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October 29, 2006

Comments

Laura

Who was it who said "If momma ain't happy, no one's happy"? because its so true. I feel that it is so much better for you and your babes to have a you thats healthy and connected to them in a way that works for your family, rather than trying to fit them into a societal mold that doesn't fit.

Like many other commenters, we struggled with breastfeeding too from the first feed. and yes the whole 'blood in the milk' thing was kind of horrifying. Somehow it worked itself out after about a month, but I feel that it was rather random that it did. But even being able to breastfeed didn't help the anxiety at first..it all comes out in the wash though. They all grow up to be beautiful loved children in the end.

I must admit that your post gave me pause. I wondered if I ever judge people when I see young infants with bottles rather than breastfeeding. and honestly, for around 2 seconds I probably do. But then luckily, I remember that not everyone has a choice in the matter and is doing the best they can.
I'm glad that your candor made me think about this, so that I could clarify it for myself.

Please be strong, you are so brave and we are all cheering for you!

Lisa W.

I had to say something after reading all this, even if I echo some comments already stated. First of all, most importantly, congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter. May she have a long and blessed life! I had similar breastfeeding problems with my daughter. What shocked me the most is that no one told me that breastfeeding is difficult and often, painful. Live your life, you're doing great and forget about the "judgers." It would be a wonderful world if we were all as "right" as they think they are.

Nan

You are very brave to have shared this - I wish I would have been able to read it 6 years when when I was unable to breast feed my first. Weeks of sobbing (by both of us) lactation consultations, bloody nipples and me finally unable to bond with my son and coming to the point where I felt as if I was merely baby-sitting my Mate's child. It is a time we have come to refer to as the 'dark time'. It is a lost point of his life where I was consumed by guilt and then - like you - my husband finally gently convinced me to go the way of the bottle. Time went by and I am glad to say we bonded wonderfully and he is now 6. Bright, handsome and full of spunk. His younger brother was born 2 years later and miracle upon miracle the breast feeding worked out. I was so relieved, but in the end I feel that it was the fact that he was getting food and we weren't fighting about it that helped his infancy be a pleasure - not the fact that he was breast fed. I still feel like I lost out on those sweet few weeks of newborn wonder with the first, I so applaud your choice to just enjoy Pia. Oh and for curiosity, I don't see any difference in my relationship between the breat fed and bottle fed son (aside from the fact that they are completely different kids) and ironically the bottle fed son has only been on antibiotics once in 6 years and sadly my younger (breast fed)one has chronic ear issues and has been to hospital many times in his young life. You clearly put a lot of thought into your mothering and you children are very lucky for this... I can only imagine strong wonderful relationships (with bouts of any teenagerdom thown in) becasue you seem like you would foster this. Bravo! I look forward to more news and more pics of the "Pia's outfit of the day" variety.

monica

don't worry, I join all the other in saying that I've been through it too, I tried for 2 months and was tired and stressed and worried and unhappy. Not to mention SORE. And then I stopped and I was happy and my children were happy and we were happy together. A happy mum is a happy baby and viceversa. I too felt guilty and felt the need to justify my decision with the other smug mums. It's wrong. You did it because it was best for your baby and for you. At this stage in her life you're one, it was best for both of you. Good luck.

Elizabeth

I couldn't breastfeed my 2 babies either, and I was so terribly sad about it. Even the home health care nurse said I just didn't have milk -- period. Nothin' there. But my kids are 12 and 9 and are smart, funny, great kids.

There'll be enough other people to kick you about not breastfeeding, so don't kick yourself!

mery

I don't think I'm going to say anything that haven't been said by the others but I too had problems breastfeeding Tino. I hate how a lot of the breastfeeding fanatics aroun me demonized formula, they'd call it the 'f' word but I also used to feel jealouos for the moms who had it easy with the breastfeeding. Tino was raised on formula and he is a happy and healthy kid and looking back I don't regret my decission. Yes, I was exhausted those first few weeks but I also enjoyed him to the fullest and so did his dad helping with the feedings. Max is a beautiful boy (as I've seen in the pics you post) and Pia is a beautiful baby! Please don't feel guilty. When it comes to raising kids you have to do what works for the whole family and this is it for you. Enjoy your baby Allison!

Cathi

I just wanted to throw in my two cents here... I was just like you with both my children, desparately wanted to be able to breastfeed. Being a new mom, and with inverted, oversized nipples, it was just too hard to get a good latch...she was getting more blood than colostrum or milk... I gave up when my baby started losing weight. I was disappointed but moved on...

Take two, I started preparing months in advance with nipple thingies to help pull out inverted nipples. My second daughter latched fairly well for the first day, until the milk came in and my nipples became big hulking beasts, lol, she couldn't latch and after 12 hours of trying, I made the decision to pump. I was able to pump for a month, but it wasn't a great life, up every few hours milking myself between baby feeding times...I got no sleep.

A happy mommy makes for happy babies. It doesn't matter if the milk comes from a powder for from you, as long as it makes the baby nourished and growing!

I feel your pain, I shared it! I hope that you realize that just because we can't breastfeed our babies, doesn't mean we were failures! You did the best you could, and I bet you are a GREAT mom!

I found your blog via other knitting and crafting blogs, and just wanted to say as an aside to this topic, that you do lovely work.

Jennifer

I was really lucky that I was able to nurse my daughter for 6 mo, but then we went to both a bottle and nursing, then I stopped at about 9 because I was travelling with work and it just became too exhausting. Things they don't tell women who are focused on breastfeeding - 1. You will want to kill yourself in the first 3 weeks. It will be like no other pain and misery and you will feel like a major failure on top of other internal/external pressures to (not) breastfeed. After 3 weeks, though, it gets better and I'm happy I was able to nurse as long as I did. 2. It's not (doesn't have to be) an all or nothing proposition. In my mind, I felt like a failure going to the bottle during the day when I was working. I know now that perhaps a better balance (more in my attitude) between bottle and breast may have made me last longer. 3. While it is important to think of what is best for your child, it's hard not to feel like its a personal failure when we stop for whatever reason. For myself, when I finally stopped, I missed it dreadfully and felt like I was both copping out and failing my daughter. In reality (and 3 years on), it was a mixed bag. My husband was able to bond more with her after I stopped "hogging" :-) her for feedings and enjoyed not being "tied" :-) to her for sustenance.

As I think all the other comments above say, in all things, we are more than the sum of our parts. Getting to be a mom to healthy, beautiful children is just gravy. :-)

suse

Ouch, I hope those nipples are healed now.

I breastfed my eldest easily and naturally so what a shock when number two came along and wouldn't/couldn't feed. I felt those judgemental stares every time I whipped out a bottle in the park or at a cafe. It was awful and I so feel your pain. But my wonderful maternal and child health nurse put it into perspective when she looked at me weeping with guilt and sorrow, and said "You didn't have a baby to breastfeed it. Feeding a baby is only one small part of childrearing."

We all know breast is best, but sometimes bottle is better.

Brave post Alison. Well said.

Keep well.
x

Zoe

I am so in tune with what you have just said in this post even now, 2.5 years after the birth of my daughter.

I had to make that very same decision and bottle feeding hadn't even entered my head as an option. After days of trying and trying with breast feeding it just wasn't happening...I was getting so anxious and upset and worn out and so was my daughter.

In the end it was ultimately my decision to bottle feed but I had the full support of my husband and family. And it was actually fine, like you said, you still get the closeness. All that matters is that you and your children are happy and if you have the support of your family it really shouldn't matter what society excpects you to do as a new mother with regards breastfeeding.

It is such a black & white subject...you either breast or bottle feed and there's nothing in between...no recognition for those mothers who desparately wanted to breast feed but are unable to for one reason or another. You're very brave for writing about this. Don't think I could have shared my thoughts and feelings with the world just after my daughter was born.

Zoe x

Kristy

What a lovely honest post.Of my 4 girls the first 2 were bottle fed the second 2 breast fed.With my first pregnancy my nipples were cracked and bleeding before I even gave birth.Breast feeding was never an option!By number 3 I was able to successfully feed with no trouble.I can honestly say though that there is no difference with bonding,intelligence or health between any of my girls.In fact the only one to have ezcema was breast fed!

Carla

You know, with all things in being a parent, you try to do the best you can. Some things succeed brilliantly, other things, not so much.

I had a lot of trouble with breastfeeding too, and went through lactation consultants and tears. I just don't make very much milk, no matter what I do.

My kids are 16 and 9 now, and everything is fine.

It's a bump in the road, but overall, it's a long road. A few bumps won't matter.

kerry

as a mother who was unable to breatfeed her first child due to a palatal abnormality that she was born with i remember being cruched that i couldn't so i sypathize wholeheartedly with how you feel.

however, as i'm sure you realize the important thing to remember is that you had [and have] the choice. not many women in other countries can make that choice and their children often times do not survive.

Joy Morykon

Thanks so much for your honesty. Today is my due date for my daughter to arrive, and i intend on doing all i can to breast feed, but it is so good to hear your story. I, in no way want to assume be cause i plan it to feed this way that i'll have no trouble. May you be encouraged by all of the women who obviously love you on this blog. The comments are so kind. Sounds like we all feel the same way. You are a great mother, and your decision is respected and supported.
Your daughter is beautiful by the way.

I just discovered your blog, i'll keep reading you. Thanks again for your honesty. May God bless you always.

shula

I breastfed with shredded nipples and a sense of dread every feeding time, because bottle feeding was considered unthinkable. I wound up with a very distressed baby who never slept or stopped crying for 7 months. I dropped to an alarming weight and lots of my hair fell out. But giving up was always out of the question, and I was too inexperienced to know better. The first bottle I ever gave her (at 8 months), so that I could spend a night with my dying fater, let her sleep for 7 hours straight. I never looked back, and wish now that I had followed my own instincts.

Don't sweat it, honey. She's beautiful. She's healthy. All's well with the world. We get so caught up with our own expectations of how it should be that we don't realise, sometimes, how good it is.

melanie

Man, I wish I had the time to read all of these comments. I'll need to come back and do that. I just wanted to throw in my empathy and support. I also made the decision not to breastfeed. For different reasons, but the misery it caused me and the guilt that followed are sounding quite similar to yours. I also felt judged, and everytime I see someone breast feeding now, it pains me. But I continue to believe that you need to take care of yourself first in order to take care of your little ones, and if that's what has to happen, then it's worth it. I'm so sorry this has been so hard for you. **Big trans-continental hug**

Toni

I am tipping my hat to you Alison. You are a brave soul and fierce with motherly love. I have been a mother long enough now to swallow my own pride (many, many times) and not to be quick in summing up other moms. It is a very sad thing, and I can't imagine your pain. I'm so sorry. But hold your head high. You have many years ahead to pour into those precious children. xox.

Julia

This post just tears at my heart. I don't know what is wrong with people that they feel it is right to judge others so harshly. Every single girlfriend I have has had trouble with breast-feeding. Some have worked it out, but many have had to bottle-feed instead. There is so much anguish involved in the process and the decision, that I cannot fathom judging another woman for her circumstances. I fear that I will not be able to breastfeed (due to medications), and I hope that I will be as brave as you are about it. I know that you must be a wonderful mother, and that the method of feeding has nothing to do with it. Big hugs.

Sofia

Don't feel bad about yourself or about anything. I'm sure you're a great mother.
Breastfeeding is really hard and anyone who's gone through that knows but sometimes women enjoy the power of feeling like wonderwoman and then crack under the pressure. I think you did the right choice. Why be a wonderwoman if you can be a wondermom? Max and Pia are beautiful and both seem absolutely happy.
Kiss from a new mother in Portugal.

Marta

i have a 1 year old baby girl and breastfeeding was the only thing in my mint for about four weeks since she was born. Jenny says it gets better after three weeks, for me it only got worse. Four weeks after birth she was still not gaining weight and i was a total wreck. I did all i could think of including calling for help (a lactation consultant), pumping, trying all the positions i was told about... Suddenly i realised the stress i was putting my baby up to and the inabillity i had to just feel happy for having my daughter and i gave up. i went on breasfedding and bottlefedding for a while but my daughter became less and less interested in breastfeeding when she understood that there wasn´t any food coming from that "department"..
Thank you for sharing, for a while i thaught that something was really wrong with me. And i imagine it happens to everybody that goes through it.
You have a beautiful baby that will have a more relaxed and playful mom, you will enjoy the company of each other and i believe that is the importante

Thank you again for sharing

best wishes
marta

sarah

some of the longest moments of my life have been waiting for a bottle to warm, trying to placate a screaming baby who decided she was hungry early, surrounded by breastfeeding mums... thank-you thank-you for writing this post al xxx

jennifer

what an honest post. sounds just like my experience with my first and she is now 4 and just perfect :^ )

i am expecting my second in april and am so scared about the anxiety of breastfeeding, but, will not feel pressured by anyone to do what they think is 'right'.

your daughter is beautiful!

jen

leanneshouse

You know what? This is 2006 and it's ok to do what is best for you and your baby - just the way you see it.

Cassidy

I just wanted to say how sorry I am. I have a 9 month old, whom I was determined to breastfeed. I was so set on it, I had no formula, no bottles, and no idea what to do with them.


Our first four weeks were hell, sure she could latch on, and it didn't hurt, but she nursed for about 45 minutes, and she nursed EVERY hour. At her one month appointment I discovered that she had only gained 4 ounces since we'd left the hospital. They started pushing me to supplement, and I was convinced that I must be doing something wrong. I started taking reglan ( a milk producing prescription), I was pumping after every nursing session, taking herbs, drinking teas... Only to discover that in a week she'd gained a 1/2 ounce.

I think that one of the hardest moments I've had in life, is giving her that first bottle of formula. Granted, my poor baby was so skinny, looking at pictures I can't understand how I didn't see it. And once we started on formula she did great, to my reliefm but also to my disapointment. I was embarrased and ashamed. It turns out I have something known as hypoplasia- which basically means I don't have enough mammary tissue/glands to produce enough milk.

It still hurts that I didn't get to have a nursing relationship with my daughter, and I'm still embarrased to have to explain to people that yes she gets formula, and that I really did try everything to try to make it work. They seem to think that I just "quit" and didn't really want it to work out. And I get really frustrated at the people who just brush it off as no big deal, like, "oh, well my kid gets formula, why bother nursing?" I don't go to mothers groups anymore because it hurt to go and watch the other moms nursing while I pulled out a bottle to mix formula.

Anyway, this is longer than I intended. I thought that someone else's story might help you, like yours helps me. It's a comfort to me to know that someone else knows how I feel.

niki

I've just reread your post from Oct 29th - my Max is 3 weeks old and I've decided to stop b'feeding and cont with expressing and formula. The decision was taken on extreme pain, non-stop tears and hardly any milk on top of the guilt stemming from the assumption that of course I would b'feed (because I want to be 'good' mother) and it would not be the most painful thing in my life (yes, much worse than labour). On talking to my friends they ALL describe agony for 6 weeks - why is there such a conspiracy of silence? It truly makes you feel like the loneliest failure.

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