October 29, 2006


Jen Duncan

Hi! Came across your blog today via checking out "The Crafters Companion" (congrats!) I have to tell you that I scrolled to the last paragraph and honey; if you're this concerned about what 'the other mothers' are going to think of you, I say "you need to start hanging out with a different crowd!" Seriously, if you were hanging around me and you DIDN'T pull your boob out I'd thank you for that. ;-) shake it off...it's all small potatos in the big scheme of things. Enjoy your children. That's what's important.


Thank you so much for sharing that story. I have a friend that got PND and couldn't breastfeed her twins because of the meds she was on, and felt guilty about it for such a long time. All of her friends kept pointing out to her that she was amazing for even managing with twins at all, and that that beautiful earth mother thing only works for a select few, and that she was a fabulous mother. Still, it's taken her quite some time to get over this idea that she has somehow damaged her children.

I don't understand what we as women do to each other. Are men still keeping us down? Hard to tell sometimes, we're doing such a good job of it. Can't balance a career with being a perfect earth mother, growing vegetables in your own organic garden, all while saving the world and knitting, to prove you can reclaim women's work as a feminist symbol? How could you?

I was raised on formula, and turned out fine. My friend was breastfed and has more allergies than you can shake a stick at, asthma, and a host of other health problems.

The whole point of the feminist revolution was supposed to be that we can make independent choices for ourselves, based on our dreams, our circumstances and our health. Taking control of your own body is just that, and anyone who tries to tell you what to do with it - male or female - is just as bad as the male chauvanist pigs our mothers marched braless against in the 70s.

Rant over. Thanks again for sharing - your knitting, your struggles, and your beautiful, healthy family.


Oh Alison , there's not one person walking on this planet that has any right to judge you. And please go easy on yourself.
I tried breastfeeding my first two children but it didn't work out due to similar reasons as yours, so when I was pregnant for the 3rd time, I thought sod that for a game of soldiers and bottle fed straight away.
Maybe it was because I was nearly 40 or maybe it was because of the steely glint in my eye, but when I informed my midwives and doctors of my intentions they didn't say a word. I think they probably realised I would have punched them in the face if they had.
And if anybody would have dared to give me a patronising/snotty look when I was bottle feeding my babe.... Well, I would have told them to F--k right off.
Maybe I'll send you a t-shirt with that embroidered on the front ?
: )


Thank you for your honesty... I've never had a child, but my mother only breastfed me for less than one month, and only five days with my brother.. I supose that she didn't have more milk.. but that didn't stop her from becoming the best mom in the world. I'm sure you are too.

dani (pyglet)

Women should be free to make what ever reponsible mothering choices they feel are right for them, regardless of the reasons. Nobody knows someone elses story behind the choices they make for their children and family and we should not have to feel that we need to wear an explanation of all our justifications for those decisions taped to our foreheads everywhere we go. The most important and responsible thing you can do is to understand you and your family's needs and make the right decisions accordingly.
My belief is that mothering and parenting are all personal and family decisions. It angers me that mothers should ever feel pressured to change or explain those decisions because of societal or peer pressure. Bottle-feeding is a legitamate and neccesssary choice for many many families and it works perfectly. Children still thrive. You are a strong, thoughtful and amazing mother who is simply making responsible and healthy decisions for herself, her children and her family.
It sounds like you are doing a great job mum. xox


Just wanted to say thank you for sharing this and being a voice for so many. Breastfeeding was for me the hardest part of being a new mum. Like you my nipples shred and watching my newborn son vomiting my blood that his tiny tummy could not digest was the scariest thing. When jaundice set it I decided I had to supplement with formula, luckily for me nipple sheilds helped and eventually I was able to continue with breastfeeding. But I truely understand the anxiety that you have felt. Please try and put that behind you, forget everyone else, you have two beautiful healthy children who you will nurture in so many ways. XX


What there needs to be is more empathy in the world. Hopefully your post will give people more perspective on this issue, which may lead to more understanding and compassion. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it will help others, I hope it will help you as well. Take care.


i lasted 3 1/2 weeks with Molly breastfeeding. My story is pretty much ditto to yours. Happy mum = happy baby, you are doing just fine x and f#%&* what "other people" think (although I still care a little bit!) Thanks for sharing your story, it heals you and many others


A brave post, an honest one.
We all do what is best for our children, you are doing the best for your little one. You always will, and if that means a bottle, so be it.
I'm going to send a link to your post to my local breast feeding association. It may result in a more caring environment at such groups that were set up to nurture and support mothers. I'll send it from 'the woman who came for support but who was frozen out because she dared to nourish her child from a bottle'.
Well done Alison.


wow, what a fantastic, brave, honest discussion about a very touchy subject. i think my sentiments echo everyone else on this one- try not to be too hard on yourself and don't let anybody elses assumptions hurt you either.
i'm very grateful that i have been able to breasfeed my kids. but there were some very tough moments in there. it's such a difficult thing to learn, for both mum and bub, and when your nipples hurt, they REALLY hurt!


parenting is a series of choices, you make the best one for your family and then move on, strangers will always judge us - ignore them.Maintain your faith in your decision, you want a happy healthy family, you want to enjoy your children and have them enjoy you. Mourn and move on.


Darling you are the bravest.
Breast feeding, if natural, is NOT easy. Even for the third child, after two long "ride". Yes, it can be very painful (two engorgements being the second more painful and dreadful souvenir of the hospital, thank you), and it is often (always?) a delicate balance to reach, with many unknown and unseen weights to complicate it.
Even if I still think that it may be the best for the child, it's only when the mother is happy and confortable with it. It certainly isn't when the mother is repeatedly hurt and afraid of it. That, is unnecessary torture, in our modern world.
I think your decision has been wisely made, with your heart and your mind, and the support of your husband. Mothering is difficult enough, why do everybody needs to add (bad) judgement on our shoulders?
As for your pain, let me be on your side, and give you a sisterly hug and a kiss.
I wish you and your little a joyful, tender and happy relationship, and a Bon Appetit!


wise decision for you and your family. stand up for what you believe in...things will be alright!!!


I remember all to well the pain and anguish of breastfeeding, it's not easy, and doesn't come naturally, at least not to me - made the births seem like a breeze. I was fortunate to find a helpful midwife and I made it through - but my heart goes out to you. Motherhood is full enough of guilt without others imposing it on you. You need to do what is best for you and your family.


i'm glad you decided to move on - for not only your sake, but for pia's too.


upon reading the first paragraph
i thought you were going to lay down some heavy heavy news
anyway you can feed your child
breast or bottle
is the right way
just like vaginal or c section
baby is born
and that is beautiful
to hell with anybody who doesn't get that



Alison, how brave, honest, and true to yourself. I think your decision is a real reflection of motherhood - that what we decide for us, for our children, for our families, is made out of boundless love, and in our hope to be the best mother we can be in the time, space and circumstances we are given. And sometimes those decisions aren't what we'd want to make, but the ones we have to make. What love you have for Pia and your family. Please, be kind to yourself, and tell those judgemental others to bugger off!

Sharon G.

You are an amazing mom for putting the emotional well-being of your family above what society is judging as the "right" thing to do. Seriously, you tried, you tried damn hard. You've tried harder than most moms I know. Sometimes it just doesn't work, and that's OK. Max and Pia will grow up to be gorgeous, intelligent, caring adults because that's what YOU are. It has nothing to do with the boob milk. Hugs to you, momma.


it is a hard decision to make, but definitely the right one. i don't have children yet, but i'd like to share my family's story. both my grandmother and mother had to stop breastfeeding very early on because neither produced enough milk, for both their pregnancies. i doubt i will fare different. to top that, i turned lactose intolerant at two months and had to be fed a soy formula which was at the time - only by prescription.
granted, all this happened in israel of the 80s, no "back to nature" wave in sight - and yet... my mom was 20 when she gave birth to me, with all the good intentions and hope of a new mom - and all of a sudden your body doesn't work. what treason. your baby is tiny and crying with hunger, and you can do squat.
but the only decision one can make is think of what's best for you and your baby - AND YOU'RE RIGHT. being hysterical and depressed and stressed out of your brain is not going to help. and if you could breastfeed Pia but you yourself was a wreck? it just isn't worth it.
yes, biologically breastfeeding is better, but it's not your fault if you can't. it's like decidingto have an all natural birth and then be forced into a c-section. what's more important? vague ideas of holistic wholeness or the life of your child? don't cry over this and don't let anyone make you feel guilty, even if you pull out a bottle for feeding time. it's better for the both of you 100%.
this brainwashing wave of breastfeeding only is unrealistic and it just puts more stress on us women. if you can and you want - on all accounts - do it! if not - no reason to feel guilty and get assaulted into it.
be proud of yourself for thinking about your family's health and happiness and don't let anyone get to you. you made the right decision, period.


Don't accept any of that guilt. You are a wonderful mother with wonderful children. There will always be something that you'd like to do for them but you can't. Eating your heart out over it won't help. Your children will thrive. Modern formula is really very good. In the end, no one will know or care.

Hug the baby, kiss the toddler, be happy together.

If you manage to turn out two adults, it's good.


You are just living in the wrong country ;-)
It's all right, Alison!


It's clear that you wanted to breastfeed badly, Allison. It's hard to read what you've written here and not want to help in some way, not want to offer some bit of advice that maybe you never received. It's clear that that isn't what you need though.

You made what was obviously an incredibly painful decision and you made it twice. Having to do that may have fallen far short of your ideal but in doing so you've exhibited not only a tremendous strength but also a tremendous love for your children. It wasn't what you wanted but to model those things for your children is an amazing thing. Yes, the circumstances suck but still there is that gift in it all.

There will always be people who judge. I often think that the most difficult thing we face as mothers is the judgement of other mothers. The only way I've found to cope with it is to build up a wall and to take confindence from my convictions. Let this message of support and all the others you've received be bricks in your wall, Allison. You did a hard thing. You did a good thing. You did the right thing.



Hang in there! You need to do what is right for you- no judgment, no apologies, no need to explain. You've been through a lot, so be kind to yourself!

laura r.

you are a good mom.


You are so brave and such a wonderful mom. I wish you nothing but happiness and hope that you will let the guilt go. Although I don't know what it is like, to have gone through this or had children, I know that you love your children and would do anything for them.

Thank you for opening other's eyes and for sharing your heartbreaking story. I am so proud of you and your LUCKY children and husband!

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