A Devastating Reality

My pregnancy with my son (who is now 3) was a surprise. I had morning sickness and thought I had the flu. I didn't get pain or soreness in the breasts (they are quite flat) and didn't know until about seven weeks pregnant.

When I found out I was going to be a mother, I changed my entire lifestyle. I ate healthily and went for daily walks. I looked forward to providing the very best for my little man to include breastfeeding. My grandmother always told me, "My breasts didn't develop until I had my first kid!" So I had anticipated developing breasts and getting to keep them when my son was born.

When it came close to the expected date, I was worried because my breast had not changed. I was reassured that when the baby is born, my chance will come.

My son had lost almost a pound during his first week of life because I had produced maybe a tablespoon of milk each feeding. I had a nurse come to my house, and she'd give me tips on how to encourage milk supply. I would pump and pump and pump and still barely anything. What I did produce I added to his formula. It wasn't much, but it was something.

At first, you feel inadequate. You feel like less of a woman and less of a mother. To make matters worse is that the majority of women have the incredible ability to provide their children with the best of the best. It's just not normal for women not to be able to breastfeed. And of course, when you're out in public, and you pull out the bottle and formula, you get those women who "know better" than you and lecture you on the importance of breast milk. These women don't know the pain and heartache I've gone through and had the right to judge me?

But here it is three years later. My son is happy, healthy, and incredibly intelligent. My husband and I are trying for baby number 2. I will do my best to encourage milk flow. I won't guarantee that it won't be disappointing if I cannot, but I know that I'm a good mother nonetheless.

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Nov 07, 2011
I Know The Feeling!
by: Anonymous

My son is 5 1/2 months old, and I planned on breastfeeding. I was devastated when I did not produce enough milk, and he lost weight when I exclusively breastfed.

I spent three months breastfeeding with an SNS (a tube that goes into the corner of his mouth to give formula while I breastfed) and then this became too much, and I gave only formula.

I too am trying for number two and have done much research and joined a breastfeeding association as I am desperate to make enough milk for number two.

I would love to share what I have learned with you, and I am very interested to know if you did the same things I did with baby number one that could have led to our low supply.

Please feel free to contact me... [email protected] so that we can share stories and encourage each other.

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It is not your fault

by alicia
(new york)

I too have had these issues with breastfeeding. I feel sorrow for anyone that has dealt with this. I read all of the articles here, and I felt like maybe with my firstborn, Adam, that I should have tried longer... I tried for one week.

The hospital stay was pleasant up until the second day, in the morning as I was preparing to leave. I tried yet again to pump and ended up with half an ounce from both breasts, on a double pump. The nurse kindly brought me a bottle and some formula for him when I began to cry because of feeling so inadequate.

I got home and began the most grueling week ever... I had gotten him some colostrum in the first day and a half in the hospital, but that's about all he got through the entire process.

I pumped a lot at home and also tried to have him at my breast for more than an hour each time. The first three nights at home I got no sleep. I was hallucinating from the sleep-deprived state I was in.

My mother saw me and knew how long it had been since I had slept. She watched him that day while I took a long nap. I woke up with some clarity and decided that I would try until it had been a week and then I would stop.

The breastfeeding lady at the hospital told me three to four days and my milk would come. Well it never did, and I tried just as hard the rest of the week but while sleeping this time... I just couldn't. I had to use formula. I had entirely depended on my own body to be enough to nourish my baby. It just did not work out that way.

Adam just turned three last week, and he is the smartest little boy I have ever seen. Do not let anyone tell you bottle feeding is not just as effective as the breast. I am currently four months pregnant with my second child, and I may try to breastfeed and I may not, and it is my decision.

My hubby's family cannot stop asking, and I told them that I think I will give it a shot one more time but I also told them my story and they seem understanding of it... Of course, I feel a little odd about even talking to my mother in law because she breastfed my brother in law until he was five... yeah. But it is our choice as women to choose what we do with our baby and no one deserves to go through these all of these emotions just after giving birth.

It is not fair to ourselves or our newborn or anyone else around us. It is an unhealthy state of mind to be. I have learned a lot from my experience, and I say give it a shot. If it doesn't work out, it just doesn't; that is what there is an alternative for.

There should be more information on this subject available. And no one should be ridiculed for this problem. It is not your fault. I wish you the best!

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First was sad, now mad...

I won't go into my failing to breastfeed saga, but to say it is similar to most I've read here.

At the time I felt so sad and guilty. Now I have some perspective. My two-year-old daughter is thriving in every sense of the word and bonded to me like superglue :-), and I realize that of all setbacks a child might face, being formula-fed is a minor one.

But there was no one to tell me that when my hungry baby and I were crying our eyes out over and over at each breastfeeding attempt.

I'm entirely on-board with the pro-breastfeeding campaign, but it goes too far when it makes mothers who can't feel inadequate and judged. One mom admitted to me that when she sees another mom pull out formula she 'assumes she is lazy, or uneducated.

This type of thinking is itself uneducated, insensitive, and discriminatory. The militant Go Breastfeeding movement has got to develop a shred of sensitivity to the myriad situations that can preclude breastfeeding (physical inability, adoption, HIV, etc.)...or they become a lot like the pro-FORMULA propaganda machines of yesteryear in some disturbing ways.

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Dec 02, 2011
by: juliana

I am a mom with my baby boy who is four months. I wanted to breastfeed him until he was a year (@ least that's what I wanted to do) I had colostrum for 10 days no milk @ all, I did everything people told me to do, a lady even told me to try drinking a beer so my milk can come out, which didn't help @ all!

Nothing I did helped. My milk never came out & after two weeks of trying I quit because my baby was starving & wanting to eat every 5 min. Just because I feed him formula doesn't make me lazy, it means I at least tried to do the next best thing for my son, I wish I could have breastfed for a year but I just couldn't. But everyone loves to judge b4 even knowing the mother's situation.

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I have a 3 month old and have been very depressed about not being able to breastfeed. I didn't produce much milk. I have done a lot of study hoping for more success with my next child and think that it may have been a combination of reasons for my low supply
- My son was not latched on until after 2 hours of him being born
- When he started crying 3-4 hours later, the well-meaning midwife took him away from me so I could get a good nights sleep and I did not feed him again until they brought him back the next morning.
- The nurse watched me feed for the 2nd time and after it, I had a blister on my nipple. She said it looked like he was latched properly but I later saw an LC and it turns out he was not.
- I went home and the pain became excruciating. I could not put him to the breast and he was screaming to be fed. I rang the hospital as it was 11pm and they said they were busy with their own patients. I just left there!
- I went to emergency not knowing what to do and they put him on formula. I got so upset about him being on formula and was crying uncontrollably. I have since learned that feeding soon after birth and often in the first 48 hours is vital for setting up your supply. I also now know that getting so upset can cause adrenalin in the body and this may have shut down my milk making cells just as my milk was starting to come in.

I would love to chat with other mums who are unable to breastfeed. Just chatting back and forth may help us get through this time. Please feel free to e-mail [email protected]

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Feb 15, 2012
Not enough milk 2
by: Anonymous

I too am having problems with supply and am at three months very discouraged.

I have been using the SNS (supplemental Nursing system) which helps and I also feed as much as possible without it, but this makes for epic nursing sessions which is also super stressful.

Feb 20, 2012
Why Low Supply?
by: Michelle MOLESWORTH

Do you have any ideas why your supply is low? I am now trying for baby two and am worried this will happen again so if you have any ideas what caused this for you, I would love to learn from your experience.

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Just feed your baby/dont feel bad

by Sabrina

I can not stand it when people think you are not breastfeeding your baby right! I was told tons of ways on how to breastfeed. I'm sorry if no or not enough milk is coming out to feed my child, What am I to do. I'm going to let my child go hungry, no.

No woman should feel like a bad mom, just because they went with formula after trying for days, weeks, or months.

Your baby is hungry. Making sure your baby is feeding, should not be a crime.

You feel like less of a woman, Why? You just gave birth to a baby. You are now taking care of another life. How much more woman can you get than that.

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