Eight months old!


Oh, my little boy.  You seem more and more like a big boy every single day.  It makes me happy and sad all at once.  I remember when you were so tiny in my arms but couldn’t do many fun things, and now you make my arms ache from your heft and can do so many neat tricks.  You’re growing up SO FAST! 

 8 months

We’ll start things off with a quick fitness/body update and then move onto the topic that been weighing on my mind – breastfeeding.


Overall, I’m feeling great!  Much like last month, not much has changed.  I’ve been taking it easy since my last half marathon, achieving 3 – 5 workouts a week.  But to be honest, I’m not putting in that much effort.  It’s kind of nice to ‘phone it in’ and just exercise to maintain the habit.  I’d like to rev things up before triathlon season, of course, but I’ve got a little bit of time.  And I’ve got a lot of other stuff going on.


Can I just say that we’ve been sleeping SO WELL lately?!  Three cheers for sleep training.  Best thing I ever did.  I look back on the Month 1 – 4 pictures and think that I look like I was hit by a truck.  Sleep is so amazing.


Onto the ‘mind’ update…


This is a big month for me.  I’ve decided to stop breastfeeding.  I am extremely proud of myself for making it eight months, especially considering that I exclusively pumped for six of them.  In total, I have pumped over 1,000 times, producing more than 5,400 ounces of breastmilk.  Five thousand and four hundred ounces!  DANG!  I have pumped five to six times a day for the last 180-odd days of my life.  For 180 days, pumping has been the first and last thing that I did every single day. 


I cannot wait for it to be over.


There are lots of things that I want to say about breastfeeding, so forgive me if this becomes jumbled.   First, I want to say this: when I was pregnant, I had no idea what breastfeeding entailed.  Of course, I had heard that breastfeeding can be hard for some women.  But I never thought that it would be hard for me.  I never thought that physically feeding Henry would be difficult; I never thought that I would find public breastfeeding to be awkward (our physical issues made it logistically difficult).  I didn’t understand what sleep deprivation did to a person; I didn’t understand how badly I would need Kristien to give the baby a bottle every now and then (or, um, every night). 


Breastfeeding is a huge emotional and physical commitment, and although it is easy for many women, I really think we should give a HUGE round of applause to every mom who breastfeeds – no matter for how long.   I would never want to discourage other people from breastfeeding because I know that so many of you love it and don’t feel like it’s hard.  But even if it’s ‘easy,’ it’s a commitment, and for that reason alone, everyone deserves major kudos.


I felt a lot of pressure to breastfeed.  I run in ‘holistic’ circles; most of the moms that I know breastfed.  At my natural birth classes, I dared to ask about formula feeding and was given a huge stink eye for it.   I read the literature and many books; I knew that doctors consider breastmilk the best option.    I saw not one but two lactation consultants after Henry’s birth.  I read the books.  Truthfully, I was not enamored by the idea of breastfeeding the way some people are, but I wanted it to work for numerous reasons.  So when physically breastfeeding became too hard and too complicated, I switched to pumping.   I pumped for six months.  Sometimes, it was okay; something it was not.  But by the end, I honestly hated every single day of pumping.  I stuck with it because I felt committed, I felt like ‘I had to,’ and I felt like I would be failing if I stopped.


Funnily enough, I never judged non-breastfeeding moms.  I never felt like other moms ‘had to’ do what I felt like I ‘had to’ do!  After all, the one thing that I’ve learned since becoming a mother is DON’T JUDGE OTHER PEOPLE.  Ever!  Everyone has a reason for doing what they want to do, and no one can be ‘perfect’ all the time.  Even if you do one thing ‘right,’ there’s a million things you apparently aren’t.  Dressing baby in fire retardant-laden clothes? Feeding them non-organic food?  Letting them chew on icky plastic instead of pricey wooden toys?!  GASP!  You’re doing it wrong!  I recognized this very early on in my journey, so I didn’t judge anyone else .  But for some crazy reason, I judged myself.   On one hand, I acknowledged that no one could be perfect.  But on the other, I rated myself as a mom by how close I felt to ‘perfect.’   It doesn’t make much sense, but that’s how I felt about breastfeeding.


Due to this attitude, I couldn’t give myself permission to stop.  Even when the thought of pumping made me sick, I would berate myself into continuing.  I would guilt myself into staying on the path.  At the end of the day, the pressure was really all my own; the guilt was my creation.  After a while, I realized how negative my rhetoric about stopping was:  “I’m a bad mom if I wean ” or “I don’t want to quit” or “I’ll feel like a failure if I stop.” 


Quite honestly, it ended up screwing with my head a lot.  It made me really unhappy as time wore on.  I am sure that other moms who have pumped can relate to how hard it can be – it’s so emotionally and physically taxing in a way that breastfeeding just isn’t (so I hear).


It took a sobbing session at my therapist’s to realize that 1) I really do want to stop – I want my breasts back, I want my time back, I want my freedom back; 2) Saying I want to stop doesn’t make me a selfish person; 3) I need to extend myself the same courtesy that I do to other moms; 4) Really and truly – no one can be perfect!  and 5) I need to focus on the positive.  I’ve started to say things like, “It’s okay to stop” and “I’ve breastfed for eight whole months! DAMN, I rock!”


One of my ‘homework’ assignments to process stopping was this:  I made a list of all the things that I want to do to be a “good mom.”  My list includes things like: engaging Henry in creative play, reading books to him every day, always being positive when he wakes up in the morning (I feel like this is a really great life habit), exposing him to other children, encouraging him to interact with safe adults, etc.  At the bottom, I wrote, “You made it eight whole months – congrats!”  I put the list in my closet and read it every day.  There are lots of ways to be a good mom besides how I fed Henry.   And I do think that I’m a pretty good momma.  Henry seems to like me. Winking smile


As you can tell, I am a perfectionist.  It’s not always a bad thing; I have used that aspect of my personality to do some awesome things.  But perfectionist is a double-edged sword, and I never felt it attack me quite the way it did when it came to breastfeeding. 


I know this sounds strange (considering that I keep a very public blog), but I am actually a relatively private person.  I feel like I have a lot going on ‘under the surface’ that I only share with a few people in my real life; the topic of breastfeeding and pumping has become very loaded for me lately.  But I wanted to share my thoughts publicly because I know that so many of you can probably relate.  Even if you never started to breastfeed or found it to be easy as pie.  Even if you aren’t a mom!  And I don’t want others to feel alone.


We all have expectations for ourselves, our careers, our relationships that don’t always work out.  And if you are really stuck on an idea, it can be hard to change your ways without feeling like you’re failing.  But none of us are failing – we’re just changing.  I think reframing your internal conversation to be more positive is such a powerful way to go about the change.  There’s no reason to tear yourself down just because you are changing. 


I am proud that I made it eight months.  But I am very happy to be in the process of stopping and switching to formula.  This experience taught me a lot about myself.  I learned about strength, sacrifice, balance, self-preservation.  But most of all, I learned that while I may be able to force myself to do something, but I really cannot  berate myself into happiness.  And my happiness matters, too.   If something isn’t working for me, it’s just not working for me.  That’s okay.  Very often, the vision we had is different than the reality we experience.

IMG_4903  IMG_4905

Life is complex.  Parenthood is complex.  But I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.



  • Alice February 18, 2013, 9:34 am

    This post is great – good for you! The last few paragraphs really struck a chord with me also, and it’s definitely the type of thing I needed to read at the moment! 🙂

  • Marie-Sophie February 18, 2013, 9:37 am

    Awesome and honest post! I don’t have kids yet but one of my best friends will be a mom very shortly and just recently I told her she can come to me no matter with what topic – and your post gives me a bit of an insight that might be incredibly useful in helping my best friend! Thank you!

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 9:38 am

      you sound like an awesome friend!

  • Dana February 18, 2013, 9:38 am

    “We all have expectations for ourselves, our careers, our relationships that don’t always work out. […] But none of us are failing – we’re just changing.”

    THANK YOU! My expectations are being thrown out the window in my life right now and I’m NOT dealing with it well, but I think it might really help to just alter how I’m looking at it. Changing, not failing. I really needed to hear/read that.

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 9:40 am

      good luck, friend. it really can be hard but you’re on the path you’re supposed to be on. you know?

  • Caroline February 18, 2013, 9:41 am

    This is a relief to hear — not that you had problems, but that you’re sharing them. Because just like when women don’t enjoy being pregnant itself, it seems like there’s always a circle of people waiting to jump down their throats for being wrong or bad moms or something. Occasionally sharing a negative thought about something doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the good parts of whatever it is, sheesh!

  • MissPinkKate February 18, 2013, 9:44 am

    Enjoy! Breastfeeding went well for us but being totally weaned is great, too! Weaning made my hormones go bonkers; it was nice when it was done and I was back on an even keel.

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 9:52 am

      I am so terrified of the hormonal flux.

      • Morgan February 18, 2013, 10:30 am

        It’s short lived. Much easier than the initial hormonal change after giving birth!

        • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:32 am

          oh thank god.

        • MissPinkKate February 18, 2013, 12:02 pm

          Agreed, it was short!

  • Kristy @ Kristy's Health Revolution February 18, 2013, 9:45 am

    I love this post. I hate how judgey becoming a mother/mothering a baby is! I’m not a mom yet, but considering the fact that I feel guilty about not being perfect ALL THE TIME, I can imagine how becoming a mother will make me feel sometimes. It’s been so good to read your mommy blogs to prepare me for that journey.

  • Courtney @ Translating Nutrition February 18, 2013, 9:50 am

    Congratulations on 8 months! As a fellow perfectionist, I understand all to well the ‘harder on myself than others’ scenario you are describing here. I don’t have a baby, but this really resonated with me, and I will definitely keep your wisdom in mind when the time comes. Thanks for sharing! p.s. you have one adorable baby and the pictures of you two are just precious!

  • Jess February 18, 2013, 9:51 am

    Breastfeeding IS a lot of work. Although its only been mentally difficult for me I have to admit that I won’t miss it too much when its time to end it. 🙂

    I would love an update on the sleep training… how its changed since the start, any regressions, etc.

  • Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries February 18, 2013, 9:53 am

    I love and appreciate this post so much! Thank you for being so honest and open with us. I think for those that breastfeeding comes easily to, they don’t understand when others have more of a negative experience with it. It’s nice to hear women coming from both sides. I’m due with our first baby in about 7 weeks, and I truly hope that breastfeeding works out for us. However, reading this makes me feel OK if it doesn’t too.

  • Jamie February 18, 2013, 9:54 am

    My daughter is one month old now and I’m struggling with breastfeeding. It really is so difficult. I wish I was someone who found it easy but she eats every two to three hours day and night. Because I’m the only one who can feed her, I’m the only person getting up. I just cried because my six year old woke me up to make him breakfast. I also have some of the issues you did such as forceful letdown and oversupply. I’ve been thinking of going the same route with pumping but the middle of the night feedings are keeping me from doing so.

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 9:59 am

      I’m so sorry that you got woken up – that’s the worst! The first month really is the hardest because they eat so so so much. And the sleep deprivation – ugh. xoxox.

    • Louise February 18, 2013, 5:52 pm

      Jamie, if it’s any consolation I haaaated breastfeeding for the first month for many of the same reasons. I told myself to get to 6 weeks, and then at 6 weeks it was get to 12 weeks. I thought if I could pump and measure what he got it would make a difference but that seemed like a lot of work. And then like everyone said it would, it got easier. He’s now nearly 11 months and I don’t even think about it. 4 times a day he spends about 5 minutes feeding. Those first months were so incredibly hard and unrewarding in many ways (I loved him, but no smiles, sleep deprivation, steepest learning curve ever – that’s no treat) but they seem like a drop in the ocean now. We’re coming up to weaning and although I’m looking forward to getting my body back completely, I will miss the simplicity of it.
      And to you Caitlin…you are an amazing mum – 8 months of breastfeeding is a tremendous effort for most people, 6 months of pumping in that time is truly something to be very proud of – you did something wonderful for Henry and now you’ll have time to do other wonderful things for him. What type of milk Henry drinks in the first year of his life is an important but relatively small part of the amazing life you’re giving him 🙂

  • K February 18, 2013, 9:55 am

    8 months is amazing. Congratulations! In my moms group, we discuss the concept of judging others vs. judging ourselves quite often. We’re all very easy on and supportive of each other, yet we beat ourselves up endlessly over little things. We’re all working on this same issue, whatever the decision be (some moms are disappointed they gave in and got an epidural, some are sad about breastfeeding not working out how they had hoped/planned, all of us stress about sleep issues, etc). So, we’re all working on treating ourselves the way we treat others in the group- with support, TLC, and we give ourselves room to feel conflicted over things.

  • Stephanie February 18, 2013, 9:58 am

    I’m a long time reader and have wanted to comment for a long time but put it off until I had ‘time’ to write out everything I wanted to say, but is there ever really ‘time’ with a baby? I want to commiserate in a big way. Your journey has been almost identical to mine from the scarring from the tear to the UTI post birth to pumping (although I only made it to 7 months) to judging yourself too harshly to be ‘perfect’. I know how you feel because I have been there EXACTLY. You have done a wonderous thing for your son – sacrificing yourself in more way than breastfeeding or formula feeding alone (in my opinion). You will enjoy the freedom and extra time and attention you get to lavish on your son. Motherhood is a hard journey no matter what path you go down and it would do a lot for each of us to stop judging each other and our selves too harshly. Solidarity!

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:01 am

      “only” 7 months?! oh heck no – how about DAMN I MAKE IT 7 AWESOME ASS MONTHS! 🙂 Thanks for this comment!

      • Stephanie February 19, 2013, 12:12 pm

        You’re welcome! Thank you for this post!

        I realized the ‘only 7 months’ hypocracy after I pushed ‘submit’. Self judging is a hard habit to break!

        • Caitlin February 19, 2013, 12:46 pm

          It is.

  • Amy@ahealthyandhappyheart February 18, 2013, 9:59 am

    You wrote this post so well.. breastfeeding/pumping for me was so hard and painful (and I could only pump a few ounces) I was beating myself up about it and it took my joy for being a mother away. Once we switched to formula, both baby and mama are happy! I am so happy you are doing whats best for you and your family! Henry is adorable and is very lucky to have you.

    P.S. you look great! You do rock!

  • Claire February 18, 2013, 10:05 am

    Congrats on making it to 8 months! There’s nothing like parenthood to help you define your priorities. I was always passionate about breastfeeding; and because it was a priority to me I made it a year pumping over two hours a day at work and after my daughter’s bedtime (on top of 6-8 nursing sessions) because I had low supply. But because it was something I was really passionate about, it wasn’t a burden for me, and I was really proud that I was able to avoid formula. But it was something that I knew even before having a baby that I really wanted to make work, no matter what.

    I can see how pumping must be tough if it’s something you don’t feel strongly about! And I know what it’s like to run in crunchy circles when you do something “non-crunchy”. I follow along and agree with most of the “crunchy” aspects of parenting – extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, organics, etc (except for delayed or not vaccinating – I’m a scientist in the medical field and I have VERY strong feelings about that, ha!). But I work out of the house full time, and I’ve gotten some flack for that. I’ve felt some guilt when I look at your idyllic set-up of working part-time from home, and I’ve wondered if I was more committed I would find a way to have that set-up as well. But over time I’ve realized that I love my job, I set a good example to my daughter by showing non-traditional gender roles (my husband is a stay-at-home dad and because of that is an AMAZING, super-involved father), and the time I do have with her when I’m home is all the more precious – I relish every moment we have together (even those 2 am nursing sessions!).

    And Henry is just adorable!

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:11 am

      I just want to say that I think working full time has many positives, too. Your daughter gets exposed to other safe adults and learns how to interact with different types of people (very important!). When she’s older, she will know that her mom is a hard worker and is an intelligent, valued employee. And she can do that, too, if she wants! My mom worked full time when I was growing up and was a great example to me. There are loads of advantages to be a WAHM or a SAHM, but there are great things about working out of the house, too. 🙂 Just wanted to say you are awesome for juggling it all, especially all that breastfeeding while working!!!

    • Candice February 19, 2013, 9:15 am

      I love to hear of mothers working full time and fathers staying home! That is the plan for my husband and I when we are lucky enough to be expecting.

  • Julie February 18, 2013, 10:05 am

    The thing is, breastfeeding and exclusive pumping are two entirely different experiences. I had to pump because I worked part-time and I did not enjoy it AT ALL, I hated pumping. But I did breastfeed whenever I was with my daughter and I loved it and we nursed for 16 months. The first couple months were hard but once we both learned how, it got really easy for us and was much more convenient than dealing with bottles. I think it’s great that you were able to provide breast milk for your son for 8 months, despite all the challenges.

  • Sarah February 18, 2013, 10:05 am

    “Very often, the vision we had is different than the reality we experience.” THANK YOU, Caitlin. I have been feeling SO guilty because I chose to not breastfeed my second baby. Julian was just 21 months when Mary was born, and I just didn’t know how I’d make it work. Now, Mary’s 11 weeks old, and I have been berating myself for “robbing” her of the experience. I wish I could just decide to do it now, that it wasn’t such a final decision. I have already promised myself to at least try with next baby… but that hasn’t helped me NOW, with Mary.

    What I need to realize is that I am a great mom — I have two happy, healthy, beautiful kids — who cares how I fed each of them? The only one judging me, is me. I wish it were so easy to give myself the same love and patience I give others! Still working on that. Thank you so much for your honesty.

    • Linda February 18, 2013, 10:19 am

      My kids are 22 months apart and breastfeeding this second one is so much harder because of my daughter. I don’t know how I would do it without all the help I receive from my husband, but there have been many times I’ve considered stopping just because of the time it takes. You make it work, but I feel guilty when I have to feed this baby because I’m not focused on the toddler and then I feel guilty if I consider stoppping because I breastfed my daughter for a year. It’s an endless cycle, but your comment and Caitlin’s post re-iterate we do whats best for us and our family and it all works out in the end.

      • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:20 am

        Side note: Can you imagine having lots and lots of kids? Like the Duggars? I would go insane.

        • Rebecca February 19, 2013, 11:15 am

          Speaking of the Duggars, they had to put baby Josie (who’s three-ish now) on special formula because her body couldn’t break down the lactose in Michelle’s breast milk and it was giving her problems.
          Every story is different.

  • Jill February 18, 2013, 10:05 am

    I am a new mother to an 11 week old girl, and I have been having issues with breastfeeding since day 1. I think until you do it you don’t quite realize how emotionally taxing and physically draining it really can be (I EPed for several weeks of these 11). I am sticking with it for now, and have made a “soft goal” of 6 months, and made a promise to be proud of myself no matter what may come at that six month mark.

    I have followed your journey through breastfeeding too and I just wanted to say as a fellow mom, what you have accomplished is nothing short of amazing! I am intending to share my struggles with bfing on my new blog about motherhood also, but I was struggling with how honest to be as I was afraid of the judgment I may receive. But your post has given the the strength to be honest with myself and with other mothers, because I am the same as you – I feel we as mothers need to support each other through our own personal journeys through motherhood.

    All in all, thanks for your honesty, Caitlin. Your posts about breastfeeding have helped me find comfort through times of difficulty. And remember, breastfeeding even for a day is the best choice we can make for our children. I have to tell myself this daily :). You are an amazing mother for doing this for Henry forso long, and good for you for knowing when it was time to move on!

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:09 am

      xoxo you are an amazing momma too!

  • Michelle February 18, 2013, 10:08 am

    Way to go, Mama! 8 months IS awesome! And good job on the broccoli, my kids are 4 and 8, still won’t eat it! 🙂

  • Jen @ Little-Crumbs February 18, 2013, 10:09 am

    I sit here pumping right now…that first few minutes are the most painful, but we’re on month 6 so I’m thankful. I’ve moved to exclusive pumping since going back to work full time, and it is hard work! Though I too put momma guilt on myself for wanting my body back, but at the sametime wanting to still provide milk. We are working on introducing foods now, so maybe once he starts to actually eat the food we can talk about weaning. At the end of the day I remember I’m so happy and blessed to be my little guy’s mom.

  • Kelly February 18, 2013, 10:09 am

    I could have written this post . I was only able to breastfeed for 8 weeks with my daughter before she went on a permanent nursing strike. I tried exclusively pumping, and it made me absolutely crazy. I don’t know how you did it for as long as you did. It felt like such an injustice to have to sit there and pump (and be unable to hold my baby while I did it, which meant finding time where I didn’t have to hold her, which is NEVER with a newborn), and then spend time cleaning the parts, and THEN spend time feeding her the pumped milk and washing bottles. It really did a number on me. I made it with exclusively pumping for 2 weeks before my husband, mother & pediatrician intervened and told me that REALLY REALLY REALLY, it would be ok if I gave her formula, and having a sane mama is more important than having breastmilk. I cried giving her that first bottle of formula, but after that it got so much better. And truthfully, once I weaned I felt so much more SANE. My hairdresser said the same thing to me- “Breastfeeding made me feel crazy.”

    Aaannnyway. Good for you for doing it as long as you did, but also good for you for giving yourself permission to switch to formula. Think of how much time you’ll get back without having to pump!!

    • jessika February 18, 2013, 11:46 pm

      Breastfeeding made me crazy too! I pumped and breastfed for 11 months, but man, I hated the pressure from the outside and the inside. It definitely has made me rethink how long I’ll breastfeed next time (if we have a nother).
      But seriously, getting back to the normal hormones only takes about a month, then you’ll be golden.

  • anna February 18, 2013, 10:10 am

    caitlin, i have to say that this was really refreshing to hear from an HLB. i just hope that you also consider extending this thought process of “why am i truly doing ____?” and “am i truly happy doing _____?” into other parts of your life.

    the reason i became so jaded with HLBs a couple years ago is because a few things became glaringly clear to me: 1.) there was an unspoken pressure (like you alluded to) for everyone in that community to follow certain standards or expectations. 2.) they stopped being genuine and unique. because the vast majority of these bloggers feel the same pressure you did, originality went out the window.

    i understand the awful, paralyzing anxiety that comes with constantly comparing yourself to others, and feeling like you’re not living up to shared expectations.

    please, please, for the sake of your sanity and your family, continue to recognize those familiar feelings of “do i really want to do this, or am i doing it for thr blog?” in other parts of your life (be it exercise, diet, marriage, decorating, etc.). i guarantee, your readers will really appreciate it and also look at themselves in a more positive, genuine light. and you will feel a gigantic sense of relief.

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:13 am

      good comment! It’s really hard to operate and write in a world that is judgmental.

    • Sarah February 18, 2013, 11:47 am

      I just had to say I agree with this comment! This is why Caitlin is one of the only HLBs I still read. I really feel like the “real” person comes across and she is very genuine and unique 🙂

      Also, Caitlin, thank you! I’m expecting my first baby in May and it’s good to be reminded that everything won’t go exactly how I imagine it. And that’s okay 🙂

      • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 11:57 am

        Congrats! And thank you!

  • Jess February 18, 2013, 10:13 am

    Thank you for this post. I will be a mom in about 4 months. I too am a perfectionist, and easily get into the ‘you’re not good enough’ mentality even when I am doing my best. There’s always something more I could be doing,right? But while I’m starting to become anxious about all the decisions and changes that are coming my way, I think it’s important to remember that my best is good enough and always will be. 😄Thanks

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:14 am

      Even your ‘kind of best’ is good enough 🙂 Don’t forget that either!

  • Jordan February 18, 2013, 10:17 am

    Congrats on 8 months on breastfeeding, with emphasis on exclusively for 6 of those! I HATED pumping 3x each day at work. I just stopped breastfeeding/pumping at 6 months last week. My body just couldn’t keep up with it, and we had already been supplementing with formula since December. I’m a little lopsided at the moment, so I’m looking forward to things going back to normal! 🙂

  • Eileen February 18, 2013, 10:19 am

    Great post, I so appreciate your willingness to be so open about your bf experiences. It helps everyone who reads this! I think it’s a big help to read about all the various adventures in bf’ing, just to know how any and all variations including none are perfectly ok!

  • Katie February 18, 2013, 10:22 am

    Thank you for this post. I think it’s amazing you made it to 8 months! I totally understand the guilt and negative feelings you had toward yourself. I have a 5 month old and have those same feelings, but on the other end of the breastfeeding spectrum. For me, I want so badly to breastfeed exclusively but have been struggling with supply issues since I went back to work at 8 week. Subsequently, we have also had baby weight gain problems. Those two things combined led us to supplement with formula 75% of the time. I’ve had so much guilt and feelings of failure, because I tried literally everything to make it work and I couldn’t. I’m still barely hanging in there, pumping and feeding him as much as my
    body will allow (I can only pump max 2 oz these days), but I know it’s only a matter of time before its over. I’m learning to accept that and I know that it doesn’t make me a “bad” mom or a failure. Just writing this makes me tear up. The feelings we have as mamas are so real and intense. I really do feel that were all doing the best we can dr ourselves and our babies- and that looks so different for everyone. I wish the mommy wars against ourselves and other moms would end!

    You are an amazing mama Caitlin!

    • Dominique February 18, 2013, 1:02 pm

      I’m sure you’ve tried everything but just in case you haven’t tried this, I’ve taken supplements to boost my supply and they have really helped. In the beginning, I was taking 3 capsules of Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek 3 times a day. The lactation consultant here told me they were both safe and worked better when taken together. After my supply was up to where it needed to be, I weaned myself off the supplements. I started taking them again however, when I noticed my supply was starting to decrease. Now, I take two of each in the mornings and it has reversed the tend of my supply dropping off and even slightly increased my supply. Hope that helps. Good luck. I totally understand the frustration and difficulty of low supply.

      • Katie February 18, 2013, 1:34 pm

        Thank you Dominique! My lactation consultant told me the same, so I’ve been taking 3 of each 3x a day. They did help increase my supply a lot, but then I got my period back and it dropped again. I’m still taking them in hopes my hormones will balance out nd my supply will increase again, but I am not sure if they will 🙁

        • Gina (fitnessista) February 18, 2013, 10:56 pm

          if it doesn’t, be kind to yourself. i also took a boatload of supplements (and did everything under the sun) and still couldn’t make enough milk. you are doing everything you can, and you are doing an amazing job. we supplemented with formula to make sure our baby was getting enough (in addition to breastfeeding and then exclusively pumping), and she’s happy and healthy as can be.
          hang in there- i know how tough it is! sending love to you.

          • Katie February 20, 2013, 8:26 pm

            Thanks Gina! I remember reading about your journey on the blog and while I couldn’t relate at the time, I did go back and reread all of your breastfeeding posts once I was dealing with those issues myself. It is nice to know that I’m not alone, and to be reminded that what is important is giving our babies full bellies so that they can grow and develop 🙂

  • Meredith February 18, 2013, 10:33 am

    Excellent post! Congrats to you for making it to 8 months. As a breastfeeding mom to a 9 month old, I really appreciate your post. We have never had any issues with breastfeeding (thankfully!), but mine never took to a bottle so I have never been away from him for more than 3-4 hours at a time. It is hard, but your post reminds me to pay myself on the back more often for what I have done. And to not worry about being a perfect mom. Thanks.

  • Abby February 18, 2013, 10:36 am

    You rock! Way to go! Henry is ADORABLE! And I must say a beautifully written post. I agree with everything you said. I feel like I have been breastfeeding for all my life…not really but 2 years! The numbers of feelings/ounces you posted…wow wow! And I love how you made a list of all the wonderful things you are doing for Henry. Thank you for sharing Caitlin.

  • Anne Weber-Falk February 18, 2013, 10:41 am

    5,400 oz divided by 128 oz is over 42 GALLONS! Dang girl! Women are amazing. Well done mama. Your son is beautiful and healthy and off to a great start in his life.

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:42 am

      i am both impressed and grossed out. LOL

  • Stacie February 18, 2013, 10:47 am

    Beautiful post! Thanks for sharing!!….and for what it’s worth, I’m not even a mom.

    Have a good day 🙂

    • Stacie February 18, 2013, 10:48 am

      P.S. Congrats on reaching this milestone…you rock!!

  • Jen February 18, 2013, 10:56 am

    Great post – I agree that each momma’s situation is different and we need to respect the parenting choices of others – and not judge! The last thing we as moms (and dads) need is to be judged or feel pressured about our choices!

    Breastfeeding is a huge committment and a lot of work – you should be very proud of what you’ve accomplished and given to Henry. By the way, these pictures of you two are amazing – he looks so adorable in his little plaid shirt!!!!!

  • Whitney February 18, 2013, 10:56 am

    Thanks for being so honest Caitlin! I am not a mother and won’t be for a couple years I hope but I find this so interesting. I am having a hard time believing that I will want to breastfeed when it comes to it. It’s so easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to other moms out in the blog world that breastfed for 75 years or whatever. who really cares, we are all different. I was never breastfed from my mother because she knew from the beginning it’s not something she was interested in and I’m pretty sure I turned out just fine 🙂

  • Kris @ tryingtotri February 18, 2013, 10:59 am

    I breastfed my first son for 3.5 months (supplemented with formula on doctors orders – I didn’t produce enough milk for my son) – but I hated every minute of it, I felt like a dairy cow. It was NOT a bonding process for us. I let myself be bullied into breastfeeding my second son for about 3 weeks before I drew the line and said “no more”! My third son was bottle fed from minute one.

    Did I admire women who could breastfeed for months? Sure. Mentally, I wasn’t one of them, and my boys all turned out fine. There are no perfect moms – we can only be the best we can be. 🙂

    Good for you for 8 months – Henry looks like a healthy, happy, well adjusted baby, which just proves you and Kristien are doing things right.

  • Meredith February 18, 2013, 11:00 am

    This post rocks! You could not have said it any better. I stopped pumping after 7 months, and was having the exact same feelings. Only when I stopped to actually realize that pumping was making me generally miserable was I able to come to terms with stopping. A month and a half later, I am SO happy to have my body back! Sidebar – you secretly get even more time back because you are no longer washing all of the pump bottles and pump parts – Booyah!

  • Jackie February 18, 2013, 11:04 am

    8 months is awesome! Would you be willing to share how you’re weaning your body off the pump? I’ve read some different ways to do it online, but I’ve never actually talked to anyone who was exclusively pumping when they quit breastfeeding. (I ask because my son turns one in 10 days and I am DONE-ZO with pumping [I don’t feed on the breast anymore – only pump] at one year. I’m just scared I’ll get a clogged duct when I start pumping less and/or going longer in between pumping sessions.)

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 11:06 am

      I will when I am done!

  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie February 18, 2013, 11:13 am

    Gosh, I know this was probably really hard to share. I’m one of those ‘easy as pie’ breastfeeding moms. I’m in the process of breastfeeding my second son (who’s the same age as Henry) and I can’t imagine switching him to formula. I don’t mean that in a judgmental way because, like you said, once you become a parent it is REALLY easy to judge and REALLY easy to realize that you shouldn’t…

    It’s hard being a parent and hard to be put up against the many many standards that are often conflicting. I understand your desire to stop pumping and even though the thought of putting a baby on formula makes me cringe I hope that I can grow from hearing your experience into a less judgmental person. I know you care and will hopefully find a formula that isn’t made of corn products and other gross things! It’s easy to tell your son’s health is at the forefront of your mind. You are a good mama.

    • Lyndsey February 18, 2013, 12:32 pm

      As a formula feeding mama, I find it hard to hear when other women say “formula that isn’t made of….’and other gross things’.” That is judgment, and it hurts. I hope Caitlin’s experience here can help you and others who say feel this way realize that the way you say things CAN be hurtful.

    • Kelli February 18, 2013, 3:52 pm

      Well, the thing I had to realize when I was crying at the store buying formula because my son was not gaining weight on breastmilk is that I was doing the best I could do. But I still feel embarassed to tell people that I feed him formula because of comments like this. And it still makes me feel like crying. For a person saying you are not being judmental you sound quite judgemental.

      • Lyndsey February 18, 2013, 4:15 pm

        Kelli, exactly. Just because you say “I’m not being judgmental” doesn’t fix your judgment. It is dishonest. It’s like saying “don’t be offended” followed by something really offensive.

        I’m so glad that Diana has had a great breastfeeding experience. Some of us haven’t, and we’ve had to give our babies all these “gross things” to make sure the baby stays alive. Personally, I prefer live baby to dead baby, so that’s what I’m going with.

        • Diana @ frontyardfoodie February 18, 2013, 6:13 pm

          Oh dear:( I’m so sorry I offended…truly. This sort of thing is exactly why I wanted to comment and want to follow along with stories like Caitlin’s. I don’t want to act judgmental or assume I know everything/what is best for other mama’s babies but must educate myself on situations so that I can learn! I’m humbled that my response caused offense and will now think more about my reactions.

          I do want to say that learning about the ingredients in formula IS important because there are a lot of fillers that are put in them that are actually quite gross in some brands and finding quality food for your child is important whether it’s breastfeeding, formula OR food.

          Still, I want to ask forgiveness for being hurtful. I am sorry.

          • Lyndsey February 19, 2013, 11:57 am

            Oh my gosh, I still don’t think you get the point.

            Calling something that someone HAS to feed their child GROSS is totally unnecessary. Formula feeding moms aren’t stupid, illiterate fools who haven’t thought for HOURS AND HOURS about the decision they’ve been forced into.

            I don’t think you need forgiveness from me, a random internet stranger. I do think you might want to assess who in your “real life” you’ve hurt through off-the-cuff remarks like the above…

    • Emily February 19, 2013, 2:52 am

      Way to prove her point about other moms being judgmental.

  • Patty February 18, 2013, 11:20 am

    You look fabulous!!
    For what it’s worth, I breast fed baby #1 for 1 month and called it quits…
    I was feeling everything you felt…plus some.
    Long story short, I have had 3 healthy children (praise God) and all are
    Healthy, athletic and strong. None have allergies.
    I know you know this but don’t sweat the small stuff.
    And breast feeding is WAY over rated
    Keep doing whatever you are doing because you are doing it very well,
    You can tell by the beautiful photo of you and that adorable little
    Henry you are holding!

    • Amy February 18, 2013, 12:43 pm

      You’re wrong. Breastfeeding is not overrated. I could say SO MUCH about this post, but I am stopping myself. I just couldn’t not respond to this comment.

      • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 12:59 pm

        I’m not going to say that I know what Patty MEANT to say, but perhaps I can say this – I don’t think anyone can argue with the health benefits of BFing. But I know that we very often get our whole identity as mothers wrapped up into the idea of BFing, and that is perhaps ‘overrated.’ Because we’re more than milk. 😉

        • Emily February 19, 2013, 2:53 am

          I agree Caitlin. It really gets warped into “you are a bad mother/person if you do not breast feed.”

    • CMD February 18, 2013, 12:57 pm

      Agreed, this comment is not cool.

      • Patty February 18, 2013, 5:10 pm

        I’m sorry ladies….I spoke (typed) out of line….
        I’m just saying its OK not to breast feed…for some…

  • Ashley February 18, 2013, 11:21 am

    I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN!! Before my daughter was born a woman I work with quit at 6 months, and I totally judged her. Silently, of course, but I still did. Once I became a mom and discovered how difficult it is I felt so bad. And I’m one of those women breastfeeding is wonderful for – and it’s STILL the hardest thing I’ve done. I got an epidural, so you might not agree, but I think birthing the baby was easierthan breastfeeding her!

    I don’t know a ton of moms, but most supplement their breastmilk, for either convenience or need…and I no longer judge them at all or feel they aren’t doing their best for their babies. I’m ashamed I ever had those stupid thoughts. BUT I know I’ll feel that way about myself when I can no longer meet her needs with pumping at work. I realize it’s silly, but we hold ourselves to higher standards than others, I guess? I’m going to be able to make 6 months without having to use formula, and who knows – maybe I’ll never have to. But if and when I do, I’ll be making myself a similar list to let go of some of the guilt. Thank you for your honesty!

    PS – Strangely, I don’t mind pumping at all. I think I’m the only one in the world who feels this way! The 4 breaks at work are a nice distraction in my day 🙂

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 11:40 am

      ME TOO. I am SOOO ashamed that I ever judged other mothers.

      • Michelle February 18, 2013, 2:00 pm

        I just had to second your PS – I have been exclusively pumping for 6 months now and look forward to the 20 minute breaks 4x/day 🙂

  • Ashley February 18, 2013, 11:22 am

    I love this post – thank you so much for sharing! I had a similar battle with breastfeeding. I had twins though, so it added another layer of complexity. My (public) goal was to make it 6 months, although I had a secret goal that I’d get to 6 months, re-evaluate, and decide to go for a full year. yuuuuuppppp….didn’t happen. I made it to 6 months (and DAMN PROUD!) and ended up weaning shortly thereafter. It’s a hard transition, and I still feel some guilt over it (and my pocketbook feels the effect, too!!! The babies are only 8 months so still have a ways to go with formula), but in the end its what was right for ALL of us.
    I appreciate you sharing your experience here – it’s great to hear different perspectives and to know that we’re not alone! : )

  • Ang February 18, 2013, 11:31 am

    People get far too worked up over how other people are raising their kids! My daughter just turned 18 and I have had friends who are just now having babies give me the stink eye when they ask me about breastfeeding and I say I gave her formula. You would think I’d confessed to heinous acts of child abuse. I kindly point out that she’s always been in great health and clearly survived to adulthood! Not to mention that I too survived on formula. I think it’s great that you made it to 8 months! You need to do what’s best for you and the baby! A happy mom is just as important as what the baby eats!

  • Heidi February 18, 2013, 11:31 am

    This question is killing me. Would you do it again?

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 11:39 am

      oh yes for sure. i will definitely pump for the next baby, but i will also try really really hard to make actual nursing work too.

      • Amy February 18, 2013, 12:45 pm

        You didn’t mention this in your post. I think the fact that you basically went to pumping jaded your experience. Breastfeeding is natural and amazing; apparently pumping is not (I think that’s obvious). I know you saw 2 lactation consultants, but I think it would have eventually worked for you because you’ve said you have no supply issues, etc.

        • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 12:51 pm

          I nursed 90% of the time until he was 6 – 8 weeks (can’t remember when I switched over exactly). I think that’s a pretty good effort and not a direct transition to pumping. Unfortunately, the reason we had so much trouble was that I *needed* a shield, and I don’t think he would’ve ever worked around that (I literally have nothing to latch onto and even the pump doesn’t pull out the nipples). It really isn’t so ‘natural and amazing’ for everyone, but I’m really, really glad it was for you.

          • Amy February 18, 2013, 1:02 pm

            I understand. Believe me, I had my troubles, both mental and physical. I don’t mean natural and amazing in the sense that some people use those words. I mean them literally- the fact that our bodies are made to feed our children. There were many, many days when it was FAR from that for me!

          • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 1:03 pm

            oh man that part of it is amazing, too! i could never get past how much milk i could create and the fact that it was ALL he needed to eat. amazing.

          • Katie February 18, 2013, 9:22 pm

            I am weaning from pumping too, although we nurse as well. My daughter turns 1 in two weeks. I think the reason I successfully breastfed and pumped while away was because we got rid of the shield. We used it for almost 5 months and somehow we were able to get rid of it and it worked out. We often look back on the days when we couldn’t find the shield, got lost in the sheets, etc. My husband think we could make a lot of money if we made glow in the dark breast shields.

          • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 9:29 pm

            Haha that is a seriously genius idea!

        • Louise February 18, 2013, 6:09 pm

          Urm, I believe in ye olde days when a woman couldn’t breast feed for physical reasons (because I’m pretty sure that’s not a new phenomenon for mother’s who are just too lazy to lift their top) there were wet nurses or family members who would breast feed the child. Now that people are all selfish about only feeding their own offspring I don’t think we can judge anyone who can’t do the same. Unless of course you are also a wet nurse, or from ye olde days, in which case I stand corrected. Just because your body is capable of naturally feeding a baby doesn’t mean everyone’s is. Just like not everybody’s immune system can fight disease, even though it should, bodies are different.

          • Emily February 18, 2013, 9:15 pm

            Louise, you rock!

            Why do we feel a need to judge mothers for decisions they are making for their own children? Yes, there are health benefits to breastfeeding. Yes, some types of formula have less than stellar ingredients. However, the beauty of having your own child is that you get to make decisions for that child. Your opinion should not be transferred to anyone else’s situation. I don’t think anyone needs to tell mothers who feed their babies formula that “breastfeeding is natural” and that they “need to be careful to find a formula that doesn’t have gross fillers.” They know that already, and have probably wrestled with those pieces of information.

  • Victoria February 18, 2013, 11:34 am

    I commend you for how long you lasted and holding steady in your choices. As long as we are all trying our best then it is all perfect!
    A good read about different formulas and stuff. http://www.brucebradley.com/food/babys-first-encounter-with-big-food/

  • Lisa February 18, 2013, 11:35 am

    Thanks so much for this awesome post!! I am currently breastfeeding my 10 week old daughter and the experience has been more physically and emotionally draining than I could have possibly imagined. I had a complicated end to my pregnancy which led to lots of issues bfing. I pumped every 2 hours for the first month of her life and thought I was going to lose my mind. Thankfully we got the hang of things and nursing is going well now ( most of the time). I can’t imagine pumping as long as you did. You are awesome!

  • Blythe February 18, 2013, 11:42 am

    You’re story is mine, except I made it to four (still proud!). Breastfeeding SUCKED for me and my daughter (6.5 months). She could never latch properly and I only made juuuust enough milk so she still struggled with weight gain for months. I could only pump 2.5-3 oz on a good pumping session. So when I started back to work 8 weeks after her birth, I’d have to pump 4-5 times just to get enough for the 2 feedings I was gone for. And yet, I beat myself up like you did for wanting to quit. It was so liberating to finally just stop the chatter and the judgments and know she’d be fine. And she is fine. Great, actually! Also, we feel the same about the sleep training! So hard, but has paid in full!

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 11:58 am

      Hahah sleep training is sooooooooooo worth it. For everyone!

  • Becky February 18, 2013, 11:45 am

    Would you breastfeed your next child or go straight to formula? I did this and was judged immensely… sigh…

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 11:58 am

      I will try again! I’m sorry you were judged.

  • Sarah February 18, 2013, 11:46 am

    Way to go, Mama! Eight months is AMAZING. I am a fellow exclusive pumper, and I finally stopped at 6 months in December. I had intentions (grand illusions) of breastfeeding my son for at least a year, but it didn’t work for us (supply issues, latch issues, on and on). I had no idea how hard breastfeeding would be for me, or how taxing the whole process would be on my body and mind. Now that I’m on the other side, I can tell you that it’s AMAZING not being tied to the pump (you will so much happier!!!!!!!!!!), to have my breasts back, to have my BODY back, and to have my time back. Perhaps, in a way, my excitement about this is selfish . . . and yet I am TRULY such a better mother and wife without that stupid pump hanging over my head. You have done a wonderful thing for your son by pumping for this long . . . but let me tell you, girl, your life is going to improve 10-fold when you get your time back!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joanna February 18, 2013, 11:48 am

    Oh thank you, Caitlin. I am on my sixth month of exclusive pumping my son, and I so relate to the emotional aspect of it. There are weeks where I want to quit every day. And I don’t understand why I am so supportive of my formula-feeding friends, but berate myself so much when I want to quit pumping. It’s such a strange and overwhelming dynamic, and I can’t thank you enough for the open and honest nature that you’ve had regarding it. I either have friends who have had breastfeeding go really well and love it, or friends who do forumla. No one I know is an EP’er, and you’ve given me comfort when you’ve posted about it. You rock, mama.

    I know others have asked, but would love to hear how you’ve started the weaning process. I’m sure it’s not easy.

    Take care and good luck!

  • linda February 18, 2013, 11:48 am

    You are enough and just as you should be. Be proud of yourself.

  • Andrea February 18, 2013, 11:52 am

    Yeah for you!! I was really nervous about breastfeeding before Ella arrived but luckily after 4-6 very painful weeks for me..it has been wonderfully easy. I love our time together now. I am a full time working mom and taking 10 grad school credits so I pump 3 times a day. I hate it! I can’t wait for the weekends when I don’t have to pump. I am SOOOO impressed you did 6 months exclusively pumping! Go you! I agree there are so many ways of being a wonderful parent and how you feed your child should not be on the list!

  • Andrea February 18, 2013, 11:54 am

    Oh Ella is 6 months now! I’m hoping to make it to 12 months but hey, I feel a happy mom is so much more important then berating ourselves into breastfeeding!

  • Laura February 18, 2013, 11:59 am

    Wonderful post! I’m not yet pregnant, but I already know I do not want to breastfeed and I plan to formula feed. I just have no desire to do it. I feel like there is so much judgement about not breast feeding that I haven’t been able to find any woman’s take on how formula feeding worked for them.

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 12:02 pm

      I am going to try to convince my BFF to come and comment. She went straight to FF and doesn’t regret it at all.

    • Ali February 18, 2013, 1:16 pm

      Both my sister and I were 100% formula fed because of allergies and we are 33 and 30, respectfully, and doing very well with no health issues that can be traced back to not being breastfed and both have two bachelors and masters degrees. My sister has three kids (7, 5, and 3) and they were all formula fed and she has said that it was the best decision for her family. I am not pregnant and am in the same boat – I don’t know that I would want to breastfeed. My best friend just had a baby 2 months ago and she’s already on my case about it and I’m not even married! I don’t think it makes you a good mother if you do breastfeed or a bad mother if you don’t. Caring for your child is what makes you a good mother.

    • Sarah February 18, 2013, 3:03 pm

      Laura, I am an adoptive mom and I formula feed my baby (who is 11 weeks old.) She has had no problems so far with bonding and is happy, healthy, and on track developmentally. I do supplement with donated breast milk from a few friends (whose blood work was clear) but if I didn’t have friends who could donate right now, I would exclusively formula feed and my baby would still be fine 🙂 I have an MPH and I agree that breastfeeding is the best option in most cases (and it is good to encourage on the population level,) but there are many reasons that breast feeding doesn’t work for either mom or baby when you look at individuals, and their stories and reasons should be respected. I hope that is helpful!

    • Nicola February 18, 2013, 4:36 pm

      I was formula fed. So was my fiancé. We both turned out great. Healthy(thank goodness) and smart (2 law degrees). Breastfeeding is not the holy grail. I don’t think I’ll do it when we start a family.

    • Kelli February 18, 2013, 8:11 pm

      My kids 6 & 8 years old were both formula fed and were wonderful babies and still are both very smart and healthy! it just wasnt my thing and no one was Changing my mind ! Good luck and congrats!

    • E February 19, 2013, 1:03 am

      I was a formula fed baby (allergies) and am doing just fine! I’m healthy, am rarely sick and am intelligent (with a college degree 🙂 ). I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with FF if that’s what’s right for your family! I don’t have kids yet, but if I do have any in the future, there’s a definite possibility I will use formula.

  • Amye February 18, 2013, 12:02 pm

    Thank you for this post! I pumped until my son was 6 months old but had frozen milk to last until he was 8 months. He was 2 months premature so I knew breastmilk was best for him. I tried to nurse but since he was so small it was hard. I pumped exclusively. Once I went back to work, I felt like pumping was taking up so much of my ‘at home’ time (when I wanted to spend that time playing and interacting with him). I felt really guilty for quitting. My goal was a year and I just couldn’t do it anymore. Now I’m 35 weeks pregnant with my second and praying breastfeeding works out this time!

  • Sandy February 18, 2013, 12:04 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. Nothing has made me feel as good as hearing your experience so far. I knew breastfeeding and pumping would be hard, but I never I would not be able to do it.

    My son lost way more than the “normal” amount he was supposed to after birth. He screamed non-stop. I went to a lactation consultant and did many weighed feedings in which the lactation consultant told me after getting the latch right and everything was perfect, that consistently my son was hardly getting anything from me. One group class I went to I breastfed the entire hour of the class and there was no change in the weight and my son was screaming and starving. Because I felt like I would be judged, I had formula in the car, and as he was screaming, I ran through the hospital to my car and felt so guilty as I gave him a bottle in the backseat.

    Several lactation consultants TOLD me I needed to supplement (which surprised me!) They were like, yes your son is hungry and you are not making enough. I even started the supplemental nursing system in which you run a tube down to your nipple so he gets the supplement and stimulates you to make milk at the same time. Using the supplemental system was the first time I felt what it must feel like for mothers who produce enough milk. He happily sucked at my breast and was content after the feeding. This of course also made me feel guilty that he could not be content from just me.

    For three months I would first breastfeed (where my son would scream the entire time because he wasn’t getting anything), then use the supplemental nursing system, then pump for 30 minutes to an hour. The whole process would start about an hour later. I had no quality time to spend with my son and felt like the only time I spent with him was when he was screaming while breastfeeding and then I’d have to hand him off while I went off to pump. Yet, I still felt guilty and the need to continue this (alot because of comments like the above poster saying “it makes her cringe, and hopefully you can find one that’s not gross”. Those comments still hurt to this day.

    At 10 weeks I started back to work where I would breastfeed and pump at night, in the morning, pump 3x at work, when I got home and all throughout the evening. Each time I pumped I got 1-2 ounces TOTAL from both breasts. I made enough for one bottle of his a day. I did this until about 4 months and then stopped as it was just draining every part of me. I have never felt better, and now wonder why I didn’t stop earlier.

    Also, people saying “you should try fenugreek or eating oatmeal, maybe that would help”. I took 12 fenugreek, blessed thistle, mother’s milk tea, mother’s milk capsules, oatmeal, prescription domperidone, dark beer and any other supply increasing substance every day. And not a change. I felt so judged and guilty and cannot thank you enough for your post!

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 12:11 pm

      Oh honey! Please don’t feel guilty. You did so much and tried so hard. You are amazing!!!!

    • Rachel February 18, 2013, 3:23 pm

      Wow, we have had such similar experiences! Thanks for sharing. Today is my first day back at work and my daughter is almost 3 months. We’ve supplemented since day 4 and I only pump about 1-2 oz. from each breast total at each pumping session. Keeping with it for now, but reassessing at 6 months.

      I’m so glad you found what worked for you and your child and are happy with your decision. That is ALL that matters.

    • Kelli February 18, 2013, 4:03 pm

      This sounds just like my experience. The week after I bought some formula to supplement one of my neighbors berated me & told me that I have a lazy baby, which is why he could eat effectively from a bottle instead of my breast.
      I stopped pumping the week before I went back to work, I was pumping for 35-40 minutes & getting less than 1/2 an oz at that point…so I quit. I felt horrible & guilty! But life is so much better now that it is all behind us. For me, every time I pumped it was a reminder that I was “failing.” I’m a pretty crunchy person, had a home birth, thought I would BF until he was 2….but as you said Caitlin things don’t work as we plan & that is ok!
      My pediatrician told me at my boy’s 4 month check up that he is literally the happiest baby he has ever seen, he is hitting milestones ahead of schedule, sleeps well, & is just awesome! 🙂 Thank you so much for bringing up this topic, I’m with you on learning so much about how wrong it is to judge since I became a mom!

    • Greer February 18, 2013, 8:44 pm

      Thank you so so much for sharing this! I had an identical experience to yours and I wish more women felt comfortable enough to share these types of experiences….my son is 7 months today and healthy, happy and thriving, but I still have guilt about my low supply.

      Caitlin, you rock. I love your honesty and congrats on your 8 months! Such an amazing achievement.

    • Jazz March 7, 2013, 9:33 am

      Hmm I’m at 2.5 months of doing the exact same thing and hoping for some encouragement to do what I secretly want to do – go to formula and get some sleep! I’m giving it to 3 months and then we’ll see. Thanks for posting!

  • Megan February 18, 2013, 12:09 pm

    I have 5 kids, all between 19 and 22 months apart. Breasted all of them for a year. It IS insane!!! It feels wonderful ( and I feel like me again!) now that the baby is 2 1/2 and we are through with cribs and diapers 🙂

  • Laura Ann February 18, 2013, 12:11 pm

    Thank you so much for having the courage to write this! There is a book called, ‘Bottled Up: How the Way We Feed Babies Has Come to Define Motherhood, and Why It Shouldn’t’ by Suzanne Barston. I heard her talk about it on a “For Crying Out Loud” a parenting podcast (you can find the episode on itunes). And as someone who works with new and expecting parents (and plans for my own in the future) it was really eye-opening to me. She also has a website – fearlessformulafeeder.com that you might find interesting.

  • April February 18, 2013, 12:17 pm

    You DO Rock Caitlin!!!!! What a beautiful post…and one i can relate to 100%! I, too pumped for 6+ months and it took me to stop ‘judging’ myself to stop as well. And i couldn’t agree more, EVERY.SINGLE.MOM who bf’s is a rock star!!!!
    This post made me so happy today….enjoy, my ‘little’ guy is 16 months now and it feels like yesterday he was 8 months. What a beautiful family you are, i love your blog!!!!

  • Sheryl February 18, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Congratulations on EIGHT MONTHS of breastfeeding! That is a tremendous accomplishment, particularly as you were exclusively pumping (which is way harder than people realize!)

    You are an awesome mommy who is making the right decision for her family! Thank you so much for your honesty and candor around your breastfeeding journey! It is so refreshing and lovely to read the realistic, sometimes satisfying, sometimes hard experience you have had feeding your little man!

  • Lyn February 18, 2013, 12:23 pm

    Caitlin, this was one of your best posts ever. I’m not a mom but I could really relate to the perfectionism aspects. I can so relate to the feeling of being hard on yourself (especially in my professional life). It’s funny, I can always relate to your posts even though I’m likely years away from being a mom. I just love that your blog is so HONEST. It’s so refreshing!! 🙂

  • Heidi February 18, 2013, 12:26 pm

    Thanks for this post, Caitlin! I’m 17 weeks pregnant and have no idea how breast feeding or pumping will work for me. I’ve seen friends and family who have really ranged in approach…..my sister gave up in frustration after her first child and did formula with all subsequent three. My best friend has a 1-year-old and loves breast feeding so much, she’s not ready to stop. It seems like it really varies on how well it works for the individual. I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy it (somewhat), but also don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. Congrats on making it all the way to eight months! That’s huge!

  • Jen February 18, 2013, 12:35 pm

    Great Post! Love your honesty! 8 months is amazing! As my English friend would say…You did brilliantly! And – you look phenomenal!

    Just wondering…what kind of formula are you going to use?

    • Robin February 18, 2013, 1:22 pm

      I second that question. I would be interested on how you ended up choosing your brand of choice. Was it money, ingrediants, recommendation?

      I am pregnant with twins and plan on at least supplementing from the get-go. I am not super woman/mom after all. Can it be done, sure. Do I want that pressure, nope.

      • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 1:37 pm

        We are going with an organic soy option because he’s sensitive to dairy. This brand was selected by his doctor so I really recommend talking to yours about which is best for your baby!

        • Stephanie February 19, 2013, 2:28 pm

          Hi Caitlin,

          My daughter was sensitive to dairy as well as a newborn, but by the time we decided to stop pumping and switch to formula full time (at 7 months), she had outgrown her dairy sensitivity and we were able to use a regular organic formula. Just a thought!

  • emily February 18, 2013, 12:36 pm

    You rock Caitlin, 8 months is bad ass! I am going to be an
    RD (we spend a LOT of time teaching breast is best) and I do plan on breastfeeding but I am honestly reeeeeeally not looking forward to it. Thanks, as always, for your honesty.

  • Leslie February 18, 2013, 12:42 pm

    Thank you for your honesty! I am due in late April, and I plan to breastfeed but obviously don’t know how that is going to work out long term. What I’ve tried to remind myself at each stage of pregnancy is that this is all such a temporary situation: growing a baby, feeding a baby; it isn’t permanent. This has helped me get through some annoying things like sciatic pain, carpal tunnel, etc. while pregnant. I’m a recovering perfectionist myself, and when I can find the strength to clearly see things as they are, rather than for how I think they should be, I can finally move forward. Thank you again for sharing this, I really appreciate hearing how you worked through this process, physically and emotionally.

  • Jamie February 18, 2013, 12:51 pm

    Those last pictures of you holding him up in the air are so precious!!!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 18, 2013, 1:00 pm

    First and foremost, you look AWESOME in your pictures! Haha such a difference in both Henry and you from week 1 – I guess it’s that sleep! And I’m the same way – I’ll be really hard on myself about something but not judge other people for the same thing. I think many of us are just too tough on ourselves!

  • Tiff (@LoveSweatBeers) February 18, 2013, 1:00 pm

    Great post mama! You DO rock. 🙂 I’m sure a lot of moms and soon-to-be moms took a lot from this.

  • Steph February 18, 2013, 1:02 pm

    My baby was in the NICU for 5 weeks, and because he was 2 months premature, was too little to latch on until his original due date. I exclusively pumped for 2 months, and just want to say major kudos to anyone who keeps that up! I ended up successfully breastfeeding, and it is so much easier for me than pumping; I hated the physical process of pumping SO much, and it was so inconvenient. Well done Caitlin, and any mom who exclusively pumps for months on end, it really is a part time job. You should be so proud!

  • Janelle February 18, 2013, 1:25 pm

    “But none of us are failing – we’re just changing. I think reframing your internal conversation to be more positive is such a powerful way to go about the change. There’s no reason to tear yourself down just because you are changing. ”

    REALLY needed to hear this today – thanks!

  • Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep February 18, 2013, 1:26 pm

    I’m not a mother, but I have many friends and family members who were not able to breastfeed for a multitude of reasons, and it hurts my heart to know that they would be judged by people who do not know the circumstances. You did an awesome job, Caitlin! And you’re a great mom.

  • Reenie February 18, 2013, 1:39 pm

    Adorable photos of you and Henry ~ you look awesome!! 🙂

  • Lindsay February 18, 2013, 2:01 pm

    Not even exaggerating…Henry is the CUTEST baby I have ever seen!

  • Kendra @ My Full-Thyme Life February 18, 2013, 2:26 pm

    This post comes at the perfect time for me. I love everything you said. Congrats on 8 months, you rock!!! I applaud and appreciate your honesty and thank you for sharing your struggles and your triumphs. It does help a lot of us to not feel so alone. Because whether its the middle of the night and you are alone with your baby struggling to breastfeed or you are tied to your pump constantly, you can feel very isolated and alone. This post offers solidarity and as moms we need as much as we can get!

  • Jamie February 18, 2013, 2:27 pm

    This may sound corny but posts like this are why I love your blog so much! You are so honest and real with people but very positive too.

    I quit breastfeeding my second child when he was 5 months old and I felt horribly guilty about it. The day I quit I literally sobbed almost all day because I felt like I was failing him. There were certain friends I didn’t even tell that I had quit because I knew they would judge me for it. I am in a much healthier place now and spend a lot less time berating myself over parenting issues.

    Congrats on making it 8 months!

  • Marci February 18, 2013, 2:31 pm

    I really enjoyed bf’ing a lot of the time, but pumping really wore on me. I lasted a little under four months, and once I stopped, my life got better! It was a huge weight lifted, I was happier, felt more normal, and my baby was doing great. Having my body completely mine was a relief. Yay for anyone who bf’s as much as they can, but yay for making decisions to make yourself happy too.

  • mama February 18, 2013, 2:43 pm

    Great job!! I exclusively pumped my first DD for 12 months, and my second for 8! That pump will be the death of me if i have a 3rd!!! Its tough most definitely! Henry is a lucky little boy to have you as his momma!!

  • Zulkey February 18, 2013, 2:50 pm

    Good for you, Caitlin–for breastfeeding, for knowing yourself.

    I am late to this post but this is just a public service announcement. I made the choice not to breastfeed pretty early on in my pregnancy and I’ve felt absolutely no regrets about this choice. I’m not here to argue about the decision but just to say I am here if anyone wants any commiseration or just wants to hear that you’re not a bad person for making (or contemplating that choice), I am here. I googled once “decides not to breastfeed” and was informed by a commenter that I was “choosing to give my kid a higher chance of dying from SIDS” so I feel the need to put the opposite type of message out there. I am not anti-breastfeeding in the least–I just wasn’t interested in it myself.

  • Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy February 18, 2013, 2:52 pm

    I am so glad that you wrote this post. I am not pregnant, and I don’t have any kids, but my husband and I would like to start a family within the next couple of years. I am a perfectionist also, and for this reason, I don’t want to breastfeed (as of right now, at least). Even right now, I get really burnt out when I don’t get enough sleep and can’t keep a “perfect” apartment, etc., and I know that I’ll feel the same way when we have a baby. If I don’t, and I decide to breastfeed, great, but if I don’t, I’m not going to be hard on myself. I was formula fed, and I turned out okay :).

    You look amazing, by the way!

  • sara @ fitcupcaker February 18, 2013, 2:58 pm

    Thats crazy that you breastfed that much, holy cow! 8 months is a long time so good for you! I hope I make it half of that when I have kids 🙂 Parenting and family-ing lol is hard. I have a step son who lives with us and its hard but worth every minute!

  • Hannah February 18, 2013, 3:01 pm

    Such a well written, inspiring post!

  • Kyla February 18, 2013, 3:02 pm

    Caitlin, you rock!! I love reading your blog because you explore so many other facets of life besides just food. Although I am nowhere NEAR ready to have children( gotta have a ring on it first) you definitely make me think and consider the future. Feeding (y)our children is a huge job and you are awesome for making it 8 months with breast milk. Now go give that beautiful boy a hug and kiss and pinch those darling cheeks. He’s adorable and he’s lucky to have a wonderful mother 🙂

  • Kate February 18, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Congratulations! I have had three kids and pumped exclusively for them too. The stuff you describe physical/logistical I struggled with as well. But I only made it four months. I have realized that in order to be a good Mom you also have to take care of yourself and that includes making decisions for your family that is what is best for your specific situation. Be proud of yourself and be excited as you move into the next phase of being a mom – “toddlerhood”. It gets better and better every day!

  • Rachel February 18, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Congratulations on 8 months of breastfeeding, Caitlin! I have also had difficulties with breastfeeding. For some reason, I just told myself beforehand that it would be easy and to not worry about it. When my daughter was born, I had a post-partum hemmorhage that prevented my milk from coming in right away because my body was trying to recover from the blood loss. She lost over 10% of her body weight by day 4 so the pediatrician told us to start formula. My “feeding plan” was to breastfeed for 20 minutes on each side, give a pumped bottle of milk from the last session, supplement that with formula, and then pump again. By the time we finished the entire ritual, it was time to start the process all over again. It was absolute torture. On top of that, she had trouble latching on and on top of THAT I had small/flat nipples. We were not destined for success!

    My mom had a really severe case of PPD, so I was on high alert for any similar symptoms. And the feeding plan I was on was a one way ticket to the mental hospital for me. So, I took the advice of my family and friends and slept while she got formula at night for a couple of nights in a row (and started on Zoloft). It was so early on in our breastfeeding relationship that I’m pretty sure going so long without nursing/pumping hurt my supply permanently. I had to give up on trying to wean her off the formula and exclusively breastfeed. It just wasn’t going to happen.

    It has now been almost three months and she has gotten about 50% breastmilk and 50% formula her whole life. I dropped the “pump after every feeding” and just tried to finally bond with my daughter and enjoy my time with her. It was a world of difference. Since then, we’ve had a wonderful time together. Her latch improved, the connective tissue broke down and my nipples are larger and easier for her to suckle from.

    Today is my first day back at work and I have let the pump back into my good graces. Providing her breastmilk while we are separated is how we can still stay connected even though we have to be physically separated. And our nursing sessions can continue when we are together at home during the evenings and weekends.

    Anyway, this is crazy long. But just know that 8 months is a wonderful accomplishment, like you said. Breastfeeding knocked me completely off my feet and has changed me as a person forever. I have so much more confidence and pride knowing that I have given up so many of my personal reservations and issues and been able to do what I feel is best for my daughter and myself. I’m so happy to have this experience to fall back on for the rest of my life if I ever need a confidence boost.

    • Cara February 19, 2013, 2:36 pm

      Rachel your commen has me me in tears — because I can relate! My girl has only ever gotten about 25% of my breastmilk and 75% formula and/or donor breastmilk her entire life. I too started at work recently – last week! We did the whole nurse-supplement-pump regimen for quite a while – it certainly messed with my head and I quickly became obsessive. I’m trying to find balance now – time spent with her is SUPER important. Obsessing about how much milk I can possibly make is less important. It’s so easy to become incredibly self critical.

  • Melissa February 18, 2013, 3:23 pm

    Thank you Caitlin! Reading your blog has been such a source of encouragement and support to me throughout my pregnancy and introduction to motherhood. I think the hardest thing for a perfectionist like myself is putting my expectations aside and learning to adapt. For me this started with our labor and delivery. I had planned for a 100% natural labor and delivery. I totally bought into the mentality of “you grow the baby you can deliver” and “if you want it bad enough” blah blah blah. Turns out that I grew a baby that I couldn’t deliver! He was huge! After 18 hours of labor I ended up with a c-section. I felt so ashamed and like a complete failure. Like if f I had only tried harder it would have worked out. Then when breastfeeding was SO challenging it was just another thing that I felt like I was failing at. I have been pumping from the start and it is SO hard. It really takes the dedication of the whole family to make it work. I am happy that lots of moms have wonderful breastfeeding experiences, but I can completely understand the choice to not breastfeed or to stop earlier than expected and that is something that I didn’t understand until I was a mom going through it myself. There is so much out there on the internet that can make moms feel terrible about their choices, especially surrounding breastfeeding and I read a lot of it! Your blog posts on your breastfeeding experience got me through so many middle of the night pumping sessions when I would just be in tears about not being able to feed my baby “naturally.” Your experiences made me feel okay about mine and I can’t tell you how comforting that was during those crazy early days of parenthood. So thank you again for your honesty. You’re helping lots of moms.

  • Julie February 18, 2013, 3:39 pm

    I am so glad you said all of this, Caitlin! You put into words what so many moms probably could not. It’s so good to see these lessons early on in parenting because so much of parenting does come down to individual and personal choice for better versus best. Yes continuing breastfeeding “may” be “better” in terms of nutrition (to some extent), but it wasn’t what was BEST for you. Now that I have a five year old who goes to kinder next year, I am finding it is the same process of making a choice with private versus public school or with my two year old to keep him in preschool versus keep him home with me. It all comes down to what is best for our family even if outside pressure or opinions say otherwise. Happy mama = happy baby

  • Sochele February 18, 2013, 3:54 pm

    I’m 25, I have never had a child. That being true, I still can empathize with your experience and I think your honesty is admirable, I appreciate you revealing so much of yourself for the world to see. Its enlightening when people admit their imperfections and in doing so they appear more amazing. I absolutely love your blog and just want to tell you how much I appreciate and admire your writings. :]

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 3:58 pm

      thank you!

  • Jen in MN February 18, 2013, 4:07 pm

    LOVE seeing honest, open, non-judgmental posts on motherhood-related topics like this. As a mom of 2 (one who tried and “failed” to breastfeed both of them after early mastitis with both), it means so much. SO much.

    A hearty congratulations to you on both the 8 months AND on choosing to honor yourself/your happiness (it DOES matter, you’re right) by stopping when it was more than time. Good for you, mama!! And thanks for sharing on a loaded topic. Very refreshing.

  • Theodora February 18, 2013, 4:18 pm

    While I can’t relate to the baby part, I think what you said about the reframing your internal conversation is SO important.

  • Diane T. Your Auntie. February 18, 2013, 4:18 pm

    Caitlin you are so wise. It brought tears to my eyes to hear you saying things that it has taken me so many years to learn (we’re not saying HOW many) and I have to say you are an inspiration to me. Some times I don’t remember to use the lessons I have learned, so thanks . You know the love you feel for Henry just jumps off the page. Oops! Tears, again.

    Love you.

  • Lisa February 18, 2013, 4:26 pm

    Ahhhhh the breastfeeding debate (believe me, in NZ, breast is pushed even more than most countries – don’t get me started on what I think this has done to PND). Anyway – anywhere I somehow get amongst the debate, I dare people to look at my five (from 21 to 11yo) and tell me which ones were breastfed, which were completely formula fed, and which were a combination … I can tell you, the completely formula fed one hasn’t got horns or anything like that 😉

  • Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset February 18, 2013, 4:27 pm

    I LOVE your honesty! I’m definitely no where near having a child, but I really do enjoy these posts! haha. The science-y side of my brain wonders what women did from an evolutionary perspective? Meaning the ones who struggled with BFing? Thank goodness for technology, innovation and modern medicine. Like most women, I hope I am able to BF, but I am SO thankful to know that there are other options out there! And you make them seem just as natural and not all awful and terrible, like many others do. Congrats! Henry is too cute 🙂

  • Lesley T. February 18, 2013, 4:36 pm

    Henry is absolutely adorable and *handsome*! I love that little guy’s smile.

  • Rachael February 18, 2013, 4:39 pm

    What an inspiring and liberating post! I admire your courage to share this part of your mothering journey 🙂 The photo with Henry’s hand on your chest KILLS me, I melted into a puddle when I scrolled down and saw that!

  • AJ February 18, 2013, 4:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. Henry is sooooo cute!

  • Elena @ Apples & Pastelitos February 18, 2013, 4:42 pm

    Congrats on breastfeeding for 8 months!! That is seriously amazing, and you definitely should be proud of yourself. I always enjoy reading these monthly posts, as my little girl is 9 1/2 months old. Just wanted to say that I so appreciate your honesty and realness on your blog– it’s a bit of a rare thing in the blogosphere, as I often feel so much pressure to be the “perfect mom.” Always look forward to reading your blog every day!

  • Heather February 18, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Just want to say that I appreciate this post…not a mom yet, but know those that are and face a lot of guilt associated with stopping breastfeeding.

    I plan to breastfeed once we are lucky enough to have a kid, but I really really really hate the radical pro-breast-feeding movement. It makes moms feel guilt like you have and overemphasizes the slight health advantages that breastfeeding brings (especially breastfeeding beyond 6 months).

    Honestly, part of me believes that the whole pro-breast-feeding movement is just a tool of the patriarchy and has taken feminism backwards a bit. Using the boob to keep women out of the workplace and in the home and guilting those who choose their own sanity/health/happiness over a minor improvement for their child.

    • Megan February 19, 2013, 12:04 am

      Heather the advantages of bf-ing go beyond 6 months. and i don’t think “the boob ” keeps women out of the workplace. the decision and financial ability to stay at home is not the same as keeping women out of the workplace.

      • Cara February 19, 2013, 4:37 pm

        There’s an interesting piece in The Atlantic that was published a couple years ago taking an honest critical look at the data on the benefits of breastfeeding and discussing the social (and arguably patriarchal) pressures it puts on Women. :


        I always appreciate different perspectives on these issues and I think the author of the article makes really valid points in criticizing some of the more militant pro-breastfeeding groups.

    • Leslie February 19, 2013, 7:59 pm

      I find the tool of patriarchy here to be the formula lobbyists. Their deep pockets promote formula feeding solely to make more money for themselves and their political agendas.

      Avoiding formula altogether is my goal. Breastfeeding, when possible, is best.

  • Lindsay February 18, 2013, 5:20 pm

    I haven’t read the other comments yet, but I am sure many of them echo mine: thank you for the honest post regarding the potential trials, tribulations, and emotions surrounding breast feeding. T’was a refreshingly honest article.

  • katie February 18, 2013, 5:59 pm

    I really like when you write posts like this. im not a mom, nor do I intend to be one soon. But I think it’s really eye-opening and really interesting to read when you talk about topics like this. You can read books or talk to professionals about things like this, but you never really get a truly real response like the one you’ve given here.

    Alsoo! Your hair length in these photos is perfect for you. You look so lovely 🙂

    • Katie February 19, 2013, 11:26 am

      I agree, your hair looks great! I just had about 5 inches chopped off myself and feel like it looks so much healthier and sophisticated. Gorgeous!

  • Babs February 18, 2013, 6:15 pm

    What a thought provoking post. Caitlin, your honesty is refreshing. I think sharing your experiences with breastfeeding & pumping will help others. It’s hard to fight the self-judgment, and we need try to practice more of the self-love.

    Henry is lucky to have you!

  • Courtney February 18, 2013, 6:21 pm

    I just wanted to thank you for this post! I’ve never commented before but have been a fairly long-term ready. I had my little girl two weeks after you had Henry and breastfeeding didn’t go so well for us, we ended up having to use a shield. I had never even heard of one til they brought it to me after giving birth and breastfeeding wasn’t working for us. Seeing you having to use one really “normalized” the idea of the nipple shield for me. After two months at home I needed to go back to work and started pumping exclusively. I never really got into the nursing and it always felt like more of a chore with all the issues we would have.

    I just stopped pumping this week and feel great about it! I’m proud I made it as far as I did. I like having my body back (and my husband likes that the boobs back on the table ;).

    So anyway, thanks for being so honest and open with your experience. I’ve found a lot of comfort in your breastfeeding posts!

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 7:27 pm

      🙂 yay shield twins. Thanks for reading!

  • Jennifer February 18, 2013, 6:29 pm

    I think giving myself permission to stop when it is too difficult to go on was the hardest decision I made after having my son. I agonized over that decision for what felt like a lifetime. I was miserable, in severe pain (having migraines every day I pumped/breastfed from all the hormonal stuff going on, and had a baby with a horrible latch that two lactation consultants couldn’t fix), and sleep deprived from bottle feeding, rocking to sleep, pumping every 3 hours. I was on the fast train to crazy town. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who intervened and took me to the doctor so she could give me permission to stop.

    I tried again with baby #2….had the same exact experience and it was much easier to quit the second time around. 😉

  • Laura WL February 18, 2013, 6:31 pm

    I am really enjoying your posts like this. As we think about whether we’ll breastfeed or not, one of my concerns is that if we do then that will place much of the feeding burden on me. Specifically that we won’t be able to share the burden of middle-of-the-night feedings, which could set me and my husband up on a bad precedent of me taking on much more of the baby caring for responsibilities. We spent several years discussing it before we decided to have a child and part of our reluctance is the weird mythologizing we do of “mothers” in our culture and how much of the burden of child-rearing falls to women instead of both parents (which is definitely the case with breastfeeding). Ideally we would want us both to share this burden, so for now, we are doing a wait and see thing and see how breastfeeding does (or doesn’t) work out.

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 7:26 pm

      That was one of the best things about the pump. Even if you BF during the day, your husband can give bottles at night. Just make sure your supply is established!

  • Sarah February 18, 2013, 6:38 pm

    I’m glad to hear of other moms with the same issues! I didn’t produce enough, so we bf and did formula from one month on. I bf my son until he got teeth – which was at 4 1/2 months. He didn’t get the hint that he wasn’t supposed to bite me, so I switched to pumping, which I continued until 8 months. I began to hate the pump and we had frozen milk, so we finished that up and he continued formula until he turned 1. I would have loved to have nursed him longer, but we had to do what is right for us. When we have our second, I will attempt to nurse again – but I will be ok with whatever the outcome. My boy is happy and healthy and that’s the important thing!

  • Jill February 18, 2013, 6:42 pm

    Hey-I made it 8 months with my babe too–we rock!!!

  • Holly P. @ A Year in Wichita February 18, 2013, 6:54 pm

    Fabulous post, as usual. You always tackle sensitive topics with such grace.

  • Crystal February 18, 2013, 7:00 pm

    it’s so emotionally and physically taxing in a way that breastfeeding just isn’t (so I hear).

    Obviously you have never had your nipple bitten by an angry teething toddler lol. I think they’re both taxing, but in completely different ways.

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 7:24 pm

      Lol no I haven’t!!!!

  • Brittany February 18, 2013, 7:02 pm

    You’re such an inspiration! I am exclusively pumping and there’s nothing to LIKE about it. Except for the whole ‘I’m giving my baby the best milk’ thing, pumping 8 times a day is exhausting and I’ve only been doing it for 6 weeks. I too never though BF’ing would be soooo hard for me (natural childbirth was a breeze compared to breastfeeding) but hey, each day I pump, I give myself a mental party. Love this post!

  • Mary February 18, 2013, 7:20 pm

    Eight months of breastfeeding is WAY more than I did. I lasted 10 days with my first (seriously more painful than labor!), did not even attempt it with my second (memories still too fresh!), and 5 days with my third (remembered why I quit with the first!). I give a lot of credit to anyone who tries, and certainly don’t judge anyone who chooses formula! I also felt a lot of pressure to do the “right thing” with breastfeeding, but there is definitely no one “right thing” for anything in parenthood. I remember crying so hard with the first bottle I gave my first, but when I decided to switch to formula with my third I just felt relief. I knew it was right for me and my child. My strong, healthy first and second born were proof:).

  • Sarah (The Simple Dietitian) February 18, 2013, 7:21 pm

    You are an awesome mom!! And Henry is one lucky little guy to have you.

    It took serious guts to write this, I’m sure. Kudos to you!

  • sarah (the SHU box) February 18, 2013, 8:02 pm

    just want to say i SO understand, and i really think you are never going to second guess your decision now that you’ve made it! i ditched the pump at 9 months and there is NO question that it was time. i had exactly the same perfectionistic hesitations about it — but in the end i look back and already wish i could tell myself to be proud of all the pumping i did!!

    re: weaning: i stopped pumping pretty quickly (still doing AM/PM breastfeeding) and didn’t really have mood swings but i had a lot of nausea and almost pregnancy-like symptoms! so, if that happens to you, you’re not crazy 🙂

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit February 18, 2013, 8:08 pm

    Great photos! You both look beautiful 🙂

  • Brie February 18, 2013, 8:18 pm

    I’m coming up on five months of exclusively breastfeeding and it is HARD. Physically, we’ve been lucky in that it’s really easy for us, but the emotional side is just crazy. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to be a foodsource! I can’t go more than 3 hours without either breastfeeding or pumping and that’s a huge commitment and exhausting. And now that I’m back at work I’m not producing enough for him, so I’m dipping into the freezer stash and trying to make peace with the fact that there will probably be some formula in his future.

  • Elyse February 18, 2013, 8:22 pm

    Congratulations and thank you for writing this post! I’m nota mom but I too struggle with the urge to be perfect all the time. As you said, it is both a blessing and a curse. I love all of your posts but I think this may be the best one you’ve ever written! I’m so hard on myself all the time and just recently have been trying to be gentler with myself, so the timing of this was perfect!

    Also, you look incredible and Henry is adorable!!

  • Tracy February 18, 2013, 8:25 pm

    Well done! 8 months IS awesome. I only made it 4 months with all 4 of my kids.

  • Jamie @ A Healthy J.D. February 18, 2013, 8:37 pm

    Caitilin, thank you so much for posting this. I recently blogged about my issues and struggles with exclusively pumping and it was so therapeutic to get it off my chest (no pun intended, heh). We’re nearing three months of EPing over here but I’m about to go back to my full time job as an attorney and I know it’s going to get a heck of a lot more challenging to pump (I have to pump 8-10 times a day for 30 minutes a session to get 35-40 oz a day so it’s super time consuming for me to meet Z’s needs without supplementing). I have a freezer full of back up milk and I hope to continue EPing as long as I can. I’ve been beating myself up royally over every aspect of EPing and breastfeeding in general. I’ve decided not to put a timeline on when I quit pumping because my thoughts on the topic change on a daily basis. You’re post reminds me why I shouldn’t judge myself so much… and for that I thank you because I need that reminder .I’m so so proud of you for making it 8 months, I can’t even look that far down the road so you are my hero!

  • Amber K February 18, 2013, 9:10 pm

    I am always amazed when a blogger can delve into what has become an extremely controversial topic. The mommy wars are certainly not going anywhere anytime soon. It makes me want to never discuss my future plans…ever! No matter what you do, you will always be “wrong” in someone’s eyes. There’s no way to be perfect, only to be you. So keep doing what you see as best!

  • Kath February 18, 2013, 10:21 pm

    You are an awesome mom. Great post. Love Henry’s outfit!

  • Nadine February 18, 2013, 10:26 pm

    Are you totally looking forward to adding cheese back into your diet?? 🙂

    • Caitlin February 18, 2013, 10:30 pm

      Is it okay if I say FUCK YES???

  • Avery @ YoungAspirations February 18, 2013, 10:44 pm

    This is such a great post. Even though I’m not a mom yet, I really appreciate you opening up about your struggles with breastfeeding. I totally agree with you, and though mom’s face pressure with hundreds of choices when it comes to their baby, no one thing is best for every mom and her baby! It’s also a huge help for me to read women’s experiences with issues like this, so I’ll be better prepared when (Lord willing) that day comes for me! 🙂

  • Emily February 18, 2013, 11:04 pm

    I loved this post!!! I am not a mum but I think about these issues a lot. My mother always thinks it’s strange when mums don’t breast feed but I thinks it’s mainly because her experience with breast feeding was that it was effortless and she enjoyed it. I have no malice toward my mum however I realise that breast feeding for many mums is hard work.

    I don’t judge mothers for anything except smoking around children because my mother had so many health issues caused by passive smoking, so again it’s based on experience.

    Caitlin you did an amaaaazing job pumping for that long! That’s an incredible effort but I’m so happy you realised it wasn’t for you 🙂

  • Kathy February 18, 2013, 11:08 pm

    Love this post and major props to you for sharing such a personal issue in a very eloquent way! I’m not a mom but I think you make such a good point about not judging ourselves so harshly. I often catch myself thinking “you’re weak” if illness causes me to cancel on someone or “you’re failing” if I don’t reach a goal when I think I should. I think we have to remind ourselves to be at least as kind to ourselves as we would to other people we care about. Like you said, often we’re kinder to strangers than to ourselves!

  • Katherine February 18, 2013, 11:16 pm

    I’m 6 and a half months pregnant with my first and terrified of nursing. I know it’s what is best, but I also have to return to work full time after 8 weeks so I’m planning to pump. I loved reading your posts about breastfeeding and pumping. Not only are they informative, but also so encouraging! Just an FYI for those who might not know, as of Jan 1st, 2013 all insurance companies are required BY LAW (thanks Obamacare!) to cover breast pumps! http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/04/the-breast-pump-industry-is-booming-thanks-to-obamacare/

  • Emilee February 18, 2013, 11:48 pm

    Well spoken 🙂

  • Megan February 18, 2013, 11:55 pm

    Thanks for this post, Caitlin! I have to admit that when I started reading it I didn’t find it relatable…I breastfed both my kids for 2 yrs, didn’t mind pumping when I was at work, etc.

    then I got to thinking. I have mommy guilt over having c sections. (9+ lb babies). I wanted to vbac and still ended up a section. I still think all of the time about what I could have done differently to avoid a section (and I am a labor and delivery nurse so I know it was probably inevitable). I feel like I missed this great, awesome experience of delivering my baby vaginally.

    To make a long story short…i think that is why I was so passionate about extended nursing. I consider myself “AP” as a mommy but since I ended up a section I was even more bound and determined to make nusing work.

    • K February 19, 2013, 8:15 pm

      Yes, this, but for me, since I went through infertility and IVF, I was even more determined to make nursing work to “make up for it.”

  • Trula February 19, 2013, 12:25 am

    Thank you for your honesty and openness. It takes so much introspection and clear headedness to truly delve into the issues we face daily and I always feel positive and refreshed in hearing your view points on such issues. You are a trusted voice in my life and I suspect many others. Thank you.

  • E February 19, 2013, 1:05 am

    Just wanted to say how fantastic you look! I would say the sleep is doing good things for you 😉

    Way to go for making it 8 months as a breastfeeder!

  • Daria February 19, 2013, 1:16 am

    “I want my breasts back, I want my time back, I want my freedom back”

    I remember when i stopped breatsfeeding it was such a relief – all of a sudden I felt much more freedom. It felt so weird (in a good way) that my body belonged to ME again, i didn’t have to worry about my alcohol/caffeine intake anymore, i didn’t have to wonder whether it was something i ate that made my baby fussy, etc.

    8 whole months of breastmilk is a great achievement. I can imagine so many people would have stopped way sooner when faced with challenges. Thank you for your honesty!

  • Ashley February 19, 2013, 1:39 am

    You have to do what is best for Yourself And your family <3

    Also… holy Wow, I cannot believe you had a baby 8 months ago… you are one HAWT Mama!!

  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) February 19, 2013, 7:08 am

    Girl – It is like we have had the exact same experience with breastfeeding. I have commented on this topic before but nursing wasn’t easy for me & my baby either. Had to use the shields and we did that until she was 3.5 months and then at that time I started pumping exclusively. I am still pumping exclusively and she is now 9.5 months old. I have been struggling with a lot of the issues you mentioned here – perfectionism, thinking I need to keep going just because of my milk supply, feeling guilty for not loving breastfeeding, etc. I totally get it!! I really really hate breastfeeding. There. I said it. Totally hate it. I am on the verge of weaning but keep telling myself “it’s free. . . I’m saving money. . . etc etc.” We will see what happens. THANK YOU for posting about this issue. It’s quite liberating actually!

  • misspipkelly February 19, 2013, 7:38 am

    Loved this post Caitlin! I don’t have kids, but have passed it onto my best friend who is currently breast feeding her daughter who is 2 months old as it’s such a great positive message and I know they’ve had some struggles.

    Congratulations for making it to 8 months and enjoy some CHEESE!


  • Kermit February 19, 2013, 7:51 am

    My beautiful first born was a nightmare to breast feed . I struggled , cried, drove myself mad with guilt & feelings of pressure to continue and meanwhile my baby was irritable while feeding , not thriving and generally ‘feeding’ off my stress. I finally made the decision to stop at around 8 months. Best.Decision.Ever.
    My ‘baby’ is next to me now on the couch. She is 16 , beautiful, healthy,happy and just randomly said “I love you Mum” .Does it matter now that I ‘only’ breast fed her for 8 months.?. Not a scrap!!
    Your an awesome Mumma, be proud x

  • Andrea February 19, 2013, 8:28 am

    Amen sister…well put! I think 8 months is a HUGE accomplishment considering I could only make it 8 weeks with both of my boys. It just hurt way too much, my oldest was colicky, i was sleep deprived, the list goes on and on. It just didn’t work for me and the guilt I felt whne I stopped was unbearable!

    I’m pregnant with baby boy #3 and I wonder how it will go this time. I considered pumping exclusively before (my problem was NEVER supply and it always felt like a huge waste), but good grief, the time that takes is insane. I love that you cut yourself some slack. I wish I had done that earlier myself!!!!

  • Sarah W. February 19, 2013, 9:16 am

    your blazer is super cute! recent buy? from where?/brand?

  • cindy February 19, 2013, 9:20 am

    Goodbye diet restrictions! Hello large cheese pizza, bucket of beers, and fro-yo. My baby has only had formula and people always comment how advanced he is.

  • Hope February 19, 2013, 9:23 am

    Thank you for sharing this!!!

    Do you plan to go back to eating dairy now that you don’t have to avoid it for Henry?

    My son was also allergic to milk protein and thankfully outgrew it. We introduced small amounts of dairy products (not milk) around 10 months.

  • Kristen February 19, 2013, 9:53 am

    I’m not a mum – but it is always nice to see an honest post about not living up to your ideas of what is “perfect” or what your definition of success is. I think we learn so much from having to make decisions that are different from what we think we ought to do or what we wanted to do.

    We all do the best we can and our best has to be good enough sometimes – or we’ll all go crazy. Thanks for a post that made me think.

  • Jenny February 19, 2013, 10:00 am

    I just had to chime in, too – I exclusively pumped for 9.5 months. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. The time commitment, the constant washing of bottles/parts, the mental anguish and guilt over not being able to “properly” nurse my baby … it was exhausting and it took away from my time/experience with my baby. Finally allowing myself to quit was such a huge relief. I was able to focus on being a mom. I still have a little “post-traumatic stress” when I hear about a new mom having trouble with breastfeeding. It was HARD for us, but my daughter is happy, healthy, and that is all that matters. Best of luck to you. Thank you for your honesty – this mom really appreciates it!

  • Emily February 19, 2013, 10:14 am

    Good for you, Caitlin! You are doing the best thing for you and your family, that’s something to be proud of.

    I so appreciate how open and honest you are, especially about seeing a therapist. A healthy mind is just as important as a healthy body 🙂

  • Grace February 19, 2013, 10:16 am

    I’m sure I will get flamed for this, but you’ve said before that pumping only takes you 5 minutes? And that you only have to pump 5-6 times a day? I know lots of women that formula feed, lots of women that breastfeed, lots of women that exclusively pump for a year, and they are all great mothers. It doesn’t matter to me what anyone feeds their baby. But since you’ve said before that breast milk is superior to formula, and that formula for Henry would be really, really expensive, and you’ve obviously been very conflicted about not pumping anymore since you’ve written multiple posts about it. Personally, I think that half an hour of an unpleasant task a day for another 3-4 months doesn’t sound like an insurmountable task.

    Maybe I’m just bitter because I had to fight my company tooth and nail to get a set-up where I could pump, and since my body never responded well to the pump I had to pump for hours every day (on top of nursing) to get enough milk for my baby. I worked HARD to make sure my baby stayed on 100% breast milk, because it was something that was important to me. But I certainly don’t feel like I deserve a medal for all that, because I knew before I got pregnant that having a baby would be a lot of work – it’s what I expected. And when I look at my daughter, I knew I would do all of that over again and more if I had to. And I feel incredibly lucky that I was even able to pump for those 12 months – so, so many women that would love to exclusively breastfeed or exclusively pump don’t have that option, for physical or socioeconomic reasons.

    No one should have to martyr themselves, but I think that having a baby does involve some level of sacrifice and hard work. I look at my friend that has 4 kids and managed to breastfeed twins exclusively for a year while working full time. I look at my sister who fought through depression and serious PPD and came out the other side happier and healthier than ever, all while her husband had to travel over 200 days a year for work and she has a baby with health issues. Neither of them expect to be publicly rewarded for those things, because it’s just what they have to do in life. This is a very puritanical opinion, I think that our society really has lowered itself to aiming for the bare minimum and expecting to be rewarded for that. Honestly, doing every day adult stuff doesn’t deserve praise.

    • Brianne February 24, 2013, 5:42 pm

      I love this comment and totally agree!

  • Sarah February 19, 2013, 10:18 am


    I haven’t ever commented before, but I felt inspired to do so today. I have a son – who is actually the exact same age as Henry. I have truly loved going through the whole pregnancy and birth etc. via the internet with you. Also, you know one of my my friends and former roommates Anne @fannetasticfood. So, I sorta feel like we are connected on a deeper level.

    I had an extremely difficult labor and delivery with my son Holden. He was delivered via emergency c-section after I got sick and we stopped progressing in labor. Luckily, all turned out well, and we had a healthy and happy baby boy! Breastfeeding was the one part of becoming a mom that I struggled with throughout my pregnancy – I was extremely nervous and felt a tremendous amount of pressure to do it.

    I was able to nurse Holden three hours after he was born – and he was a champ. Unfortunately, due to the complications during his delivery, Holden was placed in the NICU for three days post delivery. There, he was on heavy antibiotics and given formula to keep him hydrated. I pumped and breastfed him every chance I got, but he was given formula from day one. The next six weeks, we continued the pattern. I nursed him, then he was given formula by dad. It was tough, because every feeding took at least 30-45 minutes – which as you know, is tough when a newborn is eating every 2 hours. Luckily, we didn’t have any problems with switching from breast to bottle – Holden just liked to eat! At first, I felt like I needed to wean him off the formula so I could breastfeed full time. I pumped and pumped, trying to increase my supply. It just wasn’t working, and I remember feeling like such a failure that I couldn’t make enough milk for my little guy.

    When Holden was six weeks old, I got sick. I got an infection from all the antibiotics I had in the hospital (probiotics, ladies!). The medicine to treat the infection prevented me from breastfeeding – so I stopped cold turkey. It was an intensely emotional way to stop – I felt like I wasn’t given the opportunity to chose how I started feeding my son, and now I didn’t get to chose how I stopped.

    Over time, I have realized a few things. One, my son is happy and healthy and growing like a weed. I gave him the best that I could, and he and I are better because of it. I still feel guilty sometimes, because I too, wanted to be successful. However, it has taught me to not judge other moms – it is so important that we support all moms, however they chose to feed their babies. There is no right way or wrong way when it comes to the health of your child. And every mom is doing the best that they can.

    Congrats on being a great mom Caitlin, I’m looking forward to watching Henry grow up with Holden 🙂

    • Anne February 19, 2013, 12:52 pm

      <3 I've been so impressed with how you handled everything, Sarah. You really never know how things are going to work out until you're there, and it's so important to not be too hard on yourself or others. Everyone is just doing the best they can, you're right!

  • Ellen February 19, 2013, 10:38 am

    I am still amazed how often women judge other women about their choses as mothers. After haveing my son in August I was really suprised how sensitive I have become to other peoples comments about my baby, whether it is that he cries to much or is really big or that he is a very active child etc.
    I think as women we should all take a step back and reflect on the greatest sacrifice we just made, by carrying this baby to term and giving birth. NO one can do this but you and you should be extremely proud of yourself, but instead new mommy-hood is swamped by guilt and self-doubts on whether or not you are doing the best for you child. WE ALL ARE.
    I am lucky that myself, both my sister-laws and my cousin all gave birth with in the four months of each other. I think we all realize how hard this new role is and we try to support one another in each others decisions. We have all chosen different paths when it comes to feeding and have realized what works for Me might not work for you, but its not a big deal.
    I think we should all give each other a pat on the back for doing the best that we can.

    hank you for this post. I know that I have said this before but I have really been enjoying following your journey through pregnancy and mother hood. I have learned alot and you are also a great motivator….i.e. my attempt to run my first half marathon since getting pregnant is mostly because of your post on the half you did. THank you!

    • Caitlin February 19, 2013, 10:41 am


  • FitBritt@MyOwnBalance February 19, 2013, 10:40 am


    Thanks so much for this post. I don’t have children yet and so I cannot relate to breastfeeding but your thoughts really resonate with me regarding my career. I get so focused on what I haven’t been able to or don’t want to achieve and forget to focus on the fact that there are other things in my life that are so much more important to me and are going really great-like my relationships. Thank you for reminding me.

  • Hope February 19, 2013, 11:12 am

    I hope this doesn’t come up twice.

    Thanks so much for sharing!! I also struggled with bfing and only made it a month.

    Do you plan to reintroduce dairy to your diet now that you aren’t avoiding for Henry? I know that had to be hard!! My son had the same allergy but we formula fed and he thankfully outgrew it.

  • Megan February 19, 2013, 11:21 am

    I had a very tough go with breasfeeding, reflux, milk protien intolerance, etc. and my son is about 6 weeks younger than yours. I quit breastfeeding at six weeks and some days still feel guilty about it. It doesn’t matter if your child is formula fed or breastfed, just that he’s FED. I found a website that really helped with a lot of stories from other mothers: http://www.fearlessformulafeeders.com
    Congrats on making it to eight months!!! He looks like a healthy, happy boy! That’s what truly matters!

  • Sara February 19, 2013, 11:34 am

    Great post. I actually know very few moms who DO breastfeed so I feel like I have little support because I want to try breastfeeding my son when he’s born in May. I guess it depends on where you live and who you know. Most of my mom friends work and feed formula. My mom asked me if I planned to BF and I told her yes, I plan to try. She did not BF me. She asked what I would do when I went back to work and I told her I would pump. She told me that sounded awful. Sure, it may not be the most pleasant experience, but it’s something I want to try. Anyway, I appreciate different perspectives and appreciate having somewhere to go for “support” when I feel discouraged (such as reading old posts, etc.) since I don’t have much real-life support (other than doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, etc.)

  • Carol February 19, 2013, 11:51 am

    Why are you so awesome!? I read your blog every single day, our baby boys were born two days apart (needless to say I’ve enjoyed going through the entire pregnancy/birth/babies with you over the internet) and you make me feel so much better about motherhood and the decisions I’ve made over the past 8 months. Thank you for sharing something so personal, it is truly appreciated!

  • Sherri February 19, 2013, 11:56 am

    Healthy Topping Point is the very first healthy living blog I started to follow a few years ago and I never imagined what an impact it would have on my life. Since I discovered it, I’ve run three half marathons plus a few smaller races, completely overhauled my diet, and changed my perspective on what it means to be “healthy”.

    Now I am expecting my first baby and feel incredibly grateful for each and every Mind/Body After Baby post and all of the pregnancy posts before it. I love your honesty and self-confidence because I feel like it gives me permission to be confident in my own choices as a soon-to-be-mother.

    I guess I just want to thank you for all that you do. I know none of it is easy but as you can see from all of the comments above, and this one, it is appreciated more than you could ever know!

    • Caitlin February 19, 2013, 12:47 pm

      Thank you! Congrats!

  • Holly February 19, 2013, 12:20 pm

    Hey, I only made it 2 months because my little guy was spitting up half of what I gave him! In my sleep deprived state I couldn’t see a way to continue. He would only keep down soy formula even though he can drink milk now(3 years later). More than anything I want to make it longer if we have another one but it can be hard.

  • duffy February 19, 2013, 12:26 pm

    I feel your comment “Breastfeeding is a huge emotional and physical commitment, and although it is easy for many women, I really think we should give a HUGE round of applause to every mom who breastfeeds – no matter for how long” doesn’t really help with the Mommy Wars. Now, hear me out. The thing is that a parent is feeding his or her kid. Whether that is done with a bottle of formula or a tit full of milk, does that really deserve a round of applause?

    Yes, breastfeeding is hard. Pumping is hard. Formula is expensive. I just feel like it’s the healthy baby that deserves the applause. Not how you get there. The moms who can’t breastfeed, the parents of adopted children, the people who used surrogates to conceive, they all “deserve applause” too.

    • Caitlin February 19, 2013, 12:45 pm

      It was hard to write that sentence. 🙂 I hear ya.

  • Emily February 19, 2013, 12:36 pm

    My kids are 8 and 5 and sadly, the judgements don’t end. “You let your child eat a Happy Meal?!?” *gasp* “You mean, your kids aren’t in U8 soccer, cheerleading, dance, piano, Spanish lessons, AND basketball??! How will they ever be successful adults?” (Obviously, I am being somewhat sarcastic, but you catch my drift.)

    Someone will always find fault with your choices as a mom. The key is for YOU to be ok with them. And to remember that little guy thinks you’re the best mom EVER. That has to count for something. 🙂

    And for what it’s worth, we formula fed our daughter from 6 weeks on and our son from birth. Both are super bright and very healthy. They almost never get sick, even though they attend the germ-farms known as school every day.

  • Stephanie February 19, 2013, 12:47 pm

    Thank you for always sharing so much of yourself! The honesty is refreshing! I also have perfectionist tendencies and know I will place a lot of pressures on myself when we start a family. I will need to remember, as you remind yourself, that you ARE doing a good job!

  • Jessica February 19, 2013, 12:54 pm

    I have been following your blog for awhile now (among other HLB’s) and I am loving yours the best! I have a 5 month old and have learned so much from your blog. I also definitely understand what you went through as some weeks (I am a full time working mom) I end up only pumping (while taking fenugreek and mothers milk tea to up supply) and then think whats even the point… so weekends I try to nurse (where my baby add’s and uses a shield so it becomes a messy milk war). But I keep at it. Its really nuts the pressure we put on ourselves for something that the baby will end up being ok with either way… anyways, this post was really helpful along with all of your other baby posts that keep it real. Keep em coming please, and I definitely think you are amazing for pumping this whole time! Go you!

  • KC February 19, 2013, 1:11 pm

    Let me first say, congrats on making it 8 months!! As a fellow ‘perfectionist/BF-ing /pumping Mom I can relate to everything you are saying. Breastfeeding is not always the beautiful experince that one hopes for. I had issues with latch so I needed sheilds. I never once nursed in public (don’t want anyone to see that!) When I returned to work I pumped 3 times a day in a little room away from my desk. My supply would drop, then increase. My hormones and weight were all over the place. I wanted my life back. It felt awful about it but after being pregnant for 9 months no one tells you that if you decide to breastfeed you are giving up your body for another year or whatever length ‘society’ tells us is the best for our kids. At 8 months I too started to suppliment with formula and weaned off the pump. By 10 months I had weaned my daughter to formula completely. Now she is 15 months and drinking whole milk. I can’t even remember what it felt like to nurse. I bet she can’t either. I know if I’m blessed with another child I will nurse again but I will NOT feel badly if things don’t go as planned.

    PS- I do plan to eat my placenta with the next one. Thanks to your input!!

    Best of luck! XO

  • Whitney February 19, 2013, 1:31 pm

    Thank you for sharing your private experiences and feelings with us. I really appreciate hearing about your experiences as a new mom. I am getting ready to marry my fiance in just 17 days and the topic of starting a family is never far away. I know that when we are ready I will be re-reading many of your posts and encouraging my then-husband to take a look as well.

    You are brave, Caitlin. Thank you!

  • Katie February 19, 2013, 2:40 pm

    This is just so timely in my life, so thanks for sharing. The part about not being able to berate yourself into happiness struck such a cord with me that I stopped and sat back in my chair. I’m BFing/pumping my infant, and I balance that with ridiculously long hours at a very demanding job, another child, husband, etc. At some point, I can’t worry about maintaining a perfect supply (and feeling like a failure if I don’t) but instead I just have to do the best I can and be happy with that. Thank you.

  • Andrea February 19, 2013, 3:05 pm

    Don’t know if anybody already mentioned this or not but the two biggest surprises after I stopped nursing and pimping after 7.5 months was this: sex became awesome again (apparently BFing makes your vagina a raisin….why doesn’t anybody tell you this before?!) and that my biological clocked kicked into overdrive. My body figured out that it was done tending to the needs of #1 and was like bring on #2! I’ve had extreme baby fever for a year and a half now. Luckily I didn’t get the emotional swings that some Mamas get so hopefully that won’t be a challenge for you.

    • Caitlin February 19, 2013, 3:23 pm

      Yay for sex. That sounds like a Nice benefit!!!

  • jameil February 19, 2013, 5:06 pm

    Motherhood is so competitive and it’s crazy that a lot of it comes from within. I’m so glad you talked about this. I think even a lot of people who don’t consider themselves perfectionists try to be the perfect mom and beat themselves up when there’s no such thing.

  • Abby February 19, 2013, 5:13 pm

    Congratulations, what an accomplishment to make it 8 months! I naively had this image of exclusively nursing my baby for a year, and shamefully did judge other mothers who chose not to nurse. Big life lesson for me! My little girl showed up 5 weeks early, I was told in the hospital that I had to nurse then pump and offer a bottle after every nursing session bc she wasn’t strong enough to get enough from just nursing, but she still struggled to gain weight. Numerous times I left the doctor’s office crying and feeling like a failure. I pumped after nursing her 8-10 times a day and I still couldn’t make enough milk, not to mention leave my house. All I did was feed the baby for 8 weeks straight, and still she wasn’t gaining like they wanted. Finally we started supplementing formula because I got a nasty bought of mastitis and could no longer make enough, down to 2-3 oz. and the right side never recovered. Again I felt like a failure. We had to see a specialist to have her sucking evaluated and throat examined, it was beyond stressful! What it all boiled down to was that she was premature and needed extra time to sort out her swallowing/breathing coordination. So after 8 weeks of exclusive breast milk we started supplementing formula and she started figuring out how to suck and swallow and finally gained weight. Today we have a happy healthy formula fed 5 month old. I will never judge the way a mom chooses to feed her baby again. Exclusively pumping is rough and I commend you for making it so far. You are very brave to share it all, I admit that I still feel shame that nursing didn’t work for us and am very protective of my story if that makes sense. Thank you for sharing.

  • Mia February 19, 2013, 5:23 pm

    I just hope you know how important these posts that you write are, and the positive effect you’re having on others by writing them. Anytime your bring voice to otherwise silence issues (breastfeeding hardships, fertility, miscarriage, depression etc) you’re helping take the stigma out of them. You have reached so many people with these posts, and given them a place to share, connect, learn, and hopefully pass along your/their feelings. I truly believe that that is how change happens. I hope you know it doesn’t go unnoticed, and that you are able to continue to do this.

    • Caitlin February 19, 2013, 5:51 pm


  • Jenn C February 19, 2013, 7:41 pm

    Thank you for writing this. With my daughter I tried to breastfeed and ending up pumping for 3 months and then formula feeding. Now with my second I’m breastfeeding and also pump slowly changing to exclusively pumping. My daughter is now 3.5 and sharp as a whip. I’m happy that you went as far as you did and there are times I wish I went further than 2 months with my daughter and i’m coming up to 2 months with my son hoping i can get past that date. I know how you feel about the whole thing, I dealt with it with my first and slowly having the same feelings with my son.

  • Amanda February 19, 2013, 10:27 pm

    You are truly an inspirational woman in many ways but this touches close to home. I have an almost 2 month old and a 4 year old and the second lil munchkin has proven to be a challenge. I didn’t breastfeed my first (probably because I was 21 in nursing school an just plain selfish) but with my second I’m struggling to breastfeed. I have been pumping the last month to feed her because at first I was paranoid not knowing how much she was eating and my supply was never coming in great. Now a month later I have to take fenugreek to maintain a minimal supply, I take reglan because the dr said it would help with production, I was eating “real” oatmeal twice a day, power pumping the whole nine yards to trust and establish a supply, now it’s pumping 4-5 times a day and getting a minimal amount (3-4 ounces) but I feel the same way I want to stop altogether because its so taxing mentally and it’s not coming easy for my body but I feel like I would be letting my daughter down not to mention feeling like I failed at something every woman is suppose to be able to do

    • Caitlin February 20, 2013, 7:23 am

      You have done so much. You aren’t selfish and you are failing if you choose to stop!

  • Laura February 20, 2013, 4:40 am

    I strongly recommend reading ‘Bringing up Bebe’ by Pamela Drucker, an American woman living in Paris. She has some very interesting observations on how the differences between American/English styles of parenting and French! Cannot recommend it more strongly!!! Will help with the perfectionist guilt that so many mothers feel.

  • Christine February 20, 2013, 11:23 am

    Hi Caitlin-
    I give you so much credit for making it breastfeeding 8 months. I am at 4 months and on a daily basis have an internal argument with myself about starting formula. I have been almost exclusively pumping since I went back to work when baby was 6 weeks and it is a lot. In the AM I am good reved up for the day and okay with it but by the time I pump for the last time around 11:00 – 11:30 when all I want to do is go to sleep I start to lose that motivation. I am on a daily basis just getting it done no extra and if my little princess wants to eat in the middle of the night (she does this all the time now for the past month and a half) I have to feed her and then pump or I won’t have enough for daycare the next day. The doctor suggested starting rice ceral to see if that helps fill her up instead of formula since I am having supply issues. I am hoping this works and she starts sleeping through the night again. My goal is to go to 6 months I hope I can do it but we will see.

  • katie February 20, 2013, 11:25 am

    You are an excellent mom. Pumping for 8 months is amazing. I pumped when I went back to work and only made it 4.5 months. It was difficult for me to stop even thought I wasn’t pumping enough, and the added stress wasn’t worth it. The minute I decided to quit a huge weight was lifted of my shoulders. So glad you made it so long because it is such a commitment and Henry will be proud to know how committed you are to his wellbeing. Great job!

  • Jenn February 20, 2013, 2:14 pm

    I love how honest you are in your posts. 8 months is an amazing accomplishment. I’m the same way about judging myself, but not other moms. I definitely need to work on that. I made it 11 months with my nugget, I knew it was time to stop when I was dreading every pumping and/or nursing session at the end. I slowly weaned by dropping 1 feeding/week and didn’t have any hormonal issues or pain. Good luck with the weaning process!

  • Alexa February 20, 2013, 4:58 pm

    Have you decided on a brand of formula you’ll be using??

  • Stacey @ The Bump Life February 20, 2013, 8:05 pm

    Caitlin, I also stopped at eight months. It just wasn’t working for us anymore: Hudson was not interested in nursing, I was getting bitten a lot and my milk supply was starting to drop off. It was time. Part of me felt awesome for making it that far, part of me felt like it was woefully inadequate. But isn’t that just parenthood? At the end of the day, we all have to do what feels right and get over it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Jessie February 21, 2013, 12:05 am

    You are a very inspirational writer! I have read your blog quietly for years now from where I live in rural Western Australia and although there are many differences between you and I, most everything you write resonates with me. Most strongly – THIS POST. I have a 3 month old daughter and one of the things that surprised me the most about parenthood is how challanging breastfeeding is on so many levels (physical, emotional, etc). Thank you for your frank and open discussion of what is a very emotionally charged subject. And I LOVE what you have to say about not judging other mothers…. YES! I get it now…. If you havent stood in someone’s shoes then best you not judge as you do not know what has brought them to where they are today. Thank you! Love reading your blog.

    • Caitlin February 21, 2013, 7:32 am

      Thank you!

  • Jenn@Be ME February 21, 2013, 9:07 am

    Thank you for this. I am expecting my first child in July and am already nervous about not being able to do this well.

  • Kathleen February 21, 2013, 1:10 pm

    The first four months of breastfeeding was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I felt like quitting so many times. I went to the store a few times but I would read the formula ingredients and I couldn’t buy it (once a baby is eating solid foods then I wouldn’t feel as concerned). I also live in Canada where the recommendation is to breastfeed for two years for optimal immunity and cognitive benefits. Actually, the World Health Organization recommends two years as well.

    I had problems with fast flow (not oversupply though) , flat nipples, dairy intolerance and reflux. My baby has always eaten every two hours on average day and night so I can’t get much from pumping. He had a such a hard time breastfeeding until he got big enough to handle the flow (he still needs to unlatch often). It really didn’t get easier until about five months. I admit that I do judge people who don’t even try to breastfeed or give up before six months if they are off work. It was so hard for me but quitting would have been for selfish reasons. There are very few women who really can’t breastfeed (yes, once in a while there’s a woman whose supply can’t even be helped by medication). Some mothers who have commented could have benefited from seeking help from other sources like La Leche League (by phone if it’s not active locally). I went to two doctors, one lactation consultant and two breastfeeding mothers groups. I’m glad that I pressured myself to make the best effort for my baby despite the difficulty. It took months but eventually almost all issues resolve themselves. I’m glad that I felt some societal pressure too. My grandmother gave my mother and her siblings condensed milk! Back then there was negative judgment if you did breastfeed because “only poor people did it.” Let’s be real. There will always be judgment. It takes a village to raise a child after all. Thank goodness that there is pressure to breastfeed rather than to formula feed nowadays.

    I think you’ve done a good job considering you went back to work. I’m not sure if you tried to return to breastfeeding rather than bottle feeding once Henry was big enough. Ideally, I think breastfeeding for over a year is best, but obviously Henry will be raised well and will eat a healthy diet.

  • Tiffany February 21, 2013, 3:01 pm

    I am late to this post, but I really appreciate that you shared your honest feelings. Breastfeeding didn’t work for me with my daugther, but I did pump for 2 months. My mom told me day after day that it was ok to stop if it was making me crazy (coming from a huge breastfeeding advocate), but I had huge guilt that I imposed on myself. I too felt that any mom should give herself a break and do what’s right for her, but I continued to make myself totally miserable and exhausted for way too long. Once I finally stopped, it was a huge weight off my shoulders and I could actually enjoy being with my daughter. It makes me really nervous about if/when we have a second child. I would love this glorious breastfeeding relationship (and I’m hoping we won’t have the same issues I had with my daughter with #2 since she had surgery at 11 weeks!), but I’m nervous that I may not want to do it all now.

  • Jill February 21, 2013, 4:10 pm

    Hey Caitlin! Sorry to be posting this late (especially as I have already commented on how amazing I think you are for your honesty & making the best decision for your family), but as someone who pumps a lot, what is your take on a freezer stash? I ask because I unfortunately was not able to see a lacation specialist, attend a La La Leche League meeting, and I just went to lunch with a gf yesterday who says the stock I am building currently may be for nothing.. as she states our breastmilk changes to tailor our babies as they grow, essentially saying what I am pumping while she is 12 weeks may not be as helpful if I feed it to her when she is 5 months. Thoughts? I take so much from your personal experiences and knowledge, and I know you have done quite a bit of research on the topic of breastfeeding, so I figured I would throw this out there to see what you had to say! Again, thanks for your honesty – so refreshing to us mother’s just trying to do what’s best!

    • Caitlin February 21, 2013, 4:11 pm

      I have heard that too but I have freezer milk from 6 months on that I will be feeding him. I’m sure it’s not AS ideal but it will be fine!

  • Darcy February 21, 2013, 8:08 pm

    Congratulations on 8 months! This is a wonderful post, one I will refer friends in a similar position to. As a midwife myself and friend to many incredible women who have all had extremely varied and individual experiences with breastfeeding, I am constantly reminded while breastfeeding is always right for the baby, it is a very personal and distinct experience for each mother that must reflect her own truth and health. There is no place for guilt in this conversation. Thank you for sharing your own story in such an honest and eloquent way.

  • Renee @ Fit For Motherhood February 22, 2013, 8:16 am

    8 months is fabulous, I can’t believe you made it that long pumping. You are a great mom. 🙂
    This was a great post. I did love breastfeeding and can’t wait to do it when these babies are born. But I am one of those moms who believe every person is different and you have to do what’s right for you. There is no right answer for anyone and no one should feel pressure to be a certain way.
    I truly loved this article your last few paragraphs really hit home for me. Thanks. 🙂

  • Elsa February 23, 2013, 4:05 am

    Wow. Just wow. Pumping exclusively for 6 months is such a big achievement! This post really resonated with me and such perfect timing for me too. I’m starting to think about weaning after 8 months of breastfeeding because I’ve had to restrict my diet a lot because my little girl has food allergies. I’ve done 2.5 months of no milk products, no eggs & no nuts and I’m starting to really resent it. So I think weaning is the most fair option for both of us – her health & my sanity. I’m a bit sad that I won’t be breastfeeding her anymore but at the same time a bit excited to have my body back to myself. In the end you can only do what works for you & know you’re making the right decision for your circumstances. Glad to hear you’re coping we’ll with your decision.

  • Elaine February 24, 2013, 6:18 pm

    I love this post. It is so honest and emotional and I just want to come over and shower with you with chocolate and wine. I have a 2 month old little dude and think about quitting breastfeeding/pumping every day. I think most women are under prepared for the commitment that breastfeeding (or pumping) requires. And of course everyone wants to do the “right” thing… which we all need to realize is different for everyone.

  • Megan B February 25, 2013, 1:50 pm

    I’m not sure if you even have time to read all of these comments, but I’m with you! I had twins a little early (I was 33 1/2 weeks). They were in the hospital for 2 weeks, so they never really got the hang of latching. So I pumped. And pumped. And pumped. They are almost 9 months old now, and I am in the process of weaning. SO many people have said, “Oh, did your milk dry up?” Nope. It didn’t. I just don’t want to do it anymore. And I feel guilty, because holy cow (heh), I can make milk for 2 babies! I know that’s crazy awesome and so many moms have trouble producing enough milk for one baby. And yet, I don’t want to do it anymore. It took so much time, and I was always uncomfortable and my husband couldn’t touch me and I’ve lost a ton of weight (I’m 5’7″ and now 105 lbs.) and I just don’t like it. So I’m choosing to stop. They got milk exclusively for 8 1/2 months and will get half milk/half formula until they are 9 months old. And that’s awesome. But I still feel a little guilty. THANK YOU for writing this!

  • Christina March 4, 2013, 5:34 pm

    Hi from Durham!

    I just found your blog by Google through this post. My little one is at 11.5 months now, and down to 4 really LOOONG pumping sessions a day. I too am struggling with the emotional issues surrounding weaning to formula. I was under the assumption that we could just switch to whole milk at 1 year (ahh…so many assumptions that have gone out the window), but now I know that because of his issues with eating solid foods it’s going to have to be infant and/or toddler formula.

    Can you say (or do a followup post) more about how he handled the transition? How does he (and you) feel about formula now?

  • Irene March 23, 2013, 11:55 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I am weaning from the pump after 6 1/2 months and I have had a roller coaster of emotions about it. It’s really nice to read about your experience and feelings and know I’m not alone in this. It’s been quite a journey- one I’m proud of and one I can’t wait to be over. Wishing you all gne best.

  • Dani June 2, 2013, 11:04 am

    I’ve made it to 10 months of exclusively pumping. It’s extremely hard work. I’ve decided to switch to formula but the guilt is just killing me. I get weepy just thinking about it. I haven’t made the switch yet as I don’t know much about formula. What brand did you end up switching to? Does he like formula? Was the first time feeding him formul horrible? Not looking forward to the switch but am so happy that I found your blog! Thank you!

    • Caitlin June 2, 2013, 9:28 pm

      Thanks 🙂 I like baby’s only brand because its organic and GMO free. I had pondered the decision for a while, so when I have him the first bottle, it was sad but definitely not horrible. Four months later, he is so happy and healthy! No regrets.

  • gina June 4, 2013, 8:56 pm

    your words are wonderful and make me hopeful. thanks for sharing.

  • Kaitlyn June 10, 2013, 9:21 am

    I can very much relate to most of what you’ve written. I’m currently slowing down with pumping and hope to be completely dried up by the time my prescription for the pump is up, when my daughter is 6 months old. She was exclusively bottlefed breastmilk for 4 months and is now getting a couple bottles of formula a day. I’m trying to stay positive but after a pump session today feel very down about stopping. I wonder if I’m ready to stop. I 100% am and yet I’m completely not ready at the same time. It’s hard at the moment. 🙁 Your blog entry picked me up a bit. Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope I can let positive thoughts overrun the negative ones as you were able to.

  • Jes June 30, 2013, 10:11 pm

    I had to comment on this post too – just another THANKS for posting it. It’s just nice & comforting knowing that someone shares the same feelings & that I’m not alone. Reading this made me feel much better & I am going to make a list of other things I can do to be a “good mom” , I think that will help me not feel that guilt that I’m being a bad one by qui— CHOOSING to stop 🙂

  • Jessica August 16, 2013, 3:43 pm

    I came across your post when I was googling weaning from pumping. I have 10 week old twin boys and I have been exclusively pumping since they were about 3 weeks old. I started ep for a variety of reasons (one wasn’t gaining enough weight, so we had to supplement but had no idea how much he was getting, same twin wasn’t latching very well, I was not making enough milk, it was just too hard to breastfeed both, etc). I now pump for 40 minutes 5x a day. And I still have supplement with formula. It has been such a struggle mentally and physically. I can’t be away from my house for more than a few hours. Because I have to pump for so long, it makes it nearly impossible to pump out of the house. I have been lucky enough to have my husband home for the first 10 weeks, but now he is returning to work and I have no idea how I am going to continue to pump. How am I going to pump and care for two twin boys? I am really struggling with this. I feel like I should continue at least until I go back to work in a month and a half, but I just don’t know if I can. And once I start back to work, I have no idea how I am going to do it. My job requires me to be in court and it is very unpredictable. I am only sure I can pump once a day at lunch, not the 3x for 40 minutes I do now. So I feel like I should start weaning now.
    I feel guilty. I feel guilty because I don’t breastfeed, I pump. I feel guilty that I want to stop, that I want my life back. I want to enjoy my babies. Right now, as I write this, my sister and her husband are visiting from out of town and I am stuck in a room pumping while they spend time with my husband and boys. And I still have 20 more minutes to go.
    I know I am being hard on myself because I would NEVER judge another mother for not breast feeding, or stopping. But I just can’t seem to let myself off the hook.
    That was a very long, crazy way to say thank you for sharing your experience. It is very helpful and inspiring. And thanks for reading my crazy comment!

    • Caitlin August 16, 2013, 7:16 pm

      You are doing great. Seriously. And it’s really okay to stop if it’s not working any more!

  • Debbie August 17, 2013, 10:51 am

    Thank you for this post! I have been feeling so guilty for wanting to stop pumping.

    My son is eight weeks old and we had trouble breastfeeding from the start. You see, he was born tongue tied and had trouble latching on. We didn’t know about the tongue tie until one week in and didn’t have it fixed until three weeks.

    We tried various things, including using a breast shield and syringe with a tube to give him formula. The lactation consultant at the hospital was reluctant to introduce formula, but my boy was miserable and so hungry and I was getting quite sore.

    It was a few days before I started pumping. At first my supply was increasing nicely, but has steadily been falling for a few weeks now. I was never able to keep up my supply with my son’s demand. Supplementing with formula didn’t really help matters, but as long as he was happy, I was happy to give him as much of my milk as I could. “Every little bit helps” has been my motto the past two months. In the beginning, I was giving him 3/4 of his milk, but now it’s more like 1/4.

    From the very start, pumping was painful for me. I’ve stuck to it for the sake of my boy,but now I’m not sure I can continue. I dread pumping and it’s very hard finding time to do it. I break into tears whenever I think about stopping. I had such high hopes about breastfeeding and it’s just been one disappointment after another. The only good thing that’s come of everything is that my husband and I are able to get good sleep.

    Most of my guilt comes from the fact that I was only able to make it to 8 weeks. But for the past several weeks, he’s been getting mostly formula anyway. He’s growing strong and healthy so I should be happy about that. And formula is good for babies too, right? My husband and his brother were both formula fed (they were also tongue tied), and they grew up just fine. Still, the guilt and emotions are still there.

    Anyway, I’m feeling much better about everything after reading your post and a majority of the comments. And the guilt will go away. And I’m sure I’ll be much happier.

    So thank you.

  • Lori! September 4, 2013, 9:36 pm

    This is my exact story! Breastfed for 2 months and exclusively pumped for 6 months. I want my body back! I’m in the process of stopping. I too hated every second of it. Great post!

  • Raquel September 7, 2013, 11:13 pm

    I found this blog in my extensive search for resources in weaning. I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing this. You have no idea how much your words have resonated in my heart. I am a new mother to a 4 month old daughter and have been exclusively pumping since her birth. I have recently returned to full-time work, and although I have seen and continue to see the fruits of my “pumping labor” in the growth of my healthy baby, I have had to question whether the time spent pumping is taking away from the precious moments I get to spend with her. Guilt, anxiety, and fear have all plagued me. No matter how much my husband and family commend me for my efforts, it has been extremely difficult to reach my decision to stop pumping. You have encouraged me with your words, and I appreciate it more than you will ever know!

    • Caitlin September 8, 2013, 4:58 pm

      <3 you are a great momma

  • :) November 12, 2013, 7:35 pm

    I realized today that breastfeeding has put me in a frame of mind where I don’t like myself. I don’t like who I have become. I work full time and also have a 3 year old son. I feel endless guilt and stress which I don’t want my boys to see. I feed the baby and I feel guilty that I’m not paying attention to my older son. I pay attention to my older so, but I’m worried if the baby is crying because I wasn’t able to give him enough milk. Now my little guy and I have thrush, and the pain is sending me over the edge.

    I think I will be happier when he is completely weaned. Chances are he will still be an amazing little baby, and the snuggles won’t end. That’s my worst fear… that formula feeding will change his sweet little snuggly-buggly personality. How delusional is that?! Of course he’s not going to change.

    🙂 Thank you for your post. This is such amazing insight. I’m beating myself up for doing something that makes me unhappy because I feel like it will make me happy to make it to a year. I’ve gone 9 1/2 months! 2 1/2 months of formula is NO BIG DEAL!

  • LaWana November 24, 2013, 8:57 am

    You are awesome for pumping that long! I am at a crossroad…I have been back to work for 2 months now and pumping is very challenging. The hormonal rollercoaster is the worst!!! So I am strongly considering stopping at 5 months.

    Thanks for sharing, this blog has blessed me tremendously !

  • holly December 5, 2013, 9:45 am

    i see that this is an old(er) post
    but just wanted to say THANK YOU for writing it.
    babe just turned 7 months, have been pumping since 3 days old..currently in the process of weaning. we did lactation consultants and the whole bit in the beginning, everything possible to make it work but it just didn’t. i had pains as bad as labour during nursing which no one could explain. ?
    pumping every 3 hours for a newborn that doesn’t sleep longer than 2 hours around the clock is ridiculously hard! it seems ages ago now though thankfully..
    anywoo..everything else i have to say has already been said by most. thank you thank you for this post.

  • Kat December 20, 2013, 4:29 am

    I have to thank you too. It’s 4:20AM, I just finished pumping, I google searched “weaning from pumping” and I found your blog. I can’t even believe how similar our situations are, while, of course, being complete opposites, and for the moment, at least, you’ve given me a little inner peace. I’ve wanted to really stop pumping for a couple of months now, but I’ve always bullied myself into continuing because of the guilt. I think I’m finally at that point where I’m actually going to do it and just reading about your journey has helped. So, thank you for your honesty! I’m a damn good mom.

  • Jillian December 21, 2013, 6:45 pm

    I have read this post more than a few times, and every time something jumps out at me. It hits home. This is a private subject, but I appreciate you sharing your story. It’s helped me (and some friends!) process my guilt and emotions about stopping the pumping journey. You did great! 🙂

    • Caitlin December 21, 2013, 7:07 pm

      Thank you!

  • Sarah January 1, 2014, 8:06 pm

    I can relate sooo much! Emerson is my second and I breastfed the first for 9 months but didn’t work. I went back to work at 6 weeks after Emerson was born and breastfeeding wasn’t going to work so I started pumping exclusively at 2 weeks. In the last 8 weeks I’ve pumped over 2,000 oz. Yes I’m a milking machine. It’s almost ridiculous. I’ve manage to freeze a good amount of milk but i started having supply issues on one side. I felt so much guilt when I quit after 9 months with my first. I feel overwhelming guilt quitting with only enough milk stockpiled to get her to maybe 4 months. I feel like I’m not treating them fairly. Everytime I say yep I’m quitting I talk myself out of it. I have supportive friends. Most of my friends and family didn’t breastfeed near as long as I did with my first so they understand. Being a mother of two under two and working full time and being a wife is a lot of work. Add pumping into it and I feel like I have lost myself in taking care of my family. I need my me time back. This post helped me truly decide that. It will be ok. We sacrificed a lot for our kids and will continue to sacrifice much more after bf ends. I realize that this post is almost a year old but I’m so glad I found it!

  • Willow Jaremco January 20, 2014, 12:19 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have been exclusively pumping for my son for 5 months due to inverted nipples and am getting tired of it ruling my life. My husband and I run a business and that is demanding in its self. I have been feeling so guilt for even thinking about quitting but after reading this I am going to write a list of all the ways I want to be a great mom and I’m sure that will help me put this pumping thing into perspective. I don’t have to feel like a failure! Instead of spending time pumping I will be able to play more with my son and build into his life in different ways!

  • Fay February 7, 2014, 4:06 pm

    Wow. It’s almost as if I wrote this myself. Every single thing you’ve said is exactly what I’m thinking and feeling at the moment. I’ve been exclusively pumping for my daughter for 14 weeks now. In fact, I’m pumping as I write this comment. I told myself at the start that I would aim to pump for 4 months. Now that 4 months is just a couple of weeks away I find myself thinking, “you’ve made it this far, may as well go for 6 months.” But then I think about how pumping is “ruining” my life. But then I counter back with, “don’t be so selfish. Six months is a drop in the bucket of a lifetime.”
    And back and forth I go between yearning for that little bit of freedom and mother’s guilt. I don’t know when I’ll stop pumping. I figure I’ll just “know” when the time comes. And when the time does come I’m sure I will be I inundated with guilt for switching to formula despite my milk supply bursting at the seams.
    Thank you for writing this. Thank you for letting me know that I’m not the only mother in the world going through this. Thank you for saying it’s ok to jump off the merry-go-round of feed, pump, repeat.

  • Mandi February 9, 2014, 12:15 am

    I really want to thank you for posting this. Almost a year after your own battle with the decision, I’m finding myself facing the same one. I’m a single mom of twin girls, born 8 weeks premature. Breastfeeding never worked out for my little ones, but I made the decision during my pregnancy that I wanted my girls to be fed breastmilk, and damn it! I was going to stick with that decision. So from the day they were born I’ve been exclusively pumping. They’re now three months old, and I struggle every day to find time to pump..and trying to find that time has meant saying goodbye to some much needed sleep. Being a single mom, a new mom, and one of twins, is hard stuff. Adding the time it takes to pump in with all of that has been utterly exhausting. Your paragraph about feeling like pumping was something you ‘had to’ do really hit home with me. I’m a perfectionist, like yourself. I have been battling with myself for weeks now; feeling like I’d be failing them if I stopped pumping, but also feeling like my dedication to pumping (while beneficial and healthy) has been keeping me from being a very good mom- as it takes away from time that I could and should be spending on my babies. So last week when a mom from church offered to supply my girls with all the breastmilk they would need (took some time for me to adjust to the concept) since she is insanely overproducing while feeding her son, I’m choosing to take this opportunity while I can. But the process of weaning off of the pump is breaking my heart and I feel so incredibly guilty.

    Anyway, again..thanks for sharing your own experience and feelings on the subject. It helps to know I’m not alone.

    • Caitlin February 9, 2014, 12:36 pm

      You are an incredible momma! Love the idea of sharing milk. Sometimes, it takes a village, know what I mean? 🙂

    • Crissy March 6, 2014, 9:54 am

      I will be EPing for 4 months tomorrow and I am down to 2 ppd starting today. I am in your shoes with the offer from several ladies who overproduce! One is a best friend, one is a close neighbor, and another is a coworker to one of my other best friends. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but after a lot of thought, I think milk sharing is second best. I’m glad you’ve been offered that opportunity for your babies. I’ve provided storage bags to my donors. Were you going to do that or any other gift of appreciation? I’m curious about whether or not there is some sort of recommendation about that.

  • Dondra February 11, 2014, 12:21 am

    Just came across your blog and this post as I was looking for a good weaning schedule as an exclusive pumper. Seriously, thank you for this. Tears started rolling down my face. So much of what you said is exactly what I feel. I bf/pumped for my daughter until 4 months and exclusively pumped until 9 but never had a great supply so I stopped. I now have an almost 7 month old with a fantastic supply and have exclusively pumped since he was 3 months while battling thrush since he was 1 month. I have started the weaning and this post helped ease my guilt so much. I have a huge stash so that makes it a little easier too.

  • Jo February 19, 2014, 4:54 am

    You exclusively expressed for 8 months, that is AMAZING! Only of their pumping mums will truly understand how much of an achievement that is! You should definitely be proud of yourself! I’ve been expressing for the last 3 and a half months and am trying to slowly wean myself off as I hate it. I’ve found recently it’s made me so unhappy in how it limits what I can do during the day and how difficult it Is to tend to my baby whilst expressing. I can’t imagine carrying on for another 4 months! I am glad I was able to provide the nutrients for my baby in those crucial early months but now I feel it’s time to stop. Good on you! I’ve written a bit about my experiences of exclusively expressing on http://www.mormonmum.com

  • Michelle February 26, 2014, 10:24 am

    I am so glad you wrote this. My daughter is 10 months old. I have been exclusively pumping for 5 of those 10 months. It is really hard putting my wants to just be done over her needs. I have two other children, and I have learned so much about my body and what I need to even produce milk, that now I feel guilted into continuing. With my older two, my low milk supply issues made weaning pretty much a non-issue. My milk just dried up. I am trying to just trudge through, afterall one year is right around the corner. But I really want my life back. Trying to feel encouraged by making it this far. #mommyproblems

  • Debbie March 5, 2014, 10:28 pm

    Kudos, to you and lovely Henry! You are so brave to post your private thoughts. When my babies were small we were not encouraged to express our rage, discontent, ambivalence, pain, fear, etc. I am so glad that you can express clearly and stand behind your decisions. You are right. Your happiness matters more than you know. If you are not happy, Henry will not be happy and your world will not be happy. Very best wishes for continued growth.

  • Crissy March 6, 2014, 9:20 am

    In 2 days, I’ll be EPing for 4 months.. I have wanted to stop for at least 2.5 months because of painful de Quervain’s from compressing while pumping due to exasperatingly slow let-down. My baby likes to comfort suckle and in her sleepy state will sometimes nurse a little, but she has never come close to even taking the edge off one full breast. I struggle with stopping because I compare myself to other EPing moms who keep going for so much longer than this. I’m now at 3 ppd, each pump taking over an hour. I’ve been thinking about this post all day- especially the last part about reframing how we think of ourselves surrounding change vs. failure. I dread pumping. I want to stop. I am going to try dropping to 2 ppd today and sticking with that for a little while. My AM pump is the one I dread dropping. I’d like to keep my nighttime pump for as long as I can for my daughter, but if I still dread it, it’ll be dropped as well. Wish me luck!

  • Adrienne March 10, 2014, 2:18 pm

    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog. I have been fighting the “urge” to quit for a month or so now. When I returned to work at 12 weeks, I found pumping became extremely irritating. I told myself, make it to 6 months over and over again. Well, this coming Sunday is 5 months, and I have made the decision to start “weaning” myself tomorrow. I have a stockpile in my freezer of probably around 3000 oz that will hopfully get us around 100 more days of feedings. But the guilt is killing me. This blog helped, and let me know that what I am feeling is NORMAL, and I feel much better about my decision. I hate being tied to that black (and yellow) box, and scheduling my whole life around it. I want to start working out again, and I want to be able to sleep, shower, and leave the house without having to worry about pumping. I am unhappy, and I need to be the happiest/best momma for my little boy. Again, sorry such a lengthy comment, but this was exactly what I needed to see today 🙂

  • Janelle March 12, 2014, 11:49 am

    This is pretty much exactly my experience. I am currently trying to wean myself off pumping because it makes me so unhappy. My daughter is 10 months and I’m now able to only do a morning and night pump but haven’t been able to stop completely because of the pain but mostly because I haven’t been able to give myself permission to stop. Exclusively pumping is exhausting. Thank you for this post.

  • Denise Nolan March 18, 2014, 8:40 am

    Thank you for this post! There are so many things in this post I relate to that it feels as though you were reading my mind as you wrote this…even down to your baby’s name. I have a Henry, too! My Henry is now 10 months old, and, due to his early arrival and other complications, I’ve been exclusively pumping from the get go. My husband and I have recently talked about me stopping so that I, too, can have my life back. He is all on board as he feels it’s taking away from other aspects of our family’s lives. (I do want to say he’s been nothing but supportive and helpful throughout, so he isn’t saying for me to stop because he’s being selfish. I couldn’t have continued this long without his help with feeding the baby, among other things, while I pump and washing my parts every night.) Though I’ve gone 10 months of exclusively pumping day in and day out, for some reason, I feel guilty for stopping. I always said that when my supply dropped, then that’s all she wrote, but it hasn’t dropped, not significantly anyway. Maybe that’s why I feel guilty? I fought tooth and nail for the first two months to get my supply up, and now I’m just going to stop when it’s still going. In order to start the transition, we started giving Henry two bottles of formula a day, and the rest is breast milk. For some reason, though, I’m just having a hard time pulling the pump plug and going formula all the way. Anyway, thanks again for your post, as it really hit the nail on the head, in every way, for myself and my current situation!

  • Cali March 19, 2014, 4:04 pm

    Kuddus for sharing your heart! I ran across your site while researching how to wean from the pump. I haven’t been breastfeeding/pumping for quite as long, but other than that, I honestly thought your wrote this from my perspective. When breastfeeding became too difficult I began pumping and loathed every second of it. But for some stupid reason, still hung on to the thought that I’d regret it if I stopped. So I am almost done weaning and just had a panic attack asking myself “Why am I doing this?” I know without a shadow of a doubt I want to stop but my emotions keep getting the best of me. Therefore, I came back to your site to remind me the reasons. Thank you for putting my emotions into words, and for reminding me that my time spent with my daughter is more important than my time giving her pumped food. Its time for me to go make my own lists of things I want to give my daughter. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. Its hard to find someone that understands our struggles.

  • Iris Ong March 24, 2014, 12:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve been goong back and forth on weaning from pumping for 2 months already. It’s nice to know what I’m feeling is perfectly okay. Just want to share that I exclusively pumped for 7 months, my baby self-weaned after 1 month. I was fortunate to have shared my bm to other moms as well.

  • Meagan March 25, 2014, 1:47 pm

    I wanted to thank you for this post. My son is 6 months old and I’ve been exclusively pumping for most of it. I’m pumping 6x/day for 40 min (so 4 hours a day!). Yesterday, I decided to start winding down so that I can stop in the next few weeks and I’ve been swimming in mommy guilt ever since.

  • Jenni March 25, 2014, 6:59 pm

    Thank you for this. I’m a mom who pumped exclusively but only made it 5 weeks before my supply started to decrease dramatically. Your blog post really helped me because I’m going through the same thoughts and feelings as I’m weaning. I keep telling myself “I’m not a failure”. Maybe one day I’ll believe it.

  • Christine April 1, 2014, 10:53 am

    Thank you so much for being so candid about this! My baby will be 6 months old this week and my goal was to breastfeed for 6 months. I returned to work, moved, and struggled through Thrush. I have been solely pumping for about 3 months. I have been experiencing so much guilt about stopping and feeling a huge sense of failure that she would have to be on formula for at least another 6 months. But I am tired of the pumping as well. We are about to move again into our new home and summer is coming and the thought of being tied to the pump and having to dictate what I do by the clock is really hard. I agree that I have been harder on myself than I would be with others. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Aimee April 11, 2014, 2:19 pm

    I know I am writing this way after this was posted, but I want to thank you for writing it! There is not much support or people who truly understand what we go through as exclusive pumpers. It’s the worst of both breastfeeding and formula feeding bc we are bound by the time constraints of having to pump for each feeding, so we can’t do anything for any extended period of time and we also have bottles and pump parts to clean all day every day!
    I have been EPing for 10 weeks now bc my baby was 9 weeks premature and too small and weak to breastfeed. It has been so hard and reading your blog posts have really hit the nail on the head of how I feel. I am considering quitting bc I am so miserable pumping, but I feel bad that I am choosing not to give my baby the food that my body is making especially for him. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet, but just wanted you to know that your words have really helped me feel like there’s someone else out there that knows exactly what I am feeling and that alone is comforting!
    Thanks for sharing your journey!

  • Mari April 12, 2014, 7:50 am

    I know this post is old, but I’m deciding now if I should pumping. Imean I’ looking for someone to validate my decision. It’s so hard to say I’m going to stop pumping. All the eyes, and talks about why I should contine do not include my happiness. Reading this makes me feel okay with my decision. We need more honest ppl like you!

  • Vicky April 18, 2014, 1:08 am

    Oh! I feel the same way. My baby is turning 6 months and I decided I will stop pumping by then, but I feel soooo guilty about doing it! It’s been so painful from the beginning (because of a very sensitive nipple) and I can’t wait to stop. I’ve been doing the same analysis you did- there are other good things that I can do for my baby, but it’s so hard to just not feel guilty.
    Thanks for sharing this. It’s good to know I’m not the only weird mom that feels this way 🙂

    • Miranda April 19, 2014, 5:10 pm

      This post was great. It put into words what I’ve felt for the last many months. My little human was 2 months premature so never got the hang of breastfeeding. I exclusively pumped for 10 months and after about 6 months, each day I hated it more and more and I felt soooo terrible about myself that I might not make it to that magical one year mark that I perseverated on. But now, as we’re making the transition, I’m finally realizing what I knew – that formula wasn’t going to kill him and its ok if I need to be done pumping. We have a giant freezer stash from all that pumping for such a tiny baby, so he’ll still get a hefty dose of EBM until he’s over a year old, and he’s great about eating solids/baby foods and the variety and nutrition in that are great for him, so those things help my psyche as well. It was amazing to me and very humbling at how conflicted this can make a person feel. I never expected it. Your article made me feel less crazy 🙂

  • Amber April 29, 2014, 1:42 am

    I just wanted to say thank you for writing this piece I struggled for over a month trying to breastfeed my daughter it was hell I met with specialists, lactation nurses you name it I tried it , but she just did not want to breastfeed and it broke my heart it felt like I failed as her mom I couldn’t do the one thing my body can provide for her

    So I decided that I would do the next best thing for her and exclusively pump the first month was ok the second month getting tired of it and now like you I hate every minute of it I have to force myself to pump because I feel if I stop I’m quiting and just giving up

    But thanks to you I have come to terms that I stuck it out I gave her breast milk for 3 months and when I decide to finally call it quits I’ll know I’m not alone and someone else has gone through the same thing and they survived and so did there baby

    Thank you so much

    • Caitlin April 29, 2014, 8:30 am

      Congrats on your baby and thank you for sharing your experience!!!

  • Abbie April 29, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Just wanted to let you know this post is JUST what I needed to read this morning (afternoon? what time is it!?!?) as a sleep deprived new mom. Thank you for your honesty and candor!

  • jess May 11, 2014, 1:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing! My daughter eas 8months last week and I have been pumping for the last 6 months… She has reflux and its been beyond challenging…I search switching from pumping to formula in on google and found your blog…thank you for giving a fellow perfectionist some comfort and confidence to focus on Happiness

  • Trish May 14, 2014, 10:23 am

    thanx for this post. have been battling with this thought for weeks now. my baby turns a year old on the 21st of May and reeaaly wanted to breastfeed for the entire 12 months but honestly…. I am tired now. I have pumped exclusively for 10 months now and jus wen she turned 10months supply went down. I know this was due to work pressure, exhaustion from the pumping and inadequate rest. all this affected my appetite which definitely affected supply. never had a good breastfeeding relationship with my princess coz latchin was a problem from day one and this resulted in sore nipples and ultimately breast refusal due to nipple confusion. this got me devastated, felt I had failed my little one and to this day it still hurts that breastfeeding wasn’t a walk in the park for us. but hey its almost a year now and we have soldiered on!!! 6 months exclusive breastfeeding and though supply has seriously dwindled now, we getting to the 12 month mark. I feel I have done great and really stopping is ok…..but the guilt!!!!! I am still very confused about it

  • Amy May 19, 2014, 2:10 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. I have an almost identical situation & I am struggling with the thought of stopping. As I sit here (pumping obviously) watching my 8 month old daughter, I feel extremely guilty for wanting to quit. I truly wanted to make it for 1 year. But I am so resentful of this stupid pump. (Doesn’t the sound just make you cringe!?!) It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who has been through this.

  • Jessica May 27, 2014, 10:21 pm

    Thank you for writing this! I am a second time mommy who has exclusively pumped for our little guy for four months, and I felt like noone understood my frustrations… I am in the final stages of weening him completely over to formula and felt the same guilt that you wrote about. I felt guilty because it wasn’t painful or hard for me to pump, and I had more than enough milk for him while so many women struggle to produce enough. But like you, I have reached the point where I need my space again and it’s ok to admit that! 🙂 Thanks again!

  • Kerry May 30, 2014, 12:01 am

    Thank you so much for this post! Even though you posted it over a year ago, I read it at the perfect time for me. I didn’t have a lot of success with breastfeeding with my first and lasted 6 months with formula supplementation. Now with my second child I have ample supply (breastfeeding didn’t work out) but I am weaning myself off the pump early, like really early. 2 months. I switched her to formula because I thought she might not be tolerating my breastmilk and it has made a difference. But I am feeling really guilty for not continuing to pump in hopes of one day she would tolerate it. Or that I should have tried to change my diet. Either way I am having the same feelings as you from judging myself to having a strong dislike to pumping. I can’t say I’m proud (at least just yet), that I lasted two months because frankly that is not very long, but I really appreciate your post and it has helped me in a lot of ways through this process.

  • Michelle K June 9, 2014, 4:06 pm

    All I have to say is thank you. I’ve been exclusively pumping since the beginning and my son is almost 8 months. This single paragraph that you wrote completely hit home with me:
    “it took a sobbing session at my therapist’s to realize that 1) I really do want to stop – I want my breasts back, I want my time back, I want my freedom back; 2) Saying I want to stop doesn’t make me a selfish person; 3) I need to extend myself the same courtesy that I do to other moms; 4) Really and truly – no one can be perfect! and 5) I need to focus on the positive. I’ve started to say things like, “It’s okay to stop” and “I’ve breastfed for eight whole months! DAMN, I rock!””

  • Alex July 9, 2014, 3:47 pm

    Thanks for your post, Caitlin. My son had feeding problems, so I exclusively pump, too. He’s 5 months old now. Before he was born (and before I knew he wouldn’t actually feed from my breast), I promised myself I was going to breastfeed for at least 6 months. As that goal approaches, I feel relief that I may be able to wean myself from my pump and extraordinary guilt that I want to wean my baby for “selfish” reasons. You are right: being pump bound is so physically and emotionally taxing. I feel like it takes me away from my baby at times when I have to put him down or ask my husband to give him a bottle so I can pump. I’m ready spend that time bonding with my baby instead of my pump. It’s hard to find information or even blogs that address the challenges of exclusively pumping mothers. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Kim July 23, 2014, 7:52 pm

    This is a great post. My son is 8 months and I have been battling the head games that come with deciding to wean from breastfeeding. It makes me feel so much better knowing someone else has gone through this and survived 🙂

  • Whitney August 1, 2014, 9:21 am

    Thank you so much for this post. I feel like I wrote the article myself (if I were ever so well versed 😉 ) I’m about to stop exclusively pumping and have been having a hard time with it (read: guilt). This is something I really needed right now. I. Am. Not. Crazy.

  • Liana August 3, 2014, 8:50 pm

    I Love This Post.,!!!!! ❤️

    I’ve Breastfeed&& Pumped For My Son A Whole 9Months., I’m Very Proud Of My Self Because All Through My Pregnancy I told Myself I was Going To Breastfeed., It Was Extremly Hard At First But I’ve Beat All Odds.,&& Im No Longer Producing As Much Milk As Before I Believe It’s My Bodies Way Of Telling Me It’s Time To Stop., Your Post Was Something I Really Needed To read Right Now.,😍😍😍

  • Amanda August 7, 2014, 9:24 pm

    Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your story!! I myself am exclusively pumping, and in the process of weaning–such a big decision and I’m feeling the mommy guilt in ways I could never imagine. I’ve gone back and forth and back and forth. I keep telling myself my son deserves a happy mom. And seriously–I judge no one who formula feeds, why do we put so much pressure on OURselves. Again–thank you for sharing.

  • tiffani August 30, 2014, 12:54 pm

    Thank you for this post…I’ve been pumping exclusively for 8 months, working full time, becoming a landlord and moving and so tired of not having my freedom but feeling so guilty I don’t want to do this for another 4 months. I have 1500 ounces of frozen milk, enough to supplement half her daily milk feedings through the first year. So while I do have some guilt, I’ve given another child 2000 ounces of milk (I was a over producing milk machine), and given my baby a start in life I didn’t have. I’m also a perfectionist so reading that I need to be proud and give myself permission and that this decision does not make me a bad mommy was important.

  • Tejaswini September 13, 2014, 10:11 pm

    Wow…every single word in this post is exactly what i’m feeling right now.
    I breastfed my baby boy for 2 months and I exclusively pumped for the next 6..
    And now I’m switching him to formula completely…i totally understand what you went through and if I woul have written this post,it would have been word to word.
    Glad to know there is someone out there who went through the same things as I am going through now!!!

  • Jennifer October 3, 2014, 8:38 am

    This is what I needed. Been wanting to stop pumping for my second child after 3 months for a few weeks now. He only gets about 30% breast milk a day; I was feeling very frustrated at my supply, but knew that something was better than nothing. My decision to stop seems a little selfish (the time vs the results, just wanting to have more time with the boys, just not wanting to do it). That’s what I’ve been struggling with the most. But after reading your blog and crying….I know that I shouldn’t feel guilty thank you so much for that 🙂

  • Jessica October 31, 2014, 10:20 am

    What a great post! Thank you for this. I have been trying to come to terms with my decision to also stop pumping. It is SO hard. It’s like you created this habit that you must feed your son BM and anything else is unimaginable. In my case, it’s really silly I have living proof that formula works fine. My oldest was formula fed and she is 14 and thriving. She didn’t miss out on anything from having formula and in fact is a healthy kid. I am slowly working on stopping and changing my mind frame but as you know it’s tough. I think I will try your idea about posting a list where I will see it every day. Way to go mama! Your little guy is super handsome! 🙂

  • Nicole Parker December 10, 2014, 8:05 am

    Thank you so much for your encouraging words! I have been exclusively pumping for almost 6 months now and I have been on the fence about stopping. The guilt I feel is unbearable and this article has given me the courage to embrace the changes to be made.

    All of the emotions I have been feeling you listed and it made me so emotional to know I am not crazy and that I am not alone.
    Thank You!

  • madison January 9, 2015, 3:30 pm

    Awesome post! I’ve made it 3 months exclusively pumping and I will definitely agree with you its a hard thing to do but I do it for my baby my goal is just to make it to 6 month but I’m at month 3 and already feel how you felt at 8 months so we will see! Thank you so much for the post!

  • Lindsie Lund January 10, 2015, 9:49 pm

    Ahhhhhh…. this is just what I needed. I’ve exclusively pumped for 6 months now and have decided to switch to formula. Such a long haul!! It was such a hard decision especially with my mom and mother-in-law both avid ‘must breastfeed’ type of people. Heck they didn’t even approve of me pumping and not actually breastfeeding! (Rolling eyes) now the hard part of admitting this too them… I know I shouldn’t worry what other people think but when it’s your own family, gads is makes things hard. Thanks for making me somewhat brave. Thank you, Thank you!

  • Bry Peterson January 12, 2015, 1:48 am

    thank you so much for sharing this! I’ve been an exclusive pumper since 3 months and am now switching to formula at 8 months. Couldn’t have found a better person to relate with! I have been feeling so judged and it has been mostly by my own self! That helped so much! Do you have any formula tips? Hoping this all goes smoothly.

    • Caitlin January 12, 2015, 11:19 am

      Definitely get a little formula dispenser thing for your purse. It makes it so easy to make bottles on the go!

  • Gwynne January 15, 2015, 5:48 pm

    I came across this post today and it made me smile. It made me smile because although I KNOW that I am not the only mother to go through the trials and tribulations of breastfeeding (or just being a mother in general), it is nice to ACTUALLY read another mom’s thoughts on her experience so far. I have a 9 1/2 month old and I am still pumping; we stopped breastfeeding about a month ago not by choice, but my daughter was ready and self-weaned. I still pump because, well personally, I had a goal in mind that I wanted to make (I think this is me just being stubborn). But the reality of it is, my body is ready to just be done. My production has dropped and my sleeping has become more (holy man have I missed that). And although I will not make the goal I had in mind does NOT make me a ‘failure’, it does not make me a ‘bad’ mother and it will not make my child love me any less. I made it 8+ months of exclusively breastfeeding and I am so proud of that!! And so be it we are switching to formula; I’m happy, my husband is happy and most importantly my baby is happy AND healthy. 🙂

    I can relate to pretty much everything you wrote. Thank you for sharing your experience. 🙂 You rock fellow mom.

  • Christina January 16, 2015, 8:29 pm

    Finding this article couldn’t have happened at a better time! I am feeling all of these things right now. After a rough start after my daughter, Sarah, was born I ultimately decided to pump exclusively. I swore I could do it for a year but I’ve reached a point emotionally where I just can’t anymore. It’s been 9 months of 5-6 sessions a day. So, I made the decision to switch to formula (Sarah will be 1 year old in April). I’ve just begun the weaning process (ouch) and it is so nice to read your article and comments from people who have gone through this physically and emotionally. Thank you!

  • Jennifer January 29, 2015, 1:10 am

    Wow. This is definitely me right now! How wonderful to relate….I thought I was crazy feeling this way, trying to convince MYSELF to let myself stop! A back and forth battle….After reading this I am getting closer 🙂

  • Susan Paik February 2, 2015, 10:29 pm

    I am a long time reader of your blog–but took a hiatus in the whirlwind of my own pregnancy and birth. I’ve been exclusively pumping now for four months. I want to thank you so much for writing these articles!!! It’s so comforting and nice to hear someone else in the “normal” world talk about EPing and almost exactly how I feel. It is absolutely a loaded topic and I struggle with it everyday. I have three organic cans of formula and have yet to try them bc of this self made pressure you also talk about. I could say so much…thank you again.

  • Robyn Reiter February 13, 2015, 11:13 pm

    I typed “how to stop pumping without feeling guilty”into Google and your blog came up. This was so helpful and relevant. I have been pumping exclusively and supplementing with formula from 6 weeks until now,and my daughter is eight months too! I am down to pumping twice a day and have been fighting with myself over quitting completely. I don’t know how much longer I’ll go but your post was very encouraging so thank you!

  • Katherine February 15, 2015, 9:22 pm

    I’m an EP mom, and whole this was written a while ago, I found it today while stuggling with my feelings towards stopping pumping, and it made me realize that it is okay to want to stop and it doesn’t make me selfish. Mommy guilt has really been hitting me hard. Just thinking about all the time I will have freed up to be a great mom in other ways helps alot. Thank you for your post. It is exactly what I needed.

  • Anne February 25, 2015, 9:50 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have exclusively pumped for our daughter since the beginning. She will be 8 months old in a few days and my supply is starting to drop. Secretly I was thrilled at the idea of being able to stop pumping, but I felt horribly guilty about it at the same time. Reading this article made me feel like I’m not alone in this big ball of jumbled emotions. It’s exactly what I needed to read at exactly the right time. Thank you again!

  • Sarah March 16, 2015, 1:31 pm

    I just found this post as I googled “9 months old & exclusively pumping & so freaking tired of it”. No joke. This is where I am right now. I am googling my emotional state.

    The part of me that feels like a champion for pumping this long is fighting with the part of me that thinks this close to a year I should power through. I run with crunchy mom circles so the pressure is strong but I am just so tired of strapping myself to this pump four times a day. I hate it. I just want to spend that hour with my son, and wear a proper bra, and go to the gym without mentally calculating how long it has been since I last pumped, and diet like a normal person….

    And this post just made me feel so much better for considering weaning my son at almost ten months even though my supply is just fine. I read this and thought oh man…this is exactly how I feel and I am not the only one. Thank you so much.

  • Whitney March 18, 2015, 9:35 am

    My baby is 6 1/2 months, and other than one nursing session a day, I have been exclusively pumping since Christmas (the point at which she chose the bottle over me). I’ve battled with stopping, because I’ve never had supply issues and she’s done so well. Like you were, I’m my biggest critic. I know I want to stop, and I’m working on finding the peace to do so. It is unusual to find someone who was gone through it this way, so thanks for sharing your story. I needed this.

  • Kristen March 27, 2015, 5:23 pm

    I’m also exclusively pumping for my son, Max. He never latched well, so we only breastfed for about a week before I had to give him some formula and switch to pumping b/c he was losing too much weight. I was determined to breastfeed him, so I worked really hard to establish my supply pumping, and am very proud to say that I pump what he needs plus about 10 ounces a day. But he’s 4 months old now and it is getting really hard. He is a terrible sleeper, so between me getting up to pump and me and my husband getting up with him (we have been sleep training for awhile but can’t seem to get under 3-4 feedings per night, another story) we are both very sleep deprived and have been for 4 months now. And I’m a doctor, running my own practice, and I’ve been bonkers busy since I got back from maternity leave 2 months ago. I’ve been so, so tired and recently got sick, probably b/c I’m so exhausted. Then Max got sick. Then my husband got sick. So I think it’s time to wean. At 4 months of pretty much exclusive breastmilk (just a few formula bottles in the beginning) he has gotten the vast majority of the benefits. But the mommy guilt is SO strong! I definitely feel like a quitter! So hard! But I keep reminding myself how much more there is to being a Mom than feeding my baby. And with my work schedule, I would like to have that time back, so I can spend it with Max. So I started weaning this week, but it is definitely not easy. So thanks for this post, and for the one about weaning. We are a small community, but I’m glad to have some info on the interwebs.

  • JESS May 20, 2015, 2:22 am

    I just read this and am in tears! I was looking on Pinterest for some weaning tips – and found this blog post. I work full-time and travel a lot for work and my son is almost 9 months old. I have been doing 1/2 breastmilk and 1/2 formula for a month and feel so GUILTY. I have been going back and forth with that internal battle, “Well, if my body is able to produce it, I should be grateful, its a GIFT and I SHOULD breastfeed for as long as possible.” Anyway, I really connected to your journey. I feel a deep sense of relief. Your words were very comforting. I want to be done so badly and none of my reasons have anything to do with Oskar, but that is ok! The most important thing I can give my baby is LOVE, not breastmilk. Thank you!

    • Caitlin May 20, 2015, 8:06 am

      You’re welcome 🙂

  • Carrie July 22, 2015, 8:53 am

    Thank you for writing this post! I teared up the entire way through. I have been exclusively pumping for 7 months. I’ve always had to supplement with formula, but my supply was pretty great there for awhile. After 6 months, I decided to slow down and I’m down to 3 pumps per day (about 15 oz). I’m not sure why, but it’s really hard for me to let go. I feel guilt that he won’t get any of my milk. I feel sad because it feels like I’m giving up and don’t want to put the effort in. It feels like his babyhood will be over. I’m just so scared to enter into the next phase. It’s very strange how emotional it is. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s nice to hear from someone who can relate!!

  • Nicole August 4, 2015, 6:25 am

    Thank you for your openness and honesty. I am also exclusively pumping for the past 2 months. We had issues breastfeeding (gave it a good college try) but we physically could not continue. I pump 6 times a day and everyday I want to chuck the pump out the window.
    I struggle with coming to terms of my own happiness versus my child’s benefit of breastmilk. I have a good supply but it is so taxing to pump all the time. As my beautiful daughter sleeps through the night, I wake every 3-4 hours.
    It’s so nice to hear about another pampers experience. If I’m honest, 8 months is daunting to me and I am in awe that you were able to go so long. I feel weak thinking of weaning. I mean, it’s only been 2 months! But another part of me thinks life will be more enjoyable. Thank you for this blog. It feels good to know I’m not alone in the tiny pool of pumpers.

  • Hannah September 29, 2015, 9:24 am

    This was a great read! I truly appreciate your raw emotions that are so easily relatable (berating, negativity, feelings of failure) in this post. It is so true, that after 9 months that it is ok to accept that I am DONE with pumping! I needed this to truly accept that what I have done thus far, 3 months of nursing & 6 months of exclusively pumping, IS AWESOME, and I ROCK!

    I am taking time now to reflect on my goals as a parent, creating a list as you mentioned that you did and I am going to hang it on my vanity to remind me of how much of a badass I really am! Thank you for your support through sharing your story!


  • sonia October 6, 2015, 4:57 pm

    You are an inspiration. I m also sailing in the same boat. Eping for 3 months since my boy was born. It is very difficult commitment to yourself for the benefit of your baby. I cry almost everyday because of pumping now. But I want to continue gvng my baby the best. I want to make it till 4 months atleast. Thank u for the awesome post.

    • Caitlin October 7, 2015, 10:53 am

      Have you tried to reintroduce the breast now? Try using a nipple shield to help transition.

  • Jessica November 3, 2015, 10:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m trying to stop pumping now and it helped hearing your story.

  • Allison November 6, 2015, 3:58 pm

    Caitlyn, I’m a long time reader, but when you went through all of this with Henry, I was in wedding planning mode, and having babies was so far off my radar that I must have glazed over this. Now, I’m almost seven months postpartum with my son, and I just want you to know how much I needed to read this post today. My thoughts about breastfeeding were nearly identical to yours before I had Logan. I knew I wanted to do it, but I figure it would work itself out. I had no idea it would be so hard. We found out around the 6 week mark that he was tongue tied, and even after having his tongue tie revised, he never completely got the hang of nursing. He would nurse for about 45 minutes at a time and only transfer about an ounce of milk. It was miserable. So I switched to exclusively pumping. I’m still going strong, but I consider quitting EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I’m wrecked with guilt every time I start to seriously consider. I read your post with tears streaming down my cheeks because I too have a full milk supply (in fact, I make about 38 ounces per day and the little dude only eats about 28 of them, so my freezer is FULL), but I just want to sleep in one morning instead of waking up to pump. I just want to go to bed when I’m tired, instead of feeling like I need to pump first. I want to go out shopping with my girlfriends without having to go to a family restroom or my car to pump. It feels so selfish. But I sat here reading this post, and realized IT’S OK to stop. I need to forgive myself, and give myself some credit for making it this long. Also, I feel very hopeful after seeing that you’ve been able to have a successful, long term breastfeeding relationship with Claire. Because as much as I love my baby, and I know I want to have another one day, the thought of trying to breastfeed again just makes me anxious. This comment is long and unorganized and rambling, but I just had to say thank you for your honesty. I really needed to see this today…

    • Caitlin November 7, 2015, 12:35 pm

      Oh honey, it’s really okay to quit. Make a list of everything you will do with your time once you’re done! There is nothing wrong with stopping. Hugs.

  • Hannah January 4, 2016, 2:46 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I just stumbled across your blog this afternoon and am so glad that I did.

    I had a little girl in August and due to a series of unfortunate and frustrating events, ended up exclusively pumping. Reading your posts about your decision to stop pumping is like reading the inside of my head. My goal was to make it until Christmas and on Christmas Day, I heard myself saying to my husband, “Maybe I should just keep going until she’s six months. It’s only another 40 days…” I want to quit, but like you, I have a great supply and “breast is best” has been pounded into my head over and over and over again, so it feels selfish. If any of my friends described this to me, I would not hesitate to support their decision to switch to formula, but I can’t convince myself of the same thing. I feel so guilty and frustrated with myself for feeling guilty.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. I’m hoping to find the courage to remember that doing what’s right for the baby also means giving her a happy, whole mama.


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