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February 17, 2011


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Yes. Because now that my children are school-age, I still use my boobies as the measure stick against which I hold up all standards of parenting.

People are so ridiculous.

I didn't even try to nurse the third. My first two tries traumatized me. But, I'm going to try to nurse #4 (Although WTF, #4? How can I even say that number? HOLY MOTHER OF GOD.). Cause I'm all about the free. With four kids and one income I NEED free.

But if it doesn't work? Well. I may write myself off completely. I mean, the fact that my two older, bottle fed children are at the top of their classes, with IQ's well above the normal range? That is because of those five short days of breastmilk each of them got. That's the ONLY reason. It has nothing to do with my parenting, my entire lifeblood being poured into them on a daily basis.

Sorry. I wrote you a novel. I'll shut up now.

It'll either work for you the first few weeks or it won't. Goodness knows your sanity is tenuous enough those first few days postpartum, and an unhappy mommy is an unhappy baby.

Thank goodness we live in a time where nursing difficulties do not equate with starving babies!

That said, it sounds like you did a good job with Nathan. Your breasts were doing everything they were supposed to do, and if you'd wanted to you could have probably just tried feeding Nathan every hour and seen his weight and your milk production increase accordingly. I know Aidan went through a crazy growth spurt at around two weeks, and he grew inches but not pounds but his pediatrician said it was just fine.

Your breasts are awesome (not in a pervy way) and if you want to try it with baby number three just go for it! The worst thing that can happen is you'll switch to formula, and that's not really so bad, is it?

And also, you're a determined lady (you ran a 5K!!!). If you put your mind to nursing, you'll make it work. Just remember that you did not fail with Nathan, you just maybe didn't have the kind of pediatrician who knew you would need encouragement after his two week weigh in.

First, let me apologize for the judgmental nursing mothers. It is unfortunate that they think they are somehow better or deserve a prize for breastfeeding. And I say that as someone who is still nursing a 2 ½ year old. But you know what? It was not easy, I very nearly gave up on it, and I had to learn to look at things a different way in order to make it work. I know you didn’t ask for advice, so feel free to toss it out the window, but for what it’s worth, here it is. Breastfed babies often gain weight slower than formula-fed babies, and that’s ok. I had to remind myself that a baby who is hungry will let you know that he’s hungry. If he’s content and happy, he’s not hungry. I had to nurse on demand, not by a schedule. I had to remember that how much I pumped was not a good indicator of how much he was getting. I never pumped more than 3-4 ounces at a time, and that was only after I went back to work and was separated from my son for hours at a time. Because I wasn’t a stellar pumper, Cash got both breast milk and formula while at my Dad’s house (my Dad is my babysitter). I only nursed at home, but I couldn’t pump enough for him to be exclusively breastfed all the time. And that was ok. In the end, what you do or don’t do with your breasts is no one’s business but your own, and I only offer my advice and experience because it sounds like nursing is important to you. Before my son was born, I didn’t think it would be that important to me, but once I started I knew I really wanted to make it work. I wish you the best!

Oh, I so feel for you. My first would never latch on; I tried pumping but that didn't last long. My second latched on with no problem, but my supply was never very good so I had to supplement a lot of her feedings with a bottle. Maybe that's a solution, if you have the same supply problem with #3? You'd save a little money by buying less formula, and still give the health benefits; the drawback is that it's basically twice the trouble and each feeding takes a little longer.

Whichever way it works out, you know that you're doing the best thing for YOUR FAMILY and that's all that matters.

My experience was like Leigh's. Maggie could never quite latch on and after a week of her SCREAMING we finally figured out the poor girl was HUNGRY!! With Abbie - she latched on great but my milk barely came in at all. I was so disappointed. I tried to supplement her formula feeding with pumped breast milk only to get like ONE ounce at a time. My guilt quickly disappeared because I had (and have) the happiest, most content baby ever. It is tough though hearing all the breastfeeding comments and actually being to ashamed to say I formula feed - but I was formula fed and am no worse off for it. Good luck - I really hope it works out for you the third time around - and if it doesn't - just look at how well your other two are doing!!!

they don't hand out gold stars for how you feed your baby :) also there is a saying "third time's a charm." I say go with your gut once your sweet baby arrives. Your other two seem to be perfectly happy thriving children and your sanity is much too precious to worry about which is best...because really? if the child is full and content, who cares? good luck. It's never easy. I nursed with two and with my middle one, she had tons of trouble, so she ended up taking a bottle and she does just as well as the boys who nursed.

There's always generic formula, if that's any consolation. We're using it for our third baby (a/k/a third failed attempt at bf'ing) and it's working just as well as name brand formula at half the cost.

Try to take all of the opinionated, ego-driven people out of the equation and base your decision on you, Luke and all three of your kids. Your sanity, by the time you are having your third child, is of the utmost importance to your whole family-- and if giving it another try is what will be best for you and all three of your kids, then do it. If it will have you beating yourself up and take away from your family dynamic, don't. There is no absolute best answer, no matter what the campaigns say.

Most of all, don't beat yourself up this time. You tried with Kara and with Nathan-- that's fantastic! It was a strong, empowering decision when you stopped with Nathan. You worried so much while breastfeeding, about breastfeeding. You're going to bond with this baby and he is going to be doted on and read to and given a whole childhood full of fantastic experiences that lots of kids can't even dream of. Dig deep and make your decision, and then stand by it. If doing what's right for you and your family pisses someone off, that's their stuff. Not yours.

When I hear about people saying things like, "Well, if you aren't willing to make sacrifices for your children, why did you bother to have them," it makes me want to track this person down and ask, "if you are going to be such an asshole, why did you bother to have children who will probably be assholes too?" I actually think my question is a little less judgemental.

What a horrible state of affairs that there are people out there who are so self righteous that they would make you feel the need to defend your parenting, your choices, your very decision to have kids! How ludicrous. Whatever you do, however it turns out, be at peace that you are making the right choices for yourself, your baby, your family. Tell everyone else (and the voices in your head -- this is the hardest part) to STFU. It takes practice.

I am a first time mom and breastfeeding is very new to me. I didn't have much support from friends or family so I was terrified to do it. I am almost six weeks in and it's been better than I thought but it's still not easy. She latches fine and I have a good supply but she has acid reflux and may even be a little bit lactose intolerant so I deal with upset belly and lots of puke. NOT FUN. At times I just want to quit and switch her to formula but I just have to keep pushing through it. I do know that when I am ready to quit though I will do so and not worry about what other people think. My MIL is very PRO breastfeeding and if I quit I know I'll hear her wrath but it's OUR choice as a mother. Nobody elses. I have faith that you can do it this time, but if not it will be ok! You just have to do what feels right to you.

Delurking to offer a little encouragement..
Bf'ing my first was AWFUL. I weaned him at six weeks and put myself on Zoloft. Yeah.
I was determined to make it work with my second and was able to nurse her for 13 months. My advice: Don't let your previous experiences dominate your current situation. This is a different baby with different needs. Give it a try and see where it goes.
Also: you don't necessarily need a support group, but do find a support person, someone who successfully breast fed and that you feel comfortable with to talk about stuff and encourage you when you are at your wit's end.
One last thing: its not all or nothing. I know "the books" say that if you give any formula at all your milk supply with dry up blah blah blah, but I'm here to tell you that is not true. My husband would give our little girl formula EVERY NIGHT for about 5 or 6 weeks because she was very very jaundice and I was very very worn out. And you know what? Eventually we dropped that bottle feeding and were able to nurse exclusively.
Oh yeah- and if you decide to bottle feed, you're still a great mom and your baby will still love you. In the end, we're all doing the best we can, right?
Sorry so long-winded.

Didn't work for the first. For the second didn't even try and I was so much more "relaxed" coming home from the hospital...plus Luke can help you with the newborn which is HUGE!!!! Enjoy your 12 weeks with your three kids stressfree.....Trust me... they all turn out the same!

I know it's hard, but try to tune out the noise. Only you {and Luke} know what's best for your family. Judgmental self-righteousness is an ugly trait and not something you should at all take into consideration when choosing how to feed your newborn.
Bottom line? You make wonderfully adorable kids and at the end of the day you don't owe anyone an explanation for how you got there.

I'm so very very glad to see the supportive comments for you this time 'round. Honestly, breastfeeding is HARD work. I nursed all 3 of my girls but I never felt superior to anyone else because that was what I chose and was fortunate enough that it worked for me. My lovely little sister had such a hard time trying nursing with her first that she totally went straight to bottle with her second. I guess I just want you to know there are those of us who agree that you can't measure your love by choosing one method over the other. Being a parent is hard enough without the microscopes we get held under. We can SEE how much you love your kids just by what you write about - those hard choices you struggle with. Whichever you choose, I hope you find a solution you and Luke are happy with and don't feel like you've got to justify to anyone. And if anyone messes with you, we've got your back!! Hugs!

This is such a touchy topic. My favorite comment (from a blog I read): "formula is poison." Yeah. And that's why my preemie who gets both breast milk and formula is now only in the 90/80% of the growth charts? If formula is poison, I'm scared to think how much bigger she could have been!

IMO: The type of food you provide doesn't matter as much as the love you surround your kids with. As far as I can tell you are very much successful in that.

I hope that whatever you decide to do, your decision allows you to enjoy those first few weeks at home with your new son without stressing out about feeding him. As long as he's loved and nourished and gets the nutrition he needs from somewhere, you're doing a good job in my book.

Just a quick 2nd comment RE Dorie's comment, we used a generic brand lactose free formula for our little evil genius; half the price and she did very well with it. Our pediatricians were unanimous that generic is fine. For whatever that is worth.

De-lurking to say congratulations on your healthy pregnancy! What a wonderful blessing for your family.
As the mama of a nine month old one of the big things I've learned over the last months is that no parent is perfect, but most of us are trying our hardest and doing our best and that's really all we can do. I wish you the best for a happy & healthy pregnancy and delivery and great bonding with your new addition!

As teenagers, I was always jealous of my sister because of the two of us - she got boobs but I didn't. No really. Even after having a baby I am still an A-ish. Then when she had her kids, she breastfed like a champ. She was a stay at home mom, she - well, she was super mom. Her one fault in my eyes, she gave her kids sugar. Usually however much they want.
I had cracking and bleeding and stabbing pain that went with my breastfeeding. I had a lactation consultant who was 8 states away with her daughter, helping her. I had my sister's legacy to live up to. I couldn't do it. The kicker is I am still not completely dry but I couldn't get enough with a pump or at any feeding to satisfy her. I felt like a failure too. I kept every empty can of formula I fed her until she was one. I stacked them up and took a picture of them. I shared with the world my utter humiliation. The failure of my boobs - a lifelong disappointment.
My point? Oh, my point. It took my sister three months to potty train her kid. It's not taking me quite that long. Ha, ha, ha. I may not have breast feeding but I have a kid who pees in the potty. That's good enough for me.
Relax, if it doesn't happen. It doesn't happen. The world will go on and your kids will grow and each of them will know that you love them. None of them will probably ever ask if you breast fed them. Except maybe Kara, when she has her own babies . . . and then you'll have stories to share.

I tried to BF my daughter, when I thought we had it I was wrong. I could not get comfortable (my in-laws were living with us). Looking back I wish I would have kicked them out of the room I was in instead of going to my bedroom to nurse. I would have been more comfortable and had more success. Who know though.

You have to do what is best for you and your family, most of all you. You have carried the new baby for 9 months and did everything you need to do to keep him healthy in your womb. If BF does not work out for you then it does not work out. Do not let other more judgemental BF moma's make you feel bad. I have heard of some bf momas say they drink and then pump and dump. To me that is worse then formula. Just saying.

Sure bf is "best", but if you are going to stress out about how much they are eating and if they are getting enough to eat. I say the way to tell for sure is to bottle feed.

Good luck! I am sure you will do what is best for you and your family!

There are a lot of bottle fed babies who have turened out just fine!!!

I love this line: "I did not become a mother because I wanted to breastfeed."

I think women back in the age of nursemaids were smart cookies. It's tough, it's time consuming, and it sometimes just doesn't work. Whatever you can manage is great, and if for some reason you can't manage it at all, everything will be well too.

Your experiences (and many of the commenters') were much like my own.

Baby #1: I was in pain and she was hungry and both of us did a LOT of crying. After four weeks I gave up. My "baby blues" went away just. like. that.

Baby #2: My husband bought formula ahead of time to try to keep the crazy at bay. I had a 3-week-early, 5-pound baby who could not latch on, so the nurses had me pumping already at the hospital. Once she could latch on, she'd fall asleep immediately. So I pumped and fed her bottles. I had to supplement about every 4th bottle with formula and we were all fine with that. My first day back at work I decided I hated pumping there and I quit.

Baby #3: I was determined to breastfeed and LIKE it this time! Guess what? I don't like breastfeeding! So I pumped again and what really helped me was that I gave myself a finish line--I was doing this for eight weeks until I went back to work. And that made all the time with that damn pump easy. Also, my supply was a LOT better with this one, so after the first week or so I didn't need to supplement anymore. I did feel a little guilty quitting when my supply was so good, but hey I'm a working mother of two toddlers and a baby. I don't have time or energy for guilt and I refuse to feel disappointed in myself.

My girls are all healthy and happy, in spite of my FAILURE ;) to breastfeed exclusively and long-term. And I'm sure your little guy will be the same, no matter what you choose to feed him!

"I did not become a mother because I wanted to breastfeed. I became a mother because I wanted to experience the joy of raising children and because I thought I could do a good job."

On the nose, right there. xoxo

I think you know my story- 6 weeks with Maggie (same feelings you talk about with Kara- I gave up, my decision, but we had SO MANY issues I just wasn't equipped to deal with in the haze of post-partum hormones and first time Mothering!) I made it longer with Audrey, but ultimately we only got to 4 months, then this past month was mostly formula with some bottles of pumped milk when I had them, until my supply dried up a couple of weeks ago. Today (coincidentally!), I gave her the last bottle of breastmilk I had in the freezer and also gave the borrowed Medela pump back to my cousin. We are done breastfeeding, officially.

It feels weird. It was easier this time with Audrey by far, but we still had our issues that led to it ending earlier than planned. You just do what you can as a mom and eff all of those people who criticize for not 'sacrificing' (WTH IS THAT ABOUT? gah) Love your babies, feed them what you're able to :) xoxo

Well, you have our support, whatever you do. PLUS you have the big-picture wisdom that comes from having already been through two infancy/toddler periods, and knowing that feeding is only a big deal for the first few months. After that, baby's world just gets bigger and bigger, and full of solid food, walking, running, playing and at that point boobs or not doesn't seem terribly important.

THAT SAID, I have had way more success with my second and breastfeeding because I just stuck to two guiding principles: (1) always breastfeed, whenever baby's awake, wake them to breastfeed, nurse while they sleep during the first couple of months and (2) do not accept a bad latch. I learned the hard way that a bad latch leads to mastitis which is truly painful and horrible. I know you have done lots of reading, but a blog I found this year is called "PhD in Parenting" and she has a lot of good breastfeeding information, and just plain empowering writing. Worth a read!

Good luck with number three. I have hated bf'ing each time (out of three) less and less, I think because I knew what I was doing better each time. If you want to do it and succeed, I recommend talking to a lactation consultant that YOU LIKE AND TRUST before you have the baby. So many times, people's bfing tries are thwarted by probably well-meaning, but crazy LC's. It's so hard - you have to be very firm in your dedication to doing it, but flexible enough to stop doing it if it's making you crazy and not make any judgments on yourself. Some mothers breastfeed and some don't. I can honestly say it's had nothing to do with how I bonded with my kids or whatever. I will say I imagine it's difficult to breastfeed after formula feeding, just because in my experience, you get less rest in the beginning when you are breastfeeding. BUT you could pump right away, you can see about Luke giving a bottle in the night so you can get six (or whatever) hours in a row, etc. Try and go easy on yourself - you are going to have three kids in a VERY short period of time (shorter than mine, and mine were CLOSE). You and Luke are very impressive to me, as parents. Not that it's any of my business! :)

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