Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Feed me Seymour

Sarcastic Mom aka Lotus had a feeding carnival yesterday. I had good intentions of getting my post done but sadly my family had other ideas. So here I am a day late. But hey, I figure you'd love to hear about my boobies any day.

Let me start by saying I strongly believe that how you feed your baby is a highly personal decision. It is never a choice as simple as breast or bottle. There are so many emotions, personal history's and expectations attached to to nourishing our babies.

I have successfully breastfeed four children for varying degrees of time. But it has not always been easy. Each experience was unique and had its own challenges. But I have to admit that with Cade, I seriously struggled.

The day Cade was born he nursed like a champ. For a glorious 24 hours we had peace. Then I made the mistake of having him circumcised. I personally have strong feelings against circumcision but it was important to my husband. During the circ Cade was given a pacifier. Against my wishes and without my permission. The peace was shattered.

Cade immediately began to refuse the breast. He was suddenly unable to latch. I spent the rest of our stay spoon feeding which did not go over well with the staff. His bilirubin level rose. They told me he would be "retarded" if I didn't give formula. I continued to spoon feed. We were discharged but had to come back daily for bilirubin levels.

The nursery staff barraged me during these checks. Hounding me to give him formula. Even the lactation consultant seemed to blame me. She told me he was over stimulated. I was taking him out too much, too busy. My fault. I left devastated. I was sobbing uncontrollably before I even reached the car.

Once home I continued to struggle at each feeding. Spending at least 30 minutes attempting to nurse while he screamed and then cup feeding him. Pumping, cup feeding, failed attempts. With each day I fell deeper and deeper into a depression. I taught and supported breastfeeding mothers and I couldn't even nurse my own child. I stopped sleeping. I began to pull my hair out. I became anxious, paranoid.

I knew I was in trouble. My ob was amazingly supportive and prescribed meds immediately. Within a week I began to think more clearly. I became indignant. How dare this child not nurse! I became determined. I used all of the resources I had. At 3 weeks old Cade nursed again. It was the middle of the night but I felt the sun shining on us. The weight of those three hideous weeks was lifted. I sobbed tears of joy and relief.

Cade became an expert nurser. So much so that when I returned to work he refused to take a bottle. After three sitters in two weeks I finally found one who would cup feed he had done before. But there was no screaming, no tears, no heartbreak. I knew when I picked him up he would bury his curly blond head in my chest and nurse with ease.

If I had to do it over again would I have been so militant? Would I have allowed my self to become consumed? Would I have accepted our failure and moved on? Maybe, but I know with every bottle I made...the failure, the heartache, the longing would still have been there.

My stubborn little man today


  1. Dude, when you make your mind up to do something, whoa!
    Good on you!

  2. I think it is great! I had the hardest time with my oldeset but I personally am all for breastfeeding!!!

  3. Talk about determination. I wish I would've pumped.

  4. I breastfed my kids too.
    My youngest refused to ever take a bottle as a suppliment, even if it contained breast milk. It was pretty difficult for a while because I could not leave him, not even with my husband for a few hours.
    And then, he didn't want to stop. I had to cut him off cold turkey and just deal with the screaming.
    He nursed til he was almost 2.
    The other 3 stories are not as eventful though.

  5. I've loved reading all of these stories. I only had one child, and circumstances would not allow me to breastfeed, but I sincerely applaud all of you who are sharing your stories and the pain and joy that breastfeeding brought you.

    Thanks Zoe.

  6. Several Thoughts:

    1. I really think there's some kind of breastfeeding conspiracy in this country. I mean . . . for some people it just doesn't work. And yet sometimes hospital staff will make you feel horribly guilty if it doesn't work! Like you are a failure or something. It sucks.

    2. I could have used your help with my kid. It took me about six weeks of excruciating pain for us to both get the hang of it. During that time it felt like I was putting my nipples in a blender. My lactation consultant told me that "if it hurts you're doing it wrong." In retrospect, I wasn't doing it wrong. It just took a long time for my nipples to toughen up.

    3. I'm still breastfeeding! He's 7 months old - and I swear you can't win because once you DO breastfeed, then there's horrible criticism that you're doing it "too long."

    4. I never made enough milk for my son. No, it's not a cop out . . . I had to start giving him formula from day 1 because he was so enormous. Try giving a 9 lbs. 6 oz. baby collostrum for three days. It just doesn't work. And yet nurses criticized me for giving him formula when he was crying out in agony because he was so hungry and didn't understand why I wasn't feeding him! Nevermind the fact that he lost a ton of weight because my milk hadn't come in yet . . . apparently I was a bad person because I had to give him formula!

    5. My lactation consultant was a total shrew. She sucked.

  7. PS - I'm out of control posting this long comment, but I can't help myself because getting breastfeeding right was so traumatic for me. I just wanted to say I was super lucky because my kid transitioned back and forth bottle to breast no problem. He's just happy as long as food is being inserted. He's not picky about the source.

  8. great stories Zoe! You are one determined effer! When I was pregnant with Charlie, I thought, if it works I will do it. The first few weeks were so hard but then it really worked. I nursed him until I got pregnant with Abby and then I had to wean him wich was difficult. He was 10 months, but he never had a bottle and he was allergic to every formula. I felt so guilty. (The guilt never ends) He was allergic to everything, milk, soy,. . .! Anyway we got him figured out after a while. Then Abby came and she nursed great from the get-go. She weaned herself when she was a little older than a year. She never had a bottle or sippy. She just wouldn't take either. I used to work 8-midnight, just to accomadate her. Crazy! When William came along, there was no question. He nursed like a champ. He was 9lbs at birth. He did not lose any wgt in the hosp. At 2 months old he was 15.8 lbs. No Joke! The problem was he cried 24/7. He was never comfortable. He was stiff. He arched his back like a circus cat.( I don't know if there is such a thing but if there was that is what it would be called). We were back and forth to the drs. I cut out all sorts of things from my diet, thinking that he had allergies like his brother. Finally we went into those GI doctors at childrens and a woman Doctor said. "Stop nursing for 48 hours and see if that helps" I went home and cried. I was actually crying the whole time. Looking back I probably could have used some meds myself. I waited two days and then I took her advice. With in 24 hours my sad crying baby that was in pain, smiled! He stopped crying so much. It was a no brainer. I did not want to stop nursing but I had to. I cried over this too! Crazy huh?! If anyone was to ask my advice I would say try it, because when it works, it really works, and it works wonderfully!!!!
    Sorry to be sooo long-winded!

  9. I breastfed Reyna for 9 months. I am so glad that I did. I think that she was a healthier baby.

    I would have nursed her for a year, but she weaned herself. I guess that was better in the long run instead of me weaning her.

    I love your dedication and determination!

  10. After 7 months, Gray began weaning himself from the breast and I sobbed daily, since I couldn't seem to keep up with him. We supplemented with formula until he was 12 months ... when suddenly, he was All! About! The! Boob!

    We nursed until he was 17 months and I don't think he was ready to give it up, even then. But I was.

    But when he was hours old, he was given formula because of his sugar levels. The doctor who I was fighting with about this told me he'd have brain damage if I didn't do this.

    WHAT IS WITH THE MEDICAL WORLD THESE DAYS? Who would tell a newly delivered mother this?

    I still hate that doctor.

  11. Great story and good for you! Shame on those people for making you feel bad.

    I have a question though, what is cup feeding? Is it how it sounds?

  12. Wow've got detrmination!
    I breastfed Thomas for about 11/12 weeks until I went back to work. I didn't feel comfortable pumping at work.
    I didn't really feel too comfortable from the get go but I gave it a try any way. I will give it a shot with another one too.

  13. I was able to nurse my first really well and for a while- My sec one was a shit and we never could figure each other out. I only lasted 5 weeks with her. UGH...

  14. Good for you for sticking to your decision to nurse even when the world screamed Formula! I had a little one that didn't understand nursing at first because her first feeding was a tube down her nose. Took forever to get her to nurse, and then weaning was a battle because she wouldn't take anything other than one of those wide spouted sippy cups meant for older babies who understand how to sip.

    We finally weaned her to formula at almost two years old, we had to put brown sugar into it because she wouldn't even drink breast milk from a sippy anymore and her doctor wouldn't let us put her on whole milk for a few months still.

  15. Wow--you have amazing determination.

    Wynnie breastfed for 6 weeks and then weaned herself. I felt like a complete failure.

    Mack has been at it 19 months and I just CANNOT give it up. We worked a solid 4 months to make it work and now it's everything I had heard it would be. There are times when he's sick that's all he consumes. Maybe when he's closer to 2 I'll wean him.

  16. Okay now that the tears are gone and I can see the screen I can tell you that I love the person you are. I've told you before that I wish you would have been around when I had Kaleb, you would have giving me the push to push harder then I did at the hospital.

    I do have to say for what I knew then I think I did wonderful especially bringing him home on a bottle and getting him to breast on my own. It wasn't easy and I cursed everything I could think of during that time. Anyway your amazing and I'll be using you in the months to come!

  17. OM Gosh...I have never been to your blog before but came here from one of your friends. girl, you just keep going. I just read Fat Ass Friday, and I can tell you, it isn't going to be easy, but YOU WILL get there...You have made yourself ACCOUNTABLE with a Capital A. I salute you...I really do.

  18. SO rock!! I would have thrown in the towel and said forget it ( put it nicely).

    Even if I had continued with my kids, I would have quit once their teeth came in. At that point, you're kinda asking to get bit!! ;P

  19. Good on you for fighting.

    My oldest were born 2 months too soon. The NICU is not a bfing friendly place. We brought home two tiny babies who both absolutely refused to nurse--nipple confusion BIG TIME. I pumped like crazy, so they only got my milk, but it was horrible to have to devote all that time and energy to pumping then giving two bottles and then cleaning everything. I was so close to PPD. I was absolutely miserable.

    I fought like hell. The L&D nurses didn't help (one refused to call Lactation the night I had my girls because it was close to the end of the day and she didn't want to bug them), the LC's didn't help (actually, one was very supportive, but I only saw her once), but strangers on breastfeeding message boards did. On the boards, I found some other LC's as well as LLL Leaders and other moms who had BTDT. They, along with some other internet friends who were very pro-bfing helped us out. At 5 weeks, we were able to ditch the bottles completely. They nursed from the breast and never had another bottle after that. My tiny sickly premies never had an ear infection or a cold. They self-weaned when they were a few months over 2.

    My son was full-term and never had a single nursing problem. The first time I put him to the breast, I cried as did my sister who was there because it was so monumental. It was the first time I ever nursed a full-term newborn who actually knew what he was doing. He's 2 now and still nursing. Self-weaning worked so well for us the last time around, so we'll do the same thing this time.

  20. While I never thought I would nurse at all, I am so happy I got the chance to nurse both boys until one. While it worked out well for me, it doesn't work for everyone. I would never want any woman to feel badly who either opts not to or it just doesn't work out.

    Thanks for sharing your experience and you are one determined momma! Any new mother we encounters you is very lucky. I wish I did, because I didn't know what the heck I was doing!

  21. Nursing was never ever easy for me. It started with great painful difficulty with each of the three babies and ended with blocked ducts and milk blisters the third time. I am thanking the lord above that there is no more nursing for me in my future but after all is said and done it was totally worth it. ( I cannot get over that the 'professionals' were such dickheads to you.)

  22. obviously i have no real thoughts on this since i'm no mama, sorry. wouldve been way to weird to breastfeed my furbabies....eeeeww, gives me last season nip/tuck nightmares when the lady put peanut butter on her boobs for the dog to um gross...yeah nip/tuck has scarred me for life w/ that episode.

    anyway, what i came to say was your little man is such a little cutie. what a heartbreaker he'll be. =)


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