This is the Best I Can Come Up With When Left to My Own Devices
The Girl Who Cried Boob

The Internet Really Needs Another Rant About Breastfeeding

(I'm finally working on The Birth Story, Part Two. But first, one last boob-related tantrum.)

(Last. Haaaaaaaaa.)

My mom was a witness to the Great Nursing Downward Spiral last week. She watched Noah go from eating like a champ on a regular basis to being a fussy, distracted eater who would only nurse for a few minutes before pulling away in either red-faced fury or complete boredom.

So we talked about breastfeeding. A lot.

When my oldest brother was born, in the 60s, no one breastfed. It was barbaric. It was Third World. It Was Not Done. Formula was the Modern Civilized Way and produced Super-Brained Babies of the Future.

So when my mom decided to breastfeed, she had zero support or instruction.

Not surprisingly, it didn't work out. My brother didn't latch correctly and lost weight. My mom was shocked by how much it HURT and developed mastitis. Her pediatrician yelled at her for starving her baby and berated her until she gave up and switched to formula.

She didn't even try to breastfeed her next two babies.

By the time I came along, it was 70s, and the tide had turned. La Leche League was around and breastfeeding was finally coming back in vogue. So she nursed me for five months, which is when I woke up one day and absolutely, steadfastly refused anything but a bottle.

Out of the four of us, I was the baby with the chronic ear infections. I had tubes put in my ears when I was five. I had a frillion food and drug allergies. I was always, always sick.

Was there a connection? Feh. Probably not. I was just a kid who got a lot of ear infections. I was never in daycare and never had a drop of formula until I weaned my damnned self. So...that's that, I suppose.

Since I've been writing about my own Boob Tribulations, I've gotten a lot of emails. Some have been full of the worst kind of assvice ("Don't give up! Formula is SO AWFUL! Stop giving him bottles! You're confusing him with pacifiers! Stop drinking milk/wine/juice/caffeine/meat/bread/calories and it will all get better!), some have been encouraging success stories -- and others are personal accounts about Why I Quit Breastfeeding Because Goddamn, Enough Already.

Those stories? Are so sad, because y'all are trying SO HARD. You're fighting through thrush and mastitis and low supply and bleeding nipples and clogged ducts and pumping and weight loss and milk drying up overnight for no apparent reason.

And when you admit that you quit, the guilt and shame and regret are palpable.

It's funny. Most of us have a support network that my mom's generation could only dream about. We have lactation consultants at our pediatrician's office who give us their home phone numbers and books and pumps and special breastmilk storage containers and detailed instructions for pumping and storing milk tacked up on our fridge. We have Boppies and Soothies and prescription nipple creams.

Yet we're still having a motherfucking hard time.

And while there are hundreds of people who will applaud our decision to breastfeed now, we're all terrified to admit that we want to give up. That it's not working for us. That we aren't one of the women for whom the whole process comes easily and naturally and look! We're already so skilled we can do it out in public without any screaming or multiple failed latches or showing our boob off to the entire food court.

I haven't given up. I'm still trying. I'm still in pain and I'm still a fucking wreck because Noah is not nursing like everybody tells me he should nurse. A few minutes here and there and a tendency to pull away violently, which OW OW OW.

(Oh yes, that whole shebang about breastfeeding only hurting if you're doing something wrong? Or if the baby isn't latched on right? Bullshit. SHUT UP, La Leche League.)

I thought it was my diet affecting the flavor of the milk. Until I pumped, put the same milk he'd just rejected in a stupid bottle and watched him happily slurp an entire four ounces down.

I thought it was reflux. I gave him Mylicon drops and burped the kid so many times per feeding he's probably all twitchy from the back-thumping. Still. Five minutes a boob is the most I can get him to commit to.

I thought it was a flow issue. We bought slower-flow nipples for his bottles to make him work harder, which suceeded in making him hate the bottle, but didn't change his nursing patterns at all.

I've let him sleep through feedings to get really good and hungry. I've woken him up and forced him on the boob while still half-asleep. Same result.

He poops, he pees and he sleeps peacefully for hours at a time. He doesn't have colic and he's outgrowing his 0-3 month clothes already. He holds his head up and is extremely alert and good-natured. He smiled at me yesterday.

All signs point to a baby who is doing Just Fine.

His mama, however, cannot take this kind of stress. First it was the low supply. The pumping and the fenugreek and the supplementing with formula.

Then it was the thrush. (And OH MY GOD, the THRUSH. THAT RASH. THAT HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE RASH THAT NO ONE UNDERSTOOD WAS NOT A NORMAL DIAPER RASH AND COULD NOT BE SOLVED BY CHANGING DIAPER BRANDS OR ANY OVER-THE-COUNTER BUTT PASTE KNOWN TO MAN.)

(What finally worked? The prescription stuff from the doctor, corn starch and a buttload of patience.)

(Buttload. HA!)

So. We continue to limp along. We see the lactation folks on Thursday for the moment of truth: is Noah losing weight again? Is he miraculously getting enough in these super-short feeds? Should we withhold the bottle or not? Continue pumping to keep up the supply or accept that maybe we'll all be happier if we just switch to formula?

I don't know the answers yet. So really, this rant is probably premature, as I have No Fucking Point Whatsoever.

I am still committed to breastfeeding.

I am also committed to not driving myself crazy. To not letting my baby go hungry to force him to nurse. To not beating myself up over this or to view it as a "failure" if I decide to quit.

I'm committed to Noah, no matter what.

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I'm reluctantly keeping comments open on this entry, since I think some readers need a place to vent and share their own frustrations, victories, defeats and experiences. But please -- no judging, no assvice. Any comment that is even remotely assvicey or judgey (whether of me or any of my commenters) will be deleted. If a commenter specifically asks for advice, feel free to offer some. If you have a story to tell, please, tell us. But as of right now, nobody has asked for your opinion, so I respectfully ask that you stick a sock in it.

Comments

Heather B.

I have no ad or assvice, just that he's an absolutely gorgeous baby so obviously you're doing something right.

Jessie

I have no ad/assvice either, just wanted to say that in that picture he looks like a perfect mix of you and Jason. And, even if he's out of his 0-3 month clothing, he looks tiny right there.

Kristen

He is ADORABLE!!! I have to imagine that when you look into that face, it all seems a little bit better!

Lori

He's absolutely beautiful, and I hope it all gets better for you and your wee man really soon.

green_canary

Totally off of the subject, but this morning there was a squirrel tucked up under my car. When I turned the key and the car started up, that little bugger booked it so fast that there wasn't even the tell-tale squirrel posturing: no fluffy tail bobbing in graceful bounds. No way. This rigid squirrel made a beeline for the fence and didn't stop until he was a good acre away. I thought it was funny... but now my car's "check maintenance" light is on.

Damn squirrel.

Mirella

You are Noah's mommy. No one on this earth knows what's best for you and your son other than you. Whichever feeding method you choose will absolutely be the right choice.

Also, Noah is unbearably precious in his shirt and pants.

Amytoo

No judging, ass or advice (would be kind of hard since I've never even been pregnant much less given birth).

I just wanted to say I'm glad you have the right attitude: What's best for Noah is what goes, no matter what the experts (real or Internet) have to say.

jamie

You seem to have just the right attitude, committed, and yet knowing it's okay if it doesn't work out for you.

Such an easy time for me with my first, such a hideous murderous, wanting to chop my boobs off or something time with my son. Glorious ending for me in the end, after all the crap, at about 2 months or so, he really got it, and nursed til about 11 months when he weaned himself.

But, that's a good story. I was so against formula because I thought it would be hideous. There is absolutely no reason it has to be.

Kudos to you for keeping up, but for keeping the options open too. That's our first and biggest jobs as parents.

Kristy

I realize you didn't ask for it, but here's my opinion. More of a fact, actually. That baby is GORGEOUS! How proud Mama and Daddy must be!

xtine

I have a simple, genuine question: why breastfeed?

I have no kids nor have I really been around a nursing mother so I don't know the emotional importance of it. I'm merely curious.

Anyway, Noah is absolute perfection. Such a cute little thing!

Amanda

I emphathize, dear. Totally. Nobody tells you that breastfeeding is going to suck ten kinds of ass. It took SIX WEEKS till I felt like we had it down. And la leche league can go suck my butt - it HURTS, even if you're doing it right. The ONLY thing that helped me was soaking a diaper in hot, hot water and putting it on my boob before nursing each time - otherwise my milk never let down and he went hungry.

But if you do keep nursing? You get to look forward to another whole set of problems! Like because it took us so much work to get started, even two years later I'm still so bitter about how hard it was THAT I MAY NEVER STOP NURSING MY TODDLER.

You can't win. Just do what feels right.

Frema

I am committed to reading your blog, as well as doing everything in my power to avoid actually working. That is all.

Funny sidenote: My mother tried breastfeeding me for one week. After discovering that Raisin Bran did not agree with me, she knew it was either the boob or the bran. She choose the bran.

Occidental Girl

The thing about nursing is how it is such an emotional topic, and so advice mainly feels like an attack on mothering, which is an attack on the baby. I know how you feel. Good luck with this! It will be fine.

You already know that this is really hard, but despite that, you are doing a great job and will no matter what you decide to do. Hooray for you, you fabulous mom!

Occidental Girl

The thing about nursing is how it is such an emotional topic, and so advice mainly feels like an attack on mothering, which is an attack on the baby. I know how you feel. Good luck with this! It will be fine.

You already know that this is really hard, but despite that, you are doing a great job and will no matter what you decide to do. Hooray for you, you fabulous mom!

Occidental Girl

The thing about nursing is how it is such an emotional topic, and so advice mainly feels like an attack on mothering, which is an attack on the baby. I know how you feel. Good luck with this! It will be fine.

You already know that this is really hard, but despite that, you are doing a great job and will no matter what you decide to do. Hooray for you, you fabulous mom!

Judy

don't ever think of yourself as a failure; no matter what others may say. you are doing the absolute best that you can. and just as adults are different and handle/process things differently; each baby is just as different. ultimately, you have to do what is best for Noah. if he seems to love the bottle, then i say let him have the bottle. basically, my point is this: you are a super fabulous mom and you shouldn't think otherwise. hang in there.

ginger

I didn't want to say this during the thrush in case the stuff actually worked for you, because if something was going right I wanted you not to worry, but here's my factoid of the day: gentian violet, despite the nice faerie hippie name, is actually a coal tar extract. We all try to avoid feeding children more toxic petroleum byproducts than is absolutely necessary, don't we?

I bring this up at all only to note that nobody knows everything, because typically I've seen GV advised as a "natural" alternative to antifungals, by breastfeeding experts who just want to help. Everyone, no exceptions, is sometimes a jerk, and everyone, no exceptions, is sometimes factually incorrect. So do what you and Jason think is right for Noah, and you'll be doing the right thing most of the time, more often than anyone else will, because you really do know best.
Good for you, resolving not to beat yourself up.

Emily

In about 8 weeks I'll be in beginning this fun journey of breastfeeding and honestly, it intimdates the hell out of me. I'm going to give it a try though and see how it goes.

Like a good friend of mine was told by her pediatrician, in 5 years when your child is playing on the playground it won't matter who was breastfed or bottlefed!

You're awesome and you're doing an even more awesome job with this little guy!

contrarychick

Perspective is a wonderful thing,ain't it?

Speaking of babies,one of mine (the 18 year old,6'2'',180 lb baby) is in Basic Training at Fort Knox,KY. We're going up there to see him for family weekend. Why am I telling y'all this? I'm telling everyone cause I'm so damned excited that I get to see my kid!

Corinne

You are doing a wonderful job, and honestly, I admire your honesty, your transparency, and your willingness to put your opinion out there and say what a lot of other women are thinking. Noah is very, VERY luck to have such a wonderful mother... not just to care for him, but to be a wonderful role model for him. Keep your chin up... you're doing wonderfully! :)

cai

Not a mother--so what I don't understand is why is feeding breast milk from a bottle wrong? I understand the benefits of breast milk vs. formula, but is something wrong with just feeding breast milk from a bottle? Is it something Freudian? La Lechian? It sounds like a win-win dealio to me...but then again, childless spinster sort here...
Love your little pea pod.

Allie

He's just beautiful.

stephanie

Amy, you are just plain awesome. And an awesome mom as well, I'm sure.

minnie

go with your gut girl. ultimately you will know what is working better for you. tell anyone with ad/assvice to shove it. =)

he's just precious.

Kathleen

Poor dear... I know how badly you want this to work, and no matter what, everything will turn out fine.

And that? Is one beautiful bebe.

Michelle

I commend you for sticking with it. You are a trooper! Good luck!

Polichick

I'm sorry to hear things are difficult. I hope they turn around soon.

That's such a sweet picture of Noah. He really is an adorable baby.

Shelley

All I have to say is he is SO cute and you are SO awesome for continuing to try SO hard!

Lisa V

I have 4 kids. Two were exclusively breastfed, a bottle never touched their lips. One was exculsively bottlefed. The closest she got to breastfeeding was sucking on my nose. The fourth was nursed for 4 weeks then switched to a bottle.
They are all happy, healthy and pretty much the same. Do what works. That is what matters big picture.I bonded with all my kids the same. I loved nursing. I was grateful for bottles for the babies I couldn't nurse. Love Noah like you are and you will do a great job, no matter what.

Steph

Maybe he is a butt man not a boob man.

Max

I just love those little pants.

You're his mama, and you'll make the right decision because you love him and want what's best for him. (And there isn't just "one" right or best option.) My mom had my brother in the late 1960s, and no one nursed, so she didn't. He's a freakin' marathon runner, attorney, and the father of 3. My mom nursed me (whole 1970s La Leche thing by then), and I have chronic ear infections, lactose intolerance, and complain much of the time.

Noah will be fine. I guess it's probably so hard to trust yourself, seeing as you just got him and all, but you seem to be such a fabulous mom. I mean, all this boob drama of late and look how wonderful he is!

Maggie

I hope I have that kind of attitude when I have my own baby. Good luck Amy!

Dawn

I have been a nursing Mom and I have been a support person for both nursing and non-nursing Mom's.

The bottom line is that while nursing is "natural", as in comes from your boobs - it isn't instinctive. And it is a learned skill.

I recall at 2 weeks of age, as my boobs had tripled in size, and every time my daughter needed to lauch on required like 8 fucking pillows all positioned in an exact Feng Shui configuration, and this meant I had to turn on all the lights at 2 am, I found myself thinking
"What the fuck is this all about?"

Now I also was the child care provider to hundreds of other womens babies. And you know what? Boob or no boob, they all did fine.
Some of them are in 7th grade and are functioning perfectly well.

Do what is best for you - and that will be best for your son.

Dawn

I have been a nursing Mom and I have been a support person for both nursing and non-nursing Mom's.

The bottom line is that while nursing is "natural", as in comes from your boobs - it isn't instinctive. And it is a learned skill.

I recall at 2 weeks of age, as my boobs had tripled in size, and every time my daughter needed to lauch on required like 8 fucking pillows all positioned in an exact Feng Shui configuration, and this meant I had to turn on all the lights at 2 am, I found myself thinking
"What the fuck is this all about?"

Now I also was the child care provider to hundreds of other womens babies. And you know what? Boob or no boob, they all did fine.
Some of them are in 7th grade and are functioning perfectly well.

Do what is best for you - and that will be best for your son.

Magnolia

God do I know this feeling you wrote about.

I tried so hard. I can't say that enough, I tried -so- hard. My milk never came in, I never -ever- engorged, leaked, or 'let down' I never had -any- of that.

My kid latched on 'beautifully' according to every lacation consultant I saw, he was slurrping away happily at my empty breast and I was crying along with him.

I was told to stay in bed and do nothing but nurse for ten days. Nothing. Only get up to go to the bathroom. When I said it wasn't possible that I had to do shit around the house because I'm thousands of miles away from my family and all my friends have jobs and my husband and roommate needed me to drive them to work because we only had one working car and two jobs, I was told that they should figure 'something else out, because this is the most important thing ever.'

I was told if I saw pink in my milk not to worry it was just blood. I was treated like shit by the WIC lady and the La Leche league, like I wasn't trying hard enough for my son.

I cried for -weeks-, and I still feel defensive when someone says something about bottles and breastmilk.

But my kid is a strapping happy big boy now and I feel a little bit better about it. I just wished that someone had -listened- to me when I was telling them what was going on. I wish that someone had noticed that I had hormonal problems with getting pregnant and that maybe, maybe those problems continued on with my milk production (a OBGYN connected them later for me but I don't even know if thats accurate because I've been lied to so many times reguarding all of this)

Thank you for this post.

feffer

I've only been fighting the breastfeeding issues for 6 days, but I've already had plenty of thoughts of giving up. You've got tons of options! He's so beautiful and of course you'll do what's best for both of you.

mabel

((((hugs)))) You'll do what's right for you and Noah. That is what matters, not what some asshat thinks. (((hugs)))

Julie

The beauty of the Information Age is that every mother has access to a gajillion sources of information about everything from breastfeeding to immunizations to diaper rash to co-sleeping. The bad thing is that every one of those sources says something different, and they are all right -- for somebody. You are absolutely right to go with your gut and do what's right for your family. Harsh judgement has no place among mothers who all love their kids.

TB

I don't have an opinion because I am still happily living in a dream world where, when I have a baby, my milk will come in perfectly, my baby will latch the first time and we will have wonderful moments nursing together for the first six months. I'm sure you had the same fantasies, no matter what you read on other people's blogs.
You have to do what you have to do Amy. I don't think anything is worth making yourself crazy at this point, but only you know when enough is enough. Good luck with your meeting tomorrow!

not-that-Andrea

Oh lordy, save us from ourselves! Back in the day when Chez Miscarriage was up and running, there was a fascinating exchange about the Mommy drive-bys.

My ass-vice? Everyone should do whatever the hell works for them and everyone else should just shut the heck up.

We don't need "them" to tear us down, stress us out, make us question our decisions - we're doing it to each other. Sigh.

Queenbunny

No matter what happens he'll love you to pieces and visa versa! Don't feel guilty!!!
He's totally adorable!

sally

I might be a bit behind the times but please could you tell me where you got the world peas outfit?? I don't have a baby or even have anyone close to me that has but I think it's so cute I am determined to find a baby to clothe with it! Good luck with it all- I say drink more wine xx

andi

i think you're superfantastic...that is all i have to say...no assvice, nothing other than you're great!

not-that-Andrea

Oh lordy, save us from ourselves! Back in the day when Chez Miscarriage was up and running, there was a fascinating exchange about the Mommy drive-bys.

My ass-vice? Everyone should do whatever the hell works for them and everyone else should just shut the heck up.

We don't need "them" to tear us down, stress us out, make us question our decisions - we're doing it to each other. Sigh.

(posting again 'cause I put in the fake email address out of habit - sorry)

sam

Hey, you're doing great. Hang in there, Noah is a dreamboat.

salynn

I'm going to try breastfeeding my daughter when she is born. And if it doesn't work out? I am going to try feeding her distilled meteor rock in hopes she will become the next Superwoman.

ANYTHING but formula, gawd.

(Ah, I kid! I will just move on to formula! I don't know where to get distilled meteor rock anyway.)

jen

My story...

2 month early preemie twins - would not latch. Tried everything - lactation consultant (available all the time in NICU), nipple shields etc etc etc. By 6 weeks I was ready to throw myself off the balcony because I wanted so desperately for them to have breastmilk (because they were preemies and I was a bit sleep deprived, stubborn and nuts). One day I just said fuck it and started pumping. Best decision I ever made. Pumping sucked until I got in the habit..I had enough milk to keep up with the two of them and as my supply dwindled from 6 - 8 months I mixed it with formula.

I'm only telling my story because those la leche crazies make it sound like it's boob or nothing. I'm pregnant again right now and I'll give breastfeeding another shot but if it sucks ass again I'll pump.


Andrea

No advise, no opinion. just a thank you for being honest and sharing your feelings with the world, especially with something so personal as breastfeeding. I only hope when i have childern i will be able to have the committment you have.

Noah is adorable and seems to be getting bigger every post, so i have a feeling the feeding combo is working fine.

PaintingChef

You are a wonderful mother and Noah is so lucky to have a mommy who IS so concerned about this. I'm so sorry that you are having a hard time breastfeeding, I have nothing to offer because I? Have never made it past about month 4 of pregnancy. But you are a wonderful mother. Regardless of how your little angel gets his food, you are going to make sure that he gets everything he needs and more. You are a triple gold star mother. And some people suck. You, are not one of those people.

susanf

Longtime lurker here -- been reading through your whole pregnancy.

You are learning what so many of us inevitably do, breastfeeding is hard work and sometimes sucks (get it? Sucks, ha ha.)

In my own experience, I gave it a good try and stuck with it 6 weeks because I knew it was best for the baby. I was fortunate to never have supply issues, mastitis, thrush, or any of the other wonderful problems that are possible.

Yet, I still gave it up. Why? Because I just didn't. want. to. do. it. anymore. I wanted my boobs to stop leaking and return to the objects of sexual desire they once were. I wanted to be able to eat and drink what I wanted to (hello, red wine.) And you know what? My baby is fine and beautiful and has had exactly 2 minor colds in her 12 months of life.

The very worst part about stopping was the GUILT and it sounds like you have already made up your mind not to give into that. Bravo whatever you decide!

Tara

i never even tried to breastfeed, decided formula from the get-go, let me tell you my lil girl has been sick MAYBE ONE TIME in the two years shes been alive. I dont regret my choice.

The way I see it is, no one told me motherhood itself was going to be as hard as it was, you know those F'ers were lying about breastfeeding!

Lastly, this decision is between you and Noah (and your hubby of course) NO ONE ELSES OPINION MATTERS, so don't let anyone make you feel bad!

Baby Noah will be fine, no matter what you choose but most importantly its hard to be a good momma when you are a stressed out momma!

Good luck girl.

Flybunny

Delurking to say you are an amazing mother and I have never read such an honest to god post! You voiced what I wanted to say only a few years ago except that I HATED breastfeeding - I pumped and gave both my daughters bottles after trying for several weeks to make it work - I quit the day I cried for an hour because I couldn't bear the thought of nursing. So I pumped and pumped and pumped - I loved my pump can you tell and my kiddos both had breastmilk until they were 6 mnths old and then I switched to formula.

You do what you want to do and screw everyone who doesn't agree with that!

Keep those sweet baby pictures coming - it almost but not quite makes me want to do it all again.

Stacy O

Noah is beautiful and so are you. Keep trying, be patient, don't let anyone make you doubt yourself. He sleeps, he poops, he pees, what else is there to do at this age?

Adrienne

Whatever you decide will be the right choice. Hang in there and take care of yourself.

Eva

I've been there - the breastfeeding and the guilting to continue. Don't worry, your baby will will be perfectly fed by you or by formula. A lot of thought goes into that formula, sometimes not so much into breastmilk. Just give him the nurturing and nutrients he needs as you are.

MollieBee

I hope things get better soon.

Lisa B

I breast-fed for months because La Leche and all of those advice sites out there said that if you don't you're a terrible person. I think La Leche is full of shit personally.

And honestly, it DOES hurt. Your nipples get so sore that it takes your breath away each time they latch on. I still remember that. It sucked. (No pun intended.)

But if you want to breastfeed, go for it. But if you can't, I wish society would just lay off.... The time you breastfeed is such a small window into your stint as a mother. Why should women start off the most important career of their lives (motherhood) being made to feel guilty and stressed?

Sorry for the rant. But I feel that society should spend more time supporting mothers instead of trying to make them feel guilty, inadequate and stressed.

lolismum

Hi Amy. I think you are doing absolutely fabulously. When my daughter was Noah's age, I was afraid to be alone with her for a long period of time. You are so much better informed than I ever was. I had an incredibly hard time breastfeeding as well. My daughter could not latch on, my mom taught her to latch on by dropping formula into her mouth while I held her to my breast. It took 3 fucking weeks! I could not even position her correctly unless I was standing up. I would try so hard that I would be covered in sweat and feel extremely frustrated and miserable. Once she mastered it, I was so afraid she would "unlearn" latching that I never gave her a bottle for 4 months (as a La Leche League idiot advised me and I took the advice because I am even a larger idiot), until I went back to work. She screamed bloody murder for 2 weeks before she got used to the bottle, but if I were ever in the vicinity, she would refuse to look at the bottle again. She is 14 months old now and is still breastfeeding, only at night for the last couple of months. But for 13.5 months I never went out to dinner or a movie because she had become so attached to my boobs that those were the only things that comforted her at night. At those times I really wished I had formula-fed her. On the other hand when we were travelling internationally and all the others parents were faffing with bottles, I loved the convenience of just taking my boob out to feed. Now I am despairing again because it's really hard to wean her off and I got myself a breast infection in the process of weaning. Having a baby is amazing, but I also admit this whole motherhood, breastfeeding stuff is extremely hard, supremely frustrating and overwhelming at times. Whatever makes your life easier and Noah happier is the best. Screw the rest, especially the judgemental bastards.

Lori

Well, *I* think you should ask Tom Cruise.

lindsay

you are awesome. thanks for the post. my son is now just getting teeth, and to say the least, nursing him has become a challenge. but we just keep limping along together, we are both too subborn to give it up, yet. good luck and what ever you choose to do with Noah will be the best choice for him.

Another Amy

No babies for me yet. But you are whipping ass at this motherhood thing.

Yesterday I was visiting my friend and her 7 day old son. She whipped out nipple guards and this syringe and tube system and I swear her husbands air compressor from the garage, to get ready for his feeding. She does this every three hours. Yikes! What a process.

Your instinct is the best advice for your son. No matter what you decide, it will be right!
He's yummy by the way!

Crystal

I am proud of you for sticking to breastfeeding as long as you have. I tried for about a week but he was thrown off because he was in the NICU for 4 days eating out of a bottle and therefore got use to that and VERY comfortable. My milk supply is low but that's simply because I'm not pumping like I should but it HURTS! Sore nipples, all that fun stuff. I really think that breastfeeding is best for him, but it's too stressful for me if he's not going to do it on his own and even more stressful when your supply is low, even if it is my own fault. So, I say...good luck and stick with it as long as you can. My son did exactly what you are saying Noah is doing and it is frustrating at times, but whatever you decide to do will be the best decision you can make. Good luck. I'll keep reading to see what you decide to do.

Kate

He is adorable. Do what you feel is best. $5 says that he won't grow a 3rd eye if you end up switching to formula. :o)

Megan

He's so adorable!

Di

You're doing a kick ass job at being a mama and Noah is beautiful!

kate

Noah sure is a lucky kid to have a mom who cares so much. Caring for babies is not easy and although it might not seem like it to you, you're doing an amazing job.

Elizabeth

Whatever food Noah gets, and however he gets it, he is loved and nurtured by caring parents and that's more than some babies ever get.

And that picture? He is so cute in those pants!

laura

Dude, look at him. I'm committed to him, too.

I quit breastfeeding after 3 weeks of hell, and I STILL feel the relief, the being set free, from that decision. It still resonates. I give up impossible shit all the time now, and I owe it all to failing breastfeeding 101.

Zoots Mom

You are doing just fine. I breastfed my son but not my daughter (she was first). It was awful, it hurt and all La Leche league ever said was I was doing something wrong. I stopped calling. It took about 1-1/2 to 2 mos and then it stopped, he seemed to enjoy it and there's nothing like it. Seriously...it just may take some patience but if you can take it it really is worth it...Just do what you can do. He'll be just fine.

Matt's Mom

You could always hire a wet nurse! Baby gets breastfed while you sleep, drink, shoot up, etc. Best of all possible worlds, no?

Minarae

You're right, it's a huge guilt thing that is thrown at new mothers re:breastfeeding. I had one friend whose first baby just wasn't much of a breast feeder, and she was completely freaked out because all of her new-mom friends were telling her how awful it would be to let him stop breast feeding before 6 months. It finally got to the point where she was literally asking every mother she knew how long they had breastfed, even going so far as making me call my own mother at work in the middle of the day to ask her. But I'm glad I did, because once my mom told her it was only for 2 months and that hey, sometimes things just don't work out and that she just had to do the right thing for the baby, she relaxed.

You're his mom, you know what's best for him. You can trust in that. And also, he is so damn adorable.

Jessica

I had to ice down my boobs for a good six weeks with my first daughter and cried while I nursed her. I'm at the three week point with this one and my toes still curl when she latches on, but I think I knew better what to expect so I'm avoiding the tears and ice packs this time. Forget facing the shower stream or drying off properly with a towel either. AND, hugs from my 4-year-old, put me on the verge of tears. I totally feel your pain, literally. I ended up nursing my first for a year and plan to do the same with this one, but it is hard working through the pain. . . can't even imagine the thrush. . .Good luck to you. Noah certainly seems to be thriving on whatever you're doing.

paige

Hi Amy,
I've been reading for a while now and I really admire how you've been handling motherhood.
Just wanted to tell you a quick story- I'm not a mommy so I have to rely on friends experiences- I have a friend who breastfed her two babies- one would eat for like 30 minutes at a time, her second ate for like 5 minutes at a time. It worried her at first, especially after her first daughter. But she gained weight and was ok.
Everyone's experience is different.
Bottom line, though, do what's best for you and Noah. Breast, bottle, formula, etc. Everyone else be damned. ;)
You're doing fantastic and you're an awesome mommy. :) Noah's a lucky baby.

Amy

Oh Amy I am so sorry it's such a hard thing. Your frustration is evident. Hang in there -- come on, your are my pregnancy role model for god's sake!

MelV

Just wanted to say that I think you are a champ for getting this far, it is a tough tough road. And even if you decide its better to do formula you can be super proud b/c even a few weeks of nursing is beneficial. I hope he settles in for you b/c we can all see how much you want this. Good luck!!

baileyswedishfish

Good God Gertie.
I'm 43. My mother smoked, drank, dieted and went dancing when she was pregnant with me. Breast? Hahahaha. She got pills to dry up her milk and I was corked with a big old formula bottle.

Despite a little extra around my middle (which is my own damn fault) I turned out just fine. I don't have horns, a third eye or an overwhelming desire to howl at the moon every month.

Relax Amalah. And to everyone out there with assvice...shove it.

Amalah...(HUGS) Why on earth are you worrying abou this? It's only milk. Take a deep breath. Let out a Noah-sized holler and do whatever the heck you want to do. All judging (from within and without) will cease immediately. Your child will be fine. Just don't put Kool-aide in his bottle.

*big eye roll*

Doreen

All I can say is that we all should have a Mother
who is as commited to our health and well-being.
Keep up the good work, and continue to follow your
heart. That will never guide you in the wrong
direction.

Allison

I had an awful time nursing as well. Finally stopped beating myself up over it (and beating up my bosoms with Joe, the pump) because I did the best I could. This is a valiant effort you're making.

C

Amy,
Just want you to know that I think this was one of the most touching things you've ever written here (though god, I'll never quit loving that IKEA Dresser of Doom one -- dang that was good). I've never dealt with breastfeeding, since my son was born via a surrogate mother. At the time I wished I could BF, but I couldn't and so what. We still love each other madly, to the point where he insisted at age four that he would never get married and move away from home ("I think I'd rather just stick with you," he said, and I just might hold him to it). And now, having had breast cancer surgery, any future child will just have to look at my fake rubber nipps and do without. Like that old saying goes, "I wished I could breastfeed, until I met a man who had no boobs," or something like that. TTFN.

Kat

I had one of each: My first baby was a champion breast feeder, which made it hard for me to accept the fact that the second baby really was not all that interested in my boobs! I stopped breastfeeding early (after about 6 weeks) with him and he's just fine, 14 years later. They've both always been as healthy as horses. Trust your instincts, Mommy. You're doing great.

Anne Glamore

I don't understand why our boobs aren't see-through so you can tell how much the kid is (or is not) eating. Alternatively, the kid's stomach could have a gauge- Full, 1/2, Empty.

It would make things a lot easier from my perspective.

Anne

Broad

Is that red hair I see on the little man? Because HOW CUTE if it is ...

ktbug

Whatever you decide is best for Noah AND you -- I give you my full support and that's how it fucking should be. He's beautiful and so are you. And being a parent is by far the hardest thing I have EVER done. Sounds cliche maybe, but it is true. Just know that I am thinking of you and sending no-stress karma your way.

earlyduckie

Thanks for being so honest! I will be starting to try the joys of BF'ing in just 4 weeks and already I am anxious... Do what's best for you and Noah. And can I please add that he is to cute for words!

Lisa

Amen, sister!

Joy

Oh man, you said it all. Every single freaked out thought I had when going through this, it's all here. THANK YOU for saying what so many can't/won't. You are awesome.

Megan Duncan

long time lurker, here, too. My baby was born just before yours. I also have the crunchy toast point nipples as I am typing this comment right now. I'm totally at the very point you are right now in trying to decide what to do. If this nipple of mine (which has looked EXACTLY the same for the last month, no healing appears to be on the horizon) doesn't heal miraculously overnight, it might be formula for us. Or a really, really lopsided mommy.

just wanted to let you know someone out there is in the same boat right now. Best of luck, and your baby Noah is adorable.

Jodi

Amy-look at http://blog.lucidphoenix.com/index.php?blogId=851. It's my husbands blod and under the topic GO JODI is an editorial I wrote in a paper recently on the same topic. I was unable to breastfeed my 7 month old for a variety of reasons and am sick of the judgement. Whatever you chose, it's okay, just feed your baby.

ambrosia

a totally stressed out breastfeeding mom isn't as good as a formula feeding happy mom.

i'm sending good vibes your way. i really hope it all works out for you.

Sheryl

Who'd have thought that something that's supposed to be natural could be sooo hard. It makes me wonder what all those women pre-20th century did it. Whatever you decide to do has no bearing on your competence as a mother, don't let either side tell you otherwise.

RockStar Mommy

IGNORE EVERYONE! DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO.

That being said, my boobs are fucking killing me. And I'm SECONDS away from giving up. And if one more person tells me that I fucked my child up by giving him a binky, I'm going to seriously FREAK THE FUCK OUT. People suck, especially women with children and big goddamned opinions.

That's all.

For now.

JustLinda

I think you're doing awesome. No matter what the outcome, I think you are doing splendid motherly things that you should be PROUD of!!! )(and don't listen to any other comment except mind, ok? hahahah)

I went through a lot of breastfeeding crap (including low supply, pumping, thrush, yadda yadda) and you're free to contact me if you want to 'talk'.

I also wrote a breastfeeding rant here: http://justlinda.blogspot.com/2005/09/have-i-gone-all-psycho-opinionated-on.html and you should feel welcome and free to borrow that image in my post if you need it. haha

My thoughts are with you...

Ninotchka

Whatever works has always been my parenting motto. I was formula fed and I'm fine (for the most part - lol). I nursed my first forever and a day and she was ALWAYS sick. In the grand scheme of things, I think this will prove to be the least of your parenting worries. Formula fed or not, he's gorgeous and healthy. That's all that matters.

Lizzy'sMom

I was one of the lucky ones, it only took a few days to get the b'feeding thing working. I went back to work @ 6 weeks, so we used formula when I couldn't get away to nurse.
My step daughter, on the other hand, had a horrible time. Baby was frustrated and consequently mommy got frustrated. The tears and emotions weren't worth it, so she ended up pumping all the time and giving my granddaughter the breast milk in a bottle.
Follow your instincts. You know what is right for you. He's beautiful. You're doing a GREAT job!

Carrie

I'm so impressed with your desire to fight through all the pain/agony/frustration for your little man! It's very cool and no matter what happens, you'll know that you did all that you could do & that speaks volumes for the love you have for that sweet little boy of yours.

Good Luck!

~Carrie~

Sarawarawoo

I absolutely love that there was no judging in the comments before mine (unless any judgey condescending posts were deleted). I'm not a mum, although pictures of Noah have my biological clock on SPEAKERPHONE, but I do think that mothers should have the choice to feed their babies whatever works for both of them.

This breast is best thing hasn't reached nearly the crescendo it has in the States, but I think it's absolutely appalling. People having the nerve to judge someone because they are doing whats right for both them and their baby? Sickening. Do whatever gives you and Noah the most satisfaction, if you wanna pump...pump away (that sounds rude), if you wanna BF...do it! And if you choose formula, then good for you, as long as you keep your baby well fed and happy...I dont see why anyone would slate you!

LiliVonSchtup

That is a cute little fella you've got there. You are doing such a great thing for him, giving it all you've got. Nobody but you knows what you're going through and what is right or enough or whatever.

I want to share one experience I had with my older daughter; she was a champion nurser for about the first four weeks and then started to yell at me and my breasticles within 30 seconds of every feeding. I tried so many different things, to no avail. When I called my lactation consultant, she asked me one key question:

"When she starts screaming, is her mouth full of milk?"

The answer was yes, and she explained that by four weeks or so some babies start to get really pissed off because the milk is coming out so abundantly that for them, it's like trying to drink out of a firehose. That was what was happening to my girl ... she just couldn't get a handle on dealing with milk shooting down her throat. For a week or two I would pump a little before nursing so that the milk wouldn't let down so hard, and she found it easier to deal with. Then she got over it and nursed for another six months.

Maybe that's something like what Noah's mad about. It sounds like the right time frame. Maybe not. But you do what you can do. You've already given him the best start in life that anybody could ask for.

And let me tell you one funny thing. When my Cami refused to nurse anymore, I was stuck with giant rock-hard boobs for a few days. The lactation lady suggested a home remedy of ... wait for it ... cabbage leaves.

Not to eat, but to put in my bra. They evidently give off a chemical or something that helps ease the swelling and what-have-you. So I did that, and it honestly helped.

But one night at my grad-school class, I thought to myself "Hm, I bet I'm the only person in here with vegetables in their underwear."

Best of luck, little mama. You are doing great.

Sara

You rock! No matter what, you are doing great and however you end up nourishing your wee (or not so wee) Noah, it will be fine.
And the thing about it hurting only if you are doing something "wrong" is b.s., I agree. It hurts because you have something sucking on your boobalahs 18 hours a day, even if it is only for 5 minutes at a time. (My daughter ate the same way.)

Nancy

I think you've got the right idea, as zillions of people before me already said: do what works for you and works for Noah.

I also applaud your willingness to talk about this in such a public forum. There was a great article on Blogging Baby this week (by Sarah Gilbert) about how moms need to be more truthful with each other, "to expose both the underbelly and the silver lining of the cloud that is marriage, family, childbirth, child rearing." I think this is one thing I like about your blog -- you are able to speak honestly and openly without judgement. Thank you!

zorgon

Nobody tells you about the poop that SHOOTS OUT THE BACK OF THE DIAPER AND ENDS UP IN THE BABY'S EARS. WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT ABOUT?

AAahahahahahaha, you make the funny seem so easy!

I tried to warn everyone, but they didn't believe me.

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