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I Couldn’t Nurse
February 22, 2012 5:57 pm | by
Editor’s note: Today we bring to you two stories from real moms about nursing. We understand that each mother’s journey is different and at Cotton Babies we celebrate those differences. We encourage you to read both Jessica and Casey‘s stories. If you find one resonates with your personal experience, we ask you share some love with our guest bloggers by leaving them a note in the comments.
With my first baby I had my own ideas as to why I was unable to nurse, obviously my milk never coming in *may* have had something to do with it, but as I was doing research during my second pregnancy I realized there was so much I could have done differently that would have allowed me to successfully nurse my first.

Or not.

I learned the hard way with my second that there are in fact women who cannot nurse no matter what they do or how badly they want to. I am one of these women. I don’t remember when I gave in with my first but I remember it being fairly early on, the truth is I was so far gone with postpartum depression with my first that I’m not sure a nursing relationship would have been the magical thing I had pictured in my head anyway. My husband worked graveyards and attended school full time in the day, add PPD into the mix? I was a wreck. Secondary infertility aside, it was the fear of postpartum depression that crippled me more than anything else in regards to adding to our family.

WIth my second pregnancy I read every book I could about nursing. I talked to anyone who would listen about nursing. I even had an end goal in mind when it came to nursing. I would be taking my new baby on a trip to California with me and I knew that if I was able to nurse her I wouldn’t have to worry about much other than diapers. I liked the idea of being able to run out the door with just a diaper clutch because I had everything else I needed to nourish my baby attached to my chest.

Everything seemed to go well in the hospital, she nursed like a champ and I felt as though I was doing everything right. We went home and I continued on, waiting for that magical moment I had read about. To feel let down, engorgement, a tingle or to hear my baby gulp. I never felt anything but anxiety that my baby was still crying after marathon nursing sessions.

Every time I pumped I was absolutely sure that THIS! would be the time I would fill the bottles. When a week had passed and everyone in our house was miserable we went in to see a lactation consultant. She did a weight check and found that Vivi was getting less than a tablespoon from both sides after a nursing session. She had me try an SNS (supplemental nursing system) and immediately it felt as though my baby was fixed. She was full. She fell asleep. She wasn’t crying.

With renewed enthusiasm that I could nurse with supplement provided by the SNS, I headed home ready to make these boobs of mine work. I ate oatmeal three times a day. I took fenugreek and smelled of syrup for weeks. I drank enough water to drown a small sea vessel, I nursed, supplemented and pumped on the most impressive schedule you’ve ever seen. I even found a compounding pharmacy that was able to make Domperidone, the holy grail of nursing supplements.

I had tried everything. I had searched every forum, asked every friend and called my CLC until I’m pretty sure she started screening my calls. Nothing had changed. I hadn’t left my house or put a shirt on in 8 weeks. I readied myself for the loss of our breastfeeding relationship.

One morning I was sitting in the rocking chair with my tiny new baby, the sun shining on us. I looked her in the face and apologized that I couldn’t make what she needed. I had done my best and would continue to do my best. Her food was going to be coming from a bottle but all the love in the world would be coming from me.

She gave me a toothless grin and I knew everything would be okay.

It took another three months before I really felt some closure on the whole not being able to nurse thing… and I can say that as of today it doesn’t bother me. I do wish these giant boobs of mine would have worked, but I know I did all I could. I have two happy, healthy and wonderful children and that’s really all that matters.

About the Author

Heather is mom to four, born within 40 months (single, twins, single). She writes transparently about her chaotic household to encourage others through the twists and turns of parenting.



  • Sara said...
    February 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think there are so many of us who can relate. It’s stories like these that make me realize no matter how okay I am with my decision to give up and stop the vicious cycle of supplements, pumping, nursing, and weird foods it just wasn’t going to happen for me.

    I tried to get my milk going with a pump since my daughter is a preemie and spent almost 3 weeks in the NICU. But, in the end it was determined I had microscopic fragments of placenta and while I can logically tie that back to not making milk, it still brings tears to me eyes that I wasn’t able to nurse her when I read stories like this one.

    I hated the comments asking what I had tried. I tried everything. We had her tongue tie corrected and everything. And, while I know she doesn’t care what she eats, just so long as she does, I have this fear that the same thing will happen if we choose to have another child. Does that ever go away?

  • Anonymous said...
    February 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    This article was such a blessing to read. Like so many others here, I had the same experience. Not only did I feel like a failure, but the comments from others that implied that I wasn’t doing everything I could to nurse were so painful. With my first, no milk at all. With my second, so little that he would nurse for over an hour, I would pump, take my herbal supplements, drink as much as possible, especially the teas for nursing and it didn’t make a difference. In the meantime, we developed a bad case of thrush that wouldn’t go away, so in the few minutes between nursing sessions, I would apply thrush medication and have to boil the bottles, nipples, and pump accessories to try to eliminate the thrush. I only made it about 9 weeks with my second. I found that I was not a happy mother. I was so blessed to have this baby and the time spent with him and my other son who constantly was ignored due to the demanding nursing/pumping sessions was not fulfilling for any of us. Right now we are expecting our third and I have verbally made a pact with my husband that I will try to get my milk supply to be sufficient for two weeks and then I’m calling it quits if I’m unsuccessful. Too much wasted time over guilt. Both my boys are happy and healthy and I was a better mom when I “gave up” breastfeeding. God bless those who can do it freely and easily, but to the others who can’t, it doesn’t make you less of a mom.

  • Joan said...
    February 25, 2012 at 1:09 am

    This story brought tears to my eyes because it sounds so much like my own. I was looking forward to breastfeeding and was heartbroken when, no matter what we tried, it didn’t work. With my first baby, we saw every specialist within an hour’s drive – lactation consultants, lactation counselors, doctors, support groups, chiropractor, cranio-sacral therapist, speech therapist, dentist and ENT. The theory was posterior tongue tie, but the dentist and ENT who were clipping tongue ties at the time said they couldn’t do anything. We didn’t know for sure what was wrong, so we kept trying for 5 months to see if she could learn to nurse, all to no avail. I pumped ALL the time, but never had a good supply. We started supplementing with formula when she was only a couple weeks old. I felt like a total failure. I couldn’t do something as simple as feeding my own baby. By the time she was 7 months old, my meager supply just disappeared.

    Since we didn’t have confirmation of the tongue tie, I thought part of the problem had been that I was induced at 38.5 weeks, and babies born before 39 weeks are more likely to have problems with nursing. So with my 2nd, I was determined to make it to at least 39 weeks, but he had other plans. Labor started spontaneously at 38 weeks, 2 days, and the first time he tried to nurse, I knew we were facing the same problems. This time, 2 years later, there was a new doctor in town qualified to diagnose and clip the most difficult tongue ties. She clipped his frenulum twice, but called him a “challenging case” because the sides of his tongue are also tied to the floor of his mouth. We ran the gamut again, seeing all the specialists who might be able to help him overcome the physical impediments, but again were unsuccessful. He’s 7 months old now, and I’ve been pumping his whole life. Now I’m starting to see my supply fade again. Our struggle was heartbreaking again, but I was a little more at peace with it this time, building on past experience and having had 2 years with my daughter to see how healthy she is and how well she’s growing. I still get teary when I read stories like yours, and I sometimes even get teary when I hear or read stories about moms and babies who have it easy.

    But my experience has taught me that some babies also just can’t nurse, no matter what you do. And it’s stories like ours that make me thankful we live in a time and place where we have the ability to express milk and bottle feed, and when there isn’t enough of our own breast milk, we do have other options. Our babies can be fed. They can be full and satisfied. They can grow and thrive. And in the end, that is what really matters.

  • Rachel Kamerer said...
    February 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Thank you for the story. It does make me feel better as I still get tinges of sadness and jealousy when I see other women nursing their babies and I cannot nurse mine. I did not do as much as you did, but I just could not do the pumping. My little guy was in the NICU for 16 days and I was able to pump 6-8 times a day to get him breast milk while he was there. Once we were home that was not as easy to do without a full time nursing staff to help with him on top of trying to get things done around the house. We rented a pump for a couple of months but I ended up only using it about one and gave up and just nursed with him before giving him a bottle. I knew I wasnt getting near enough since he would still take 4-6 oz. after nursing both sides. Also, I got more out of my right side than my left which was so annoying. Hopefully I will be able to nurse with my 2nd, but if not it helps knowing I am not alone. Plus, I would rather spend time with my baby than with a pump attached to my breasts.

  • Kat said...
    February 24, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I could have written this exact story, EXACT. First baby I just gave boob and thought everything would be great, milk never came in and at 6 weeks I had to take him to the ER for fluids. He WA still 2 ounces from his birth weight at SIX weeks old. We were currently living in Montreal where I could get Domperidone from the pharmacy. nadda. I was tired of the crying, the pumping, the pills, not leaving the house, never getting dressed and my baby looking like a holocaust victim. Second baby, did the same thing as you, read everything and ask everyone. Ever Thursday I took him to the hospital to be weighed, nurse one side, weigh, nurse the other, weigh. We actually did really well until 6ish weeks when I got plugged ducts galore and we both had infections and green boogers for two weeks. My supply was shot. I did everything, yet again, to make a come back. At first he was only gaining an ounce a week, then nothing and then losing by 9 weeks when he started out gaining 10 ounces a week. I was boggled. I every ordered from a compounding pharmacy since we were back in the US. Nadda. My question now is if I will even try again with the third. I have failed twice and I’m not quite sure if I can take the heart break again. What are your thoughts when or if you have a third?

  • nicohea said...
    February 24, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I cried allot after my failure with breastfeeding. My nipples areinverted and pumping caused mastitis and blister blocking milk ducts.

  • Honey Bump Maternity said...
    February 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I love your story and am very glad that you shared it! I own a maternity shop and have classes here to educate women on breastfeeding. My goal has always been to help educate them so that they can hopefully reach their breastfeeding goals, whatever they may be, without judgment or the feeling of guilt if those goals cannot be reached. I love the fact that you tried so hard to make it work because it shows your love and determination and that is what your baby feels when you hold her, talk to her, and look in her eyes. I am very passionate about breastfeeding but I am more passionate about happy babies with happy mamas! Thank you again.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I’m so glad you posted this! I too have HUGE boobs that don’t nurse well. I have 6 kids and I’ve struggled with each one of them. We are planning on one more baby and I have come to the conclusion that I will do formula from the beginning so that I can better enjoy those first few weeks. I’m so tired of thousands of tears from me and my baby all because they are hungry and I feel like a failure. You never want someone to feel the kind of pain, disappointment, frustration and sadness that comes from the inability to nurse, BUT it is comforting to know that I’m not the only one out there with this kind of struggle. Especially when I’m surrounded by nursing gurus that could nurse a small village and just talk and talk about how amazing it is and relaxing (?!?! what?!) and easy. And then if I share my struggles with them they just look at me like I’m just not trying hard enough and shame on me for not doing more. It’s so painful! You sound like an amazing mother and I again am so grateful you shared you story!

  • Karin said...
    February 23, 2012 at 11:59 am

    I wish I would have seen more of these stories before my baby was born, and I did a LOT of reading. There is SO much space between EBF and “giving up” to use formula. My baby had a great latch in the hospital. But when he became jaundiced, the nurse FORCED me to supplement and scared with me the effects of jaundice (which I learned just a bit later was a mild case). Also, I wish I had known that milk can be delayed coming in after a c-section. I started pumping in the hospital. For a month, I tried latching him with almost every feeding, with a fewer successes than fights. SO our routine was at the breast for 15 minutes, if he was still crying, then bottle with expressed milk and formula to finish the feeding. Then I pumped. My supply increased when I bought a better pump; it had already been decreasing, I’m sure in part due to stress. Ultimately, he was EBF from three weeks to 11 months – but by bottle. I exclusively pumped. I could produce the milk, but I maintain my little guy was stubborn and smart. A bottle is much less work! The only thing I regret is that I didn’t stick up to the nurse in the hospital. But I did what I had to in order to feed my baby, and that was use a bottle. Breastfeeding was my ideal, not his; he just wanted to eat.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 23, 2012 at 11:04 am

    There were many points within this story that really resonated, so thanks for sharing. There’s nothing a mom wants more than to give her child the best of everything and it’s really crushing when you can’t…for any reason. I hope stories like yours will help moms in the same situation realize our children have just as good of a start as those that are successfully breastfed. And hopefully we reduces the stress new mom’s put on themselves.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 23, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Wow, I know what you went through. The only way I was able to breastfeed my first son is that because he was such a good “sucker” but I still needed some help. I used lots of fenugreek, it worked. My second daughter is a different story, she did not want to suck and that made things so bad. It was not until she lost so much weight and was dehydrated that I realized that something was wrong. Good thing my sister in law was lactating and helped me while I pumped and pumped and breastfed. I too some supplements fenugreek and more milk special blend from motherlove company it really helped. Everybody asked me if it was worth it and I questioned it too, because it took 8 MONTHS to really feel comfortable and not worry if she is getting enough milk. I tell everyone it was!! I feel very angry when those who have milk and it comes in a little more than they need and they start complaining, I remember how many tears and hard work I had to put in to really make milk. Buy the way ladies your husbands CAN help in these situations if you know what I mean. But thank you for sharing this story because for those of us who cant or have a really hard time this brings comfort that we are not alone. I have to mention though one person who really helped me in all this is Shari Criso, she is a CLC and has her own website just to help women like us.

    • Kara said...
      February 23, 2012 at 10:13 am

      Dear Casey,

      I cried after I read your post. I was in the exact same situation this past year with the birth of our second daughter. I’m expecting our 3rd girl and I am fearing this disapointment again. Our second received donor milk and that was very beneficial in the healing process. Check out eats on feets, human milk for human babies and milkshare. Feel free to read our story. Later posts are about milk sharing.


  • Amy K said...
    February 23, 2012 at 1:22 am

    I had a pretty similar situation with my son. It’s heartbreaking when your body “doesn’t work” and I’m pretty sure I’m still not over it. I have my fingers crossed that future children will be different, but even if it doesn’t work out again, I will still try. I had a wonderful lactation consultant that told me, “Good things come in small packages.” The “package” I had for him was small, but it was packed with all the good stuff of breast milk. My future kiddos will get the same package, for as long as we can make it work!

  • Joan said...
    February 22, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Jenny Bradford said...
    February 22, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Casey! I think it’s even more difficult, somehow, for those of us who blog when we can’t nurse. The blogosphere is not always the most formula friendly! You went WAY above and beyond in your care for your little one, and it is the love with which you feed her that nourishes her soul. She’ll poop out whatever goes in, but your love stays for her entire life!

  • lindsay929 said...
    February 22, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    I will always mourn making an ounce each time and feel guilty for giving up with both babies. Thank you for being a real mom who was willing to share your story. I just wish I read this when I wad trying to nurse my first baby!

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    I appreciate you sharing your story. My milk was delayed with my son being in the NICU for a few days and them formula feeding him despite my stating I wanted to breast feed (that’s a whole other story…). It was in that situation, where we had to supplement for a few weeks before my supply was enough to EBF… it was in that time I realized how shameful it can feel when the advice always seems to be to not even introduce a bottle or formula for months (or never). When advocacy groups or individuals are so strongly adamant about breastfeeding, they lose sight of how we all have unique experiences and unique babies. Remember– even if the breasts didn’t want to cooperate, your body still was/is capable of beautiful things, including childbirth and the strength of raising young ones.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    It was the one thing I wish someone had told me before my son was born…that my milk might not ever come in. I was devastated and until I read this, I thought I had come to terms with it. It seemed like the first question everyone asked was if I was nursing. I felt guilty and broken and I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I wish I had known that so many other women went through this, too. Even though it didn’t go the way I planned, I have a happy, healthy baby boy. This is how God made me.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Like everyone else, I thank you. This is the first time I’ve found any blog or anything else that said “Sometimes we just can’t.” The nurses were so certain my babies would get plenty of milk from me. How could they not – I had enormous breasts. With my first I had the crush after only four days – I was in exceptional pain, bleeding from both breasts, and didn’t think the poor kid was getting anything. My baby lost almost 17% of her birth weight before I got her home from the hospital, and by then she was absolutely unwilling to try to nurse. She screamed at me every time I tried. Bottles were the only option. And people would glare at me as I offered her a bottle and tell me I should know how much better breast feeding was. I did, I would say – but my breasts seemed unwilling to cooperate. Second time, I, too, did all kinds of research. But I also had promised myself (and my baby, long before she was born) this time – no matter what, this child will be fed, in the hospital, every day. I pumped for weeks, and never produced more than two ounces a day. A whole day. I was swelling after every feeding, hurting so bad I could barely sit up. Apparently hauling around massive breasts in poorly fitted bras for years can cause a lot of damage. I feel like my body sold me out.

  • She Looks Like a Mom said...
    February 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    I love reading these stories and knowing that other mothers have felt this hardship. My first daughter was born premature, before her sucking reflex had developed. I tried so hard to get her to breastfeed, but it never worked out (further details here). I pumped for 10 months to give her breast milk before my supply died. I’m expecting my second daughter now, and I sincerely hope she is born on time, ready to nurse like a champ. Especially now that I have a toddler to take care of, I can’t easily spend the extra time needed for the pump/store/cool/warm/bottle/feed routine that we used with the first baby.

  • Sarah Schulz said...
    February 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing. My story is similar. I made some, but not enough. I decided early on to supplement and am so grateful that through a combination of breast milk and formula, my son is a happy healthy toddler. Not everyone can get the results they want if they “just try hard enough”. It’s so healing to read stories like mine with a happy ending.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    I read both of the nursing posts and feel like I was somewhere in the middle! With my first baby, nursing was such a chore. But I was determined that I was going to nurse her for a full year. I wasn’t opposed to formula but felt like I should give her the “best.” It took weeks for her to regain her birthweight and the nurses had me so stressed out that I think that contributed to my lack of milk. After a few months, things finally started getting better but every once in a while I would ask myself if it was really worth it. In the end, we finally got a good rhythm going and she also had formula when we were out and about.

    When my second baby arrived, I planned to do the same thing, nurse for a year. Boy, was breastfeeding easier the second time around. Not only did I know what I was doing, but my breasts produced way more milk, not a ton like some women, but more than enough. With a very active toddler in the mix, nursing became very stressful because that’s when she got into trouble. I’ve also been battling depression and taking antidepressants, so that added some stress. Then we added a move into the mix, which was very stressful, and my baby started puking every time I fed her. I debated for months if I should switch her to formula or not. I wanted to do what’s best for her but I was so stressed out with nursing that I wasn’t sure i should continue. At 5-1/2 months I finally decided to wean my baby and switch her to formula. In many ways, I was relieved but I do miss nursing once in a while.

    Thank you both for sharing your stories! I wish people weren’t so judgmental about decisions that are so personal.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    Thank you for writing and sharing. My kiddo has significant health issues and at two months was no longer able to eat. I tried desperately to pump, but no matter how much advice or how many supplements or how much effort, my body gave up. My baby is finally growing, but I still struggle with feeling like a failure- especially when I read all the benefits of breastmilk and I so desperately wanted to give my baby more.

  • MNetzer said...
    February 22, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! It could be my own, my daughter is just about 6 weeks old and had to be supplemented from birth. After lots of tears I came to terms with the fact that she would always need a bottle. She’s happier & so am I since I came to this realization. I still feel sad I’m not able to exclusively feed her but hearing from other mom’s who’ve experienced this helps so much!

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve gone through almost the exact same ordeal with my son. Pumping, fenugreek, goats rue, Chinese herbs, accupuncture, brewers yeast, oatmeal, lactation consultants…the list is endless. I would celebrate those times when I’d manage to get 3 ounces from a pumping session. I quickly had to change my perspective on formula. I went from thinking it was the worst thing I could do for my son, to thinking how lucky we are to have a healthy alternative to nourish him. Even so, I still feel uncomfortable when I mix up a bottle while we’re out. I worry that there are some people out there, judging me about using formula even though they know nothing of what I’ve gone through to breast feed. He is now 6 months and he (maybe) gets an ounce from me each morning, but I’m going to keep it up until the last drop. As mothers, we do our best to give our children everything they need to have the best life possible. For me, this was an early lesson that I will not always be able to give him what I think is best and parenthood (and life) is about doing the best you can with what you have.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story and letting other moms know that it is not your fault if you cannot fully support their child’s nutritional needs through nursing. With both of mine, I had to start supplementing around 4 or 5 months because I was only producing half of what each one needed. Just like you, ate lots of oatmeal, took fenugreek, drank mother’s milk tea, lots of water, and nursed and pumped around the clock. It just wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t beat myself up about it because I figured a rested and happy mama was better than an exhausted frustrated one trying to get those few extra ounces. I am a tiny bit jealous when some of my friends have an over production or can store a few months supply in a freezer. I was always pumping just for the next day! Some of us just can’t do it…and you know what? It’s okay.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I too want to say THANK YOU. I think the feeling of utter failure is something only someone who has walked our path truly knows. How many times have I heard ‘just pump, women who are determined can bring in their supply when they aren’t lactating’, or ‘have you tried_ (fill in the blank on whatever herbal supplement)’ I think for me though the hardest was, with my first. I was nursing her 30 min a side every hr and a half (that’s only a max of 30 min off the breast at a time all day long) and people would look at my poor skinny little girl who was just getting enough to survive and ask ‘are you nursing her enough’ ‘everyone I know who nurses on demand has the chubbiest things’ or even ‘I think fat babies are cuter’. Oh, it would rip my heart. I felt like she was draining my life away, my breasts hurt, my arms hurt, yet I desperately did not want to give up. I started her on bits of solids, and apple juice around 4 mos.
    With my second, I took all sorts of stuff… pumped like mad, and was getting close to twice the amount (2 oz per feeding per side instead of 1 oz) but still, it was not a thriving situation and to make it worse my baby would not settle to eat, she was always squirmy and discontent, wanting it to come faster, and giving up after only about 15 min a side. I ended up with a seriously clogged duct, and totally lost my supply on the one side. She was only 4 wks. I went through what felt at the time like agony as I picked up the bottle and put it in her mouth. She settled… she was happy… and she became the cuddliest baby alive. I think God knew I needed that. Needed to know that she still knew I was mommy, even if my breast wasn’t feeding her. My first, which I nursed partially till she was a year was a daddy’s girl and still is. The one who went full bottle is a mommy’s girl through and through. Who says bonding is only through the breast? Those who can’t nurse, this doesn’t mean you won’t have a baby who looks at you like you’re the only person in the world. You can still have a close bond in any situation.

  • Joanna Milich said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing! I desperately wanted to nurse both my kiddos, but both times it didn’t work out. I was devastated, and I feel like people judge me when they see me feeding with a bottle. It is nice to hear from someone who understands and to know I am not alone.

  • Katie said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    Casey – Thank you for sharing. Every mama is so different. And every baby, for that matter. I am pregnant with my second child (due in July), and anxious for many of the reasons you described above. I didn’t know my little girl was having issues with dairy – she had tummy problems every time she ate. I couldn’t produce enough… but we made it by. When I went back to work after an almost 4 month maternity leave, she realized how wonderful it was to get my milk easily and quickly out of a bottle. For 4 months, every feeding we had together was highlighted by her screams. I only found loving nursing moments in the middle of the night, when I was absolutely exhausted. She and I cried together, often. At her 6 month check up, she was down to the 5th percentile in weight, and I needed to supplement… either with more breast milk or formula. I tried going to a Lactation Consultant at that point, but she was too old to learn new techniques or feeding contraptions. I just couldn’t produce enough milk no matter how much I pumped. I felt like I was failing my one major motherly duty… but was encouraged by other new mamas (who were having no trouble), my sister and my mom to try formula. Everyone would be happier and healthier – physically and mentally. It took a month to find a formula that she didn’t throw up. It was a very draining and emotional time. At a weight check up when she was 7 months (after we had finally found a formula that worked), she had grown from the 5th percentile to the 45th. It was a miracle. I didn’t look back, and had begun to enjoy feeding time with my little girl so much more. I learned so much through that experience and now know a little more of what to look out for with number 2 (a boy this time!). Thank you for sharing your story and helping us mamas realize we are not in it alone! You are a great mom.

  • Jessica said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry you went through this struggle. I applaud your efforts and I’m so glad that you were able to get closure about using formula. At the end of the day, all that matters is that your baby is fed, cared for, and loved, and you so very clearly love both your beautiful girls.

  • Megan said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. Its important to get the word out that sometimes there are real problems. That I am not feeding my baby formula because I was too ‘lazy’ to breastfeed (yes, I have been told that). There are tons of women out there who would give *ANYTHING* to be able to simply put their baby to the breast and fill their needs.
    I had envisioned a perfect nursing relationship and I was determined to make it work. I had always been told that with enough dedication, anyone can breastfeed. Unfortunately, that is not always true 🙁 My son was losing weight and only wetting 1 diaper a day in spite of almost 24/7 nursing. We had no choice but to supplement. I tried *everything*. I pumped, I nursed every 2 hours around the clock, I took herbs (even obscure ones most people have never heard of), I ate multiple servings a day of fermented oatmeal, I even tried Reglan. Nothing made a difference. I eventually decided to just give up the herbs, pumping and oats (Reglan was a nightmare that only lasted a few days before I couldn’t take it anymore). I was going to just nurse my baby for as long as he desired and stop worrying about how many ounces of formula he still needed after he nursed. He ate every 2-3 hours around the clock until he was around 7 months old. He would nurse both sides and then take a full bottle of formula. Amazingly, my son nursed until he self-weaned at 17 months even though he got precious little milk from his beloved ‘nursie’. I am now expecting another baby. This time I am working closely with an IBCLC who specializes in cases like mine. She has diagnosed me with ‘insufficient glandular tissue’. We have a game plan in place now of herbs and such to optimize what my body can do and will closely monitor my baby after the birth. I am thankful that this time I will not be left on my own to try to figure out how to get my baby enough formula to be able to thrive but to still preserve our nursing relationship so my baby can have the benefit of that as well. Huge huge (((HUGS)))) to any mother who is going through this. It is horrible to feel so betrayed by your body. Not every mom can breastfeed and it is heartbreaking.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for sharing your story. I have had a very similar experience when it comes to nursing my children. I always had the mindset that I would nurse and that would be it. I knew there would be struggles, but I didn’t think it would be impossible or should say near impossible. I saw lactation consultants, public health nurse, my family doctor and my OB and all were helpful, but they couldn’t fix my uncooperative body! I have tried so many supplements – fenugreek, alfalfa, mother’s milk tea, oatmeal and like you enough water to float a small vessel. Lastly I resorted to taking domperidone as well. In fact I continued to take the supplements with the perscription and I too worked off of a pumping schedule that was strictly every 2 hours for 20 minutes… my best result an ounce or two at most. I struggled to not shed tears at each and every pumping session but I wanted my babies to have the best. I had to supplement because my supply was never enough to even keep them remotely satisfied. 6 months was the longest I kept up my rigorous pumping schedule and I hated every minute of it. Now that I’m expecting my fourth, I have decided that the best is not to struggle with pumping, but rather enjoying my newborn as she will be my last. Perhaps miraculously my body will cooperate with my wishes to breastfeed my little one. A mother can hope and dream!

  • sarahhill said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    I tried for 7 months to provide my daughter what she needed by nursing and pumping. Like you I never realized that some mothers just wouldn’t be able to nurse. 4 months after my last marathon pumping session to eek out a few ounces, I still feel like I am grieving the loss.

  • Anonymous said...
    February 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story! I had a similar situation with my first and am hopeful I will be able to nurse another baby. If not, it makes me feel better that there are others who are unable to as well! It seems like most of the time people talk about moms who don’t want to nurse but there really are some who give it everything and it still does not work!