Breastfeeding grief: When feeding your baby doesn’t go as planned


Many times things don’t go as expected during labor and delivery and/or with breastfeeding. The loss of our expectation of what we thought would happen become the root of our grief and depression. It’s so easy to blame ourselves when things go wrong, even though our society is not set up to support postpartum families in any capacity, especially related to breastfeeding. This happens more than you think and I see it every day in my practice helping families in their breastfeeding journeys.

Grief is a spectrum that is different for everyone. You may not have even realized that the emotions you’re experiencing related to your breastfeeding journey not going as expected are in fact grief. Rage, anger, sadness, depression, anxiety, shame and guilt could all actually be stemmed from grief.

Different people need different ways to approach and process their grief. How do you start the grieving process? Recognition that you’re grieving the loss of an expectation is the first step. Realizing that you’re not the only one who is grieving their birth or breastfeeding story at this very moment can also normalize what you’re feeling. Give yourself permission and time to grieve. You may have a healthy, thriving baby. You may have really supportive family. You may have every resource available to you. That doesn’t negate your experience or the emotions you’re feeling.

Other steps to working through your postpartum and breastfeeding grief:
⭐️Avoid self blame
⭐️Surround yourself with people who will support you or who have gone through a similar experience
⭐️Talk to someone safe about what you’re experiencing. This may need to be a trained therapist
⭐️Find an IBCLC to help you reach your feeding goals. Schedule your consultation with me at
⭐️Hire a postpartum doula to help with baby and self care
⭐️Honor your story and the journey you’re on
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