Please Note: This post may contain sponsor, affiliate, and/or referral links. Read my full disclosure statement. 

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for educational purposes only. I am not a doctor. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. None of the opinions are meant to diagnose or treat any disease or illness. You should always consult your healthcare provider.

Are there any disadvantages of breastfeeding?

Are there any disadvantages of breastfeeding? Or are they just part of breastfeeding?  www.BreastfeedingPlace.comI will warn you. This is sometimes a hot button topic. When asked the question, “Are there any disadvantages of breastfeeding?” some breastfeeding advocates will insist that there are none. I strongly believe that to help all mothers, we all need to be honest about motherhood.  I’ve been nursing and/or pregnant for nearly six years straight.

Let me level with you.

Breastfeeding does have disadvantages.

I wholeheartedly feel the benefits completely outweigh the disadvantages, but it’s important to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly!  Thankfully, many of the disadvantages of breastfeeding can be worked around!

Potential Disadvantages of Breastfeeding

  • Mom’s health. Our bodies are amazing. They make sure that baby has all the nutrition he needs before taking care of us. That means that if mom is not eating well, baby won’t go lacking, but mom will. Mom’s nutrition reserves could be depleted while baby is getting his nutrition. This is why it is important for moms to eat well and to remain on prenatal vitamins to protect mom’s health.
  • Laundry. All babies poop and pee and spit up. That’s a given. Breastfeeding mamas may have a little extra laundry to do, though! Some mamas leak milk. Nursing pads may help in dealing with leaks.  While breastmilk poo is much milder smelling than its formula-fed counterpart, it also has a bit more liquid and a tendency to not stay inside diapers at times. Blowouts with poo up to the hairline have been known to happen! However, some babies start to space out their poos after the first few weeks since there is very little waste in breastmilk.
  • Attachment.  Attachment is one of the biggest benefits of breastfeeding, but it can also be a disadvantage at times. Those days when mama isn’t around or is sick, or is just worn out and baby will not settle for anything but the breast. Those first few weeks when baby is latched on 12  – 15 hours a day and mama’s breasts are sore.  Those days when mama needs to go somewhere without baby.  Other caregivers may feel resentment because they cannot feed baby (not all babies will take a bottle and not all parents choose to use bottles).
  • Clogs and mastitis. While moms who do not breastfeed may experience clogs and mastitis – especially while the milk is drying up, these are mainly issues that can occur while nursing. They are treatable, but painful.
  • Postpartum Mood Disorders. For some women, breastfeeding and postpartum depression and anxiety do not mix. In many cases, breastfeeding can actually prevent these mood disorders or help mama cope. For some, it is just too overwhelming.  For the mental health of the mama, breastfeeding may not be the best choice.  In my case, breastfeeding was my lifeline. For a good friend of mine, it was just simply too much.
  • Medical procedures.  In most cases, moms can work with doctors and lactation consultants to find a medication that is safe while breastfeeding. They can work together to decide the best time frame to resume breastfeeding following surgery or a procedure (often, as soon as mom wakes from anesthesia). If baby is the one having medical issues, breastfeeding is often the best thing mama can do. However, there are some medications or procedures/tests that may require cessation of breastfeeding for a time.
  • Discrimination. It is terrible that I even have to add this one to the list. In 2013, there are still moms who face discrimination because of their choice to breastfeed (and yes, there is discrimination against those who bottle feed, as well). You may encounter nasty glares, rude comments, or even be asked to leave an establishment because of breastfeeding. Thankfully, this is not the normal experience.

disadvantages of breastfeeding

Please, don’t let this list frighten you. On the whole, breastfeeding is filled with advantages for both mom and baby. It is important to understand that while breastfeeding is natural, it is not always easy.  You will likely face a few challenges along the way. You will likely have days when you just want to be done with it. Days where you are exhausted and touched out. We all have those days.

Arm yourself with information. Be realistic. Reach out for support and do what is best for you and your family!

Did you face any of these and consider them disadvantages of breastfeeding? Or just par for the course?

Audra Michelle has been pregnant and/or breastfeeding for more than 6 years straight. Her first nursed for 15 months, her second for 14 months, and her third weaned at 27 months! Her first baby girl is thriving on breastmilk and will wean when she chooses.  Audra Michelle is a wife, mother, daughter, girlfriend, Jesus lover, and musician. You can find Audra Michelle blogging at UP and at Naturally Well.


  1. cheryl andes says

    I’m not excited to see the word choice in this title. I’ve seen a couple others like it with the same title and commented as well. I really dislike the word “disadvantage”. I think it’s a poor word choice for something we (breastfeeding mothers that have been through many of the hurdles) need to protect and encourage. I understand you wanting to be honest, and you totally can by using the word “challenge” instead. I feel the word “challenge” indicates a hurdle that CAN be overcome, therefore encouraging hope and success. It offers an individual a choice to strive for success. A “disadvantage” is a very negative synonym that places an individual in an already-defeated-by-the-circumstances situation. If there is a struggling mom on the fence about breastfeeding, a simple negative comment could potentially sway her to discontinue her breastfeeding journey. Support is the KEY to continued breastfeeding through all the hurdles a mother will encounter. The word “disadvantage” is not supportive in any way. Any chosen road is going to have challenges, even when pursued adamantly. While it’s important to be honest about the choice to breastfeed, it’s also wise to choose optimism as a tool. And the word “disadvantage” does not make much room for optimism.

  2. I am sorry my word choice offended you. That honestly was not the intent. As you may have read, I’ve overcome quite a few major breastfeeding challenges. Throughout my struggles, I kept hearing all the positives. Not hearing anything negative at all made me feel even more like a failure. My decision to use these words was more to help draw mothers who aren’t sure if they are going to breastfeed or not. They may google about possible disadvantages and find themselves here where they can get support. Sometimes just hearing the truth is helpful. Hearing that things aren’t always perfect. Honestly, many moms who are considering breastfeeding aren’t googling about challenges. They are googling the pros and cons and making decisions. Hopefully they see that our arms are open to support them. I apologize if you felt as if I was not being supportive of breastfeeding.

  3. cheryl andes says

    No apology needed. It’s not about me. This might be an “agree to disagree” thing. I get the being honest part and that it is super important to talk about the WHOLE experience of breastfeeding. I have breastfed all my babies going on 6+ years now. I chose to look at all the struggles I went through/am going through as opportunities to help someone else down the line…by being honest about my journey with them, thus relating to them on a very intimate level, and then helping them through it if possible. I wouldn’t go to someone struggling and reply “yeah, that’s one disadvantage to breastfeeding.” I can understand your thoughts…and I have not done or seen any report on what mothers are googling in regards to breastfeeding. So maybe your word choice would fit many looking that way. In my experience and with my personality, optimism is the way to making a change or choice. I did go to a breastfeeding support group for years and was able to connect to many other mothers as we all walked and talked through our challenges. And while there were tears, and desires to quit from many of us at one point or another, the positive environment that felt safe to be open and honest helped us all lift each other up. Again, I don’t see a negative word doing much in the way of lifting someone up. The end. Off my soapbox. Interesting that I’m confronting this again…my friends would tell you I’m a peace-maker and have only positives to offer. My mind may reel for days about something, but I hardly ever take action when something doesn’t set with me well. Maybe I’m being too nit-picky about this…or maybe I’m one of those passionate advocates that can’t see it any other way. So be it. Thanks for putting up with me.

  4. Yes, there ARE disadvantages for sure. My son has never really taken a bottle, and it makes going out difficult. We have to plan around bed time or a small window of time in order to make it work. Also, the engorgment! Oh. My. Gosh! No one tells you how painful it is! And, at least for me, it doesn’t stop after the first 2 months… If he gets off schedule or sleeps all night, I’m dying by the morning and have to pump, which also isn’t the most comfortable thing!


  1. […] depends on his mother to care for his every need. This doesn’t mean that it is without its disadvantages. One of the more common breastfeeding problems occurs when baby begins to teethe: […]

Speak Your Mind