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December 12, 2011

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I have no problem with breastfeeding moms. I'd have even gone to the class they offered at the hospital if I wasn't passing out every time I tried to sit up due to blood loss. My mother didn't breastfeed me or my sister (she would've had to quit drinking for that and I am sure 9 months of no alcohol was more than she could handle). My daughter was formula-fed. She's smart, the right weight, height and she was the happiest baby I've ever known. I see babies screaming and crying and all I do is count my blessings that I could go out to dinner at a restaurant with her when she was 2 and she'd sit there playing with cheerios charming all the waitresses into telling her what a wonderful baby she was. In fact... I'd take her two year old self over her 17 year old self now and again....

I was really digging the understanding and acceptance in this post until I got to the part where you said "It bums me out when moms won't even give it a try". As a well-intentioned and well-researched (on the benefits of breastfeeding) mother, I chose to formula feed. Why? To maintain my sanity. After pregnancy, the idea of being the sole source of nutrition for my child was mentally and physically exhausting. I needed help... and it came in the form of my husband and a bottle helping out with the middle of the night feedings so I could recover from birth and postpartum depression. No ifs, ands or buts about it - I don't regret a thing and my child is every bit as pleasant, smart and healthy as the next ... and she has a mom and dad who take care of her and of themselves too. Let's just let moms do what is best for their families and reserve the judgement from either camp.

I work at a children's psychiatric hospital, and we recently had an adopted kiddo who was fed only kool-aid their first 3 months of life... no lie. Formula over kool-aid anyday.

I understand not being able to nurse, it's the not trying that really confuses me. (I heard one woman say"I tried for 20 minutes and it didn't work, what more do they want from me?") It seems I did it opposite to you. My first was the one that got formula after a couple months. I found it more trouble than it was worth, none of the others had any formula. I was lucky enough to average 18 months each. The one that got formula only 10 months, I'm not sure if there's a correlation.

THANK YOU for this post. 7 years later I STILL get the "oh-my-God-you-didn't-breastfeed" look of terror from other mothers. Like I already don't feel bad enough. No milk production, 2 weeks starving my baby, me in psychological hell feeling like I wasn't meant to be a mother because of it. I bawled through the realization that this wasn't working for us, dropped the boobs, and grabbed the formula. Our lives changed drastically, into a world of a healthy, weight-gaining baby who nrarely cried and a new mom who, despite the dirty looks and gasps, saw only the positive benefits it was having on our new family.
So again...thank you for this post. It should be plastered everywhere.

Kristen, I couldn't agree with you more. It was when I started breastfeeding that I truly began to understand why men always say that "women are their own worst enemy". Whether you formula feed, don't even attempt breastfeeding or breastfeed until your kid is two years old you can't win - there will always be other women poo-pooing what you're doing.
I think the most important point you make is that all women should at least give breastfeeding a go. I shits me that so many don't even at least attempt it and saddens me even more how so much misinformation and lack of education about breastfeeding is out there as I discuss in my blog post Breast is Best? - http://brandnewbaby.co.uk/blogs/msconception/breast-is-best/

I was extremely large breasted with my first child and completely mortified by the constant concern over smothering him. For my second child, I had already had a 10 pound (each) breast reduction, so it was impossible to breastfeed. My third child came to us at 15 years old via adoption. I wasn't able to breastfeed any of my children, and all for completely different reasons. Thank you for this post!!!

This is exactly how I feel about the entire breastfeeding vs. formula debate. Why is this such a black or white discussion? Why do women feel that it is either a win or a loss?

I encourage everyone to try and nurse, and then figure out what feels comfortable for you...and I almost guarantee that isn't being the only person all the time that can feed your kid.

Let's hear it for choices that make Mom and baby happy!

I adopted my kids so breast feeding wasn't an option for me and it was really hard when my kids were little to listen to how great breast milk was and the looks of disdain that mothers would give those who chose not to breastfeed.

We often judge choices without thinking about the messages the judgements send. It can be painful that a choice made (whether out of sheer necessity or for some other reason) is judged on the surface without the details or any thought of how it might make someone feel.

Meh. I breastfed. And then I went back to work and my husband stayed home so I pumped. But I couldn't pump enough. So we sometimes added formula to the breastmilk. Somtimes my husband or my mom just really wanted to feed the baby and I didn't have any milk frozen, so we fed him a bottle of formula and I pumped. When I was home more, I nursed more. I don't know. My three year old seems fine now so I guess it was ok? He was drinking breastmilk well past his first birthday... just not exclusively.

I mean I think really we get our panties in a collective wad a little too much, no? I don't think it always has to be all or nothing.

Let's be honest--as Americans, most of us don't have the cultural mindset to breastfeed exclusively. Independence from the baby is key, in our culture. And we also have the easily availability of formula and safe water. OF COURSE most women aren't gong to exclusively breastfeed. It's just too easy and socially acceptable to do formula. Women who care a lot about breastfeeding exclusively ARE NOT the norm....this is probably why some become very pro breastfeeding and maybe take it too far. There IS a lot more ignorance bout breastfeeding than about formula feeding, that's for sure.

Breast is, for me, most convenient. I hate packing the diaper bag. I already use cloth diapers, so formula and bottles on top of that is excessive. When lactivists try to goad me into a discussion about how evil formula is, I laugh and say how I wouldn't know because I'm too lazy to try it.

Pretty much our kids' well being isn't so much what we do, but the spirit in which we do it. What good does it do a kid to feed him organic everything and then gripe all the time that you have no money for anything else because the grocery bill is so high? The same goes for breastfeeding, what good will it do your child to breastfeed in an attachment parent style if you are going to turn around and beat them and others with your sanctimony stick? I have a friend who descended into postpartum hell because her mother was so awful about the "moral imperative" that she nurse her baby. "I nursed you and your twin sister, while being a mother to pre-school children, you can at least nurse your FIRST and ONLY baby!"

I got caught up in the pro-boob movement when my first was born. Had to take a "Breastfeeding vacation" where all I did was lie in bed and feed her all day long - to get things established. Couldn't give her a bottle - no way. Got things going and was doing good so when she was 6 months I thought I was safe to try pumping and giving her a bottle - long enough she wouldn't reject the boob right? Psh, she never took the bottle - and I TRIED, so many times. So I had a baby stuck to me for 14 months.

When my second came along, she was given the bottle at 4 weeks :) No issues switching between the two but will admit, I weaned her onto formula at 5 months and had quit nursing by 8 months. The truth? I was a MUCH happier mom the second time around :)

To each their own! I learned a big lesson about listening to people's parenting advice and I guess I'm thankful I learned it early :)

I have commented before on my "shortcomings" regarding breastfeeding my two, the second who *did* latch was abruptly cut off after a week because of a post-partum vaginal disaster which required reconstruction and 2 months of massive doses of three "unsafe for nursing mothers" antibiotics...

anywho, after seeing a picture of my second at 11 months, an old and wisened (though goegraphically distant)friend said, "wow she's so beautiful, eyes and skin so clear, you must have amazing breastmilk".

and so...yes, i probably do, but that chicky was drinking formula, and even now at 18 months has never been sick and is the smartest baby I know so far.

proof!

but that stuff is pretty expensive compared to breastmilk, so in three months I get to try again with another unwitting newborn. let's see if the breastfeeding fuku strikes again!

just feed them babies, folks.

that is all.


I'm one of those "uber-boobers" you talked about (still nursing my 2.5-year-old), and I must say that it saddens me to no end when I hear anyone judging women for not breastfeeding, not breastfeeding "enough," etc. The only thing that matters is that a baby is well nourished and well loved, imho. Driving yourself crazy to breastfeed just doesn't make sense. I only have one child, so I'm no expert, but in my experience, the baby picks up on your mood and your stress level. I'd much rather have a formula fed baby who's happy than a breastfed one with stress any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

I get the clicking tongues and shaking heads these days for the opposite reason -- apparently I'm nursing "too much," now I'm just doing it "for myself, not the kid" and I'm a hippie. But I'm doing what's right and best for my child and my family, and it's no one else's business. I wouldn't dream of telling another mom how she "should" feed her baby, for how long, etc. Why can't we accept that we're all different, our children and families are all different, and there is no "right" way?

I couldn't breastfeed. My body only produced mere milliliters of milk each feeding. My child lost over a lb in her first week of life. I tried supplements to encourage milk production, I woke up every two hours (even when my infant was sleeping!) to pump in the hopes that my milk will finally come in. Now, 3 years later, not being able to breastfeed my daughter is still one of the greatest disappointments of my life. I hated every insensitive comment, even from strangers, about how I wasn't doing the right thing by formula feeding. I still hate reading about how breastfed kids will be smarter, healthier, thinner. Talk about Mom guilt. I wish we would all be nicer to each other. Being so critical can be terribly hurtful, especially if you don't know the circumstances.

That's a great and daring post you wrote and thank you for vindicating all those women who couldn't breastfeed or couldn't exclusively whether for a supply reason, or just out of practicality. I too have my doubts about statements such as "there's no such thing as not enough milk". I breastfed exclusively for 6 months and am still breastfeeding now at 11 months and it was hard. I will admit that I sometimes wear my "accomplishments" as a badge of honour but in reality I secretly wonder whether all the stress I put myself through to get there was really worth it. Like would the stress hormones actually somehow get into the milk and in fact be harmful for baby or something. Or should I and baby have been better off if I had spent more time cooing and talking to my baby instead of having her latched on while I read and surf the net. Who knows?

Yeah I really hate the "all or nothing" attitude of breastfeeding (or anything really). I do believe it's important to stay away from formula as much as possible during the early weeks so milk supply can be well established, but after that? A bottle of formula now and then is not terrible.

I was lucky to have a really easy time breastfeeding. No problems or pain to speak of, and it never felt like a burden even at night. Still, I worked full time and pumping is a whole other story. At four months it became evident that I couldn't pump enough for a whole day away. Enter formula. I still nursed past 2.5 yrs, but formula made it possible for me to earn a paycheck.

I love breastfeeding, and I do consider myself lucky to be able to still bf my 13 month old. That's today. Yesterday? I was looking on-line for easy ways to wean. Because yes, it IS inconvenient, and exhausting, and relentless. But then I was on the phone with one of my closest girlfriends last night, and she made a comment like "Well now that you're done breastfeeding..." and I responded "Huh? We're not done." and she responded "Oh forchrisake, when are you going to stop that shit!?" and then my heart broke into a bajillion pieces because when she weaned her baby at 6 months, I was honored to be one of the first people to give her little girl a bottle of formula and let her fall asleep on me while my friend took a much needed break. And when I picked the pieces up, I remembered that it doesn't really matter what anyone, my mom, my best friend, ANYONE thinks, it's my call how I raise my kids. And if I want to breastfeed today, and try to wean tomorrow or next year, that's my choice. I just wish we could all respect each other's decisions and be supportive. Formula doesn't = Failure. Judgement = Failure.

In my experience this whole "breastfeeding makes smarter babies" thing is rubbish, another guilt-trip statement aimed at women when they are at their most emotionally vulnerable. None of us here are slouches in the brains department. My husband was breastfed. I wasn't. I breastfed my firstborn (8lbs 15oz) for 4 days before deciding it wasn't working - no let down sensation, no sleep. I didn't even try with my secondborn (10lbs 3oz), figuring if I couldn't fill No1 there was no way I'd fill No2. We should do what works for us as individuals and families, not what everyone else says.

Thanks for this! As a woman who truly wanted to breastfeed, and had a baby with a "perfect latch" but couldn't due to a very real supply problem, I appreciate this sentiment. I don't have enough milk ducts to produce milk - the hardware just isn't there folks - and yes it happens but no one wants to admit it. I'm lucky that I had a very knowledgable nurse helping me out, or I might have gone crazy!

I wish women spent more time supporting one another rather than tearing each other down. I was unsuccessful breastfeeding my two boys past a few weeks and faced harsh criticism, judgment and found very little sincere support and encouragement.

Having recently had my third child I set out again to BF. I was fortunate that it worked and it's been easy, but I have no problem supplementing (as I did tonight). She is loved as much as her brothers regardless of how they have been fed.

It saddens me how we judge each of our individual choices rather than respecting each of our perspectives. Whether we are similar or different in our approach, we need to respect one another. This discussion is about breastfeeding, yet it speaks volumes to how generally women seem interact with each other on virtually every other aspect of parenting, motherhood, marriage, etc.

Even after a cancer diagnosis, I've faced harsh judgment, criticism and unsolicited opinions. I wish we were all a little more compassionate and supportive with each other and recognize that what is best for one may not be best for another. Whether about breastfeeding or anything else, as women we should try to be more compassionate, kind and respectful. I dream big. Thank you for writing this.

I lasted 6mos. My son was born 10wks early, my boobs grew 7 sizes during pregnancy (causing nerve damage, so I never felt let down, never got engorged) (leaving my sinuses back against my chest and impossible for the large phlange to reach). Because he couldn't make white blood cells and thought to have leukemia, I got him every drop possible of liquid gold, even from donors.

He ate every 60mins for 6mos. We started with him latching, then feeding him what I'd pumped before, then feeding him formula, then wearing him while I double pumped while squeezing each ginormoboob since the phlange didn't reach the pressure points. On full dose of Reglan (which gave me suicidal nightmares, IF I caught more than 10mins sleep) and taking 15 Fenugree/day, it would take me 72hours of pumping every hour (even thru the night) to get 2-3 ounces.

At 6mos, his white cells were up and increasing, he was in the safe zone and I gave up 'breastfeeding' (a term I'm told I shouldn't use, since I technically never fed him from my breast). I cried for a year.

I can't tell you how many comments of "oh, you just didn't try hard enough", or "too bad she's feeding him that poison!". As if everything else wasn't heartbreaking enough, there was no support and only hatred.

Here we are, waiting on a call for adopting our next child and everyone wants to know if I'll breastfeed, since that's all over the news these days. Call me crazy, but I pulled out my double pumper last year and actually tried! Once again, I cried because I failed after weeks of trying.

Breastfeeding doesn't make one better, it makes one lucky, IMO.

I too had a low weight preemie who refused to latch on, despite LC's galore. Nothing like reading NICU literature on the importance of mother's milk while pumping and coming up dry. Tried herbs, endless pumping, drinking more water, eating better, nothing. Never pumped more than an ounce TOTAL from both boobs. Son couldn't do any better than a pump even when he did latch on. So formula saved my child's life basically or he would have starved. I pumped for 3 months and supplemented with formula before I decided it was insane and my mental and physical health was put to better use than consantly washing pumping equipment and cursing that I couldn't produce enough to feed my own baby. Strangers would come up to me and say, "Oh! Are you breastfeeding?" I would smile and say, "Yes!" because that's what they wanted to hear. What I really wanted to do was punch them in the face and say none of your damn business! :) People assume that everyone chooses to formula feed when in fact, some people just can't breastfeed. Too bad we have to hide it.

Breastfeeding was the first time I looked at my breasts and didn't feel like a failure. I breastfed my daughters from 9/04-6/10. It was not always easy and, like you, I definitely had the do or fail mentality, but I don't regret it. The only judgement involving what's in a bottle is when it's purple or carbonated and the kid can't walk.

We judge ourselves viciously enough, anything we can go to stop judging each other can only be a good thing.

I would hate to be considered a failure.. my son was 5 weeks preemie and would not latch. Saw 3 LCs who did everything they could to get him to bf, even waited a couple months and he still would not bf. I exclusively pumped for 11 months and had to suppliment formula. I even took reglan to increase my supply which made me very depressed, so then I took antidepressant to counter act the reglan. So, if all that makes me a failure for giving him formula, then I'm ok with that.

At someone who couldn't breastfeed, I appreciate this. People still don't believe me when I say I couldn't. Even now with a medical diagnosis, I still doubt people would believe me. Whatever.

Babies have to eat. That is the most important thing.

I have three healthy kids. No one would look at them and say, oh they were formula/breastfed. Mostly because people stop thinking about it after kids hit a year or so.

Hrm. I am thinking I may schedule that tonsillectomy earlier than I thought. I was holding out for when H was older, but I don't think I need to be all martyr about it.

This is just perfect.

I remember crying (crying!) the first time I gave my daughter formula at six months, that traumatic was the image of her drinking something "sub par." Looking back...oh please.

We all have so much internal pressure as it is to do what's best for our kids, that the external pressure, when paired with dogma and condemnation, really has to stop.

I breastfed my daughter exclusively for the first year, and I really wish I had let go of the reins a little. I was terrified that if I gave her a bottle in the first 6 weeks, she would reject the breast (THANK YOU, certain breast feeding group, for drilling that into my skull), so I didn't. At all. And it. was. exhausting. And then, she refused a bottle. Never took one, not even of pumped milk. Consequently, I didn't leave her side for the entire year. I will not be repeating that with any subsequent children. They'll get the boob, as long as I'm able. But you bet your ass they'll get bottles too, probably some filled with formula. And I am so okay with that now. I just wish I had realized it was okay a year ago.

I love this. My daughter was born 14 weeks early, for no known medical reasons. I tried.so.hard to pump -- she had other issues that prevented us from breastfeeding until almost 3 months in the NICU, and right after we started, she got sick *again*, and we had to table that for another couple of weeks, and then limit breastfeeding to just once a day, then twice a day. For the entire 121 days she was in the NICU, I pumped, despite never pumping a total of perhaps 4 oz., at my max. Moms and friends attributed it to Z being born so early, but I was friends with other moms in the NICU and knew their production easily quadrupled/double-times-quadrupled my output, no matter what I tried -- tea, meds, etc. Multiply the guilt factor of breast-is-best/formula-is-failure by preemie-needs-mom's-milk-especially, it was awful, I can't tell you how much I beat myself up. And the most supportive nurses said that my (mental) health was more important, esp after Z discharged from the NICU, and assured me it was okay -- and still, it took me months and months to begin to finally shake off the guilt. I wish everyone had a pro-mom attitude like this -- then I think it would also be easier for moms like me to seek out support, and not feel as though I had to brave this crazy new world alone.

As an emergency C-Section mom with big boobs and a lazy baby, THANK YOU! I could have gone to my lactation consultant every week to keep trying, for weigh ins and feeding my son in her office to see how much he was taking in, but honestly it was too much stress. I was becoming frustrated and I'll be honest... almost angry at my child. Angry that we couldn't do what was supposed to be SO EASY and SO NATURAL.

When I finally gave up feeling like a failure and accepted that I will exclusively pump until I can't any longer or until he's properly weaned, my relationship and bond with my child actually strengthened.

I supplemented at first and was made to feel like such a bad mom by so many. He's now on breast milk only and I am glad about it, but so what if he had to be on formula? It's isn't poison and it's nutritionally sound or babies everywhere would be failing on it and they aren't.

The whole thing is just so awful for moms who can't or choose not to breastfeed. Trust me, I WISH I could breastfeed, even just a little, especially in the middle of the night when I'd rather do anything but get up and pump, but in the end we all make the choices that are best for us and best for our babies. So what if my nipples are sore and I have to spend 30 minutes at the pump every two hours to meet my kid's needs? The two of us are doing just fine.

Thanks for this :) I had a traumatic delivery that ended up in an emergency C-section, and my body never caught on to the fact that it was supposed to start feeding my daughter. I tried everything, groups at the hospital, herbs, mother's milk tea, hours of pumping, and still failed. There was just nothing there. We had to do formula all the way. And the glares I recieved from the uh, "uber boobers", and the "if you had just tried harder, i'm sure it would have happened" comments made me feel horrible. We have to do what's best for our babies, not our pride, mamas. And formula was way better for her than starving, thanks. :)

I appreciate your thoughts here a lot. The breast feeding proselytizing usually makes me want to crawl under the table with uncomfortability. My biggest "whaa?" moment comes when moms start talking about how women in other countries (almost always "developing" countries) breastfeed until kids are 3 or 4 years old--so why doesn't everyone (husbands who are sick of it, other moms who don't do it, etc.) understand that we should also?

Ummm...because we're not in a developing country. Where the choice is a starving baby or breastfeeding. Many mothers in other countries breast feed because there is nothing else to eat. And, um, we're also not in a Scandinavian country--where you get maternal and paternal leave and other policy considerations that make it feasible to make this kind of commitment to a child.

There is something very restrictive and a tiny bit ugly about this proselytizing--but it's a can of lighter fluid. And my mouth is a match. So I nod quietly and keep knitting...And go home and read your blog.

To each his own. Whatever a woman decides, it's her business. There's no scale to measure the love of mother has for her child, no matter how she decides to feed it.

Thanks for this. I am not successful at breastfeeding, although I've tried all sorts of things and threw myself down mental black holes to try and make it work with my first. With my second, my husband and I agreed to be realistic, to try, to give it all we could, but to accept that my mental health and everyone's physical health were very important. Supplementing started early, as with the first, and breastfeeding lasted a shorter while, but no black holes. I'm pregnant with my third and committed to fighting mightily the guilt. I promise this one a good try and all I can do, but know that this one, my husband and our existing children need me with them and not in a dark hole that seems to swell up as the failure to gain a supply mounts. I am lucky to have lots of support in trying to make breastfeeding work and lucky to have lots of support accepting our decision when it doesn't. I "think" we've found balance and hope we'll maintain it this time and hope others can accept and love their role as mothers even when they can't breastfeed or choose not to for reasons that support their family's overall well-being. Thanks for your post as acceptance from those you do breastfeed strangely really helps.

Thank you, thank you for this post. Happy mom equals happy family. I truly believe that you need to take care of yourself first, whatever that may entail, in order to take care of your family.

A friend of mine struggled with breast-feeding. Her baby wasn't gaining weight, she was an emotional wreck...and when the doctor finally ordered her to start supplementing with formula, there were women who made her feel guilty for "giving up."

I'm a firm believer in making sure the baby is being fed - first and foremost. And secondly, that the mother's sanity is saved. A sobbing, unhappy mother that breastfeeds is no better than a happy mother that formula feeds. Any therapist will tell you that. I plan to breastfeed my children, but if I'm miserable or my baby is not getting enough, I'll proudly use formula. And the first mom that gives me shit about it will get a firm F. U. right back at her.

Hm. I guess the emotion runs both ways on this topic.

But thank you for urging "uber boobers" to cut other moms some slack.

I'm going to "come out" as one of the women who barely tried. I did try. Just not for long and the guilt is insane when you finally make that decision to stop. I didn't give up because of physical or medical issues. I gave up because I was miserable with it. It was hard to be the supplier 24/7. I stressed about what would happen when I went back to work. Plus, I just wanted my body back. I switched to formula exclusively very early on with both of my kids. They didn't mind at all are both (knock on wood) quite healthy. I have HUGE respect for moms who breastfeed for any length of time, especially those who stick with it for many months. It is NOT easy even when it is. The commitment it takes deserves major admiration. However, I also love it when moms come out in support for those of us who didn't choose that path. Thank you very much for this post.

Erika -- I think it also depends on how one defines "convenient." I remember my Bradley instructor told me that pushing felt "good" -- and then when I was doing it all I could remember was "THIS DOES NOT FEEL GOOD."

So, yes, it can be very convenient -- depending on your situation AND depending on what convenient is. I'd have to argue that pumping is NOT convenient. So if you can have your baby with you, yes, indeed. But if you're exclusively pumping, so not convenient, as I learned with my last one.

I'll admit, I get a little pissy about the formula/breast feeding debate. Some of us moms give birth to medically fragile children. Babies who have bigger problems than what a mother chooses to feed it. Both of my younger sons were/are incapable of eating orally and have been fed their entire lives through a tube surgically implanted into their stomachs. Both of my younger sons took/take medication to help them digest any food. Both of my younger sons struggle/d to live.

Breast milk or formula. That is a luxury argument parents of healthy kids get to have. Those of us who watch our children spend every minute of their infant hood and subsequent lives struggling to live, well, it's just not that important.

Breastfeeding wasn't always convenient but, for me, it was most of the time. I still breastfeed my 23 month old and, past the 9 month marker, I didn't find it inconvenient at all. I don't think you can say that we need to stop "lying" about how convenient bfing is, because, to many, it is convenient.

I do get your point and agree with you when you say women need to stop tearing each other down for the choices they make, though.

But I think for most bfing advocates, the frustration is with the mentality that it's not normal to bf past six months or a year. Or that it's unacceptable to bf in public. At least that's my frustration. I feel like I have to hide that I still bf my toddler from other moms because of the stigma around it.

I just think there are judgmental moms on both sides of the spectrum.

On behalf of all of the women who have switched to bottle feeding because of postpartum depression and anxiety, I thank you for this post.

So odd K. I have been wrestling with this internal debate and have a post drafted about it... thank you for vocalizing. xoxo

I was truly blessed with a supportive Nurse Practitioner who was also a lactation consultant when I had my babies. I had my appendix out 11 days after a c-section & my body just was not up to producing sufficient milk. At one month my oldest weighed the same as he did at birth & she handed me a bottle and explained I should nurse for a certain time on each side & then give him formula if he wants it. She didn't have one of those tubes that you tape to your boob so the baby gets formula while nursing. She told me what vitamins & supplements to take and bless her, she told me not to worry if I never produce enough to feed him exclusively. We're bonding. He is growing. The fact that he is also getting breastmilk is a happy bonus. I nursed for 4 months supplementing the whole time
And I in no way feel guilty about it or that I didn't do enough because she was so supportive of me.
When I had to have my gall bladder out 6 weeks after my second was born I knew what to expect & was able to get a jump start on the supplements & pumping. He ended up needing at least 4-6ozs of forumula a day for a few weeks but again, I never felt bad about because of her.
There need to be more lactation consultants like her. She did everything to help me keep nursing, but to also help my child grow.

Amen! Thank you! I breastfed the first 3 and couldn't do it with the 4th because she had medical problems. It took me years to make peace with that but it did enable me to be a better mother to all my kids at that time. It kept her alive and it was probably the best thing for my 3 older kids who were already dealing with a special needs baby in the house taking up a lot of my attention. It does not have to be all or nothing. I'm not sure how or why we got to that equation.

Of course, now that I'm done with the babies, and breastfeeding, I realize that what I did put myself through was crazy -but I DID and that was that. My oldest didn't make it past 3 months - and I didn't have any breastfeeding education to know why he was weaning himself - my next two were 14 months and 11 months before they weaned. The whole "smarter" thing is debatable, but I agree, Kristen - the PRESSURE we put on ourselves to do it unselfishly, with a smile and a gentle demeanor is ridiculous. My children didn't shrivel up or anything when they stopped nursing. Both of my boys had formula - they're not licking windows, but it was still so hard to admit it out LOUD. I wish all women would at least try, too. But I don't beat them up (mentally) if they don't.

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