Doulas Northwest | What If I Don’t Want To Breastfeed?
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21 Jan What If I Don’t Want To Breastfeed?


Breastfeeding is a big topic that is everywhere these days!


Giving birth in the Pacific Northwest, you are very likely to be at a hospital that has or is pursuing a Baby-Friendly designation. Hospitals that want this designation are required to have policies in place that encourage and promote the initiation of feeding all newborns at the breast. Families who do plan to breastfeed usually find these policies very supportive of their desires. 


But where does that leave people who can’t or don’t want to feed their babies at the breast? If you are a soon to be parent who does not plan to breastfeed your baby, I’ve got a few tips for how to navigate your hospital birth and recovery experience so that it can be as empowering for you as anyone else.


Before labor:

  • Let your OB or Midwife know how you plan to feed your baby.
    • They may give you information on breastfeeding even if you specify plans to feed with formula. 
  • Make clear statements in your birth plan about how you intend to feed your baby.
    • Include these statements when talking about details at the time of birth, and/or with newborn procedures preferences.


At the hospital:

  • Show your birth plan to each nurse who cares for you during labor.
    • Introduce your desires with confidence!
  • Bring your prefered infant formula and bottles with you to the hospital.
    • Most hospitals no longer stock infant formula samples.
    • Make sure your partner or doula knows where your infant formula and bottles are so they can get them when you’re ready for baby’s first feed.
  • Immediate skin to skin time can proceed as desired. Having skin to skin time with your newborn does not mean that you must allow baby to latch onto your breast.
    • When baby shows signs of being hungry, be ready with your prefered bottle and snuggle your baby exactly how you want to.


It can feel like you are alone in your choice not to breastfeed when your hospital’s policies are designed to promote it. But know you that you are not alone! And you don’t have to feel alone either.


Two of our specialties at Doulas Northwest are helping families develop well written birth plans and creating comprehensive infant feeding plans. These specialties are designed to offer professional and unbiased guidance while you identify and articulate the preferences that are best for your family.

Some of the most loving parents I know have never breastfed their babies. You are the perfect parent for your baby and there are many amazing ways to feed him/her.


There is no need for you to go into this blind or without a plan for support.


How do you plan to feed your baby?


Seattle | Tacoma | JBLM | Olympia


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