To Breastfeed or Not to Breasfeed


I read an article about the New Zealand La Leche League protesting a picture of a dad feeding his baby daughter a bottle.  The picture was part of a PSA ad for not smoking.  The ad ended with the man saying he wouldn't smoke because he has a baby in his house and then he feeds his baby a bottle.

The LLL decided this was not the proper message that needs to be sent out to New Zealand and they pressured the government to edit the ad and remove the feeding.  They think that by showing a father feeding his baby a bottle in an ad completely un-related to breastfeeding it will somehow sully the message that breast is best.

Never once did LLL consider for a moment that it really isn't their fucking business why this man is feeding his baby a bottle.


This man's baby drinks from a bottle because she had a hard time taking to the breast.  What the hell were her parents supposed to do??

I'm pretty pissed off about this one, because I had two kids who tried the breast and it wasn't a good fit for either of them or myself.  For our family, breast was not best.

I am well-endowed.  I have what some would call "a rack."  I am stacked.  I have enormous ta-tas.  All my life I've carried these babies around in beige/black/or white granny looking over the shoulder boulder holders.  I've never owned a pretty bra, because they just don't exist in Double J or whatever size the current store I'm in decides to call it (they're all different which makes it fun when I would like to buy a new bra from a store I've never been in before).  I can't run without hitting myself in the face with the girls.  I have back pain at the end of the day from dragging these puppies around.  I have endured years of taunting, leering, and "accidental" feel ups, not to mention just plain truly accidental bumping/grazing/grabbing-because-they-are-always-in-the-way-feel-ups.

I endured this because I was certain that with knockers like these I would be able to nourish my children until they could ask for seconds.  "More please, Mommy," I imagined my future 5 year old saying.  I imagined I'd harvest my milk and give it to the less fortunate.  Surely that's why I had these ridiculous melons, right?!

This kid could barely suck a tube,
forget the boob.
What I did not expect was a premature 5 lb baby with the mouth the size of my pinkie and no suck reflex.  Gomer couldn't nurse even if he wanted to.  We did everything we could to help him latch on and nurse.  We fed him through a tube so he wouldn't get "nipple confusion."  My pediatrician was bound and determined to get Gomer on the boob so we clipped his tongue, because he was tongue tied and the doctor thought that might have something to do with why he couldn't latch.  I consulted my breast feeding wunderkind moms (I truly have a friend who could make soup and breastfeed at the same time and another friend who could casually lay on the couch and nurse while she dozed.  AH-MAY-ZING).  We paid hundreds of dollars to meet with a lactation consultant several times and this what I learned I would need to nurse my baby:

A sturdy, supportive chair with a back to sit in while I nursed.
A stool to rest my feet on since I'm so short.
A Boppy to rest the baby on.
A homemade sling to go around my neck and under my breast to hold my giant breast up, because I didn't have three hands and my boob was going to crush Gomer's tiny head if it wasn't held up.
A plastic shield to place over my abnormally large nipple so Gomer could latch onto something smaller with his tiny bird mouth.
A second person to monitor Gomer and assure me that Gomer was indeed sucking and swallowing every now and again.  (This one wasn't really required, but by this point I was fucking insane and worried constantly that my baby was going to starve to death, because I couldn't get my gargantuan boobs to work properly.)

There was no fucking way I'd ever be able to wear one of those cute nursing tops where you can magically nurse your baby out the armhole or where ever the fuck you nursed them from.  A Hooter Hider was never going to work for me.  I was never going to make soup and nurse at the same time.  I was never going to take a nap and nourish my child.  Nope.  I was going to have to nurse my baby in a room by myself with a suitcase full of paraphernalia that I would need to carry from one place to another.  (We actually bought a bigger car, because I was freaking out that I couldn't fit the carseat, the stroller, the diaper bag, and all the breastfeeding shit I needed in the car we had.)

We tried and tried, but Gomer and I just were not compatible.  He just didn't have the power to suck anything out of my enormous milk bags and he was losing weight and I was flipping out.  So I became Bessie the Cow.  I hooked myself up to a breast pump and sat there and listened to the mind-numbing rhythm of the pump (you know what I'm talking about) and watched my liquid gold slowly pass goal lines.  One ounce, two ounces, three ounces....I would actually cry if the Hubs accidentally spilled any when he took my bottles away and left me in peace to wipe myself up and let my girls "breathe" after being trapped in plastic cones for the past half hour.

We fed Gomer a bottle from then on and I suddenly became sane.  I could see with certainty and accuracy how many ounces Gomer was eating.  I could see the weight going on his little bony legs.  The relief that washed over me when I finally decided to stop trying to breastfeed was palatable.  Everyone around me relaxed - including Gomer.  The only one who gave me a little grief was the pediatrician.  I steeled myself for a confrontation with him, but in the end he backed down.  Even he could tell how fucking nuts breastfeeding had made me.  I was able to pump for several weeks and then we finally put him on formula.

When Adolpha was born, she was a normal sized, full term baby and I thought this time I would have a chance to breast feed her.  To be honest though, I was not near as confident this time around as I had been with Gomer.

I didn't need to worry, Adolpha could nurse like a champ.  In fact, Adolpha nursed so well, she'd suck me dry and wail for more.  No matter how much milk I produced Adolpha was still hungry (no wonder the girl is in the 100th percentile for height still).  With Adolpha I still had to use all my paraphernalia, except the nipple shield, and that made it impossible to leave the house and nurse her anywhere in public.

Since I was self employed, I didn't get paid maternity leave, so I needed to get back to work as soon as I could.  Adolpha had to go on a bottle so I could leave her with the Hubs.  I had to go back to my old friend the breast pump and we had to supplement her with formula to satisfy her.  Gomer was a happy, healthy, normal 2 year old at this time and so I felt so much better about putting Adolpha on formula.  After a few weeks, she also moved over to formula full time.

Of course breast is best, I'm not going to argue that it's not.  But I will say it's not always going to work for everyone and I'm sick and tired of the LLL making me feel like a complete and total asshole because I didn't breastfeed my kids properly/long enough/etc.  Why must they impose their agenda on all of us?

You know what our family did?  We did the best we could.  It just pisses me off that LLL thinks we could have done better.  Fuck you, LLL, we could not.  We fed our kids.  We kept our kids warm.  We didn't abuse them or hurt them.  We loved them and yeah, we fed them a fucking bottle of formula and I'm OK with that.  So back the fuck off, LLL because it is none of your business how I fed my babies.

In fact, I would argue that because our kids were bottle fed, the Hubs was compelled (OK, forced, but that's such a strong word) to take a much bigger role in caring for our babies.  The Hubs and I worked as a team.  I would get up in the middle of the night to pump and he got up to feed our babies.  The Hubs developed a bond with our kids by doing this.  He held our kids and fed them and cared for them and cared for me when we needed him most.  I was miserable hooked up to that machine, but it was all I could fucking do.  Of course I wanted to be the one to hold and feed my babies from my body, but I couldn't do that and I'm glad that the Hubs was there and was willing and able to step up and do that.

Why doesn't LLL use their clout and focus on the important topics like raising a fuss when FB doesn't allow pictures of breastfeeding moms or when stores ban breastfeeding moms?  These are the real problems LLL needs to focus on.  They could actually do some real good if they did that!

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344 comments:

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Jenna @ Sharing My Jennarocity said...

My mother in law is a lactation consultant and I was crying to her one day, frustrated, and I said, "If this is so natural, and animals can do it, why is it so hard?" And what she said changed my whole view point: "Animals who don't learn to feed, will die. We won't let our children die." So, it's hard for all species and that probably happened to early cavepeople too. In fact, they probably fed their babies much more than just breastmilk. And I think that's why women now get on "cycle" together because when one women of the tribe couldn't breastfeed, the other ones would step in. I think we have this idea of how breastfeeding "should be" and how it's "been done this way for a while" but I really don't think we truly understand that breastfeeding has been hard for a long, long time. Women in Renaissance days were known for being "nurse-maids" in which children would nurse from women besides their mothers. I think our generation thinks they've got this breastfeeding all figured out, but in fact, it's probably one of the most difficult things there is to do as a mother, especially if it doesn't come easy for mom or baby.

Anonymous said...

We do not want bottles shown in NZ because that is NOT normal way to feed your child. We do not want to be desensitized to the fact that this is NOT the normal way to feed a child.
Like those of you in the US who think formula is a "good option" for feeding a human baby. It isn't.
What formula is good for is pumping up corporate profits--at the expense of the future health of the child. And all of you who say ridiculous things like "it just wasn't for us" are obviously under the spell of your corporate masters.
Human babies need human breast milk. Not cow milk. Not processed powdered chemical cow milk.
Even if it is "easier" or "more convenient" for you, it is not good enough for a child's long term health.
And here in NZ, we actually have public health system paid for by taxes so the future health of a child is EVERYONE'S business--unlike the US where poor health is yet another money making opportunity for the corporate blood suckers.
Sure, breastfeeding is harder and less convenient. But it only lasts a short time and most moms would do "anything" for their babies, right? anything but pump apparently!

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more. I STILL feel like I have to justify why I supplemented with formula and my kids are 8 and 5!!! I have enough "bad Mom" moments, feeling bad about formula I fed my kids 8 yrs ago is crazy!

Anonymous said...

Really? You believe this?
You do realize that every species of mammal manages to keep their baby alive with this "unperfect thing" (try imperfect next time).
And for thousands and thousands of years before corporations decided to cash in, humans were able to keep their offspring alive with breast milk alone.
Uninformed people, such as yourself, really amaze me.
Nature fails ALL the time?
I don't think I have ever seen a more absurd statement. But, in your particular case, I guess I am forced to agree.

Anonymous said...

EXACTLY!!
Your child will survive being fed nothing but potato chips and chicken nuggets. Does this seem like a good idea?
Same thing as formula.

Anonymous said...

I had a breast reduction and then a 12 hour complete reconstruction surgery a few years later. I breast fed with no problems.

Jenna @ Sharing My Jennarocity said...

No, I do not think it's appropriate to pull out your breast, with no cover, and breatfeed your child for all the world to see. I breastfed and covered up. I did not care for another man to see my bare breast with my husband sitting right next to me, or by myself for that matter. I think it does make people uncomfortable to watch it and quite honestly, I don't like watching it myself. Stop being anonymous if you have ugly things to say, at least use your name instead floating through this comment feed if you are going to continue to be ugly to people.

Lisaaw1967 said...

My oldest son sounds like Adolpha. I wanted to breastfeed and he wanted to eat every 45 minutes. I also couldn't seem every get the hang of 'discreet' breastfeeding. Felt like I had to strip topless for each feeding. After five weeks of constant feeding and not wanting to leave the house because I didn't want to be arrested for indecent exposure, it was either commit me to the looney bin for lack of sleep or stick that kid on the bottle. He never even noticed the switch and I finally got some sleep (well, around the time the kid turned three, fussy little bastard). When my second son was born three years later I didn't even bother trying to breastfeed. Didn't need or want the lunacy.

People treated me like not breastfeeding was akin to directly feeding my children poison. My boys are now adults (happy, healthy and normal sized - both over 6' tall so apparently bottle feeding didn't stunt their growth) and yet I'd still like to punch those people in their throats.

Elizabeth said...

I believe when Mandy and everyone else uses the term "nazi " ,it is reference to their beliefs that they are superior to all races and believed themselves to have the right to impose their beliefs on any and everyone they saw as inferior. They were brainwashed by propaganda and hatred. But I think you already know all this. The consequences of their mentality is irrelevant and makes no sense for you to infer that thats what you are being compared to.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have said it better! I tried and ended up giving both of my kids bottles. LLL nor anyone else has the right to make me feel like I failed as a mother. If that's the worst I've done than I think I did a pretty good job.

Elizabeth said...

Oh come on. I don't think you're an idiot but you know what people refer to when they compare you to a nazi. You may not be but there certainly are alot of women on here who are trying to impose their ideas on others. Closed minded and superior I think is what you are being compared to.

Anonymous said...

It's your mentality that's being compared. And you aren't the worst one on here either but still. The genocide and suffering of the jews is irrelevant. There are too many women on here trying to impose their beliefs on others. Arguing about your choices won't force others into accepting them.

vander427 said...

Hi Jen! Been reading your blot since Dec and absolutely love it! I am a new, working mom so I never have time to comment, but today is finally the day! I'm currently dealing with the personal guilt of stopping breastfeeding because its too difficult for me to pump at work. This post really made my day and made me realize I should just be happy I could breastfeed and I did for as long as I could. Thanks again for making me smile and laugh out loud :)

Anonymous said...

Both of my children were bottle fed because I was not interested in breast feeding. It worked out very well for our family. My children are now happy, healthy, and of school age. Using a bottle allowed my husband to help with the nighttime feedings, and I think all four of us were better off because of his help.

Lisa E said...

Thank you! I did not breast feed my son and have never once regretted the decision. There were many reasons for my decision but one of the main reasons was to keep my husband involved. I had a 12 week leave and loved being home and caring for my guy but I felt it was important for my husband to take part in feelings before bed and use the time to bond. Before I had little guy, a few women from my office tag teamed me about my decision and were upset that I wasn't going to breast feed and even resorted to saying it will help me drop the baby weight faster. I was indignant and speechless. Another coworker came to my rescue. If a woman decides to breast feed and I see her chugging a Mt Dew and eating potato chips for lunch I don't question her choices on what she eats and the nutrients she is passing along. But if you bottle feed you are looked upon with disdain. With all of that said, why isn't this even a topic of discussion with sides. I don't care that friends nursed their kids so why should any one care what I fed my kid. Rather than worry about what I fed my son, why not worry about the unacceptable number of older children that go hungry every day.

natbaer said...

Oh, so many comments, where to begin?!? First, kudos to everyone who tried breastfeeding. It isn't easy and when problems are thrown in I can't even imagine the emotions mom goes through. I was blessed to be able to nurse my son for 10 months until he just weaned himself. I am currently nursing my daughter, who is 6 months old. I know I am lucky. The worst problem I had was MAJOR chapping the first week. I don't know if I would have even tried as long as some of you gals did if I had had other troubles. Second, even though I am able to breastfeed and I am glad to do it, I DO NOT want to push it on others, do it in public, or be otherwise militant. I am not ashamed of feeding my baby, but I really don't need ppl gawking, praising, or shooting dirty looks at me. So, if I am out, I will go feed her in the van before I whip a boob out in the middle of the mall. I am fine with ladies who nurse in public, but I don't want to do it. I feel lie LLL wants you not just to nurse, but to try to sell it to everyone else. It's kind of like a pushy church. They want everyone to worship, but only if you do it their way. Finally, what is wrong with dad giving baby a bottle sometimes. Who is to say it isn't pumped milk in that bottle? Why isn't that ok? Breast milk is breast milk.

Jennifer said...

I formula fed all of my kids. From the minute they were born. I took a lot of evil looks the first kid. By number three, I had no trouble telling anyone looking at me crosseyed, "I HAVE to formula feed because my CRAZY MEDS come out in my boob juice!" Shut their faces right up.

Jamie said...

This hits a nerve with me as well. I attempted to breast feed my daughter. I failed. She was a lazy stick. She had no interest whatsoever in latching on. I too went through the lactation consultants and boob gurus to no avail. The doctor finally told me if I did not give her a bottle, they were going to have to admit her because of dehydration. I was 21 and felt as though I was the world's worst mom, but I gave her a bottle and formula. She's now a healthy incredibly sassy highly intelligent 14 year old.

I refused to even try with my son. I went through an awful state of depression after deciding to give my daughter a bottle. I was not going to do that with my son. He was formula fed from day 1. I have no regrets. Fuck anybody who says otherwise. Yes, breast may be best - but it doesn't work for everyone.

Blissfully Discontented said...

Breastfeeding made me want to kill people. So...that's bad for everyone's health right? Yeah. It didn't last longer than 6 weeks but dammit I tried it with all three kids.

Daily Messes said...

Thank you! With my oldest, I tried BF. He ate every two hours and took an hour to eat because he kept falling asleep if I held him at all. He was still hungry, so I would pump afterwards to try to force more out, with no luck. We ended up formula feeding and we were both much happier. I got more sleep and he got enough to eat. I did talk to a lactation consultant and did what they told me, it just didn't work. My kids are 2 years apart and I decided to formula feed right from the get go. I knewI needed as much sleep as I could get to be the best person and mom I could be to them. My youngest had health issues and had triuble breathing to eat for long periods of time, so I still feel we made the best decision for our family despite inputs from other family members. Kudos to anyone who can sucessfully BF. Thank you for speaking up for the rest of us!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what's happened to LLL since the 70s, if this story is true about the father/bottle. Back in the day, I was a LLL Leader and our raison d'etre was to help mothers who wanted to nurse, but we strongly emphasized inspiring confidence in moms to listen to their babies and do what was necessary to create a loving bond. Nobody was ever, ever scolded for choosing to bottle-feed. That's not what we were about in the 70s.

Anonymous said...

What a great post! I had a horrible time trying to nurse my first. He would not latch, was jaundice, and was considered failure to thrive. I too am well endowed and had to have tons of "extra" things to make nursing "work" for us. I ended up supplementing with formula and eventually moving to all formula when I couldn't get anymore milk from pumping, which was also not successful for me. I remember many nursing mothers telling me I should have kept trying. I couldn't stand hearing my baby cry because I couldn't supply enough for him. It has always made me feel bad. I am 4 weeks out from having my second and I am determined to try to nurse this one. I do know though, that I can't go through the weeks of feeling like a failure again if it doesn't work. I will do formula again if I can't supply my child with what he needs to be healthy and happy. I think that is what being a good mom is all about. You need to put aside your beleifs sometimes to do what is best for your children.

Dvora Koelling said...

I'm a breastfeeding mom who totally LOVES breastfeeding, but wouldn't make any mom feel horrible for NOT breastfeeding. The only women I take issue with are women who don't even TRY to breastfeed their baby or babies because they claim it doesn't feel "natural". Give it a try. If its not for you, and for god's sake, if you feel like you are going to crush your baby's skull with your ginormous ta-ta, bottle feed your baby. And if anyone tells you you are a horrendous mother for doing so, squirt them in the eye with some formula. That'll teach 'em. :)

Shonagh said...

I, unlike you am not well endowed. I struggled with breastfeeding my first child, but ultimately was able to and nursed her until she was 17 months old. When my second child came along, he had no desire to latch on, would fuss and cry every time I tried to nurse him, and like your son, was losing weight. I switched him straight to formula and he immediately was happier, put on weight and ate like a fiend. The only person who gave me a hard time about bottle feeding was someone from the LLL who came in to try to get my son (younger child) to latch on. She told me I was "giving up too easily". I told her to fuck off and mind her own business. As far as I'm concerned, as long as children are loved and fed appropriately, bottle provides as much (if not more) bonding time with mum (and dad). I would have liked to breastfeed my younger child, and do encourage my expectant friends to try to, but also strongly believe that the less stressful feeding times are, the better off everyone is.


Thanks for another great blog Jen...you ROCK!!!!

imbogus1 said...

Momma!!!

Seaexplore said...

32G before pregnancy, 38H altered down to a 32whatever after milk came in. My DD is 7 mos and nursing like a champ but OMG the shit I went thru to get her to latch. Me in tears, her in tears, me pumping every 2hours to get her a bottle with just a bit of milk, supplementing with formula. After 2weeks of this DH looked at me as I was bawling and she was screaming with her mouth around my nipple and asked what I wanted to do. I told him 1 last try with a LC but I wasn't about to contact LLL because I knew what they would say and I did not want to be condemned for supplementing. The LC was a miracle worker for us and she's nursed ever since BUT I will give her formula as needed because I don't produce a ton (yes, ginormous jugs do not equal enough to feed) and my DH is. SAHD so he bottle feeds DD.


AND how does LLL knowit's not breastmilk being givenin the bottle? Nazis!

Anonymous said...

Well, I can honestly say I TRIED breast with both of my kids. Daughter took really well to it. I was able to feed her no problem. I was even able to get a "supply" stored up for people to use while I went back to work.

However, the amount I was pumping out, got smaller, and smaller, and smaller. I also was treating it as liquid gold, chewed my Mother in law a new one when she accidentally spilled the bag of milk when getting the bottle ready. I was stressed! My daughter was only 6 months...WAY to soon for me to be drying up. Went to the doctor and he said it was because I was pregnant again and my body was changing for the new baby....umm ok. So formula it was then.

When son was born, OMG, I couldn't make enough for him. All he wanted to do was eat, eat, eat. I was so sore but I dealt with it because I wanted to do at least a year of breast feeding for him, unlike his sister. Then, something started happening to him. He started looking like a mini Pamela Anderson! He had boobies! They looked like implants!! When they first started growing, I didn't think anything of it because, meh, it's my hormones he's drinking up too. When they started getting bigger and VERY firm, like Pamela, I took him in to the doctor. Said I had to put him on formula to help them go away. He also was about 6 months at this point.

I did try my best to feed them breast milk, however, my body, or their body just wasn't letting me. I would LOVE to see one of the members of LLL to have another baby and then go through any of the problems that us "normal" moms endure when trying to nurse. As long as your kids are well taken care of and are healthy, who the hell cares what you feed them, breast or bottle.

Kym said...

Don't laugh (or do I'm OK with it) but you actually made me CRY. I went through the EXACT same thing with my son 8 months ago. Everyone beats you over the head about breastfeeding while you are pregnant and if you even THINK about bottle-feeding they give you that LOOK like you will be the worst parent in the world. It was when my son became jaundice and losing weight b/c he wasn't latching on that I had to give a bottle. No one tells you that you have other options and that is what makes me the most mad. I think my hubby was actually happy when we switched to the pump and feed method. He loved that time with his boy. So, thank you so much for writing this post. It's nice knowing there are other families that have gone through this.

Anonymous said...

Amen. I have nursed my oldest two an am now nursing my third, but some LLLers I know try to make people feel badly for not nursing, and make those of us who prefer to nurse in private feel badly for not whipping out in public (love the malls with the nursing rooms) and only nursing for 15 months instead of until the kid can drive. The basis of the organization is a good idea, but the crunchy granolas (to cite your previous post) have taken over!

Jennaleigh85 said...

Amen!! My son was 5 lbs 4 weeks early and had reflux. I tired to BF but all he did was scream cause he couldn't latch and was hungry. I was a wreck because I never considered BF wouldn't work out and was close to post partum depression because of it. Puttin my son on formula was the best decision for is an he's a healthy happy very intelligent 9 month old. Not to mention it have my hubs the opportunity to Bond with him for the 3 months he was here before he deployed.

the laundry queen said...

You did the best you could so fuck everyone else that has an opinion of what you "should have" done. But my image of you in my head has totally been blown away. I pictured this average looking woman, not that you are in any way average, but just a normal carpool mom. Someone just like me who lives in yoga pants. Now I picture you as this tiny woman with gigunda boobs. Who knew! Your wish is to meet Tina Fey, mine is to meet you! Totally in a non-creepy, non-stalkerish kind of way.

Miranda said...

One look at my 10 lb baby girls cheeks and I said to the nurse, "when you bring her in, bring a bottle with you!"

Eff that! Those LLL ppl can suck it!

Savanna said...

I havent read all the comments but I've seen more than enough to ask why would you ever spend 2 weeks + trying to nurse when obviously its not working and your crying all f-ing day and your baby is most certainly not happy seeing as though it's probably not getting any food? That's just stupid. As I said earlier, I tried nursing all 3 of mine but it didn't work. There was no way I would have ever spent so much wasted time crying and pumping for no reason. Good gosh! Stop feeling like a failure. Chances are you yourself weren't even breastfed and you turned out ok (?).

Karen said...

Wow! My experience with my firstborn was SO similar to this ~ gargantuan boobs & all! At one point in the hospital while two nurses and a lactation consultant were "helping" me, they actually told me the hospital wouldn't let us go home until he latched. I looked at my husband and thankfully he booted them from our room. At that point, I pumped & bottle-fed him and waited until we were home to attempt to nurse again (we did finally get the hang of it when he was 3 weeks old).

Sunni said...

Amazing! Thank you! My Lewis was born 6 weeks early and only weighted 2 lbs 9 oz. They don't start breast/bottle feeding until they reach 3.5-4lbs because he would burn more calories eating therefore losing more weight than gaining. I pumped from day one. I was able to produce enough milk to feed him for about four months, and then it almost stopped completely. The body can become very confused when you can not put your baby to the breast immediately. He was a little pro when it came to latching, but when you are not producing enough and he wants to nurse for an hour straight, and then nurse only an hour after he is done, you come close to losing your mind. It broke my heart to put him on formula, but he is healthy, and I could not ask for anything more than that. I know there were people who judged me. All I can say is, keep your mouth shut until you have walked a mile in my shoes.

Anonymous said...

I nursed both my kids for 15 months exclusively and agree that breast is best. I did feel guilted into it because my husband has asthma and bfeeding has been shown to reduce the risk of the baby developing it later in life. We spent hundreds of dollars on lactation consultants, felt like I was a cow in a dairy and nearly lost my mind. I am the first to tell people that it doesn't work for everyone and some human milk is better than none. And how on earth did the LLL know that the milk in the bottle hadn't been pumped?

Jessica A. said...

When my first child was born, I was very nervous about breast feeding, but certainly excited. I, like most moms, wanted the absolute very best for my children!Sadly, and unfortunately for my child and myself, my milk NEVER came in. I had no choice but to use formula. (We certainly could not afford to buy breast milk from someone)
My second child was born and my tata's made up for not getting milk the first time. I am not well endowed in that area, but let me just say; I became well endowed very quickly and for the first time in my life, I had great tatas! lol So, to make a long story short, I thought I would def breast feed this time. Everything was falling into place perfectly, except that for over 3 weeks my daughter refused to latch on. We spent so many hours getting excited, thinking she was succeeding and so many more hours crying because she didn't.It came to the point where she and I were both exhausted and aggrivated every single day. She was hungry and frustrated at the big nipple that did nothing for her. Needless to say, she was bottle fed. Both of my kids are extremely healthy,happy, and very intelligent! The LLL members need to get off their high horses and have some f**kin* common sense!Bottle feeding your kids does not make you a bad parent, but judging others who don't breasfeed; well thats just a bad person!

The Jones Family said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THIS! I didn't breast feed my now 15 month old either. I didn't even desire to breast feed just because it didn't feel right to me. Signs I've seen and comments people have made to me have always made me feel guilty for not breastfeeding and like I was a horrible mother. Then, when those same people found out that I CHOSE not to breastfeed (not because of a health issue or because the baby wouldn't take), I really got bad looks/comments. It's just not right, the way people judge others. I say that if a woman is happy breastfeeding, that's fantastic. If a woman is happy formula-feeding, that's fantastic too! I had one stranger ask me if I was breastfeeding and when I told her no, she informed me that I was missing out on a special bond with my son. I would have loved to punch her in the throat then proceed to cut her throat. I have the same bond, if not better, with my son than a breastfeeding mother does. Then, these "breast is best" ads and posters I see, piss me off. My son is a healthy and active little 15 month old and is as smart as he could be. Whatever works for the mother and her child is what should be done!

Jaguwar said...

I don't know if anyone else mentioned this yet, I didn't see if they did, but successfully breastfeding babies sometimes drink breast milk... from the bottle. I don't know about you, but when my partner wants to let me sleep, it's really helpful to have a substitute for mommy when she gets a well-deserved rest. DUH!

It's not about failure, or other negative things, but about doing the best you can, always.

Theunkola said...

Two premies and one who was normal term and non of them were able to breast feed. I pumped like you did, had the lactation nurses come in and to no avail. Once we went on formula as you said stress level went down and happy babies ensued. My girls are all in the top of their classes so I agree with you. LLL needs to back off and be supportive of those of us who truly can't breast feed and show us the alternatives!

Melda said...

I have adopted children - different issue - but same result - of course, they had to be bottle fed.

My oldest son is 14 / over 6 ft tall / a superstar jock/ honor roll student and hardly EVER sick.....

I think formula is fine.

Debra said...

I gave birth to a two-pounder and almost died in the process. I was extremely sick after the birth and chose not to pump milk for my daughter "to drink" through a tube in her nose. The social workers at the Children's Hospital made me feel like I was sentencing my child to death. Seventeen years later, I have a beautiful, smart and loving daughter who says I'm her best friend. BOOYAH!

Anonymous said...

Thanks, ladies...I feel a little better knowing that:)

Anonymous said...

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Eleanor Roosevelt

Good lord women, get over yourselves already. LLL is not attacking you personally. Breastfeeding advocates are not trying to shame you into anything. If you are feeling inadequate/guilty/imperfect because your experience with breastfeeding didn't go the way someone else suggested, or the way you wanted it to, that's your own damn problem. Nestle Corporation made kajillions of dollars telling mothers in Africa to use formula instead of breast milk - poverty-stricken mothers who can't afford a radio, but were convinced to shell out for formula. So if there seems to be a barrage of 'breast is best' info, let the fucking pendulum swing the other way a bit.

P.S. I have gargantuan tatas too and I am always thrilled to find 42H sizes or near to that at Nordstrom Rack and Tuesday Morning - of all places. Lacy.

Deb said...

My kids all breastfed-- but because you apparently got your boobs and mine-- there just wasn't enough milk. LLL says women produce enough milk for triplets. Well I had twins and they were screaming for more when I ran dry.

And I completely agree that bottles (with breastmilk or formula in them) is wonderful for getting the Dad involved. And the I got some sleep too.

After your story I'm less jealous of those with huge boobs, but for fuck's sake, why did breastfeeding shrink by small Bs to small As. NOT FAIR.

Christy said...

The LLL gets me fired up. My first born was full term and healthy but he was a C section and at the time I didn't understand how that would affect what little milk I would produce. Before actually giving birth I read everything that assured me that breast is best. It's easy! It's natural! Only it wasn't. I was so depressed that I couldn't breastfeed. I literally had never heard anyone say it didn't work for them. I felt like a total failure. My hormones were out of control. I couldn't even stop crying long enough to go into the store to buy formula. And then I got two outstanding pieces of advice: my mom told me that a happy mom is way more beneficial for a baby than any benefit he would get from breastmilk. And my pediatrician told me "you can't walk into Target and pick out the breastfed kids from the formula fed kids." Those two comments made all the difference to me. You know you've made the right choice for your family when you have peace about it.

Kari said...

WTH! The dad COULD have been feeding the baby a BOTTLE full of freshly pumped BREAST MILK??? Who cares- any dad who wanted to volunteer to feed my kids (so I could get just 10 precious minutes of sleep) HAVE AT IT!
Seriously- when is the world going to get themselves out of this "one-size-fits-all" mentality!?
Isn't there like 9,000 larger world issues to address? Like war...hunger...environment...stray elves not on shelves...

frugalistablog.com said...

I was a gal that made soup while I breastfed. It was amazing all the things I could do with a baby latched on. BUT- I still have the scars on my nipples to prove the wounds of battle that I endured the first two weeks of my daughter trying to latch on. Insane, you have no idea. It's a miracle it ever worked. Whatever works to feed the babies. To nourish them, to give them life. So yeah, fuck those LLLs! You tell 'em Jen!

Donna Saville said...

Thanks so much Jen for once again taking the words right out of my mouth. My oldest son I breastfed for 2 months and he had trouble latching from day one. I pumped after that. In the hospital after I had him a LLL Nurse came in and 'HELPED' me try and breastfeed. She not only ruined a perfectly good latch I had going ALL BY MYSELF but felt the need to grab my boob (I don't like to be touched) and almost got PUNCHED IN THE THROAT! I then had twins that were 5 lb preemies and spent 2 weeks in the NICU. I pumped until they came home, then tried to get them to breastfeed but they were still too weak. By 2 months old sleep was way more important that breastfeeding/pumping (I hear the pump in my nightmares still) and I switched them to full formula. I'll never regret it! They are both in the 95%ile and that's not even adjusted age and thriving! Screw you LLL! Screw you hard! LOL

Rachel said...

Maybe he was giving his baby a bottle because the other gay dad was busy?

Anonymous said...

You are awesome, I so agree. I am not a mother but a proud "Auntie" to several of my firends children. Most of my friends tried breast feeding and were not able to. Some had the same issues as you, others had inverted nipples, coudn't produce, severe pain and even babies that absolutely REFUSED to go anywhere near a breast. Shouldn't we be more concern that they are fed, changed and happy? New mothers have enough to deal with, they don't need to feel inferior because they can't or choose not to breastfeed.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this post incredibly. I will never forget the one week checkup in which a doctor with whom I was unfamiliar scoffed at me and told me I was starving my child. I just cried. It must have been my fault, or because I had a C section...or because I didn't eat right.... I am also well endowed, but these things just would not make milk. One, maybe two ounces between the both of them, and I did it all...tea, water, diet, pump...and for 4 months I breast-fed and then bottle fed her every 4 to 6 hours....just to give her all I could. The process took about an hour and a half....and when she just couldn't deal with both anymore I switched her to full time formula and bottle....and again cried for days. I had the second one naturally and nothing changed except for my ability to recognize that she was not getting enough to eat. I still have guilt, and sometimes my heart still hurts...but I tried. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone.

Anonymous said...

My experience was a little different. My first pregnancy I received a pamphlet about the benefits of BF. I took this as a mere suggestion of one way I can feed my newborn baby. I decided I would like to try BF. When my baby girl arrived, I had a fever, was put on antiobiotics and so was she. They also informed me she had jaundice. The nurses (at a Catholic hospital) informed me that formula is best for babies with jaundice because it makes them poop faster. That way I can take my baby home as scheduled. I said ok, without hesitation. Did I feel guilty or hurt? No. Why should I? I make the decisions for my family. She was declared healthy, and was formula fed til she was 1. She is kinda nutty, but I always just assumed it was from his side of the family not because lack of breastmilk. I just took their suggestions as just that, mere suggestions, it was up to me after that. Just like the people who choose to smoke, cuss, drink, and possess weapons, all things some people believe are bad, but have no power to do anything because it is that own person's life and actions. Until it becomes law that I have to BF..then go try and guilt trip someone else because this mommy doesn't care and is frankly too tired from life to worry what you think of her.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I was going to blast you with how you don't know fucking shit about me and my "lazy" ass since I supplemented my breastfeeding with formula.

I thought I'd ask how you'd like to try breastfeeding twins and work as a full-time elementary teacher, all on about 3 hours of sleep a night.

I then decided you aren't worth it, and I'm fucking proud that I lasted 10 months pumping and giving them formula. Happy, healthy babies is all that matters.

Anonymous said...

I am 64, have 2 beautiful adult children, and did NOT breastfeed! Didn't want to, didn't try it, no excuses, no apologies! MY decision! Enuff said!

Anonymous said...

Didn't want to bf, didn't try it! My choice, no apologies, no excuses! I have two healthy adult children, BTW!

bmmoore said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry you had to go through all that. We had problems with my first son. He was born in emergency c section and then in nicu. He had problems with his muscles in his in jaw. My mother in law called him a poor mother sucker. We were lucky that after physical therapy and many visits to the lactation dept, he finally for the hang of it. 5 years later be is still a picky eater .... You did the right thing and tried hard. Proud of you!

Unknown said...

THANK YOU! I have loved just about every blog post you have written, but this is one that I truly needed to hear. My problems with breastfeeding are similar to yours. My son started off in the NICU, and had problems latching on...and I came to find out that I, er, don't make milk. Even with the pills they gave me that were supposed to help with that, nothing came. The LLL couldn't even help my son latch on properly, and I wasn't making any milk to entice him to anyway. So after two months, I gave up trying and switched to formula.

After being publicly shamed about this in a nutrition class in college(by a future LLL employee, no less), and told that I didn't try hard enough, I vowed never to let someone make me feel that way about breastfeeding again. Breast is best...when it works. But I'll make my own decisions, thankyouverymuch.

Unknown said...

So it's okay for your government to censor ads they don't want the public to see, as long as you agree with what they're censoring, right? What will be censored next in the name of preventing desensitization? Hope the next thing doesn't infringe on any of your rights that you actually value, or you'll have to eat your words.

And you seem to have missed the point of the original post. "Easier" and "more convenient" have nothing to do with a baby who is allowed to go starving, just for the sake of proving a point about breast feeding. When my child was unhappy and starving, and I pulled him up from my breast to find his face drenched in BLOOD from sucking incorrectly (and not finding milk there any way), I realized that it was okay to chose the second best option. That's not desensitization. It's called parenting--making the best choice you can, with the options you have. So preach your uniformed opinion somewhere else. And stop blaming America for problems we all know your own country faces, as well.

Penelope said...

There are plenty women out there who don't make ENOUGH milk. Supply and demand? Woman, please. It's amazing how little you know. Supply and demand only works when you have the time to work your body up to the amount needed. For many women, it takes quite a while to get there, especially if their little one has an appetite. Some women's bodies (which are different from yours, as you learned in kindergarten) can't keep up, no matter how much "demand" is sent their way. As for me, I don't make milk. At all. No pill, therapy, or alternative option I was given worked. And there are plenty other women out there in my exact situation.

So here's my legitimate reason for quitting: MY CHILD.

I refused to starve my child for the sake of proving a point about breastfeeding.

I refused to continue to allow my child to be unhappy every moment of the day, for the sake of breastfeeding.

I refused to continue to allow my child to suck on nothing but BLOOD, for the sake of breastfeeding.

And I refused to allow women to continue to tell me that he was OKAY during all this, because I was breastfeeding.

He was NOT okay...but he was, once he switched to formula. He's still okay, and he'll continue to be okay.

I have no qualms about my choice. Letting my child suffer was not an option for me. But I refuse to sit by and let anyone tell me that I SHOULD feel bad about that. I refuse to let someone tell me that I'm LAZY because of that. And I refuse to sit by while imperfect people make judgments about me, and attempt to predict my child's future, based on this choice. Go back to stuffing your children's faces with fast food and animal hormones. I'll keep my mouth shut about your choices, if you keep yours shut about mine.

Anonymous said...

Wow, congratulations, you have obviously touched a nerve. I read about 50 comments or so and then decided to say this: there will always be people who are critical of what you do, no matter what it is. First off, I have a 2 1/2-year old whom I am still (!) breastfeeding (I never thought I would be one of those mom's). She was born on schedule and loved breastfeeding from the second she tried. I went through months and months of agony at first - cracked nipples, fatigue, clogged milk ducts, fluctuating volume etc. - until we finally hit our stride, and we haven't looked back since. So, you'd think that I would have been everyone's favorite mom...wrong. I have been, maybe not outrightly criticized but looked at weirdly by my own sister and mother for a.) actually BREASTfeeding all the time (instead of pumping) and b.) doing it for this long (they don't even know for sure that I am still nursing her because I now avoid the subject). Their motivation? Who knows. I guess that breastfeeding is too primal for them. I don't even know how long my own mom breastfed me. I guess the point I am trying to make is that there will always be people who need to make themselves feel better by imposing their principles (however well-founded) or beliefs on others (that isn't just true for this topic). It's great to speak up against them, but we also need to try to accept that we will never make (all of)them shut up. Let's focus on those pockets of support we can find and ignore the rest. If after all the facts are in you need to or choose to bottle-feed, all the power to you! As for whether or not one's own child would've been better off breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, who knows. It's like taking meds and then saying they made you feel better. You don't know what would've happened had you taken a different course of action. You can only guess.
PS: Jen, my husband and I both very much enjoy this blog, and I have a slight suspicion that you may be his actual soul mate :) So much of what you say could've come straight from him.

Anonymous said...

I think you need to get over yourself on this one. This isn't about you or the many other women who have difficulty breast feeding. This is about the general message that is being sent. Just because you had difficulty, does that mean we should quit promoting that breast is best?

Brooke said...

Thank you soooo much for putting this out there! Honestly, is anybody going to ask you 10 years from now if your kids were breast fed? If they do, they suck! Obviously its the better choice nutritionally but it just doesn't work for everyone and these "educators" need to be ok with that. There is NO reason to be angry with people who can't BF- that is ridiculous! With my first it was never an option, after preeclampsia drugs and an emergency csection it just was not happening. With my daughter, who was 30 wks, I was able to pump and bottle/tube feed her breastmilk while she was in the hospital, but once she came home all bets were off. She was never able to latch so I was pumping for an hour, feeding for an hour, and doing it all over again with only an hour in between! OH WELL. They are both healthy well adjusted kids and I have never been asked by any of their friends mothers if they were brestfed. Moms are a big bunch of bullies! Support each other ladies!

Marcella said...

I never had problems BF-ihg and b/w my 3 kids I did so for about 4 years combined. Howerver, this shit pisses me off to no end. Yes if you can and are willing then do so. Even if you are able but don't want to for whatever reason, so. If you give them formula, so. Its not rat poison! STFU LLL. I was thrilled if my husband fed a baby a bottle. Yeah! My nipples got a break! They were hard workin' girls and needed a break sometimes.

Sue said...

Phew, that's a lot of comments! Someone should send them all to LLL so they can get a sense of the turmoil they're creating.

It's a non-smoking ad with a man sharing a loving moment with his baby. Um, how about leaving well enough alone and allowing this to be the positive message it was meant to be?

I also have big "breasticles", but I also had a premie. She was 3lb 7oz at birth. Her first taste of anything to eat was formula from the NICU nurses. I pumped for the very first time that night and that's what she drank for the next 6 months. PUMPED breast milk. Not only didn't she latch b/c of her tiny mouth, but despite the size of my boobs, I don't have the porn-star nips to go with them. As with you, it didn't matter how upright I sat, with sweetie pie on a boppy, settled just a little behind me so her mouth was in the right spot, lifing my boob with one hand so it didn't suffocate the poor thing... it just didn't work. But pumping and bottle feeding did. I had a stockpile of 4 and 6 oz bottles that I kept in the freezer for 2 YEARS after she was done breastfeeding b/c it killed me to throw all that hard work away. LLL should rethink their message. Breast milk may be best, but why should it matter how it's delivered. Because a stressed out Mom will never breast feed well.

Sherri Spichiger said...

I'm with you on this one, Jen. I breastfed all 3 of my babies and found out the hard way that you can shove a nipple in your baby's mouth, but you can't make him drink. My boys all did fairly well; the oldest quit nursing at 6 months, the middle one at 9 months and the youngest at 10 months. I would have nursed them longer, but they simply DID NOT WANT TO. I remember hours of frustration, trying to get them to keep nursing when they wanted to pull off every 2 minutes, spraying themselves in the face with milk, and soaking me in the process. Milk quantity? Not an issue for me. Boobs too big? Most definitely not an issue for me. Kid totally uninterested in nursing? BINGO! So let the LLL nazis come after me if they want, but like you said, what the hell else was I supposed to do? I pumped for a while, and they did take a bottle, but they never really seemed interested in that either. I agree with you....I did my best and that's all that matters, and the LLL can stay the f**k out of it.

Anonymous said...

:::::STANDING O:::::: Thank you thank you for writing what goes on in my head

Kristen said...

That's what I wondered - how do they know what's in the bottle? I had to pump while my baby was in the NICU - first because he couldn't latch on and second so they could monitor how much he drank - and my then-husband fed him also. There's the whole school of thought that says if a baby's mouth gets used to a bottle nipple it will never take the mother's nipple, but I don't see the point in starving the child whose mouth is just too small for latching.

Kristen said...

OMG - what did that person think they were put there for in the first place? On a primitive level men are attracted to women with large breasts because it communicates to them (rightly or wrongly) that these women can nurse his progeny into health. It's we stupid Americans that turn it into a sexual thing.

Kristen said...

I think anger is normal when an attempt at emotional intimidation is made or recalled. If you went through one of the most emotional periods of your life with a mixture of guilt and fear imposed upon you by others, chances are you would also retain a bit of anger at feeling compelled to constantly defend yourself.

Claire B said...

Mary Garner - are you a lactation consultant? An expert in breast feeding? I'm guessing not - just someone who was fortunate to have everything work out ok when it came to breastfeeding her child. My son had all kinds of difficulties nursing and I used an entire arsenal of tricks to get to a point where we were "successful". Unfortunately, when he finally got the hang of it, there was no milk for him anyway (and I too have huge jugs!) I pumped for 12 months for my son to get breast milk as long as possible...but I also had to supplement with formula that entire time too. You say supply and demand is all there is to it? BS - I could have nursed my son 24hrs a day and he still didn't get enough to eat. He was losing so much weight that his pediatrician told me if I didn't give him a damn bottle right now she was admitting him to hospital! My lactation consultant worked with me for months - told me that she had never known a mother work so tirelessly to make breast feeding work and still not have success. Using a hospital grade breastpump I was still never able to pump more than 2.5ozs before emptying my breasts. That was the most I EVER produced in one sitting - in 12 months. Usually I was lucky to get 1.5oz. But I did it and I gave it all to my son. (Just like Jen, I'd bawl my eyes out if a single drop got spilled and wasted). If I'd refused to supplement with formula (which was devastating to this crunchy cloth diapering, organic food providing mum...yes I do live in NH!!! Loved the last post on NH Jen!! <3), my child would have starved to death - is that good parenting? Is that lazy? I can't tell you how INCONVENIENT it is to nurse and then prep formula. Tote around a breast pump with you 24/7, even to work AND have to sterilize bottles every bloody day. 12 months of this and I'm LAZY???? My son, almost 4 is one of the healthiest children I've ever known - smart, strong, hardly ever sick - I have done all I can for him and I still felt like I failed w/nursing. People like you increase my anxiety over nursing my 2nd, due next month, when I need to really relax and pray that we have no problems this time. It amazed me how many of my OAM friends finally confessed to me how hard it had been for them to nurse too - had I known that in the first few weeks, I wouldn't have beat myself up so much...I still would have persevered but my anxiety levels would have been lower and who knows, maybe that would have made the difference in my supply. Either way: How dare you judge and call someone lazy? If you're a SAHM then what can you know about juggling nursing and a full time job? LLL themselves encourage women to nurse as long as is practicable - even if that is only for the first couple of weeks after birth - those initial feedings pass on so many antibodies to you baby that even a little helps. Stop judging others and SUPPORT other parents instead!

Meghan Workman said...

Oh BOY, do I hear you on this one! I had a terrible time getting my firstborn to latch on. After a week of struggling, she finally got the hang of it and I nursed her until about 2 months, when I noticed that she was getting skinnier, even though I nursed her literally every freaking half hour. I got out the pump and was horrified to learn that, after a solid half hour of going at it with both barrels, my boobs eked out only a whopping 1/4 of an ounce. Lactation consultants will tell you to pump/nurse more often to encourage milk production; well, I was already doing that every freaking half hour!! Needless to say, she went on formula immediately after that, and plumped right back up and is a healthy 10-year-old now. My second daughter ate...and ate...and ate...just like yours. She ate until she drained me dry and wanted more. My milk production wasn't enough for her, and it became just too much to handle with nursing her and THEN supplementing the feeding she just got with a bottle, all while trying to keep track of an energetic 13-month-old. So she went on formula full-time as well. And now she's a happy, healthy 8-year-old who has never had an ear or bladder infection in her life.
I'm sick and tired of these snobs who look down their noses at people who (for WHATEVER REASON) decide that nursing isn't the best option for their baby. Would they rather the baby starve? Because that's the alternative to formula when your milk doesn't come in in spite of your best efforts - lactation consultants, pumps, even drugs. That's happened to more than a few friends of mine.
You would think LLL would be happy to see a father taking an active role in his baby's life, not complain!! What a bunch of assholes.

Kristen said...

The only thing I agree with the LLL on is that women should be informed of breastfeeding. But from there, they should be able to make their own choices and know that circumstances may not agree with whatever their plans were. I had one friend with cracked, bleeding nipples, another who spent thousands of dollars on lactation consultants to no avail, and I had to pump for my preemie and eventually supplement under doctor's orders so he wasn't screaming from hunger constantly (we didn't know why he was screaming). Most of the time when my son took a bottle it was full of breastmilk until he weaned himself around the time he started eating cereals and foods. I feel like I did the right thing in the end - he's almost 12 and rarely sick (never an ear infection since people seem to relate the two). However, I acknowledge that it is a heavy emotional burden to bring a helpless infant into the world who is your sole responsibility and to try to do what is best for that child - those loud "we know best" voices can be very bullying and intimidating when you really are reaching out for as much guidance as you can on this poor infant's sake. It's a shame that there are people who abuse that authority they're given.

Anonymous said...

I managed to breastfeed 3 of my children but had a huge problem with my twins. I tried everything and was beside myself with guilt that they weren't getting the same start in life the others did. Both had colic and needed feed every hour and my nipples cracked and bled and the pain was excrutiating. I would finally get them to bed a 1am and then express until 2am because I HAD to get it to work. By the time we had our 6 week check up I weighed 5lbs less than I had done before I got pregnant!
After 7 weeks I had no milk left and had to give up and what a relief it was! My twins are now 12 and as healthy as the others despite getting formula so the guilt has worn off...

What really pissed me off was one day watching TV a breastfeeding expert was being interviewed. At this point I still needed assurance that I wasn't a terrible mother because I hadn't managed breastfeeding with the twins so I watched. The interviewer asked the expert 'what about woman who can't manage to breastfeed?' She replied by telling all the tricks to increase milk supply, different positions to try etc. The interviewer asked then 'but what about the women who have tried all that but still can't manage, is it then ok to use formula?' The expert replied that in that case the woman who has tried everything should find a neighbour or a friend who is breastfeeding and ask them to act as a wet nurse and get them to breastfeed her baby as this was preferable to giving your baby a bottle with formula!
No help for my guilt there but there was no way I was getting someone else to breastfeed my babies!

Rachel said...

I had full-term twins who were small and not good at breastfeeding. I nursed them 24/7 until I went insane (after about 2 weeks). I started pumping and supplemented with formula. I did this for 7 months. Please don't blame yourself for your daughter's illness. My kids ate EXACTLY the same thing, were exposed to the same germs at the same time, but my son was sick frequently and my daughter was never sick. The pediatrician explained that ear infections have to do with inner ear anatomy, NOT whether or not your baby was breastfed. Breast is best, but it is not a "wonder drug" for all ills.

SK said...

I was HORRIFIED at the thought of BFing in public when I was pregnant with my first one, BUT I am a believer in there being health benefits for both the baby and the mom so I was willing to at least try it. My sone came out and on the 2nd day in the hospital I had 2 lactation consultants tell me 'this isnt going to work right now'. He came out with a suck reflex, but he sucked the roof of his mouth, so everytime I put my nipple in there it went under his tongue and he couldnt get anything. They suggested pumping and bottle feeding until he learned to suck correctly then trying the breast again. Once I started pumping and Dad was able to help with the feedings I decided that was a good plan for us, so we kept that up. I also had work issues, so I chose to only pump for 8 weeks with him. Then my daughter came along, and I tried again to nurse her, and call me lazy (although it takes literally twice the amount of time to pump and bottle feed than it does to just nurse, so Im not sure how the lazy part comes in), but it hurt like HELL. Even the Ped said holy crap she sucks hard. And, I felt like I was at her beck and call, she only slept for an hour or 2 before wanting to eat again and being the control freak I am I had no idea how much she was eating and that freaked me out, so after 4 days, I switched to pumping with her. I kept that up with her for 6 months before introducing formula. Then my 3rd came along. By then I knew what I was doing, so I told the lac consultants at the hospital "just bring me a pump". I didnt even try to put him on the breast, I knew pumping and bottle feeding was the best scenario for my family. I gave my youngest breast milk (all through a bottle) exclusively for 9 months...at which point he moved to solid (homemade I might add) baby food.
To the people who think its awful to bottle feed...is the objection simply to formula or to bottles in general, because it seems it is to bottles in general which is just ridiculous. My kids got the exact same health benefits as all BFed babies.
I do get frustrated sometimes with people who dont even try to breast feed, I understand it wont work for everyone, but I think everyone (as long as there isnt a health reason why you can't) should give it a try, even if your baby is a preemie, you can pump and try to give them the milk....Very few of my friends actually nursed, I was actually the odd one because most of my friends didnt even try nursing, just went straight to formula. But, I am not self-righteous enough to push my beliefs on anyone. To each his own.
Oh, and I should mention I actually was able to donate 100oz of my Breast Milk to a local hospital

Kim said...

I was fortunate with both my kids. When my daughter was born, I tried to breastfeed. And tried. And tried. My boobs must have been broken because she just didn't get enough. It got so bad (and I got so sore) that I'd sit and cry because I didn't want to nurse her. So I switched her to formula and once we found the right one (she had to have the soy-based one), everything got 1000% better. When my son came along, I didn't even put myself through that hell, but put him on formula right from the start. And no one ever hassled me about it, or gave me a look or tried to make me feel bad about myself or like a terrible mom. It's so sad that it makes me feel lucky, instead of like that is the norm. It shouldn't matter how a baby is fed, as long as it is.

Anonymous said...

I understand. I am just trying to get a point across. I know many BFing Moms who don't stay home (which there is no problem at all with). Mary comes on here and is condescending to everyone here who isn't doing things her way.

Well, here's what I know. The La Leche ladies are a close bunch. They have their groups and boards. Mary seems to enjoy treating everyone here like shit because they don't BF.

My question is if she treats her BFing buddies who work just as shitty? I would like to see if she goes on the BFing boards and berates the La Leche girls for not staying home. Heck, does she demean all working Moms?
Something tells me Mary is too much of a coward to go after working Moms. She would become alienated from a heck of a lot of people and get booted from the group of women who share her superior attitude on BFing.
Although, maybe Mary is a sad dejected woman. Maybe she has no friends because of her nasty attitude toward others. Bless her heart. I'll say a prayer for her.

Unknown said...

I was able to breast feed both of my boys for several months, so I cannot possibly relate to the emotional roller coaster you went through not being able to. I have had some friends who have had trouble, but again, I cannot relate. I do agree with you about the LLL though. First of all, the formulas they make now are basically the same nutrition-wise as breast milk, so while the personal touch is missing, the nourishment is not. I was raised on formula (the kind that was offered 33 years ago) because my mother had a thyroid problem and her medicine caused me to be born with a small goiter. As a result, I was bottle fed from birth. My father says that some of his best memories are of waking up in the middle of the night and feeding me my bottle so my mother could rest. I believe those midnight feedings helped my father and I create a very special bond that continues today. So, I agree: Screw the LLL if they have nothing better to do than make dads feel like they shouldn't have anything to do with feeding their children at an early age. It's not fair to judge anyone on this subject.

Anonymous said...

I understand. I am just trying to get a point across. I know many BFing Moms who don't stay home (which there is no problem at all with). Mary comes on here and is condescending to everyone here who isn't doing things her way.

Well, here's what I know. The La Leche ladies are a close bunch. They have their groups and boards. Mary seems to enjoy treating everyone here like shit because they don't BF.

My question is if she treats her BFing buddies who work just as shitty? I would like to see if she goes on the BFing boards and berates the La Leche girls for not staying home. Heck, does she demean all working Moms?
Something tells me Mary is too much of a coward to go after working Moms. She would become alienated from a heck of a lot of people and get booted from the group of women who share her superior attitude on BFing.
Although, maybe Mary is a sad dejected woman. Maybe she has no friends because of her nasty attitude toward others. Bless her heart. I'll say a prayer for her.

Anonymous said...

Like any group lll has positives and negatives. As a mom who breastfed my first for a year through bleeding nipples and the whole bit, and I'm currently at the 6 month mark with my second...they have been a great support for me. I love your blog and agree that this story is stupid! The best point that could be made is how the hell do they know it wasnt breast milk in the bottle that dad was feeding?

Michelle said...

I am a pediatrician and I NEVER make a family feel bad for not breastfeeding, whatever the reason. The breastfeeding nazi's drive me crazy!!

Anonymous said...

Glad someone finally said what I been thinking. My story...I had c-sections, milk didn't come in quick enough for my starving girls. My son latched well, everything seemed great but blood was coming out! He would spit it back up, I was freaking out! And this LLL nut told me that it was fine because blood was the next closest thing to breast milk. That was it, DONE, get the formula & the bottles! These people are crazy!

Anonymous said...

Thank You! You know who else needs a punch all those people who feel they need to ask if you're breast feeding. Its really none of your fucking business! I cam very close a few time to flashing my boobs and saying no these don't work! You know who else needs a punch are those women who have children that walk up and ask for it. If they can walk up and ask for it they can drink from a fucking cup! This has been the most refreshing mommy thing in a long while. Nothing feels more isolating and frustrating than trying to breastfeed with no success. All we get are the LLL militants and no one else seems to have any troubles at all. This has been a wonderful experience seeing that I was not alone and, we are not alone. Thank you so much for opening the door for this conversation and having a forum for those of us who tried, pumped and went on with life. Janel

Anonymous said...

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Don't go attributing giving up to laziness. It certainly doesn't sound like that the mothers who tried were being lazy at all.

I know it wasn't laziness in my case. I had PPD so badly that I ended up in the psych ER. BFing was not the cause of it, but it contributed to my feelings of despair and worthlessness. The sleep deprivation, the not producing enough milk, the guilt, and the pressure was too much for me.

I could have kept at the breastfeeding and everything else that society told me I should have been, but my daughter would have lost her mother to suicide. So, yes, I did give up, but I saw the bigger picture.

CookieGoodess said...

First, Jen, I love you! Thank you for posting this.

Second, Maybe the dad in that ad is gay and there is no breast involved.

Third, I tried to bf my kid and got no where. Then, I tried to pump and got 3 drops in twenty minutes. Not ounces. Drops. My boops may be ample, but my plumbing aint having it. I got so sick of the LLL trying to give me a guilt trip because I chose to keep my kid alive the best way I could, just because it wasn't their way. LLL can kiss my *$$.

A Beautiful Mess said...

I have a good friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer weeks after becoming pregnant. Double mastectomy with chemo beginning immediately after the birth of her baby girl. Please tell me, Mary and Megan, what a terrible, lazy mother she is for not being able to breast feed her baby... Please. I dare you.

Bree Hamoudi said...

Well Mary who died and left you God? Im a breast cancer survivor, double mastectomy at age 32. I have an 11 month old daughter.. we fed her formula as I have no breasts. So am I lazy, selfish, made the wrong choice? I have 3 children ages 23, 17 and 11 months. My son will graduate medical school in May.. FF. My daughter.. honor student, will have a full scholarship to college..combo fed. I dare you to call me lazy.

tracy said...

Amen!! I can totally relate to you. My second baby was 5lb6oz born a month early. I went through all the pressure and cried many tears. Like your son she was losing weight and was under 5lbs I was still made to feel like failure when the LLL came to my house once a week until 3 weeks past and hundreds if dollars spent on renting a pump ,my Mom came to my rescue and made me realize that this is my baby , my decision on what I believe is best for both of us and reminded me I was formula feed( im adopted) and I turned out just fine. Then baby #3 came along and weighed 2lbs6oz . Again I was pressured from the moment they thought she was ready to nurse about when she was 3wks im sure u can imagine the nipple shield was about the size of her head! I pumped for 4 months as she never did get the hang of it. Finally once she caught up to what i was pumping a day I had no choice but to bottle feed formula I did my best so it was ok i felt a bit better about it. Oonce again my baby, my decision!! Never feel guilty or like u failed we know what's best!

Anonymous said...

Mary, I have to tell you. Yes, I did give up breastfeeding, and I will tell you why.

My PPD was so awful that I ended up in the psych ER. The sleep deprivation, the not producing enough milk, the pressure all around me from people like you Mary did not cause the PPD.

However, stopping BFing to let my husband handle feedings to give me room to heal was part of my recovery. Now, I could have tried to keep up the Super New Mom routine, but if I did, I know I would not be here.

So if I did kill myself, my husband could have told my daughter that I wasn't lazy because I breastfed her.

Yeah, OK...

Anonymous said...

AMEN!!!

Mama Ball said...

My first little guy didn't nurse well (I wasn't making enough, he wasn't getting enough, it was a vicious cycle) and we ended up supplementing him with formula after every nursing attempt. He gained two pounds in 48 hours. Don't tell me that nursing works for everyone! When my little girl was born, she had no problems nursing and I had no problems producing... it was a completely different experience. Everyone's different, and we all have to decide what's best for our families. Kudos to you and to everyone else who does what's best for their own children!!

Rattymama said...

I would just like to say that while I agree with the sentiments expressed here, it's important to remember that LLL is a reeeeaaaally wide-spread thing run by a LOT of different people! I've heard a LOT of really bad horror stories about mothers dealing with LLL but I've also heard of a lot of really great stories from other mothers who had no one else to turn to and they helped them when no one else could or would. It seems that the various chapters of LLL are run by a lot of different women with a surprising amount of variation in their approach to helping mothers... So, just remember: if you have a bad experience with LLL, try contacting a different group - even in a different area if need be. They all have different group leaders and it seems like a lot of them are very nasty while a lot of them are very sweet and helpful and accepting and understanding of those of us who aren't capable of breast feeding for one reason or another. It happens and they ought to be sympathetic and understanding and helpful, not judgmental and ostracizing of those unfortunate moms who can't breast feed. Ultimately, I agree that their protesting of the ad is over the top and really not where they ought to be putting their energy. Besides... I think the idea is that breast MILK is best not necessarily breast milk *from the breast*. If you can breast feed directly, of course that's ideal! But if you can't manage that and yet you can manage to get actual human breast milk to your baby, that's still pretty damn ideal. In my opinion, anyway. Strictly from a health stand-point, that is. And if you can't manage that... or even a donor scenario where someone else supplies human breast milk for your baby... well, that's really unfortunate but it happens and it's not your fault. Anyway, I think you get what I'm saying. It's a shame that some LLL chapters, members or group leaders, etc. make such a bad name for LLL as a whole. They're not all bad and their ultimate goal is totally a good one... some people are just fucking crazy and lose sight of reality and their ability to be reasonable.

Jennifer said...

Same story here. We waited three years to adopt our daughter. Should I feel bad that I didn't want to take drugs to induce lactation? No. And after a little research I learned that you have to be on those drugs LONG before any milk will actually come in. And there isn't a lot of research on the long term effects on women who take these lactation drugs. No thanks. The pediatrician says that my 6 month daughter looks great and is developing just fine on basic formula.

Anonymous said...

What a perfect rant to read while sitting here pumping! As usual, great job Jen. I'm about ready to put the boobs away for good and since this is my last baby, I'm thinking about pulling out a baseball bat and going office space on this stupid thing. Also, I have to give props to the author of the MSN article. It's not an easy for a man to broach the subject of breastfeeding and he did it without making me want to punch him in the throat... of course if all men were like this, Jen you would have a lot less material for this blog

Anonymous said...

As an adoptive mom, breastfeeding was not an option for me. Nothing pissed me off more than breastfeeding moms who would give me nasty looks or preach to me that breast is best. Mind your own goddamn business! I got so sick of saying "My baby is adopted and nursing is not an option." I wanted to punch the idiots who told me "You can ask your doctor for lactating drugs" in the throat. Ummm ... so I'm going to put additional hormones in my system and poison my body so my baby can eat when he's happy and healthy with the formula he's getting? Sorry, no ... I don't think so. WTF is that!?

Anonymous said...

So, a person shouldn't have kids if they don't know the reasons breast is best? Would you tell an adoptive mother that she shouldn't adopt because she can't breastfeed her baby? Or would you tell an adoptive mother to pump her body full of hormones so her baby might get a little milk?

People need to realize that this breast is best shit is extremely offensive to adoptive parents who can't breastfeed. I would've loved to have breastfed my child but, being adopted, I couldn't. I was not willing to pump my body full of cancer causing hormones in the hopes that my baby could get a little milk. And who needs milk derived from drugs?!

Anonymous said...

I seem to be in the minority here, but...
I was successful at breastfeeding and am EXTREMELY proud of it. It was very difficult and I wanted to quit sometimes. I struggled with supply issues, fatigue, sore nipples, the whole nine yards. My first two babies were twins (albeit full-term & healthy). I had to supplement with formula in the first month or so until my supply fully developed. At 6 weeks, I became very ill and my supply almost disappeared (i.e. pumping 1 ounce after 40 minutes). But, the one thing that kept me going was shear will. I was not going to fail. I think that's what some mother's struggle with. Luckily, I was able to build my supply back up, using the pump, and supplementing with formula and moved to producing 60 ounces of milk per day for my babies until they were 12 months old. They were bottle-fed only from months 3 through 12, simply because they refused to latch. I feel like if I can overcome these obstacles, most other moms can too.

I might come off sounding like a know-it-all or one of those b-fing moms who are judgemental. I truly feel like most moms have it in them to produce enough breastmilk for their babies. We just have to fight really hard through the tough times, see the forest for the trees, and understand that our bodies are made for this. Yes, I realize there are rare instances of health issues that prevent lactation.

I recently had my third baby and she has not had an ounce of formula in her 9-month life. I am so proud of that.

I think moms can be categorized in a number of different ways and not simply "lazy" or "b-fing nazis" when it comes to feeding their babies. Obviously, nutritionally, breastmilk is the most perfect food we can give our babies. But, for those who cannot (for whatever reason), they are fortunate that formula is available as an adequate substitute.

What really chaps my hide are moms who don't try. Just say "breastfeeding is not for me" from the get-go and don't give it a shot. I think they're doing their babies a disservice for not at least attempting to give their babies the good stuff.

Off my soap box now.

Good day!

Lisa said...

You Rock Jen! I breast fed my son without incident, but couldn't for my daughter because we adopted her. I have to admit it was kind of a relief to not be the only person in charge of feeding her and I didn't have to lug the breast pump to work! I also find it ironic that my breast fed son had so many ear infections and ended up needing tubes and my bottle fed daughter never had any problems with her ears. Keep up the good work Jen!

Mommylesa said...

To the "anonymous" replier...is it REALLY necessary to call someone DUMB and STUPID because they don't agree with you? I feel sorry for your kids that you are teaching such hate. There are SO MANY other factors other than breast feeding that affect how healthy a child may be. And, in the words of my husband, "Just because the sow can give milk doesn't mean it is any good" My 4 nieces and nephews were all breast fed, and are four of the sickest children I have EVER met. More earaches, sinus infections, allergies, tubes, tonsils removed, etc., etc., etc., If these were the only breastfed children that I know with this, I would say, hmm exception, but they are not. So, because I had no interest in breast feeding, I DIDN'T, but I made sure that my children were protected in every other way possible. And for my friends who wanted to breastfeed, I supported them. Again, there are MANY other factors to how healthy a child is. Regardless, motherhood is difficult enough as it is, and we are always second guessing ourselves, so we certainly should refrain from calling each other stupid and dumb just because we have different opinions!!

Anonymous said...

I love that you posted this! You'll enjoy two responses I got with my infant. I had a terrible infection in my c-section (I'm talking hole in my incision that my husband has to "pack" twice daily). Because my body was so busy trying to fight the infection, it would not produce more than 1 oz of breast milk daily. I pumped religiously, and did everything suggested by my Western doctors and homeopathic options. No go. At one point, my neighbor (who I had just met), offered me her breast milk. The one that really put me over the edge was the woman at Whole Foods who saw me mixing formula - she told me "breast is best" and then offered to breast feed my child!!!! WTF stranger!!!?!? My daughter got maybe 30 ounces of breast milk and is now 2, smart and creative, active and healthy. Don't get me wrong - I wanted desperately to breast feed, but it pissed me off when people like the Whole Foods nut job or LLL tried to make me feel like an unfit mother.

Anonymous said...

From one intelligent person to, presumably, another, it seems you make important points and have a larger message to send (at least as far as this piece is concerned). However, your messages/advocacy, for me, are lost amid the incessant "girls/hooters/ta-tas/babies/puppies" etc.etc.etc.etc. I find it annoying and sophomoric, and as a result stopped reading less than halfway through. I much prefer the expletives (good job, there) to the innumerable idiotic nicknames people have for various parts of the female anatomy. As an author, I imagine that you're not interested in limiting your fan-base to the 12-year-old mind/mentality that most media targets these days. This is to say, if you'd like to expand your base, put a little more thought into the words you choose, particularly in your journalings that actually hit upon important issues (and let's face it, not all of your journaling does). Otherwise, at least in this case, you simply sound like a teenager with big boobs who wants the world to know she has big boobs. Yawn.

Anonymous said...

My dear woman and all other women commenting... why do you care what other people think? Why do you go to such lengths to justify your medical situations? It is YOUR decision. You need not worry what anyone else thinks. Maybe I did not breastfeed because I think it is icky. Maybe not. An obscure ad (unless you live in New Zealand, perhaps) should not inspire such emotion. Do what you feel is right and that should be the end.

Anonymous said...

I am still breast-feeding our 2 1/2-year old, and I am offended by so much self-righteounous and dogmatism. But you know what, sisters, Mary hasn't learnt so far, and she won't learn now. There must be some psychological need for constant self-affirmation, and unless she seeks professional help, there won't be anything you or I can say or do to change that. Signed: Astrid

Anonymous said...

I re-read her statement and still don't know why she is dumb... Could you enlighten me?

Anonymous said...

My niece was just diagnosed at 2 with Celiac. Guess what, Breastfed. Also, her Dr. encouraged our family to get tested. Another shock, I have it too (Guess what, I was breastfed too). The last thing you should do is blame yourself! Just focus on her new diet.

Anonymous said...

I had problems breastfeeding too. My daughter had a voracious appetite at 30 minutes old. She damaged me on the first day and the nipple Nazi told me she was improperly latching on. I gladly invited her to help, and discovered I had it right. My daughter was just starving and sucked like a pool vacuum. We began supplementing on day two and I started pumping. I, too, felt like a dairy cow hooking up to the pump. I lasted 1.5 months on the pump.
As a new mom, we put so much pressure on ourselves to do the absolute best for our little ones, things don't always go as hoped.

Delia said...

In the words of my dear sweet and supportive husband, "Fuck those bitches. Do what you need to."

ChrisM said...

You really are lucky!! I was not so lucky with the LLL in the hospital where I delivered. My daughter was a preemie, I was preeclamptic, had an emergency C-section, and was pumped up on Magnesium. I knew the breast milk would help her and I pumped, and pumped and tried and tried but she never latched on. I never felt much compassion from the LLL ladies. It was business like and regimented and made me feel like I was failing at motherhood before I even started. I was an emotional wreck for the first 2 months of my baby girl's life. and bottled fed whatever breast milk I could squeeze out of my sore boobs! I do have a friend who is a huge breast feeding advocate but the most caring person I know. She will talk to you passionately about her views on breast feeding, organic food, composting, recycling and farm to table living but never passes judgement on people who don't share her views. She knows that life happens all around us and you need to be laid back outside your home and do the best you can. And does not expect a medal for choosing to live the way she does. She has inspired me to make changes in our home while the "crazy radicals" push people away. Your last sentence nailed it, be at peace in your own home and judge not, lest we be judged!! Peace...

ellenguidry said...

I breastfed my singleton fine and even pumped at work, etc. until we decided to try to get pregnant again. Then I had twins. OMG, it just didn't work. I tried tandem feeding, feeding one at a time (which meant someone was attached to my boob almost all the time), pumping etc. My 2yo didn't understand why I couldn't push her on the swing. (Well, honey, I have to hold this baby or these babies or this pump to my boobs!) It was miserable. I finally gave up and just pumped, but ended up doing that more than breastfeeding just to keep up with demand. And I was still supplementing and cleaning bottles. I had an intimate relationship with my pump, but I hated my pump. Guess that's how people feel when they want to get divorced but are just faking it. Finally at 12 weeks, I decided to give it all up and went to formula. My hubs was totally supportive and I became sane again. Sleep will do that you know! It was the best decision I ever made, and my girls are healthy and happy and thriving!

CYNDI said...

Mary Garner,
I was adopted. So I was botte fed formula. Was my mom lazy???? I myself have four children and have spent a total of 47 months nursing those children without any kind of difficulty at all. I was one of the lucky ones, I know this because I have 3 sisters, one who adopted and could only bottlefeed, one had a hard time producing enough milk so she supplemented, and one like me, who didn't have any problems at all. All of the children I'm talking about, 3 who were raised only on formula, 5 that were raised only on breastmilk and 4 that were raised on a combination of both are happy and healthy, myself included. I do believe, IF you can do it, breast is best. But you should not judge the decision of another mother because you have NO idea what her situation is! And anyway, IT"S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!!!!

Paige said...

I get both sides here. I had preemie twins and breastfed for three months. It was hard, none of us were good at it so I quit. Could I have kept going, sure, but at the end of the day, i quit. I dont consider myself lazy I just didn't want to do it anymore. Having said that I do know a few people who can't come right out and say they didn't want to do it so they use "excuses" that are other people's real issues. Cant stand these people!

Anonymous said...

Mary: I wanted to breastfeed. I worked hard in the hospital and at home. I developed severe Postpartum Depression & Anxiety after the birth. (Not related to BF stress. I just developed it, that's all.) I was a hot mess. I'd suffered from depression before. This was worse than anything I'd ever gone through before. I could not BF and be on meds to help with the overwhelming depression & anxiety.

I had two choices: be a sad, anxious, sobbing, frightened mom to a breastfeed baby OR be a balanced, healthy, happy mom to a formula-fed baby. After talking with my docs & my husband, we decided that the best decision *for my child* was to stop BF and work on getting myself well in order to be the best mom that I could to him.

There are many reasons that women don't BF. Much of the pain & stress that women refer to around BF could be symptoms of PPD that they don't recognize or realize. Of course, we all know that breast is best. But, formula doesn't make us the Devil incarnate. It simply makes us mothers who are doing the best that we can to give our children the best life possible.

I am posting as Anonymous b/c I don't have any of the accounts needed to include my name. I am in no way hiding because I am ashamed of having PPD or of not BF. My name is HEIDI. I am the proud mother of 2 boys. I suffered severe PPD/A with both boys. I am a Warrior Mother who has fought the demons of perinatal mood disorders head-on. My name is HEIDI and I am a really freakin' awesome mom who couldn't breastfeed her kids.

oilandgarlic said...

One of the biggest barriers to breastfeeding is our lack of adequate maternity leave. It's very hard to pump at work and I think that adds to the burden already felt by working moms, so they give up sooner than if they had the time to try at home. The LLL (in the U.S.) should work to address issues that prevent moms from breastfeeding rather than add to guilt.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that anyone should be bullied into anything that isn't best for them or their child. I had the great breastfeeding experience. Pumping and all. I didn't do it for the health benefits, because of some faulty genetics they both have asthma and frequent ear infections. I did it because it was convienent and cheap. As a provider I cheer on the ones that breast feed and reassure the ones that can't or don't want to. Formula will not kill your child. We are smart intellegent women making the best choices for our families. So with bf or any of the other many decisions we make. No guilt allowed.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon you today while I was voting for another blogger for funniest mom blog. I had to see why you were number one, and now I'm hooked! I have two kids and two enormous boobs of my own. I didn't read all of the 316 comments, so if someone already mentioned this, I'm sorry. There is hope out there for your girls. They don't have to be covered in ugly :) I came across this store after I had my first kid and I realized that I was never going to find a bra that I liked again. I was sooo wrong. At this point I didn't even know what size I was. I remembered another big boobied friend of mine had gone to Lane Bryant for a fitting so I went into Lane Bryant on a desperate attempt to get my ladies back up where they belonged. They not only took on the challenge, but embraced it and me and my now triple D's! The brand they carry is Cacique, and they offer pretty colors and support!

Hippiechick said...

Thank you for writing this! It is AH-MAY-ZING! I had a lactose-intolerant baby who was also not able to latch, which means we used nipple shields and got covered in a LOT of vomit every time I breastfed. Eventually, because he would vomit up all of the milk, he began feeding every 25 minutes. It was a nightmare, to say the least. I toughed it out for 6 weeks, and threw in the towel. I am sick and tired of people who judge others for not breastfeeding, regardless of their reason(s). I am glad to report that we only breastfed for 6 WEEKS, and I am the mother of a very tall, intelligent, HEALTHY nine year old boy today. The LLL can suck it! HA!

I also laughed until I almost peed about the "hooter hider!" That's damn funny stuff, Jen.

Anonymous said...

Just google around, you'll find that many Breastfed babies suffer from illnesses and infections. Two babies just does not make a panel. You cannot set up statistics with two babies. Read the Kramer study, breastmilk is just...milk. It cannot protect against infection, allergies, nor diseases. Antibodies do not pass on the baby's blood, they are only active locally, on a digestive plan. Your LLL friends are simply brainwashed. LLL is an ideologic lobby. Catholic zealots.
This is just one example, there are lots and lots of...
http://community.babycenter.com/post/a3834135/breastfed_baby_is_always_sick

And also

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070911202444.htm

You did NOTHING wrong. Relax and...see other "friends"...

Anonymous said...

Your article was funny..

Just one thing, still, I cite you "
Of course breast is best, I'm not going to argue that it's not"

Without formula, I mean if formula did not exist at all, what would have happened to your lovely little ones? Especially your baby boy?

I think its extraordinary to state that when breastfeeding obviously fails (as often), parents then turn towards formula and say "breast is best"!!!

Breastfeeding...failed. So it is not best, sorry.

Anonymous said...

La Leche League is a catholic lobby. They use Breast Feeding as a way to rally people along their ideology (sorry, I am french speaker).
So that is why they do not "mind their business". The fact that they try to put pressure on the government to edit the ad and remove the feeding is quite self explanatory. THIS IS LOBBYING. Putting pressure on the government? Waw. And people still think LLL exists just for the sake of helping newborns and mummies...yeah right. They are responsible for the fact that people now massively believe that breastmilk is some medecine, what "mother nature" especially designed, knowing what is best for us.
We, as very special mammals, are different from cats, dogs, cows. Mother's antibodies do not pass through baby's blood. Our babies are born with immune system and antibodies. Breast milk can only protect our babies locally. It helps a bit on a digestive point of view. Maybe help against gastro-enteritis. And that is quite all. THe rest of the so-called "benefits" claimed by LLL is CRAP. And they know it. And so is their "ignorance" of the difficulties and pain breastfeeding induces.
Breast is not always best, and formula is perfectly ok. It is not simply cow milk. It is processed milk, with balanced nutrients. Some even contain bifidus, I recently noticed. My son was bottlefed 14 years ago. He is rarely sick

Raven/Missy said...

I bottle fed my daughter (born 1988 she was just a tad under 10 pounds at birth) because of a few different reasons. She had not eaten for 12 hours after her birth and no one was helping me with getting her to latch on and I was scared she was going to starve, so gave her a bottle in the hospital. I was 19. No nurses in the hospital would help me, nothing. At two weeks of age, my breasts were drying out but still producing milk and had leaked a bit while I was asleep, when I got up to feed her at 3AM. She latched on through my nightgown when the nipple brushed her cheek while I was holding her. No one had told me if I started breast feeding then, my milk would come back. So for my first child, not breast feeding was lack of education and assistance/support despite it being something I wanted to do. (now I know why she couldn't latch on, my milk came in so heavily that the skin on my breasts was stretched so taut it was shiny and there was no "give" for the nipple to stand up, they were flat. But considering how much milk came in within hours of her birth (went from a c cup to a DDDD), I suspect the main issue I had with my son would have also occurred with her.).

With my second, I breast fed for about 8 weeks. I had the opposite problem to you Jen in that my breasts produced TOO MUCH milk. I was putting out 8 ounces per breast every 2 hours from day 1! I had a freezer full of little plastic baggies of frozen breast milk. It was insane. My nipples literally cracked in half (and I mean the entire nipple split in half all the way down) because my son liked to feed only off my left breast, which meant I had to pump the right one. If I went to a store, even with those little pads in my bra, and I heard ANY baby cry my shirt would be soaked with milk. I was changing shirts 8 or more times a day because I was constantly leaking milk from my nipples. not little dribbles or a light flow only when he cried, it was more like a sink with the water on giving a slow steady stream all day. I could change those little pads every 20 minutes and still soak through. Anyone I asked (including lactation consultants, doctors, etc. all said it would even out in a couple weeks..it never did for the entire 8 weeks I breastfed)

I kept it up as long as I did because of the pressure everyone around me was putting on me. The pediatrician, my best friend at the time, the "lactation specialist" assigned to me (required by insurance) etc. etc. They made me feel horrible for even considering stopping the breast feeding. They all said the right nipple split as a result of the pump (it split first), but when the left one split also (a day later) and I got a massive mastitis infection along with thrush infection on my skin and in my son's mouth, I gave up and switched to formula. At first I used the defrosted breast milk to dilute the powder, until they all expired, then I used water. For me, in addition to making more milk than my baby needed (everyone kept saying it will even out in about 3 weeks..it NEVER did), the nipple cracking, peeling skin, bites etc. made my nipples very painful. When they literally split in half and I got the infection, I quit. The stress was horrendous! Needless to say the things I had to do to help my nipples heal were no fun either, though I will admit when it was just mild chapping/soreness that the book was right, warm tea bags helped the skin heal. Though I did look hilarious walking around my house without a shirt on and holding tea bags against my nipples. One time my daughter rushed in with a group of her friends and pointed me out "See I told you!". She had charged them a quarter each to come "see" me with my tea bags (she was 7) LOL

Raven/Missy said...

Ohman that's another group of people that need punched! Not you anonymous, but the sanctimonious over achieving idiots who jump down a new mom's throat for having/needing a c-section.

My first was just under 10 pounds and the doctor forced a natural delivery. That delivery caused permanent damage to my pelvis and lower back because she was so big (the baby) and my pelvis was so tiny! The result was disability, chronic pain, other injuries the pelvic instability caused and a resultant risk of permanent paralysis (waist down) should I naturally deliver another child.

Hence my second (7 years later) was a planned c-section. The looks, nasty comments, etc. that I got for that were as bad as the breast feeding ones. I was actually told that I had "failed" by having a c-section. Really? So choosing to be able to walk and thus care for my newborn (rather than be in a rehabilitation hospital for the first few months of his life learning to take care of myself in a wheel chair) was wrong? Oh the guilt was horrible!

Raven/Missy said...

Megan said: "Just admit it was inconvient for you so you quit. Don't go blaming it on your baby because if your baby could master a bottle, they could master nursing."

And Mary replied: "agree, lazy parents give up. "

Talk about judgmental people that make being a new mom more stressful that it needs to be, here are two perfect examples of that behavior right there!

So I am lazy because I stopped breast feeding when my nipples literally split in half requiring stitches to put them back together and I got a massive infection and needed antibiotics that literally can NOT be given to a child and DO pass through breast milk? Do you have any idea how painful it is to have your nipples split in half and stitched up? So what, I should have breast fed with stitches in my nipples??? My nipples didn't just "hurt" (as in uncomfortable or sore), they were bleeding and hurt so badly I couldn't wear a bra or a shirt. So what, I should have let my son drink my blood with my breast milk? Why? So I wouldn't seem lazy to some judgmental women who barely knows me and who can't see that there really are legitimate reasons for women to not be able to breast feed?

Here's some historical information: the infant death rate back before formula and bottles existed was very high. If a wet nurse was not available to provide nursing for a woman who was no producing any (or enough) milk, the baby died. Look at the infant death rates in countries where breast feeding is still the main way of feeding their children and often the number 1 killer of those babies is malnutrition (LACK OF FOOD!). If you are a woman who does NOT produce milk, you can let the baby suck at your breast all day and you still won't produce milk. In the "old days" that meant the baby died. Now, we have formula to keep the baby alive.

For someone who is espousing education, you are very uneducated about the variations inherent in human bodies. Some women have EXTREMELY sensitive nipples so breast feeding is more than "uncomfortable", it really and truly HURTS like HELL. Women with sensitive nipples like that do not "Get over the hump", it might get less painful but it stays painful not just mildly uncomfortable.

I agree..Go SUCK IT MEGAN and MARY what horribly narrow minded judgmental things to say!

Raven/Missy said...

Really? So what about a mother who pumps then needs her nipples stitched back together? Does she have to continue to pump and breast feed with stitches in her nipples? What about when that same mother gets a massive mastitis infection that goes systemic and needs high dose antibiotics that are passed through breast milk? Should I then take that risk and breast feed anyway knowing I am putting that anitbiotic in the baby's body?

The truth is, in the days where breasts were the only options babies did die from starvation to mothers who could not produce enough milk for them. Interesting how you post breast is the only thing in NZ yet I've seen many pictures on blogs written by people who live in NZ and those pictures include formula and bottles.

There is room for both and neither is wrong so long as the baby is fed!

Nelly Kelly said...

Bless you for your strength and honesty. If I'm honest, I have such guilt over not breast feeding my kids as long as I'd hoped, and giving them formula, that I can't work up my usual outrage at being coerced by people like LLL. I read your story and think, "you go, girl," and "oh, how dare those judgmental $&#*s make any mother feel less than... Mothering isn't hard enough without creating mommy factions to call one another names." But when it comes to my own life, I just feel ashamed. And I hate that they have that power over me, and that I need someone else to stand up for me. But I thank you for doing the standing up...

Anonymous said...

Breast IS best. My children are teenagers, and I still pack breast milk in their lunch boxes. I scoff at the mothers who don't. I'm like, "Do you moms even love your kids?" Doesn't seem like it.

Savvagekitty said...

The problem is that for way too many years the formula companies were on a slanderous campaign against breastfeeding. Most of North America is still anti-breast in one form or another. I can't believe how many times I heard stuff like "Eww you should never put your boob in a babies mouth, that's like putting a penis in there" I am serious.
Your child should be the most important (aside from keeping your sanity and your health) lots of parents want the kids either because it is what they think they should do or as status but then don't want to do anything that changes or alters their lifestyles
.
Yes people who choose to not breastfeed shouldn't be shunned or mistreated but putting the notion that breastfeeding should be the first option and not glorifying bottle feeding as the norm is important to help change these attitudes.

Anonymous said...

Mary- No, I don't think that people who don't breastfeed get angry because they know they made the wrong decision; I think they get angry because people that do not know their circumstances decide that they are a "lesser parent" because they didn't breastfeed. Sort of like what you are doing. I breastfed, I bottle fed; I pumped, I used formula. I am a good mom and no amount of others trying to make me feel bad about how long I did or did not breastfeed is going to make me feel bad about myself as a parent. You can go ahead and ignore the testimonials of moms that tried to breastfeed but for whatever reason it was not successful. You can go ahead and pretend to know about and/or understand what parents are going through when they decide to bottle feed. Bottom line, you are not in charge of their decision and I think that YOU have issue with the fact that others didn't do what YOU think they should have done. So you make comments just to make sure everyone knows that YOU think they made the wrong decision. God forbid you ever have to make some sort of decision that you feel is best for your child and then have a community come down on you for it.

Savvagekitty said...

I find the "Seeing your boob in our faces" Hilarious. I mean most people I have ever seen breastfeed you can't see much even when not covered up. Generally you more from the person's clothing style. It can make people uncomfortable because the idea of the breast is "hyper-sexualized" in our society. I have heard some woman complain about breast feeders that are covered up because "they know what's going on under that blanket" Boobs are for food. Our entire bodies are sensual and sexual.

gaylechoo said...

I agree wholeheartedly. After 3 years of infertility treatments, a pregnancy where I spent 7.5 weeks on 100% hospital bedrest d/t premature rupture of membranes, a crash C-section, and a 33 week gestation, 3# 10 oz. preemie, my body was shot. My tiny son was a weak feeder, tube fed for the first 3 weeks of life, but I tried to pump anyway. My body had failed me so much, but by God, I wasn't going to let it fail me again. I followed the lactation consultant's advice to the letter. I drank gallons of water, ate oatmeal & yogurt, & took Reglan, brewer's yeast & so much fenugreek that my husband craved pancakes. I massaged, warm compressed, & religiously pumped for an hour every 3 hours. After a month, the most I had pumped in a 24hr period was just under 3 ounces. I was sleep-deprived, massively hormonal, & heartbroken. Worse, my incessant focus on breastfeeding was taking away from being a mom, being a wife, & being me. Sitting in the NICU in tears, my son's neonatologist hugged me & said she'd never seen a mom work so hard, but to continue was madness. As reluctant as I was to let it go, once I stopped, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off me. Almost 12 years later, I still get emotional thinking about it.

the robot mommy said...

Felt guilty for my little guy not latching, yes. Spent $$$ because I felt breast is best, yes. Have a healthy boy that had formula instead, yes. Wants to to hug Jen for writing this and sharing her story, yes.

IceQueen said...

My daughter was a very healthy 9 lbs, 10 oz when she was born. Having bodacious ta-tas, I thought breastfeeding would be a breeze. Nope! To start with, she couldn't latch (big boobs, small nipples, just my luck) so I tried to pump which didn't work. I could not coax one bit of milk out with my pump so I spent a ton of money on a top of the line pump. Then, stuff happened, things that these breastfeeding Nazi's don't take into consideration when they look at us formula feeders with disgust. First, I had SEVERE post-partum depression and had to go on medication, medication that would have been in my breast milk. It was either, not take the meds and go crazy or resign myself to formula feeding. Second, it was discovered that she had jaundice because she was getting too many red blood cells from me that her little liver couldn't process so the pediatrician said "no breastmilk until the jaundice is gone". By the time she was recovered, she was too used to the bottle nipple and wouldn't even attempt to latch. Then she developed reflux and had to go on special formula for that. So tell me, LLL, how in the world was I supposed to not formula feed my baby? Sometimes it is not only a choice but a necessity and it's a bunch of bullshit that a woman should be judged for not breastfeeding her baby by a bunch of over-zealous women who are not the ones taking care of my baby and dealing with these issues.

Oh and by the way, being a single mother who also had to return to work when my baby was 6 weeks old, she got a tablespoon of cereal in her bottle so she would feel fuller longer and sleep. Judge me for that if you must but NOT for my inability to breastfeed. My baby is 17 years old, graduating a semester early from school and we have the best relationship I could hope for. So bite it LLL!!!

Unknown said...

LLL needs to suck it! I'm so tired of them and their high handed ways; sticking their noses into things and decisions that don't belong to them! It's one thing to be an advocacy group and spread the word about the (OBVIOUS) benefits of breastfeeding. It's another to have a gripe fest about a totally unrelated ad campaign. My experience with LLL was in the hospital with my firstborn. They lady was overbearing and I truly think the nursing staff was afraid of her. Not the way it should be. I'm an educator and knowledge is power but at some time people should be left to make the proper and most appropriate decision for themselves and their family. The LLL representative I encountered, communicated to me (a 23yr old first time mother) that it was ok to have a beer while breastfeeding. What if I was a recovering alcoholic?!? My son had trouble latching the first 2 days and the floor nurses were so afraid they were looking over their shoulders for her as they stuffed similac samples and rubber nipples in the bottom of my baby bag. I left the hospital feeling more stressed than excited about breast feeding. Shouldn't be that way. I breast fed for 2 months with my firstborn (my supply dried up even after consistent pumping when I started working again). My youngest son breast fed for about 4 months. With him we both caught a WICKED case of thrush (he in his mouth, I on my nipple) that we tried to clear up for a month to no avail. We just kept swapping it. So in short, sometimes people (LLL) need to step back and look at context instead of just shooting off at the mouth willy nilly in the name of breast feeding! They do more harm than good in those situations because they unwittingly diminish the power of their voice (which is still needed and relevant in some places in the world).

jodie buckley said...

I have read every comment intill Urs and u are the only person to mention baby being allergic to breast milk, my first born was also allergic to my breast milk, as well as normally formal milk, soya formula and lactose free formula,
So no breast defo wasn't best for my son at all

Unknown said...

and breastfeeding Moms are attacked in different ways. My MIL actually asked me if I could stop breastfeeding because my daughter wouldn't take a bottle and I was "interfering" with her being a grandmother. was also asked to leave a mall parking lot because I was nursing in my own car. I can't even count the number of extended family dinners I missed because I wasn't welcome to nurse around others. why can't women just support other women? the world would be a much better place

sixwholeyears said...

I loved my baby when I stopped breast feeding.

I couldn't say that when I was.

LED522 said...

One of my nieces had no desire to breastfeed either. She had to have security come to her hospital room because the lactation 'nurse' wouldn't stop pressuring her and telling her the good moms bf! BF babies are healthier, you know the drill. No one at the nurse's station wouldn't do anything. It's something her and her husband researched and decided as the parents she was not going to breastfeed. Their daughter is 1 now; healthy, strong and happy as can be. Kudos for doing what's best for everyone involved.

Unknown said...

I have no problem with LLL advertising that breast is best but getting someone else to pull a public service announcement that isn't even related to breastfeeding because it pictured a father feeding his baby is horrifying to me.

Allyson said...

OMG! THANK YOU for this!!! I was hooked up to my pump as I read this...

Katherine P said...

Thank you!! With my first child I was on my own, in school and working 2 jobs - the 2nd one from home after she was asleep. I wasn't in a situation where I could pump consistently during the day and even if I was the cost of a good pump was prohibitive at a time where I was barely making my rent and groceries. I did the best I could and today she's a senior in high school with a good group of friends, a job and a full ride to the college she wants to go to and we have a good and solid relationship. Sometimes circumstances don't allow for breastfeeding and being to made to feel horrible and to doubt yourself as a mother isn't exactly helpful.

Unknown said...

I learned that i was very lucky to have no problems with breastfeeding. My sister had a miserable time with her oldest and was leery to try with any of the others. Even though she tried each time, it just wasn't for them. My biggest issue in the debate is having to stare at someone's boobs in a magazine and them calling it art or something. I would have never flopped them out on a table somewhere because my daughter would have been too busy looking at everyone and everything to nurse. It's something special between you and your child that doesn't need to be advertised. I don't like seeing someone with her boobs out for any reason. I also don't like going out to eat and having to deal with someone's toddler in an adult environment. Glad that you are standing up for all the women who feel like lesser people because they can't nurse due to circumstances beyond their control.

Jenny Mauck DeBonte said...

Thank you for what you're working toward. My second LC was not with LLL and she was so kind and understanding and emphasized that it was about our family and all of us, not just boob and baby.

Unknown said...

Sing it sister. After I had my 1st a friend told me LLL was the devil so I steered clear. I wanted to breast feed, too, but couldn't. IT's well & good to get the message out that breast is best, but in the end what you said is true - everyone is doing the best they can. Lord knows it's hard enough & these groups should be supporting women instead of condemning them.

Oona Johnson said...

I'm due November 7th and I am terrified I won't be able to breastfeed "properly". Thank you so much for having the balls to come out and tell the world that sometimes it just doesn't work. I appreciate your point of view and the fact that you are willing to stand up for those who can't, or won't, be so vocal about important topics.

Also, one of your Anonymous commentors made the point that maybe "dad is feeding formula from a bottle because he is a single parent". Maybe the LLL members should feel like assholes because they're picking on a hypothetical widowed father whose wife died during childbirth, therefore she is (obviously) unable to feed their child and he is stepping up to the plate to be mom and dad. Fucking jerks. ;)

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