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.

Img_1410

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

Melynda

Sometimes the wonderful support networks that are in place can increase the pressure a thousand fold. But mothering is a very individual art.

That's so cool that Noah smiled!! Love those first baby smiles. That's a wonderful milestone.

Larisa

You go, girl!
You do whatever you gotta do to take care of your precious child. And dont let anybody tell you any different.

Ariadne

Since when does breastfeeding define a child's future? It's a loving and nurturing home that's important, not whether a child's sustenance comes from a boob or a bottle!

Linda B

I'm sorry that things have been so rough for you.
I agree with everyone that says to do what is best for you. The people that judge you can just shut it. This is your child so do what works, whatever it may be.

blackbird

CHIN UP!

and on to the next...
as my mom would say
"if it's not an ass, it's an elbow!"

so.
yeah.

just keep doing what you are doing.

beth

For me nursing worked....after two weeks of sheer hell and a militant La Leche Leaguer all but threatening to take my daughter away if I even *considered* giving her a bottle (she was never consulted again). But that's me and my baby.

Like everything else when it comes to being a mom, you will know what the right choice is for you and your baby.

It doesn't matter what's right for me, your best friend, your mother's best friend, your neighbor's aunt, or the lactation consultant.

Go with what's in your heart and what makes both of you happy. It'll all work out in the end.

Kristine

Amy, thank you so much for this post. My son just turned 1, and a year ago I was having so much trouble breastfeeding. I was in tears half the time, exhausted, in tons of pain, you know the drill. Every single one of my mommy friends had the easiest time, and my husband kept pressuring me to keep going, "just one more month." I did it for 4 months and threw a party on the last day. He's now in the 95th percentile for height and weight, walking, and has only been sick once. Who knows?

I hope these comments give you the support and strength to trust your own outstanding abilities and instincts as a mother. He is a beautiful, beautiful baby and you are doing an amazing job. Keep up the great work!

Laura

My God is Noah beautiful. Amazing.

My advice to you- do what is good for you, your husband and your relationship with your son. A happy mom means a happy child. I too had the guilt because despite their size, my boobies are broken. I don't know if it was the dehydration from my pregnancy or what, but my boobs never got bigger during pregnancy, there was no engorgement- my boobs were the Sahara. I made the decision that I would not stress out over my body's problems and instead focus on my gorgeous son. Is the guilt there? Sure. But I KNOW I did the right thing for myself and my family.

Nicholas has had formula from day one and he is the healthiest, most active child in the world. He is 17 months old and he has been sick 1 time. ONCE! My SILs all breastfed and their kids are sick all the time. My newest nephew always has some cold or cough or vomiting going on. Some kids are just healthier than others.

I think people just need to butt the hell out of other people's parenting decisions and just trust that people will do what is right for their families. Unless a parent is beating the crap out of their children or the children have obvious neglect, then leave the parents alone. One never knows what is going on in another person's life.

I must say, and this cannot be stressed enough, that you are a great mother no matter what you decide!

callistawolf

You're doing a fantastic job. Little Noah is so lucky to have you. I hope we, the internets, can be here to support you, whatever choice you end up having to make.

E.

Ooh, I have to give my opinion anyway... he's so cute and preppy in his little khakis. If he's growing and devloping and doing the head holding up stuff, you must be doing something right. I wasn't breastfed and my mom smoked while she was pregnant with me and my sister. So far, so good. ;-)

One thing that's interesting to me is how many moms here feel like bad parents (or bad people) because some "professional" barked some lactating commands and the boobs did not obey. Does that help postpartum depression? I don't see how it could.

Back off the new moms, sheesh.

Nancy

You rock, sweetie, no matter what!

He's just past three weeks, so there's a chance he was eating well during the three week growth spurt which ramped up your supply. Now that the growth spurt is over he's slowed down. There'll be another growth spurt around 6 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months. In my experience, the first three months my supply was all over the place.

Oh, and I have to give a shout out to Burt's Bees diaper cream. It blew the butt paste away and left it whimpering in the dust.

Audra

So this is my first time commenting but I love your blog.

As long as you are doing what is best for you and your baby you can't go wrong. I hate the my way is the only way people. They just end up sounding crazy. Not the good crazy either but the scary I bet you shave your barbies for fun crazy.

nancy

Your quote: I'm committed to Noah, no matter what.

My reply to you: Absofuckinglutely perfect.

I breastfed my twins.
I have three nieces and one nephew all formula bed from day 1.

All are children are Absofuckinglutely perfect.

You are a good Mommy.

supa

THANK YOU for this. I only lasted two weeks with the bloody blistered toast points before I said fuck it. I'd never been so depressed. And I didn't have any support.

I'm glad we switched to formula.

And, in my experience: The upshot of formula feeding is they sleep through the night sooner. Shhh, don't tell. And feeding becomes a happy, happy time.

Karen Siegloff

Not sure how to start this, I've never responded to a blog before. Such a beautiful baby - congratulations and well done!! You are doing a great job so stop torturing yourself with the whole breast milk thing - as long as you and Noah are happy that is all that matters. God, what is wrong with the whole police state attitude as to what you should and shouldn't do and feed and think!! It's not the end of the world and I'm tired of the constant judging that goes on for women. Stop worrying and feed him the damn bottle and you'll all be happier (and he'll be fine!!). The only thing that ever helped with the amount of milk thing was stout (you call it guinness I think - horrible thick black Irish beer that's like a meal in itself!) That worked a treat but you can't do it all the time. Don't let the lactation consultant bully you - they are not interested in how you feel or how much you suffer - it's all about the dogma. Good luck with everything - I'm sure you'll be fine but you know, you don't have to torture yourself - it's not a competition and this is a time in your life to just really enjoy - they're so precious and it goes so fast!! All the best, Karen.

Sue

Noah (who is such a beautiful boy), is probably just super smart. He knows what he wants. Milk. And he knows when he wants it. Now! And if that doesn't happen immediately, because yes, not all people gush it out at 3.7 gallons-per-minute, he gets mad. Why wouldn't he, because he knows what he wants. Because he's smart. :) So what you have there is a genius.

(I have a genius too. And being a dedicated-to-nursing-and-the-benefits-thereof-mom, I mean, stubborn fool, am still pumping, after 9 months, 1 week, and 4 days.)

natalie

I don't have a child of my own, but my cousin went through a very familiar situation with her baby boy who is now 8 months old. She developed the horrible mastitis, bleeding, low supply, the pumping, etc. She wanted so badly to breast feed but it just wasn't happening for her and she switched to formula after about 1 month. I think a lot of women go through that, even though most people seem to think it should just be easy & natural. You're not a failure if you're having breast feeding troubles and that super healthy looking baby of yours is proof of that.

yades

Gee, I cant imagine wot it must be like to have the amount of people you have, expressing their views, opinions, experiences and "assvice" (as u so eloquently put it) I know that my head spun round in squarecles with the small but adequate family and friends offering theirs. I was the first in my group of friends who had a baby, and i will never forget one of my mates popping in to see my new born baby, with a gift..... a 5000 peice PUZZLE!!! saying "this will give u something to do when u get bored!"

Anyway... clearly your frustrations are very real and if having a go at people who are merely offering their experiences in the hopes that this may assist u in some small way allows u some small element of release..then... by all means...vent! Remember there are clearly a huge number of people who are rooting for you and Noah...and we dont mind a bitch slap if its gonna allow u to get into a better head space.

Im not entirely sure wot u classify as assvice but the calmer you are...the easier it gets. Again...I say this... your instincts will never let u down...just tune in.

Laura E

Noah is one lucky boy to have a mommy who loves him so much and wants to do the best for him. As many have said, it's up to you what's best - but having a happy, relaxed mommy is always best so whatever it takes to get there.

As I finished reading this post the one thing that ran through my head was, "GOOD FOR YOU!" and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise.

nell

Your son is beautiful, breasfeeding isn't everything, and doing what is best for you and your child is what is most important.

My experience with breastfeeding was mostly positive and lasted anywhere between 6 to 18 months (I couldn't pry that child off me!). All 4 of my children were efficient nursers. Usually around 4 to 6 weeks or so they would become super efficient and only take 5 minutes on either side. My sisters were so jealous...

Babies turn out just fine when they are fed and loved and it sounds like you have that covered.

Steffi Barrios

Oh Dear Amalah-

I am so sorry to hear you are having such a hard time. All I can say is you are doing a fantastic job, and your baby is gorgeous! When my son Connor was born (4 1/2 years ago) I thought I was going to be superhero Mommy..and do it all...well WRONG...I remember reading books about breast feeding and seeing the photos that made it look so easy, you know the ones, Mom is chatting on the phone, reading a book, flipping thru InStyle, baby attached to breast...E.F.F.O.R.T.L.E.S.S. ..that was so not what happened. I couldn't feed him if anyone was around, I had to strip practically naked, wedge the brest-friend pillow under me, pry open Connor's wee mouth insert my gargantuan boobs and brace for the mother-fen pain...I think I almost suffocated him a gazillon times because of the funky position I'd have to put him in; no one told me it would be so hard. I cried every day, yet I didn't want to quit, because damnit...I would be a failure...not only was it hard to get him to latch, I had production problems, unrecoganizable nipples, mastitis blah blah, I was almost okay with quitting, then somehow things started changing, each day got easier, I started taking licorice root(at the advise of my OB) and hello dairy cow! I managed to breast feed for the first year of Connor's life, when I started working again, I never left the house without my very stylish Medela pump...it was not easy by any means, but I look back and think how much I truly enjoyed the time I spent feeding him, how when we I graduated to master lactater, Connor would pull away leaving my breast to spray a lovely coat of milk all over his face...I can laugh now, because after the first 6 or 7 weeks that it took to really get the hang of things, I became one of those mom's in the photos and no longer need to strip naked, I could nurse him one handed in the back of a moving car!

You are doing a terrific job and it sounds like you have a fantastic support system. I wish you much luck with whatever decision you make!

Good Luck..steffi

Tiff

I know a woman who discovered early on that her breastmilk, her supposed elixir of life pumped straight from nature's own boobies, was causing her child's acid reflux problems. Talk about your feelings of inadequacy.

And talk about a case where the dogma turns out to be complete bullshit. You're listening to medical professionals and your child is healthy. What else can you do other than sit back and enjoy all the non-hurting-boobs parts of motherhood?

Kellie

My freako kid did the SAME EXACT THING. I wanted to quit so bad. Mylecon didn't work for him when I thought it was reflux. So we kept going and going. Come to find out he did have reflux and he needed Zantac for it.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Nicole

My daughter nursed for the first four months of her life. No I mean, her first four months, she nursed. That's all she did. I never had a chance to pull my shirt down. She was latched on for like, 130 days. 23 hours a day. I kept a log. She was on a lot more than she was off. And when she was off? She was screaming.

I was DETERMINED to make it work. And it did, it has, it still is (she's 9 months in a week) but at her 4 month check-up, when the pediatrician told us to start her on cereal as some folks make whole and some make 2% milk and it's clear I make skim and she was not gaining, well, she started getting formula along with my skim milk and the cereal.

Now she nurses more for comfort and snacking than for meals. And once I decided that was ok and felt like I could buy formula without caring about people seeing me buy formula, oh the horror, things got a lot easier.

If Mama isn't happy, no one is happy.

Wacky Mommy

okay, Amalah, you are doing great. the baby is beautiful, you and Jason obviously are nuts about each other and Le Bebe. No matter what we as parents do, it's the wrong thing. Get used to it now cuz it does not let up. for instance, my darling daughter, Wacky Girl, who was reading in preschool -- yeah, i got her into kinder early. Cuz she missed the cut-off date by THREE DAYS. who cares? so now all i hear from her (in first grade) is "They're all seven! I'm only six! Why did you get me into school early!" etc. Every frickin' day.

Your baby is beautiful and you are too.

Margarita Mama

One thing I noticed at the hospital was that all the nurses were so gung-ho about the breast-feeding. I think they were trying to over-compensate for all those years when they didn't encourage breast-feeding and I think some people blame the hospitals for encouraging formula feeding, in the past blah, blah, blah. So it's down right embarrassing while in the hospital to say that you're not going to breastfeed. I was a stay at home mom for 8 years, so I should not have had an excuse, right? I was so miserable trying to nurse my son, I knew I'd never, ever try that again.I usually don't give a fuck what people think of me. I'm a liberal atheist living down the street from THE Billy Graham Center, and I've never worried what anyone thought of me, but there I was, in the hospital with my 2nd and then my 3rd child, meekly pretending to be interested in breast-feeding my daughters, when I fully intended to whip out a bottle of formula as soon as I got in the door of my house. (fortunately I didn't have to stay more than a day or this would have been more difficult)

I don't know how our species survived before there was formula. I do have friends who can whip out a boob and nurse a baby like it's nothing, and I admire them. If you stick with it, you too will probably do that some day soon. But if you don't, just please, please ignore the people who judge you. It's none of their fucking business.

the kim half of glamorouse

wow - 125 comments and counting. i haven't read them all yet, as Jasper is clocking up a week old today and well, sleep takes precedence over reading Amalah and the comments or just Amalah...
I bred a linebacker as well...

cas

It hurts even if you it is successful.

That baby knows what he wants, and you know what you want...you guys just have to get to some sort of common ground (or one of you gives up, like I did in the juice battle at our house). You'll work it out together. It's just the first of many "figuring it out as you go" moments. It is the glorious stuff that juicy family memories are made of.

PS. Oh my god the fenugreek. The stink of the fenugreek. I may never get over it.

slyeyes

Whatever makes mamma and baby happy is what is the best.

And you have a sweet little bundle.

Bethany

Hopefully, you won't see this as assvice - but even if you quit now, he's already gotten a bunch of the benefits of breastfeeding. 2 weeks, a month, 2 days of breastfeeding - whatever - is better than nothing. Perhaps you can just commit to pumping a certain amount of times per day, feed him that and supplement with formula.

My no. 2 (5 months old) is having problems with latching too, while her older brother would have spent DAYS at the breast if I left him to his own devices. I've struggled keeping up a supply when I went back to work 2 months ago. We have decided that I'll continue to pump as much as I can and to continue to feed her breast milk if we have it and if not; formula it is!

You're doing the best that you can for Noah! Whatever you decide as a family is your decision; noone elses. Everyone else can just butt out.

PS. He's super adorable!

Terry

This is my 2nd comment on your blog -- not because I believe so passionately on breastfeeding/bottlefeeding (either one or a combo of the two, you'll figure out what's best), but because I am passionate about MOTHERHOOD. I am blown away by your eloquence & have probably read your post half a dozen times. You put into words what many of us think & feel but don't get a chance to express -- awesome & thanks ( and you do this a mere few weeks after giving birth -- how? I could barely shove a cheese sandwich into my mouth between feedings, diaper changes, screaming fests,etc. after my babies were born).

As for the assvice? Unfortunately, it will most likely continue.(Though not from anyone here, of course). There's the binky assvice, the sleeping-through-the-night-assvice, the daycare/stay-at-home assvice & my personal favorite: the toilet-training assvice (ha-ha, toilet/ass, I kill me). The assvice might be continual on this journey, but at least it gets easier to ignore.

Best wishes to you & that adorable baby!

Chris

Amy,
I once lived in a tiny Eskimo village, where everyone is behind the times like 50 years. No lie. People don't understand what birth control is, much less actually take it. Most girls there started their families at very young ages and still do. Pregnancy and having babies is "no big deal" to them...there is not wonderment of the bodily changes, no excitement over ultrasounds, etc. Being a white girl from the city, I still don't understand it. My point is, you don't know how many times I heard a new mother say when asked if she was still breast feeding "nah, I got sick of having to get up so much, I need my sleep." And they said it without so much as a flinch and it was understood. Except by me, because HELLO these women have no idea what us infertile women in the real world go through. It is so refreshing to see you concerned about your wee one, and I think you should do whatever works for you and Noah. Formula, breastfeeding, who cares? We all turned out fine. I'm betting the guy still goes to an Ivy League school, and will stand up at the podium at graduation day and will still thank his mom and dad for loving him so much.

Kelly

I had a horrible time with my son who was much like your Noah - A HUGE BABY! I quit after 6 weeks. I did try again with my daughter who was 2 pounds lighter than my son. I was much better at it and everything worked well. I still quit after 6 weeks.

That is just my story. Hang in there!

kdg

I don't know if you'll get this far in the comments, but I'm a long time reader delurking to show my support. I'm not a mother (a college student, actually), but everything you said in this post resonated with me. I think that that's exactly how I would feel in your situation-- wanting so badly to breastfeed, but not wanting to see switching as a failure if that's what's best for the baby. (uh, plus all that other stuff you said)

PS I was breastfed and had many ear infections as a child.
PPS You are wonderful to read, and Noah is TOO DAMN CUTE.

BoopShoop

Amalah,
I think you are doing a SUPERB job. Your baby is beautiful.
From my own experience, motherhood is never what you expect it to be. I was convinced I would never give my daughter a pacifier. AND then I did. When we talked about the possibility of an overdue baby in my birthing classes, hell no that wasnt going to be my kid. And then the little diva made us wait 2 weeks over our due date, 3 striping of the membrane attempts, and 2 inductions later. NOT what I expected....Looks to me like you are doing a fantastic job. Noah's a lucky boy.
And thanks for sharing. It's nice to find another Mum who gets frustrated, infuriated, bedazzled, besotted, frazzled, dazzled (all in about 5 mins, too), and uses her sailor mouth at the drop of a hat...I don't care what anyone says, Motherhood is the hardest thing in the bloody world to wrap your head around. But worth every second.

Miek

Oh my, what a beautiful baby! You're doing very well as a mom, or he wouldnt look this adorable. I'm 33 weeks pregnant with my first child, and I can only hope for a handsome baby like yours;)

Also am very aware of the diffculties with breastfeeding. Going to follow some prenatal-course, hoping that it will, in some way, help me prepare.

Wishing you all the best!! Love, Mieke

Nila

I feel your pain! I had all the nipple problems, had lactation specialist, the pump, the determination, but it was still so hard. I had boys, and someone once told me that boys have difficulties because they don't have the stamina to keep at it (sound like a man in the making). My boys would feed for a very short time, so were consequently hungry quite often, which just adds to the pain. I gave up, and the guilt of having all this milk, and not using it was terrible, but I was happier. I'll deal with guilt over sore nipples any day. You are my hero for trying so hard.

For Joke!

I am SO GLAD YOU WROTE THIS ENTRY. Women and babies and families need to choose what THEY BELIEVE IS BEST! No one can no better, and I hate the judgment around breastfeeding or formulafeeding. It's ridiculous.

I think you are a Perfect Mommy Amalah.

For Joke!

I am SO GLAD YOU WROTE THIS ENTRY. Women and babies and families need to choose what THEY BELIEVE IS BEST! No one can know better, and I hate the judgment around breastfeeding or formulafeeding. It's ridiculous.

I think you are a Perfect Mommy Amalah.

(and I am laughing my ass off at the "butt man not a boob man" comment - tee hee!)

Maria

Sweetie, what is important is a happy mommy and a happy baby. Therefore, as long as Noah (an extremely adorable baby btw), is not hungry, does it really matter if it is milk from a boob or from a bottle?

Sarah

Well...now I am crying. Every post of yours brings tears to my eyes because, damn, I have a month and 1/2 left in my pregnancy and I hope that I can be as open and real as you are.

Thanks for sharing and being honest...

Noah is fantastic and beautiful. I hope for something similar (yet maybe a little smaller at first...)

T Floyd

Both my kids did that nursing for a couple of minutes every half hour thing for way longer than any lactating human should be required to stand. They peed and pooped and grew anyway. Eventually they found other stuff to do when they were awake.
I had to use my 'lamaze breathing' for months that I thought I was in Hell but I endured and eventually that stopped. It only hurt when they latched on, but that was every 30 to 45 minutes.
I was told (especially by my mother who 'failed' at nursing in the 60s) that they were starving to death - but they peed and pooped and grew and I continued if only because it ticked her off. Now the 13 year old is 6 feet tall and a very fit 180 lbs. I still remember the pain, but it was worth it.

T Floyd

Both my kids did that nursing for a couple of minutes every half hour thing for way longer than any lactating human should be required to stand. They peed and pooped and grew anyway. Eventually they found other stuff to do when they were awake.

I had to use my 'lamaze breathing' for months that I thought I was in Hell but I endured and eventually that stopped. It only hurt when they latched on, but that was every 30 to 45 minutes.

I was told (especially by my mother who 'failed' at nursing in the 60s) that they were starving to death - but they peed and pooped and grew and I continued if only because it ticked her off.
Now the 13 year old is 6 feet tall and a very fit 180 lbs. I still remember the pain, but it was worth it.

beth

Just wanted to say that I didn't BF either of mine. It was a difficult decision with the second one. My decision with my first was made easy due to the fact that I NEVER PRODUCED MILK. And the damn La Leche League said that would never happen.

Ha.

Anyway, didn't even try to BF my second. Both are healthy, happy.

Either way you go, things will turn out fine, I promise.

janet

That is one cute baby!!!
I feel very blessed to have not had any problems with breast-feeding, but I know a LOT of people do. I've heard (from my neighbor, who is a LC) that girls tend to breast-feed better than boys. I think that's strange, but I have girls and never had a problem. I did have PAIN, tough, in the beginning (first few days with Thing One, first few weeks with Thing 2). I was ready to throw in the towel from the pain!!
I have also heard women say that they were able to breast feed one, but not another. So, even if it doesn't work out with Noah, that doesn't mean you can't breast feed the next one!
Sorry to hear you're having so much trouble. I am thinking about you and Noah and hope things get better for you!

MoMMY

Well, I think you need to do what works. Whatever that is for you. Could be why I breastfed anywhere from 2 weeks to 11 months with my 4 kids. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't. You do what you got to do for Noah! Looks like you are so far - BEAUTIFUL!

Sharon

He is a lucky little guy to have a Mommy that loves him so very much. I cant imagine that, in the grand scheme of things, anything that you feed him could be more beneficial than that love.

Your son is beautiful and pink and healthy and all of the things he should be - congrats Mama, don't be so hard on yourself.

MamaKaren

Oh, Amy, hang in there! My kids are living proof of either the wonders of formula or the wonders of nursing (depending on which kid you look at- one was nursed for a day, one never had anything but formula, and one was nursed for 11 months and they all are about the same level of health.) Keep working on the nursing if that feels right to you, switch over to formula if that feels right to you, do a combination of the two if that's what feels right to you. Don't put any pressure on yourself to live up to an arbitrary standard.

There will be so many times during the rollercoaster of motherhood when you are torn about what to do, and nobody is equipped to tell you the "right" answer. Sometimes you have to just shut your eyes and jump. All that matters is that you love Noah and you are doing what you can- he's lucky to have a mama who cares so much about doing the best for him. In the long run, it's all good.

Kristen

Um. They make formula for a reason. It's obviously good for the baby or no one would be using it! If the boob doesn't work for you, hit the bottle. Look at the pics of my nephew on my site. Cutest, fattest, happiest kid ever of all time and he ate from the boob for about a week.

Eva

I wasn't breastfed and neither were my siblings. My mom tried with us (though it was the late 60s and not in vogue) but she, too, got mastitis and her doctor told her she should switch to formula because there was blood in the breast milk. My siblings and I somehow managed to make it to adulthood--can you believe it?! Everyone knows breast milk is best for babies, but what's Really good for babies? Is not starving. You are doing exactly the right thing for your son (who is Adorable, by the way); don't let anyone guilt you about it.

Amanda

You're doing great. No one ever mentions how terribly hard & frustrating motherhood is! But Noah will be fine, and you will too. Doesn't seem like it when you're going through all of it, but a year from now things will be totally different.

By the way, he looks a LOT like you! Love that sleeping face. How precious.

Eva

I wasn't breastfed and neither were my siblings. My mom tried with us (though it was the late 60s and not in vogue) but she, too, got mastitis and her doctor told her she should switch to formula because there was blood in the breast milk. My siblings and I somehow managed to make it to adulthood--can you believe it?! Everyone knows breast milk is best for babies, but what's Really good for babies? Is not starving. You are doing exactly the right thing for your son (who is Adorable, by the way); don't let anyone guilt you about it.

Bett

I am not a blogger but I happened on yours and it has taken me back 26 years. My oldest was born when it was not the thing to do so nine years later when it was "the thing" to do I decided to try it. Well, it was not so natural for me. I cried so hard when we went back for the 6 wk check up and he had lost weight. The dr. said that after I fed him to offer him a bottle and he would lap it up every time and I cried. Well, for some reason he just decided to do it and he did it for 10 months. I don't know why!! Good luck!

Eva

I wasn't breastfed and neither were my siblings. My mom tried with us (though it was the late 60s and not in vogue) but she, too, got mastitis and her doctor told her she should switch to formula because there was blood in the breast milk. My siblings and I somehow managed to make it to adulthood--can you believe it?! Everyone knows breast milk is best for babies, but what's Really good for babies? Is not starving. You are doing exactly the right thing for your son (who is Adorable, by the way); don't let anyone guilt you about it.

Pam

Is there a 12-step program for Mothers Who Can't Stop Feeling Guilty? If it's not one thing, it's another. I breastfed with relative ease, but I've never provided my daughter with a sibling. My mother thinks I am mean and selfish. Some days, I wonder if she's right.

And my champion breastfeeder who rarely had colds or ear infections and was the sweetest, most agreeable baby who ever lived is currently flunking 4th grade (!) due to her sullen attitude and "poor organizational skills".

So, you just never know.

MKN

Just want to throw in my support. You know what's best for babies? Happy Mamas. You do whatever works for you and don't let anyone--including yourself--make you feel guilty. I know this part sucks. (No pun intended) But things will level out. Hang in there. One of my friends said the other day that once you're a mom you seem to carry guilt around with you 24/7. Yes, it's kind of true, but you can't let it take over. Have faith in yourself and have faith in the little family you've created. All the "experts" can have theories, but they can't compete with how much you love those boys of yours. Love changes the rules. Sending good vibes your way!!!

Rhinestone Cowgirl

I know you've already heard this, but it never hurts to hear it again - I'm sure you're doing a great job, and your baby boy is GORGEOUS. :)

lorrie

I think you have obviously thought this out very carefully and whatever you decide will be the right decision.

go you.

anna

Whatever happens, whether he has the boob or the bottle, everything will work out fine. As hard as it is to not feel guilty, you really shouldn't. You will be making the decision that you know is right for your family.

The Management

Wow. The Internet can really surprise you with bursts of niceness and level-headed reason, sometimes.

Thanks everybody.

Helen

My 2nd of six babies took 5 minutes each side every 5 hours and slept the rest of the time, he fed until he was 10 months and then just stopped ( oh and he is now 18 and 6' 5")....babies are clever people, they know what they need, sounds like you have the supreme of supreme creamiest of good milks and the boy just knows when he's had enough, he looks fabulous, if he is happy and sleeping, guess what? You're doing it RIGHT! I love your blog!

ssheers

I was a member of LLL. Baby#2 would not latch on. I pumped for a while ...

Bad Penguin

Wow, the breastfeeding thing sounds way more complicated than I realized. And painful. I'm sure you'll figure out what is right for you and Noah. Good luck. Also, that is one cute baby boy you've got there.

divinemissk

delurking to say that i think no matter what happens- you are not a failure- you just do whatever is best for the that little cutie pie and it will all work out in the end- i know it sounds cheesy- but it will.
keep your chin up :)
thanks for the awesome blog!

E.

Yeah, well, don't get to used to it. You're just lucky that Noah was wearing socks in his last picture. ;-)

Love,
The Internet

JP

I don't know anything about breast feeding but I know lots about milking cows, so feel free to ask me questions on that subject. Also, mastitis is yucky, you poor, poor thing. I'm sure it's not as easy to get out of a breast as it is a teat.

Real Girl

Hey little fella in your khakis. Nice pants! (Do 90's commercial references automatically make me a big dork? Because I'm okay with that.)

Thursday's just around the corner, and it'll arrive before you know it. (Tho probably not before your poor boobs know it.) The lactation specialist has helped before, right? She'll make comforting faces, and she'll point you in whatever direction is best for you. I know she will. No one wants you to suffer!

Lisa L.

Another great entry on your part.

I BF'ed my 3 kids for about a year each. It WAS simple and natural * for me and my babies *. Every family is different,and while I believe moms should give BFing a try because some moms surprise themselves, I would NEVER judge any one else. A person can hold strong beliefs about something and yet not be judgemental. A lot of people can't do this, but the problem is with the people who judge, not the person who is judged. I do not live anyone's life but my own. No one can truly understand another person's life or circumstances.

The best a mama can do is love her baby with her whole heart. You're doing that- it's clear to anyone who has read your blog this year.

Cyber hugs to you,
Lisa L.

Annie is Amazed!

Hi All,
Childless by choice here and I just have to give a big shout-out to all you mothers doing your best to give the baby the boob. I had to go look up mastitis and fenugreek, and hello? OW.OW.OW.
I winced just reading the def of mastitis.

You are all my hero's and I wish you all success in whatever you decide.

Dee

Do what is right for you and Noah.
Lots of love coming to you from Michigan:)

Big Gay Sam

No need to justify yourself. You do what you think it the right thing to do and fuck the rest of the world.

If the rest of the rest of the blogworld can't handle it then that's their damage, not yours.

(((((huggles))))

Big Gay Sam (again)

argh.. damn typos... plus the demerol isn't conducive to good writing. *sigh*

threelittlegirls

As if you need another comment. I just want to add my concern and hugs to the bunch. I've been a lurker for a long time and I'm nursing my 3rd. Its hard. Its annoying. Its painful. Its worth it. I nurse mine for a year then happily quit. Whatever you decide, you'll be fine. The point is, its hard - you have a new baby that you are getting to know and he's getting to know you. You don't need this kind of stress. Its not fair to you or him. Hopefully it'll be better tomorrow. Hugs,

mmc

Holy crappola that's a lot of comments.....took me 2 mins to scroll to the bottom.

Bottom line: feed the baby.
It's all a continuum: hassle vs. benefit, and the line is different for everyone, and you'll figure it out in time.
Good luck, you're doing a fantastic job.

Hilary

I think you might be my idol! I swear it hurts me and makes me so mad that people are sending you such awful e-mails. Those people really need to take a step back and realize they are so not helping. I applaud you for trying so hard b/c so many women would have given up by now (and not that there's a thing wrong with that). I could go on for days but won't. I really do admire you.

momtofiveboys

My son did the same thing Noah is doing--though he started a bit later. Nonetheless, it turns out it was Reflux and when we started him on Zantac, it stopped. He's now 4 months old and nursing like a champ--in the 95th percentile for weight/100th for height (brag, brag....).

I completely agree that breastfeeding is a hideous experience starting out. When I first started, and my nipples were in tatters (yes, flesh hanging off of them), I told myself if I could make it to 6 months that would be a miracle. Now, at four months, things have gotten SO MUCH easier that I am now considering going for the full year (with the help of a pump so I can resume some semblance of a social life). So, not that hearing that you have three more months of hell helps you NOW, but that's my story. Plus, when I got really dehydrated one week, I had to supplement with formula and WHEW! did his poops smell bad....

Linda

Wow, Noah is gorgeous. Obviously whatever you are doing is working. Which of course, will not stop you from worrying about everything anyway. You are a mother!

Your story sounds a lot like mine. My baby has been screaming at my boobs for most of his life now (10 weeks old, 6 weeks of boob-related screams). We've been to the doctor, talked with my midwife, two lac consultants. Nothing wrong with him. Nothing wrong with my milk. No one knows nothing.

I've gotten to the point where I trick him into breastfeeding. I give him the pacifier, put a cloth diaper over his eyes, rock him to sleep, hope he is still sucking his binky, then yank that out, and shove in my nipple, and pray to the lactating gods that he will latch on and suck.

WHY, you say. Because I listened to the La leche League and didn't give him a bottle until he was 6 weeks old (to avoid the whole nipple confusion shit). And now, he plain refuses to bottle feed. But he doesn't like to breastfeed either. So that is why I do the bait-and-switch. CRAZY stuff! But this is my last week breastfeeding. We are going to have to switch to bottles and formula because my sanity is more important than breastfeeding. And without my sanity, there is no family!

I'm glad that you are not giving in to guilt. You are a great mom, and you know what is best for Noah and you!

Jessica

I met a woman the other day whose son nurses for just 5 minutes on each boob, every three hours and is thriving.
Here's to hoping that Noah is a super sucker and that he gets enough food in those five minutes.
(My baby was a 45 minutes per side feeder. I dream that my next one will be a super sucker...) I haven't given up entirely. I pump two or three times a day. She gets 10oz BM and the rest formula... (guilt won't let me stop... lol)
Good luck!

deb

Amazed at your thoughtfulness. It's touching, truly.

We all do our best and hope for the best and the kids? They all seem to come out fine if we keep their best interests at heart, don't they? It's the big stuff that matters. The love and kisses and the rad outfits.

Noah's going to continue to flourish. I guess that's an opinion - delete at will - but it seems more like fact.

rhonda

Oh the pain of the latching on! I was so relieved when the pain went away - I wondered, have my nipples had turned to steele? After that breastfeeding became easier and convenient.

Stacey

I'm not even going to read all of the 180+ comments before me since BF is such a heated debate. All I want to say is the same thing I've told all my friends that have had BF problems - your baby has to eat (like you don't know that!), no matter if that nutrition is from your breast or a bottle, he has to eat and he will be absolutely FINE and healthy and beautiful and amazing. Enjoy him and I hope you find the answers you're looking for...

ccap'sboy

No advice, just a comment. My wife (ccap) is due any day now with our first, and if the Monkey breastfeeds, he/she does. If not, oh well. My wife's well-being and sanity mean more to me than what the "experts" say. And as long as the baby eats (no matter how), I'm good with that.

And, by the way, I love reading your blog. You make me laugh, and think, and that is a good thing. You have a great family. All the best.

bd

No matter which you decide (breastfeeding only, pumping and feeding with bottles, or going with formula)you are still a great mom with your child's health at heart so don't be ashamed!

slyeyes

Got to admit; Jessica's "10 oz BM" comment kinda freaked me for a minute. Then I realized that was 10 oz Breast Milk.

Whew! I was hoping we weren't getting into weights and measures of the other.

GG

Just piping in to say, jeez louise, you get A LOT of comments! How cool are you?! My first breastfeeder boy took about FOUR months to really get the hang of it. But it was not as rough going as you've already had it. Next time around, it was no problem, for absolutely no reason! No matter what your intentions, you just never know what's gonna happen. Oh, and La Leche? Absolutely no help at all. Be happy that people are even encouraging you 'cause all I seemed to meet were freaked out ANTI- breastfeeders.

jeanne

My short story:
I had big saggy boobs. My daugher would nurse for like 1 minute, gag, pull away violently--OUCH--and then cry bcs she was hungry. One day, I wrote down every single time we went thru this routine. I still have the "schedule." I believe we did this every 3-4 minutes for an ENTIRE day.

She's 19 now.
The end.
Coda: Those babies in the book? Those are the polite English babies who have read the book, and know to nurse 5 minutes on one side and 6 1/2 on the other and then go to sleep for 3 1/2 hours.
The end.

JustLinda

This is quite possibly the most respectful and supportive collection of comments addressing breastfeeding issues and the choices that fallout that I've ever seen.... Wow.

Gabby

What a darling baby! I have really enjoyed reading your blog. You're a funny gal.

Good luck with whatever you decide on the feeding issue. You can't go wrong, though, because the most important thing a child needs is love, and you and your husband obviously are experts at that already. So try not to stress out (yeah, right!), because there are more serious things to worry about on the horizon.

Like little girls.

wordnerd

All I can say is God bless you. Do what works best for YOU and the hell with everyone else. I managed 3 months with my first baby and about 3 weeks with my second. Just remember that you have also given that precious baby so much with every day he has nursed, so when you decide to stop, he has already received so much of the benefit. Also, and I know you've gotten 200 comments related to this, but it took about 3 or 4 weeks for it to go right the first time. The day I decided to quit was the day everything suddenly turned around and started working the way it should. Good luck -- your boy is beautiful no matter where his nutrition ends up coming from.

Melanie

Your baby is absolutely gorgeous and you and your husband can do whatever the hell you see fit without anybody's approval or suggestion. He's yours and he'll be just fine. (I would personally draw the line at a vodka tonic in a sippy cup, but that's just me, and it's not meant to be assvice anyway.)

Keep the pictures coming. I just want to reach into my computer and gobble him up!

Dangerous

De-lurking finally!

Honey, hang in there. I am pro-boobie but also pro-non-insane-mommy. Do what you have to and fuck guilt, then tell the LLL nazi's to get bent.

Is that assvise? Sorry.

munchkin_mama

You are doing great! Nursing is hard. I tried and *failed* with my first and with my second had an easier time. The guilt I felt when I quit with my first still haunts me. I hate that! I was still a great mom...but darn, the "need" to breastfeed just overwhelmed me. You may understand that feeling :) But she is still a genius...even if she did eat that horrible formula.LOL Breastfeeding is more than just food to most of us... I don't think a lot of people realize that. No matter what you end up doing....you are still a great momma! And screw anyone who tells you different!!!

lissa

dude, and yes i did just say dude, my breast hurt just from reading this.

your doing awesome and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

emma

So Noah?...still gorgeous. And you?...still beautiful. And Jason?...great man. I don't know breastfeeding from my own elbow! But I do know that I am cheering for you over here. Carry on you lovely woman, you are doing an awesome job.

Peyton

Hey, there, new Mommy! :-) No ad-or-ass vice, but just wanted to share our story with breastfeeding. Ella never really took to me, and I definitely had the toast point thing going on. I wound up pumping for every bottle for about a month, then said the heck with it. Well, Ella just had her 1 year old doctor's visit yesterday. She is 22.5 lbs., 31 inches tall, in the 95th percentiles for height and weight for her age. She is walking and talking and absolutely fine. She doesn't get sick anymore than any other kid in daycare, and hasn't had any problems at all. Formula is not evil. And honestly? I was MUCH happier after I made the decision to stop trying to breastfeed. Happy baby, happy mommy, and that's what matters most. Good luck with whatever you do decide to do!

Erin O'Brien

I won't tell my gawd-awful sob story about breast feeding and guilt, but here's my own assvice:

The next time someone projects a self-serving guilt trip on you (or anyone else) about the can of Similac on your counter, stand on the nearest chair and scream, "FUCK OFF INDUSTRIAL STRENGHT ASSHOLE" at the top of your lungs. Then ask him/her if he voted for George Bush.

laney

Amy, I hope my comments have not been the "ass-vice" of which you speak. :-)

I just want you to know that you are doing a great job, it is so hard being a first time mom and I hate to tell you this, but the guilt, she never goes away! You have to do what is right for you and your sweet little pea.

There is nothing wrong with what you have been doing, all my babies were breastfed and they had formula (gasp!) and, dear God almighty, pacifiers! I can only imagine how hurtful some folks can be, but know this, you are doing great!

Just know that I hope everything works out for you, whatever you choose!

Heatherg

Feed him a burger and Fries for dinner and be done. Another month or so and he can cook his own meals. lol

I wouldnt give a shit what anyone said- the boyu is huge, he's obviously sufficiently fed.

He's beatiful, my dear, and looks like he is happy and healthy to me. Dont stress.....

Karen

You have a sense of humor and that, more than anything else, will get you and Noah through this. It's all a personal decision. Tell everyone to "f" off....

Nicole

Woo! I think I'm the 200th comment on this post!!
Amalah, you can do with your boobies and babies whatever you please.

The comments to this entry are closed.