I Think This Officially Makes Me a Mommy Blogger

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This post is going to be mind-numbingly honest, so I hope you’re OK with that.

I’d always hoped to breastfeed. Before I got pregnant, though, my standard thought was that if it didn’t work for me, I would be OK with it. But after Libbie was conceived and as her due date grew closer, I became more and more apprehensive about it. I wanted so badly for her to get that nutrition, to have the closeness of nursing, to not have to PAY for formula. I told many people it would just HAVE to work, because we could afford either diapers or formula.

And I was so blessed to never have any problems with it. After a midnight session with two nurses helping me, I was able to get her to latch on properly. She didn’t have any formula in the hospital. She hasn’t had one drop of formula yet. I’ve just not had any supply issues. When I came back to work I was pumping twice as much as she was eating.

And then, last week happened. I was sick and took two decongestants without thinking about it. Libbie was three months old and that is the time of a major growth spurt. I had started taking birth control pills two weeks earlier. And all of a sudden, I wasn’t pumping as much as she was eating.

I spent most of last week and the beginning of this week at work crying in my office, trying to get out more–using an electric pump, a hand pump, hand expressing, pumping every half an hour. I’ve wasted so much time I needed to be working and frustrated myself beyond belief. I quit the Pill. I ate oatmeal. But mostly, I felt deeply depressed and angry with myself.

On Tuesday, I had the privilege of talking this through with a good friend and with my husband. I was absolutely torn up at the idea of giving Libbie any formula at all. And I had to ask myself, WHY?

The resounding answer in my heart was pride.

I wanted to be able to tell people that I breastfed exclusively for six months. That she’d never had a drop of formula because that is the way God intended it to be. That I was the Queen of Crunchy, an exclusively breastfeeding, cloth-diapering mama.

And that is not a good reason at all.

Pride has no place in the life of a King’s daughter. Which is why I’m mellowing out. Accepted that I might have to supplement a little bit. No one ever tells you how difficult pumping is; that you don’t get as much as the baby get out by herself; that it takes up so much time you’re consumed by guilt; that you will feel very much like a farm animal locked away in your office.

I feel like a giant weight has been lifted from me. No longer crushed by pride, I can just be me. A mama, doing the best I can do, loving my little girl insanely.

Postscript: Thankfully, I was able to go back to pumping what she needed after a month of supplementing and maintained that for another four months. So grateful to be able to provide her with God’s perfect food–mother’s milk!

Carnival of Breastfeeding Posts [Topic: Working and Breastfeeding]:
Breastfeeding at My Family Daycare
A Job Where Everyone Breastfeeds
Sorry, Facilities Guy
Taking Your Working Boobs to Work
Working and Breastfeeding a Toddler
Working and Pumping
Breastfeeding and Working Is Possible, and You Can Make It Work
Do You Really Need a Pump?
What about Breastfeeding When I Go Back to Work?
Breastfeeding and Working in the UK
Tips for Breastfeeding and Working
My Breast Pump and I Didn’t Get Along
Ask an LC: What About Pumping?
The 5 Biggest Mistakes a Working and Pumping Mom Makes
Beating the Employment Booby Trap
This is a Breastfeeding Office
Nursing Mothers Need Workplace Support


30 thoughts on “I Think This Officially Makes Me a Mommy Blogger

  1. Very honest! Good job (on the post and on that pretty girl!)

    {{HUGS}}… there is so much emotion (and PRIDE) associated with nursing and no one ever tells you (or told me) just how heartbreaking it can be when it doesn’t work!

  2. after such a provocative twitter tweet, I decided to bravely attempt reading it. Very interesting! Great wisdom for me to store away for later.

    PS-Was the “pouring my heart out/breastfeeding” double meaning intentional?

  3. I’m sorry your supply is having issues 🙁 I recently found out about the effect decongestants can have on supply, and I’m glad I haven’t had the need to take them yet.

    I have no idea, but are there some herbs or something that you can take to increase your supply?

    I hope that it will return for you soon.

    You’re a real trooper for pumping. Pumping is hard work! I did it a few times to relieve engorgement, and I hated it.

  4. AMEN to that!!!! I had to exclusively pump for almost 6 months because I was to proud to say that I was unable to get my child to latch on….that it somehow made me less of a woman…so I tormented myself pumping constantly so he could have breast milk exclusively. I had to supplement somewhere in his 5th month. After reading this I feel so much better!!! Thank you.

  5. **hugs** Oh, mama, I feel you. I was the same way when I was pregnant with my son. Just adamant that BF’ing would work, no other options. And then my milk never came in. Not a single drop. Not with all the tricks my midwives and lactation consultants had up their collective sleeves. I never made milk. I was DEVASTATED when I finally realized I needed to give up. I cried and cried and felt like such a failure. And why? The pride, I suppose. My daughter was exclusively formula fed and she is so incredibly bright and healthy…so I knew formula wasn’t the awful stuff many Crunchy moms make it out to be. But I had gotten myself so worked up about BF’ing my son that I was a mess when it didn’t work out. This time around, I’m doing the wait and see approach. If my milk decides to come in, I’ll give it a shot. If we have a repeat of last time…then I’m okay with formula.

    So hang in there. Be gentle with yourself. I know it’s hard….

  6. I never produced enough for my children (3) to exclusively breastfeed. So they got a combination for six months each. I pumped at work as well. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Children survive just fine with formula. While breast milk is the best, formula is good as well. Your daughter is more affected by your stress level than the perfection of her milk.

  7. I love candid and honest posts like this one.

    I’m learning to mellow out in the mom trenches,too.

    God bless you, and know that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all when it comes to good mothering.

  8. You are a fabulous mother and the formula or no formula question isn’t the criteria for that. Keep writing so that the baby doesn’t feel the stress; your readers hear you and support you.

  9. You gave Libbie alot of great immunities and are still giving some with every little bit of milk you can do. I know it’s really hard and guilt-ridden but I just came to a point where it was either stress out over breastfeeding or enjoy my kid…I’m glad I chose the second one. Keep your head up and remember no matter what happens, you are a great mom!

  10. i have nothing but respect for moms who go back to work and continue to pump for their babies–for however long. pumping can be HARD, and it holds none of the romance of breastfeeding, so it is completely a labor of love. props to you for making it so long.

    it might be worth it to contact a le leche league person in your area for support. i think there are certain teas that may be able to amp up your milk supply.

    even if you give up pumping today, nothing can take away all the good you’ve done for your baby girl. you’ve gotta take care of yourself, too! great post. blessings to you, and God’s great peace.

  11. Amen and AMEN! As one who used to define myself by all those same crunchy-mama things, it wasn’t until I came under fire for not doing ENOUGH of them that I realized what a monster this mama-pride can be. I’m me, in Jesus… and what He really wants is for me to lead my little ones’ hearts to Him–whether or not they’re born in water, wearing cloth diapers or being breastfed till two. Awesome post on an issue near and dear to my heart.

  12. My doctor told me to just drink lots of water while taking decongestant. It seems to have worked because my supply got back up to normal. Don’t stress about it anyway because a weekend spent with your daugther nursing instead of pumping should get you back on track. But whatever happens, that is not what makes a good mother. Love makes you a good mother, and that comes in so many forms.

  13. We are our own worst critics. You’re doing a super job and Libbie is blessed to have you as her mommy. Don’t sweat the small stuff, kiddo!

  14. what a great post. i love your outlook. i pumped for 4 months and i just couldn’t keep up with the baby’s needs. i used fenugreek from the beginning and thought that it really helped. its a herbal suppliment from the healthfood store or even walmart i think. it helps with supply. just a thought.

  15. Bravo my friend! You put into words exactly how it feels in the middle of having a supply issue. When Amelia was about 3 weeks old I got mastitis and it hurt so badly to nurse. I cried and cried. I finally resorted to pumping and giving her the milk in a bottle, which my mom would feed her while I pumped more. I cried during that because I hated that someone else was comforting my child with a bottle. Breastfeeding really toys with a mothers emotions because you want to do what is best for your baby, but when you can't you feel like a failure! Now Im at 6 months, but I am more relaxed about it. If something were to happen and I could no longer BF< I know at least she got those 6 months.

  16. well said…i know my pride is a big part of why i am still nursing at 9 months and why i hate being seen in public if my son has a disposable diaper on (since we use cloth, “almost always”) 🙂 us mama’s are crazy, huh??
    thanks for summin it all up and reminding us why we do this

  17. oh sister, I know this place. I have struggled with both low supply and high ideals…tough match. and for me, nursing is very emotional and affects my hormones. Even with extremely low supply (come on, the kid might only have gotten a teaspoon), I kept nursing my son for 18mos – it was our bonding time (something nobody around me understood, but I knew we needed it). My second child lost weight and refused a bottle, leaving me to appreciate how lucky I was to be ABLE to supplement with my first child. For me, those were some of the first rounds of decades of loving decisions (life has “tough love” for mama, too!) and slowly hacking away at perfectionism and idealism (which might yet be the death of me). I loved MckMama’s quote – SO well said! Glad you are through this challenge, and off to the next wonderful one…

  18. oh, and dont even get me started on my feelings about that breast pump….what a difficult relationship we had as it constantly made me feel like a half a woman! I loved it when I was productive, but loathed it when it was slowly sucking only a drop at a time…I cant imagine doing it at work on top of it all. Glad you are past that…

  19. I come from a formula fed family, and we've all turned out happy, healthy, and intelligent and I'm sure your little girl will be the exact same!

  20. As a mom to three formula-fed daughters who have barely ever missed a day of school (my oldest will be a senior in h.s. next year), let me just assure you that your daughter will be JUST FINE. I loved your honesty.

  21. I was not able to breastfeed either of my 2 daughters. It was upsetting to me at the time, but I can assure you formula feeding works out just fine too. Both my girls have been healthy and happy (thankfully). It's a non-issue at this point. My eldest is going into her second year of engineering studies at university and her sister is in her final year of highschool. Please relax and enjoy your baby.

  22. My first daughter was born 6 weeks early and spent her first days in the NICU. I was separated from her and pumping my milk to give her. And even after my milk came in on day 4, I only ever got about half as much as she needed. It was so, so discouraging.

    With a little bit of time you may overcome these obstacles and your supply may rebound. In fact, it's likely. But having been where you are I can say that the best thing to do is just what you ARE doing. And that is going easy on yourself, and re-focusing your priorities.

  23. I secnd what Amber said, and know that there are herbs you can take (like fenugreek) that can be taken to increase supply too. And of course, there's always the issue of supply and demnd. The more you feed or pump the more you will make. Keep up the fabulous work and thanks for a great post!

  24. You're right about the frustrations of pumping. I remember times when I would be sitting there after 45 minutes of pumping, staring at two ounces of breastmilk. I was like, "COME ON!" But you stick with it – and some days are better than others. 🙂

  25. Wow – great post! Thanks for sharing your story. You know, I noticed my supply starting to drop from the (mini)pill, too, so I quit it.

    Congrats on raising a gorgeous baby and working so hard to give her breastmilk. You are awesome! 🙂

  26. I have been struggling with supply issues since my daughter's birth and was forced to start supplementing with formula at 7 weeks due to failure to thrive. I never even realized until I read this post that my frustration and guilt was due to pride. Thank you so much for your honesty. God bless you.

  27. This post actually made me cry. I had a completely different experience than you, but many of the feelings are quite similar. After reading this, I feel almost certain that pride had at least something to do with my abhorrence of formula. Thank you for sharing this.

  28. Thank you for writing this. For me the drop in how much I could pump came when my daughter was 4 months. I tried everything, including stopping the Pill, and watched with saddness as my freezer supply dwindled over the next month.

    At 5 months old we started supplimenting with formula. It's been two months now and I still feel a little sad I can't pump enough for her, and pride always makes me say, "But it's only 4 oz a day, the rest is breast." Ugh, I just need to let it go.

  29. So glad you got through it, and learned something. It's not how you feed 'em, it is how you raise 'em…That got me through difficulties breastfeeding. I pumped for nine months…Glad I did it, don't recommend. I spent a lot of time crying and struggling…it's all about mama being happy and baby being happy.

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