I do not want my baby eating formula

by Stephanie
(Pennsylvania )

Hello, my name is Stephanie.

I am 31 years old with a son named Vincent who is 21 weeks. I have been having so many problems, but I know my body is perfectly capable of producing. I do not want my baby eating formula but I am not producing. If you don't mind I would like to tell you everything that has happened.

He was born August 9th at 7:20pm, I had a cesarean. I have had two other children at much earlier times in my life, they were both cesareans as well and it was decided this would be for the best with him. I was not able to put him to my breast right after he was born but I was able to hold him in the surgery room until they had to wash him, etc. He started breastfeeding the next day, it wasn't perfect or anything but we started as soon as possible. Two days after he was born we decided to have a circumcision. This left him groggy and more tired so he was asleep the entire day until 10pm that night.

The hospital where I had him (UPMC of Pennsylvania) did not give me a pump that day. I was unable to breastfeed or pump for two days. A doctor came who was worried about my stress and lack of sleep and it was decided that he would spend one night in the nursery in order to (hopefully) make myself sleep.

I slept for less than four hours. I had two lactation specialists help me learn to latch and do breast massages to help the milk and continue to feed properly. They showed me three different techniques to holding him while feeding, we adopted the "football" technique relatively quickly and soon I was hearing the tiny little swallow sounds that told me we were doing it right. I intended from the very start of my pregnancy; to feed him with breast milk and zero formula.

After we got home I still wasn't making enough milk to feed him on my own so it was decided he would use formula during the night while I slept and during the day if needed. His pediatrician told me to go home that day and sleep for at least six hours if necessary. During that time dad took over with a bottle.

Slowly my milk started to dwindle. At first I thought it was in my head, that I was worrying too much and it wasn't really happening. Then there was a horrific accident, dad accidentally let Vincent slip out of his hands after a bath one night and Vincent fell on his head. We were rushed to the E.R. and I was completely torn apart by my rage with dad and my terror about my son.

He had a bunch of tests done, during his scan I actually nearly fainted so I was put in the waiting room while they finished up blood tests and so on. The next morning at 3am, they told us everything was all right and we were ok to go home.

I hadn't been able to nurse all night. That day at twelve noon they called us back asking us to come in as soon as possible and even arranged for an ambulance to pick us up. As it turned out there was blood in his brain they were unable to see the first time they had gone through the results.

We spent the night in the hospital (Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh) and I pumped that night, making three ounces without any trouble what-so-ever. I was unable to breastfeed because of all of the things he was attached to on his bed. By this time I was so stressed out I was barely able to go to the bathroom, I don't know how I managed to pump without any trouble. He is doing absolutely fine now, we've had two checkups and nothing has happened. He shows no signs of any serious damage what-so-ever.

I'll try to speed the story along though, I am sorry for taking up so much time I just don't want to leave anything out.

Time goes by, I live with a very annoying roommate that decided hanging around me while I tried to breastfeed my son, would be a great idea and he thought he was being subtle with the glances and such. It made it very awkward and I stayed in my room more and more without leaving unless I had to. I live in a two bedroom apartment with a creep, my boyfriend and our son Vincent. Dad, Vincent and I share a room. My stuff is in the closet to make more room on the floor for Vincent and his toys and activities. It doesn't bother me as odd as it sounds and it is more private now.

Greg (dad) lost his job and WIC was being extremely pressuring about the breastfeeding aspect. I told them time and time I had to supplement formula because of everything that had been happening, the pressures I was facing with my supply getting bad, the shame I felt because I was unable to be the mom I wanted to be, money was so tight and I was scared of the financial situation constantly. At the time, I wasn't aware that most of the breastfeeding supplies I had been using could be written off as a deduction when I file taxes for the year.

On the drive home after the horrible accident with Vincent our roommate decided to point out that we were basically living off him, pushing even more shame and guilt on me.

Eventually our pediatrician had to actually write them a note stating that I needed to have formula and I was breastfeeding as much as I could. (WIC wanted to have it one way or the other, either all breastfeeding or all formula) WIC eventually sent over their own lactation "expert" who did nothing but give me wrong advice and gossip about her husband when he was her college professor. Her "advice" was that my nipple shields were too small so I got bigger ones. It turns out they were too BIG and the bigger ones were really hurting me. I have smaller ones now not that it matters.

I went to another specialist, this time people who actually knew what they were talking about. I went to the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh which was a big help. They helped me with my technique and watched me for about 20-30 minutes while I sat in a very comfortable chair and breastfed Vincent in a quiet, private room with dad sitting with us. He did great but I wasn't producing enough. They actually weigh the baby right before and right after the feeding so you can see what you are doing sort of. They also provided me with some new techniques and suggested a Supplemental Nursing System and even went as far as to show me how to use one that I was allowed to bring home. It was snipped with scissors though so the tube actually cut into my nipple during one of the feedings so we called WIC to see about getting a better one.

They insisted on sending over the chatty lactation woman again and I was so upset and tired and annoyed I just said forget it. She said she brought it over but when I said I was too sick to talk to her she literally refused to actually bring the SNS to me. I haven't talked to her since and am hoping I do not have to.

Greg's job is waiting till after the new year begins to start even thinking about letting him work again. My roommate stresses me out far too much. I am very anti-social and do not like to go out when I do not have to.

My insurance (medicaid) was discontinued because I moved to a new county. I am originally from Texas having moved because I was living in a horrible environment with a very mentally and sometimes physically abusive partner. Greg is my high school sweetheart of 16 years now. He's been with me through absolutely everything and after we moved here to get away from all the bad things in Texas (including no work) I fell very deeply in love with him and on Thanksgiving we made it official.

Vincent is our son, we adore him just as any parents should. I want nothing for the best, I know breast milk is what he should be having. Not boiled formula powder from a can. I know I can produce, I have done it before I know I can do it again.

We are an extremely poor family. He has what he needs and not much else. I am so stressed I cannot begin to tell you how deeply ashamed I am, how much I absolutely hate myself for not being the mom I have always wanted to be. I pump every hour for 20 minutes everyday.

I am trying to learn new hand techniques to force lactation to come back. I used Fenugreek for three months and it made me so sick I couldn't stand it any longer.

I know I can make milk. I know I can stop feeding him formula entirely. I want to do this so badly, not being able to feed him at all now physically hurts me. I look at the pictures his daddy took of the first day we latched and I can literally feel an aching hollow piece inside of me longing for that again. Please, I need help I am willing to do almost anything. I have no money, I can't make any financial plans of any sort. I am not able to do anything other than beg at this point but I'm willing to put aside any dignity I have left to make this work. Please, if someone can help me please please contact either me or dad.

This is a link to an album of Vincent on imgur I have just made. I was unable to post the pictures because they were too large otherwise. http://imgur.com/a/Tib2M#0

If there is any way I can please get some help to fix this and resolve this issue please let me know. Thank you if you actually sat and read this whole sob story. I am going out of my mind trying to make this work but without family or friends it feels impossible.

My family turned their backs on me when I put my first up for adoption saying I was a bad person for doing what was right for them at the time. Greg's family are petty and fight with one another about money all day every day. Greg's father sent gifts the day he was born and sent $100 for Christmas and that is it. When we talk about getting help with diapers, food or anything else he tells Greg to "ask the universe for help".

Greg lost his mother to breast cancer and I lost my father to skin cancer.

I can't get him cute toys and sweet clothes but I want to at least be able to do this much for him. Please send either of us word as soon as you are able to if you are able to help.

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Jan 04, 2014
my advice
by: Anonymous


Your baby is so cute, love the pic where he is pulling out hes tongue. Adorable ;-)

I know how you feel, I struggled to feed my first born and felt very depressed. I have a very low supply.

I did loads of research and then was determined to breastfeed my second baby. I did, and I breastfed her for two years! I actually ended up breastfeeding her almost exclusively from just one breast. (the other was so low on milk, I decided to leave it)

You know, any amount of breast milk is beneficial to baby. Just give as much as you can. Even small amounts will help and not just that, but breastfeeding, gives such a great bonding experience.

Okay, so I used everything to try to get my milk supply up, so I will share some of the things that helped me.

1. Fenugreek. Not the tablets! The tablets made me feel sick. The actual seed boiled in water had much better results and didn't make me feel ill.

2. My own breast milk tea. I used equal amounts of Fenugreek seeds, Alfalfa, Anise, Fennel and blessed thistle. Boil a heaped table spoon in one litre of water. Strain and drink with raw honey and lemon juice. You can drink three cups daily.

3. Seaweed! I love sushi, and started eating it while breastfeeding. I noticed really great results with this. The "nori" seaweed that covers the rice is what causes a boost in supply. I would make my own and eat two sheets of nori. The next day you are producing more than double.

4. Oatmeal. Oatmeal definitely does boost supply, but you need to eat a big bowl every day.

5. Domperidone is a medication that is safe to take while breastfeeding. It is expensive though ;-( This medication took two weeks before I saw results but then after that I saw the best results, I had enough milk to breastfeed exclusively and keep in bottles. The only downside is, when you stop taking it, your supply goes down again.

I really hope this helps you. Good luck

Jan 20, 2014
breastfeeding isn't always easy
by: Lyssa

Often, we as moms wanting to breastfeed are told magical stories of how easy and wonderful it is to breastfeed. These are often stories told by moms who

a)had a perfect latch from day one and never experienced the pains and hurt of normal moms or
b)the hormones have gotten to them by month four or five and they have completely forgotten how much the first months can suck.

The magical and painless breastfeeding isn't the reality of most moms. Most moms, especially those breastfeeding for the first time,find themselves in pain as baby learns to breastfeed, and their milk comes in and then learns to regulate. The pain can be helped by making sure baby has a proper latch and by treating the sore nipples with lanolin to help them heal.

Some moms find their pain continues after the first week, and baby is found to have lip ties or other latch problems, but sometimes these are not found until after, and the breastfeeding relationship is too damaged and does not get fixed. This can be heartbreaking for many moms forced to resort to donor milk or formula.

It seems that you have had the bad luck of having a tough start to your breastfeeding relationship and having even more trouble repairing it, despite your best efforts. Some moms find they are just unable to breastfeed, for one reason or many reasons, despite their best efforts. The moms that decide to stop can experience mixed feelings of relief (that they no longer have to keep trying) and regret (that they failed), and that is normal.

Breastfeeding is ideal for every mother and baby, but it is not always the right choice for every family. Having to give baby formula in order to keep both mom and baby happy is okay. The health of mother and baby is most important.

You have done so much to help your baby, and your baby knows this.

The love and care you have given him will mean more in the long run than breastmilk. You are amazing for having done all you have thus far.

If you decide to continue to pump, I suggest getting in contact with facebook groups for breastfeeding moms and an LC.If you decide to stop, know that you are still an amazing mom for all that you have done and will do for your baby.

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