That got your attention, didn’t it?
Today’s post is one that some people may not agree with, but it’s something that’s been on my mind lately. If I get it off of my chest, maybe it won’t be so heavy.
Really, I have actually come to terms with my breasts not working. It took a while, but I’m finally there. I am writing this post for those other Mommas out there who had the same problems as me and were made to feel inadequate as a mother. I am writing this post for other mothers who are currently struggling with breastfeeding. I think it’s important to look at all sides to an issue…things aren’t always black and white. Here is the black and white…
Breast Is Best!
Yes, of course breast is best. If you are reading my blog, we likely have at least some similar beliefs and probably agree that nothing (NOTHING!) can replace mother’s milk for a child. There are lots of stories out there, but this is my breastfeeding story. I hope that it helps some mother, somewhere, to make the best nutritional decisions she can for her child.
I believe that breast IS best……but what if it’s not?
Meet freshly born Oliver. He came into this world almost exactly as I had hoped. I labored for 17 hours (three hard hours) in the tub, with a birthing bar, in the shower…you get the picture. I wanted so badly to have an all-natural vaginal birth with no medical interventions…at all. I spent countless hours researching pregnancy and birth and even enrolled in an amazing Bradley childbirth class. We had a fabulous OB/GYN (sort-of hippity-dippity, like me) who fully supported my efforts, which in the end were successful.
Oliver was born all-natural with no complications (other than a little plagiocephaly and torticollis…nothing a helmet wouldn’t fix). Of course, after having a natural childbirth, I would breastfeed. How hard could it be…I just had an amazing all-natural birth (for which I’m grateful I was able to do, as I know many mothers are not), so breastfeeding should be a piece of cake.
Pumping, Feeding, Pumping, Feeding, Pumping, Feeding, STARVING
I guess that I should have spent more time researching breastfeeding. It did not come naturally to me (I’ve since learned that this is true for many other women). It was awkward and anything but natural. Even so, I kept offering my breasts to Oliver. I remember on the first full day after Oliver was born a nurse came into the room and asked, “How’s is going, Momma? Is he getting any milk?” I had no idea, so I told her that. Then she asked, “Well, has he latched???” HUH!?? I don’t know…what does that mean!?? Finally, on day three my milk did come in, so I knew what they were talking about.
Now I was home and feeding on demand, pumping, feeding on demand, pumping, feeding on demand, pumping…round the clock. Oliver? Yeah, he was still hungry. He was never satisfied. I noticed that when I pumped there was never much milk, at all. One breast gave less than an ounce and the other right at an ounce. This didn’t seem right. Plus, my nipples were bleeding, cracked, and in a TON of pain. I sought assistance from LLL and they were very helpful. They helped me understand the latch, which we kind-of got down eventually. Still, not nearly enough milk.
We were seeing his pediatrician every couple of days for weight checks. At every check, he was losing. I was devastated. I was working so hard to feed my baby, yet he was still hungry. He cried and cried and cried; I pumped, and fed, and pumped, and fed. No one was happy…my baby was literally starving.
Oliver’s pediatrician knew how badly I wanted to breastfeed, so she continued to let us go way past when we should have. I simply refused to supplement; he needed my milk, but no supplements I took were helping me produce enough.
Finally, one month and one week after Oliver was born I had my epiphany. I was looking at him…cry and cry and cry, because he was starving. My husband is the most supportive man I’ve ever met. He said nothing negative during all of this, but only offered support. I looked at him that night and said, “I can’t do this anymore. Go get the formula they sent in the mail. He’s starving to death.” He said he was just waiting for me to have this epiphany on my own and he supported feeding him formula; I’d done (literally) all that I could.
That was it. I was a failure. I was not a *real* woman. Even though I was drinking lots of water, eating very healthy food, and trying all of the supplements to support milk production…I never produced enough milk for my son.
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH and Say NO To Formula
I’m getting a little windy here (sorry, I have the tendency to do that from time-to-time). 😉 Let me get to the point.
First, I now know that before you give birth you should spend as much time researching and talking to other moms about breastfeeding as you do about pregnancy and birth. I mean, we spend hours researching which stupid toaster to purchase, but not how to feed our babies!? (At least, that was me).
Second, research shows that 2-3% of women do not produce enough milk. Now, that looks like a small figure, but in reality…2-3% is thousands and thousands of women of childbearing age. For these women, breast is not best. I was starving my child because I did not have enough milk. As an uneducated new mother, I thought that formula must be the next best thing.
Please, do not give your children formula! What I now know about formula horrifies me. I believe that by giving Oliver formula, I made his eczema worse; his immune system is shot. Beyond the fact that formulas are filled with toxic ingredients (byproducts…waste products!), the first two ingredients in the formula he received: Corn-derived (GMO-riddled) ingredients. If I had only known then what I know now. There are other options…
- Donor milk
- Goat milk
- Pasture-raised, grass-fed raw cow milk
- Homemade milk formulas
Please visit Weston A. Price’s website to learn more about breast milk alternatives. Send this resource to your friends. Shout it across the mountains, oceans, and deserts.
If you are a mother who tried (absolutely everything you could) to breastfeed, but couldn’t, you are not alone. Please know that there are thousands of other women like you.
Our babies deserve the best…YES, this is breast milk (from well-nourished mothers). If you are unable to provide that to your baby…please, please PLEASE do not do what I did and simply succumb to the coupons and free formulas that show up at your door. They are NOT best for your child. Do your research and do what you have to do to ensure that your child is getting the best possible nutrition available to him or her. Until next time…
Jess, aka Scratch Mommy
PS As always, I welcome comments. That said, I know that this is a touchy subject. If you have a constructive, knowledgeable comment to share…by all means, please share! I love great dialogue! If you want to leave a bashing, negative, or otherwise not constructive comment, please leave…now. Although I certainly don’t want to, I have a delete button and I know how to use it.
- The Healthy Home Economist (and here again…and here again)
- The Liberated Mind
- Infant formula ingredients
- Breastfeeding Moms Unite
This post was shared at– Simply Natural Saturdays, Fresh Bites Friday, Sunday School Blog Carnival, Weekend Whatever Link Up, Thank Your Body Thursday, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Thank Goodness It’s Monday.