Breastfeeding a Preemie


I admit it: I romanticized breastfeeding.  It didn’t matter that three of my best friends complained ruthlessly about it.  The horror stories I’d read—about scabby nipples, fickle mouths, and exhaustion you can taste—were unfortunate tales that happened to strangers but certainly wouldn’t apply to me.  I envisioned peaceful hours in a rocking chair, my infant daughter quietly nursing while I read novels and shed all of the weight I’d gained in my final trimester, when I devoured raspberry chocolate chip muffins as steadily as most people consume water.  The weight would disappear magically, and my daughter and I would bond for life.

A part of me blames the kindly nurse who assured me that I would get used to breastfeeding.  “Nursing is so special,” she said as she placed my daughter at my breast.  “It’s an extraordinary experience, and you’ll have it down in no time.”

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I didn’t.

Isabella was born four weeks premature, and her bite was underdeveloped, the doctors explained.  They also pointed out that she had a weak suck, a term that struck me as derogatory and insulting and yet wildly hilarious, as most things with the intricacies of childbirth and the human body seemed to me.  Weak suck or not, Isabella had no interest in my breasts and what they could offer her.  My breasts—grotesque in size, leaking without my consent, and throbbing with pain—were another story.  They wanted nothing more than to feed her.

Twelve hours after Isabella was born, I was convinced she was going to die of starvation.  She.  Would.  Not. Stop.  Screaming.  Once home from the hospital, I resigned to our king-sized bed and sprawled out like a beached whale with Isabella cradled on top of me, begging her to nurse and sleep.  At long last, she latched on.

And stayed there.

The only problem?  She couldn’t take in much.

Premature babies with underdeveloped bites take twice as long to feed, namely because it requires more effort.  This meant that Isabella was attached to my breast 23/7.  With no family nearby and a husband whose workaholic tendencies did not taper off with the arrival of our child as I’d imagined, I was left with one manic hour to sleep, shower, and clean the house.  I was lucky if I got around to brushing my teeth.

“You two look so beautiful,” my husband said from the doorway of the nursery one evening when he came home from work.  Dishes were stacked in the kitchen sink.  Piles of sweatshirts with spit-up were waiting for me in the laundry room.  I’d put on mascara three days before in a vain attempt to look pretty and feel normal, and hadn’t bothered to wash it off.  I didn’t have time to look pretty, let alone beautiful.  Meanwhile, he appeared freshly scrubbed, well-rested, and handsome.  I could have kicked him.

Isabella might have looked beautiful but her attempts at feeding were growing progressively strained. Delivering proper nutrition to her was my chief if not only concern, but everything I tried to make the process easier and more efficient failed.  She appeared to be shrinking while everything about me, including my anger, seemed to have tripled in size.  I also kept seeing the figures of small, irate children in my periphery vision, and, oddly enough, visions of my mother when she was a teenager.

The hallucinations were terrifying, but not as frightening as the person I became when, three weeks after Isabella was born, we took her to see her pediatrician.

“She’s lost weight,” Dr. Perry said with a disapproving cluck of his tongue and scowling at me over the rims of his glasses as if looking for tangible evidence of my many failures as a mother.

“All I do is breastfeed her,” I yelled.  Yelled was an understatement.  All other noise in the doctor’s busy office ceased.  My husband bent his beet-red face in shame.  When a nurse tipped her head into the room, presumably to make sure everyone was still alive, I realized I was standing over Dr. Perry and shaking a fist in his face.  I’d show him mothering, alright.  He jotted down a note on his prescription pad, handed it over without looking into my eyes, and promptly left the room.

The piece of paper had two words: La Leche.

I called them as soon as we got home.  The woman who answered sounded attractive and refreshed, which only made me madder.  Was everyone competent, good-looking, and raring to go but me?  Then I checked myself and relaxed into her voice at the same moment she detected the hysteria in mine.  She ordered me to buy a plastic bottle, which they sold, fill it with formula, and hang it upside down on my chest.  It would be equipped with tiny tubes that I would then secure to my nipples, enabling Isabella to take in a touch of formula along with good, old-fashioned breast milk.  In other words, why switch to formula altogether when there was such a genial solution?

It felt half-assed in a way, as fraudulent as a part-time vegetarian or a Christian-come-Sunday.  Still, I was determined to have the breastfeeding experience I’d imagined, and hell-bent on giving my daughter not only the best nutrition but the most authentic form of it.  I sent my husband out that night to purchase the supplies we needed for the experiment.  I didn’t have to ask twice—at that point, he would have swam to Alcatraz to retrieve the goods had I asked—and, armed with cautious optimism, I began the supplemental nursing system procedure.

Prepare formula.

Poor liquid into bottle.

(God, this was cake!)

Tape feeding tube to breasts.

Squeeze to make sure formula is coming out at Just the Right Speed.

Set baby on boob.

Easy, yes?


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Struggling with a squirming infant who is perpetually hungry is no small feat.  Her livid screams didn’t help with my frayed nerves.  The tape moved.  I fumbled to get the tube in place while trying to keep Isabella’s mouth open wide enough and long enough to get my sore nipple and the feeder in at the same time.  She was averse to both.  My husband complained about her crying from the other room, his gracious mood gone.  The phone would not stop ringing.  My stomach was growling, my breasts were oozing, snot was gorging from my not-so-beautiful-in-that-moment daughter’s nose, and I couldn’t control the urge to pee. Motherhood wasn’t peach-lit rooms and soft nuzzles.  Motherhood was exactly what my grandmother said: It was goddamn messy.

After a considerable amount of time in which I swore to the Virgin Mary that I would never have sex again, Isabella started suckling, finally at ease with the contraption.  By then, I was too exhausted to appreciate it and wholly convinced that I should have just stuck with my own breasts.  And, of course, by the time I cleaned everything up, Isabella was awake again and I had to restart the entire process.

Dr. Perry checked Isabella’s weight a week later.  She was making progress.  It didn’t matter that I was devolving in every other way.  I had pseudo-breastfed successfully.  And even if I could see the indignation in the eyes of my friends who equated formula with the juice of the devil, I felt victorious.  I was a Capable Mother.

Four weeks after implementing the system, I decided to give myself a break and take a walk.  I packed Isabella into the stroller and parked her on the porch while I unlocked the gate.  A wail that sounded nothing like hunger pierced through the neighborhood.  In the twenty seconds I had turned my back, the stroller had rolled down the steps and tipped over on the brick walkway.  Isabella was buried underneath it.  She went silent.

My scream was louder than any of Isabella’s.  I was convinced her skull was crushed.  A neighbor rushed over and lifted the stroller for me; I couldn’t bear to look, nor could I bear to realize that I’d forgotten to set the brake.   She gathered my daughter in her arms, and Isabella started crying immediately.  It was the most glorious sound I’d ever heard.  Turns out, the feather pillow I’d placed under her head saved her from a fatal fall.  At least I’d done something right.

I thanked the neighbor, the sun, the stars, and the Virgin Mary, and vowed then and there to make a change.  Would I prefer a formula-raised child or a breastfed baby consistently at risk of losing her life because her mother was dangerously fatigued and absentminded as an old bat?  There was no question.

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I didn’t make it far that day.  I walked inside while my neighbor soothed Isabella, and threw away all the paraphernalia La Leche had suggested.  Then I took a hot shower, wrapped my breasts in tight fabric, and relinquished breastfeeding for good.  Two hours later, Isabella took in twice as much formula from a bottle in a quarter of the time she usually spent on my chest, then slept for four hours—the longest stretch of uninterrupted she’d ever had.

And, mercy, I slept too.

The room was peach-lit when we both awoke.  There was a raspberry chocolate chip muffin on the nightstand beside me.  I took a bite, silently thanked my husband for his small gestures of kindness, and smiled at Isabella.  She blinked and smiled back at me.  Our life together was about to begin.

Related post: 10 Reasons I Hated Breastfeeding

About the writer

Lauretta Zucchetti, a former award-winning executive at Apple and Xerox, has a daughter in college, a number of brag-worthy stamps on her passport, and a set of drums in her office.  A regular contributor to Having Time, Thank the Now, Self Growth, Soul Friends, and A Band of Women, her work is forthcoming in Literary MamaNothing But the Truth So Help Me God: 73 Women on Life’s Transitions, and Crone: Women Coming of Age. Read more at Lauretta Zucchetti.


Grace 1 year ago

I had a 25 week preemie. We spent 193 days in the NICU. During this time I provided breast milk as much as possible by pumping. My milk never did come in right, and I resorted to taking medication to help with milk supply. Given the medical problems our son had, breast milk was the best. The hospital was supportive and helpful. They even offered to let me pump at the bedside to help with milk production, but I just could not do that. We started supplementing with formula about 6 weeks before he came home. By this time I was so exhausted from everything we went through that the nurses were telling me to give it a rest and go to straight formula and get some sleep.

Breast feeding is brutally hard, and is not for everyone. I do think it is best if the mother can do it – especially preemies. But with preemies the emotional stress along with the complications, long hours in the hospital at a child’s bedside, etc, its not an easy decision to make one way or the other.

I’m just thankful that I was able to provide breast milk when I could and as long as I did, but I don’t try to make myself out to be a martyr or guilt other mothers into a task that isn’t easy.

Jenn McKinney Quinn 2 years ago

i tried BF i tried pumping. dust came out. i just said fuck it, he’ll be just fine on formula. stocked up on similac at costco and poured myself a glass of wine. not one ounce of guilt. except over the $200 breast pump that went to waste.

Brandi 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing. My baby was also 4 weeks premature and spend 5 weeks in the NICU. I planned to breastfeed also, but we just could get in sync and I couldn’t handle all the stress. I ended up pumping exclusively. It worked out great for me and I didn’t mind it one bit. I know many women have a hard time with pumping.
So many people take issue with formula. Feeding your baby with breast milk or formula does not make or break the rest of their lives. It’s kind of ridiculous that people think formula is the absolute worst think you can do for your baby. It’s not like a breast fed baby is a guaranteed genius and that formula fed babies are the scourge of the world. People are so judgmental……about everything. Only you as a parent know what is best for you, your baby, and your family.

Hemina 2 years ago

I had a similar experience with my first son. He was 3 1/2 weeks early and same story…glad to hear I’m not the only one. Btw he’s 7 now, and as smart as can be. Turns out it not just magical breast milk, but also how much time and attention you give your children.

Lauretta Zucchetti 2 years ago

Thanks for your comment, Amber!

Jennifer Degl 2 years ago

Breastfeeding is difficult for most moms of full-term babies. Having a preemie makes it MUCH worse. Especially when your baby must be tube fed for months while you pump. Great post! My daughter Joy was born at 23 weeks last year. Due to modern medicine and prayers she is doing great today. I hemorrhaged at 17 weeks for the first of 4 times because of 100% placenta previa, which turned into placenta accreta (which I believe was caused by 3 prior c-sections). After she came home from 121 days in the NICU, I wrote a memoir called “From Hope To Joy” about my life-threatening
 pregnancy and my daughter’s 4 months in the NICU (with my 3 young sons at 
home), which is now available on both the Amazon and Barnes&Noble websites. It was quite a roller 
coaster that I am certain some of you have been on or are currently riding on. My mission is to provide hope to women struggling with
 high-risk pregnancies, encourage expectant mothers to educate themselves before 
electing cesarean deliveries, provide families of premature babies a realistic 
look at what lies ahead in their NICU journey, and show that miracles can 
happen, and hope can turn into joy.
 Please see my website and and watch our amazing video of my daughter’s miracle birth and life at:

Thank you.

jengd 2 years ago

Good for you! My son was born more or less when he was supposed to be and we tried the breastfeeding thing. We did. For an hour and a half, I’d try to get him to latch. He wouldn’t do anything. He wouldn’t. Nothing. Then he was a piranha and bit down as hard as he could… and then let go. And fell asleep. Rinse and repeat. After 4 days, the doctor said the same thing you heard- he was losing weight. He suggested renting a pump and meeting with a lactation specialist at the hospital. I pumped for a day, Beast drank the bottle like there’d never be more. The next day, 2hrs with the LS ended in, “He’s a lazy eater. You’re going to have a hard time.” Fast forward a few more days of trying for an hour and a half, pumping for 20min, feeding him for another 20min, spending 20 min. cleaning up, 30min of quiet time, rinse and repeat. It all ended when I was piranhaed yet again, the nth time in 8 days. I almost put him through a wall. I was exhausted. I was in pain and it wasn’t accomplishing a single thing. I was dirty. The dishes were dirty. My mother in law had moved in to “help” and all I wanted was for her to leave me alone. That was the last time I tried to breastfeed. It wasn’t worth it. I pumped for almost a year, Mama la’ Moo’ed if you will. A La Leche f[r]iend sneered at me, “Oh. Decided not to breastfeed, eh?” I never invited her in my house again. In the end, my need for sanity won out over any notions I had of what breastfeeding should be like.

Casey 2 years ago

Thank you for posting this… I had an awful time with my daughter too… We finally got it together but I completely agree that having a Mommy who has gotten some sleep and is a bit more relaxed is far healthier than just breastfeeding.

I, too, called La Leche League. They were not helpful. They made me feel like a failure. I was a formula baby from 7 weeks on, and my daughter did both. Because sometimes the thought of her touching my nipples made me psychotic.

<3 to you and your daughter!

Laura Marianne 2 years ago

Amazing. And respect :)

Theresa 2 years ago

I too had trouble breast feeding. I wanted so badly to do it and felt like I failed as a new mother by having to use formula. My hubby works away from home for weeks at a time too and I had no family for help or support. By the 3rd month, I was so beyond tired and stressed that I started having seizures again. I had no choice but to go with formula. Now almost 5yrs later, I’m seizure free, and have the most beautiful, healthy and smart set of twins. I only wish that I hadn’t waited so long and worried so much about what everyone else thought I should and shouldn’t do for the twins.

Heather Nale 2 years ago

BF is not a piece of cake I tried & cried & the bf Nazis at the hospital were no help. turns out having hypothyroidism can effect milk production. i nursed with supplement when needed for 4 months then just formula

Jenny Breaud Stuben 2 years ago

You tried. It’s all that matters.

Anita Stansfield 2 years ago

Second child is a lot easier!

Mariana 2 years ago

In 2011 I gave birth to my daughter, via csection at 41 weeks, a hefty baby girl born with two eyes opened and a huge appetite. She sucked so hard she blistered my nipples. She nursed day and night, perfect latch (or so I was told), yet for the first month she only lost weight. Despite my huge size F boobs, I made almost no milk. I too bought this crazy contraptions of a bottle and tubes to tape to my breast, and I even got the hang of it. I fed her like that day and night, for 6 whole months, waiting for the miracle of enough milk. I don’t know what I was thinking! It was insane, it drove me bonkers with no sleep and all those little parts to clean. I so desperately wanted to breastfeed! Then, the day after she turned 6 months, my birthday, I just couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, I handed her over to my husband, he gave her a bottle, and it slept for peaceful 4 hours straight. That was it. I fed her one last time from my breast, no tubes, and we were done. I felt guilty about it for years… I cryed every time I thought of it. And then I made my peace with it.

Then I had my son last year, another hungry baby, but this time I had milk! The first 6 weeks were hell, he nursed all night long and I got no sleep, at 16 weeks we were pros! He is nearly 8 months and we are going strong, and I love nothing more than to nurse him, at the same time I now see it doesn’t change how we relate, love is love, bottle or breast. I now see that while breastfeeding is wonderful, not breastfeeding does not make me less of a mother, or woman, as I had feared.

I am their mother, making milk or buying formula is a small detail.

DontBlameTheKids 2 years ago

Usually I stay far, far away from breastfeeding articles/essays/whatnot, for obvious reasons, but oh my stars, I can’t believe you suffered through that. I want to smack your doctors. My daughter was born 8 weeks early. She couldn’t nurse, or even bottlefeed–she needed a tube. The doctor and LLL (they aren’t all evil, it turned out) suggested that if I wanted to keep the option of nursing open, that I would need to pump, pretty much round the clock, until she reached her due date. I was skeptical as to whether she would suddenly magically learn how to nurse, but willing to try. And…it worked. And I was glad I had done that. It was the right choice for me, not for everyone. But what you went through was just crazy.

Heather 2 years ago

I was induced 6 weeks early due to complications from preeclampsia.  I hemmoraged 2.5 liters of blood during delivery & they put me on magnesium. They told me not to pump for two days until that was out of my system. I barely produced 1/2 an ounce of colostrum to split between them. I pumped religiously after the two days waiting for my supply to come in. I used the platinum pumps in the Nicu every chance I got. I cried sitting in the pumping rooms reading all the benefits of breastfeeding. I hated my breasts for depriving my preemie babies of homemade nutrition. I wanted so badly to give my girls the gift of breastfeeding, but at the high end I only produced 40 ml a day. They were on formula the entire time & have always gained weight well, although both have feeding issues. They are both way ahead of the curve on every other developmental milestone. One rolled onto her tummy days before her 3 month birthday & both have excellent head control and push themselves up onto their elbows a nd straighten their arms during tummy time. I’ve done extensive research & it actually seems formula fed babies have the advantage of balanced nutrition & don’t require iron supplementation. Also, breastfed babies are at a higher risk for asthma. In the end all that matters to me is my girls are happy & healthy (and they are).

Heather Holter 2 years ago

I had twins at 34 weeks, we spent 6 days in the NICU and I nursed them both for almost 2 yrs. I did not sleep and it was very hard, as I had 3 other kids under 6 to care for. I had also nursed those 3. My first would not nurse till day 6 AT ALL and I constantly worried he would die. Then he finally got the hang of it. At the time I was mad, didn’t like him much and just wanted to go back to not being a mom. Little did I know, that experience would be what gave me the confidence to nurse my twins! Without that I would have given up too. Thank God he helped me learn so that when the twins were born early I would know what to do! Nursing is HARD, having a preemie (or 2) is HARDER. I could not even imagine having both at once first! Giving up nursing is not a shameful thing. Mamas have to do whats best for everyone! Thanks for sharing your story!

Kaseylynn 2 years ago

The second I met my daughter, I was totally in love and wanted to do the best thing: breastfeed. I gave it the old college try, I called la leche league but quit after 4 months with some self made story about going back to work never admitting to myself that despite my all consuming love of my baby perhaps *gulp* I didn’t like breastfeeding. After I had my son I had a very difficult time bonding. I had another small child at home and was overwhelmed and everyone kept telling me breastfeeding would help the bonding situation along and so I did. My nipples got sore, he got a rash all over his face, I had to triple feed to get his weight up and I was miserable. Then one day I woke up and a little voice told me that once I bottle-fed, it would be easier for me to adjust and after 3 days of formula I was ENJOYING him. As a nurse I always tell mothers that the best gift they can give a baby is a mother who enjoys them. For me, that meant bottle-feeding. For a lot of other woman that means breastfeeding. A happy mom means a happy baby. Congrats on your daughter by the way, she seems to have a mother who loves her and is willing to do anything for her. What a gift you are giving her!

Trina Keays 2 years ago

This reminds me a lot of my own story, although my biggest problem was lack of milk supply. I eventually switched to formula and everything was so much better after! Feeding your baby should not be so stressful! Do what works for your situation.

Grace Douchette 2 years ago

I think it is good for moms to hear the real reality of it, I wish I knew it before I had my first and it might have helped me emotionally and mentally. It is a real struggle for a lot of moms.

Grace Douchette 2 years ago

With my first he had a tongue tie they found at 6 weeks…6 weeks of crying trying to breastfeed every hour and a half for an hour and a half. Then pumped instead. My second came six weeks early and had the weak suck so I pumped from day one.

Rose 2 years ago

My twin boys were born at 36 weeks and in addition to being early, they are both tongue tied. I found out 3 years after it could have made a difference that that makes latching even harder. Judging by my tears, I still feel guilty about my decision to give up breastfeeding although it was the right thing to do. Reading this brought me right back to the isolation (my husband is AMAZING but he had to get back to work- but I will forever remember the dear man trying to help me nurse) and the overwhelming feeling of drowning as a first time mom at home alone. Thank you for writing this, I want to print it out and give copies to the strangers that STILL ask me if I breastfed.

    DontBlameTheKids 2 years ago

    Good lord. STRANGERS ask you if you breastfed?! How does that even come up in conversation?

      Rose 2 years ago

      I think because they are twins, people are so fascinated at the thought of breastfeeding two at once that all manners fly out the window? I wish I had the fortitude to say something equally inappropriate back to them.

Lisa Kleiman Drake 2 years ago

That’s reality at its best

Jessica Lackey Keiser 2 years ago

I cried when I read this. Even 5 1/2 years later, I am still not over those awful first 6 weeks courtesy of the nipple nazis and my own romantic desire to breast feed.

Lisa Marie Garman 2 years ago

I can completely relate to this. There comes a time when you have to come to terms with the fact that it isn’t failure, it is making the best decision for your child. Not easy to accept and felt like failure, but we both were better off for it.

Amanda-jayne Bradbury 2 years ago

I had a 26 weeker, expressed for him. Started hand expressing then on day 4 moved to hospital pump, I expressed every 2 hrs to begin with for 20 mins a side to build up my supply. Many prem mums panic about not producing enough but we forget that tiny babies don’t need much so our bodies don’t produce it. After pumping for a few weeks I went to every 3 hrs much like a newborn baby would nurse and kept my supply up for the 14 weeks he was in the nicu. I 1st latched him at 33 weeks and slowly introduced it, yes it was hard but being a mum is not easy. I bf him for a while year before he self weaned, best thing ever. Stick with it x

Audrey Moore 2 years ago

This is a great article. Mothers should be more honest about their breastfeeding experiences. Its not easy for everyone…

Nic Ponsford 2 years ago

I applaud you for sharing your story. Absolutely brilliant – the bitter truth that only a mummy with the same issues can really comprehend. I hope you two are very happy, with this behind you and lots of cookies in front of you x

Hazel Thompson 2 years ago

I expressed for my first baby, she was on BM for 2 weeks but I couldn’t keep my supply up due to stress (she was 10 weeks early). I didn’t attempt BF my son, personally I hate the feeling of it x

Sarah Julia Herrmann 2 years ago

I have 2 kids, neither of which I was able to breast feed. The first had a temporary overbite and was unable to latch, even with the help of a plastic cover. The other was a preemie and was too small to breast feed. I pumped and tortured myself and my family for 6 months. Met several times with lactation consultants to no avail. We were all much happier when I decided to abandon the pump and all the paraphernalia.

Heidi Mangus 2 years ago

This couldn’t come at a better time. I’m struggling through the first few days of a pre/early term dd and I trying to figure each other out. It is so much harder than I expected.

Vanessa Bellden 2 years ago

Absolute tears. My twins now 5, were born 11 weeks premature. The anguish, guilt and demand I placed on myself to pump my breasts 24/7 to ensure they had all the nutrition I could give them was a stress in hindsight I didn’t need to place on myself. To all the premmie mums, hats off to you whether you breast or bottle feed :-)

Monica Davey 2 years ago

I remember the exact moment I decided that I was not going to be able to BF. There just comes a point where you have to give up the painful fight and enjoy the time with your child. Nobody wins when you’re both just sitting there crying.

David Barneby 2 years ago

Breast feeding is fine for mothers who can do it and have plenty of milk .
The current medical profession is very wrong to force it on mothers , to make them feel guilty if it doesn’t work . So many young mothers struggle to breast feed their baby , who isn’t getting enough milk or milk of sufficient quality . No Messing , they should be advised to go straight onto formula milk . Formula has to be fed at precise regular intervals , which helps young mothers to have a routine that should give them a chance to have a rest in the middle of the day . Happy mother and Happy Baby !!!

Chantal Granger 2 years ago

first daughter was born at 28weeks. I pumped for the first 8 weeks while she was in the hospital. We didn’t even get to try to bf until she was 6weeks. She did great and we were able to bf for 17months however it was uncomfortable for me the whole time. We also supplemented with formula to help her gain weight. it was worse with my second and we quit just under a year also supplemented the whole time. I may have bf for a long time but wont lie to anyone its not easy and its not for everyone. feeding and doing what is best for you and baby is the most important!

Jennifer Brenton, MD 2 years ago

The United Arab Emirates is considering a law, pending final approval at this time, making it mandatory for women to breastfeed for two years following the birth of their child.
After having experienced four months of my own adventures (and misadventures) with breastfeeding, my breasts suddenly and without warning simply stopped producing milk, I would not wish a mandatory law on any women in the world concerning breastfeeding. Thanks to Lauretta Zucchetti for the frank prose, and thanks to all who shared their stories in the comments. It is wonderful to see such a supportive community of women on this topic!

ouindi 2 years ago

I exclusively fed my baby pumped breast milk for the first 5 months of his life but i was miserable. He latched ok but the pain was too much. I’m a FTSAHM and my mom was able to live with me for 3 weeks and my DH exteneded his parternity leave 3 weeks after she left. Having them there with me was both good and bad. good because i was able to rest a little but bad because i got used to their help and once DH returned to work I really struggled with pumping and I barely was bonding with my son. I stopped pumping and when he turned 5 months i started feeding him formula and it’s the best decision i ever made.

Tracy Motz 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing, just goes to show that there is more than one way for mother and child to bond.

Brooklyn Lewis 2 years ago

This brought tears to my eyes. So glad she shared her story.

LadyPasta Brown 2 years ago

I breast fed all three of my children until they were a year old, and I had milk to donate, back in the day, that’s just what you did. I was so proud that one of my babies, Jody, was a lactation consultant for new moms, so their experience was a positive one, no pressure.

Terri Agy 2 years ago

My nurse was a bitch and had me in tears. I got so upset with it I gave up.

Lucinda Honeycutt 2 years ago

Breastfeeding is not for everyone. In the first month or two it can be miserable. However, if you are able to get through those first few weeks, it is definitely worthwhile. I breastfed both my children for a year, and I would not trade it for anything. I would say at least give it a try, but if it doesn’t seem right for you don’t feel guilty for formula feeding. The most important thing is that the baby is fed, and that both Mom and baby are healthy. I would also say to Mom’s who really want to breastfeed, don’t give up in the first couple of weeks unless baby is not getting enough nourishment. It takes at LEAST 2 weeks to get nursing well established.

Patricia Gabe 2 years ago

I got shingles 3 days after giving birth, and was told to “pump & dump” by the doctor. Screwed up my supply big-time. I was lucky and found a great lactation consultant, and it was covered by insurance because the issues were illness-induced. It took 2 months of training and a breastfeeding-formula “IV” kind of thing, and I was able to breastfeed exclusively for quite a while. But it was WORK. Natural does NOT mean easy!

Katie Pottichen 2 years ago


Nom DePlume 2 years ago

With my son, I was cracked and starting to bleed in the hospital! My mom asked a nurse if there was creme I could use, and the nurse showed me I wasn’t getting the nipple in his mouth far enough, and that fixed everything (I was lucky) – I feel badly for any mom who was in my position, but didn’t have the right nurse at the right time. I don’t know how much longer I could have gone with that pain!

Stephanie Azen 2 years ago

Thank u for sharing this!

Stephanie Azen 2 years ago

Oh the pressures of breast feeding are terrible! The day I have up and switched to formula was the best day of my beginning mommy hood days!

Heather Fishburn-Belisle 2 years ago

I’ve always frowned upon people for feeding their babies formula, and not “trying hard enough” to breastfeed. After reading this, I feel extremely guilty for that and I will never pass judgment again. Sometimes you have to do what is best for you AND baby, which is exactly what you did. I’m so sorry you were unable to, because it really is a great experience, but only if it works out well for the both of you. Maybe with your next child you’ll be able to experience it. I hope you and baby are doing well.

Lauren Roats Liguori 2 years ago

Thank you! I tried to breastfeed my son, but he wouldn’t latch on and I always felt guilty. My daughter had a great latch but I wasn’t producing enough milk and she lost a lot of weight. I breastfed and gave formula for 7 months. I wish I could have kept going, but I hardly had any milk and it was extremely time consuming to breastfeed and bottle feed at every meal. It’s really frustrating how many books and classes make it seem like everyone can breastfeed and everyone will be successful!

Maggie Poling 2 years ago

My first two kiddos were premies, 29 wks and 34 wks, but I tried with both to BF. All I could do was pump, they never successfully latched, and I got tired of the guilt/lack of sleep/loss of their weight. My third was the only one I BF until 2, but she is still tiny! Go figure!

Lucia 2 years ago

Thank you sharing this. I pumped and supplemented with formula with both of mine. My son (who is now a happy, healthy 3 year old) just would not latch. I tried and tried to get him to breastfeed to no avail. We practically lived at the breastfeeding clinic the first month of his life. My breasts were so engorged those first 3-4 days because he was just not getting anything out. I ended doing the process of trying to breast feed him, then pumping and feeding him the breast milk and feeding him formula if he was still hungry (which most of time he was). This look such a long time that by the time I was finished it was time to start the process all over again. I managed to do this for about 5 months until finally I was so exhausted that I bit the bullet and just formula fed him. He was happier and I managed to get some sleep finally. With my daughter, I had the exact same issue but this time I didn’t have the luxury of just having one baby to take care of. Again, I tried to breast feed and ended up at the lactation consultants’ office numerous times. I pumped and supplemented for about 3 months with her and then switched her to formula. They are both happy, well-adjusted and healthy today. I completely agree that BF is best for the baby but sometimes it is just not to be and formula is a perfectly good alternative. My advice to new moms: do your best to try to establish breast feeding but don’t kill yourself and DO NOT let anyone guilt or pressure you. You know what is the best for you and your baby.

Sarah Horne Kay 2 years ago

16 weeks premature and I pumped religiously every 2 hours for 3 months straight I knew my baby would need supplemental feedings so after talking to the amazing nurses decided to just bottle feed so she could come home on time

Jamie Mantovani 2 years ago

7.5 weeks early and the ped convinced me formula was necessary to track amount and nutrients. I’ve asked (blamed) myself for every sickness she’s ever had since obviously I didn’t provide her every antibody possible.
Truth being sometimes things happen and the love is all the same. Thank goodness for breast milk and thank goodness for formula. Thank goodness babies that can eat- eat. It’s hard either way. Adding whether you’re a “valuable” boob or not to being a mom is a lot. Let’s just not judge the mom with a bottle or a boob and be glad the baby can eat. :)

Brittany Smith 2 years ago

a happy baby is a fed baby, breast milk or formula… breast isent always best for everyone


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