Coping With Not Being Able to Breastfeed: 4 Tips For Mommies

    Coping With Not Being Able to Breastfeed: 4 Tips For Mommies

    Breast milk is the best for babies. Many of us grew up hearing this message and probably thought to ourselves: when I become a mom, I’ll definitely breastfeed my baby. But not everything goes as planned, and sometimes, no matter how much you want to, breastfeeding isn’t really an option. Here are some tips for coping with not being able to breastfeed.

    1. There are some contraindications to breastfeeding

    Coping with not being able to breastfeed means you need to understand why you can’t give your baby breast milk.

    According to the US Center for Disease Control, mommies cannot breastfeed their baby if they have or are suspected of having certain viral infections, like Ebola virus, HIV, and T-cell lymphotropic virus types I and II. In rare instances, the moms may also be suffering from debilitating conditions consequentially, like severe complications from delivery such as stroke or embolism which alters their sensorium and/or wakefulness.

    Mommies also cannot breastfeed if their baby has galactosemia, a genetic disorder that causes problems in converting galactose (sugar from milk) to glucose, another type of sugar.

    The bottom line is, there are really situations when breastfeeding is not the best for you and your baby. Talk to your doctor about your options. Perhaps, the contraindication is just temporary or maybe you can give your baby expressed breast milk.

    2. There are other ways to get breast milk for your baby

    If you cannot breastfeed your baby or provide them with expressed milk, ask your doctor about the possibility of giving them donor breast milk.

    Some facilities offer breast milk from thoroughly-screened donor mommies. And don’t worry about the quality. According to the Human Milk Bank Philippines, donor milk:

    • Is safe. The bank tests the milk for bacteria. To kill any remaining bacteria or viruses, the bank also pasteurizes the milk.
    • Also contains immunoglobulins, which protect babies from diseases.
    • Has enough calories. The bank encourages donor moms to actively express milk that contains adequate calories. They don’t collect drip milk, which has fewer calories.

    Important. Many families get breast milk from a friend or neighbor donor for free, while others buy it online because it’s less expensive. Please stay cautious. The donor mom must be healthy and milk must be properly expressed and stored, otherwise, the milk could be contaminated.

    3. Formula milk is not bad

    Sometimes, coping with not being able to breastfeed requires acceptance that your baby needs to rely on formula milk.

    Please remind yourself that although formula milk is not the first and best option, it’s not bad. Formula milk will also provide your baby with the nutrients he or she needs to thrive and stay healthy.

    To choose the formula milk for your little one, have a discussion with their pediatrician.

    4. Remember that breastfeeding is just one part of being a mother

    Are you having a hard time coping with not being able to breastfeed? If so, please keep in mind that breastfeeding is just one part of being a mother.

    You may not be able to breastfeed, but you can still do many things for your little one. You can still hold him, sing for him, and play with him. You can keep them healthy through regular check-ups and scheduled vaccination. Once they reach 6 months, you can also gradually start them with healthy, solid foods.

    Don’t let your guilt stop you from doing other things for your baby and from enjoying your role as a mom.

    Key Takeaways

    Breast milk is the best for babies, but not in all situations. Coping with not being able to breastfeed may give you feelings of guilt, but remember that you can still do many things to keep your little one happy and healthy. Focus on these things. If you need more help emotionally and mentally, don’t hesitate to seek medical advice.

    Learn more about Breastfeeding here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Yesterday