I didn’t breastfeed. the moosh had a bottle within the first 24 hours of her life.

She was bottle fed with formula for her entire first year of life.

And guess what? She’s darn healthy and well adjusted for a little kid who had a bottle shoved down her maw for the first 12 months of her life.

Now some die hard breastfeeding mother out there is grumbling at me.

I tried.

Boy howdy did I try.

In the first few moments after she was born, I nursed her. It was so easy, so natural. Even the nurses said I made it look too easy. After the first day, things weren’t going so well. I was bleeding, I was chapped, I was sore. I dreaded nursing her. Nurses and lactation consultants came in to help (read, lactation consultants came in and felt me up something fierce.) Yet nothing came out, not even the colostrum they promised me would come. the tiny moosh screamed, and after a bottle she calmed down, she fell asleep, and I felt relieved. (And when I say relieved I mean I felt a huge amount of guilt for giving my child a bottle because I was going to be nurser extraordinaire.) There was no physical change in my boobs. Not throughout pregnancy, not after birth. (Well, except for the saggy thing. Darn you sag.)

Pediatricians and nurses kept telling me to KEEP UP WITH THE NURSING! My milk would come! Don’t give up! Don’t be one of those moms! Nursing will save society! I promised them I would.

Thus began my ritual of nurse, feed, pump. Every time the moosh woke up to eat I would start by nursing her, even though nothing was coming out. I would then have to bottle feed her because homegirl was hungry and pissed that all I did was shove an empty boob in her mouth. When she was finally settled down it was time for me to pump.

Encourage those puppies to produce!

Yet nothing ever came out. The only thing that hit the inside of that bottle was my sore bleeding nipple.

I did this at every feeding for two weeks.

I tried Reglan.

Correction, I was prescribed Reglan but the good pharmacist caught that I had a history of anti depressants and encouraged me to talk with the doctor that prescribed it. When I told the doctor that I was prone to intense depression he said “DO NOT TAKE THAT REGLAN.” Apparently Reglan, let loose in a postpartum woman’s system with a history of depression can lead to the postpartum woman jumping in front of moving cars and stuff.

Way to take a good history DOCTOR.

This is when I began to realize not a single doctor or nurse who forced nursing upon me was aware of my sickness while pregnant. I got pregnant at 180 pounds, I went home from the hospital with a new baby at 120 pounds.
That’s how sick I was.

No one bothered to consider that I was so emaciated from cooking that little baby that I had absolutely no reserves left for making milk. How could they? As soon as the moosh came out I was done with the puking.

I called the lactation consultant assigned to my boobs and asked her if there was a possibility that it would be physically impossible for me to nurse due to my HG while pregnant.

“I suppose” she said.

“Well then I’m done, this is ridiculous. You can come pick up your machine (pump) tomorrow.”

“But ma’am! There’s so much you haven’t tried! Brewer’s yeast! Supplemental nursers!”

I cut her off. “I am bloody, I am tired, my body is physically incapable of providing milk for my baby. I was bottle fed and I turned out okay. I’m sure my kid will too. Thank you.”

And guess what? The guilt was gone. the moosh was bottle fed, which was actually a huge blessing for me because it allowed others to watch her while I recovered from some serious postpartum depression.

So there you go.

I didn’t breastfeed. I tried. My body failed me.

Bummer.

Comments

  1. I tried breastfeeding, and it made my baby and I miserable! The best decision I ever made for the two of us was to bottle feed. I tried for five weeks. Boy did I get the guilt trip from everyone over my decision!

    Nap Wardens last blog post..Run Report

  2. I failed utterly to feed my first – what do you expect? I was only just not a teenager (turned 20 6mths before giving birth) I was at my first year of uni, we were not married, he was supportive but didn’t want to ‘be with’ me as he wasn’t ready for ‘it’ (yes, it was a suprise), we were staying with his parents, I was trying to keep up with lectures, and the health visitor was HORRIBLE plus I have a phobia of hospitals and kept being sent there to a HORRIBLE pediatritian.

    Phew.

    I gave up and bottle fed and you know, he’s fine. I’m almost over it.

    The subsquent four – NO problem.

    And you know what? I HATE the boob police as much as I hate (in restrospect) the 50′s bottle police.

    They can all B***ER off.

    What is needed is proper genuine love and support and to encourage the mother that she does know best, whether that be ‘no, I can do this, my breasts are producing enough’ or ‘no, I can’t do this, my body is too tired/emaciated’.

    What we need is people saying ‘it’s ok, you’re not a terrible mother, just sleep deprived and/or depressed. You are doing a great job and here’s how I can support you so that you begin to FEEL that you are doing a great job’

    sorry. will get off my soapbox now.

    mamacrows last blog post..Chim-chiminey, chim-chiminey, chim-chim cheroo…

  3. Thank you so much for this post. I had a very similar breastfeeding experience. Unfortunately, I had the reverse experience as far at the weight loss/gain thing (became pregnant at 125 and left the hospital at 170.) Ugh! I appreciate your honesty in your posts and I love your blog. I wish I could be that honest on my blog. I have family and friends that read it and that makes me hesitate. I had a friend that had HG during her pregnancy and it was horrific as you know. I was sick with my pregnancies, but nothing like someone with that condition. I completely related to this breastfeeding post. I nursed my daughter for seven months, plus pumped and supplemented with formula. My son I nursed and supplemented for three months. I wish I would have been able to do what you did and just accept my body’s failure in this area and move on without guilt. I struggled and it tormented me for a long time. It was easier to give up after three months with my son. I did my best and I thanked God for formula, however, I still get sad that my body failed me, that I was not able to make enough milk for my child to survive (although I still feel like it is failing me…getting this last 15 pounds off is just torture). Thank you for the post and your blog.

  4. Lord don’t even get me started. Nursing is wonderful and if you can do it great. But formula is equally wonderful and each woman should decide for herself and her child.
    It drives me nuts the ridiculous pressure on a woman to breastfeed. It would be nice if we wouldn’t be immediately guilt tripped but just given the facts (of both bf’ing and formula feeding) and then allowed to decide for ourselves

    WMs last blog post..Control is Overrated

  5. I had a run in with the breast pump…meaning, I put the wrong size of nipple suction thing and when I finished pumping my breasts (nips) didn’t look very good…to say the least, it was sad and I had to stop…but my three year old is healthy!

    My breasts…they’re sad…very very sad.

    Shelles last blog post..Letter to Man with Comb Over…

  6. And you know what? That’s okay! There is NO law that says you have to breastfeed. It is NOT for everyone. I was a much better mother when I chose not to breastfeed my 4th child after 3 attempts with my other children.

    http://tacpaskett.blogspot.com/2008/06/and-while-we-are-on-subject_23.html

    Camilles last blog post..Wow!

  7. I have never met another person with this experience. Most people look at me like I’m crazy but that’s what happened with my oldest. There. Was. No. Milk. I had never considered the weight loss before (Mine was not as significant as yours, but I was underweight by the time I gave birth) I always blamed her being two months early. Of course, there are always those preemie moms who made it work and tell me about it though. *sigh* Maybe it was a combination of losing weight and her being preemie? But more importantly, who gives a damn, she’s perfectly, amazingly, beautifully healthy now!

    Dianas last blog post..Dark and Twisty, I am

  8. I am four-time-around nurser, but my best friend bottle fed her baby. I remember her telling me she once read a chapter out of some baby book entitled “Bottle Feeding with Love.” She incredulously asked me, “What am I gonna do, ‘Bottle Feed with Malice?????’” That gave me a good laugh. I always remember it when I hear of the struggles that can come with nursing.

    Angelas last blog post..More Stronger

  9. Well, this is truly another time when size really doesn’t matter. I was CONVINCED I’d have no problems whatsoever nursing Levi, and yet it was one of the few times I DIDN’T put out. My DD’s just couldn’t keep up with his voracious demand, so after 2 weeks I started supplementing. I was SO embarrassed by the whole thing, since every woman around me has nursed like a pro. Ho hum. Hopefully next time I won’t be so type-A about the whole thing.

    Erins last blog post..Indiana Artisan Development Project

  10. I love you for this post. I went through a similar experience with my first. The guilt i felt was incredible! The Nurses were so pushy and so not helpful! With #2, so much better as i was prepared and much stronger to just be upfront and tell the Nurses what i was going to do rather than ask their advice and feel like garbage!!!
    This post will help many women out there!!!

  11. Lurker from the Indy area, delurking….

    I am so sorry that you didn’t get the support that you needed. You obviously went through so much and I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been- both of my kids had no big problems nursing and it was still hard (and sometimes I dreaded it!). Good for you for doing what was right for you and your baby. You did the right thing- you have an adorable, healthy little girl. :)

  12. I’m an older mom (in my 50′s) and I nursed all 4 of my kids with no bottles (including my youngest, who turns 9 tomorrow!) because that’s what worked for me and my children. And you did what worked for you and your baby. That’s what parenting is about; responding to your children’s needs, and your own, with integrity. You do your best. That’s all you can do.

  13. Sweetie, I fed my eldest effortlessly until she weaned herself. Milk in abundance.

    I nearly killed myself with the next two trying to recreate that with an electric pump and a bottle. Gave up after 8 weeks with both.

    And still the breast Nazis abused me.

    You did the right thing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We do what is best for our kids.

    Kelleys last blog post..I know who you are.

  14. I HATE, HATE, HATE the whole breastfeeding Nazi thing. Drives me crazy. I breastfed, which was a challenge, but totally support women in WHATEVER decision they make. Breastmilk may be best, but a frustrated mom & baby are certainly not a good situation.
    Good for you for standing up for yourself!

  15. I had HG with my second pregnancy. What an F-ing nightmare that was. My parents would come to gaze upon me as I kneeled on the bathroom floor and ask, “What can we do for you?” And my stock answer became: “Do you have a gun?”
    I cannot believe you gave breastfeeding such a valiant effort after going through that. I only lost 20 pounds and, thanks to that evil evil Phenergan, managed to stop puking about half way through.Did you blog about your experience? I’ll have to check your archives, I’m new here.

  16. I can’t believe that you were harassed and treated so awfully!
    My son was born 11 weeks premature and I pumped almost exclusively until he was able to come home from the hospital (about 2 1/2 months). We made it bf until he was ten months old. I was and still am proud that I was able to do it. Mostly bc I felt like it was the only think I Could do when he was in the NICU. It was my only purpose and I drove myself to do it.

    That being said. You do what’s right for you. I needed it for me to feel like a part of the “team”. If I hadn’t been able to, and if I’m not able with the next one? We’ll be fine. I was formula fed and I prefer to think that I’m pretty fab.

    Danis last blog post..This crazy week

  17. I too couldnt breastfeed my twins. They were born at 30 weeks and were in the NICU for 6 weeks. I wasnt with them aorund the clock. I pumped and pumped and only produced a tiny amount. That amount could not sustain two babies. I tried. I too felt defeated and gave up. I feel guilty at times, but there was nothing I could do.

    mayas last blog post..Celebs

  18. For me, I was glad that I was able to breast feed successfully, even though I had infections and bleeding and everything else. It was hard.

    I had ppd after birth due in part to 36 hours of unsuccessfully trying to bring him into this world by the usual route and wound up having an emergency c-section.

    When he first started nursing, I was still numb from all the drugs and couldn’t feel if he was even latching properly. Maybe that was a good thing…

    I had breastfeeding nazis coming in all the time bothering me, touching me, calling me every freaking day after I got home. I just wanted to recoup from the surgery. Like I can’t call myself if I have a question? sheesh.

    People need to respect the fact that everyone’s bodies are different and some people can’t nurse or don’t feel comfortable doing it.
    get off the soap box.

    Antonettes last blog post..And I Will Call Him Squishy

  19. Wow – I didn’t even think about the HG, but yeah, I guess that makes all kinds of sense!

    I have had a breast reduction, so I don’t COUNT on being able to breastfeed – I am still hoping I will be able to get married and have kids someday! :) SO I guess I just think if I do, great, and if not it will be okay.

    Kims last blog post..At my house…

  20. On the other side of the spectrum, I continued to nurse until right after BlogHer, and for the past 6 months I had someone AT LEAST once a day (various people) pressuring me to JUST QUIT ALREADY.

    Ya just can’t win.

    In the interest of moms and their babies, I wish we could all just agree that we’re doing the best we can to make the right decisions that fit for US. We’re not cookie cutters, fer goodness sake.

  21. I lieu of posting anything on my blog ever again, I think I’m just going to comment on yours.

    You tried. You really tried. And you tried for good reason.

    But Good Lord, Casey, your body needed a break. The value for moosh of your getting some rest far outweighed the value that breastmilk could have given her. Fo sho.

    Imagine this scenario: Cranky old wench says “My what a fiercely angry and ill-behaved child.” Casey says “Yes, well, she was breastfed. But I also threw her across the room a lot because I was on the verge of insanity.”

    Orrrrrr…. Cranky old wench says “My, I wish my child was that saintly.” Casey says “Yes, well, she was bottle fed, but I smothered her in kisses and was able to see her with clear eyes because I got some effin rest after she was born rather than torture myself over some magical nutrients.”

    I need a blog.

    Velveteen Mind – Megans last blog post..Like Tom Hanks but Without the Cash

  22. Totally know how you feel. I would actually get depressed from the hormones that were released during nursing. All 4 of my babies had a very short time breastfeeding.

    Alysons last blog post..Baby Girl

  23. Casey, oh how I feel your pain (literally!)!! Ugh. I could rant with you for HOURS on this frustrating subject! I don’t want to pour out my whole story on here, but if you want to see where I’m coming from, I posted about it on my blog about a year ago: http://jondace.blogspot.com/2007/07/sometimes-life-is-hard.html

    Mormon bottle-feeders UNITE!! :)

  24. Oh my gosh. A light bulb just went on over my dim witted little brain. I couldn’t understand why breastfeeding was SO STINKING HARD after I’d barfed my way through two pregnancies with my boys. DUH. Of course. I was all dehydrated and sick. Breastfeeding was hell for 3 months, with all the bleeding and stuff and my milk never came in when they said it would, it always took longer… took days where I could actually eat so my body could produce the milk. Oh my duh. DUH!! It was easier with my daughter because I felt okay for the last half of her pregnancy, still barfed every day but could keep food down so I could actually make milk for her when she came out.

    Seriously, how have I never connected HG with breastfeeding before?!

  25. I am not reading the 125 comments before me, so I’m pretty sure his has already been said 125 times, but I’m going to say it anyways.

    Your body did not fail, and neither did you. You know your body and obviously knew more than all the boob grabbers and doctors combined.

    You’re happy, you’re baby’s happy, what’s more important than that? Nothing.

    ccs last blog post..Virgin No More

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