Breastfeeding doesn’t always “work well” for everyone. And perhaps breastfeeding is not the moral issue we sometimes make it out to be! Here is one mom’s story…
Guest post by Jessica of “Smartter” Each Day
It was six years ago, but if I close my eyes, it’s so real I’m almost there again.
I’m next to the crib, nursing a baby. Standing, nursing a baby. Standing because he won’t nurse normally. He’s three months old, and I try to nurse him and he thrashes, cries, pulls off, crosses his eyes, yanks back and forth like a shark or something.
He’s my first, and I thought he was crazy, like literally – had a mental issue. I thought he had autism. We all did, honestly. He wouldn’t look at you, cried constantly, didn’t respond to voices…
So this moment, this one by the crib, I’m standing there, sobbing, and I beg God. God, save this baby. I need you. I need you to show up.
And He shows up, but it’s my sister, and she’s watching, horrified. I see her eyes in my memory, and I see her horror. I’ve never seen that look since, and I won’t forget it.
She gets the breast pump. Maybe he’ll take a bottle? He hasn’t eaten all day. I pump, and I get one ounce, total. He’s eaten nothing all day, and I’ve made an ounce.
We’re almost jubilant with explanation. We give him some formula, a few ounces, and he chugs it. Desperately, in less than a minute.
I’m tears of relief, and gratitude…and embarrassment. I wasn’t feeding him. And I’m a failure, I feel.
It’s two kids and six years later, but the same scene repeats. They’re hungry. I try it all – the pills and the diets, and the hydrating and pumping til dry…and they’re still hungry, and I can’t make it a year, like moms are supposed to do.
Today as I write this, I’m on #3. She’s six months old, and I’m still nursing. It might sound like nothing to you, but it’s victory to me. I’ve made it, miraculously. (This little baby who teaches me constantly that I can do crazy, impossible things.)
Still, it’s a battle. She’s waking constantly, nursing frequently…I know this drill. And I’m talking to my mom a few days ago, and I blurt it out: “You know, mom, some of these moms, I think they’d be more horrified if I said I quit nursing, than if I announced I was getting a divorce.”
We laugh, but I mean it.
And I wonder: When did it become this way? So devastatingly, deathly important, to breastfeed? Of course it’s wonderful, and it’s best, and I wish I were one of those moms.
But when did it become like this, that I hang my head in shame scooping powdery formula – formula filled with calories my baby desperately needs? When did it happen that I slide my bottle in my bag, hoping no one guesses along with the breast milk, there’s formula, too?
I’m the girl who usually has it together. But motherhood, it has undone me. I’ve learned my limits in so many ways. Here’s what my struggles in breastfeeding have taught me.
- Breastfeeding doesn’t always “work well” for everyone. There are multiple reasons it doesn’t – some I can control (like my stress, nutrition, and hydration). But I do believe some women just easily make lots of fatty breast milk, and others will struggle. This has made me sympathetic in a way that I would not have been, otherwise.
- See, I’ve learned to be gracious and kind. My struggles with breastfeeding have taught me that I often do not see the full picture of other moms’ stories. That’s not to say I can’t help and offer advice. I’m grateful for the breastfeeding advice others gave me! But I’m grateful for the women who did so kindly, and graciously. (P.S. – that’s one thing I love about Erin’s breastfeeding posts.)
- Keep the real things the real things. There are issues of eternal importance. Like this is one. There are issues where kids’ lives are at stake. Like this one. Breastfeeding is not an eternal, nor (in most cases) a life-threatening matter.
And here I get convicted. Breastfeeding is just one issue. How many other issues do I hold too closely? I’m passionate about many parenting issues – homeschooling, moms staying home, healthy food…but do I ever make these things too important? I have my own ideas of what “good moms” do, but how often do I judge without seeing the whole picture?
How often do I create my own motherhood gospel, when maybe I’m right and maybe I’m not?
I know this is a touchy subject. I’d love to hear from you.
If you struggled to breastfeed, how did other moms encourage you? If you didn’t struggle breastfeeding, what’s one thing you’d say to a mom having difficulty nursing?
Jessica Smartt used to be a librarian and an English teacher, but now she works much harder just being a mom. You can find her blogging at “Smartter” Each Day where she pokes fun at the everyday challenges of motherhood, shares all her delicious allergy-free recipes, and rejoices that God loves her no matter what phobia she’s recently developed. She is blessed to the moon and back with two energetic little boys and a husband who actually never worries.
I also didn’t make enough breast milk for my babies, and I felt devastated by it. But it has made me more compassionate to others, less likely to judge their intentions.
After 6 births and 6 attempts to nurse and 6 failures I have learned that God has still intricately designed my body and He knows exactly what I can and cannot do. He forsaw these struggles and He was faithful to lead me through them.
I have been thankful for the truth that how my child is fed does not weigh into their eternity.
I am thankful too, to be reminded that there are many other issues that we can turn into eternity issues that are not such issues.
Thank you for sharing this.
I am still nursing my 7 month old but for the first 3 months I didn’t know how long I would be able to nurse. She had a tongue and lip tie that had caused me to have bleeding nipples from the second day of her life and to have mastitis within the first month. After getting the ties revised it was a revelation! I have healed and can nurse as long as she wants. Mamas who can’t nurse for whatever reason you are doing amazing things for your baby! Life is too short to worry about things like that.
I’m sorry for the struggles you’ve encountered with breastfeeding. I am an adoptive mother who chose not to attempt adoptive breastfeeding, and I can relate to the guilt and the feelings of being judged. That’s what I love about Erin’s blog. She is pro-breastfeeding (and rightly so), but is non-judgmental toward those who choose not to or are unable to breastfeed.
Great post! I really struggleed with supply with my first DD. Trying to make it work started to make everything in my life stressful. I remember saying to my husband. Nursing is not my god! I need to stop this. So after 4 months I let it go with a sigh of relief AND a whole bunch of guilt. I think nursing is important and am planning to nurse my current nursling (10 months) for many more months. But it is just one way I take care of my child. The most important thing any of us can do is just love our babies!
I was unable to nurse my first, I didn’t have a support system and she had severe reflux and food allergies. As a first time mom I was unaware of things I could have done to prolong our bf relationship. And her pediatrician at the time was very unhelpful. When she started looking weight I finally gave up and threw in the towel. We switched to formula. I felt like a complete failure, like I had excluded myself from some exclusive moms club. She is now 6 and thriving, and my ability to be her mother was not at all hindered by my inability to breast feed her. With my second child breastfeeding went much better, other than sore nipples and a very high needs clingy baby I had no issues and breastfed him for 15 months. It was only after successfully breastfeeding my son that I realized that formula feeding my daughter didn’t make me less of a mother. I now try to offer as much support and advise as I can to new moms about breastfeeding, including my own struggles. But I also remind them that as long as they are doing what is best for them and their baby it doesn’t matter how they are feeding them. I am currently pregnant with number 3 and while I plan to breastfeed I would not feel like a failure if aimed didn’t his time. However since I do fall into that category of women who produce an over abundance of fatty milk I plan to not only breast feed my baby but I am also going to donate milk to a friend who is due at the same time and has never been able to breast feed her children before. I offered and she was glad to accept, I am thankful to be able to support her decision to formula feed and also to help provide her with some milk to supplement with.
If your baby was making your nipples sore and was “high needs” (which I believe is a myth) that sounds like a tongue & lip tie!! I recently blogged about these issues — including why I don’t believe “high needs” is an accurate or helpful term.
Christina thank you for your thoughts but I think you have perhaps missed the the spirit of the article. I can with 100% certainty tell you that my son did not have a tongue or a lip tie. He had a very good latch from day one, and I was working with lactation consultant who agreed. My son loved to nurse and did so a lot, like 30 min on and then 15 min off for the first 6 weeks. He didn’t like a pacifier and so wanted to nurse for comfort almost constantly, he was in the 90% for height and weight he was not hungry just clingy. He wanted to nurse so that’s what we did. However anytime you start to use a body part for something it was not previously used for you will have soreness or tenderness for a while until you body adjusts. Telling new mothers that there will be no pain or discomfort when baby fist starts nursing is just setting them up for failure. As far as my son being a high needs baby, all I can say is I would like to know how you can attempt to state your opinion as fact? How many children do you have or have you cared for that you can say that some babies are not more needy than others? I love my son very much and saying he was a needy baby was not meant as a complaint only as a statement of who he is. He was a very needy baby and is now a very strong willed toddler, and I am so thankful for his little personality I would not have him any other way. My daughter was a much more laid back baby, I also have an in home daycare and so have cared for many babies. They are all different because just like adults babies and children have different personalities. Your comment was extremely condescending and judgemental and you made assumptions about my experience based on your own without any information. This judgemental attitude towards other mothers is exactly what this article was trying to speak against. We as mothers should be helping and supporting each other regardless of our choices of breast vs bottle, or cloth vs disposable, or crib vs co sleeping, or any other of the big parenting debates that tend to separate parents.
I just wanna say that you responded to a negative post perfectly, and I found what you said to be very uplifting 🙂
If you read my blogpost on the topic you’ll see exactly why I said what I did! Babies nursing in that pattern are not nursing normally… as a doula and a mama who has been through tongue and lip tie (and most IBCLCs are unfortunately not informed on them) I know what is told to mamas and how wrong & unhelpful it is. Babies who nurse as your son did are usually not transferring milk well and/or are in pain. 🙁 Babies labeled “high needs” are almost always in pain. You are very quick to take offense and assume motive… my short comment was in no way disparaging to you and was purely intended to help- if not you (bc by this point your son is probably too old) but future children (TT has a large hereditary aspect) or another mama’s baby who reads the comments and says “woah! sounds like me!”
Yes!!! Ties cause so many issues and so few practitioners are educated on how to diagnose them.
-your story with the baby screaming and unlatching sounds like mine- except he had a tongue and lip tie. Check your kids.
– attempting to use the body God gave you to feed the child God gave you out of reverence for Him is a moral issue. We should all try to breast feed. Quitting out of laziness or selfishness is wrong, simple. Now is supplementing wrong? No way! I respect tons of women who continue to nurse and supplement (often using an SNS), and I am so impressed by moms who pursue donor milk or homemade formula out of love for their babies.
– if our bodies don’t work like they should, that’s not ok. It’s not amoral. It’s a result of the Fall and it’s something to grieve, something to look forward to being healed in Heaven. And it’s right to want our bodies to work! Women who struggle to nurse are right to want to and it’s ok to be sad… and more women COULD successfully nurse with more support and better information (on tongue & lip ties, on supplementing without undercutting your supply, on the needs of babies, on what’s in most formulas and how to select better ones).
Christina, you are in no position to judge whether a mother stops nursing (or doesn’t start to begin with) due to selfishness or laziness. Yes, before the fall every baby would have remained with his or her biological mother and every mother would have been able to exclusively breastfeed. But since the fall, there are complex issues involved. There may be mothers who avoid nursing due to laziness or selfishness, but only God can make that determination. And believe it or not, mothers who can’t afford the exhorbitant price of donor milk love and feed with commercial formula instead, still love their babies.
hmmm… not sure if you actually read my comment or not. There are some pretty clear caveats, nor do I ever claim to judge anyone. I said pretty clearly that certain motives ARE wrong. Whether or not those are any mom’s motives are between her, the Lord and trusted friends who are helping her work through tough decisions.
And donor milk is available for free all over the US. Check local chapters of Eats on Feets or Human Milk for Human Babies.
I in no way disparaged moms who use commercial formula– my point is that I respect moms who go to great lengths to use even better options (which they are from a purely health-conscious standpoint) than 100% commercial formula have my great admiration. Having persevered through great difficulties myself I know how much dedication it takes to do those things!
Yes, I did read your comment, and I also did look into donor milk, and did not find any of it for free (for babies without extreme medical issues). Site after site that I found “offered” it for about $5/ounce. My son is now 7, so this is no longer an issue for me. But believe it or not (not that I need your respect or admiration), I have also persevered through many other difficulties and gone to great lengths to meet my son’s needs and make things better for him. Dedication comes in many forms.
Not helpful sweetie.
I am so sure I’m going to get ALOT of flashback for this but here it goes.
I breastfeed my 6month old daughter. I fought through the pain and the hell that was the first few months of breastfeeding to get to this point. This point that I think “wow, I wish I would have put her on a bottle”. Because I exclusively breastfeed, my stubborn child does not take any other form of nutrition, she turns her nose to every form of bottle, sippy, baby food, EVERYTHING!
I am a prisoner to the little amazing baby that I breastfeed like a morally superior super mom.
I have to plan my day around her eating schedule and if I’m out, I have to interrupt whatever we’re doing to feed (because I cannot whip out my boob in front of stranger no matter how liberating it may be to some).
I will continue to breastfeed, and attempt to get her to take a bottle or sippy or something. But honestly, spare me with the moral obligation speech. I love my baby, I hate breastfeeding.
Thank you… Just thank you.
I hope it gets better for you! I hated it a lot of the time during the first 6 months too. it has gotten easier since then. baby is now 10 months and nursing is no big deal. It doesn’t rule my life anymore. Have you tried foods off your plate and your water with a straw? Those are the things my girl loves. She is a meat eater too. She’ll take ground beef and lunch meat over anything. Hang in there mama bc they grow so fast.
Hang in there mommas! My son was the same way. My husband and I didn’t get a date night until my little guy was 6m old and then we could only be gone for a few hrs because he would not take anything but the boob. He cried almost the whole time we were gone , praise the Lord my mother in law was able to be with the kids while we got a much needed break from our little guy. He would go to no one but me for the longest time and wanted to nurse constantly. But he did eventually start taking a silly cup ( we bribed him with juice in it at first to get him interested) and slowly started to realise that other people were nice too and he didn’t always need me. He is 2.5 now and while he does still prefer mommy he will now willingly go to Sunday school and occasionally stay with daddy while mommy is gone. Just don’t give up, keep offering her different silly cups, you will eventually find one she doesn’t totally hate:)
can I please offer a bit of perspective? My second never took a bottle. Went straight to a sippy cup after he turned one. I know what you are feeling. Ahhh it’s so hard. The hope is she will soon start solids and then nurse less frequently. And if you can step back just a little you will see that 6 more months of her attached to you is a blink when you think of the 18+ years we are blessed to mother them in home. I can say this because my stubborn boy is now 8 years old. And because every new issue I face with him I do with confidence because that first year showed me the mom I can be. Hang in there mama because it’s true when they say the days are long but the years are fast.
Your honesty is awesome. Thank you.
Each child is different and so is the season of life you’re in. Don’t beat yourself up, just do your best. I got pregnant very quickly after my first child and it limited my milk supply. My child was going hungry and starving and I didn’t know if for a long time because she was born very tiny. We swallowed our pride and figured our she needed formula. She recovered her weight and grew very quickly within a week and a half. I balled when I figured out I had “failed” her. I wanted to hate myself for it, but I chose to thank God for His wisdom and guidance in the situation and my child is a health almost 9 year old today. So everyone makes mistakes, messes up, and learns from them. Also becoming “undone” as a mother is a wonderfully humbling process. It breaks down walls between yourself and the Lord, it destroys mental barriers you didn’t know you had towards other people, it’s ultimately a gift from God, and you become better for it. Thanks for you honesty!
Things almost never work out the way we hope when it comes to raising our kids. I wasn’t able to nurse my children for very long either. I had one of two choices, consider myself a failure as their mother, or find other ways to excel. I decided to replace that bonding time with different ways to bond. I had to get over my own pride and do what was best for my kids, even if it wasn’t what I had hoped. I know it can be discouraging to not be able to breastfeed. I just encourage moms who struggle to do it as long as you can and then embrace other aspects of your relationship with your child.
I have a 7 week old, and breastfeeding has been one of the biggest challenges of my life!!! It was SO painful, and I felt like I didn’t make enough milk for my enormous son. He has gotten a lot of formula and I had many nights up crying and feeling like a failure. Long story short, it’s getting better! After using a nipple shield twice, the pain mostly went away and I am able to feed him almost completely from the breast. He gets a bottle of formula at night because he eats so much! I will breastfeed him for an hour and he still won’t be satisfied. But he is healthy and gaining weight (14 pounds now!!) and seems happy and satisfied with breastfeeding all other times. I don’t mind the formula now, it gives my husband a chance to feed him and have that bonding time that I get all day long.
Please read up on tongue tie, either on my blog (I have several posts with TONS of links to information) or join the Tongue Tie Babies Support forum on FB– those symptoms are CLASSIC for TT and/or lip tie and you can find great relief for you both by revising if that’s what it is!! (it could be something else but the symptoms you list do match).
I know you’re just trying to help. But pointing people toward your blog isn’t always the right call. Empathy; thays what women with problems breast feeding need. Not not info (generally), not more people telling them if they just tried harder they’d get there. But pure, Christ like empathy.
This is an issue that strikes close to my heart and I would like to respond to the sentiment (though not the content) of Christina’s comments.
I breastfed my first child for about seven months and loved the experience. When pregnant with my second child I eagerly looked forward to the wonderful bonding that came with breastfeeding.
The birth of my second child was complicated and he did not thrive. I assure you he was “high needs”, and breastfeeding was an ongoing, unmitigated disaster. I met with breastfeeding support women constantly. After about a month I, too, threw in the towel and switched to formula. Seeing my son thrive was more important than breastfeeding. Fast forward a period of time and my son, today, does not eat at all. He never had the physical ability to breastfeed/eat and he is fully maintained on a feeding pump and lives today with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
My point in all of this is that sometimes babies cannot breast feed. Sometimes they are, indeed, high maintenance. Granted many stories are not extreme as mine, but the emotional baggage that I lived with for years following the decision to switch to formula was profound. Pro-breastfeeding women were, by far, the harshest critics of my decision to switch to formula and the guilt they heaped upon me, sometimes via “helpful” advice, was exhausting and spirit-breaking. Many seemed to believe that I was failing my son by “giving up”, when the decision to switch to formula actually better supported his physical health, and my emotional well-being. We can all see now that my decision made a lot of sense, but we need to remember that at four weeks of age I didn’t know that he would need a feeding tube or have severe GI issues. We only knew that he was fussy, not thriving, and very high maintenance.
I admired the original post for this discussion. It takes a courageous woman to unpack something they previously believe sacred and be open to new interpretations. As a Christian, empathy and support for one another is something I hold sacred – far more so that breastfeeding.
I had all those symptoms with my first and second. We saw many many many different lactation consultants because breastfeeding was a NIGHTMARE. No lip or tongue tie. Nothing wrong at all. Latch was good. Actually my second baby was much more painful to nurse then my first and a nipple shield made it even worse then with my first where the nipple shield helped a lot. Sometimes breastfeeding is a NIGHTMARE. My kids don’t like nursing either. Right at 6 months they don’t want to anymore. I kept the fight until 11 months with my first and still fighting to keep nursing with my second at 9 months.
Kelly @ The Nourishing Home
I’m so thankful for you, Jessica! Thank you for writing this post, as I know God is going to use it to help other moms to heal and rest in Him and His grace. Like you, I tried everything to exclusively nurse my first son, I had numerous lactation consultant visits, tried every all-natural remedy, etc. but I simply couldn’t make enough milk to meet his needs and had to supplement with formula. It made me so discouraged, until a wise mentor friend told me I was looking at it all wrong – God had given me a healthy little boy and the means to feed him, even if it wasn’t the way I had hoped. She was right in reminding me that we are SO SO blessed to be able to have options to ensure our children don’t go hungry. So I thanked God for every bottle of formula and choose to be grateful rather than being sad that I wasn’t able to nurse as I had hoped. Then my second came along and I just prayed that if it was God’s will I could nurse and it was so amazing because although it took A LOT of work, I was able to exclusively nurse him. Again, thanking God for that blessing. This experience has taught me to not be judgmental when I see a mom feeding her baby a bottle of formula. Instead, I pray for her to have a peaceful, grateful heart. 🙂 So thank you again so much for sharing your story and wisdom with us!
Thank you so much for your comment. You encouraged me greatly. I am going to start giving thanks for bottles of formula, too, and stop feeling sad about it! God bless you.
Thank you for this post. There is so much I could say. It’s 1:57am, and I am pumping. I’ll be lucky if I make an ounce, but every drop is precious. Before my baby was born, I wouldn’t even acknowledge breastfeeding issues, I was determined to be positive and breastfeed my baby no matter what. I can relate to this post so much. The thrashing, the crying, the guilt, hoping other mums won’t notice, feeling bad for giving my baby a bottle in public. Motherhood in a fallen body is very humbling.
Thank you for sharing. Somehow, I am encouraged. God bless you.
there is a great support group on FB you may want to join, called IGT/ Low Milk Supply. Very informative, supportive community!
I successfully/easily breastfed my son for a whole year at which point we were both ready to move on.
When I found out I was pregnant a 2nd time, I was fully committed to another year of exclusive breast feeding.
And then we found out I was having twins.
The twins and I tried for 3 months to EBF but I was literally sitting on a couch with them 24/7. I was exhausted. They were hungry. We chose to feed them.
One of the twins was done once she met the bottle. The other one continued for another 3 months of supplemental bottle feeding to breast feeding.
They are all 3 beautiful, happy, extremely healthy children. Do I wish I could have continued to breastfeed my darling twincesses? Yes, but was it worth their struggles and my sanity (when I had an older child who needed attention also) to force something that was obviously not working? Nope.
I still get sad sometimes that we weren’t able to achieve that goal. But they don’t know that mommy “failed” them and are a constant source of joy and love.
Thank you for this post, it is so true and says many things I feel need to be spoken! I’ve actually written about this topic a lot on my own blog (http://www.oaklandavenueblog.com/2014/02/an-open-letter-to-breastfeeding-moms.html) and I couldn’t agree with you more – it’s not about what we feed our babies bellies, its about what we feed their hearts. Breastfeeding is not eternal, it won’t matter past this life, nor really even once they are toddling around and on solids – it’s amazing to me how many people ask how babies are fed when they are under a year, but it’s not like they ever ask you how you fed your five year old when they were a baby. Anyway, I applaud you for this post. Thank you!
I am really struggling with this. I was really uplifted by this post. Then really depressed by some of Christina’s posts. Now I just feel guilty again. Woo.
Christina, I get that YOU think you’re communicating something different, but WOW, way to be a discouragement. Please take a step back and consider being less defensive.
I was right there with you, it took me 3 kids to nurse 7 months. I understand. Hang in there.
I have an anatomy abnormality and am unable to breastfeed. I have 2 children that were formula-fed and I endured comments and looks but I learned that women can be so judgmental and proud about their ability to breastfeed and make assumptions. We all need compassion for others and realizing that we live in an imperfect world with imperfect bodies.
im going to give a bit of a piece of info here . ill caution you – you wont find many medical professionals who will recognize this as an issue, be able to properly identify it, and who would want to treat it.
both my kids are tied.
my son was EXTREMELY FUSSY as a baby. cried almost all the time. was gassy, fussy, spit up a TON, had kinda slimy poo. (he also is an aspie like his mama but we just found that out and hes 8).
my daughter i knew from birth she was tied. she wouldnt open her mouth wide enough to even get the nipple in her mouth. she was also spitting up like crazy, green frothy/slimy poo, nursing REALLY OFTEN through a year (i didnt realize my son did this because i didnt have anything better to do so i just did on demand all day long), day and night she was never more than 2-3 hours apart. she always acted like she wanted more. it got “worse” when we tried starting solids, thank God i knew enough about baby led solids to not pressure her. she gagged on EVERYTHING until she was around 13 months old. shes 21 months old now and she still cannot chew raw carrots, or apple skins. she just pockets them or gags on them until she spits them out.
tongue tie is a MAJOR MAJOR issue, and as i said, most medical professionals will first deny that it causes any problems. then they will say it will do no good to treat it. then they will say it doesnt exist.
im telling you, it does exist. and once you start looking into the information thats out there, you start to realize, hey, maybe IM tongue tied. which is what happened to me and my husband.
for me, i cant remember a single time in my life when i didnt have sore jaw, neck and shoulder muscles. going to the dentist never bothered me, except i could never hold my mouth open wide enough, or long enough, without getting extremely sore. my jaw clicks. i bite my cheeks a lot, my palate is high and narrow. all these things lead up to a tongue tie.
my husbands teeth are pretty crooked on the bottom (and braces were not an option for their family because of finances i would guess). he has a VERY high and narrow palate, he bites his cheeks and tongue all the time, and he also has muscle problems. there is a huge list of things that go along with it, but i cant list everything. the website i listed should have all those. kissing, eating an ice cream cone… forget it.
i view it like this: say your body muscles are a system of rubber bands. if you pull up on one, all the others are going to have a reaction.
im still waiting to see a “whole body connection” type thing, but the information that tongue tie exists, and actually is rather simple to fix, is getting out there more and more.
Bobby Ghaheri MD – also a GREAT resource out there doing a lot of work and speaking about tongue tie.
there is another provider too but i cant remember his name too, hes in new york. once you start looking at info, im sure his name will come up.
there is a facebook group, and some states have state specific groups that discuss providers, insurances and whatnot involved in the procedure. fact is that it doesnt just affect breastfed babies, and it doesnt just affect babies. this is a life long, whole body effect, and i wish it were more widly known and understood this way, so that insurance would start covering it. im so so very frustrated about this.
like, i could get them to snip her lip at 6 weeks (which reattached), and they covered that, but i couldnt take her anywhere else and get it covered, like doing it by laser by a practice that understood ties. same with my son.
im just so annoyed by the fact that no one seems to take you seriously. like i said, i knew right away with my daughter. shes having to suffer for no reason, because no one believed me.
luckily, we did great, my son nursed until he self weaned at 20 months, and my daughter is still going. i have a really strong letdown and an abundant milk supply, so im lucky i guess. some women cant even get their milk started because ties prevent the baby from sucking well enough to even get milk to come in. some moms get the milk in, but nursing is so physically painful as the nipple is rubbed or mashed instead of sucked, causing so much pain. i cant believe that instead of fixing something so simple that takes 2 seconds in an infant, they blow you off thinking you dont know what you’re talking about and they do nothing. now of course my girl is too young to understand and too old to be still enough that most practitioners dont like to work with her. but still,
its just so big. huge. its genetic as well, so its likely a whole family would have it. there are varying levels, my daughters is connected a bit more than my sons but her lip isnt as bad as my sons (maybe because she did have it done, and it didnt reconnect all the way)… but its just such a shame and frustration that no one seems to recognize it and take it seriously. its really frustrating. how many things could be avoided with one simple snip or laser work?
i even heard back in the day, midwives would keep one fingernail long and just swipe/cut it with that at birth.
anyway. i dont know if this applies to you or your family. but if it does, it will blow your mind, like it does mine every day.
My first baby would not latch. We went to doctors, lactation consultants, and friends who had breastfed for years and no one could get him to latch. He had a hard time with bottles too. Finally we found a bottle he would take but my body just stopped producing milk. So to formula we went. My second baby latched like a pro but my body stopped producing milk about a week after he was born. My third baby latched and I had an outstanding supply! I was so excited. But he wasn’t gaining weight. In fact, at a month old he had lost so much weight that his rib cage was sticking out. He was sleeping all the time and had no energy. On of my best friends is a lactation consultant and has exclusively breastfed all 3 children until she has to wean because a new baby has arrived and nursing a toddler and baby became difficult. She kept encouraging me but had no idea why he was losing so much weight. She was the one who told me to go to a doctor. While at my pediatrician’s office (who is absolutely amazing and pro-breastfeeding) I pumped a full bottle no problem. She let the bottle set for about half an hour. At that time we looked at it and I had no fat settle at the top. My milk was almost see through. The one time I have a great supply and a latching baby my milk is fat free. I tried changing my diet and taking supplements but nothing helped. So to formula we went yet again and within a month thankfully my baby caught up on his weight gain and became much more alert.
All that to say, I have felt shame and judgment because I was not able to breastfeed so far. But I was very blessed with a friend who has been so gracious to me, encouraging, sympathetic, and my defender. She even uses me as an example to her patients that one should always try to breastfeed but one will not break their baby if breastfeeding doesn’t work. As mothers, we are called to take care of our babies. We were never commanded on how to feed them.
Thank you for your honesty and grace. I am one of those women who could not produce; honestly I pumped all day and in 24 hours I was lucky to get 8oz! I endured the dirty looks, the state’s, even one woman who out right shook her head. My lactation consultant diagnosed me with a rare condition that basically means my milk producing glands never fully developed. When I went in search of this condition in the major breast feeding books there was no mention of it any where! There must be education about the struggles of breast feeding as well as how to do it so women who can produce milk understand something about those of us who simply can’t. I have two lovely, healthy, smart kids that were fed formula; I didn’t have a choice. I’m done being ashamed of it.
Thank you for sharing your story and struggles. I am definitely a breastfeeding advocate. Somewhere along the way we have missed the mark and bought into these silly media fueled “mommy wars.” Providing support and normalizing breastfeeding are great things. Our culture does everything it can to undermine successful breastfeeding while touting “breast is best” at every chance. It doesn’t make sense. And elevating this one area of parenting into such an all-or-nothing moral issue doesn’t help anyone! Despite my strong support of breastfeeding, I am using formula right now! My story is a little different. I exclusively breastfed my first three children. I was involved in peer-to-peer breastfeeding support for five years. After my fourth child was born, my milk never really came in. I had a couple medical complications that we never were able to overcome despite pumping, using an at-breast supplementer, herbs, etc. My situation was uncommon, but it still happened! I fed her with an at-breast supplementer for the first 6 months and then switched to all bottles. She still comfort nurses at night, but almost all of her milk comes from donor milk or formula and has from day 3. It’s been a tough experience, both emotionally and physically. I don’t feel any stigma in how I feed my baby, but I now understand what it is like to literally have no choice! Baby has to eat. I hope my experience can help me help others in the future.
I am one of the women who has been blessed with abundant, high-fat milk for my babies. That is a gift of God, not a result of anything I have done. However, I have friends who could not produce enough or produced really thin milk. When they struggled with guilt and condemnation over using formula I assured them that the best thing was to love and nourish their babies. We live in fallen world and have flawed bodies. While some women choose not to nurse, for various reasons, many try and are unable to for any length of time. We all are trying to do the best we can for our babies and we all need support and encouragement. None of us has it all together and can do everything well. Breastfeeding has gone well for me, but I have other areas of mothering struggles. We need to pray for each other and stand together on this parenting journey.
I have been there! I spent the better part of my first child’s first year believing that she hated me and that I had failed as a mother. I did not have anyone uplifting me or encouraging me. I suffered with Postpartum depression. Every chance I tried to connect with other mothers, they would only dismiss me the moment that I removed a bottle and formula from my diaper bag. Then they would attempt to diagnose my child with a lip/tongue tie or explain to me that I simply had not tried hard enough. They said that I was selfish for taking antidepressants which tainted my breastmilk and made it unfit for my baby.
My next two babies did nurse, but they were only three weeks old when it was clear that their hunger was greater than my milk supply so we supplemented with formula.
Four babies later, I still cannot make a breast pump let down my milk. My fourth is a perfect nurser, but his hunger is still greater than my immediate supply. I cannot do anything to help the matter, and he refuses to even take a bottle. So we nurse every 1-2 hours. It is grueling with three other active children running around and endless responsibilities. I find myself praying that he will take a bottle if only to give me a bit of rest!
I make a point of telling every new mother that it is ok, that motherhood is not simple mathematics. You never have the same outcome each time, and no child is the same. What works for one person may not work for another. So, thank-you for putting this into the world and shedding light on a real issue.
Oh, Jess, I hurt for you and the judgment you feel! You are so right–we make our own motherhood Gospel and we exclude anyone who doesn’t follow it.
I never understood why women didn’t breastfeed until my first baby was born. I struggled so much to get her to eat. Somehow, by the grace of God, with a few La Leche League leaders and a lactation specialist, we actually got it to work. Our issues were so different from yours. But that experience made me finally understand why women couldn’t do it. It’s incredibly hard and I will never judge a mom when she pulls out that formula.
I have been able to nurse 2 babies. The 2nd baby is going strong at almost 10 months. But breastfeeding is hard. It’s physically hard (painful at first), it makes you so so hungry, and you have a baby that is stuck to you almost 24/7 at first. But through the whole time your body belongs to 3 people (yourself, husband and baby). I think it’s awesome if you can breastfeed, but if you can’t I don’t think you should feel shame or feel like you’re a failure.
I wish people had told me it was okay and that it was more important to have a healthy child than anything else. Instead I got pressure to try again and felt condemned when I made other choices to ensure my baby came home and wasn’t placed in the hospital nursery (again). Also, as those nursed around me while I bottle fed my baby, comments were clearly made that the one nursing was “such a good mama, and doing the right thing, nursing for a year”. Very hard to sit through that with all 5 of my babies. Its hard especially when they didn’t see, every day a crying baby on my lap at 2 am waiting for me to finish pumping so I could feed him and doing this everyday all day long for each feeding. But it wasn’t good enough. Never good enough. It’s definitely the way to alienate friends/family and to encourage those of us who struggle to put up walls of protection. There is no greater failure in my life than having to have a c-section and not nursing and having people rub it in just makes it all worse.
This is a hard one. I have nursed my 5 earth babies and have had things go really wrong with three of them. My first was my fault for not putting more thought and research into it. I read all the typical baby books but I let my MIL have too much influence over me and that led to my forcing my baby to take a bottle she didn’t want, which led to a nursing strike. I had no idea what a nursing strike was and had never heard of one until 10 years later. I ended up with damaged breast tissue on one side and now have scar tissue because of it. My first baby also used to projectile vomit after nursing as well, she actually shot it across the room at times. It was pretty unsettling.
My second child and I got thrush after getting IV antibiotics following a c-section. It was horribly painful. We struggled for so long and tried so many things to get rid of it, but I was stubborn and determined to keep nursing my baby. I was very tempted to give up and actually said those words to my husband a few times through tears, but I just couldn’t do it. I did end up supplementing after I started working when she was 3 months old. I’d had complications and couldn’t heal properly after my c-section so I was grateful to get the extra time off work. I could only pump 1/2 to 1 1/2 ounces per night so formula was my only other choice at the time. I’d never heard of donor milk and TBH, probably wouldn’t have used it if I had.
For my next baby, things went okay. He did clamp down very hard on me within 24 hours of birth and continued to do it through out his nursing career (which ended up being very long). He never did learn to latch properly. Now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder how he ever got enough with his horrible, painful latch? Anyway, we had a tad bit of thrush, but I began treating it immediately with natural remedies and lots of air time for me. Thank goodness I was a SAHM by that time and was able to do so. Turned out my son has sensory issues. Some pretty bad ones that he still deals with today at 11 years old. Maybe that had something to do with his bad latch? I also found out after much research that I had overabundant milk supply and maybe a fore/hind milk imbalance. I started block feeding and that helped quite a bit to get things regulated.
Next nursling was born by emergency c-section (because of cord prolapse and partial placental abruption) 15 months after the stillbirth of my younger son. I didn’t have as much milk for her as I’d had with my other babies and I was worried because she was so much thinner than my other babies were. She had jaundice so there was lots of pressure to feed her a lot to work it all out. I also didn’t heal well from the c-section. My incision area was extremely tender for a really long time and I was pretty weak, never fully regaining my previous strength back. Again, we dealt with a bit of thrush after the massive amounts of IV antibiotics given at the hospital. The Dr actually lied to me. He said they had to give me this constant bombardment of antibiotic cocktail while I was in the hospital because of the cord prolapse and the fact that my midwife had had to hold pressure off my baby’s cord. A friend told me she’d had the same massive amount of antibiotic cocktail after her scheduled c-section.
My youngest was a scheduled c-section and we dealt with a bit more thrush this time. She also had reflux and we were both always soaked from her constant spitting up. This recovery was even worse for me. I once again, had trouble healing my incision, but knew what to do to help heal it. It worked, but took some time. I had (still do) mystery pain in my hip and most of my other joints. I have a ton of fatigue and a general feeling of not being well at all.
I didn’t have a whole lot of positive support from people. In fact, with my first baby, my husband didn’t want me to nurse at all. He didn’t want to share. 🙁 My MIL was always extremely negative about my “long term” nursing. To her, anything beyond 6 weeks, which is how long her daughter and favorite child nursed her two children, is “long term” and is so very strange in her opinion. (I’m just so glad my SIL is an awesome person or things would be so much worse.) On the plus side, my mom is usually supportive of anything I do, so that helped. Once we had our second child, my husband changed his tune and became very supportive. From my third through my fifth child, I had an amazing midwife who encouraged breastfeeding. So, now that I type that out, I guess I did have support, just not all the time.
I think we’ve got problems here in the U.S. when it comes to breastfeeding. We got away from breastfeeding being the norm and formula being used as a lifesaving device and that’s where we went wrong. When my MIL and my mom had my husband and me, no one breastfed. At all. They were fully expected to take shots to dry up their milk and give us bottles from day one and that’s exactly what they did. We both have health issues and exclusive formula feeding could have been part of what started it all. Exclusive formula feeding was the norm for many years in this country and unfortunately, that’s why it now has a stigma to it. There are statistics that let us know that formula feeding is not as healthy as breastfeeding so I do think we need to fight harder to make breastfeeding the norm. I hear sooooo many moms say they didn’t produce enough milk and it just doesn’t make sense to me that there should be so very many. Doctors and even nurses are not well enough informed on how to help mothers feed their babies and most moms don’t have enough experience to help other moms. Not only that, but now we have to worry about hurting other’s feelings as is so very clearly demonstrated in the comments here.
We need to get to the place where we can all help and encourage each other. We also, as parents, need to work harder to do what’s best for our babies. The information is out there, but we need to seek it out ourselves because sadly, the people we, as a society, consider authorities like most doctors just don’t know much about it at all. They can and do give us bad information. Many times, when any little problem crops up, their automatic solution is formula feeding. That is one of the biggest problems. I was given this bad advice myself from a doctor and it cut short my nursing relationship with my second child.
Oh, I did want to say something about pumping. The author many already know this, but I just thought I’d point it out in case someone read the article and didn’t know better: the amount of milk a mom is able to pump has absolutely nothing to do with how much her baby can extract while nursing. A baby is many times more efficient than a pump. I am a horrible pumper. I could only get 1/2 to 1 1/2 ounces from *both* sides, yet my poor babies would get too much while nursing. They’d pull off gasping for air after the deluge.
I’d encourage all women preparing to get pregnant to do their own research. Use your library if need be but purchase the books to have on hand if possible. Find books by Dr. Jack Newman and La Leche League. There will always be cases where a mom is not able to produce enough, but it should be happening much less than it does now. If a mom puts all the effort she is able and still needs to supplement or switch to formula completely, then so be it. She should have not guilt. Zero.
Maybe something else we as parents need to do is hold the medical community accountable for the bad advice they give. Maybe go back and let doctors know they were wrong if that’s the case. Perhaps petition them to become educated on the subject of breastfeeding because they simply are not. Doctors get very little time being trained on the subject of breastfeeding. Maybe a few hours if that. It’s so sad that something so important is treated with so little regard by the institutions that train the doctors we depend on.
Instead of having mommy wars, we need to focus on changing the broken system.
Here is my thought, and maybe I’ll get attack for this. Seems we all struggle with motherhood and feelings of inadequacy however I think its time we stop blaming the judgement of other mom’s for our guilt. Every time I read one of these blogs and it talks about “fear of what other mom’s will think” and “mommy wars” it makes me crazy. WE are the ones who allow that judgement to affect our parenting. It is not the fault of judgmental moms that we feel guilty or embarrassed. Yes there are plenty of those moms out there but it is within our own minds that those feelings grow. Maybe one time you encounter a mom that makes a snide remark or makes you feel less than but she isn’t in our lives continually making comments…we allow those feelings to fester and grow in our own minds. We need to stop blaming other moms and realize that we have the ability to parent as we see fit free from guilt as long as we don’t feed into negative thoughts. I was a bottle feeding mom. I never tried to breastfeed and I dont care if other moms think that is wrong. Stop blaming other moms for how you feel.
Hi, I breastfed my eldest until she was 6,5 months. Then the milkflow didn’t continue like I was used to before… shortly thereafter I found out I was pregntent with our second child… I didn’t try to push it. I was quite joyful to ‘have my body back’ 🙂 With my second I held on a month longer (of which I was veery proud), but I was SO exhausted… Getting every night 1 or 2 times out of bed and having two little ones around me when day came. It was such a relief to take a bottle and give my body a little bit of time to restore…
When I was pregnant with my son, I was determined nothing would stop me from breastfeeding. Then when my son was born, I discovered it was the hardest thing I ever attempted to do. I really struggled and felt like if I didn’t breastfeed, I was a failure as a mom. My son had problems gaining weight and because of other health problems was in the special care nursery for the first 4 days of his life and the nurses started supplementing. I stressed out about breastfeeding so much and got to where I always dreaded the next feeding. After about a month my husband and I talked about it and we decided that things couldn’t continue going as were and we made the decision to exclusively formula feed. Things were so much better and I was able to really enjoy my baby and my husband loved being able to feed him as well. The guilt still remained though. Later I learned other tricks I could have done to make breastfeeding work better. Then a friend told me something that changed my entire perspective on parenting. She said that no matter what you do, other people are always going to have something to say about your decisions and that I shouldn’t let their opinions affect my decisions. They aren’t responsible for my son, my husband and I are. We should be making our decisions based on what we believe is best for our children. Every mommy, daddy, and baby is different. Everyone’s situations are different. To answer the question “Is breastfeeding a moral issue?” I don’t believe it is. As long as the baby is getting fed and taken care of, I don’t see a problem. Parenting shouldn’t be a debate over breasting vs formula fed, tv vs no tv, vaccines vs no vaccines, spanking vs not spanking, stay at home moms vs working moms, public school vs homeschool. As long as we’re doing our best to make sure our kids feel loved, teaching them right from wrong, and taking care of them, what’s the big deal? Being a mama is hard enough. We shouldn’t be tearing each other down over decisions we make. We should be sharing each other’s burdens and struggles and being there for one another.
To add to my comment, I used to be a people pleaser. I’ve had to learn that I can’t let what other people think dictate my life. My husband and I do what we believe is best for our son and for us. I no longer apologize for making decisions that other people don’t agree with and personally I don’t care what people think of me anymore.
I was unable to produce enough to for my kids (we have 2). I cried so much when I finally quit pumping with the first kid. I felt like a failure. Neither latched well & we supplemented from the beginning because of it. My kids were hungry, I’m talking 6+ hours without anything in the hospital before I was supplied with formula. When others would ask if I was breastfeeding & I said no they always chimed in with I had more than enough or it can be a struggle. I now know I am not a failure. My kids are healthy. They love me just the same too!
I love this article. I struggled horribly with breastfeeding my first. No supply issues, just a very hungry baby with a high metabolism who could not gain weight. At 3 weeks old, he was 1 lb 2 oz less than his birth weight and I began feeding him with what I pumped and using shields. He gained 3 ounces in 3 weeks. At 6 weeks old he still was not up to his birth weight. I had to add formula into my pumped breast milk to get him to actually gain and be healthy and happy. Whether it was his metabolism or if I just couldn’t produce milk that was fatty enough we’ll never know. But my baby was quite literally starving and there were STILL people who told me I just quit too soon and didn’t try hard enough. Ouch! I felt guilty enough as it was for starving my son to try to meet my own expectations of what having a newborn was, yet people had to make me feel guilty about quitting. With my second I had actual supply issues – she got less than an ounce after a good feeding with a lactation consultant and after 30 minutes of pimping I’d get half an ounce total. I tried the herbs and the oats and practically drowned myself with water and never got any more. I felt zero guilt about stopping.
I have had 5 births and the longest I’ve ever made it was 3 months. I wish I could say it was a great bonding time but that would be a huge lie. It was stressful, painful, and I always felt like a failure. I’m now 31 weeks pregnant with #6 and I’m going to give it all I’ve got, just like the last 5 times, and hope that this time I’ll be successful. Though, if not, I’ll know I gave it my all.
I’ve shared my story through the Fearless Formula Feeder… one of the thousands she’s given a voice to.
With my first baby, no one told me that no breast changes in pregnancy was a bad sign, no one asked, no one cared. He was very jaundiced and lethargic. I didn’t know much at all about feeding issues, or the mommy wars. When my pediatrician advised me to feed the baby formula, I did so. He was 3.5 weeks old and struggling along. After making that transition, I was shocked to find that women online were so incredibly harsh. They ridiculed me, told me I was poisoning and killing my baby. They told me that I was a horrible mother who should have just had an abortion rather than use formula. They told me I was lazy, and that I hadn’t tried hard enough… and then, they turned their backs on me and refused to have anything to do with me, kicked me out of all the communities I was participating in. I wasn’t “woman enough” for them. (One reason I HATED the Time cover with that phrase)
I was desperate to fit in, to have friends and support, and to feel like I was doing it right. After crying over and over again and seeing myself as a complete and utter failure, I decided with my second child I would make sure I tried hard enough and would MAKE it work.. I bought the whole lazy mom thing. After all… there were only crickets in the other camp. No one but my mother had seen how hard this was for me. She was quietly encouraging, never judgmental despite having breastfed 7 children.
Baby 2 came along… and I had EVERYTHING.. a hospital grade pump, relaxation lactation hypnosis CD’s, every galactagogue ever wondered about whether herbal or prescription medication. I was taking over 30 pills and capsules and tinctures a day, eating lactation cookies and oatmeal like it was going out of style, I drank more water than I thought was even possible. I visited and worked with 4 different IBCLC’s, two from one place, and two from another. They assured me I had the latch down perfect, and there were no lip or tongue ties. They said just keep going.. Jaundice will pass, and my milk will come in… 10 days later… same thing.. milk will come in, every woman can breastfeed. And I was accepted back as a “real woman” now. After all, I was trying hard enough and earning my position at the popular kids table. NOW I was a success… not because my baby was getting enough to eat – he wasn’t, but because I was breastfeeding at all costs.
So here’s what the cost was… at his 2 week appointment the nurse practitioner was alarmed, went and got the doctor and talked quietly with him for a moment, and then return to me and said that my baby had lost 16% of birth weight and was classified as failure to thrive… there was something wrong. She wanted me to take the baby straight to the hospital and check him in, he was dangerously dehydrated. I was shocked! How could this be? I had done it all right… I had done all there was to do! I sobbed, she hugged me, and I headed to the hospital for a horribly guilt inducing 3 days while they rehydrated my baby and looking for the reason that he was struggling so badly. They ran a lot of tests on him, and I had a lot of time to think and worry. With a pit in my stomach I returned from the pumping room to find the doctor in the room with the baby. He said he was puzzled because the tests didn’t tell him anything, and then he noticed the bottle of milk I was holding, the milk I had proudly just pumped… two weeks after birth, I was holding a whole 1/3 of an ounce of milk. He asked me if this was usual when I pumped. I told him this was on the high end, most of the time I only got 1/4 of an ounce. He then asked if he could give me a breast exam. I consented. He asked about breast changes in pregnancy… I had none… with either pregnancy. They never changed size, shape, color. They never became tender or swollen or leaked. I didn’t know they were supposed to.
Then he dropped the bomb… I couldn’t breastfeed, I was physically deficient. He was kinder in how he said this, and said I had under developed breasts or IGT, and a very classic case of it. I asked what I needed to do to fix this, and he said there was nothing I could do, I just didn’t have almost any mammary glands to produce milk with. He comforted me the best he could, and recommended we fully feed formula from that point on out. He said it wouldn’t hurt to pump and give the baby that or to breastfeed for what I could give, but that it could never be enough on it’s own. He explained that babies ate multiple ounces by this point and my baby was starving. I sobbed…. I was broken, and I hadn’t known it… I had caused my baby harm!
Then I went home to my support group online. They were so anxious to hear what happened. I told them. I was shocked by their response. I was a bad mom… I was poisoning and killing my baby. I was not welcome at their table anymore and I was told that I needed to suck it up and try harder… doctors don’t know anything about breastfeeding. Every woman can breastfeed you know.. I knew those were lies. And now I was angry. This was not my fault!! I can’t change what my body cannot do. I immediately found I had no support, no friends, and there were no communities for moms who bottle fed. I was left alone… and developed HORRIBLE post partum depression because I had been abandoned. Even the nice doctor considered this conclusion to be the end of it. For me it wasn’t the end, it was the beginning of a really miserable period of my life.
By the time I had my third baby, this was still very tender for me, the idea of breastfeeding. I decided I was not going to risk this child’s well being and I told the hospital I would formula feed right off and why. They were ok with that and gave me all I needed in the way of materials, but zero instruction, help, or encouragement. This child, although born in the same week as the other two, and weighing only a couple ounces off the previous two, never developed jaundice… I found I enjoyed motherhood and I enjoyed having a newborn! I was so surprised that this could be so nice, so pleasant, and so bonding! I cried for joy because for ONCE I didn’t have a suitcase of bili lights in my room with a newborn wearing only a diaper in this suitcase limiting my ability to hold and comfort him. I didn’t have a fussy starving baby … and realized that wasn’t normal at all! It was wonderful!! I went on to do the same thing with my fourth child with the same result to even greater extent.
I learned not everyone can breastfeed whether it’s biological like it was for me, or whether it’s medical due to medicines needed to be taken, whether it’s because life isn’t going to accommodate the time at home required to breastfeed, or whatever the reason. I learned that I AM a good mother. I did not put my pride and my desire to be accepted above my child’s basic needs. All four of my children are healthy and happy and above their milestones.. not a single allergy, no autism, no asthma, no obesity, no missing IQ points as I was told would absolutely happen. Now we are beyond bottles and formula, and I look back with pains in my heart wishing I could have told myself that it’s ok… it would all be ok. I wish I had more support in those years and hadn’t been left alone to suffer in isolation. And so I have created a group and community for women who formula feed, and I encourage them, and I assure them it will be ok and they aren’t alone.
I have a different problem, I make to much milk. I don’t get the luxury of pumping. I make enough for two or three. It hurts, if I pump it makes more and I’m already engorged. I pumped pain once to only to be more engorged than before and it hurts worse. The pain was 6oz. On only one breast. No one understands that is pain that happens on the other end of the spectrum. I’m glad you’ve been better at being more successful this time. It . It hurt all the people telling me with all that extra milk you make you should lose weight fast. No in fact with both my kids I gain a lot of (20#++) weight. I stop breast feeding then I have to work my butt off trying to loose the weight.
I went into the hospital for an infection only days after being released from an emergency csection with my first child. After a whirlwind of emotions and frustrations and even the lactation nurse whipping my boob out in front of my very conservative grandmother-in-law, I was still desperately trying to get my week old son to latch. Precious liquid gold breast milk was spilling everywhere everytime he tried and pumping seemed futile as I barely got half an ounce. But I was still trying.
Sadly I didn’t have people telling me it was ok to use formula, I just knew my husband has used it because he had a condition that made his body reject breast milk entirely and could cause his body damage if his mom had tried any longer. He was on formula from nearly the start and his test scores are higher than mine and I was breast fed!!
I was desperate for confirmation that it was ok, but as usual, I was among the oldest of my friends to have kids and the mommies around me breast fed like champs for a long time with no problems.
Google said I was a failure, formula companies said I was doing fine but everyone around seemed to think they were the devil, and studies I read equated me giving up breastfeeding with having a sickly child who would do horrible in school. But how is that possible?!
Fast forward almost 3 years, my toddler is off the charts of weight, height, head circumference, etc and has been since month 1, he is smart, sweet, and shockingly me daily with how much he knows and absorbs from his surroundings, and I’m cautiously optimistic about breastfeeding this baby I am carrying (due in September).
I have a picture that hurts for me to look at from the day we were admitted back to the hospital with my infection. It’s of my son and he looks sick. He was dehydrated and looked sick. When I posted it online people thought we were admitted for him… luckily ONE nurse out of the dozens I saw during labor, delivery, etc said that feeding my son trumped HOW I fed my son. It was the start of grace and I fought to find more until I was strong enough in my own choice and situation to fight for it.
I wish there were posts like this available even just a few years ago. I wish I had known about them if they were available. I wish someone had given me grace and spoke grace over me when I was desperate and feeling like a failure. I wish I had realized I had post partum depression as a result of my emergency csection and inability to breastfeed. Luckily and thankfully, this issue is coming more into light thanks to ladies like both of you.
Oh Lindsay, I am so very sorry for all you went through but GOOD FOR YOU for nourishing your baby as you knew was right!!! I am so glad this post encouraged you now, and I have no doubts you sharing your story will encourage others. <3 Thank you for sharing.