Speaking of Mamaries, Part II

By my reckoning, I have spent more than 1460 hours hooked up to a breast pump. And I don't want to do it again. There. I said it. I'm waiting for the waves of guilt to wash over me, and the La Leche League-ers to start banging on my door. Neither of my sons have been able to naturally physically nurse, but I was bound and determined to provide breastmilk any way I could, so I pumped. Every ounce of milk my first son ate for the first eight months of his life, I pumped. With my second son, I only lasted about four months, before the exhaustion wore me out. When you are pumping instead of naturally nursing, to keep your milk supply up you have to be rigorous in your pumping schedule. If you let it slide, your supply will begin to diminish and the hormones that keep the milk coming will slow down. So, every three hours, around the clock, no matter what was happening, I would sit down to pump. Even when the baby would be sleeping, I had to get up and pump, or risk jeopardizing my supply. Baby would wake up, I would feed him with the previous pumping's milk, change him, get him back to sleep, then I would go and pump for 15 minutes, prepare the next bottle, wash the pump, and fall exhausted back into bed, only to wake (if lucky) two hours later and do it again. Yes, I am dead serious. Even when baby started sleeping longer stretches at night, I still had to get up and pump. It was a special level of hell, let me assure you. Before anyone asks or jumps to conclusions, I have tried everything known to mankind, including but not limited to: LLL meetings (little freaked out by the lack of tollerance for other methods of feeding and by a 7 year old lifting mom's shirt for a 'little sip'), Lactation Nurses- both before birth, at the hospital, after birth and home visits, breast shells, nipple shields, suction devices and other means of torture, hospital-grade industrial pumps, carrying the baby in a sling constantly nuzzling my breast, and even surgery. All to no avail. So, with the imminent arrival of number three in just a few weeks, I have been thinking about what I should do, dreading starting the routine again, wondering how I will still be fit for human company and reasonably mother two and four-year old sons. No matter how I try and spin it, I don't think I can humanly manage. The baby would reap the benefits of my milk, but the price my family would pay is extremely steep, and after the months of hyper-emesis they have already suffered through, is it fair to ask even more of them? I am teetering on the edge of "my milk is perfect for my baby" and "just screw it". Has anyone out there eschewed breastfeeding and just asked for a bottle at the hospital? Even thinking about that, the guilt wells up, I can feel the nasty stares from the nurses, and hear the boot-clad feet of the LLLeaguers goose-stepping down the birthing center hallway...


Blogger FrogLegs said...

I would say, try it- and see what happens... if it works, hooray! If not, formula isn't the end of the world. :)

2/27/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger ubercyl said...

I'd try it first, too--this baby could be different. What my first son couldn't do (no matter how much I tried to help) my daughter did with no problems. And then I understood how it was supposed to work, and my second son is currently nursing well.

You never know! But I can't imagine pumping with this one, because the older two keep me very busy.

2/27/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

I've asked for a bottle at the hospital, and the world did not end. The babies all survived. Some nurses looked at me funny, others understood perfectly. I only asked for a bottle at night, I nursed during the day.

I did the pump/feed thing with my second, because she wasn't growing, and it turned out she was just a lazy eater, so I had to bottle feed to her so she would thrive. I made enough milk, so I thought the pump/bottle thing would work out great. And then I entered that special hell of which you speak. The pumping, the washing, the constancy of it all, did me in. I lasted three months, before I said screw it. She's extremely smart, did fine on the formula, in fact, her colic cleared right up when I stopeed nursing, although I am mostly attributing that to her reaching three months - they say the digestive system matures a little at that point.

Anyway - my two cents is this - try the nursing thing at first - every baby is a different nurser. And I know people that have had great success with the herb fenugreek to increase milk supply.

If it doesn't work out, break out the bottles and the formula guilt free. I wouldn't even feel guilty for not trying at first, given your histroy, but it sounds like you would have major guilt not at least attempting it.

Also, my neighbor had a breast reduction earlier in her life, and was unable to nurse. When people judged her for bottle feeding her newborn, she just told them "hey, my plumbing doesn't work." Although I personally don't think she owed them any explanantion. Whether or not to nurse is a personal decision.

2/27/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Mo Mommy said...

I already left this comment at Tales from the Crib a while back, but I had no brain power to think up anything original, so here it is again:

I bf my first for 13 months, though he pretty much lost interest as soon as he discovered real food. I started supplementing my second with formula when he dropped below the 5th percentile for weight (nobody knows why) and he bounced back beautifully.It also gave us a great amount of freedom, since he took a bottle and the first never did. And he was happy and healthy. I felt no guilt at all.
More women in our ward feed formula compared to those who breastfeed. So just move here ;)
Ahhh, nipple nazis. Don't you just love people who know more about you and your family's well-being than you do?

2/27/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Amy said...

I have a question. I am pregnant with my first, due in August. I am currently working as my husband is going to school. I will get 6 weeks off for maternity leave before coming back to work.

I plan to pump at work and feed normally when home. Can I work this out?? I am not sure how much comes out when pumping vs nursing. How does the timing work (do I pump before I leave for work to have some for the kid...I am totally lost).

Help, please!!!

2/27/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Keryn said...

My first had the hardest time nursing. I cried and agonized and worried--and then he "failed to thrive" and that caused more crying and soul-searching. We were told to put him on a bottle and WHAM! He gained like four pounds in a week or something like that. And everyone was MUCH happier.

With our second, I wasn't going to put myself through that again. If she wasn't nursing at least a little by the time we got home from the hospital, then it was formula for us. I wasn't going to put myself and my family through the agony again. (So after all that decision making, of course she nurses like a champ from day one. Not that I mind.)

So I say (just my two cents, or maybe even just one cent)--maybe give it a try (for a day or three) and then go for the bottle! (And give anyone who gives you grief about it a REALLY dirty look and then change the subject.)

2/27/2006 12:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

I went through the same thing. Pumping is it's own special hell, because if you aren't feeding the baby you are pumping and if you aren't pumping you are feeding the baby. No sleep at all. Awful. With my first I pumped for six months and then switched to formula. With my second, I pumped for 3 months, with my third, 4 months. They're all healthy.

Do what you can, but recognize that formula isn't the end of the world either. It's better to have a formula fed baby than a suicidal mother.

2/27/2006 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many, many babies have lived quite nicely on formula. Do what you feel is best for you, your baby, and your family. I agree that perhaps you might want to try nursing again for a bit to see if this babe might be different, but if it's just not working don't stress yourself out about it. It would be worse to overshadow the joy of having that sweet baby in your home. Formula will be fine!

2/27/2006 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth-W said...

I agree with everyone else. You are absolved from all guilt!!! Lots of women historically have had problems nursing--think about wet-nurses. I highly doubt that they were only around just to make wealthy women's lives easier--Moses would have died if his sister hadn't gotten his bio mom to come serve in that capacity--it wasn't as if there was some Similac to pick up on the way home from the bulrushes. And, in many cultures, women in the same families nurse each others' babies just because. While I'm not advocating hooking yourself up with a wet nurse, I'm saying that formula is the current alternative. Formula may be the easiest way to go from the beginning. I was a nurser, but if I had your experience I wouldn't think twice about bottle-ing it!

2/27/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Chad Too said...


As an adoptive family, breastfeeding wasn't an option. Our son was fed with formula from day one. We never had any problems. In fact, he started sleeping through the night earlier than most babies and the pediatrician says she sees that with formula-fed babies because the formula digests more slowly.

Would we have breast-fed if we could have. Probably. Is the earth going to be thrown off it's axis because we didn't? No. Make your decision based on what's best for you and your family.

2/27/2006 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger Julie M. Smith said...

I am a HUGE breastfeading advocate and I don't care how unPC it is, I'm just going to say it: I look down on mothers who don't even try to breastfeed.

But honey, that isn't you. You tried way, way, way harder than any woman I have ever heard of. Unbelievable. If you are going to have three kinds under 5, your life will be complicated enough without pumping. Yes, breast milk is better than formula. But a completely worn-our mother will cause more harm to three children than formula will cause to the baby.

I say: try to breastfeed for a few days just to see if this one will work. And if it doesn't, buy formula with glee and don't even think about pumping.

2/27/2006 01:30:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

I guess I should have been more clear- I am physically unable to nurse, not because of poor supply- I always had LOTS of milk- but rather Category 3 Inversion. No matter how many people tell you "babies breast feed, not nipple feed", the fact is, if there is nothing for baby grab onto, it simply doesnt work. Try getting your baby to latch onto your cheek for more than a second- that's about my sitution. So if this baby is getting my milk, it will HAVE to be via pump.

I do appreciate all the support for the green-light on bottle feeding- in my real life, that has not been the case. Which is why I have practically killed mysrlf pumping with the other babies. That and, as Mo Mommy called them, the Nipple Nazis. Funny!

As someone who never nursed naturally, I might not be the best person to give advice, but then that never stopped me before! And when it comes to pumping, I'm about as good as it gets if we're talking experience. Here it goes:

If you can get your baby nursing naturally well in the six weeks maternity leave, excellent. Do try and pump a little here and there so she learns how to eat from a bottle and is willing to try it. Some babies develope a preference for the breast and will NOT take a bottle- great if you can stay home, not so hot if you have to work outside. Conversely, if you offer a bottle too soon, some babies then don't want to work at nursing. (Welcome to motherhood!)

As far as pumping goes, get yourself a good quality, dual side pump. There are some less expensive varieties on the market, but in my experience, this is one area where quality really makes a difference. In order to keep milk supply up when away from baby, a hospital-grade dual-pump is the bomb. Fast, strong and two sides at once, makes life easier. You can usually rent them from a local birth center or hospital for around $1 per day, less if you make a longer term commitment.

My routine was usually to feed the baby with the previous pumpings milk, then pump the next feeding once the baby was done eating. I kept the milk in the refridgerator, in an airtight container, and just filled the bottle with what I needed for each feeding. Some mother's ahve great success freezing their milk, however, my sons ate it as quick as I made it, so it was never in the fridge for more than a day or so. Also, freezing changes the texture and taste of the milk, so if you can avoid it, the baby may find it more palatable. My kids wouldn't take frozen milk- at all.

Breast milk is perfect example of supply-and-demand. The more you nurse and pump, the more milk you will make. Feed the baby whenever you are at home, then pump at work. You will have to find your own rhythm and trial and error are usually what gives you the answers you need. But then, that is what most of mothering is about!

Good luck!

2/27/2006 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger mindy said...

Tracy, kudos to you for trying so hard. I pumped quite a bit with my first kid as I was in school on alternate days, and it is a LOT more time consuming than just nursing. If it were me, I think I'd still try and pump for the first couple of months just to give my child the immunity benefits of breastmilk during the newborn stage. But it isn't me, and I haven't had to deal with it. I am in Julie's camp--I do look down on women who don't even try to breastfeed, but that isn't you. Good luck!

Amy--Tracy gave you lots of good advice. I do think you might find it helpful to attend a LLL meeting. There may be one of the "odd" super-extended breastfeeders, but most of them (us) are just normal moms who want to help women get through struggles with nursing or other mothering issues. My LLL group has been a nice way for me to meet other moms.

2/27/2006 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Heidi Ann said...

I have 3 boys. Breastfeeding was great with #s 2 and 3, but #1 wasn't that way. So we did the bottle thing. I would get so annoyed by those people who thought they should advise me about breastfeeding, especially at church. I was so tempted to say something snotty like, "I guess I'm just more concerned with righteousness than ear infections and when my son is on his mission, you have fun pumping for your 19-year-old!" CLEARLY, not a good response. Anyway, I pondered the situation for awhile and I came to the conclusion that when people (usually perfect stranger, odd, huh?) want to lecture you about breastfeeding, they just have a great need to feel helpful. So, I would just say something like, "Thanks for the advice. I should try that." Then it was over. Anyway, that's my two cents, probably all it's worth too.

2/27/2006 02:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had similar difficulties breastfeeding and have some nightmare stories about La Leche League (breastfeeding Nazi's in my opinion). People get so bent about non-catastrophic issues. I would suggest not even trying breast feeding as you have 2 other children and need all the energy possible to handle them and your newborn. Who cares what others think? You need to do what is best for you and your family. Don't get caught into the guilt trap. L.L.L. guilted me with my first child. I had specialists trying to help, etc. My baby didn't eat for 14 hours due to the guilt from L.L.L. Finally we gave in to our instincts to feed with formula. 6 weeks later I ended up in the emergency room due to an unknown health ailment. I am sure this is why I couldn't breastfeed, and I would've never been able to with the first. So, just follow your gut.

2/27/2006 02:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

Man, mothers put themselves through so much unnecessary guilt. I bottle-fed all three of mine on formula. No one died!

2/27/2006 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

susan m...thank you for making me laugh..

Okay, ladies, here it is:

--I have a cousin who nursed her adopted son

--I have another cousin who REFUSES to breastfeed because her first one was "difficult" to nurse

--I have a friend who nurses until the kids can say "Mother dearest, will you please let me suckle at your breast so that I may receive the best possible nourishment?"

--I nursed all 3 of mine until they bit me. 8 mo; 8 mo; 10 mo. And I supplemented formula every once in a while the entire time so I could HAVE A LIFE.

--My grandma (who is 85) couldn't nurse ANY of her kids because of your exact difficulty, tracy, and this was in the 50's. She HAD NO CHOICE but to feed them formula. My mother turned out just fine.

What's my point? EVERYBODY IS DIFFERENT!!! So, DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT. Don't let ANYONE let you feel guilty. NOBODY. Especially those LLL nazi's. Hey, I'm all for breast feeding, but I CAN DO IT. I cannot even imagine how hard that was for you. Having a newborn is hard enough, dang it!

(P.S. That doesn't mean that you couldn't try in the hospital, but if, after 2 days it's not working, switch over to that beautiful bottle, baby!)

2/27/2006 03:01:00 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

I, too had a crummy time nursing. My baby never latched on and I spent four months engorged and pumping. It truly was a nightmare, in addition to all the transition of motherhood! I'm pregnant now with #2 and have resolved IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD if this kid has formula. Of course, I'll try nursing but I won't put myself (or my family) through it again. And my little girl was much happier when I switched her to formula!

2/27/2006 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

I "chose" to bottle feed my second son after 3 weeks. Although I had no problem breast feeding naturally, I was tired, overworked, stressed and know what? I told anyone who thought less of me to SCREW OFF (there were only a couple)...and I let go of the guilt. I just let go. My son is 3 now and has been healthier over all than my first who breastfed until 8 months (when he became Gigantor-who-I-could-not-hold-anymore!) LOL. Good luck in your decisions...just knowing there are people out there that have gone the less travelled road sometimes help.

2/27/2006 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger nestle said...

ahhhh the L.L.L almost killed my first. I directly attribute it to them and their guilt. My first was born 9lbs 7 ozs. I had several friends who swore by the LLL and advised me to go to them. My daugther lost the usual amount of weight from the initial breastfeeding. I was guilted and canjoled to continue breastfeeding although my daughter was ALWAYS hungry. At her 1 month check up we found out that she had lost more than another pound after the initial breastfeeding loss and start up. At the 1 month appointment she was 7lbs 9 ozs. ummm not good. She was dehydrated and the dr said that unless we were able to get 2 full bottles of pedialite in her in the next 12 hours he was going to hospitalize her for IVs. When talking to the LLL about what was going on I got the full gammot of guilt "you just need to be patient, keep her sucking on your nipple..." yeah like I hadn't been doing that.

Found out I just don't supply enough (LLL didn't believe that) although I was also on meds that "over 50% of adoptive mothers lactate" ummm yep, not me. (and I actually had the kids) I tried the pumping thing. Ummm got a whole 2 oz out of the stupid things.

All I know is that my babies were never sick with the formula, they were fat, healthy and adorable and screw the LLL.

2/27/2006 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous mimi said...

I see no one here offering a very simple solution, at least for the lack of sleep. Is there any reason you can't get up and pump, go back to sleep and when wee one wants to eat jab hubby in the back with your elbow until he gets up to do it? That way you are getting up what you would anyway, bottle or breast, and hubby gets some real quality time with the baby. Problem solved!!

That said, of my three, baby #1 nursed, baby #2 nursed and baby #3 totally formula fed and so far she's turning out to be the smartest! LOL!! (She's also very attached to her dad who got at least one "special alone time" every night!)

2/27/2006 04:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Ha! The image of a 7-year old "taking a sip" at a LLL meeting is hilarious.

Are your kids, by any chance, toung-tied? I have friends who absolutely could not breastfeed because of this. If not, that doesn't matter. Anyway, I say, if it is going to be such a stress, just give her formula, she and you will both be just fine! No guilt neccessary! THere's plenty more in motherhood to make you guilty, don't let this get you down. I wasn't breastfed and I'm reasonably intelligent, healthy, and have a great bond with my mom.

That said, I hated breastfeeding initally. I couldn't believe the amazing pain it caused me - open sores and everything! A friend told me to give it 8 weeks and then feel free to quit if it didn't improve. She was right, around 8 weeks the wounds healed and I stopped crying in anticipation of the torture that was breastfeeding every 3 hours. It's hard work!

2/27/2006 05:14:00 PM  
Anonymous sue said...

Cheryl, you rock.

2/27/2006 05:31:00 PM  
Blogger Amy Girl said...

I am de-lurking myself today. Hello! Mo5 here. I am pro-nursing. I never had a problem nursing with my first three, however; we were 2X's blessed nearly two years ago with gg twins. And what a humbling experience that was. No matter what I tried, did, prayed for, I was unable to nurse those twins. I tortured myself, twins, kids 1,2 &3 and hubby for 10 weeks and finally returned that breast pump. And you know what? I felt guilty, but I refused to let myself guilt myself over it. There was just too little time those days, and if I actually had a moment for myself I was not going to spend it feeling guilty!

2/27/2006 05:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Rosalynde said...

This is such a divisive issue, and I've spent a lot of time wondering why. Mothers who formula feed are often hyperdefensive about their choice, understandably, and mothers who nurse are often hyperjudgmental. I must admit, I really struggle to suppress those feelings myself, having extended-nursed both my kids after a really really rocky beginning with my first.

I think the reason why it's hard for me, and perhaps some others, to feel peaceful about others' decisions to formula feed is that nursing is so very central to my identity as a mother. It's not that the health benefits are so overwhelmingly compelling, or that the risks of formula are so dire. It's simply that I cannot imagine feeling like a mother to my children without nursing them: nourishing them with my own body, and being the only one who can do so, the irreplaceable guarantor of their survival, the sole object of their earliest attachment---for me, this IS what it means to be a mother.

Of course, I'm surrounded by mothers who don't define themselves this way----and it's absolutely clear to me that they love their children every bit as much as I love mine, that their children are thriving and secure, and that they are completely satisfied and fulfilled in their role as mother. Clearly, my self-understanding as a mother is not universal, and I have no problem accepting that intellectually.

But I simply lack the emotional imagination to understand what it's like to define oneself as a mother differently. I think this is the source of the judgemental response I work to suppress. (And I'm not horrible, I promise: never even been to LLL, never said a word to the women (a majority, incidentally) I know who choose formula.)

2/27/2006 06:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

Rosalynde- your comments are always well thought-out and well spoken, and I appreciate you taking the time to explain your position. For me, the defensivness comes from knowing exactly how you feel- I once felt that way too. It was a bitter pill for me to accept that this was simply not going to happen for me. This makes me all that much more aware of the looks, the comments, and even the (mostly) well meaning advice.

See, the thing is, I am super pro-breastfeeding, but I am SIMPLY unable to do it. And I keenly feel the judgement of my sisters who can and do do it. Perhaps this is why I am hyper-defensive. I've had strangers make snarky or nasty comments about my bottle feeding with both of my sons, while I was pulling out a bottle of preciously expelled breastmilk, pumped from MY BODY.

Going throught this process has made me so much more forgiving of things may "look" like in someone else's life. And, has made me have a thicker skin. The people who made snarky comments to me about my babies health had no idea of the personal hell I had been through, and the judgement was a heavy burden.

I totally envy and covet women with breasts that fuction the way they were intended. But even surgery did not help my problem- and there is no way I am going to explain all that to a stranger in Costco who wants to comment on my mothering choices.

We could all do with a little more compassion, a little less judgement, (and with less judgement will come less defensiveness) and a little more cutting each other some slack.

Thanks to everyone for their comments. I knew this would be a hot topic, and I appreciate everyone's insights, and the time it took to share them.

2/27/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

Amy, it can work fine. I went back to work at 6 wks postpartum with my first, and just breastfed when I could, and she took bottles when I was at work. I didn't like to pump, so I didn't do it (I did hand-express small amounts in the ladies' room if I got uncomfortable; sorry if TMI). Your supply will adjust.

I hate that so many are so all-or-nothing on this subject. You can breastfeed exclusively, bottlefeed with formula exclusively, or combine the two. It all works out fine. I loved breastfeeding, but I don't have a moments' guilt about letting my kids drink formula when I'm not around.

Tracy, you deserve some sort of Major Mammary Award for breastfeeding so long by pumping. That's like combining every inconvenience of both feeding methods. I'd say to heck with it (but then again, I hate hate hate pumping and wouldn't even do it occasionally while breastfeeding).

2/27/2006 08:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Nichole said...

I can't nurse either. I had breast surgery five years ago that ruined the girls' ability to produce. The Nursing Nazis, as my hubby called them, tried everything to help. After many, many sleepless nights pumping and feeding, pumping and feeding I quit and did formula. My baby would cry whenever I tried to nurse him because he wanted a bottle. It was so heartbreaking to me but I finally had to come to the conclusion that formula and bottles were the only things that were going to save my sanity and the precious relationship between me and my new baby. When #2 came along I didn't even try. I already knew what the outcome would be and I was DONE crying. He is 11 months old and healthy as a horse. #3 will be here in 5 months and I have no problems doing formula.

Btw, I have a friend who was breastfed til he was three. He's allergic to everything. Both my kids, my moms two and my grandma's 7 were all formula fed and we're not allergic to anything and all have amazing health.

I'll pass on my mom's words of wisdom. "You're a wonderful mother who loves your children. Only you will know what's right for them. Trust your intuition and tell the rest of the world to mind their own business."

2/27/2006 08:46:00 PM  
Anonymous April said...

Sheesh you ladies need to move to Idaho!!! I have NEVER had anyone have the nerve to comment on the way I feed my children! I BF for 4 mths till my milk gives out then bottle it.... I've come to believe that even if I could bf longer I wouldn't for sanity reasons! That's just me though.
I found out resently that I was a formula baby though neither of my older siblings were and , at least at the current time, seam to have turned out just as well! ... I say do a bottle and don't look back.

2/27/2006 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger brneyedwahine said...

Having been a "cow" and hooked up to a breast pump for long periods of time because I had three premature babies (32, 34 and 29 weeks early) I feel for you. I am a formula baby from the 60's that does not have allergies and is extremely healthy. For the sake of you and your family, do formula! Or pump at least for the first six weeks and then do formula. There are many formulas out there that are perfectly fine. And anyone who says you can't bond with your baby while bottle feeding is full of you know what! I worked in Pediatrics for about 5 years and saw a myriad of babies who did breast milk, formula or both and the majority did well. Every baby and situation is different. I can play out every scenario in the breast vs. bottle book...#3 might be fantastic nurser, you might have a spectacular supply this time around with this baby....but listen to yourself and how you are feeling in your situation. La Leche League can live with out one person in their posse. And your baby will be simply happy and healthy as long as he or she has full tummy! (side-note to Amy, it is possible to pump and breast feed when you go back to work....I worked full-time with my first and I fed him in the morning, pumped at a break around 10:00, another time at lunchtime (kept the bottles in the freezer at work), pumped one more time in the afternoon on break and brought it all home....and nursed in the early evening and late evening....my husband took care of him during the day and gave hime bottles of breast and formula) and he was just fine.

2/27/2006 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Ariel said...

Another unsolicited opinion from the childless nursing student: The first week of milk is the most important. If your baby hasn't caught on by then, bottle feed. Your sanity is more important.

Back to your regularly scheduled discussion...

2/28/2006 01:50:00 AM  
Blogger Tigersue said...

I would try it first, but don't beat yourself up if you need to use formula. It is NOT the end of the world as much as LLL would want you to think it is. My first two I gave bottles to, My last two I have nursed, but it is okay. DO what you have to for you and not for anyone else. IT is NOT worth the stress if you can't take care of yourself and your other little ones at the same time.

I would like to know why people think that they have the right to judge others one what they choose to do for their babies. IT is no ones, and I mean no ones right to judge those choices. There are many reason's to not breastfeed as there are for breastfeeding. I shouldn't have to EXPLIAN myself to anyone, I don't care who they are. People wonder why we get defensive when we don't BF, well it is exactly this kind of comment that does it, I look down on mothers who don't even try to breastfeed. I didn't BF my first two, for some very good reasons if you had been in my shoes, does that mean I love them any less than my last two. WRONG So yes defensive I am, I have been a nurse that has had to help women learn to feed their babies, some would weep because they really didnt' want to do it. We don't need that kind of pressure in our lives.
Sorry for the Thread Hijack, but this topic always gets me going...
So do what you want to do, and don't worry about what anyone things of you, you are not a bad mom for doing what you want!

2/28/2006 05:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, the Nazis killed millions of innocent people. I hate seeing breastfeeding advocates labeled that way.

I think it is amazing that you've had the dedication to pump as much as you have. I know that it takes more than a day or even a week for some (most?) women and their babies to get the hang of nursing. I would try nursing again and it it absolutely can't work I would still try to figure out a schedule that involved pumping and feeding expressed breast milk at least part of the time. You could feed part formula and part breastmilk; that would be easier on you than exclusively pumping but still better for the baby than only using formula.

I would also suggest that you seek out some professional advice from an IBCLC if possible.


2/28/2006 10:03:00 PM  
Blogger whatserbucket said...

As someone who has put in more than 1000 hours on a pump myself, I obviously am someone who can see the merit in expressing breast milk. HOWEVER! I did not have two other children to care for and I had help in my house for most of the time I had to pump. If those variables had been different, I doubt I could have done it.
I have to side with the bottle on this one. You've tried the experts, you've done what you can. Tender moments with you, your baby and some Infamil sound much better than harried chaos with that damnable wheaze wheaze wheaze and no napping. Hang in there. Things will be OK.

3/01/2006 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Breastfeeding was easy and joyous for me, and I think the health benefits are sufficiently well-documented that people ought to try to nurse if they can. But I think--I really hope!!--I've beaten the tendency to judge other mothers who find breastfeeding too difficult after giving it a go, or who have made an educated, responsible choice not to do it. There are just too many things that are of more consequence, and mothering is just too *(#$@! hard for us to be making it harder for each other with our mutual condemnations.

In defense of LLL, I think *most* LLLers are doing a good thing, trying to help people who have the usual problems (not the unusual and intractable ones mentioned on this thread) and educating people about the benefits of breastfeeding. Zealotry is always unattractive, and tends, alas, to detract attention from the good that is done by any organization.

Finally, a funny breastfeeding story--I tandem nursed my first two kids (*not*, btw, the cozy family-bonding experience I hoped for!!), so my oldest was quite old when he was weaned--old enough to also be working on potty-training. One day, soon after he had quit nursing, he came and asked to "nurseawhile." I reminded him that he was too big for that and we were all done, and he tried bargaining: "But Mommy, I'll keep my pants dry all day..." Yikes!!

3/01/2006 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Gosh, there just aren't enough comments for this post. I better add mine. :)

Tracy, for crying out loud, after reading the first or second paragraph of your post, I thought, what in the world is this poor woman trying to do to herself? Just buy the dang formula. Anyone who would judge you for not putting yourself through all that effort, exhaustion, etc. has her head up her butt, and that includes hospital staff.

This is the kind of guilt I felt faintly when people would ask why I had all 5 of my kids via C-section. I was so disappointed in my body after the first one and wondered why I was "defective," especially after a very specific clause in my patriarchal blessing about childbirth. The vibe I got from other people, especially by babies #4 and #5, was either pity or "what's wrong with her pusher?" Or, possibly, "she must be too lazy to go through labor." I almost felt like I had to apologize for having a teeny pelvis. Not quite the same situation, but I understand. Seriously - if they don't love it, they can shove it. You're trying to feed your kid, not make a point to the world about how potent your breasts are.

3/02/2006 12:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 7 children and 4 of them were fed formula from a bottle and I managed to successfully nurse 3 of them. They are all fully grown, most of them mothers themselves and I defy anyone to tell which ones were nursed and which weren't. Give yourself, your husband and your other kids a break and give that baby a bottle.

3/03/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Anonymous claire said...

I have to chime in with Vicki and point out that La Leche League Leaders are VOLUNTEERS, mothers who nursed their own kids, who give up time they could be doing something else to help people who COME TO THEM for information and support. Cut them a break! Or at least don't use the phrase as a catch-all for people who make uninvited comments about your choices. It slanders a wonderful, all woman organization that has helped change American culture to be more tolerant and supportive of women and mothers in general.

3/06/2006 10:31:00 AM  

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