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The Truth Behind “Breastfeeding is Inconvenient” Statements

Mother holding baby showing feet and hands deciding whether breastfeeding is inconvenient.

Over the years, I’ve heard this many times: “I feed my baby formula because it’s more convenient.” Research studies about infant practices have reported the same thing. But is breastfeeding inconvenient? Absolutely not.

What the statements really mean

Over the years, I’ve come to realize that “more convenient” is a euphemism for “won’t embarrass me,” or “won’t provoke negative feedback from my family.” Or it might actually be saying that formula “allows me to feed the baby on my own schedule.”

What does convenient really mean?

So let’s think about “convenience.” I’ve yet to hear a mother say that she wanted to have a baby in order to make her life more convenient. So, is breastfeeding really inconvenient? Breastfeeding, like parenting, is a 24-hour a day job. It requires self-sacrifice and putting your child’s needs ahead of your own. (Hell-oo-oh!) Breastfeeding is like being the server at a restaurant — not the guest, not the maitre d’, not the cook, not the hostess. Breastfeeding moms serve up the food; the baby does the ordering.

The good news, though, is that, when you breastfeed, you’re not the bus boy! No, that’s what you are when you formula-feed. Schlepping that stuff from the store, into the car, into the house, onto the shelves, down the drain, into the recycling bins, out to the curb. Plus schlepping it into the car, bus, train or plane for every trip you take. Not to mention washing — or expecting someone else to wash — all of the bottles, nipples, and gear that make your life “more convenient.”

Great benefits

On the other hand, being a server in a classy restaurant can give you some good perks and some great tips. Babies at the breast will smother you with tips: eye contact, cooing, cuddling, smiling, patting, and kissing. (Formula-feeding mothers may get some meager tips, but nothing like breastfeeding mothers do.) Other perks for breastfeeding moms include fewer trips to the doctor, more money to save instead of spending it on formula, and escaping the stench of formula diapers. Plus, it really is convenient.

Yes, you heard me. I did not say that breastfeeding is inconvenient. I said breastfeeding is convenient. No stumbling to the kitchen in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning to mix a bottle. No measuring formula and cramming bottles into a bag to take a trip. It’s a meal, ready-to-eat, always warm, always close at hand. Just bring mom and baby together and dinner is served! Bon appetit!

So, when I hear people say that breastfeeding is inconvenient, I know that it’s not really the convenience that they’re considering. There’s an underlying factor that they’re having an aversion to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is absolutely most convenient option for feeding your baby.

Have you said that breastfeeding is inconvenient? Is that what you really meant? How have you found breastfeeding to be the most convenient means of feeding your baby? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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  1. Barb Garnier

    I miss the convenient breastfeeding days. Nothing like a quick feed and diaper change. All 3 loved to eat. The girls were literally at the end of their 6th month before they felt it was worth the effort to eat solids. My husband loved it, too, as I worked night shift on the weekends, and he was a pro at bringing in the baby, hooking it up while I slept, then picked it up until the next request for food. My biggest surprise was when daughter 1 requested to nurse again one week after daughter 2 quit nursing. Just twice a day, 3 minutes a side to reaffirm mom’s love, then on to all the rest of life. She is closer to me than the other 2 kids. I find it extremely sad to listen to current moms who want to nurse by a restrictive schedule to give them (mom) control over life without taking baby’s physiologic and emotional needs into consideration. Convenience and children have only one thing in common. They both start with the letter “c”.

    • Marie Biancuzzo

      Oh, Barb, well said, well said! They are little for such a short time. Sometimes I want to tell these mothers that when they are 13, they won’t want to be anywhere near you, and it hurts! Meanwhile, I loved your story about your daughter who wanted to pick up again! Thanks for sharing.

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