This post is sponsored by Similac.  I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own.

moosh and mozzi.

In the early haze of new motherhood I was overwhelmed with guilt over not being able to breastfeed. While the two mammary glands attached to my chest look promising, the truth is they are milk duds. For whatever reason mine simply don’t work despite every reasonable effort I made to become the sole food provider for both of my babies. I would plan feedings so I wouldn’t have to pull a bottle out in public. The shame I felt whenever I mixed formula in front of a breastfeeding mom was overwhelming. I always felt like I had to justify myself, tell everyone how hard I tried because I was absolutely sure everyone was judging me.

Turns out I’m the only one who really cared.

You want to know how often I worry about breastfeeding now?

Exactly never.

You want to know how much guilt I’ve felt over the last ten years for not being able to breastfeed?

Exactly none.

my baby and me.

The only time I even think about breastfeeding anymore is when Addie brings home a 100% on some test she didn’t even study for. Back in 2004 a few hard core lactivists made me believe that if I didn’t exclusively breastfeed Addie, her health and intelligence would be forever compromised. Yet every time Addie dazzles me yet again with her smarts and kindness I want to hold her up like Simba on Pride Rock and yell “LOOK! IT DIDN’T MATTER HOW I FED HER! SHE’S WONDERFUL!” to all the mothers struggling with their own decisions on how to best feed their babies.

Two weeks ago Vivi told me she hated me. Last week she found a tube of lipstick and finger-painted an entire wall bright pink. The last two mornings she has located a permanent marker and colored her entire body blue, as well as written her name on several walls. Someone needs to tell her if she’s going to commit such heinous acts she shouldn’t sign her name or leave evidence all over her own body. I have a hard time believing she’d be any less of a toad had her milk come from my body and not a can.

November 2014

Here’s what I’ve learned about kids — some days they will eat Brussels sprouts, quinoa, and kale without complaint. Other days the only nourishment you will be able to coerce into their little bodies consists of grape skins and a handful of marshmallows. Some days they will be obedient little angels and other days it’s as though hellfire is pouring forth from every pore of their being. Some days they will get along with their siblings from sunup to sundown while other days you will feel like a referee at a bare knuckled boxing match.

It’s not like you didn’t try.

You’re just working with what you’ve been given. We all are. As long as we’re all doing the best we can each day (and some days are better than others), nothing we deal with is a direct result of what we fed our babies on the day they were born or how we have loved them every day up until now.

Addie puts up with so much from this goon.

I accept you. Hopefully you can accept me and my wildly inappropriate toddler.

(P.S. Does anyone know how to get petroleum jelly out of a stuffed bunny?)

Comments

  1. Charlane says:

    Hi Casey, glad to see you are back, I was begining to worry a bit!

  2. Kirsten says:

    We had a Vaseline attack too! Toddler, toaster, nebulizwe, cabinet, it was all a slimy mess! This was 20 minutes after he used a Sharpie on my fridge. It is still there.

  3. Kirsten says:

    That would be nebulizer… Don’t comment on posts at 5 in the morning..,

  4. “This post is sponsored by Similac. I was compensated for this post”

    All you need to know.

    Similac is trying to make other mommies not feel bad about breastfeeding so they SELL MORE FORMULA. That’s all they care about.

    And this blogger sold out.

    Amber Reply:

    @Greg,

    Oh Greg, don’t be such a pompous a$$. Moms shouldn’t worry about how they feed their babies, just that they feed them PERIOD. Children breastfed are no better or less than those fed on formula.

    Greg Reply:

    @Amber,

    Thank you for your response to my comment. You will notice that I never made a judgment or name-called. I used my comment to point out the light blue fine print at the beginning of the article. In my opinion, it should have been bolded and highlighted in neon yellow.

    I trust that all mothers do the best they can for their families with the information they have.

    I want mothers to know that this post is part of predatory marketing that violates the WHO CODE for marketing breast milk substitutes.

    Thank you again.

    Karen Reply:

    @Greg, I started breastfeeding well, but after a mere 4 months, I simply dried up. I was devastated, panicked and felt like a complete failure. I was sent to a paediatrician for assessment of my daughter’s weight loss and help in getting her back on track. HIS opening remark to me? “Not quite the Holstein you thought you were, huh?” Yeah. Really helpful. Here’s the thing Greg, as a man you need to tread very carefully in this territory that has nothing to do with your sex. Don’t make broad sweeping assumptions and judgements where you have zero ability to have 1) experience or 2) empathy. By making assumptions you make yourself look like a pompous ass. And much like my not so subtle Dr. (who frankly should have been squarely kicked in the junk after that comment), you come off as ignorant and infuriate women. Please just keep your thoughts on a subject you know nothing about, to yourself. Formula is the ONLY reason I am still a mother. The WHO can have all the recommendations it wants. When the breastmilk is not there, women need something to nourish their babies with or they will starve to death. But you know what else, some women choose formula and I’m ok with that too. And so too should everyone else.

    Casey Reply:

    @Greg, Greg,
    It was physically IMPOSSIBLE for me to breastfeed.
    Not just difficult, IMPOSSIBLE.
    What would you have suggested as a readily available, affordable, and safe alternative to feed my baby? No, really. I’d love to know.
    Do you know what it’s like to have your natural ability to feed your child involuntarily taken away from you? Have you been accused of being lazy and selfish because you have to use formula instead of your own breasts?
    This is the conversation I wish someone would have had with me ten years ago when breastfeeding failed me, then four years ago when my body failed me again. I have talked about my failure to breastfeed dozens of times on my own site as well as others.
    This is not advertising, this is a conversation supporting mothers. Never did I say formula is better than breastmilk.
    Besides, I used Enfamil.

    Brianna K Reply:

    @Casey, I know exactly what you went through Casey and I also felt extreme guilt for my body not being able to do what it was made to do. My first son lost so much weight, I had to see a lactation consultant every other day to prove I was trying to feed him. He latched properly and I did everything they recommended. I just could not produce milk. After 1 month, I finally started up with formula. I beat myself up for many months and thought the same as you. He wouldn’t be smart, he would get ear infections, he would always be sick….WRONG! Women shouldn’t feel guilty, even if they choose not to breastfeed from the start. It’s a personal choice for some and one pre-made for others. Thank you for sharing your story! We need to know we aren’t alone! (And I don’t care if someone flipped you a couple bucks to share your story. I bet Greg doesn’t go to work every day for free.)

    Biddy Reply:

    @Casey,
    I’d love to know what alternative he suggests as well!
    “Besides, I used Enfamil.” **snort**

    Biddy Reply:

    @Greg,
    1. Casey doesn’t “sell out” to anyone or anything. She has blogged about her struggles with breastfeeding many times, without compensation. If you knew one thing about her, you would know this.
    2. Casey is a writer. She gets paid to **gasp** write her own opinions about things that matter to her. Basically the best job ever.
    3. She never once tried to sell, what was it, Similac? See, by the time I finished reading her awesome, supportive post, I’d already forgotten it was sponsored. If she was trying to sell a specific brand of formula, she didn’t sell it very well. Oh but wait, she wasn’t trying to sell a damn thing.
    4. You’re clearly not a loyal reader. How did you find Casey’s site? I’m guessing a Google search looking for something far more naughty than a woman talking about breastfeeding.
    5. No vagina, no say in the matter.

  5. Tiffany says:

    THIS. The more space I get from the infantness, the more I realize how much my inability to make enough boob milk for my baby DOES NOT MATTER. At all. Huzzah for having babies in the time of modern medicine.

  6. Melissa Luebbe says:

    Hooray for all mamas!! Thank you Casey, for sharing your wonderful truth.

  7. Hi Casey!

    Whether breast fed or bottle fed, the babies are still being fed. I had a hard time in the beginning breastfeeding Sierra, but with patience it got easier. Every woman, and their milk supply is different. I was fortunate enough to breastfeed all my kids for three years, but in the end what matters is that our children were fed, and regardless will turn out to be good girls, and boys!

    Even if they throw tantrums, and have sibling rivalry. I know exactly how you feel Casey because Chelsea and Noah have that relationship! Chelsea can be a she-devil at times too!

    Sierra and Lexie are good young women!

    Overall…they are good kids.

    Hope all is well!

    xo

  8. LOVE this. I was devastated when my heart meds meant I couldn’t breastfeed. I remember sobbing that even the damn formula can said “breast is best” on it. Turns out formula was best for us. And now my only regret is how much I worried about it. My girls are healthy, happy, smart, and we have a great bond.