If you’ve read any of the other articles about breastfeeding we have on this website, you’ll see how passionate we are about it. We believe it’s the best and most nutritious way for a mother to feed a baby, and the best method for baby’s development as the years pass by.
At this day and age, there’s mounting evidence from countless studies that prove the advantages of breastfeeding over any other feeding method out there.
But, have you ever thought about the disadvantages of breastfeeding? Just like everything else in life, it’s almost impossible to find so many pros to something that has no cons.
Starting from physical problems that prevent you from doing it, to inconveniences that prove to be a hurdle, all the way to health risks that stand in your way – breastfeeding certainly does have a few shortcomings to it that we’ll be covering in this article.
Educate yourself about these shortcomings, compare them to the many advantages of breastfeeding that have been proven time and time again, and compare the pros and cons to see whether or not this method would be a good choice for you as a nursing mother and for little baby.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Breastfeeding?
1) Feeling Left Out
No matter how you look at it, your other family members will feel a bit isolated and left out because you (the baby’s mother) are the only one that can directly breastfeed your infant.
Don’t worry too much about this problem though, as it’s certainly not the end of the world and there are workarounds to it.
First of all, there’s still plenty of other baby-related activities that your family members can be involved in – changing diapers, anyone?
If this is bugging you more than it should be, try the following.
Instead of directly breastfeeding your baby via skin-to-skin contact, you can choose to pump breast milk instead and store it in several bottles to feed baby from at later times.
This way, you’ll still be feeding your baby your own breast milk without having to resort to feeding them formula milk and lose out on the advantages of your golden liquid, but can also involve other family members such as your husband and your other kids in feeding your baby from these bottles.
2) More Food, Mommy!
It’s been proven that breastfed babies are often hungrier and need to eat more frequently than their formula fed counterparts.
Babies are able to digest their mother’s breast milk much easier and way faster than they’re able to digest formula milk, and this faster digestion translates to an empty stomach that needs recharging more frequently.
A breastfeeding session every 1.5 hours to 2 hours is certainly not unheard of, and this may put many mothers out there under tremendous stress, who later find out that they can’t properly stick to the schedule.
So, whether you’re directly breastfeeding little baby or doing so via pumping breast milk, you’re always required to keep up your supply of golden liquid and have it ready whenever the need arises – which can all be a little bit too stressful for some moms who already have busy schedules and live hectic lives as it stands.
3) Passing Medication
If you’re currently taking medication for whatever condition you may have at the time, your ability to breastfeed may be hindered because you’ll be passing through some of the medication to your baby through your breast milk.
You should always talk to your doctor before breastfeeding your baby to know whether or not it’s safe to do so despite the medication you’re currently on.
4) Passing Illnesses
If you suffer from any illness or infection, you’re more than likely going to pass it to your baby through your breast milk. While some infections and illnesses can be minor, others are life threatening to little babies that have’t fully developed yet.
5) Careful What You Eat
Breastfeeding moms will also be asked to carefully watch what they eat and follow a specific diet that suits little baby’s needs and causes as little discomfort as possible.
Many of the foods you would normally eat will suddenly become off limits during the breastfeeding phase, because babies may be sensitive to them, these foods may give babies a bad case of gas or the like.
6) Careful What You Drink
You’ll also be asked to watch what beverages you drink, so in between this and watching your food intake, you’re in for quite some sacrifice.
As if you weren’t sacrificing enough during the time you were pregnant with baby, you now have to sacrifice some more even after birth – such is the life of a breastfeeding mother!
If you’re a caffeine junkie like many mothers who depend on coffee, latte, tea and many other drinks to get them through the day – you’ll need to cut down on your caffeine intake for little baby.
The more caffeine you take in, the more that will pass on to your baby through your breast milk.
7) No More Smoking
One of the first things a breastfeeding mother has to give up is smoking – be that direct smoking or second hand smoking.
When exposed to smoke, a mother’s milk supply decreases and the quality of her breast milk also takes a hit for the worse.
Make no mistake about it though, we’re advocates of every smoker out there giving up this bad habit, so we actually believe this is an advantage and not a disadvantage that breastfeeding leads to.
8) Inability To Measure
When you’re pumping breast milk into bottles or preparing formula milk for your baby to drink at a later time, it’s ridiculously simple for you to measure how much milk is going into each bottle, and to keep track of how much milk your baby drank in each feeding session.
The same is unfortunately not true when breastfeeding your baby.
When baby is sucking milk directly from your breast through your nipple, how on earth could you measure how much they’ve consumed in one sitting?
It’s impossible to do that, and this is another cause of stress and worry for many moms who fear their babies may not be getting the proper nutrition they need.
This can of course be solved by regularly taking your baby to your pediatrician for frequent appointments.
A pediatrician will be able to determine whether a baby is getting the nutrition it needs by its growth rate.
If a baby is growing at a slower than average rate, then something’s wrong and should be fixed, and vice versa.
9) Decreased Sexual Drive
Breastfeeding leads to decreased levels of estrogen in a nursing mother’s body, which in turn may lead to a decreased sexual drive in many women.
Because of the decreased estrogen levels in the body, many women notice soreness and discomfort in the genital area when they do engage in sexual intercourse, caused by vaginal dryness from the low levels of estrogen.
10) Physical Pain
During breastfeeding, you may experience all sorts of pains in your breasts and nipples. Some nursing mother’s breasts become very sore, other moms experience cracked nipples for which they need special cream to treat, and the list goes on.
When left untreated, many of these pains and discomforts grow to become so unbearable to the extent that the mother cannot carry on breastfeeding anymore and gives it up altogether.
11) Public Shaming
Depending on where you are in the world, societies around the world often have different views about breastfeeding in public.
Some societies embrace it and empower women who do it, while other societies shame it and consider it to be a taboo.
These contradicting views are also seen in the same country and city, and are not just differences between people of different countries and societies.
So, if you’re breastfeeding your baby or pumping breast milk in public (at a restaurant, at a social gathering or even at work), you’ll often have to find somewhere private and secluded to do that, or make use of something like a nursing cover instead.
12) Change In Breast Shape
The shape, form and overall appearance of your breasts may change during the breastfeeding phase.
This is often a cause of worry for many moms and a source of annoyance for many others who don’t appreciate their body shape changing the way it does.
However, the good news is that this change in breast shape and form is almost always a temporary one that reverses itself back to normal when the breastfeeding phase is over.
13) Difference In Breast Sizes
Breastfeeding mothers often notice changes in the size of their breasts as well, where one breast becomes visibly larger than the other.
This mainly happens when baby takes a liking to one breast much more than the other, which results in longer feeding times on one breast and shorter feeding times on the other.
14) Limited Birth Control Options
If you choose to use birth control pills during your baby’s breastfeeding phase, you’re limited on the choices of birth control pills that won’t negatively affect baby’s nutrition.
Most of the birth control pills available on the market today will reduce the quality of your breast milk and its quantity.
15) Leaking Milk
Nursing mothers leaking milk from their breasts unexpectedly is a more common occurrence than you might think it is, mainly because of engorged breasts.
However, the good news is that we’re not talking about floodgates opening and breast milk raining down from the skies above – it’s most often just a tiny amount that can be dealt with on the spot.
Many mothers just feel embarrassed by it and it makes them feel uncomfortable when it happens, especially if it happens during an intimate time between you and your partner.
16) Waking Up At Night
Because breast milk is digested by a baby’s body much faster than formula milk, this means that baby is likely to wake up at night more frequently than formula fed babies, feeling hungry and wanting to eat.
17) Time To Wean
Depending on how lucky you are, your baby may be an angel when the time comes for them to stop breastfeeding, or they may give you a hard time like you’ve never seen before.
When it comes time to wean them off breastfeeding, some babies go through this transitional phase by themselves with no problems at all, while others will throw every tantrum known to mankind and cry like there’s no tomorrow to get you to do it one more time.