My Breastfeeding Story

It took me a long time to decide to write this for fear of criticism, which when you think about it is really, really, sad. I shouldn’t feel like I can’t speak about something on my own blog because it’s considered “taboo”. I have always had the policy here on THLS that if something in my personal experience can help someone else, I should share it. If I am being honest with myself, I KNOW my story will help others, even if it brings criticism, so here goes nothing.

I always knew I would breastfeed, there was no question or doubt in my mind. I mean, why wouldn’t I? It’s free, it burns extra calories, and above all else is the healthiest choice for my baby. I had heard stories about it being hard, but just like most things in life, you never think it will be hard for YOU or that YOU would have a problem outside of your control.

I was prepared before baby came. I read two breastfeeding books, bought a pump, pillow, and all the gear and accessories. I was ready. Or so I thought. I had the “knowledge” so I wouldn’t fall prey to some of the common first time mom issues. Ha.

After Emma Kate was born, I told the nurses I wanted to try and feed her before they took her back to have a bath etc. That first experience was less than stellar. Being stitched up while dry heaving into a bucket while the nurses hold your baby onto you so she can eat is not exactly how I envisioned things. They took her away after and brought her back a couple of hours later. The nurse helped me, and told me it would hurt. She showed me how to position and latch her correctly, and she ate, and it was painful. Two hours later, a different nurse came in giving me HER tips, which were completely different from the first nurse. I was half asleep, on pain medicine, and really fuzzy and sleep deprived. Each new nurse that came in gave me new instructions and tips, and I was so confused and overwhelmed.

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Seriously don’t even remember this picture being taken.

When Emma Kate was born, she weighed eight pounds seven ounces. When we left the hospital, she weighed eight pounds even and the doctor didn’t think anything of it. We were to come back in two days for a weight check and no one was concerned. Meanwhile, I fed her on demand which was every two hours and she would eat for nearly an hour. I thought surely with her eating for SO long she is gaining a ton of weight.

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At her first weight check

Now, let’s talk about the damage. In the meantime, I apparently was dealing with a very bad latcher. I first was really sore, then started bleeding (the baby was spitting up my blood, it was pretty gross). We went to her weight check up, and she had lost weight and was down to seven pounds thirteen ounces. I was devastated, how was this possible? My milk had come in that morning, so the nurse chalked it up to that and told me to come back in two more days. Baby EK was jaundiced though and had to have a heel stick. I felt so guilty. If I had fed her enough, she wouldn’t be having to have the heel stick and wouldn’t be screaming in pain.

I thought now for sure things would be fine because my milk had come in. I fed her even MORE often, determined to have that scale move. I was still in a lot of pain, and every time she would cry to eat, I would cry and panic because I knew I was about to be in even more pain. I soldiered through and we made it to the next weigh in. I was NOT confident in my positioning and latch, but I WAS confident that Emma had gained weight. I mean, why wouldn’t she? Eating for an hour at a time, every two hours, why should I NOT be confident? I was sick to my stomach as she was put on the scale. I would NOT make her have another heel stick. She would gain weight….

She was down to seven pounds ten ounces. I wanted to throw up. I immediately burst into tears. I had basically been nursing around the clock for 48 hours, was exhausted, and she was LOSING weight? The lactation consultant who was there was an absolute ANGEL. She was so sweet and encouraging and said we would figure it out. She brought me to another room and helped me get her latched…and gave me some pointers. As soon as she saw the “damage” she said “oh my goodness I have no idea how you are still doing this! Most people would have stopped several days ago!” She was sssoooo wonderful and helpful. We discussed my diet, water intake, and everything seemed fine, but for some reason I just didn’t seem to be producing enough. EK refused the nipple shield so that was no help.

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They wanted to see her again in two days, and suggested I start pumping and supplementing to get her weight up. I of course felt so guilty my baby was practically starving, so I started supplementing right away at night. I started pumping, and would pump for 25 minutes and only get 1.5 ounces total, an ounce from one side and half an ounce from the other. That is when I figured out something was wrong with my supply. Up until that point I was only going by time EK spend eating, but apparently she wasn’t getting much of anything. I kept feeding on demand and supplementing at night, and pumping 3-4 times a day after feedings…and my output was not getting any better, and I was losing my mind. I went back to the hospital for a weight check, and she HAD gained weight, back up to seven pounds thirteen ounces, but since we were supplementing I knew the truth, she probably would have lost more if she was exclusively breastfeeding.

I talked to the consultant again and told her I had surgery on my right side back in college and we think some of my milk ducts got cut which was not helping the situation on that side. I was told to try some home remedies, and keep pumping, but that there was no shame in supplementing or switching to formula. I can’t even tell you how many tears I cried those next couple of weeks, they are some of the worst of my life which…is sad because I had a new baby and should have been able to enjoy it. I got anxiety attacks when it was time for her to eat because I was still hurting so badly. I then got a clogged duct to add to the fun, and pumping was still not going well. Emma still had not gained back to birth weight at her two week appointment, and the doctor was getting concerned.  Home remedies didn’t work, pumping output was not increasing, and it was so time consuming to get so little.

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You can see how yellow/orange she was here.

Sadly, if it wasn’t for the stigma around formula (let’s face it, some  blogs and readers/commenters make you feel like crap for giving formula) then I probably could have saved a lot of tears and frustrations. I battled mentally for two weeks trying to decide what to do. I read blogs and websites, and talked to friends and family. They all reminded me I was formula fed and turned out just fine, and I have zero allergies or medical issues. They pointed out formula saves babies lives every day, and at least I cared enough to try as hard as I did and worry so much about it. I knew they were right, but I still felt like a failure. This was something I was supposed to be able to do. I had failed my baby, and was not able to provide her the best food. I made myself so sick about it, and the guilt kept me up at night.

I finally decided I couldn’t handle the frustration and emotional roller coaster, or have my baby not thrive because of me. I had open wounds on my nipples that were not healing, my baby was constantly hungry, and nothing was getting better. So, after just over a month, I quit breastfeeding. You guys, I cannot even begin to describe the relief I felt, it was like a HUGE burden was lifted off of me and I was able to be myself again. It took over another month for me to heal physically, and the emotional side, the guilt still rises up sometimes. The doctor wanted to see Emma Kate at 3.5 weeks, and she had gained an ounce a day, so we knew the formula was working and there wasn’t something else wrong.

I can honestly say Emma Kate has not missed a beat. At her two month appointment she had jumped from the 50th weight percentile to 68th percentile, so homegirl definitely is not starving anymore! She loves to eat, and it’s so nice that others can feed her and I don’t have to worry about how long we are out, or when I need to pump, etc.

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If anything, I want to apologize to you, my readers for waiting so long to discuss this. It’s such a shame that I felt like as a healthy living blogger I was “bad” or “wrong” for giving my baby formula. Do I believe breast is best? From a completely nutritional standpoint, of course. But if your baby is starving, then no, I do not believe it is best. I gave it my best shot, and got her over a month of breast milk. I am proud of that fact, and I am proud of my beautiful, healthy baby girl that is formula fed.

I don’t care if you breastfeed or formula feed, no mom should be made to feel bad or guilty for how they give nutrition to their baby (as long as is breast milk or formula of course!) Breastfeeding mamas go through it too, whether it’s nursing in public or the duration they choose to breastfeed. Let’s STOP the madness and support each other. Being a mom is hard enough work, so why make someone else feel like a lesser mom? I KNOW there are other moms out there feeling guilty or like a failure like I did. I hope you know you are not alone, and you are NOT doing anything wrong. You love and care for your child and want what is best for them, what is best for your family, and what will give them the nutrition that they need. Keep on keeping on girlfriend!

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QOTD: Have you ever felt bad or guilty for the way you fed/feed your baby?

Comments

  1. It’s truly a shame that there are so many people who judge other moms for making the best choice for their baby!! I had a similar experience to yours…and for awhile I felt like I needed to explain to the world why I wasn’t nursing every time I gave my baby a bottle. Finally I realized that the other people judging me were just that–people. While it was still hard to be judged, I knew I had a happy & healthy baby and that’s what mattered. Ignore the haters. Motherhood is tough enough, and we should be building each other up, not tearing each other down…especially over such a personalized and specific situation. Glad you’re feeling better!

    • I could have written this myself! Thank you for putting it out there, I honestly think it needs to be said. I assumed (because of all the info/medical advice) that bf would be a doddle – it’s the most natural thing in the world! But blimey was it hard work! And yet when I speak to people nearly everyone says that it was difficult whether they gave up or continued but no one talks about it until you bring it up! I powered through until 13 weeks and like you, when I’d finally had enough – the relief was incredible. My lo totally sensed it as well because she is not fully formula fed and is like a different baby – I’m not stressed about feeding her, oh can help out and now I am finally enjoying her! Thank you for writing this, hopefully the more we talk about it, the less taboo it becomes and the more support can be given to those who choose to feed their baby either way.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! I am due in April and breastfeeding intimidates me! You are doing whats best for you and EK!

    Karen @karenlovestorun

  3. I can relate to how you feel. I have four kids and have a different feeding situation with all of them. My first was breastfed for 18 months. We had a rough first two weeks and during those two weeks it was so painful that I dread feeding her but everything worked out. With my second child, I breastfed him for a year. When my third child came along I planned to breastfeed just like my other two. I knew the first two weeks were the worst but it would improve. Well, he could never latch on correctly. I would feed him around the clock and he still kept losing weight at each weigh in. I was determined to make it work. Well, the dr finally told me that I needed to start supplementing with formula and to go to the hospital and buy a breast pump. I felt like a bad mom when the dr told me that. I felt like a failure. I was so upset but I also couldn’t let my child starve and knew that breastfeeding just wasn’t working. My husband was very encouraging. I ended up pumping for 11 months but I always had to supplement with a few ounces of formula at every feeding because I never pumped exactly what I needed. When my fourth child was born, I was prepared emotionally that he may not breastfeed either. After he was born and I tried to get him latched with no luck, I told the nurse to just bring me a pump. I’ve pumped before and I can pump again. I had to supplement with formula the first couple days until my milk came in but this time around I’ve had an abundance of milk. I have a freezer saved up of milk. My son just turned 1 and I’m still pumping. I will have people tell me I’m crazy for pumping but its something that I want to do and it works for me. Every situation is different and we just have to do what’s best for our child whether that is breastfeeding, pumping, supplementing or formula feeding. It all boils down to just having a healthy baby.

  4. I too had a very similar experience. Although I had done a before class with a LC and seen her twice after. But my results were the same. The next MUST HAVE ITEM is a Baby Breeza. This is like a Keurig for formula. It comes out at the right temp, no battle whether it’s warm enough or not

  5. Heather, you’re an unbelievable mom! You can truly say you tried everything (for A LOT) longer than most would even try! Nothing to be ashamed of! In fact, you should be proud of yourself and how well you take care of and love your daughter. Thanks for sharing your story.

  6. Amen! So proud of you for sharing your story. And you hit the nail on the head – as long as you’re feeding your baby breastmilk and/or formula, you’re a great mom! It’s beyond crazy that there’s so much stigma around both types of feeding. I’m so glad Emma Kate is happy and healthy. <3

  7. I was there with my first. It was such a battle with breastfeeding. She ended up being 100% formula fed after about 4 months because I couldn’t deal with the tears (from me and her) afterwards. She is now almost 4 and is completely healthy – hasn’t has a cold or illness in a year or so. Now my second breastfed (and bottled expressed breastmilk at daycare) exclusively for 6 months. At her 6 month appointment her weight %ile had plummeted and we eventually learned she was favoring the bottle over breastfeeding. I decided at that moment I would gradually stop breastfeeding. With all the fighting that went on the first time around, I did not want to go through the blood, sweat, and tears I did the first time and end up resenting my kid because of our breastfeeding woes. You have done amazing and you should be extremely proud. Your child is thriving and happy and eating. You’re rocking this, mama!

  8. It makes me so sad to hear that other moms are ashamed they could not successfully breastfeed their baby. Sure, breastfeeding is the most natural way to do it, but you know what else is natural??? nurturing your child and tending to his/her needs. There is no shame in that and I applaud you for trying so diligently. I was blessed with two easy breastfeeding experiences, but I had to endure two cesareans. So I truly think sometimes we have no control over how we go through this process of raising a baby. We just have to roll with the punches the best way we know how. And your daughter is thriving now, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of as her mother.
    PS
    I was a formula fed baby too. And I think I turned out pretty awesome.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I was in your same position a little over a year ago with my daughter. I wasn’t producing and she was losing weight. Instead of looking at my medical history to see that I have a condition, that was most likely the culprit of me not producing, I was strongly encouraged to continue to breastfeed and was given a packet of papers about how my baby would suffer if I didn’t breastfeed. Fortunately, my husband saw how much pain I was in, physically and emotionally, and convinced me to switch to formula. It was the best decision for our family. I agree 100 percent with you that we, as moms and women, need to support one another.

  10. We’re at 18mo of breastfeeding and i feel like I’ve turned into a crazy breastfeeding guru, but I will tell you this. Breast is best is not always true. Breast is best only works when it is best for both parties involved. If it was not working for you, then it wasn’t best. There is no shame in how you are feeding your baby. Promise!

  11. I don’ t have any kids yet, but I love reading bloggers story and journey through motherhood. I think every situation is so different and you have to do what’s best for you! It seems like motherhood is pretty unpredictable and you did the best in your situation. Thanks so much for sharing.

  12. My heart is hurting for you. I know how judgmental other people can be with regard to breastfeeding. And I know how had we can be on ourselves when we feel like we are not being good mothers. But you are a great mother and you are doing a very good job!I think you made the best decision for you and EK. Keep your head up and don’t forget to pass on the praise to other mothers they need to hear what a good job they are doing even when things are tough.

  13. I could so relate to this. My son is 10 now (yikes!), and I remember the “joys” of breastfeeding as well. I used to cry every time I had to nurse, and my son nursed ALL the time. I hated it, and I felt like quitting breastfeeding made me a bad mom. My wonderful doctor told me that knowing what your baby needs, and sacrificing what you want to do makes you a fantastic mother 🙂 She was right. You’re doing great!

    Also – I had my 2nd child 4 years later. Breastfeeding her was so completely different. It seemed natural, and there wasn’t pain. When it works, it works. And, I’m glad I had that experience to understand there’s nothing I was doing wrong with my son, it just didn’t work.

  14. I’m so sorry you went through that and on top of the physical pain felt the guilt too.
    I wanted to breast feed so bad. My mom breastfeed me for a year and a half and I never once touched a bottle so of course I wanted to do the same for my daughter. She latched great from the beginning but I had nothing to give. I tried and tried and she would scream so loud out of hunger. I pumped and nothing would come out. My doctors were stumped. I was told to take the pump home and give her formula until my milk came in. Two days later I was back in the hospital in heart failure. I have a rare heart condition I developed during pregnancy. I was told to stop breastfeeding because the meds I now have to take are not safe for breastfeeding. So the choice in the end wasn’t up to me. You would think it would make it easier but I’m still sad. I think it about it often. But it’s better my daughter get the food she needs and have her mother around to see her grow up. My case is extreme but I get very upset when people criticize a mother for how she feeds her child. You have no idea what she may have gone through. Thank you for sharing your story!!!!

  15. I have a 13, 11, and 3 year old, and this was my story too – the baby weight loss, jaundice, low milk supply, and being an emotional/exhausted wreck. I started out breastfeeding each time. I really wanted it to work! In the end, my children all thrived on formula. Thanks for being brave to tell your story.

  16. lovE this!! I had such a rough time with pumping and milk supply and my baby struggled to gain wait. I cried for the first 4 months of her life because she was just so tiny and so many people would ask me if I was feeding her enough. I really should share our story…

  17. I was in this place just a couple weeks ago. Milo latched well and it wasn’t painful to breastfeed, I just wasn’t producing enough. I went to a breastfeeding support group for two months, I pumped, changed my diet and nothing helped. When I was having trouble producing, my husband was super supportive of whatever I needed to do to make it work, but other family member just brushed it off like “you did what you could. There is no real point going more than a month anyway.” It was so upsetting. I only make it a month and a half, but Milo is doing fantastic and I’m really over people being judgemental about this. I felt like a huge failure and for people to chime in on top of that? No thanks! We tried our hardest and are doing what we need to do for our kids. if Emma Kate is healthy and happy then you are doing a great job!

  18. I had a difficult time breast feeding as well so I feel your pain. My daughter lost a lot of weight the first two weeks and the ped made me feel like the crappiest mother because she thought I was starving her even though I fed her an hour at a time every two hours. Luckily the shield worked for me and it was up and up from there.

    Pumps are hard to use the first few weeks. Hard. I needed to get my boobs “used” to it because I worked full time after 6 weeks of maternity leave (I was in the military). I too only got 1-1.5 ounces at a time and it was so frustrating. It wasn’t until a good 2 months in that I got a good supply from the pump. I like to believe it’s because it’s not exactly a “natural” signal the body knows to respond to =).

    I’m glad you realize you did everything you could. I BF exclusively for 9 months before I had to stop due to medication I desperately needed to take. I was able to continue breast milk for another month before our stash was gone and we had to go to formula. It sucked and I cried but I knew I had done what I could. My daughter turned out great (so far, lol). Life isn’t perfect but we do what we can =)

    Thanks for your honesty. It really does help to read these types of blog posts.

  19. Thank you for writing this. When my son was born (induced 3 weeks early), my body was not “ready” yet, and my milk didn’t come in for 4 days. In the meantime, my son was starving and we ended up in the NICU where he almost had to have a blood transfusion because his jaundice was so bad. Looking back, I wish I had been confident enough to speak up and give him some formula. I think I will feel guilty about that for the rest of my life. I agree breast is best, but if it isn’t working out, I feel doctors, lactation consultants, etc, should offer the option of formula sooner. That would have saved us 36 hours of our son being under lights and not being held so soon after birth. Hopefully your story will reach someone and give them the strength to that for their baby. I did continue to breastfeed and supplement until he was a year old and I am glad I did that, but everyone needs to do what is best for them and their baby. Sorry for the novel- but this is the best post I have ever read 🙂

  20. Heather, your post made me sad at first. So sorry you struggled so much in the beginning. That’s a time we feel should be nothing but cuddles and joy and when there are problems we as women feel like failures. I am happy as your story went on that you did what was right for YOU. Why do we have to judge others for what we feel is right or wrong. You should have never needed to feel like a failure. That’s just not right. So happy things are going better. What a beautiful daughter you have.
    Let’s us girls stick together and support eachother.

  21. proud of you for sharing and doing what work for you!

  22. Laure Simms says:

    Heather you are not alone. I too struggled with my first and gave up at a week. She was so hungry and cranky, gave her the first bottle of formula and she was happy and slept for the first time well. I was determined with the second to do better and I did for about three weeks, but he was attached to me all the time. The last day I nursed him in the early morning and fed him formula the rest of the day is when I realized I just did not produce much milk so I decided to go to formula for good. Both of my kids are healthy kids so don’t ever feel bad about your choice. It is a personal one and you must do what is best for your child. She is a cutie

  23. ChristineB says:

    I’m so sorry to hear all you had to go through and struggle with. Bring a new mom is hard without having to deal with bf issues as well!

    I’m the mom of 3, and the advice I always give to new moms is to do what works for you and your baby. There are very very few moms out there who intentionally make decisions that harm their baby. You have to do what is best for you, your baby, and your family. I hate that women give other women such a hard time. I’m glad you have figured out what is working for you and I hope you never feel guilty about it because you shouldn’t.

  24. I hate when others judge…especially when it comes to parenting and babies. I felt so much pressure from others regarding nursing my boys. But it was so hard. My first one wouldn’t latch on so I had to pump and give it to him in a bottle. Like you I didn’t produce enough milk and had to supplement with formula. I ended up quitting at 6 weeks. With my second one he would only latch on with the nipple shield. I did the same with him…nursed him for 6 weeks. I never got an infection but something about nursing did not agree with my body. With each child I ended up getting fever for about a week. Doctors didn’t know why. They would put me on antibiotics and it would work. But once I was off antibiotics for about a week the fever would come back. Once I stopped nursing it stopped too. My boys are super healthy! I felt bad about not being able to nurse for as long as I wanted but it was the best thing for me and for them. And the relief you said you felt…I remember feeling that too both times when I stopped. EK looks super healthy and happy! You’re doing a great job Heather!

  25. Wow, it’s terrible you had to go through that. My wife had a similar problem and we ended up using formula. No matter how often, no matter how hard she tried, the sleepless nights, she just would not produce enough. She would spend hours on the pump and extract half an ounce. We just didn’t get it. To make it worse, my cousin had also given birth and seemed to be able to produce on demand. She would go into a room to pump and come out with two full bottles 20 minutes later and my wife would feel like crap. My cousin actually fed her baby AND produce enough to give us breastmilk. People can really make you feel like you are a bad person on this issue. But if you haven’t walked a mile in a person’s shoes…

  26. Your story is so similar to mine. I remember struggling for months and not wanting to “fail” but when the doctor expressed concern that my son was not gaining weight I reluctantly gave him a bottle. He sucked that thing down so fast, I felt like I had been starving him. I still think about it 13 years later. But he is happy, healthy and so smart. Just love her. You are doing great.

  27. Wish I could give you a hug! You are doing what is best for you and baby. Certainly nothing wrong with that and you are definitely not alone, trust me. Totally understand your confusion initially with every other person giving you different advice. I’ve come to believe that there is no one size fit solution when it comes to parenting and nobody really knows what they are doing anyway! Trust your own instincts and you will do just fine. Xo

  28. I too was like you but I only lasted 3 weeks. I was really upset and thought that I had failed my daughter. I got over it and actually loved the freedom of formula feeding. With my next daughter I decided not to even try breastfeeding so I would not put her through the whole ordeal of not getting enough food. It’s really nice to know that others have the exact same problems. Thanks for posting.

  29. Oh Heather. My breastfeeding story for my first child was shockingly similar. We did make it to three months before going full time formula. But it was 3 months of pain, stress, heartbreak, anxiety, and weight gain so slow that mine was “failure to thrive” by the charts. There is no shame in admitting that the puzzle pieces didn’t fit. You tried. You gave it your ALL. I can tell you that the feelings of guilt may never subside. Sorry, it’s true. But you do need to know that she WILL still grow up to be a healthy and wonderful child. She needs your love most of all. I applaud you for stepping up and saying, hey this didn’t work out for us like I planned. Because more new moms need to know that there will be struggles and sometimes things can be fixed and sometimes it can’t. I will tell you that when I had baby #2 we really “clicked” with the breastfeeding and he nursed, exclusively breastfeeding, for 11 months! Never had formula until right before his 1st birthday (I had to wean him due to a medical problem I encountered). So you just never know what could happen in the future.

  30. Joy Hargraves says:

    I don’t have children, nor do I want them (plus I’m too old now anyways!!) but my heart just went totally out to you. I love you for putting this out there. I was an infant in the EARLY 70’s, so I am a product of “that” line of formulas. I was also adopted. I do have a TON of allergies, but have no way of knowing if it’s from the food or my biological line. But at the end of the day – it does not matter. My mom (the one who raised me and the only one I call mom) raised me how she felt was best at that time. YOU and Bobby will do the same. EK is not our child. We have no right to tell you how to raise her. YOU will be fine!!! You ARE doing fine!!!!

  31. thank you so much for sharing this! i am due in about 2 months and very nervous about breastfeeding. it’s so helpful to read about different experiences and remind myself that what will be, will be…. i hope to nurse, but if it doesn’t work out for us that’s OK! i’m sorry that you had to go through this, and it sounds like you guys are doing an amazing job. thank you for your posts.

  32. I’m not a mom yet, but its something my hubby and I have been thinking about a lot recently, so of course I’m much more interested in the “family” posts my favorite bloggers write than usual. I definitely plan to breastfeed someday, but that’s the whole thing with plans- we make them with the best intentions and hope for the best! I love that you shared your story and were real about what was best for your family in this situation and agree that its sad you had to even worry about others being judgmental. I love your ending that we should support one another no matter what the choice. Amen sister!

  33. Thanks for sharing ! You are definitely not alone… I read a very similar blog a while back: http://sugarbump.com/thoughts-on-breastfeeding/. Something I’ll remember when I have kids!

  34. I just can’t believe that this is still such a big deal, and that moms are choosing to shame each other or diminish their abilities as a mother for not breastfeeding. Formula has evolved so much over the years, and is an incredibly nutritious way to grow healthy babies- not to mention dads get to be more involved in the feeding process!

    This should be a non-issue at this point. Your baby is beautiful and clearly healthy and happy. Congratulations for sharing your story and doing your part to stop the spread of shaming!

  35. Thanks for sharing your story, Heather! Every mom who makes healthy choices for her baby is doing the right thing – it’s important for all of us to support instead of shaming each other. Emma Kate seems like a happy, healthy baby — good job! 🙂

  36. You’re so brave and wonderful for sharing your story! I know it will help tons of people. <3

    You're a beautiful mom, and Emma Kate is so cute, and you're doing what's best for you both, that's all that matters!

  37. Oh Heather! I just want to reach out and hug you! You have nothing to apologize to your readers about. Yes you’re a healthy blogger, but you are a mom, woman, and human being first and foremost! And the pressure of being the perfect mom and the fear of the critiques is high! I agree, we as mom’s need to stop that! As a blogger also, I think just getting our stories out there and being honest will show we are all different, and that’s ok! Hopefully that will help in the long run the judgement of eachother.

    As for me, when I had my twins I had one baby that was so gentle and would hardly eat anything. Then my other one was ravenous and would destroy my boob! I remember the same feeling of dreading feeding him and quietly shouting four letter words while he ate and couldn’t wait for him to finish. He also had re flux and would become Linda Blair and spit up all over the place! I decided the babies needed a mom who was better able to care for them, wasn’t so sleep deprived. That meant giving them formula. That stuff was invented for a reason! Heck even long ago they had wet nurses for mom’s who couldn’t BF.

    Putting your baby’s health first is the best job as a mom you could have done! And if it’s formula then so be it! Good Job Mama! Life doesn’t always work out the way we planned, and that’s ok 🙂 You’re doing a great job, it’s obvious at how happy she is, and you are 🙂 ((((((Hugs))))))

  38. AMEN! as i always say, any momma who feeds their baby is a GOOD momma!!! breastfeeding was waaaaaaaaay harder than i anticipated too! i thought you just put the baby up to you and they suck. HA! i love how real this post is – you’re an amazing momma (and blogger!).

  39. Jennifer M. says:

    You Rock! I had such a similar experience and without reiterating all of the wonderful replies above I did want to add that your experience will be a stepping stone in your motherhood journey. You will look back in a few years and realize how much more fierce and capable of making choices you will hardly recognize the new mom version of yourself. I used a nipple shield for almost 100% of my nursing of my three children born within four years and by baby number three when the nurse asked if I wanted to feed her right away she almost died when I gave her an emphatic “NO!” answer. I knew I didn’t want the stress and I knew the baby would be fine for a few hours so we just cuddled. (Ok, and I didn’t want to fight the nurse who would likely fight the shield.) Merry Christmas!

    P.S. I also want you to know through your blog you have been such an inspiration. I started running in April and could barely survive a 5k in June. Last weekend I ran my longest distance 10 miles and in 2 weeks I will run the half at Disney where I know I will finish! Thanks for your fantastic blog and info!

  40. Breastfeeding is the hardest thing! I feel it is harder than giving birth. Sorry you had to go through all that, but soooo happy things are better! And I agree – I hope more and more moms start to support each other instead of getting mad if one mom does something different. thinking of you – hugs xo

  41. Oh mama! Hugs!!! I popped over from FB (the BlogHer feed) because I’ve been thinking about writing my own breastfeeding journey. I am so glad that you shared your story and with such honesty. Breastfeeding is TOUGH and I envy those who it comes naturally to. While my story is very different from yours, you’ve given me the push I need to tell my story–the more we talk about this and our struggles (and triumphs…however those might look), the more we can support each other up.

  42. I just wanted to let you know that I, too, had this same issue, and it was 2-3 weeks with my little one when I decided to switch to formula. I understand the criticism people give, because when I was seeking advice, I had people tell me to not give up. I was also formula fed, and my mom told me the exact same thing! I appreciate your blog, it’s nice to have others who can understand your thinking!

  43. Sabrina says:

    I just read this as I’m am about to stop breastfeeding my 2 month old. My story is a little different, we are stoping breastfeeding because my baby has an allergy to something in my milk and needs to be on a special allergy formula but I still feel like I’m failing my daughter and that this is all my fault. Thank you for sharing your story, it gives me some great perspective on this and reminds me that no matter what, I’m doing what I need to do to keep my baby healthy and growing. You are awesome.

  44. I want to thank you for this great encouraging post! I’m going through a hard time breastfeeding where I’m feeding my son from each breast, then supplementing with a bottle and then pumping after each feeding. I’m coming up on 3 weeks and I’m exhausted with the process. I seem to only get drops pumping and he’s obviously not getting enough from me cause he drinks all of his 2.5oz of formula after. I seem to have a low supply and it’s not improving. I’ve done the herbal supplements, lactation appointments and cried my eyes out when he went from 8lb 7oz down to just 7lb 4oz. His weight is back on track, but that’s due to the formula supplement. I’m continuing the madness for another week but if I don’t see improvement your post has given me courage to switch to formula. His health, happiness and my insanity is what I’m most concerned about.

    • Girl, do NOT kill yourself over this and do NOT feel guilty if you switch to formula! My baby is huge and thriving and happy and sleeps 12 hours straight at night! He’d first month her sleep was terrible but when she was full/switched to formula she went to 5 hours straight at one month! Do what’s best for your family and don’t apologize for it!

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. My Breastfeeding Story

    It took me a long time to decide to write this for fear of criticism, which when you think about it is