5 real reasons why mums CHOOSE to bottle Feed. -Hacking parenthood

5 real reasons why mums CHOOSE to bottle Feed. -Hacking Parenthood

As a very pro-breastfeeder, I often wonder why a mum would choose to bottle feed. So, I decided to ask a few mums about why they chose to bottle feed. Whether it was formula or breastmilk. Many mums who do breastfeed and who breastfeed for a long time find it hard to understand what the problem is.

This really opened my eyes to a whole new world of reasons.

  • Pre and Post-Natal depression.

We have all heard about PPD, and many people fail to understand that many new mums get some sort of depression and anxiety while pregnant with their first born. With the way, the society portrays being pregnant. We get told that the world that we know is finished, we get thrown into a new world whether we chose it or not. Suddenly we have to think about looking after a baby. Most of us have had no experience with looking after anyone, let alone a baby. What do you do? You can’t even pick up a manual to help because there are thousands of different ‘manuals’ to help raise a child. All these different questions and wonders do not help with being depressed and anxious. It makes it worse.

I chose to bottle feed my two youngest babies. They were both in NICU, tube fed only, and after a bad experience with breastfeeding my eldest two, I made the choice not to put myself through that again. I had severe PND with my eldest son and daughter, and I think my experience with breastfeeding contributed to that. I have no regrets about my choices, it was the right thing for me and my children at that time.  www.fivelittledoves.com

There is a fine line of where you start to consider your own mental health. Many mums who choose to bottle feed had to make that decision on what was in the best interest of the baby.

As someone who has a history of anxiety and knowing that a lack of sleep can trigger my panic attacks, I had to choose my mental health to come first so began bottle feeding after a month with my first son. As a family we all benefitted from this choice. The only downside was financial! www.thriftymum.com

  • Sexual abuse and sexual assault

Breastfeeding is all about sharing your body with a baby and giving your all to the baby. This can be a hard thing to do when someone has taken that control from you before. Having to deal with having a baby and then having to feed the baby can trigger PTSD and anxieties. The breast and vagina are very sexualised things in this society, and having a baby and feeding him/her can be a very traumatic time for a mother.

We bottle fed from day one as I am in recovery from PTSD from a sexual assault and breastfeeding would not have been good for my mental health. I also didn’t want the pressure of being the lone food source or all of the worrying that comes with that.


  • Support from friends and family

Even in this day and age, many mums are still struggling with the support from their friends and family. Having the strength to deal with another person’s complexes about breastfeeding can be overwhelming. Having a baby can make you feel like you’ve just run a marathon, and then had no time to recover. Trying to deal with people who make you feel uncomfortable can be very hard for a new mum to deal with.

I FF my first (BF my second). I always wanted to BF but the thought of having to feed infront of my Dad (I lived with my parents at the time) filled me with fear, I was terrified. I therefore opted to FF but having people who could help with the feeds was bliss.


  • The right support in hospital from midwives and health workers.

Breastfeeding support can be hard to come by, especially when you didn’t think you needed it. It seems that if you want the support, you have to make the effort to find local groups and find Lactation consultants to help you. These options should really be available from the beginning. Many mums seem to have similar stories about not having the support they need at such a crucial time.

I felt like I was left with no choice but to bottle feed after Dex would not latch when he was born. I was in hospital for three days with VERY little support, but they would not discharge me until I could show he was feeding. He latched once or twice in hospital and once when we got home. I started pumping as soon as I got home so I could offer him in a bottle. It was so very stressful and upsetting. After a week we switched to formula after my midwife told me pumping wasn’t a long term solution. Although I had no help with him latching apart from people saying, ‘Oh yeah, that’s odd isn’t it’ and blaming me for introducing a bottle.


As a breastfeeding supporter, I understand the support that is needed, but many GPs and nurses are not trained or given the right information to help the mums.

My son was born 10 weeks early. I tried expressing for 6 weeks but I was unable to get much out. The nurses advised me to stop. With my daughter I just wanted everything to be stress free as my sons birth was so traumatic that I chose to bottle feed. Although 2 years on I now regret that decision as I wish I had tried to breastfeed. We can’t have any more children so it is something I regret alot! www.naturemumblog.co.uk


I combi fed with bottles of Formula for a few months with my first, because I was told I had to top up on directly breastfeeding, for my child to gain weight. Then, I worked my sanity off to top up with my pumped and expressed milk in bottles, after I learnt about the Formula top up trap and tried to get out it. Giving my milk in bottles, on top of breastfeeding directly, was my way of securing my child’s ‘expected’ weight gain, whilst maintaining our breastfeeding relationship and securing my breastmilk supply. And I continued until a week or so before we weaned to solids, after 6 months, for my mental assurance about our our breastfeeding journey.


  • Lack of knowledge in breastfeeding

Ask yourself if you have ever seen breastfeeding as a child. I hadn’t. The baby dolls I got were bottle fed. Adverts were always about formula, never breastfeeding. We are a generation who has moved away from breastfeeding and need to make sure our next generation doesn’t do the same thing. Education about breastfeeding is so important. If you don’t know about it, why do it?


I bottlefed both my girls (1st and 2nd)

I decided to bottle feed (formula) my first because I had just turned 17, knew absolutely nothing about BF but also I felt too young and didn’t feel comfortable to do so.

I decided again to bottle formula feed my second child because I had fallen into depression from 30 weeks pregnant and post natal depression. It was just what I knew. Again, I wasn’t informed about Bf really but it was my own choice as I just didn’t feel up to it. Formula did good for my first so I decided to again.

I BF my third though.



Asking why is more important than just judging. It will always open your mind to the real reason mums struggle.

I just want to thank all the lovely mums who happily told their story, we are all in this together. When we follow our own paths so intently, we do forget that we’re all on the same road. I couldn’t use all their comments.So a great way to find out that we are not alone is to check out some other mums writing about their journey.

5 real reasons why mums CHOOSE to bottle Feed. -Hacking parenthood



www.fivelittledoves.com /react-text 
























  • Reply Karen January 16, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I’m a very strong supporter of breastfeeding, having breastfed my own kids for 18 & 27 months each, but not without some issues and struggles particularly the first time round, which was awful. But I also know that it doesn’t work for everyone and that we have the safe option to be able to bottle feed if needed or wanted. I do think the support and education offered for mums is patchy at best and there’s a hell of a lot of misinformation, bullying and lack of support out there too. My stance now is I fed my babies the way that worked for us, the mum next to me may choose another route or have to do things differently, and that’s ok too! Great post!

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood January 16, 2017 at 9:01 pm

      I agree, I do struggle to understand but writing this post is helping me understand that sometimes it just doesn’t work. I also struggled in the beginning, but eventually got it. Well done for feeding so long, I’m at 18m with my first.

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus January 16, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    I think that you should be able to choose whats best for you regardless of anyone else’s personal opinion. It was interesting to read how mental health plays a big factor in choice as well.

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood January 16, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      After finding out how mental health can affect feeding, I understand more. Really interesting.

  • Reply Rhian Westbury January 16, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    I think people should do what feels right for them and their situation but this really shows that there are a lot of reasons why women choose to bottle feed x

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood January 16, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      I agree, every mum should always do what feels right.

  • Reply Lisa Backsnbumps January 16, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    I am a strong advocate of fed is best. I’ve had three kids, my oldest was bottle fed from day 1. I had post natal depressions and breast feeding would have sent me even further over the edge! The youngest 2 I breast fed for about 10 weeks before they had a bottle. As long as my kids aren’t hungry and are happy then I’m happy.

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood January 16, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      After writing this post I understand more now. We are all trying hard and doing our best.

  • Reply Deborah Nicholas January 16, 2017 at 6:51 pm

    I think people need to do what is best for them and shouldnt feel pressure either way – happy mummy happy baby! #fedisbest

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood January 16, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      I love that, happy mum happy baby. Yes!

  • Reply beth sachs January 16, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    I breastfed all of my 3 children for varying lengths of time. I definitely found it easier breastfeeding the third and I managed to feed her a lot longer than the other two. I really think it’s up to the individual. I wasn’t breastfed (Mum tried for a few days but I lost so much weight her midwife told her to give me a bottle) so I never had any pressure from my Mum to do the same, I just wanted to!

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood January 16, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      That’s so good to hear. I was never pressured to breastfeed, I just knew I had to. Funny feeling.

  • Reply Lyndsey O'Halloran January 16, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I was so ill after Erin’s birth that breastfeeding wasn’t for us so I had to bottlefeed

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood January 17, 2017 at 6:32 am

      Being ill straight after giving birth can is the worst. It’s the hardest part.

  • Reply Kerry Norris January 17, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    This is a fab post. I breastfed both my girls and never pass judgement on anyone how they feed their children. Pre and post natal depression can have such a huge impact on your life so that would defo effect feeding decisions x

  • Reply Sarah January 18, 2017 at 4:21 am

    Thank you for writing this and trying not to judge. My guy came a month early and so my milk wasn’t ready and he was jaundice. They had me on a strict 3 hour schedule and kept me 5 days because of this (I had a quick 2 hour delivery and we both recovered quite nicely otherwise). At the start of three hours, I was to feed both sides for 15 minutes each, continuous. If he were to fall asleep I had to try and wake him and start again. Sometimes this took an hour in itself. Afterwards I was to top up with pumped milk and formula (I could barely get a drop the first week days and felt miserable and like a failure). This would take 30 minutes sometimes as, again, it was hard to keep him awake. Then I had to use the pump which took another 30 minutes, then take the pump apart and clean it all. Sometimes this whole process took 2 or more hours in itself. Then by the time it hit 3 hours I would have to start all over again. As in if I started at 12 and didn’t finish this process until 230, I would start again at 3. Sometimes the nurses would see I was about to start in 20 minutes (after just finishing cleaning the pump) and say “we’ll let’s just start now” and hand me the baby. I went through this routine of no sleep for 6 weeks before my mom finally said what stuck to me (as once my milk started coming – he wanted to be fed every 45 minutes for an hour session) “if you’re not sleeping, he isn’t either”. And I realised my poor guy wouldn’t nap because he was always hungry, would “sleep” from 11pm until 9 am, waking every hour to feed for an hour. After 3 months I spoke to the doctor who said there is no shame in formula top ups and that sleep is super important for the baby. I found my milk – although abundant in supply – was lacking fat to keep him full. Once I gave him formula he chugged it like he was starving (he was) and slept for 4 hours. It was incredible. To think I was starving and sleep depriving my little guy because every pro breast feeding website said “this is normal”, “just keep going”, etc. Once he started bottle feeding at around 3 months he started smiling and laughing. He looked to me for more than just a boob. I felt like an actual mom who could really bond. I guess I never experienced what was so magical about breastfeeding. My boy is healthy and happy now and if I could change anything it would be to go on formula sooner. I still feel jealousy when breastfeeding is projected as the most beautiful gift a mom can give her baby when I wasn’t able to. It sure feels like shaming. It would be nice if bottle feeding was seen as beautiful too…

  • Reply Tracy Morgan January 18, 2017 at 8:51 am

    What a fabulous, interesting post. I will admit that in the past, I have often put women’s refusal to breastfeed down to sheer laziness, and to be honest, had never given half of these reasons any thought at all. Although I did BF both of my boys, I really did struggle with the boobs being a very sexual things for me, and it was hard to switch that off. The bottom line is that we shouldn’t judge (although it is hard not to) unless we have walked in that person’s shoes!

  • Reply Nic Kamminga January 19, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    *trigger* On the point of sexual abuse and incest survivors I’d really like to point out that it’s recommended that survivors get counselling while pregnant from a specialist breastfeeding counsellor. I know that La Leche League have qualified counsillors who specialise in this area. As a survivor myself, I’d like to be one of them one day. Because I know that at least for myself and friends of mine in similar situations, breastfeeding can be very catheartic. I felt it healed some very old wounds and made me realise that breasts were pure and didn’t have to be sexualised. Mine were sexualised from the age of around 6 and I needed a bra around nine, and including a whole host of other traumatic events and gender dysphoria I had them reconstructed when I was 18. I thought I would never breastfeed but I found not only that I could, but also how much it has helped me.

    I’m not saying that every survivor should or would want to try but if they’re open to talking about it beforehand and managing expectations, the help is out there. They won’t be judged and it will be confidential. I’m sure there are other services (maybe the ABM, NCT, Barnardo’s etc) that can help, but LLL is the one I know for definite.

    Another reason a parent may choose not to breastfeed is gender. That is where a transgender man/person chooses to be the gestational parent but may find the idea of feeding the baby at his chest, as some queer parents like me do, so dysphoric (harmful to his mental health because of gender) that he chooses not to. He may still have the available milk ducts but want to continue to bind his chest for example.

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood January 20, 2017 at 8:01 am

      People need to know that there are mums out there that have managed to breastfeed. You are a great example to many mums!
      It is even worse for transgender, yes. Society isn’t willing to even deal with breasts used for their main purpose!

  • Reply dbofnc March 10, 2017 at 5:01 pm

    i would add adoption to the list. we have a son that was adopted and he favors us in looks so unknowing people would assume he is our biological child. i bottle feed in public when he needs it, naturally, and i have received some judgements. also, medical reasons, of course. people may have some issues that they don’t feel they need to share with everyone (even friends!). thoughtful article, thank you.

    • Reply Hacking Parenthood March 10, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Such a great comment. I’m going to include those things, the adoption and for medical reasons. People really do forget why mums can’t breastfeed. 💚

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