Posts Tagged ‘breastfeeding’

Things I think but do not say about breastfeeding on the internet…

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

I am sick of being called a liar. I am sick of being told to keep my mouth shut. And I am most certainly sick of the idea that we should only talk about the good parts of breastfeeding lest we scare someone off. I am also sick of being told that any woman that just tries harder can successfully breastfeed. Breastfeeding is hard work. It is worth it, but (and this is a huge but) it is ok if it doesn’t work. It is ok to stop. Being a good mother is more important than how you feed your child.

I had a near perfect set-up: support system, check; baby-friendly hospital, check; vaginal birth, check; trained medical personnel, check; pre-birth classes, check; baby to the breast in under 15 minutes, check. The only big strikes against me were pitocin and epidural. Oh, and, apparently my breasts.

I never felt my milk come in. I never felt let down. If I squeezed my nipple really hard, some milk would come out. That and the occasionally milk dribble down Spencer’s chin were the only indications I was even making milk. The baby wasn’t gaining, my boobs were still pre-pregnancy size. Turns out that the whole boob thing is a pretty good indicator of low supply. Only problem with that is that the internet pretty much convinced me that low supply was a myth perpetuated by the formula industry to give lazy mom’s a way out of breastfeeding. But why was I worried? 6 weeks in and Spencer had just barely regained to birth weight. We were considering a gain of 3 ounces in a week a victory.

So, onward I struggled. I took two different medications, four supplements, two teas and tried any number of dietary milk boosters. The only thing that kind of worked was Reglan. Spencer slept for 6 hours one night and I actually got a little bit engorged. Only problem with Reglan was it basically made me insane and I was taken off of it. A month later, domperidone was tried. My doctor wouldn’t prescribe it off label, but it was pretty easy (at the time) to order it. It helped, but not enough. I still took it for a year.

I breastfed Spencer for 19 months. I supplemented with formula for 10 of those months and for 2 months I starved him trying to be a good mom and exclusively breastfeed him. People said he was fussy, he had colic. He was hungry. For weeks, I starved him. Because the internet told me breast was best and that formula was poison. I nursed for 45 minutes (at least) every 2 hours and then pumped for another 30 minutes. I didn’t leave the house. It consumed me. I don’t even remember the first two months of being a mother. I only remember the tears and the endless doctors appointments.

So, what is the end result of all that breastfeeding?

  • Breastfeeding gave me PPD.
  • Breastfeeding gave me PTSD (if the night terrors and tactile issues are any indication)
  • Breastfeeding ruined my sex life. (Ask my husband how long we went with out having sex because the thought being touching me made me want to vomit.)
  • Breastfeeding made me terrified of having another baby.
  • Breastfeeding cost me thousands of dollars (in supplements, medications, equipment, pumps).
  • Breastfeeding made me ashamed.
  • Breastfeeding made me want to throw myself out of a window.
  • Breastfeeding was the only way Spencer would fall asleep except for being driven in the car. I felt trapped and kept nursing.
  • The internet made it all worse.
  • I have no one to blame but myself.

I am not ready to write all of my story in full detail on my blog and may never do so publicly. If you or someone you know is struggling with any of these same issues, please feel free to email me at any time.



When Breastfeeding Struggles Go Too Far

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

I still haven’t been able to fully blog about my breastfeeding struggle. It was so hard for me, on me and social media made it that much worse. I have tons of thoughts swirling in my head, but it always deteriorates into an I Hate Breastfeeding diatribe, which is strange for someone who is still nursing their almost 19 monther.  That said, I read this post on Fearless Formula Feeder today and it blew me away. I got chills and ugly cried.

A few moths into my breastfeeding journey, my lactation consultant pretty much determined that I had Insufficient Glandular Tissue and had I not listened to my doctor and the threats of hospitalization for failure to thrive when Spencer was 4 weeks old, this story could have been mine. Go read it. It is amazing.

Similac Recall Reactions

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Every once in a while, I am really disappointed in the people I follow on Twitter and Facebook. Similac had a formula recall. And some mom’s online seem to be laughing about it. The powdered formula is being recalled due to possible beetle contamination, in short, there could be bugs in it. Which is kind of gross. But then I started seeing some tweets that basically said  formula recall, surprise, surprise, or ha ha, there are no bugs in breast milk, 0r reason number 485 why I breastfeed, formula recalled. Again.

How is that helpful? Not all mom’s want to give their babies formula. I sure didn’t. But “booby trapped” or no, I was led down a path where supplementation was the only way that Spencer gained weight. And I chose Similac. That doesn’t make a difference, but my heart sure skipped a beat when I first heard about the recall.

And then the tweets started flying. I can see why lactivists have a reputation for hating formula feeders. Many of the tweets were snarky and rude. It just seems so unnecessary to add insult to injury. The moms who buy this product are probably worried and freaking out. No need to mock them. One or two people did tweet a few times about playing nice, but it didn’t seem to help. I get that bug contamination could be seen as funny and lends itself to easy jokes.  Tellingly, the people who simply presented the recall information without comment or judgement were the professionals; the CLCs, the employees of breastfeeding aligned companies simply sent out a tweet or status update with the information.

I’ve unliked a blog on Facebook already and am debating about what to do about a few of the people I follow on Twitter. The worst part of all this, the women who so offended me, most likely wouldn’t care or would take my opinion as persecuting them.  And the most common reaction would probably be along the lines of fine then, unfollow me.  Ok then, will do.

P.S. I wrote this post while nursing my 14 month old son.

Breastfeeding Update

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

The first week of August is World Breastfeeding week, so I thought I would do an update on our breastfeeding situation. We made it to a year with breastfeeding as Spencer’s primary source of food. That was my original goal when I was pregnant, before all of our struggles made me start making desperate revisions to my expectations in an effort to curtail the devastation at having to give Spencer any formula. At that point I was just trying to breastfeed to the next day, the next week. So, we supplemented. But only 10 ounces a day, at the maximum, so I still consider Spencer primarily breastfed. Once we made it past six months, I knew we would make it to a year.

And then at about 10.5 months, the biting started and holy crap the biting. I assumed it was teething related because he would also just crawl up and randomly bite my arm, leg or foot. But he was getting more aggresive. I tried to isolate the causes, limited distractions, tried to pay attention to cues that he might give before he chomped down. Not that having teeth marks on my boobs isn’t fun…

I finally went back to my Lactation Consultant’s breastfeeding support group. She suggested not necessarily weaning Spencer, but ending heroic measures. This surprised me, but she explained that if he was biting all of the time, he might be looking at it as play time, not meal time. So, I started pulling him off the breast completely when he bit and not re-offering until a decent amount of time had passed. He must have felt a tremor in the force, because the biting stopped. I am hesitant to even write that, because I am sure it will just make it start again. I do think I am going to taper down the domperidone and stop taking it. We made it a year and I think we can just let nature take its course at this point.

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