Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gone baby gone

I am having a really shitty time with breastfeeding right now, and that Violent Femmes song Gone Daddy Gone is going through my head, only I have been replacing Daddy with Baby and love with milk.  Because the milk is gone.  Three nights ago, I woke up with leaking breasts after Cooper slept more than usual, and he nursed like normal all day.  Then, yesterday, no milk.  Lots of crying (me and him), much refusing the bottle no matter what was in it.  Gnashing of gums, chomping of hands, not much sleeping.  Today, more of the same, with grudging consumption of 1 ounce of formula and 1.5 ounces of breastmilk in a bottle.  Empty breasts.  Slow let down.  Baby nursing for 3 minutes on each side and crying when he's done because he's not done.

This has happened before.  Twice.  The week after Thanksgiving and the day before New Year's Eve.  Two bad, bad milkless (milk light) days and then a return to normal. Totally hormonal, right?  Right?  That's what the google tells me.  La Leche League tells me I am not a good enough mom because my baby takes a pacifier, and this is my own damn fault because if I really loved him and wanted him to have the perfect food, I would keep all silicone nipple products out of his piehole. 

So, I am hopeful that the milk will return but also worried because if it doesn't, what the hell is he going to eat?  I got some new nipples for our Dr. Brown's and Vent Air bottles, thinking he might like a faster flow.  I got a Tommee Tippee bottle, too, because its nipple looks totally real (creepy).  I have been nursing every 2 hours and pumping even though nothing is coming out and drinking Mothers Milk Tea and lots of water.  I also started remembering my prenatal vitamin again because I have been reading about low calcium from ovulation through the end of a cycle.

And of course, I have found myself in the formula aisle.  Feeling like shit.

I try to feed my special snowflakes the very best of everything.  Organic kale is on the menu tonight for goodness sake.  I know better.  I have read the mile-long, unpronounceable ingredient list on the back of the BPA-leaching can, and I don't like it, but, oh, how I wish he would just drink it. I don't want to see him cry in hunger or watch his baby fat rolls disappear.

Tips?  Advice?  Support?  How do I get him to take a bottle he doesn't want?


  1. all 3 (and no doubt soon to be 4) of my kids had nothing but chemical laden formula as infants and they are all fine. Don't worry so much, relax, and everything will work out. Hope you milk comes back in, but keep in mind all of your stress hormones are going into that milk too, so take a deep breath and try to let it go. Baby will be fine and strong and smart!

  2. I breastfed for four months before my doctor told me I needed to start supplementing with formula. I had a good cry, because damn it, I didn't wake up at effing 3 am to feed my baby because I wanted to, I did it because I knew breast was best. I had worked so hard to give her the best, and it still wasn't good enough, and that was sad to me. It felt like giving up.
    But the fact was, my baby wasn't gaining enough weight, and was starving, so I had to give in. And she was a different baby after that---she started taking naps and was happy all the time, not whiny and upset. When it came down to it, feeding her what I wanted to wasn't what was important--making sure she ate at all was.
    One other thought--is Cooper 4 months yet? We started Ella on solids at the end of 4 months, and very quickly solids replaced 3 of the 6 feedings she did a day. That could be another option, and most baby food says 4 months is the earliest you can start.

  3. I am so sorry you are having trouble. I've had to supplement with formula for all three kids too. My supply dried up completely at 10 months for Wes and 7-8 months for James (after a stomach virus). I didn't try as hard to get it back as you have been, I mostly added some pumping sessions and complained a lot.

    You're a great mother and formula is not evil. Thank goodness it's an option in situations like these! He'll take to the bottle eventually. Thinking about you!

  4. Sarah, I've been in your shoes and I know EXACTLY what you're feeling. The best thing I could do for you is give you the advice you gave to me, verbatim:
    Gina, I am huge breastfeeding advocate and BF'ed both my kids, although like Becca, my #2 also drank formula starting around 7 months-ish.

    That said, formula is GOOD FOR BABIES. Millions of babies eat it everyday and grow up big and strong and healthy and perfect.

    I don't think you should be feel a teeny bit bad at ALL about giving Chance formula. You are a wonderful mother, and you are giving your kids every possible opportunity-- it really does not matter in the grand scheme of his life what he eats for this tiny, short window.

    Even statistics about the supposed superiority of breast milk are aggregate numbers that never, ever play out at the level of the individual. Please don't feel bad-- you are doing a great job, and Chance is a lucky, lucky little boy.

    You made me feel like it was okay, because it was.

    Sarah, as sad as I know it'll be, give him the bottle. Even if he doesn't take it, he will at some point. And stay strong sista, this too shall pass.

  5. It gets better. And like everyone else has said, formula is not evil. Cooper will not mutate or become a crazy super-villian (figured you'd appreciate the superhero overkill) if he's given a little Similac. He's going to benefit much more if feeding time can continue to be a cozy, safe experience, bottle or breast, than if it's a constant fight and wrought with frustration. You are an amazing, thoughtful, caring mother and your boys are wonderful, amazing kids. Giving him a bottle doesn't change that in the least.