still want to feed in public, Breastfeeding Place has a great post with advice on tips on how to do it. I honestly think that most people will be fine with it after they do it a few times, even if they don’t think they will be. At least, that’s how it worked for me!

4. It can be uncomfortable and painful.

Let’s be honest: breastfeeding can cause some discomfort. Especially when you first start, your nipples are probably going to be sore, and your breasts will probably be engorged throughout the whole duration that you breastfeed.

Not to mention that your baby will get their teeth at some point, and let me speak from experience here: biting is painful.

5. You don’t know how much milk baby is getting.

When you feed formula, you know exactly how much they’re getting, because you measure it.

But when you’re breastfeeding, it can be hard to determine exactly how much they’re getting, any many new moms worry that their little one isn’t getting the nutrition they need. Or that they’re feeding them too much!

However, most experts agree that if you feed on demand rather than on a schedule, things will all regulate themselves and this won’t be a problem.

If you’re really concerned about this, you could always use a breast pump and measure it in a bottle before feeding.

6. You need special clothing to breastfeed.

In order to breastfeed, ideally you’ll need breastfeeding bras (which aren’t cheap) as well as shirts that button up in the front. If you don’t have any already, you’ll have to invest in some.

There are lots of expenses already when it comes to buying for a new baby (hello cribs and car seats!) so not everyone is prepared to spend even more money.

7. No one else can feed the baby but you.

If you don’t plan on pumping, it means you’re the only one that can feed baby. This means very little father-child bonding in the early months, and that could also make dad feel left out.

It also means that you never get a break, and no one can take over for you. I hope you’re prepared to always be on call! That means no babysitters either.

Of course, pumping can remedy this issue, but you’ll have to invest in a breast pump, and they’re not the cheapest things to buy.

Pumping can be a solution.

Using a breast pump can be a solution to many of these issues, and it’s something I recommend if you can fit one into your budget!

I’ve written a guide all about choosing a breast pump, which you can take a look at right here. If this is something you’re seriously considering, or I haven’t convinced you yet, I think my guide will be a big help!

Because you can pump your milk for use in the future, it means you’re no longer tied to feeding your baby alone, and anyone else can feed for you. And that includes the papa.

With the right pump, you can even pump directly into bottles, so it’s super convenient. What more could you ask for?

  1. 1. I agree with No.1. But dont see it as a disadvantage as all new babies need feeding every 1.5-3 hours.
    2. The dietary restrictions are easy as who wants to drink alcohol whilst breastfeeding anyway!
    3.Nursing “in public” doesn’t necessarily mean in public. Plenty of quiet coffee shops and establishments have quiet corners to discreetly feed little one and it’s so easy to feed little one that people rarely notice…
    4.Some women never experience any pain or sore nipples. (speaking as a breastfeeding mum) and my breasts very rarely engorge at all.
    5.Worrying about “how much baby is getting” is a waste of time aslong as baby is happy and settled after each feed and is gaining weight and not losing it.
    6. Nursing bra’s are worth every penny and make breastfeeding easy and comfortable. As for special clothing…. Unnecessary. A simple stretchy vest under any garment makes for an easy life.
    7. Baby and Father can bond just as much as Baby and Mum depending how much time Dad puts in. He can change bums, and sit with mum looking into babies eyes and help out at bath time. Breastfeeding certainly does not mean Dad can not bond with baby.

  2. With regard to the extra expense for clothes, which can be bought cheaply on ebay or other sources, how does that compare to the cost of formula over 6 months. This hidden cost is rarely mentioned and it’s quite considerable!!!

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