Is breastfeeding really always best? I was reading, my friend, Jennifer Brandt’s blog Perfectly Disheveled tonight and was reminded of something that I had buried deep within the recesses of my mind…BREASTFEEDING! Oh how it sucked! No pun intended. It was one of the most awful things I have experienced thus far in motherhood. I know its not PC to admit that breastfeeding sucked for me but hey, that’s how I roll. I am honest to a fault. I always thought that breastfeeding would be something beautiful and magical; a sacred bond between mother and baby. And it was but it was also something else. It was what most Hollywood actresses look like without their hair and makeup done, no stylist standing by, no PR person to spin their words into weaved gold. It was raw, it was painful , it was ugly and, on most days, it hurt me deeply. Breastfeeding kicked my ass physically and emotionally. Worse than that, it was humbling. From the beginning, breastfeeding made me feel like the world’s biggest freaking loser Mommy! Amen. I’m divulging the truth that it was for me.
I remember coming home on that first day, driving 15 miles an hour with our blinkers on trying our best not to damage or mess up this most perfect being that we had just been given. We cooked this baby good and read all the books but when it came down to it, we couldn’t believe these people were going to let us take the baby out of the hospital. After all, what the hell were they thinking? We didn’t know what to do. We could barely keep one another alive, plants were dying all over the house, I’d lost a dog but these assholes wanted me to keep an entire human being alive! WHAT?? Panic set in but there was no turning back. We were going to hold onto this halo/fog of new baby splendor as long as we possibly could. The key was to keep the baby in tact.
We arrive home. Hello baby! This is your new house. The whole world, in its entirety, will be forever changed. You will be the sun and we will rotate around you forevermore. Time for a nap. Gently we place the baby into the bassinet and then its time to turn off the lights, pull the room darkening shades and SLEEP. But wait. That won’t work. If the lights are off we can’t see if she’s breathing. If we can’t see that she’s breathing..maybe she’s not. No! Sorry this plan will not work. Abort mission. Abort mission! Turning off the lights won’t do. Instead, we collapsed in exhaustion laying across the bed, with our heads half in the bassinet, with the ceiling fan light turned all the way on! Just about the time my brain and heart gave way and allowed my eyes to close, the baby woke up..starving. Let the breastfeeding commence. No lactation nurse, no holds barred. Let’s do this.
To my teet I drew my baby. She suckled. She didn’t latch very well. I knew that my milk hadn’t come in yet, as the lactation nurse had already informed me of my ineptitude before I had even left the hospital. She, also, had set me up with a medieval contraption known as an SNS. Not familiar with this? Oh, aren’t you the lucky girl? SNS stands for Supplemental Nursing System which is basically today’s scarlet letter for you are a fucking loser who doesn’t have the capability of feeding your own offspring. That’s right, there are broads in the world breastfeeding their boobie nectar to chihuahuas and I can’t keep my own human alive. Fuck. It was the Chia pet all over again. I was panicked that I was going to have to be dependent on a breast pump that is electric. I was popping Fenugreek like they were the last tic tacs in the world. Anyways, those were my choices…Fenugreek and SNS…until my milk dropped. What does that even mean? It’s not like a gallon of formula is going to come spilling out of me. I pumped..barely a taste for my infant. So, I grudgingly hook myself up to the SNS. Picture, if you will, some sort of human type version of what is used on cows. Basically, it was a small container that you filled with formula, that hung around your neck. There was a very small tube attached to that which was then taped to the top of your breast and down at the nipple.For me, that meant atop the nipple shield. It was a pretty hostile site. Poor baby Bella. Why couldn’t her Mommy just produce like all the other Mommies? I don’t know baby. These fucking D boobs apparently are for fun and not function.ARGH! The humiliation.
Why had breastfeeding forsaken me? What had I done wrong?
As I sat there, her looking up at me, questioning what wrong she had done in a previous life to be saddled with such a worthless mom, was enough to break my heart. But I soldiered on because I wasn’t stopping until that milk gave in and came in. I was going to breastfeed this baby if it killed me or broke me. Oh, don’t you worry…it almost did. I called the nurse and she barked at me to only do the SNS every other feeding and only an ounce so that it forced the baby to suckle harder and force my milk to drop. I listened because, quite frankly, this is her job and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. Then in that first 24 hour period, Bella fed every 1/2 hour. Do you know what that means? She was literally off my tit for about 5 minutes every hour for 24 hours. She was crying, out of starvation. I was crying out of frustration, humiliation and guilt. I felt like the biggest piece of shit Mother to EVER walk the earth..even lower than those broads who drove their kids off a bridge. By the next morning, constant crying ( on both our parts) and no sleep, I was at my most vulnerable. And the baby was looking pretty much like an Oompa Loompa. I’m not going to lie to you, I lost my ever loving mind when I realized I had broken the baby. The perfect little baby.
I called the doctor and he said to bring her to the hospital. I was raw. OMG. I was the most exhausted, vulnerable, crazed lunatic on the maternity ward. Oh yes, they made me return to the scene of the crime. The nursery. Immediately, they took one look at our Willie Wonka cast member and told us that our baby had jaundice caused by my malfunctioning bossoms! It was as if someone kicked me in my hemorrhaging crotch, smacked me in my sore raw nipples and yanked my heart out through my chest all while laughing at me. I left the room and ugly cried hysterically…uncontrollably. The Big Guy was freaked out, his baby was orange and his wife was out of her mind. The nurses knew it was hormones. They tried to soothe my fears but it was impossible.
The moral of the story is even after all this, I continued to nurse for 3 months…with the SNS system because I NEVER produced enough milk to sustain my child. NEVER! But that damn lactation nurse kept telling me to keep taking the Fenugreek, it will come in. Then she told me to withhold formula, then I lost her number. I have never felt like such a failure. To this day, it still makes me hang my head to know that I couldn’t just breastfeed. It’s like being 30 and still riding a bike with training wheels. If you’re expecting a child, I would suggest you prepare for your breastfeeding journey. You may search for a breast pump covered by insurance along with other equipment and supplements you’ll need.
But because I would have been ridiculed by everyone I knew and scowled at for not trying my damnest, I did it again with my second child and again we ended up in the hospital with jaundice. Breastfeeding isn’t for everybody…no matter what people say. If I could have, I would have done it for longer. I did love the bond we formed during that breastfeeding time but if you pan out in the pictures, you can clearly see that I was strapped to that SNS contraption which was neither sweet or bond conducive. So, I say to you…for me…BREASTFEEDING SUCKED!
Did you breastfeed? For how long? Was it easy? Was it hard? Did you use an SNS? Would lengths would you go to succeed at breastfeeding your baby?
Wow! What an incredibly powerful description of the EXACT same thing I went through. Thank you so much for posting this. My kids are 13 and 15 and seemed to have grown up to be spectacular people in spite of the fact that I was a failure at breastfeeding. Yet I still have guilt over my inability to provide food for my babies from my DD’s!
I hope everyone reads this who has ever been made to feel inadequate or inferior for choosing not to or not being able to breastfeed their children. You go girl!!
Thanks! I hate that you had to go through the same thing but I do thank you for understanding and support.Breastfeeding may have been one of the hardest things that I have ever had to endure as a Momma!
Thank you! Everyone acts like if you don’t bf you are a bad mother. I had this same problem. But I was pumping every 2 hours which was all day bc it took an hour to pump. The hospital sent me home with formula and that made me feel like I was broken or something, then I spent hundreds of dollars on meds and pumps just to stop at 3 months bc I was in so much pain and sick. Bfing was stressing me out so much the Dr tried to put me on meds. It’s not easy. I feel bad ab it everyday.
Oh lady, big squishy hugs to you and your beautiful D sized boobies!
I ended up nursing for a year- but he was born jaundiced, had colic, and needed to nurse every half hour for the first week before my milk finally came in. Lots of crying, bleeding nipples, and hair tearing.
It ended up being awesome after that- but I was SO UNPREPARED for how hard it would be at first.
Yup, I always say I felt like a bad mommie with bad boobs! I’ve had 2 sons and my milk supply was never enough to keep either satisfied without supplementing. My first son was breastfed exclusively for almost a full month until I gave in because he hadn’t gained even half an ounce. Once formula was introduced he started
gaining right away.
So much mommie guilt no matter what we do.
I’m sorry to read you had such a tough run of it!
I got my first dose of reality after planning a natural birth but then having to be induced.
Regarding breastfeeding, I never put pressure on myself. I supplemented a little in the beginning bc I was concerned he wasn’t getting enough and I wanted to be sure. I had no issues with my milk once it came in but my son developed bad habits when I went back to work like not eating during the day, then nursing all night. I lasted 8 months and would have gone longer but I felt a lot of pressure to get my body back (which I never did) and get back to normal.
Breastfeeding isn’t for everyone and it’s great that for the most part, we have a choice and there are good alternatives!
When my daughter Lucy was born I was determined to try the breastfeeding thing. After two weeks she had lost almost half her body weight and I had NO milk, despite taking fenugreek. I gave up, and switched to formula.
My second daughter Ariana passed away when she was four days old. I had enough milk to feed an entire ward of babies, and no baby to feed. Talk about a bitch slap!
Oliver was born and spent three days in the SCN, on drip to regulate his blood sugar levels. I went to hospital, prepared with bottles of formula, ready for my body to fail again. Instead it was great! He latched straight on, and was a pro! I was enjoying it, it didn’t hurt, we were great!
Till the spinal headache from the epi kicked in. I was on painkillers strong enough to kill a horse. It didn’t kill a horse, but it killed my milk. Ollie lost 13% of his already little 5pound 14 self. I was told to stop feeding immediately, and to switch to formula. Sigh.
I agree. Breastfeeding SUCKS!
This is what kills me about the breastfeeding vs. formula argument. Although, I have to admit, I do actually think breastfeeding has ridiculous benefits, there are some people who CAN’T. Some people like you, some people who get depressed, some people like me, who, though I did go through hell the first week, breastfed for a year and STILL felt guilty that I had to supplement with formula because pumping at work wasn’t keeping my supply up. Women who suffer because they LOVE. And there is no judgement and no need to feel guilty for that. You love your babies and formula is full of nutrients and fantastically formulated to make healthy kids. Can you look at two children and tell whether they were breastfed? NO! Formula is just as good for growing up kids. I am sorry for your suffering.
What kills me the most is that they don’t tell you. People who advocate for bfing often leave out the hard parts. My best friend was all pro-breastfeeding and I warned her that the beginning is hard (can I hear an AMEN sisters?) and she said “Everything will be great!” Two days being home with her son she called me and asked for advice. She was having trouble getting him to latch and he was so upset and she wasn’t making enough and she was pumping every hour and exhausted and drained. And I told her if she really wanted to keep doing it to keep trying until he was 2 weeks old. I remember panicking because my daughter had trouble latching and I had to force it and if I cried she wouldn’t latch so I had to hold my breath while I was feeding her, even though I was bleeding. My poor baby girl drink my blood for the first month. Its awful, but after 2 weeks things got SO much better and it was actually really easy for me, until I went back to work (and I hate pumping with a fiery passion, let me tell you). But people forget to tell you that it isn’t EASY or SIMPLE or even NATURAL sometimes. Sometimes it just doesn’t work, and I commend you for trying. But I think maybe that nurse should have shut her pie hole and told you the truth- Formula isn’t poison.
You are such a great mom. Thanks for putting more truth out there. So many moms suffer for breastfeeding and they need to know that their kids can come out as awesome as yours and that there are lots of women who suffered and are great mommies! The mommy guilt has got to end!
That sounds HORRIBLE. I’m sorry that sucky specialist kept prodding you so harshly – it sounds like everything turned out fine once you lost her number!
This is such a great post, because so many of my friends struggled with breastfeeding, and were pushed passed their capacity by “specialists!” I was lucky – after miserable pregnancies and god awful births, breastfeeding was a pleasure for me. But that’s not true of everyone, and moms should be allowed to make their own decisions and respect their own limits when it comes to this very personal choice.
Debi, LOVED this post. I feel like not enough moms talk about it. In fact, I yelled at my friends with kids after my son was born– HOW COULD THEY NOT WARN ME ABOUT the shitstorm that breastfeeding causes in the first few weeks. THat lanolin cream and the dozens of other organic, natural nonsense I tried didn’t do S to stop my nipple from falling off and certainly didn’t help my son, who I’ve said wiggled like an Octopus getting electrocuted, latch on.
UGH a total nightmare.
I’m glad you were inspired to share. THANK YOU for your story!
Well I wouldn’t fault your friends too much – it honestly doesn’t create a shitstorm for everyone; not by a long shot. They might not have had whatever difficulties you did, or maybe almost none. And I know people who had it a lot easier than I did, too, and I didn’t even have much of a rough time. Half the time it’s all the medical profession idiocy that causes the problems, not a real lack of ability on the mom’s part.
Holy crap!! That is an awful experience. I swear that LCs and the hospitals might WANT women to Breastfeed but they really make it fricken hard to be successful even when you think you are doing everything right. Totally sets us up for failure and guilt and basically suckage…on top of the whole “I just gave birth and have a billion hormones surging through my body and I feel like crap too and I haven’t slept”. Good times indeed.
I was a failure at BFing for my first two kids. The whole latching thing was a joke and then when my milk did come in my breasts were 7 times the size of my tiny kids heads and they couldn’t figure out how to get the milk out of the ginormous things. So they screamed and freaked and so did I frankly. Because I am crazy I decided to pump exclusively for a year for both of them so they each got about 90% breast milk.
When I had #3 I was soooooo fricken determined to BF because me and the pump didn’t have time to have an intimate relationship. So I got a fantastic dvd from a LC by me and it was a totally different philosophy of how to make it work. So even with this determination and information (and two follow up visits with the LC) you are right. BFing still sucked. But it sucked much less. Until DD was at least or 4 months then it was just a pain in the butt since I didn’t like nursing in public.
But now 25 months later DD is still a huge fan…and thankfully I only have to do it once or twice a day 😉 How did I become the posterchild for extended breastfeeding I dont even know..lol!
I’m SO sorry to hear how much trouble you had and how STUPID your lactation nurse was. I have to say, I think they should regulate that profession/credential more, because it seems to me that at least half the loonies that call themselves lactation nurses don’t know what they are doing and end up making moms feel terrible about themselves. I ended up with my nipples pretty much chewed off because Diego was tongue tied and couldn’t nurse. He was starving to death, I had WWIII going on in my bra and not one of the 4 lactation nurses that “helped” me could figure out what was going on. You are right. Breastfeeding is great. But not everyone can do it. Some moms have challenges and some babies do too. And we shouldn’t feel any less about ourselves because of it. That’s was formula was created for, dangit!!!! Love you, Mama!! I wish we had known each other then so I could’ve told you what a douche your lactation lady was and we could’ve laughed about it togheter instead of crrying.
Yep; that’s why I’m pretty glad there were no LCs around for me; La Leche was much more help. And it’s free.
Yeah I nursed both mine. About 4 months each, maybe more. We co-slept; it’s the skin to skin contact and prolonged sucking (which can’t be duplicated by pump) that brings the milk in. Only problem was having a letdown if I was at the grocery store and heard another baby cry. Very embarrassing. It was much easier the second time, though – you tend to know a lot more the second time around. He did insist on being hooked up most of the time, including and especially overnight, so I can’t say that part was easy. Plus when one side would get going the other would start letting down and so I had to take off my shirt and use a towel all the time. There weren’t LCs then that I know of (if there were I never met any) but La Leche was excellent, and the leaders were always kind and available to help out. Considering what I’m reading about LCs I’d say La Leche is all around the better deal. I did get mastitis once the second time – when I thought I was floating away on the fever, I hit the doctor’s office and he gave me some antibiotic emulsion and it cleared right up, fortunately. While the doctor told me not to use that side until it was better, La Leche told me to use that side MORE until it cleared up (guess who was right? Thank goodness I listened to her and not him – actually when I told him that I’d already talked to La Leche and what they told me, he said they knew what they were talking about and to go ahead and do what they said. Not all doctors are that supportive, but he was good. We all do the best we can with what we know and what we have.
Great post!! I searched, breastfeeding sucks and yours popped up.
I have a 3 week old baby girl and it has been a suck fest from day one. I have started pumping and doing 1 formula bottle a day, just to give my nipples a break. Breastfeeding sucks!!!!! I wish more people talked about how horrible it can be!!
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Hi! I just did a blog post called ‘Breastfeeding Sucks’ too. I put a link to this post on it. It looks like our blog name and philosophy are very similar!! Following you now too!
HI, nice to ‘meet’ you.Welcome to The TRUTH about Motherhood. Thank you for the link back and the follow. I guess great minds think alike:) And I most certainly concur…breastfeeding does suck.LOL
YEP! That’s the same thing that happened to me. If BFing isn’t rocking by day 5, it’s formula for #2!
And it’s free. It looks like our blog name and philosophy are very similar!! But that’s not true of everyone, and moms should be allowed to make their own decisions and respect their own limits when it comes to this very personal choice. BFing still sucked.
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