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Are There Disadvantages of Breastfeeding?

Are there disadvantages of breastfeeding.jpgDisadvantages of breastfeeding? Really? We’re going to talk about this topic on a breastfeeding site? Yup.

I was recently asked to write a guest post for The Humbled Homemaker and chose to write on this topic. Originally, I thought it was this website was a better platform…because I certainly couldn’t write about this topic on a breastfeeding website, right? Wrong.

One of the reasons I wanted to write this post is because I know—thanks to companies like Google—hundreds of women are searching for information about the disadvantages of breastfeeding. Women want to know what the disadvantages are. I probably wouldn’t typically call them “disadvantages”—would probably refer to them as “hurdles” or “challenges.” But, who am I kidding? There are disadvantages with just about everything in life.

I didn’t have major problems with breastfeeding. Sure, all of my kids were born 5 weeks early, so I had to work a little bit harder at establishing a breastfeeding relationship compared to some mamas with full-term babies, but even my little ones picked it up without much trouble. A lot of the “disadvantages” of breastfeeding didn’t apply to me. But there were still disadvantages.

In my post on the disadvantages of breastfeeding at The Humbled Homemaker I touched on some commonly cited disadvantages:

  1. Breastfed babies need to be fed more often.
  2. Some medications are passed into breast milk.
  3. You need to eat a balanced diet.
  4. You don’t know how much milk baby is getting.

I then followed up by explaining how to overcome some of these hurdles.

(None of those were personal disadvantages for me. Though, I think  probably the biggest disadvantage for me was the increase in bust size. I certainly don’t need that. When I breastfeed it makes finding clothes difficult and bras ridiculously expensive and difficult to find. I know, that’s a pretty superficial disadvantage, but a disadvantage all the same.)

The post I wrote for The Humbled Homemaker caused quite a bit of stir on Facebook. I wasn’t prepared for that. I didn’t think it was a controversial post at all. I think it’s OK for us as mama’s to admit that there are disadvantages to breastfeeding. But you know what, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, and I can live with the disadvantages for this very short season of life.

So ladies, I can’t be the only one. What do you see as the greatest disadvantage to breastfeeding and how have you overcome it? 

Trisha Gilkerson is a happily married homeschooling mom to 4 rambunctious, lovable boys. She and her husband blog at where all of their interests on healthy living, faith, family, and homeschooling collide. Trisha founded and hopes that everyone who visits finds fantastic information and leaves feeling encouraged. You can check out Trisha's personal blog and follow her on facebooktwitterpinterest, and google +.


  1. cheryl andes says

    I really think it comes down to word choice here. Here’s the definition:
    DISADVANTAGE–an unfavorable circumstance or condition that reduces the chances of success or effectiveness.
    synonyms: drawback, snag, downside, stumbling block, fly in the ointment, catch, hindrance, obstacle, impediment;

    I really dislike the word disadvantage. To me, it gives the act of breastfeeding a very negative overtone for some and an “out” for others. And while I only agree that #2 could truly be a concern, the rest are learned and embraced with knowledge. So I would not list them as disadvantages. The words challenge or obstacle, on the other hand, offers the option to overcome, leading to success. I choose to focus on the positive, which mentally makes it easier for me to overcome challenges that arise.

    As a mommy of 3 and having breastfed for 6+ years now, I have had a good share in breastfeeding challenges. An uplifting, persistent and positive support for mommies to be successful in almost every breastfeeding circumstance is sooo crucial, that I would never choose to use the negative word “disadvantage” in this case.

  2. I suffered from mastitis numerous times with my first son, and decided to quit nursing at 3 months. My second son is almost 4-months-old and we both got thrush that was difficult to get rid of, but we pushed through it and are still going strong with nursing.

  3. A “disadvantage” for me is the convenience. Yeah, I don’t have to get up to fix bottles. But it’s not easy to feed my baby in the car if we’re driving for more than like an hour. I can’t whip up a bottle & feed her in the car seat while I push the grocery cart around. It’s not that easy.
    I also haven’t had more than 1 evening away from her since she was born (she’s 9 months). She was really little then & would accept bottles of expressed milk (for that evening at least). She hasn’t done that since, so I’ve had that one evening away…& frankly, I’m losing my mind! It’s harder to get a break when you’re breastfeeding (at least for me, because I’m not going to pump & feed daily just so I can get a night out every once in a while…not that she’d eat that way anyways.)

    • With my singletons it never seemed like much of an inconvenience, but after I had twins… let me tell you! Even going grocery shopping was an ordeal. We would get family to watch my two older boys so my husband could go grocery shopping with my twin babies and I. But, I’d always have to breastfeed sometime in the course of our trip. So, I’d find somewhere to sit and nurse one while my husband would walk around with the other, then we would swap. Those were long grocery shopping trips!

  4. I have three children. And honestly for me there are DISADVANTAGES to breastfeeding. And pretending there is not only causes harm to first time moms who think it’s going to be a wonderful experience. I breastfed my first son it was great I loved it. I planned to my second son as well. But it was stressful the second time around because I had low supply so I was having to feed him every 2 hours for an hour and wasn’t being able to sleep which caused me to start having severe depression which led to me hating my new son and not bonding with him. Thankfully my husband stepped in and we decided breastfeeding was not to “BEST” option in our current situation and stopped. After we started formula feeding him I was able to start sleeping which greatly helped my depression and then I was able to start bonding with my son. I love him so much now and we are completely bonded. But that first month and a half was a nightmare. Breastfeeding does not always help with bonding at least not for me it didn’t the opposite was true for me the second time around. Also I am very shy and conservative so breastfeeding in public was never an option for me. I don’t care if other women do. But I don’t like to. So I felt like I was missing out on a lot when we went out with friends or went to events. I always missed whole chunks of things because i had to remove myself to find somewhere to feed my child. My third child was bottle and breastfed. I breastfed at home and bottle fed in public and it was the best both worlds for my family. I feel for the health of many women and children it’s time we are honest. If a women breastfeeds exclusively that is awesome and we should support her, but we need to support the women who can’t as well and stop saying that they need to try harder.

    • I think it’s really important that we talk about the disadvantages (or difficulties) to give moms a realistic view! Of course breast is best, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easiest. When a woman is prepared and understands some of the difficulties, it can help her mentally prepare and not get as discouraged when things don’t come as easily as she thinks they should.

      Thank you for stopping by and chiming in!


  1. […] but it’s important to understand the good, the bad, and the ugly!  Thankfully, many of the disadvantages of breastfeeding can be worked […]

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