I Flunked Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is awesome but it's just not going to work for some women. I love this post from Shannon at Graytmama and how hard she tried during her breastfeeding journey.

Ok, So Maybe I Got a D-

I studied really hard before the big day!  I read the freaking books, I bought the stupid pump, I even bought those little nursing pads!  I was going to do whatever it took to give my little bambina milk from the boob.

Well, that was until I realized breastfeeding was no walk with your baby in the park!  I wrote out my birth plan, and was going to tell the nurses to hand baby over to me right away, so I could do what the books said, and do skin-to-skin until she just magically latched.  Baby G, must have been playing games with the her umbilical cord, because that thing was all tied up around her neck, and they whisked her away to the baby cooker/oven for about 15 minutes until they got her breathing.  This blew my chance of having immediate contact with my chick!  Birth plans sometimes have other plans, and when its your baby’s life, you won’t think twice about going a different direction.

Once I finally got my peanut in my arms, the last thing I wanted to do was learn how to teach my baby to feed off of me.  I could hardly hold my head up because of pure exhaustion.  My babe was taken after 20 minutes because of Strep B, and we were not reunited until 6 hours later.  This is where my real BF journey begins.

Latching or Lack Thereof

Once you can figure out how to get baby onto your nipple, its smooth sailing for awhile.  However, if you have flat or inverted nipples(soon-to-be mamas are currently feeling themselves up to check their nips), this is going to present a challenge for you and baby. Several nurses inspected my nipples, and declared, “Yup, you’ve got the flat kind! Next, without even buying me a drink, they tugged and yanked at my flat nipples to get them to come out, thats when they decided to bring in reinforcements!  Enter the “Faux nipple” AKA “The Shield”.  This device is basically a fake nipple that you stick on your real nipple, so that baby can get a better latch.  Now, I have to give my girl credit, she could latch just fine, and I’m sure if we brought a stunt double Mama with “not so flat” nipples, she would have rocked it!  The shield was my BFF for a hot second, and then Baby G began losing the weight. DUN, DUN, DUN…


Here’s the deal: Your child has got to eat!  They shouldn’t be losing weight, which they will in the first couple days, but after that your baby should be gaining, and quickly gaining.  If you bring baby in to their first doc appointment and they are not gaining weight, the doc is going to begin pushing formula.  They want you to BF, they really do, but if baby isn’t packing on the pounds, then doc is gonna step in with some samples and push that shit!  I begged the Doc not to make me give my baby formula, and I got away with this song and dance for a whole week after Baby G’s first doctor visit. No binkys, no bottles, and no formula, just straight up boob (and my trusty faux nipple). All I had to do was bring my little one in for some weight checks.  I was feeling extra confident when the lactation consultant dropped by, and told me that G was doing just fine!  I was even pumping enough milk to feed baby a bottle if I wanted to. Sweeet!  I’ve got reserves!  I thought I was in the clear, FO sure FO sure!

By the time week 2 rolled around, my baby was slowy looking more and more like a premie. I had the lac lady come over for one more visit, and it was pretty clear that something had to be done.  My chick was about a pound lighter.  In baby world, that aint nothing to brag about!  When I went in to see my doc, she got down in her “Doc rolling chair”, and slide over eye level to me.  “ITS TIME FOR FORMULA!”  At this point, I couldn’t argue.  My new pride and joy looked pathetic in my husband’s arms. It was time!  I did get my way a little, because the doc said I could continue giving her the boob, but that I had to feed her formula or pumped breast milk after.  This way we would be sure that she was getting food in her shrinking little belly.  I continued with the following schedule.  Brace yourselves, its all kinds of cray!

  • Feed 1: Put baby on left breast for 15 minutes, Right breast for 15 minutes.  Feed Baby 2 ounces of Breast Milk, 1 ounce of formula (not combined) Then pump for 30 to create milk for the next feed.
  • Feed 2: Repeat
  • Feed 3: Repeat
  • Feed 4:Repeat
  • Feed 5: Repeat
  • Feed 6: Repeat
  • Feed 7: Repeat
  • Feed 8: Repeat

I did this for a month, and when I went in for baby G’s 1 month check up, my fabulous Ped, pulled her “Doc rolling chair” over, and got real close AGAIN.  “You have to stop this!  Your baby is not gaining enough weight because you are running her on a treadmill (your boobs) for 30 minutes every feed.  You can pump as much as you like, but that baby is not to go on your boobs anymore, until I see some serious weight gain!”

I cried, and then I listened, and then I began this schedule:

  • Feed 1: Bottle of pumped milk, bottle of formula, then pump for 30 to create milk for the next feed
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
  • Repeat
  • Repeat

After 2 months I finally began pumping less, and eventually STOPPED this insanity all together. My life had become all about milk!  I was only ever able to pump 3 ounces at my best pump.  Which is small potatoes for a hungry baby, especially one who is trying to catch up. I had two problems on my hands, baby wasn’t able to transfer enough milk, and I wasn’t making enough milk.

I tell you my personal story not to convince you one way or the other.  If I would have given her formula earlier, I would have had more sleep because I wouldn’t have been pumping after every feed.  I would have had more precious time with my newborn. I missed SO much because I was trying SO hard to make it work. Now, if you want to go to great lengths to make this work, then DO IT! Breast milk is AMAZEBALLS for your kiddo, and you are AMAZEBALLS if you try!

  • Call a lactation consultant.  They are FAB!  They will teach you SO much.
  • Buy a scale and weigh your baby (naked) before and after feeds to see how much they are getting
  • Take Fenugreek  (Supposed to increase milk supply)
  • Drink Mother Milk Tea
  • Use a shield for your nipple for a better latch
  • Use nipple shells to draw out your nips
  • Milk Makers Cookies
  • Rent a hospital grade pump
  • Pumping power hour=hook up to the pump for an hour, and turn the pump on for 10, off for 5.  Could increase milk supply
  • If your nipples hurt your doc can prescribe a steroid type prescription that can be turned into cream by some pharmacies.
  • If you have blocked ducts, be sure to massage the little balls in your boob after every feed
  • Ice for pain
  • Heat for pain
  • Neosporin, Lanolin or Nipple Butter for the nips
  • To cut down on the pumping and bottle feeding process.  Put a blanket on top of the boppy, and strap on to the pump (Hands free bra).  Set baby in the boppy, and bottle feed while pumping.  Then you don’t have to pump after you bottle feed baby.
  • Eat more, sleep more!  Don’t stress!  Lack of sleep and food can decrease milk supply.  Increased stress can too.

No matter what you choose to do, just remember you are a Great Mama!!

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  • wow, this was literally my exact story (well not the being separated part in the beginning, but everything else).. except I pumped way less than 3 ounces per pump. my supply continued to decrease as well. I came to the same realization about all the time I wasted and sleep and bonding I missed out on. I also gave up trying just about a week ago and regained my sanity. turns out my baby had a tongue and lip tie, plus my flat nipples, AND it turns out I had IGT (insufficient glandular tissue). those things may have been the case for you too. the odds were just stacked against me. but I am kind of thankful that so many women have this exact story. I feel a little less alone.

  • I’m so happy that women are finally starting to talk about the other side of breastfeeding… While I firmly believe it’s the best choice when possible, for some of us it’s just not feasible. I actually got off to a really great start with my son, but my milk supply dropped off almost completely around four months due to stress (colicky baby, getting virtually no sleep for months, several break-ins at my clinic and employee problems that led to me closing my business, etc). I’m an acupuncturist and herbalist, so believe me when I say I tried EVERYTHING to get my supply back up.

    I continued trying to breastfeed (including pumping) until my son was a little more than a year old, but never succeeded in doing any more than stressing myself out even further and severely frustrating us both for months. The pressure I was putting on myself definitely interfered with bonding and led to the development of post-partum depression. I ended up making a homemade formula daily (which I still think was our best option, but was insanely time consuming and just added to my stress level) after my son fell off the weight chart and stopped growing at six months. He also became listless and completely stopped smiling, cooing, etc. I still feel an immense amount of guilt for those months that he wasn’t getting enough to eat, but everything I read online told me to trust my body (and ignore my intuition).

    I know there will always be people out there who will think that I just didn’t try hard enough, but talking to (and reading about) other women who have had similar problems has helped me immensely. I’m currently pregnant with my second child and I am hopeful that things will be better this time. But if not, I won’t make the same mistakes I made last time. I know that proving my child with the nourishment she needs will be the most important thing I can do as a mother–regardless of where it comes from.

  • Neither of my two boys wanted to latch correctly. No matter how many times I would take them off and try to latch them on correctly, they would never pull the nipple into their mouth far enough and would end up gumming my poor nips. I EP’d with the first one for 8 months before I got fed up and gave him formula until he was a year, after that he’s been drinking whole milk. He’s now about 21 months. My youngest is 2 months and I am EP-ing with him as well. I will breastfeed him for a short period of time if I’m out and about in town and he gets hungry, but he mostly drinks pumped breastmilk. I’m fortuitous enough that my breasts are holsteins. My baby has a VERY healthy appetite, but even with that I pump much more than he can eat. I started giving the extra milk to his older brother and I still end up freezing a lot. I would try and step it down a bit, but with his older brother when I dropped pumpings my supply went way down and never returned no matter what I tried to bring it back. I’d rather deal with an oversupply and feed it to my older son than lose the supply for the baby because I tried to regulate it. I don’t mind pumping at home, but pumping at work sucks. There’s no one to cover my pumping breaks, so I’m on call during them and I have to stop and help a customer if one shows up. It’s super stressful to the point that I contribute this stress to the reason why I quit pumping with my oldest at 8 months. Today is my first day back and I got interrupted twice during my one 20 min pumping break. I think i shall call my local HR and see if there’s anything she can do about it.

  • I can totally relate to this post! Thank you for including it. I have twins and was trying to pull off the same kind of madness because they both lost a pound, and I didn’t have enough milk for both. The only difference was that I had to do it one at a time because they were both tricky latchers…
    1. Feed boob to twin 1
    2. Feed bottle to twin 1
    3. Feed boob to twin 2
    4. Feed bottle to twin 2
    5. Pump
    This whole process took about 2 hours… Then I would have about an hour, then do it all again. It was insane and unrealistic. I got 2.5 hours of sleep some nights! Plus one baby was colicy. I did this for about 1.5 months before I hit my breaking point and changed things up. The pressure we put on ourselves is crazy, but we’re also prepped by all those books and reading ahead of time that if you just try hard enough nreastfeeding is a breeze (even the twin books suggest this).

  • I didn’t hold my first baby the first weekend he was born because I was cluster pumping all day and night as recommended by the lactation consultant. He was latched on me wrong and for way too long the first two days in the hospital and my nipples were torn apart, cracked and bleeding. The dr had me feed him at our appointment and he actually lost a few ounces after I nursed him. Dr said you can exclusively pump or formula feed. I wanted to give my baby breast milk so badly but I wanted to hold my baby more. We were so blessed that a good friend donated some of her milk for a few months.

    When my 2nd baby arrived I felt more prepared. I also told myself I would forgive myself sooner if it didn’t work. He was out in less than 2 pushes and had amniotic fluid in his stomach and lungs so he wasn’t hungry enough to latch for the first day. He was also bruised and swollen because he was almost 11lbs and I’m not a big person, so he didn’t like to be moved around too much. He finally latched and I thought we were going to make it. But we ended up having to supplement a bit in the hospital just to get something in him. I hand expressed and we used a finger syringe so he still had to work for it. But it was still easier than the breast so after a few days he refused on side completely and than a few feelings later he refused to latch on to either. He’s 1 month hold today. I can still hand express 1/2 oz out sometimes which I give him but other than that he gets organic formula from Europe because it makes me feel less guilty. I have a 13mo and a 1mo, pumping exclusively was not going to work for our family.

    I’m working on forgiving myself. Your story definitely helps with that. Thank you so much for sharing. I believe breast is best, but making sure your baby has enough food is even better.

  • This is the most helpful article I have ever read! This is exactly what I’m going brought, except swap the weight loss with 2 rounds of mastitis. I have been struggling with the formula decision that my lack of supply is forcing me to make. I’m trying the feed, pump, feed, pump routine but on days like today where my little guy wants to feed all day, the struggle is so real. This is exactly what I needed to read tonight.

  • I could have written every word of this post! Thank you so much for helping take the stigma off of formula. I tried and tried and cried and cried for way too long and missed out on important parts of my baby’s newborn phase. I’m so happy we’ve made the switch because he is thriving after the scariest most stressful weeks of my entire life. You are an inspiration, mama! Keep it up.

  • I went through this exact same thing for 6 weeks!! However I didn’t listen to the docs as much as I did the lactation nurse. I did the S&S with the formula and all that jazz bc the LC expressed the importance of my nipple rather than the bottle. Any who…. LOONGGGGGG exhausting, overwhelming, worst time of my life story short… My baby had a tongue tie. The LC figured it out @ week 6, and by week 7 we were having the best feedings a mom & baby could ask for. I am so grateful for my LC, and she has inspired me to become one myself. Going for my classes this fall!!! Don’t give up mamas!!!!!!

  • While I have respect and empathy for your personal journey and this beautiful story you’ve told, the amount of breastfeeding misinformation, both that you were given and that you give, is staggering. I’m so sorry you didn’t get the expert help you and your baby needed and so desperately wanted to make feeding at the breast work for you. Anyone else reading this who is struggling, take the advice given here with a grain of salt and see a highly recommended private practice IBCLC ASAP.

    • Her story is not the same as mine but I have had similar struggles. And I have worked with not one, but TWO IBCLCs. I am still unable to breastfeed. We do a combination of pumped milk and formula because I can only pump about 10 oz total in a 24 hr period. Stop judging.

  • Thank you so much for writing this. I had nearly the same experience. I was determined to breastfeed, but could not for the life of me make enough milk. Luckily I had a wonderful lactation consultant and pediatrician team who really supported me as much as they could. We tried all kinds of feeding strategies to help get my supply up and his latch better, but after a month of him not gaining enough weight and fussing constantly we had to supplement with formula. He gulped that first bottle down in the clinic so fast we had to rush to open another bottle for him! I still continued to try to increase my milk and we just added formula to our crazy routine of breastfeeding, supplementing, and pumping (at every feeding and through the night). I can completely identify with many of the comments I’ve read. When you pump for 30 min 8 times per day, you get nothing else done. You don’t hold your baby, you don’t make food for yourself, you don’t shower. You certainly don’t leave the house for any length of time. I still feel guilty that I wasn’t able to breastfeed my little one, and I feel even more guilty for having starved him for the first month of his life. Props to all the mommas out there who are trying their darnedest to breastfeed despite having serious difficulty. As my lactation consultant told me, "Breastfeeding is great, but in the end the most important thing is to feed the baby." So if breastfeeding is not actually feeding your baby, breast may not be best.

  • I did the same read all the books on BF, talked to my doc about BF, got a pump I thought I was ready. When baby wa born BF was going to be a piece of cake. Lol..yeah right. My baby was born at 33 weeks and a c section forget skin to skin. Forget even trying to see my baby that day. I was sick frm meds, I was in alot of pain, taking pain meda dr me fall straight to sleep when I woke up I was drowsy and sick. I was on a liquid diet. I made myself get up out of bed to see by baby it was 3 am. I didnt care I held my baby and did skin to skin. I started pumping every three hrs. With the hospital pump. I was determined no matter what I was going to breastfeed. But since my ba y was in nicu. I pumped and at least she was getting breast milk. And i did the pumping was great super tired on meds and sick but I still got up in pain saw my baby did skin to skin and pumped. She was in the nicu for 2 weeks. I got released frm hospital i continued to pump every 3 hrs and store all my milk. I would get time with baby before every feed to try to get her to latch no luck. I was so upset I wanted to BF so bad. They Ave me the shield and it worked! The shield also became my best friend! Baby came home. But being premie BF was hard worm for her. So I would let her BF for 15 min just one boob than feed her Breast milk from bottle to make sure she was getting all her milk. Than put her to sleep get up and pump. Repeat every three hours. I was so exhausted and would fall alseep pumping. But I wasn’t going to give up. But one thing I didn’t menation I have two older athletic boys who love.to play sports. I’m a busy mon. My husband works nights and even during the day at times. I take the boys to school in the morning and pick the up. With my routine I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. But my baby came first. Than I got mastitis. The worst thing ever. I felt like I was on my death bed I had it bad. Fever, chills, body aches nauseous. It was horrible. But I still had to get up a feed and pump. After that my milk supply went down i was super exhausted I just couldn’t do it anymore. My health and my babies came first. And i just couldn’t get the hang of it. The doc told me the shield was just a guide for ba y I had to ween her off. And she would not latch on her own so I just started to bottle feed her. Than came me not pumping enough milk for her feedings and having to do breast milk and formula than I got mastitis again. Oh no I was not going through this again. After that I couldn’t do it i didn’t want to risk getting that infection again . I was just to busy of a mom to pump every three hours I sometimes what appointments and games on days I couldn’t pump until after 6 to 7 hours. I was in pain I had to stop. I really felt awful of me cause I failed. But my doc said your health and ba is come first. And she was right.

  • Gah, did I write this?! We went through/are still going through the same thing. My little is gaining finally (and eating formula and not dying from it), and I’m still pumping but that first schedule…oh yeah, looks mighty familiar to one we had a month ago!

  • As another commenter suggested, some of the tips at the end of this article are not entirely supported. Ongoing use of a nipple shield, especially if just for comfort, can actually decrease your supply! It may have contributed to your problem. I was given one for an inverted nipple at the hospital but was told that I shriek try every feeding without it and that as soon as baby could latch without it to discontinue use. So glad to have been given that direction. Aside from possibly interfering with how much milk my baby got, and therefore how much milk I supplies, becoming dependent on the shield would sure complicate the ofherwise
    convenient aspect of breastfeeding. Please be cautious when suggesting nipple shields to other mothers without the caveat that they should be used sparingly.

  • To the writer: This is an important topic, and many women go through the same issue. I only wish you would have written it in proper English rather than with abbreviations, and in a conversational language that makes it difficult to read.

  • I hate that it’s even a thing we’re supposed to stress out about! With my first, it was so bad that I couldn’t even get answers to my questions. The pediatrician and the lactation consultant were more interested in pushing their agendas that they wouldn’t even pay attention to what I was telling them. My daughter was gaining but was quickly falling off her growth curve, so the pediatrician just gave me this vague message of "keep breastfeeding, but you may have to supplement." I’d say, can’t we test my milk or her for deficiencies? And he’d just say, "I don’t want to do anything that invasive. She’s doing fine but if she doesn’t gain more weight you’re going to have to supplement or switch. Here’s a sample." What? And the fact was, as her mother, I thought that there was something wrong. When I mentioned my concerns to the lactation consultant, though–like the fact that she was actually falling off her growth curve for weight (from the 35th percentile to the 1st in weight over the first six months) and height, and the fact that she always seemed hungry–the LC just told me all the same stuff every time, and in a fairly condescending way. She didn’t do anything like weigh my daughter before and after or anything that would actually alleviate my worries. She just kept telling me the same thing and expecting me to feel better because I was just a first-time mom and she was the expert. She kept saying, "breast-fed babies don’t need much at a feeding." Which may be true, but my baby was freaking hungry afterwards. "You should look at the WHO charts for breast-fed babies." I’d respond, "If you look at the WHO charts, her situation looks even worse, because, according to those, breast-fed babies are actually bigger for the first six months and then their curves taper off more quickly." She never even gave me a single word of response to that. Like it never registered. She’d look me in the face and ignore what I was saying. "Just take more fenugreek and pump in between. Oh, and get rid of the nipple shield because if you use it your baby won’t breastfeed past six months. Try a beer in the evenings. Oh, take a nursing holiday!" That last one was really pissing off, because at first it sounded like, "give yourself a break from this craziness," when in fact, she meant, "just don’t do anything else and nurse constantly all day." I don’t know what she effing thought I was doing; that’s why I called her in the first place. I wasn’t some mom who just can’t let herself rest and is always doing laundry and dishes and cleaning. To hell with all of that; I lived in that nursing chair and I wasn’t about to call it a "holiday." I’m honestly still very angry (not that you could tell) about how I was completely steamrolled and ignored by the only people I had for support. The fenugreek, mother’s milk tea, and beer (all at the same time) did precisely nothing. Not the slightest bit. Meanwhile, I was gaining weight while breastfeeding (lucky me) and dealing with D-MER which a lot of people don’t even believe is a thing, and let me tell you it certainly effing is a thing. I bashed my head against a wall and resented my baby for six months, while all she did in my arms was scream because she was hungry. I couldn’t even put her to bed at night or for naps. I’m not exaggerating. For SIX MONTHS I couldn’t get my own baby to go to sleep because of breastfeeding issues. My husband and my mom did all the mothering and all I got to do was stick my boob in her mouth and fail at not feeling a wave of despair wash over me. So I have a thesaurus of extremely choice words for anybody who tells a new mom that she should be worried about giving her baby formula. I mean, I know the jet fuel and flame retardant chemical residues in my breastmilk are something I hate to deprive babies of, but if you can sleep well after making a new mother feel guilty and nervous about the only choice she feels is open to her after already feeling like she failed to do something she really wanted to succeed at, then you simply have a black heart.

  • No nipple issues or latch issues here… but my milk didn’t come in for ten days! We had to start supplements right away (which I was told when woken up at 1am our second night in the hospital to be informed that my baby was dehydrated and jaundiced – didn’t know that was totally normal). The stress (devastation!) of being told to supplement so early paired with general stress about taking care of my baby had a big impact. Even when my milk did come in, it never caught up with what she needed. I was on the breastfeed for 30min/pump for 30 min every 2 to 3 hours (1/3-1/2 of my life) and every time it was so stressful. Eventually the fifteen minutes before she’d need to eat I’d start building up this stress and frustration, not want to hold her at all, then start crying when I switched to pumping, and then bemoan the lack of milk from pumping. Finally, I decided to take control. I recognized that my baby was healthy and growing, and that breastfeeding was actually getting in the way of our bonding. Now my little one breastfeeds in the morning and at night, and I don’t think about my boobs any time in between. She’s happy and healthy, and I am happy and healthy! Call it selfish, but if I’d gone farther down the breastfeeding road, I don’t think I would have been a very good mother in other ways.

    I think it’s really important to understand (and a hard lesson to learn) that sometimes what is actually best for everyone isn’t the thing you’re always told is "best."

  • WOW … this is almost my exact story. It’s nice to hear about similar stories because I can feel the judgments every time people find out I’m not breastfeeding.

  • Thank you for writing this article as I was also one of many out there who wasn’t producing enough milk from breastfeeding. I had a c-section and could barely do anything except for pumping and trying to breastfeed. I was breastfeeding, then pumping right after to give to my son then topping up with formula right away as he was just so hungry. He would cry and cry until he’s red in the face and we were both getting stressed to the point he wouldn’t even latch on…not even that, he wouldn’t even take the breast. By week two, I gave up on breastfeeding and gave him formula. BEST decision ever! I not only got some sleep but focused on my recovery from the csection and most importantly, we were both happy!

  • I feel you! I pump 2 oz usually, 3 at best, so baby gets my milk as an appetizer and then formula for the rest of his meal. I’ve tried so many of those tricks but the supply just won’t increase. I have to use a nipple shield as well – baby won’t latch otherwise. You did your best, and the time your baby got your milk, pumped or otherwise, was very good for her health while the formula was giving her the rest of her needed nutrition. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • I had a similar experience and in the end (after 7 weeks) switched over to formula because I was miserable at all the pumping etc. After that so much better and got to spend the time enjoying the little one.

  • I went through almost the exact same troubles and finally had to give up as well. It’s something I’ve been carrying with me since and this article made me feel loads better. Thank you!

  • Thank you so much for this post. I can identify with almost every aspect! Triple nuchal cord, tongue and lip ties, poor milk transfer, jaundice, very poor weight gain, barely pumping an ounce in the beginning, etc. The most I’ve ever gotten from pumping while at work was 7 ounces and I about crapped myself I was so excited! At 5 months we’re still breast feeding when my LO is with me, but he gets mostly formula when I’m away. And at 5 months I’ve finally let go of the stress and accepted that it’s all ok. I thought breastfeeding would be easy, it most certainly is not! I thought I would have a chubby baby, nope, lean like his daddy. I’ve stopped trying to boost my milk supply because OMG I smelled and it gave me terrible gas! There’s so much pressure right now to do things a certain way. We need to have more grace with each other. Again, thank you for the post, it was very encouraging to me 🙂

  • Can I get more specifics about the steroid that could be made into a nipple cream? My son was a biter from day one and I was bleeding and bruised before I even left the hospital. With some kind of relief from that we may have been more successful with breastfeeding. If I have the same issue next time I’d like to know what cream she is referring too. Thanks!

    • Hey Brianna,

      I would talk to your OBGYN about the cream as you get closer to delivering the next baby. I honestly cannot remember the name of it, but have heard of other Mama’s talk about it too. I actually had to take the prescription to an apothecary/special pharmacist who could compound it into a cream. I believe there was an antibiotic in the cream as well. If I come across the name of it, I will send along! There is also a bunch of info about the creams if you google it, but don’t want to throw out the wrong name! Huge lifesaver, although it wasn’t my main problem that led to my failure ;(

  • Such a great post. I hate that there’s so much pressure to breastfeed. Yes, breastfeeding is great, but if your relationship with your baby is suffering because of it, that’s worse than giving formula. My LO is gaining, but not quite enough, so we’ve been supplementing. Some days I panic because I think we’re giving him too much via bottle and some days I panic because I don’t think he’s getting enough. sigh and I still pump after we give him a bottle to keep my supply up. It’s exhausting. I wish people talked more about how hard the whole breastfeeding thing is.

    • Couldn’t agree more! They need to do more studies about how important bonding is with your baby instead of constantly shoving all this breastfeeding stuff in our faces! I wish I could have done it, but looking back I wish I hadn’t wasted so much of my special time stressing about making it work, when I could have been spending that time with my sweet newbie!

  • I’m all about supporting mamas, but there is some inaccurate advice in here for nursing moms. Weighing baby, timing feeds, nipple shields…take it with a grain of salt as my understanding is that muh of this is no longer best practice. Look into proper latch, tongue/lip tie, more akin to skin…

  • And at the end of the day, formula will not make your baby fat, will not make your baby stupid, will not make them doomed to catch every cold and ear infection out there and will not kill your baby. Believe me. I have failed at breast feeding twice. My babes are beautiful, smart, long and lanky, hitting milestones well ahead of the recommended timeline and are healthier than their cousins who were all breastfed. Formula is not bad. Starving your baby, that’s bad… says a mother who’s baby lost AN ENTIRE POUND in a week because I tried to force it. I’ve been there. Three years later, I still feel guilty I starved her for so long.

    • Oh my gosh! The guilt is still there for me too! I had another go at it with my second kiddo recently and put myself through the same hell. A few month later and I once again realize how fat and happy is the way to go!


      • Me too. Only I breastfed and formula fed her. I was not going to put myself through the heartache that my baby wasn’t eating. I enjoyed the early days more with my 2nd than my first because I wasn’t stressing over my baby not latching on.

  • I suffered the same situation and my daughter was almost "failure to thrive" at 2 months of age with her weight dropping into the 3rd percentile. It was just too hard for her to suck enough milk out so she stopped eating and basically was starving. I was told to add in formula every other feed, so I did. She took a whole bottle and had a full belly. When it was time to BF, she was back to being unhappy and hungry. Lucky for both of us, this was my second child so I knew to just stop pumping AND BF since she had an easier time eating on formula. My first child never learned to latch from being in the NICU for a month so I pumped and fed like that for 3 months. IT. WAS. EXHAUSTING. I knew I didn’t want to do that again. I WANTED to BF, for me, because I missed that opportunity with my son. But, it was not the best thing for her, as Mom’s we have to do what is best for our child and don’t let anyone make us feel bad about it.

  • I have a similar story and we have made it to 7 months, still breastfeeding when I can, but about half his intake is formula. I actually think that a big part of it was the nipple shield. It took away from his ability to latch onto my breast well, and was a hard habit to break. I understand that for some women it is a necessity, but I was just told it would make BFing easier. We DID break the habit and things got better. But it wasn’t until we started giving him formula that his weight took off. I look back now on those early days, how fussy he was, how skinny he was, and I think – if I could do it again knowing what I know now. I would have been able to help him feel more comfortable, I would have been able to help him gain weight, and I would have been able to enjoy more time with him. BUT – I also know that my child is a super happy, loveable, healthy 7 month old, who right now is gaining weight like crazy. We all have to do what works best for us and our babies and owe no one an explanation. But I can say, that the stress I put on myself to feed him was very hard, I did more than many people have to to get where we are today, and my hope is that every mom looks back on the love she gave and sacrifices she made for her babies with pride and joy only. Keep on rockin it, you are one dedicated mama!

  • I could have written half of this. We’re three months and exclusively pumping and supplementing because baby prefers the speed of the (lactation consultant recommended, designed to simulate breastfeeding) bottle over my broken boobs. I have flat nipples, baby had a tongue tie that went undiagnosed for a week, we gave formula because she was dehydrated, my supply has never caught up to her. I have spent more money on lactation consultants, special bottle nipples, supplements, pump rentals, supplemental nursing systems that she refuses to use, etc… than I did on our birth bill. The hours I’ve spent not holding my daughter because I was pumping, the constant frustration and heartbreak… I keep feeling like we’re not allowed to talk about the fact that breastfeeding isn’t easy and for some women, it’s not possible. I’ve yet to be judged in public for giving my daughter a bottle, but I look forward to the screaming that I will do as a result. It’ll be a nice stress relief.

    • Ha Ha! I was ALWAYS waiting for the day someone even looked at my sideways for making a bottle with formula. Agreed… It would have been wonderful therapy!


  • While I am sorry you had such a horrid experience this has actually made me feel soooo much better about my own breast feeding experience with my gorgeous daughter. I tried breastfeeding for the first two weeks and my daughter would feed non stop and lost far too much weight. I live in the UK where the midwives are not allowed to recommend formula feeding but at one visit they weighed my LO, looked at me then each other, shut the door and sat me down for a chat where I was told its not worth the stress to me, the continuous distress to my child, as well as her getting ill due to the immense pressure from pretty much everyone to breastfeed. Best thing that happened to me. I have had a LOT of comments and judgement but the sad fact was that I simply didn’t have enough milk for the poor little thing and she was suffering as a result. I continued to try to pump for a while but the most i got after an hour and a half was 2 oz. Pathetic and certainly explained why my poor LO was so distressed all the time. The difference in her from the moment she finished her first bottle of formula was absolutely incredible and we haven’t looked back. All those who are so preachy and judgemental about formula have obviously not had the horrid experience of feeling like a total failure and should NOT be judging others. Nothing wrong with formula at all. For some of us it was simply the best option and if people choose to FF from the start – well nothing wrong with that either!

    • I cant stand the wars against breastmilk and formula! Some Mamas can be SO harsh, especially when it is such a struggle to breastfeed. I actually had a Mama refer to my kiddos formula as "artificial milk". Um, are you serious? How about I ask you if your boobs are "artificial?!" It still blows my mind that after all Moms go through to try and make it work, someone has yet another piece of advice. I LOVE hearing you say how different your baby was after having that first bottle!


  • My daughter lost wieght and the first 2 months they had us doing weekly weight checks. I chose to ignore the doctor’s advice. She was sleeping through the night and having enough wet diapers. FYI i have never pumped more than 1 once out of each side. I researched and found a great article(don’t know where) that said weight loss alone is NOT evidence that something is wrong, it’s only one metric. By her 1st bday i was shown her growth chart and how she has a "perfect" curve. Women need to trust themselves. Great book "Milk, Money, and Madness" other cultures have 100% success rate in breastfeeding. Breatfeeding fails in most cases because of psychological factors that our society has taught women that our bodies are not to be trusted.

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