You won't hear this from your obstetrician or pediatrician. Lactation consultants definitely frown on it. And with good reason: The breast is best. With health benefits for both mom and baby, breast milk's value can't be questioned, diminished, or debated.

But I'm going to tell you, in case you're a new mom or soon-to-be mom who needs to hear it.

You're still a good mom even if you don't breastfeed your baby.

Statistics don't lie. Almost 75 percent of new mothers choose breastfeeding, so moms who opt not to breastfeed or choose early weaning face a potentially strong backlash. I know, because I was one of them, having weaned my son from the breast at six weeks and electing to nurse my daughter for one month.

What are some reasons you might not breastfeed? What are the positives to your decision? Keep reading.

Reasons Not to Nurse


Maybe you function best in a world organized by measured amounts and exact times rather than emotional cues or gut instincts. Admitting I'm not a "go with the flow" person is about the only thing I do freely. Trusting instincts to know when it was feeding time or when my baby was full was unsettling. I obsessed with the nursing log sitting beside my bed.

Don't underestimate your temperament. Personality affects parenting style, which starts as soon as soon as that baby takes his first breath.

Health Reasons

I cringe at stories of malnourished newborns with moms who insist on nursing. Not every mom generates ample milk supply. Not every baby learns how to latch on. Infections can develop. Yes, milk helps protect your baby from diseases later in life. But sometimes health reasons right now might prevent you from nursing.


You'll be nursing round the clock for the first few weeks. You'll need to grab naps and healthy foods when you can. Cooking, cleaning and other chores will have to wait. If you plan to nurse, line up your arsenal of help now.


The U.S. is making great strides toward becoming more "nursing friendly." But to date only 24 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC have laws related to breastfeeding in the workplace. Too many companies still openly or passively frown on pumping at work. Until more businesses promote a culture supportive of nursing, moms returning to work will struggle with the balance.

The Positives to Your Decision

Shared Responsibility

I cried when I first watched my husband feed his newborn son. Why? Guilt — I still felt ashamed at my decision to wean early — mixed with happiness. How amazing it was to watch my son stare into his father's eyes at a moment that, up until then, only he and I had shared.

Because babies spend so much time eating, bottle feeding gives others a chance to bond with their sons, daughters, or grandchildren during this time.

A Good Night's Sleep

Sleep deprivation affected me hard. My body couldn't adjust to waking every three hours to nurse. With bottle feeding your spouse can assist with nighttime feedings.

Cure for Depression

A recent study showed that moms who have breastfeeding difficulties in the first few weeks are more prone to postpartum depression. I know — I was one of them. Stress about nursing, lack of sleep, and physical and emotional discomfort contributed to my sadness that went beyond the "baby blues." When I got help, one of the first decisions I made was to wean early. Yes, I was giving my baby antibodies. But I wasn't giving him much more.

Nine Years Later

My kids had tubes because of multiple ear infections. So did my friend's son who was nursed for eight months. Breast milk helps with brain development, but in my kids' elementary classes, I can't tell which students were nursed or formula fed. But I do know my son and daughter are at the top of their classes. They are healthy, smart, thriving children.

Believe in breastfeeding's benefits; they can't be disputed. But choosing formula or deciding to wean early? Don't believe the (negative) hype. You're a good mom.