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March 18, 2005

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JJ Daddy in Savannah

Daddytypes had a post back in January comparing various formula costs that turned into a BFF vs. UFANFGAI (Using formula and not feeling guilty about it) smackdown. Plenty of UrbanBaby forum style waa-waa on both sides.
http://daddytypes.com/archive/2005/01/26/calculate_this_formula.html

Jennifer

I tried very very very hard to breastfeed. I only could get 6 weeks of breast milk with supplementing formula. (not by choice)

I could not produce enough milk no matter how hard I tried. Colby Grace would not latch on so I had to pump all the time and sometimes I would pump for an hour with only 1 oz. as a result. I tried every solution you can name….sleeping on my back, pumping ever 30 minuets, food, pictures of my baby when pumping Nothing worked!! It was frustrating and exhausting to say the least. I cried all the time thinking I failed my child because I could not breastfeed exclusively. The boobie nazis made me feel even worse. After requesting medications to increase my very small milk supply… I saw on Good morning America that the medication I was about to take was causing many women to have heart attacks. I then called the la-leach league and my lactation specialist (again for the 5 millionth time) and they along with my doctors all came to the conclusion that I could not breastfeed.

I know breast is best...but starving your kid is awful. Those boobie nazis can kiss my but. Sometimes you just can kick out milk like Elsie the cow.

Jillian

I'm sure La Leche has helped some women in the past. I think they do have good intentions. The problem with them is that they're practically militant about breastfeeding. They push every tactic in the book onto new mothers without thinking how tramautic this can be for us moms. It took me about 4-5 months before my first son was able to latch on properly. Naturally, I supplemented with formula so my baby wouldn't starve to death. You should have seen the looks of disgust I got from my La Leche counselor. It was like she accused me of giving up. Screw her! Not all women can breastfeed. My son and I were happy with formula and I don't think it's made any difference. So while i'm sure some La Leche counselors are compassionate and understanding, the ones I met made me think of them as Breast Milk gestapo! I get pissed whenever I hear anyone even mention them. (But that's just me. When it comes to people telling me how to raise my kids, I get pissed easily) :)

Great post!

LHB

What happened to Sam sounds just like what happened to me. My milk came in late too, resulting in a very crabby 4 day old baby. But it eventually worked out. It did start to get easier, after I got over the initial "worlds worst titty-twister" feeling. :) Nice huh...
No one told me just how hard bf-ing would be. So now I give people fair, advance warning. People -it hurts like no other. Interesting that a man would write about it, though. Thanks for your perspective.

Arwen

I had a friend who ran screaming away from breastfeeding because she was specifically told she couldn't supplement with formula - that once you did, it was all over, breast-wise. Her milk dribbled in for the first week and there were four straight days of hungry screaming. Maybe her milk would have been a long term issue, or maybe the C-section & drugs was the issue, who knows ... but what new mom can look at their hungry baby and say "Deal with it till my milk comes in?" Plus, there are some mom/baby combos who just have a long term hard time, past the standard six weeks that most everyone goes through.

As a formula feeding mom, she has been confronted more than once by teenage checkout clerks who want to point out that "breast is best". Horrifying. I learned from her experience and became a militant leave-me-alone Nazi - like lots of moms I had a hard time breastfeeding at first, and I used formula sometimes. All babies, all moms, all breasts, are different. Duh.

( ... Also, historically, there have been other lactating women around new moms. Wet nursing was common. So, if my milk wasn't coming in, I'd hand off to my best friend (who probably had 5 kids of her own), and she'd nurse the kid for me, sometimes, in those first hard weeks. New moms need backup. CFS.)

Cobalt's Daddy

We had a similar problem...milk didn't come in...boy ended up being dehydrated. But the wonderful lactation nurses said NOTHING about supplementing, even after we asked. We had to go back to the hospital and were treated for a possible bacterial infection or meningitis!!! All because the nurses said NOT to use formula, even after we said we thought the boy looked hungry. So mom and the boy had to spend another 5 days in the hospital after being home for only one day. The doctors tried to do a spinal tap on the boy...3 times cause they kept missing or couldn't get any fluid. They checked them in and put him on antibiotics for 48 hours and waited for results to get back. When the results came back, one was contiminated so they had to do another set of blood tests.
In the end, all the tests were negative and the boy was just dehydrated...all because the 2 lactation nurses we had said we could not give him formula. And on top of it all, Cobalt and Mom both go Thrush from the antibiotic treatment.
So now we tell everyone "If your child looks hungry, forget what the nurses and books say and give him a little bit of bottle to supplement until the milk comes in".

Suzanne

My son was born very small and was hungry constantly!!! My milk never came in and it was not enough in the first place! My nipples hurt like someone had been chewing on them, and finally I said hand me the bottle. My son is smart and healthy and i'm not one bit sorry that I used formula!

Dee

I breastfed our first son and he seemed awful fussy too. The nurse was supposed to come by after the first week and check on us, but it never happened. We had no family in the area so I called my sis-in-law about the crying, she didn't know what to do either.

On the first month check-up, my son had not gained a damn ounce of weight. I was absolutely horrified!!!!!! I can't believe I starved my poor baby for 30 days, unfreaking believeable. Why don't they tell you this shit.

To this day, my son (15) has a problem with food. He eats a lot. He's always been overweight. I'm sure that first month was the root of the problem. I always discussed nutrition with my sons and I did not feed them crap (not too much anyways).

If you know any first time mothers, please tell them. The guilt of motherhood never goes away.

panthergirl

I agree with everything in this post, except for one small detail. For some babies, the introduction of a bottle can make them unwilling to do the "work" involved to get breastmilk from mom. That's probably why a lot of pro-BF people are adamantly opposed to the occasional bottle.

I BF my daughter exclusively (she wasn't completely weaned until 18 months old) but I was working from home and could do it. When my son was born, 10 years later, I was devestated that he'd have to get supplemental formula when I went back to work at 8 weeks...I wasn't exactly the Dairy Queen when it came to pumping. But you know what? He survived, I survived...I nursed him at least 3 times a day until he was 10 months old. Ironically he had no ear infections, while my daughter had been plagued by them.

When I taught childbirth classes I encouraged women to at least TRY to BF... but I was also very honest about how hard it can be at the beginning.

BossLady

First off, congrats to you and Sam on L. I remember distinctly that at 6 weeks, breastfeeding got a lot easier but it was also the time when the Peanut became so much more aware of her surroundings and seemingly became more fussy. Good luck to you guys if you are going through that peak fussy time.

I think PIPs (all of us first-timers, don't you think?) just need someone to give us a little warning of what's ahead. I think MetroDad and I were able to handle things a bit better because we had plenty of friends who gave us a heads up. Breastfeeding has got to be one of the hardest things for a new mother. I had girlfriends who warned me about the cracked, blistered nipples, the tears from frustration, and the unwarranted guilt in giving the Peanut a bottle of formula. I think just being armed with a heads up allowed us to not freak out about giving a bottle of formula. And not freaking out was probably what got me able to breastfeed successfully.

The same friends told us about the 6-week fussy period when the Peanut would cry for long stretches (seemed like hours) for no apparent reason. Again, the heads up allowed us to not worry ourselves silly thinking we had a colicky kid on our hands. We knew that the fussy period would be over eventually. (Someone on this blog posted about The Happiest Baby on the Block. It's a godsend!)

In the same vein, (I know I risk getting flamed) my friends also warned me that parenting isn't always a bed of roses and that it's okay to admit it. While pregnant, I had visions of a sweet smelling, smiling, cooing baby. I dreamt that I would be this super-mom who could juggle a career, the house, and our baby effortlessly. And whenever, someone asked me how everything was going, I would reply, "Grrreat! Best time of my life!" But then one day a girlfriend who is a mother of 2, said to me, "You look like you're doing great. I remember when I had S, I would often cry because I just felt so overwhelmed." With those words, I felt like I had been "uncorked" and I just started bawling. She was right: I was feeling truly overwhelmed and I couldn't bring myself to admit it. And when I was finally able to admit it, it felt great. It took some pressure off and I felt like I could take on whatever the day brought just a little better. It's nice to be reminded that it's okay to admit we're human.

Anyway, MD and I are lucky to have friends who gave us a heads up on so many things. We're passing on the same to our friends who are brand new parents.

Great post, Poppa Large.

Poppa Large

Hey BL, nice to hear from you.

All I can say is that Sam and I need some of YOUR friends. God bless my friends who have kids but I swear to Jah, not a single one of 'em warned me or Sam what the hell we were getting ourselves in for.

I can't wait for my other friends to start having kids so I can go from a Paranoid Inexperienced Parent (PIP) to a Pretentious Opinionated Parent (POP) (obviously, it's already begun, hence my guest blogging) and school 'em on everything we should have been warned about but weren't :)

It's funny - L is totally on some cryptic six week fussy tip. You called it!

So, um, what can we expect next week?

--Poppa Large

Grace

There is definitely a lot of guilt associated with BFing. I know with my 2nd baby, I could only handle BFing him for 3 months. Too stressful taking care of him and my 3yr old girl. What's interesting is that my girlfriend who had a 3yr old girl and a another daughter was 10 days older than my boy was SO relieved when I off-handedly told her I was giving it (BFing) up at 3 months. SHE had been thinking of doing the same thing but was embarrassed to admit it. Guilt. We all go through it.

Sal

Has anyone heard about the "breast mild bank"? (there's one in San Jose, CA) Is like a blood bank, but for breast milk. You can buy the breask milk and bottle fed it to your kid.
Tip: just tell all the BM Nazis that your child is adopted...

Meredith

We're at seven weeks now with our boy and I swear that I think the breastfeeding has JUST come together. No more clogged milk ducts, nipple cracks, thrush or insufficient milk. It has been a battle, like you mentioned. And also like you, I had no stinking idea it would be so hard and that I'd feel like such a tool if I used a drop of fluid. Now that I'm catching glimpses of the light at the end I am enjoying the process a bit. Imagine that. Now I want a surplus of milk so I can fill our freezer with milk pops so I'm ahead of the game. Is that too much to ask?

Great post. Off with the guilt!

Laura

Another one here who did everything I could to exclusively bf. The kidlet was nursing a dozen times a day for at least forty minutes at a time (you do the math). I just nursed on demand and figured that was the way it went. Yes, she was fussy a lot of the time, but being a newbie, I thought it was just the way newborns were. Well when I went for her 3 month checkup - she hadn't gained anything in that month. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I decided that day to start supplementing with formula and she thrived immediately. I did both until she was 7 months old and by then, nursing was more for comfort than for food, so I gave it up. I put in my best effort yet I still feel guilty that I couldn't do it 'the right' way, 'the best' way. But when I look back at pictures during her second month when she hadn't gained any weight, I cry because she looks so skinny, her little ribs sticking out when she was lying down. I feel sick to this day (almost a year later) that I unknowingly starved our baby for a month. I wish now I would have supplemented earlier.

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Enes

Kinda of along the lines of what coastinganon was sinyag... I think the whole "to breastfeed or not to breastfeed" issue is, for most moms, the first time when you really have to pick your battles re: your LO.No parent is able to do everything they'd like to/for/with their child. It's just not possible. And I think that as your kid gets older, you probably get more accustomed to the fact that you have limited time, money, energy, sanity... and therefore you sometimes have to say "Well, while it would probably be great for little Billy's cognitive development if I were to sit here and show him stimulating high-contrast flash cards while singing nursery rhymes in Mandarin, I think that instead I will stick him in his swing while I take a shower and check Facebook for thirty minutes, after which I will be a much more excited mother and all-around pleasant person."And I don't know about you other first-time moms, but I was a crazy person those first few weeks post-partum, and it was really easy to get caught up in the idea that I still could do anything and everything that I'd ever wanted for my child! It wasn't too late! I could breastfeed and cloth diaper and do EC and make him bilingual and engender a love of vegetables and classical music!And while I can still catch up on the vegetables and Mozart, breastfeeding is a "do it now or forever hold your peace (at least with this child)" kind of thing. And it really sucks to want to breastfeed and then face all kinds of challenges and think "really? I'm failing at something ALREADY?" And I really, really, really do not believe that choosing to formula feed is "failing", but I do think that it's easy to feel like it is in those first couple weeks if it's something that you'd really wanted to do.

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