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7 Jun

Why I Stopped Breastfeeding

Jessi Malay feeding Baby Alessandra

Enfamil NeuroPro™ sponsored this post so I could share my true journey from breastfeeding to formula feeding.

Jessi Malay and Baby Alessandra

My intent was always to breastfeed. With “Breast Is Best” slogans at every turn and it being the main topic of conversation between new moms and mamas-to-be alike, it seemed a given. I had a lot of anxiety about it before Alessandra was even born. Would I be able to breastfeed? You hear stories all the time about moms who just never get their milk in. It’s something I wanted to do for my daughter, for her nutrition, and as a means to more closely bond and connect.

To my relief, she latched on like a pro, less than an hour after delivery! No real milk yet but drops of colostrum were there. Over the next few days I anxiously awaited my milk. Each passing day felt like a year, as I felt like I was starving my baby, but the lactation specialist at the hospital kept assuring me that all she needed was colostrum and she would be fine. Two-and-a-half days later and we went home with our sweet girl.

The first night home alone with Alessa was one of the scariest nights of my life. First of all, I was more exhausted than I’d ever been after 4 days of labor and not getting more than 2hrs of sleep at a time in almost a week. She woke up screaming from hunger and as much as I tried to feed, still no real milk. It was the longest night of my life. The next day, I was desperate to get my milk flowing and started pumping like crazy. I was able to pump about an ounce of milk at a time, but I could tell it was not satisfying her hunger.

The next day was Alessandra’s first pediatric appointment. It absolutely broke my heart when they weighed her and my already petite baby (she weighed 6lbs 8oz at birth) dropped down to 5 lbs. 13oz. My heart literally sank. I felt like the worst mother, like I had been starving my poor baby. Our pediatrician said it wasn’t my fault, that I had followed their instructions to try to strictly breastfeed, but she needed formula, to provide calories and nutrients, immediately to supplement my lack of milk. She gave us Enfamil. I put it in a bottle and right then and there in her office, Alessandra at just 4 days old went from breast milk to formula and had her first full meal. I was relieved that she took the bottle easily and drank up the formula happily. She seemed so much more at ease and satiated after that first bottle and I felt so relieved knowing we had a plan moving forward and means to feed our baby the crucial nutrients she so desperately needed. We felt Enfamil was our best option given that it is backed by literally decades of research and recommended by our pediatrician.

For the next two weeks I tried breastfeeding again. My milk finally started flowing in and I got up to pumping about 4oz at a time. Then I woke up at 4am one morning with a terrible pain in my lower abdomen. I called my mom to come and watch the baby and Gabriel and I rushed to the hospital. I thought something may have been wrong inside my uterus. Turns out it was appendicitis. I ended up having to be hospitalized and on antibiotics for a week and a half, unable to breast feed at all because it would be dangerous for Alessa to ingest the strong medication I was on, and once again, I was so incredibly relieved and grateful for Enfamil.

Once I was finally out of the hospital, I decided to give breastfeeding one last go. My milk supply had decreased to almost nothing. I kept her on my breast most of the day for the next two weeks and had all the lactation cookies and teas I could get my hands on, hoping it would stimulate my supply, but no luck. It was devastating for me to only pump out an ounce or so when my girlfriends who had had babies around the same time as I were pumping 8-10ounces by that point.

At 6 weeks old, after a long chat with my pediatrician and husband, we decided to fully commit to formula feeding and felt good about it. Not a day has gone by since that I haven’t been happy about our decision. My baby has grown to be so strong and healthy. I was also able to get back to working a bit because I could share feedings with my husband, best friend, or mother that would come to help, and she even started sleeping through the night. It was also comforting to know that her formula has the vitamins she needs, and she no longer had to take the vitamin drops she had to while breastfeeding. In making the decision to formula feed, I was not only concerned with how it would affect her physical development, but her cognitive development as well… Now I feel even better about our decision and the nutrition we’re giving her because Enfamil NeuroPro has brain-building benefits similar to breast milk*, which means Alessandra’s brain development is on par with her breastfed baby friends.

The reason I’m sharing this story is because I feel like there is a lot of mom-shaming that goes on around how to feed your baby. I felt like I couldn’t talk about our decision to formula feed our daughter because people would think I wasn’t the best mom I could possibly be. Feeding decisions are so personal and different for each baby. Breast is great but not necessarily best or possible for some families, and that’s ok. Formula has been a great option for us and for our daughter who we love more than everything and we’ve been so incredibly happy with our experience with Enfamil. And that little fear I had of us not being able to bond without breastfeeding seems silly now… Alessandra and I are equally obsessed with one another and couldn’t be closer.

 *As measured by Bayley cognitive scores

Happy baby

Baby playing piano

Baby holding her own bottle and drinking Enfamil formula

Enfamil NeuroPro formula

Jessi Malay feeding Baby Alessandra

Jessi Malay and Baby Alessandra reading

58 Comments
  • Ashley

    Alessa is the cutest and you’re the best mama!!

    June 7, 2018 at 12:13 pm Reply
  • Mariann Yip

    She’s so cute! I have loved watching her grow on your Instagram and blog, soon she’ll be walking on her own! https://mariannyc.com/2018/06/04/own-your-sass-part-vi/

    June 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm Reply
  • Ewa Macherowska

    She’s absolutely beautiful! Like Her Mum! :)

    http://www.evdaily.blogspot.com

    June 7, 2018 at 12:51 pm Reply
  • Cassie

    Wow what a journey you two have been through!! I’m sure it must have been so hard, but the most important thing is that Alessa is a healthy baby!! <3

    June 7, 2018 at 3:18 pm Reply
  • Sana Malik

    I know exactly how you feel. I had the same exact issue with my baby and I feel like I was shamed for not being able to breastfeed her. I felt sad myself. I try to tell myself that as long as my baby girl is growing and happy, I’m doing a good job. You’re doing great!

    June 7, 2018 at 3:57 pm Reply
  • Monique | Little Miss Mon Bon

    Oh my gosh Alessa is just so gorgeous <3 such a sweet little thing!

    I am not even a mother myself and I absolutely detest the mum shaming that goes on. As a mum, all you are concerned with is doing the absolute best you can for your child, and if that means have a caesarian, formula feeding or dressing them in bright pink as a baby boy – WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL YOU THAT ISN'T THE WAY IT SHOULD BE DONE?! You and Gabriel look like such doting parents <3

    xx Mon
    http;//www.littlemissmonbon.com

    June 7, 2018 at 5:53 pm Reply
  • Mary

    Beautiful baby and mama!! Formula is not the same as breast milk at all, it’s fine for the baby but no formula provides what breast milk can, that’s wrong info.

    June 7, 2018 at 8:53 pm Reply
  • Cecily

    Thank you so much for sharing. I recently gave birth and felt so guilty for deciding to stop breast feeding. I went through a similar experience as you and concerned the entire time that I was providing my baby boy with enough food. Ever since I started him on Enfamil he’s been happier.

    June 7, 2018 at 9:16 pm Reply
  • Ashley Fultz

    So happy you shared this! More moms need to talk about this and that formula is great too. I switched 5 weeks after crying about it for days and after I felt amazing. It was the best for my sanity and to share feeding responsibilities. I never questioned anything after that and Smith started sleeping through the night then too! Xo

    June 7, 2018 at 9:41 pm Reply
  • Lucy Rodriguez

    Thank you for sharing! My little girl is 12 weeks and although I’m still pumping I’ve had to supplement with formula since she was 3 days old at times I felt so sad that she wasn’t only on breast milk but as long as the babies are happy and healthy that’s all that matters.

    June 8, 2018 at 12:54 am Reply
  • Monica

    She is so beautiful!! omg, loving this
    xx
    Mónica Sors
    MES VOYAGES À PARIS
    NEW POST: LACE AND TULLE DRESS

    June 8, 2018 at 12:56 am Reply
  • A Trendy Life

    Sure you’ve done the right thing. Your daughter is beautiful.
    Enjoy the weekend!

    http://www.atrendylifestyle.com/

    June 8, 2018 at 1:02 am Reply
  • sophie

    Glad your baby is healthy and that you shared this story. i am not a mum yet but will be some day I believe so it’s helpful to learn of such things.
    http://sophieatieno.com

    June 8, 2018 at 1:48 am Reply
  • Veronica

    I had a similar situation… my son was losing weight so after a month i started supplementing. I did both formula and breastfeeding for 11 months. Not every mom can pump out those 8 oz so don’t worry, I did an average of 2 lol. I just figured whatever I can pump out would be good and the rest I supplemented. I wish I didn’t have to introduce formula that early but things happen and sometimes that’s the best option. I also had to go back to work full time after 4 months and it’s very difficult to exclusively BF while working full time so thank goodness for formula.

    June 8, 2018 at 7:47 am Reply
  • Amy Arnold

    You are so right about it being personal and different for everyone. I tried for three months before having a different and personal issue. We all do our best and what is most important is that our babies are fed!

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

    June 8, 2018 at 8:08 am Reply
  • Jessica

    Thanks for sharing your story! I switched to formula at 6 weeks as well. Not because I couldn’t breastfeed or had complications, but because breastfeeding was making this Momma sad and depressed. My baby deserves a happy and healthy mom and she is doing wonderfully on formula. Switching was the best decision. FED is best.

    June 8, 2018 at 8:59 am Reply
  • Andreea Birsan

    I swear Alessa is the cutest! Even if it was difficult, you took the right decision. Have a lovely Friday. xx

    Andreea,
    http://couturezilla.com

    June 8, 2018 at 10:04 am Reply
  • mel

    This is actually so insightful! I don’t have any children but I definitely am going to save this for when I do. So much stigma around this normally, but so glad you brought it up and shared your story!

    xx, mel

    June 8, 2018 at 10:12 am Reply
  • Catalina Baughn

    I love reading your post! I was doing both formula and breastfeeding (more like pumping because she wouldnt latch) from the beginning. Although I was confident about my decision I still felt that I wasnt as good of a mom because everything that you hear about breast is best and all the mommy shaming. It’s always nice to hear stories like yours and some of the comments Ive read. We are no alone and thats comforting :) Your baby is so cute! Mine is mixed I am from Colombia and hubby is from Korea and she is just soo cute! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Ps: I love enfamil! My baby was having a lot of spit up and we switch to Enfamil AR and it worked within the day! So amazing :)

    June 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm Reply
  • Millie | Queenmillie

    I’m super sorry at the fact that you weren’t able to breastfeed how to originally planned, but I’m happy that time was taken out in order find what was best for Alessa! I’m not even currently a mother, but this post still helped me to know that you definitely a great one, and all the people who still believe that breastfeeding is a taboo subject, this just sheds light on topics that people don’t wish to speak about! So thank you Jessi, not for me personally, but for them! Great post and thanks for sharing babe x

    Millie x
    http://queenmillie.blogspot.com/2018/06/june-feels.html

    June 9, 2018 at 12:45 am Reply
  • Elegant Duchess

    Thank you for sharing your journey Jessi. I totally understand, tbh it’s all about you two and decisions that are in your best interest not other people. Love 😘💞💖

    http://www.elegantduchess.com

    June 9, 2018 at 7:24 am Reply
  • docdivatraveller

    I can totally relate to this as a mom. It’s great when the baby starts feeding on formula!
    http://www.docdivatraveller.com

    June 9, 2018 at 8:21 pm Reply
  • Yvonne

    So good you and Alessa are fine and have a special bond even without breastfeeding. We are all so quick to judge!!! Have a great day!
    xo Yvonne
    https://www.aproposh.com

    June 10, 2018 at 12:32 am Reply
  • Merel

    Aaah! These photo’s are so so cute! Love it.

    X Merel
    http://www.andathousandwords.com

    June 10, 2018 at 2:35 am Reply
  • Radi

    She’s so adorable and pretty just like her mom. I’m glad you found a wonderful solution to this breastfeeding dilemma.
    Have a great new week!

    http://www.fashionradi.com

    June 10, 2018 at 11:28 pm Reply
  • Jessica

    The love and care we provide to our babies go beyond breastfeeding. There really is no sense of mom-shaming those who can’t breastfeed. Anyway, Alessa is sooo precious! Such a cute angel.

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

    June 11, 2018 at 3:59 am Reply
  • Jalisa

    Thanks for opening up and sharing your story with us, girl. I can only imagine the mix of emotions you must’ve been feeling at the time. Being a new mom is challenging enough, not to mention all of what you were going through. I’m glad you feel happy with the decision you made, which is clearly working in favor of Alessa; she looks beautiful and so alert and healthy! Oh, and I must say, that bouncer is the most chic I’ve ever seen, lol! How cool! Thanks again for sharing and I hope you have the most amazing week ahead!

    XO,

    Jalisa
    THE STYLE CONTOUR

    June 11, 2018 at 8:03 am Reply
  • Mercy

    How adorable is she! Nice to hear your breastfeeding struggle, I had the same problem with my 3rd baby. The first 2 babies were fully breastfed from birth to six months and the only difference was I didn’t keep eating from pregnancy to lactation period on my 3rd so I didn’t gain much weight compared to the first 2. But that was my case only, every one has different reason. When that happens, mothers always feel the guilt although we know deep inside that we did our best. I’m glad that you found the best formula for your baby, as long as she’s healthy and happy that’s all that matters.

    http://www.busyandfab.com

    June 17, 2018 at 9:47 pm Reply
  • the fashion matters

    She is so cute!

    Hadas | The Fashion Matters – Luxury Blog

    June 29, 2018 at 6:09 am Reply
  • Jessica Koong

    I LOVED reading this post….. from beginning to the end. I really think people need to chill and relax about what OTHERS are doing with their babies AND their bodies. As a 5 month pregnant woman, I’m already experiencing what “ppl out there” are saying about how pregnant women should behave and live their life. I’m having none of it. I’m going to do what makes sense for me. I applaud you for sticking to what works… for your baby, your body, your schedule, and your life!! You go Jessi :)

    Jessica || Cubicle Chic
    http://www.mycubiclechic.com

    July 2, 2018 at 11:45 am Reply
  • Autumn Chagolla

    I love it!

    October 15, 2018 at 7:44 am Reply

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