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04:40 PM on 09/08/2012
Enjoyed this article MUCH more than the other one posted recently by Valenti. Thank you for sharing your struggle!
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04:11 PM on 09/08/2012
I'm NOT a mom, NOT a doctor or lactation expert - just to make all that clear - but I have a question about pumping.

If a mom is experiencing a lot of pain while pumping (I'm thinking, some discomfort is common, right?) doesn't that change her milk? Pain and stress release a lot of substances into one's own body - would they be in the breast milk? Just wondering.
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peegan
My mermaid returned to the sea.
07:39 PM on 09/08/2012
Really good question. Don't have an answer, but thought the question was excellent.
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annaheiser09
250 words aren't enough!
04:09 AM on 09/09/2012
It may, but it's unlikely that it could make the breast milk unhealthy for the baby or anything. Even if a woman is sick, in MOST cases, the breast milk is still better for the baby than formula would be.

By the way, pumping doesn't hurt for everyone. Breastfeeding was one of the most painful things I ever did, but I used electric breast pumps for a short time after both of my children were born and I never experienced pain with them. My nipples were super sore from trying to breastfeed, but the pump didn't hurt them at all. While pumping I sometimes had a slight aching in there, but that was mostly just normal pain that comes along with lactating (being engorged from the milk, sensitive from all the changes). I found that my breasts felt better during and after pumping than at any other time. It was a relief to empty them. It was the sleep deprivation (feeding/pumping for 45 minutes every 3 hours on the dot) that made the whole thing so unbearable. You're already probably sleep deprived before you even have the baby, then your hormones shift dramatically when you deliver and it's hard to deal with all of those changes when you're so exhausted. I give major props to all the moms who handle it all so well. I didn't!
04:02 PM on 09/08/2012
I never successfully breastfed either of my children. My oldest never latched, and born only half an ounce heavier than the "low-birthweight" classification, he needed to eat. I pumped, with measly results, for 6 weeks, giving him about half his food as breast milk. My youngest latched so hard immediately after birth that he bled me, badly; I tried to breast feed in the hospital, but cried from the pain every time. My milk was bloody for a full week on the side he bled me. He, too, got about half breast milk, also pumped, for about 6 weeks. My sanity suffered greatly with trying to pump for him (with even lower production than with my first) while simultaneously trying to care for my toddler and still feed my baby at regular intervals. (Pumping means that you double the amount of time required to feed the baby - 5 hours to pump, 5 hours to feed. Every day.)

My children are now happy, healthy, thriving boys. The decision to stop breastfeeding for sanity reasons isn't selfish - in fact, it's the least selfish thing you can do as a mom. Because you're recognizing that trying to do too much for your kids is bad for you, which is bad for them. Over-parenting is a dangerous road to walk.
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annaheiser09
250 words aren't enough!
04:18 AM on 09/09/2012
Well said. Children have important needs aside from their diet, and sometimes you have to put those things, along with your own needs, first. If you're depressed and overwhelmed and don't have the time or energy to enjoy your new baby, quit! The guilt that comes along with quitting goes away fast once you get your first full night's sleep!
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Sparrow4
I laugh. I trust. I care. I vote.
03:30 PM on 09/08/2012
Wow. I had no idea today's mothers were so 'hung up' on breast feeding (apologies for the poor and imprecise term, I'm in a rush).

I'm baffled. You have my sincere sympathy. I truly am surprised. I had my youngest 20 years ago and while I knew breastfeeding had become the common norm, had no idea it had become a measure of how good a mother one is. I thought that Time magazine cover was a poor joke.

I've raised two and I'll tell you, the only thing I was ever really good at was making sure they knew they were loved. There's a thousand and one or two things I could have done better, but none that were more important.
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Diana Bitritto
Never be too damn good for your own damn good
03:27 PM on 09/08/2012
I am a Baby Boomer. Most of us were formula fed - breast feeding was considered distasteful and "peasanty." And you know what? Most of us Boomers turned out perfectly fine anyway!

Don't try to be supermom. Just try to be good enough.
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Diana Bitritto
Never be too damn good for your own damn good
03:23 PM on 09/08/2012
If breastfeeding is so "natural," why do we need lactation consultants?
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LadyMorganDA
05:48 PM on 09/08/2012
New mothers have always needed lactation consultants. Before we became such a mobile society, they had fancy titles like "mother", "grandmother", "aunt", and "older sister".
08:39 PM on 09/08/2012
EXCELLENT!
07:16 PM on 09/08/2012
"Natural" doesn't mean "easy". I suppose in the old days, when you had a baby, you had your mom, sisters, grandma, aunts to help you figure out nursing. It's like any skill, you have to learn how to do it.

Well, I don't live near any family. My mother didn't breastfeed, she found it distasteful. The lactation consultant helped me get through that first 6 weeks.

It's best to take care of yourself first. A lot of women don't want to use formula, and some worry that supplementing too early means the baby will prefer a bottle. It's not worth driving yourself crazy over, though. Try your best, but if you are bleeding and crying (which I was for a couple of weeks) and stressed out about it. Stop.
03:18 PM on 09/08/2012
I'm a BFer all the way. I don't think *most* BFers would really look down on a woman who tries to BF and can't or for whatever reason it doesn't work out. I mean, we all have different circumstances. I 've BFed all my 4 kids and I will say I'm a HORRIBLE pumper and I HATE pumping. I pump at work and I really hate it. I know if I had to pump exclusively for whatever reason, I def wouldn't be able to keep up.
In any case, I really don't look down on formula feeding moms. Its none of my business how a woman feeds her baby, as long as the baby is being fed with breast milk or formula. The one thing I will admit bothers me is when women say they didn't BF because they don't want their boobs to sag or something ridiculous like that.
07:16 PM on 09/08/2012
Pumping sucks. Completely. No pun intended. I hate it. And...I go back to work on Monday. Ugh.
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LaurieAnn
Generation Jones INFJ
02:44 PM on 09/08/2012
Jessica, I can really feel the pain, sadness and determination in your post.  All of our bodies and our children's bodies reaction differently to major stress and trauma which is indeed what both you and Layla experienced.  When I was pregnant I had many, many dreams of what life with my little boy would be like; how close we'd be and how much we'd share.  A few years later, my son was diagnosed with autism and over the years I've had to grieve the loss of the mother/child relationship I wanted and begin the slow task of building a meaningful life with the child I actually had.  

So kudos to you for being honest about your own expectation and about the journey towards adjusting to a new reality.  May this be the most difficult thing you and Layla have to face together.  And if it isn't then it sounds like you have the consciousness to work with whatever comes.
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goddess103001
02:14 PM on 09/08/2012
I think it gives some women a smug sense of superiority, which is why some choose to do it so visibly. "Look at me, doing what's best for my child. I'm such a great mother, aren't I? See, I'm not even going to let the feelings of other affect doing what's 'best' for my child, even though it's perfectly possible to wait a few minutes to go somewhere more discrete (not necessarily a bathroom :-P) or to cover up." It's like they need some kind of validation from forcing people to just deal while they make absolutely no effort to be discrete or modest. And if you aren't just like them, a militant breast is the best, formula is the devil, everybody must just deal with my bare breasts because it's perfectly natural then you're a horrible mother, a horrible person, a prude, obsessed with sex, etc.

Since they care so little are the feelings and thoughts of others, personally, choose to disregard their feelings (i.e. the militant, who cares about the feelings of others mothers, not breastfeeding mothers in general)
03:54 PM on 09/08/2012
What on earth are you talking about?
07:21 PM on 09/08/2012
I have no idea what you are talking about.

So, I take pride in the fact that I nurse my son. Why? Because it's freaking hard. And the first 6 weeks was incredibly painful (with both boys). At least the 2nd time around, I knew I just had to get over that hump. But I know that physically, it's what's best for him, and I'm proud of that. I'm proud that I never needed to use formula with my first.

When I nurse in public, it's never "oh, look at me, I'm so great!" for me, and it isn't for any of my friends. It's "my baby is hungry RIGHT NOW and I need to feed him." and "Please latch on quickly" and "please stop staring at me, I'm just feeding my baby."

It has nothing to do with formula. My moms group is a room full of women, some nursing, some giving formula, some doing both, and we all know that we're just doing our best.

I'm a lot more relaxed this time around. No, I don't plan to use formula, but if my freezer stash runs out, I'm not about to add 3 more pumping sessions to the 2-3 I already do just to keep up my supply. I'll supplement with formula.

I've never met one of these so-called militant moms who look down on others for not nursing...and I live in Coastal California. You'd think they'd be everywhere!
01:54 AM on 09/09/2012
I personally think it is sweet when I see a mother feeding her child (bottle or breast). To say it is craving attention is ridiculous, a mother with a baby crying loudly about being hungry will get looks while she waits for a convenient place will get many more looks. Kudos to you for putting your child before complete strangers, they don't have to look.
02:12 PM on 09/08/2012
ahhhhhh! Wonderful. I am only the husband and father, but our daughter was not strong enough and my wife's breats not productive enough so we (was a mutual decision) decided to change to formula after 8 days of frustration with the breastpump (five hrs per day). I support any and each mother who decides not to breastfeed. It is not bad for the kid and much better for the parents. Breastfeeding is not a god, and mental health of the mother (and father) much more important for the health of the baby.
10:07 PM on 09/08/2012
Faved! You remind me of my cousin's husband. She had a similar experience and her husband was just as supportive as you. She and your wife are very lucky indeed!
01:55 PM on 09/08/2012
I have four children and tried to nurse them all. I never produced enough milk and had to supplement. We all scream "women's rights" so why are so many trying to take away the choice or need to decide? You did everything you could do to provide for your baby and gave her the best start you could give her. I applaud you!
01:40 PM on 09/08/2012
My breast feeding experiences: Son #1 - unable to breastfeed due to a stomach defect he was born with; Son #2 - breast fed for first 6 weeks until my milk dried up; Son #3 - breast fed for almost 4 weeks before my milk dried up; Son #4 - Why bother? Straight to formula. Worst experience ever ... the lactation consultant I went to see breaking me down into tears because breast feeding is the most natural thing ever that every woman should be able to do and if my milk is drying up it is because I am doing something wrong and do not love my children enough. Best experience ever ... realizing that she was a quack and I should feel no shame or guilt over my bodies inability to produce milk.
01:05 PM on 09/08/2012
Our daughter had to spend 6 days in the NICU and I pumped at the hospital, and at home. We were lucky that she was allowed to latch on and nurse at the hospital. The Doctors wanted me to continue to pump for several months so I could track how much she was getting. It was exhausting! I finally just told the Doctor we were done pumping because she was nursing and eating just fine. There are so many expectations and social pressure on us as women to "do the right thing" for our children that we get lost in the equation. Sometimes what it right for the Mother is the best thing for baby.
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Makkatt
Mom, Grandmom, and New Mom.
12:53 PM on 09/08/2012
I too, was determined to breastfeed when I got pregnant at 40. Unfortunately, I didn't produce any milk. I tried for over a week as my baby got more and more frustrated and lost more and more weight. Finally, my lactation consultant gently suggested that I try formula. She reminded me that it was more important to focus on loving and bonding with my new son than us both being frustrated and overwhelmed over something that I had no control over. It was the most liberating thing she could have said and I felt okay switching to formula.

I hate that some women seem to have such a hang up over whether or not someone else breast feeds. Why can't we just be supportive and accepting of each other instead of so rabidly judgmental? It's sad.
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11:40 AM on 09/08/2012
To breast feed or not isn't my number one concern with new mothers. Every time I see a mother who is obsessively texting while her children are neglected is. This has become so prevalent these days, it's almost as if some of these mothers are so lonely and detached from their children. We all got by without texting for thousands of years. Nothing should be as important as truly being present with your children, especially in the formative years. They are watching, listening and learning from every thing we do. If it doesn't improve the human body will de-evolve and women will start giving birth to a pair of thumbs.
10:11 PM on 09/08/2012
I saw a mother texting on the subway last week,while her baby kept crying. I felt awful for the poor child.