Fed is Best

Hive Life, Mama to Bee | May 24, 2018

A mother's story about love and lactation

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When I was pregnant with my son, I never had a question about how I would feed him… I was going to breastfeed my son. I had it all figured out; feed on demand, pump to have a stash when I returned to work, co-sleeping to make night feeding easier. I didn’t even buy bottles! I received a couple of formula samples and a bottle in the mail, which I promptly threw into the giveaway bin.

We had a wonderful home birth and he latched for the first time like a champ. He nursed almost constantly those first few days but I was sure he was just making up for having a very sick Mommy while he was in the belly.

I eagerly awaited my milk coming in. The days passed but no milk came… no fullness, no leaking, no engorgement, nothing. What I did see was an increasingly unhappy little guy. He would latch, suck, and then scream his little head off before going back to trying to nurse.

On the 4th night, he was inconsolable. My normally peaceful little boy wouldn’t stop crying. This, of course, meant I couldn’t stop crying. I remember telling my husband, “I just don’t know what’s wrong”. He looked at me and said, “Maybe he’s hungry…” My husband took the baby from me, dug our sample bottle and formula from the box and fed our son. He drank it down greedily and fell asleep.

My heart shattered into a million little pieces. How could he be hungry if he was nursing so often? Was I not producing milk? What kind of mother can I be if I can’t even feed my child?

 

 

Lactation consultants offered me assistance with hand expression, pumping with breast pumps and feeding with supplemental feeder systems. If there was an herb known to increase milk supply, I tried it. My midwife suggested domperidone, so I ordered it from New Zealand since it isn’t sold in the US. My OB prescribed progesterone to try to jumpstart my milk, so I tried that too. I cried over my empty pump bottles and over containers of formula. I cried as I swallowed pill after pill, praying that they would work. Some wonderful women shared pumped milk with my babe and me so he could at least get the taste of breast milk. Multiple times per day, I hooked myself up to a breast pump as I imagined it repeating, “failure, failure, failure,” endlessly.

All the while, my baby was thriving on formula.

When my baby was 12 weeks old, I decided my fight to breastfeed my son was over. While I mourned what I perceived as a failure, I knew I had tried everything I could to do the best for my baby. I looked into his tiny face and cried. I told him how sorry I was that I had failed him. I told him how much I loved him. He looked at me and smiled. My baby loved me no matter if my breasts “worked” or not! He was healthy and happy and that was enough for me!

All said, I consulted 3 lactation consultants and my midwife, took countless herbs and 2 medications for lactation, pumped with 2 different breast pumps, fed formula and donated breast milk at my breast with a supplemental feeder. I never produced even one drop of milk. Instead, I lovingly fed my baby formula. He tops the charts for height and weight. He is bright and funny and has so much energy and personality. He looks at me with such love. I did my best and I hope he knows that.

To all the mamas out there who have struggled or are struggling to give their baby the best, I see you and I stand with you. Breast or bottle, formula or donor milk – fed and loved is best! Mama, you are doing a great job!

 

 

About the Author

Priscilla is a 30-something first-time mom and Athletic Trainer, living in Miami with her husband Raul, son Marley, bonus-daughter Gaby and their dog, Cotton. She describes herself and a home birthing/cloth diapering/baby wearing/cosleeping wannabe crunchy mama. She loves all things chocolate and caramel, reading, writing, crafts and the ocean but these days when she is not chasing around a toddler, she can be found sound asleep.

11 thoughts on Fed is Best

  • Your story just makes me want to shout from the rooftops! Fed is best! I am so sorry you had to go through this I can’t image the way you must have felt. Huggs huggs and more huggs!
    Signed the exclusive pumping mommy, because things didn’t work out with me either 😉

  • I had my mind set in a very similar way when my daughter was born 9 weeks ago. She was born early and spent her first few weeks in the NICU. Even still, I was determined. I had a very tiny amount of milk come in after a few days. But the supply never grew. She was on a feeding tube and it shattered me to see her that way. I have PCOS and after countless hours pumping, with consultants and taking every homeopathic and perscription pill there is, I finally gave up. My baby is thriving and she’s so happy and healthy. I wanted to be successful in breastfeeding but it wasn’t in the cards for me. I’m still a wonderful mother and I know I have it all I got.

  • How timely this was for me.
    My daughter is a new mom. Today my new granddaughter is 4 days old.
    My daughters milk has not come in yet. Both mommy and daddy are stressed,, sleep deprived, and confused. It’s early. Hopefully her milk will come soon.
    But I’m going to send this onto her later today. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Sandy,
      Please wait to send to your daughter. Breastfeeding is hard work, and sometimes milk does not come in until a few days has passed. My milk came in on the 5th night, and I thought I was having night sweats. If your daughter truly wants to nurse, allow her some time to do so before sending this nicely written note. Sometimes, milk does not come in, but the one thing that no mother wants to hear is that her milk. Please encourage her to see lactation nurses. I had an emergency surgery on the 6th day, right after my milk came in, and my supply tanked. I thought it was completely over for me.

    • Sandy, how is your daughter getting on? Hopefully you showed her this article and it helped her to understand that her baby won’t be ANY worse off for having formula. Hope all is well and you are enjoying your granddaughter xx

  • You are truly a hard-working, wonderful mother and thank you for sharing your testimony! It is so true, we plan the steps of our pregnancy to delivery to breastfeeding and on, but in a lot of cases each step doesn’t come to pass. That doesn’t mean that we are bad mothers, just means that we are human; trying to be the best that we can be for our children. You are awesome!

  • Gosh, it’s hard to be a mom, isn’t it? I went thru the same guilt of not being able to breastfeed and low supply. It’s heartbreaking and made me feel like a failure. My son is thriving and a happy baby and I realize now that is all that matters. Much love to all mothers and their fed babies!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. Moms really need to know that “fed is best”. So glad we live in era when formula is available, if needed.

  • Your story made me cry, remembering my own struggles. My daughter is now 13 months old and it still feels so fresh for me. She went from being in the 19 percentile to now being in the 75 percentile and that is all thanks to formula. It is so refreshing to read a story about the hard side of breastfeeding, and how some women end up not being able to do it. Thank you for sharing!

  • Fed is best for sure. However, if breastmilk (own or donor milk) not available, be careful with substitutes. Forgo commercial formulas since they are loaded with sugar and difficult to digest ingredients. Corn syrup solids makes is the top ingredient, followed by highly processed cow milk. Be smart what you feed your baby aND don’t settle for the commercial milk. Make your own formula using raw goat milk, which is the closest to human milk.
    Check out thsee to learn how and learn about raw milk and where to get it:

    https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/childrens-health/formula-homemade-baby-formula/

    ***
    http://Www.realmilk.com

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