My Breast Was Not Best

May 16, 2019


   As a new mother, in 2013, the "Breast Is Best" campaign was in full swing. I was constantly being asked, in a not so subtle way, if I planned on breastfeeding. Of course I wanted to, that was what was BEST for my baby right? And it was a natural, maternal thing that was sure to come easy to me, right? Wrong... 


    If you read Nathan's birth story, then you know that he was taken my helicopter to a different hospital with a NICU just 3 hours after he was born. While we were separated, I tried to pump and the nurses (over)fed him formula... I am sure that does not happen to every NICU baby, but they fed Nathan a full 2 ounces! Now reminder, I am at a different hospital, Jeremy is there and is trusting the professionals, and they just told him wow he as hungry. A newborn baby has the stomach the size of a cherry... so I am not exaggerating when I say they over-fed him.


    By the time my sweet baby was back in my arms and we took him home, he really was hungry. He was drinking a full 2-3oz at each feeding. I was still pumping, but barely getting anything and my milk didn't come in until about 2 weeks after I delivered - and yes I saw a lactation consultant. She was lovely, had lots of good tips, but I just felt so overwhelmed. She encouraged me to breastfeed as much as I could and not feed to much from the bottle. I needed Nathan to nurse so my body would produce. I was willing to do anything to give him what I thought was best. 


    After my lactation appointment, very little sleep and lots of frustration this is what the scene looked like... I was topless, Nathan was in his diaper (so we could so skin-to-skin) I was trying to get him to latch and we were both in tears. It was insane. I felt like throwing up or passing out- probably both. My mom gently took Nathan away from me, fed him a bottle, and I went in the shower and cried some more. This was NOT how it was supposed to be. 


   From that moment on, I exclusively pumped... for 4 months I hooked myself up the that dreaded machine like clockwork and waited and waited. I would barley get one ounce - from both breasts! By this point you can imagine how much my very hungry little boy was eating. There was no way that I could keep up. And then there was the day that I knocked over my one precious ounce of breast milk- and you better believe I cried over it. I felt like such a failure in so many ways. Eventually, I gave up pumping and it was such a relief.  Even though breastfeeding with Nathan was such a nightmare, I thought surely the reason was our circumstances from the beginning of our feeding journey. I knew that when I had Luke, I was sure to be a breastfeeding success... again I was very wrong. 


    I ordered a fantastic breast pump (thank you insurance!) I was confident and I was ready to be a breastfeeding superstar. Luke was born (you can also go read his birth story) and it was like a dream. Everything was going really well at the hospital. He was latching, truly latching which Nathan never did. It felt so weird, but I knew that is was the first step to my gold medal - duh! We confidently checked out and headed home, not a drop of formula in sight. That first night home ... nightmare. I was in so much pain from my c-section, both boys needed me and I was exhausted. Luke refused to latch, he screamed and cried most of the night. Nathan insisted on being close to me, so I was standing, bouncing Luke (not recommend after a c-sectoin oooowwww) and holding Nathan's hand at the same time while he laid on the couch. I told my mom this is what people needed to see a picture of, because it didn't get more real life than that. 


   The next morning we took Luke to his check-up and learned that he had lost over a pound. I felt my stomach drop. He was still crying, so fussy and I could not get him to latch. Our doctor gave him a tiny, instant formula bottle right there in the office. She said he was literally starving. She also said it was not my fault, but that is not how it felt. Again I felt like throwing up, but I just sat there and cried and I watched my sweet, innocent baby guzzle down that bottle. I was literally the worst mom in the world. How could I let that happen? We left the doctor office with lots of the free sample cans of formula. I still tried to breastfeed for a couple of weeks, unsuccessfully. I pumped, again, like clockwork and still barely got any results. After discussing it, Jeremy and I decided that it would be best for me to just stop. I hated, absolutely hated, everything to do with pumping/breastfeeding. I felt sticky and miserable all the time. I was also not able to actually feed my baby, so it was not worth the misery, frustration, anxiety and guilt I was putting myself through.


   If God ever blesses us with more children, I will not be breastfeeding. That baby will go right to formula, and I will not feel even an ounce of guilt. I know that my body can not feed my babies. I am so incredibly thankful we live in a time where there are lots of smart people making the best formulas possible to feed babies. Breast is not best .... FED is best. I will never let my choices for my children be dictated by what everyone else seems to push. Living with chronic migraine I have become very aware of what my body can handle, but I realized through this situation that I need to transfer that awareness of myself to other aspects of my life and my body. I will honor my boundaries and I will not make myself feel less-than for doing so. Thankfully we are seeing a shift that supports the feeding choices of each mother as an individual. Breast, bottle, formula, pump, combination - whatever you do, know that you are a good mom and I support you. 












Please reload

Our Recent Posts

Tips for Traveling with Kids

November 8, 2019

Our Plan vs His Path

October 29, 2019

Hey, Stranger ...

October 14, 2019

Please reload


Please reload