Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Exclusive Pumping Story

I have attempted to write this post so many times & I end up staring at a blank screen. I don't even know where to begin with our  breastfeeding journey, how it went wrong or how I ended up in exclusive pumping territory so I will attempt to piece this together as best I can.

Before Harper was born, I had every intention of breastfeeding as long as I could. We took classes, read books, talked to our experienced friends, we were ready to roll. I had a scheduled c-section (because Harper was breech, you can read her birth story here), and immediately after the surgery was over, we were wheeled to recovery where the nurses assisted in getting her latched for the first time. I felt like things were going well, we were bonding, she was getting colostrum & I didn't feel much pain. After about 24 hours in the hospital, it seemed like things weren't really progressing with her latch, we met with a lactation consultant & eventually ended up feeding her a little bit from a plastic spoon. We continued to get help from our nurses & two other lactation consultants while we were in the hospital, but Harper just couldn't latch properly. On day 3, she had lost over a pound & our nurse told us that it was time to supplement with some formula. I was totally against it. I vaguely remember wanting to rip my husband's head off when the nurses finally talked us him us into it & he got to bottle feed her for the first time. I yelled at him saying that he only agreed to give her formula because he wanted to feed her. (wow, I was an asshole!)

Long story short, the lactation consultants recommended using a nipple shield as a temporary solution. It seemed to help with her latch for the most part, but apparently does not allow for proper milk stimulation, so it required pumping after each feeding. 10-15 minutes of breastfeeding on each side with the shield plus 10-15 minutes of pumping after. Then I could feed Harper the rest of the pumped milk after or save it for the next feeding.

I purchased the Medela Pump in Style Advanced before she was born, so we were lucky to have it waiting for us when we got home since we used a hospital one during our stay. It was well worth the money!

Our feeding routine eventually looked something like this:
Breastfeed with nipple shield - 20 min.
Pump (both sides at once) - 10-15 min.
Cry because I hardly produced any milk - 2 min (sometimes 2 hours)
Bottlefeed with rest of milk - 10 min.
Wash Pump Parts & nipple shield for next round - 10 min.
Contemplate putting all pump parts down the garbage disposal & running the actual pump over with my car - 30 seconds (sometimes longer)
Repeat 2 hours later.

We quickly learned that this was just not really working. I kept trying to get her to latch, we met with another lactation consultant to try to wean from the shield & I was not producing enough milk, so I was sometimes supplementing with formula. She also spit up EVERYTHING, like projectile liquid the second she was done eating, all over herself/us/earth. Then, she starting to refuse breastfeeding all together since it was just so much easier to drink from the bottle. Finally, we made the executive decision that if I had to pump ANYWAY, we might as well just go that route & stop forcing it. From that point on (Harper was almost a month old), I went to exclusively pumping. At this point, she was eating every 3 hours (spitting it all up immediately after), with usually one (sometimes two) 4 oz. bottles of formula in the mix to supplement.


 I was on maternity leave for 8 weeks, but then I worked from home. Sounds great right? It was nearly impossible to actually work all day, while feeding+pumping+washing took almost an hour, every three hours. I also HATED the actual pumping process. It was painful & so inconvenient. Not to mention, Harper was sleeping through the night at five weeks, but I couldn't get through the night without waking up in pain with clogged milk ducts, so I still had to wake up once or twice in the night to pump. Seriously, fuck that. The only thing worse than waking up to your crying baby is waking up just to stick your boobs in a vacuum. I remember my husband telling me how he would dream of the "black-ops. black-ops. black-ops" sound in his sleep. I longed to just be able to put the baby on the boob when she was hungry & be done with it.


Eventually I got the hang of it & was able to produce enough milk, but the spitting up just kept going. It was tough to work so hard to pump that milk & then watch her spit it up all over the couch. The doctors kept telling us that as long as she was gaining weight & not crying when she spit up that she was fine. BUT she was grumpy/cranky/gassy all the time. I tried cutting a million things out of my diet, switched bottles eight hundred times, paci, no paci, different positions, etc. Our doctor gave us a sample of Similac Sensitive Formula at one of the appointments & told us to try that as her supplement for a little while. We were skeptical, but willing to try anything at that point. 

And whaddaya know. She didn't barf it up. We tried it again the next day, happy baby, no spit up. Then we gave her two bottles of it, then three & I swear. to. God. she was a whole different baby. To this day, I will never know what it was about breastmilk or other formulas that her tummy couldn't handle, but that sensitive formula did the trick. I kept trying to force for her to keep having breastmilk, but eventually realized it was more for me & less for her. Around five months, we finally decided to call it quits. I kept pumping for a little while JUST in case we changed our minds, slowly decreasing pumping sessions by one every other day. We soon had a freezer full of breastmilk popsicles & a baby totally content with never drinking it again. It was time to say goodbye to the pump. I was pumping around 3 times per day. I actually went with old wives tale of putting cabbage leaves in my bra, and wa-la! It worked! Just three days later, no more milk (and no more boobs). My husband was awesome throughout this whole experience, he was very pro-breastfeeding as well, so it could have gone either way with us trying to make decisions together. He was honestly such a rockstar throughout the entire process.

Tips for Exclusively Pumping:
  • EAT. A LOT. Especially healthy fats. The reason I struggled so much in the beginning with milk production was that I didn't eat enough. Who has time for eating with a newborn?! My best friend, Whitney (champion breastfeeder & pumping badass) came to visit me when Harper was a little over a month old & the first thing she told me was to go have a cheeseburger! After having her at my house & pumping together for a week, I was producing almost 2oz more milk per pumping session! I started keeping bananas & granola bars in my beside table to eat in the middle of the night when I woke up to pump.
  • Never skip a pumping session. Not only do you have to pump every time the baby eats, but also in between sometimes in order to keep your supply up & to relieve yourself. It sucks. It's the hardest part is the self discipline not to sleep through it.
  • Invest in lots of extra pump parts & a good washing station. Since all of the pieces need thoroughly washed/sanitized, it's worth the money to get a few hundred extras so you aren't forced to wash between each use. If you plan to use the Medela Pump, I recommend getting a couple of these accessory sets, it will save you so many headaches. We also sectioned off one side of the sink & counter top to have a basin/bowl to wash everything in, we used BabyGanics Bottle Soap, Munchkin Bottle Brushes & my beloved Boon Lawn Drying Rack (with these Boon Stem Accessories for small pieces). 
  • Stay hydrated. Another tip from Whitney (who called me out on not drinking enough water) would push me to drink an entire tumbler of water during each pumping session. Again, totally made a huge difference in my supply. 
  • Don't kill yourself over having to supplement every now & again. You are doing your very best as a mama to give your baby every bit of your milk that you can, the stress of breastfeeding can take such a toll on your relationship with your baby (and husband), that a little formula here & there can be just what you need to get back in the game.
Despite elaborate plans, nothing ever goes the way you want it to. I ultimately had to do what was best for us & stop worrying about what everyone else would think. I was terrified to tell other moms that I wasn't breastfeeding her or thinking about who was watching & judging me in restaurants as I made a formula bottle for her.
This may not be the most helpful/insightful post, but this is my experience. I know there are probably a million other things we should have/could have done, but I know that I gave it my best & Harper turned out just fine. She has always been an extremely healthy baby & she is a great eater.

 
I love this little girl more than life itself. All I ever want to do is make the best decisions that I can for her, and in this situation, I think we did. I look forward to giving it another shot with baby number two, someday. 
I also look forward to putting my pump in a bonfire after it's all said & done.

211 comments:

  1. I loved this post. Though I didn't have it as bad.. it was pretty difficult at first. I remember crying one night wondering why I couldn't do the one thing that 'should be easy to do'. You are so lucky to have had so much support from your husband. I promise you I have THE MOST AMAZING guy by my side.. but he could of been a little more amazing when it came to me breastfeeding. I had no support really, but I think that made me even more determined. To remain sane, I finally had her switch from breast milk to breast milk and formula. It took a while for the guilt to go away, but I was so unhappy with my breastfeeding experience that I was not enjoying my newborn. Again, I loved this post and I'm glad you shared this for any new mommy who might be going through something similar.

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  2. Hey Jessica,

    I went through the EXACT same thing as you did. I would cry and cry because I didn't understand what I was doing wrong. I just couldn't produce enough breast milk. I also had to supplement with formula and some people even gave me a hard time about it. But, I had to do whatever it took to keep my baby healthy, and if that meant supplementing, then so be it. Glad you told your story. Makes me feel better to know I'm not the only one who went through this.

    Marissa
    thesimpleswan.blogspot.com
    A Fashion, Beauty, and Mommy Blog

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  3. OMG - this is nearly my exact experience, without as much barf (sorry!). I'm also planning on posting a pumping story one of these days, and will link up when I do. It's so hard to find exclusive pumping information, we kind-of have to band together! Mallory @ http://chasingourfuture.blogspot.com

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  4. I was so glad to hear you say that you were terrified for others to find out that you weren't breastfeeding because that was a big issue for me, too! I felt like I'd be letting everyone down if I switched to formula. I eventually got over like you did, and now really enjoy not having to milk myself like a cow all day:)

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  5. This post makes me happy and sad at the same time. But you're totally right -- all that matters in the end is that you and Harper are happy and healthy! I don't have kids yet, but this will come in handy someday (a long time from now). Thanks!

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  6. I LOOOOVE this post! I have a simlar experience, but I had to eventually give it up because my little guys was NOT getting enough milk. Dr's and Lac Consultants told me he was fine and I was pumping more than I thought blah blah blah, but a momma just KNOWS these things. I felt like a real dumb ass for awhile mixing bottles of formula in public, and even worse in front of my family. But a screaming baby is sooooo much worse that getting over your pride and just giving that baby some formula!! Thankful for your post!! I think you're a rockstar mom!! May I fly in from Utah to join your pump-burning mayhem?!

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  7. Good job mama!! Thanks for sharing your experience. I breastfed my son and had so many bumps in the road too, its not easy! Following your instincts is so important, and every baby has a different story, I think you've done (and are doing) such a wonderful job as Harpers mama! :) Its these adventures that build bonds & memories with our Hubbys and babys :) Keep rockin it! :)

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  8. I had the EXACT same experience. Breech, last minute c-section, miserable time with latching and spitting up, wanting to shoot myself in the head every time I had to pump. ugh. glad that's over and that I'm not the only one. you're better than me, I'm doubting ever even trying it again! :)

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  9. Thank you for this post! My son was born on 2/23 this year and we've been having similar trials breastfeeding (troubles latching, not enough milk production, nursing then pumping then crying and rarely sleeping). The more I talk/write about it, the more I find that most of my friends had struggles too. Yet when they are happening, you can feel so alone and incompetent...at least that's how it felt in my case! Hearing how other women dealt with their "breastfeeding woes" has been incredibly helpful. Also, hearing how common they are has helped me to handle the culture of guilt that goes along with not being able to exclusively breastfeed. The guilt has been the hardest part of it all! But we're figuring out what is best for us and that is all you can do. And I'm with you, when all is said and done, - burn pump burn!
    projectbabymom.blogspot.com

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  10. This really hit home for me, Jessica.
    I'm struggling with pumping for my 7 week old girl, and it's a nightmare! I am able to breastfeed her (thankfully, or else we would've gone all formula already), but when I try to pump in order to get some stores for if I have to go out or whatever, I get MAYBE a 1/2 oz each session. And it really effing sucks to wake up in the middle of the night for a measly 1/2 oz. It makes me want to throw things. And kick pump designers in the shins. I feel like a dairy cow.

    So, thank you for sharing your experience. It definitely makes me feel less alone.
    Harper is GORGEOUS!
    xoxo,
    jackie
    perchedup.blogspot.com

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  11. A mom once told me, "You do the best you know and can at the time". I have said this to myself so many times! You as a mom will always do what is best for your child and you know you did!!! Don't worry about what other people think! Great job mom!
    Katie
    godslittlegrace.blogspot.com

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  12. You go mama! I couldn't handle pumping - such a pain (as you described) in the boob. I felt like a freaking milk cow and I just despised ever pumping. And Presley had a really tough time with Presley's latch in the beginning as well - started with the nipple shield - and thought BFing was not going to work for us.

    Good thing our babies are healthy and happy and growing. XO

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  13. I swear your blog is my all time favorite mommy and me blog. My daughter is like a month younger than Harper and it seems like you and I have had a lot of the same experiences with our girls. Kinda refreshing to hear someone else has had to go through some of the same things. xo A

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  14. This is so similar to my breastfeeding experience with my daughter Rilyn!! I am just comforted knowing that someone else had a hard time with it because so many people are so quick to say its sooo easy to breastfeed, but reality is, it's not for every single baby and momma! And funny thing, we switched her to Similac Sensitive and was a happy baby from that point on. But I give you more credit, I only lasted about 2-3 weeks I believe before switching her over to formula... but she wasn't gaining weight or keeping my milk down so in the end I knew I was making the right choice!

    I hated the pump too and have the same one!!

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  15. Thanks for sharing your experience! Mine was quite similar and I had so much anxiety about my little guy getting enough milk and stress over the constant CONTSTANT pumping schedule coupled with trying to work full time (and then some). I was so relieved when I went off the pump and felt like I could actually enjoy my baby without all the stress and anxienty from the breastfeeding issues. This post is a blessing to me and I know will be a help to many. Thanks again.

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  16. Thank you so much for your honest experience. I am 19 weeks pregnant and doing all of the research I can on breastfeeding. I was wondering if you could tell me what books you read that you felt actually helped you are was it best to just figure it out as you went. Also thank you for the tips on what to buy. I immediately logged on to my registry and added the accessory sets.

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  17. Well said, Mama!
    I (unlike a lot of your commenters) don't have a similar story but breastfeeding was frigging painful the first time around {I'm on round #3. Ridonc.} but even though I was and am able to breastfeed all three of my boys, I love to hear of Mamas trusting their gut and doing what's best for baby. If that means formula, then that's what it means.
    None of this "you suck for not breastfeeding your baby" crap. That's total bull. And way to go for hanging in there with the pumping for as long as you did. I pumped a few times with my first two to store up for a couple events where I'd be away and it SUCKED. Pun totally NOT intended. :)

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  18. Love reading this post! For the first 2 and a half months of our little ones life, we were all miserable. me, my husband, and my 2 year old. Our baby was always fussy, gassy and had the worst diapers ever! it took us two months until we got her tested for allergies and found out she was lactose intolerant. But before that I had eliminated EVERYTHING from my diet. And still she was not feeling good. So our pediatrician recommended we try Nutramigen formula for 10 days instead of breast milk. and wa-la! she was a perfectly, happy, content baby. So I waved my white flag and surrendered. I know how you feel. Our life was such chaos until she started formula. She cried literally every second of the day! And now, i feel like we have a whole new baby! A mother knows whats best for her baby, and your own sanity. :)

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  19. oh! and I exclusively pumped for my first too! its so much freaking work!

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  20. I had a very similar experience with having to exclusivly pump after trying to 3 weeks. My son was a horrible latcher and we tried so many different things to get it to work with no luck at all. I made it about 5 months pumping only and decided I could not take sitting and pumping for 20-30 while he was kicking me and wanting to play. My boobs where killing me every time I had to pump. I felt the say way about feeling guilty but I realized that I had done it for as long as I could and I physically couldn't take the pain and discomfort of the pump anymore.
    Thank you for writing this post. It gives people out there who have been through the same some hope. I hope that any new moms that are reading this will understand that breastfeeding isn't everything. It comes naturally to some and others have to struggle. In the long run you will do what is best for your little one. Don't pile the guilt on yourself. Your baby will be happy and healthy. Thanks for sharing your story!

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  21. I'm right there with you. I exclusively breastfed my first daughter for an entire year. When baby girl #2 came it was hell. She hated nursing, it hurt, she spit up CONSTANTLY, and I just threw in the towel. Similar sensitive made her such a happy no puke baby. I was so ashamed of not breastfeeding her but, I know that for us & for her it was the right decision. She is 7months old now & I am still confident that we made the best choice for her.

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  22. Jessica, that post seriously gave me goose bumps and tears. That is my EXACT story. Spit up, lacthing, pumping, the whole nine yards. I threw in the towel at 4 months because I was soo stinkin exhausted from the pumping , feeding, dishes every 5 sec. I lost so much weight and was a stick when I got done (not in a good way just a really crummy way)AND tired and cranky. I'm still having a hard time excepting the fact that I "quit" but thanks for making me feel better:)

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  23. Another helpful tip - just put your pump parts in ziplock bags in the refrigerator after pumping sessions. They're good for a day or two that way. Saves lots of washing!

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  24. With my son it took 7 weeks before he figured out how to latch. After that, things were so much better, but those 7 weeks of using the shield, then pumping, then bottle feeding were so stressful! Plus, my son would cry when he'd even see me open my bra because he just wanted the ease of the bottle. I remember crying to my husband one night, "My baby hates my boobs!" When you're so stressed, exhausted and hormonal, it just seems like forever. I saved my text to my husband of, "HE LATCHED ON!!" when he finally figured it out.

    When my daughter was born and latched on right away, it was amazing. I work full-time, so my pump and I are best friends. That doesn't mean that I won't be ridiculously excited when we part ways, though.

    I had to laugh that your husband thinks your pump says, "Black Ops." I think mine says, "Thelma Green,"(I have no clue where I came up with that) and my friend says hers says "America."

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  25. I'm so glad you wrote this! My baby spit-up excessively to breastmilk. I never made enough. I felt like a failure and that everyone was judging me. I hid it too. I've spent lotttttts of hours crying over it. Similac sensitive was the only thing that worked for my baby too! (For about a month, then we went to soy, and now we're on alimentum - liquid gold in a can.) I've been afraid to write something like this on my blog, so I applaud you, my friend.

    www.themilehighmom.com

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  26. I'm so glad you wrote this! My baby spit-up excessively to breastmilk. I never made enough. I felt like a failure and that everyone was judging me. I hid it too. I've spent lotttttts of hours crying over it. Similac sensitive was the only thing that worked for my baby too! (For about a month, then we went to soy, and now we're on alimentum - liquid gold in a can.) I've been afraid to write something like this on my blog, so I applaud you, my friend.

    www.themilehighmom.com

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  27. Thanks so much for posting this! We are in the weaning from breastmilk process now at about 5.5 months, so it's nice to see how well she took to formula. And I have to admit I was pumping while reading and now everytime I pump I will probably think the black ops black ops thing! :)

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  28. Thank you so much for this post!!! My little guy is only 3 week old and I'm already in the exclusively pumping club. He was 3 weeks early and had major latching issues. After trying the nipple shield and him still not gaining weight, we switched to pumping during the day and supplementing with formula for our 2 middle of the night feedings. He spits up like crazy as well. After reading this, I'm going to try the sensitive formula and see what that does. Thank you so much!!!

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  29. Great post! I really appreciate your candor. Harper is one lucky girl :)

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  30. For a minute I thought I was reading my breast feeding story. My little boy was born on Valentine's Day and we are finally just starting to get the hang of things with breast feeding but it still is not as easy as I thought it would be. I went through almost the exact same thing as you, (e.g., latch problems, nipple shield, ridiculous amounts of pumping, etc.) It. was. crazy. I literally thought I was going insane and definitely had some postpartum issues because of it. I felt like I was constantly feeding, pumping and washing. We ended up discovering that our little guy had a short frenulum, (the piece of skin between the bottom of your tongue and your palate). A lactation consultant recommended we have it clipped and he'd be able to latch better. After much speculation and maternal guilt, we decided to have it clipped and thankfully, it worked. Even still, breastfeeding was and still is very challenging. My little guy also has sooo many issues with spitting up and I've often thought that formula might be a better answer. He's gaining weight and doesn't seem to be in pain but like your little girl is always fussy/cranky. Thanks so much for posting this! It's comforting to know that other people have gone through this and that switching to formula, although not n easy decision is sometimes the best one. Great, great post! Your little girl is precious!

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  31. You are not the only one! I had such a hard time with Ryleigh.. my milk didn't come in until 5 days after I had my c-section.. so it pretty much started off bad. Then she just didn't latch very well. I made the decision to exclusivly pump and maybe add a little formula here and there. All I could pump was 2 oz at a time! I tried everything and I was going INSANE! I was driving my husband insane! So in order to keep my sanity I made the decision to switch to formula. I never looked back! I know some moms look down on people that use formula but it was the best thing for my baby girl!

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  32. For a minute I thought I was reading my breast feeding story. My little boy was born on Valentine's Day and we are finally just starting to get the hang of things with breast feeding but it still is not as easy as I thought it would be. I went through almost the exact same thing as you, (e.g., latch problems, nipple shield, ridiculous amounts of pumping, etc.) It. was. crazy. I literally thought I was going insane and definitely had some postpartum issues because of it. I felt like I was constantly feeding, pumping and washing. We ended up discovering that our little guy had a short frenulum, (the piece of skin between the bottom of your tongue and your palate). A lactation consultant recommended we have it clipped and he'd be able to latch better. After much speculation and maternal guilt, we decided to have it clipped and thankfully, it worked. Even still, breastfeeding was and still is very challenging. My little guy also has sooo many issues with spitting up and I've often thought that formula might be a better answer. He's gaining weight and doesn't seem to be in pain but like your little girl is always fussy/cranky. Thanks so much for posting this! It's comforting to know that other people have gone through this and that switching to formula, although not n easy decision is sometimes the best one. Great, great post! Your little girl is precious!

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  33. I don't even have a baby and I worry about this sh*t! Thank you for sharing! I will be going back to all your posts once my little one is here someday. Love the Harper pic :)

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  34. Oh man. We had a similar experience with my first sweet baby. She could not latch to save her soul, poor thing. I did the breastfeed, pump, repeat cycle for awhile and eventually switched her to nutramigen. And then I cried a whole bunch. Finally when she was a little older we switched pediatricians and she immediately pointed out that our babe had a crazy tongue tie, it made it impossible for her to latch. Something we didn't even know to check for!

    ANYWAY. I wanted to tell you that the second time around CAN be different. I had my boy last January and he was a natural. When he latched immediately I was like WHAAAT they can just KNOW how to DO THIS??? I had plenty of milk (which the first time around I assumed I just sucked at), we exclusively breastfed on demand for eight great months until he started solids and had little interest in nursing (broke my heart. but. still.)

    Just wanted to give you hope for a slightly smoother experience the next time! Also, I tried for a VBAC after my first section... though I ended up having another c-section it was a great experience. I will try for a VBA2C with our next baby...

    www.micciandjazz.blogspot.com

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  35. What did you do with your frozen milk? I have a good amount myself and I don't want to throw it out!

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  36. What did you do with your frozen milk? I have a good amount myself and I don't want to throw it out!

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    Replies
    1. Donate it to a hospital!!! So many babies could benefit so much from your extra supple! :)

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    2. Or look up Human Milk for Human Babies. You may have a local chapter.
      Donating to a hospital is a great option, but there is a lot of testing and documentation involved. If your breast milk is not useable, it will be destroyed.

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    3. Definitely donate it!!! I work in a NICU in CA and we use donated milk on a regular basis. Go to sanjosemilkbank.com If you decide to donate all it takes is a quick blood test and they send you a cooler to mail them your milk. At no cost to you. It's an amazing thing. Check it out!

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    4. My little one was born with a congenital heart defect and was in the NICU for 4 weeks and i was so grateful they had donor milk since my milk didn't come right away! donating is such a great thing!

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  37. For a minute I thought I was reading my breast feeding story. My little boy was born on Valentine's Day and we are finally just starting to get the hang of things with breast feeding but it still is not as easy as I thought it would be. I went through almost the exact same thing as you, (e.g., latch problems, nipple shield, ridiculous amounts of pumping, etc.) It. was. crazy. I literally thought I was going insane and definitely had some postpartum issues because of it. I felt like I was constantly feeding, pumping and washing. We ended up discovering that our little guy had a short frenulum, (the piece of skin between the bottom of your tongue and your palate). A lactation consultant recommended we have it clipped and he'd be able to latch better. After much speculation and maternal guilt, we decided to have it clipped and thankfully, it worked. Even still, breastfeeding was and still is very challenging. My little guy also has sooo many issues with spitting up and I've often thought that formula might be a better answer. He's gaining weight and doesn't seem to be in pain but like your little girl is always fussy/cranky. Thanks so much for posting this! It's comforting to know that other people have gone through this and that switching to formula, although not n easy decision is sometimes the best one. Great, great post! Your little girl is precious!

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  38. Thank you for sharing your journey! This was my situation 18 months ago and just like you, I tried at breastfeeding but pumping was just easiest on myself and him. I also had a C-section so trying to find the right position that was comfortable for the both of us was a challenge. I pumped for 3 months then decided to give him formula only. I think as Moms, we go with our gut and do was is best for our babies and ourselves, even though there is so much judgment out there on what you "should" be doing. We all need to support each other as moms and leave the judging at the door.

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  39. This is exactly identical to my attempt at breast feeding! Thank you so much for sharing! I still do feel like people are judging me when I make her a bottle in public I totally get how that feels. I'm hoping breast feeding might be easier with the next baby but by the end of my breast feeding experience our baby girl literally cried at the sight of my boob lol.

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  40. Same situation with me and my first. She just would not latch! We tried for 6 weeks! Finally I started exclusively pumping and did so for 6 months before switching to formula. I felt ashamed as a women that we couldn't breastfeed, it's supposed to be natural right?? No! It can be very hard!
    Luckily with my second it did come naturally, it's different with every child. I feel so happy it's been so much easier this time around. Good luck with your second whenever that time comes!

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  41. Girl, you gotta do what you have to do for your baby to be happy and healthy. :) I understand completely and have no regrets giving my daughter formula. She is alive, healthy and happy. That's our job as mamas. Keep up the good work. <3

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  42. Very similar situation with my first! She just wouldn't stay latched! We tried for 6 weeks, then I switched to exclusively pumping. I did that for 6 months then switched over to formula. I felt ashamed as a women because we couldn't breastfeed, it's supposed to come natural right? No! It can be very difficult! I hated giving her a bottle and felt judged when doing so in public. I'm sure I wasn't, it was just in my head. In the end though, it was what was best for my daughter and that's all that matters.
    Now with my second breastfeeding did come naturally! I am so happy for that! Each child is so different. Good luck with your second whenever that time comes!

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  43. i love your honesty!!! i say PROPS to sticking to pumping for as long as you did, given the fact you had a REALLY hard situation with any kind of breastmilk from the beginning...you made it way longer than i did my friend.
    i'm hoping to give breastfeeding a shot once carson makes her debut, but i am SO not going to put pressure on myself like i did the last go-around...if it works, great, if not, so be it.
    and i totally agree with you on the bonfire idea!!!!

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  44. I cannot say that I completely share your experience.. I was not able to breastfeed at all, and I knew this before Christian was born. I tried the cabbage leaves too & they totally worked! However, since he was born in the last week of August, it was a smelly, sweaty mess & to this day I CANNOT smell cabbage without gagging!! The most important thing is that babies get the nutrients they need, & you did exactly that with Harper! no guilt mama!! :)

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  45. I loved reading your story as I am in the throws of learning to nurse my new baby--- but I just wanted to share that the nipple shield does not necessarily mean you won't produce enough... I have used one everytime I nurse my daughter for the past 2 months and never had a production problem (I know some people attribute low production to the shield, I just wanted to share it isn't always the case!) Thank you for sharing!!!

    Also--- to those of you who have lots of extra milk you aren't going to use- please consider donating it to the hospital--- they use it for babies in the nicu and other babies whose Momma's aren't able to produce enough but want their babies to get at least a few days of breast milk!

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  46. I loved this post. I am a first time mom due at the end of May and breastfeeding consumes my mind! I really really really want it to work but I also need to realize that if it doesn't work, that its OK. I also need to remember to do what's best for us and to not worry about what other moms will think of me if I have to use formula. I have heard eating and drinking lots of water are key! It's going to be hard to eat cheeseburgers when all I'm goign to want to do is loose the baby weight though!

    Thank you for this post!

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  47. I LOVE THIS POST! The beginning sounds exactly like my hospital experience (and wanting to breast feed so bad). I got mastitis when my milk came and and was so busy feeding, pumping, supplementing, trying to get the swelling down so my milk would come out that I would just cry that I never got to see my baby. When the infection went away, so did my supply...looking back it was prob. bc of stress, not eating/drinking enough bc I was too busy pumping. Anyway, while I find the positive breastfeeding stories inspirational, I love that I can find a REAL mom that tried as hard as me and...it just didn't work out! I beat myself up for months, but in the end he is happy and healthy and I get to hang out with him instead of pump! :)Thanks for making me feel good about my decision again...

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  49. I bought the same pump and did the same kind of preparation. Then I had three days of fruitless labor (most of it on pitocin without epi) followed by an emergency C-section. That meant lots of stress and no food during those three days. Not a great way to start milk production. By the time we left the hospital, my baby girl had lost 15% of her birth weight. She continued to lose weight, although I pumped colostrum and fed it through an eyedropper. We supplemented a 2 oz bottle of formula which subsided the screaming. She was hungry. The doc confirmed on a follow-up for weight. She needed more food. I felt the pressure. For the next 6 weeks, I actually did nothing but pump, feed, clean, repeat. Literally. Pumping before and after each session. She was a grazer so she would feed for about an hour. Then she was still hungry. After 3 rounds of feverish infections, and one round of antibiotics that affected her tummy, I said enough. I bawled and blamed myself, but no amount of supplement, water, food, etc was getting it done. I just couldn't catch up to her needs. We started her on formula. New baby. Better sleeper and has been such a happy little girl ever since. I read all kinds of shit about how bad of a mom this made me, but I stopped resenting breastfeeding, and I started to get the chance to bond with my baby not my breastpump. Anyway, every baby is different, and people need to learn to cope with that. Mommies always know their baby best.

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  50. Funny, I read your post in the middle of my pumping sesh! I've been exclusively pumping for 11 weeks now and go back to work on Monday. Breastfeeding did NOT come easily for us - my little girl never latched correctly and I would spend feedings in tears because it hurt so much. After needing to pump every 2-3 hours at first to build up a supply, I am now down to 5 pumping sessions/day and have over 500 oz in the freezer (yep, I'm a cow).

    Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with it while back at work but I'm not going to stress about it. If we need to change things up and supplement with formula, so be it. As long as she's happy and healthy, that's all that matters!

    Love your blog, Harper is a doll!

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  51. Wow! Thank you so much for this post! My baby girl just turned seven weeks and your story, while different in the details, is so similar in the struggle and emotions. We had a difficult time with our breastfeeding mojo, including an overactive letdown causing my babe to be borderline colicky. To help with the colic and other letdown side effects, I just started pumping exclusively, and while I totally hate every second of it, I feel it's the right thing to be doing, despite her gassy crankiness and my sore nips. My little one will be having spinal surgery in two months and I want to provide the best foundation for her. I want to quit with each pumping, but hearing that I am not the only one who has struggled helps more than anything. I'm not sure if I will last till June, but for her, it's worth a try. Still, I look forward to the day when I can throw the pump in the pool once and for all!

    XO
    Kristi

    growingbytwotinyfeet.blogspot.com

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  52. I had no idea going in how hard breastfeeding can be! Made me a total crazy person the first few months!! Somehow we got through it and are now going strong at 8 months but it is was so hard in the beginning. Hours at the lactation clinic, nipple sheilds,other apparatuses, and so much time at the pump. I think it is what made having a newborn so hard. After going through it I don't judge whatever mom's decisions are. Breastfeeding or not. I get it! Every mom has the right to decide what is not only best for baby but what is best for the whole family!
    Amanda
    thebanisterfamilyblog.wordpress.com

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  53. Thank you for sharing your story. When breastfeeding didn't work out for me (my baby was jaundice and needed the fluids to flush her system and I wasn't producing enough so we had to supplement formula) I felt like a failure. I felt like women were going to judge me and think that I was not a good mom because I couldn't breastfeed my daughter. Finally, our pediatrician called me out on that and said, "Are you putting your daughter's best interests in front of your own?" and I said that "yes" (I'd been exclusively pumping for a month at that point and hated it! I had the pump 'n style and I swear it was mocking me with that noise!") And he told me that he gave me his permission to quit. He knew that I just needed someone to tell me that my baby would be just as healthy and happy with formula, and guess what? She is! And I don't have the sole responsibility of feeding her, she can bond with her daddy, as well. Plus, as my doctor said, "Don't you just want to drink a few glasses of wine and not have to pump and dump?" And yes, I really did.

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  54. We had a similar story. Grumpy, fussy baby the only difference was I never ended up producing enough milk even in my pumping sessions. At 1 month old we went to similac sensitive and we had a whole different baby. Sometimes formula just works best for some babies!

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  55. Virtual fist bump to you for doing what's best for Harper AND your own sanity. I had my own personal love/hate relationship with my breast pump (which I finally ended this week - woohoo!).

    I think all of us moms get self conscious about making the so-called right choice for our kids, and we worry way too much about what everyone else is gonna think. Harper is obviously a happy, healthy little girl and that's all you need to know to be reassured that you did the right thing.

    Rather than judging or criticizing each other, we should ultimately support each other and applaud the tough decisions we have to face each and every day as our babies grow. Thanks for sharing your feeding story! Here's mine:
    http://jayandjamielynn.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/breastfeeding/

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  56. Thank you for sharing your story! I had similar issues with latching but was never able to successfully produce enough milk. We had the EXACT same hospital story (poor latch, formula on spoon, bottle supplement, shield, load and loads of crying) but he lost too much weight, and we were forced to supplement with formula. I tried pumping but was only able to produce enough to give him one bottle of breastmilk a day for six weeks before we had to just go to formula completely. I was so heartbroken and cried A LOT. They make you think breastfeeding is so easy and natural and beautiful. BS. At the end of the day, we all do what's best for OUR babies, and as long as they are healthy, that's what matters. You are a great mama, and I applaud you for trying SO hard and being honest in your story.

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  57. Thanks for sharing- and inspiring. My guy is a little over 7 months and our situation was very similar. We had a Csection (he was 10lbs and couldn't fit), wasn't latching well enough and lost over a pound, saw the lactation consultant, used a shield, yadayadayada...I finally had to pump exclusively because he wouldn't latch.
    I went back to work after 5 months and quickly saw my milk decrease, not to mention how exhausted I became working and still getting up 1-2x's a night. This past week we started supplementing with formula and will probably be exclusively using formula within a couple weeks.
    I too worried how others would see my approaching and feeding him formula. But no one knows the journey. No one experienced it just the way you or I have. You have done the best thing for your babygirl and that's doing what you felt was best for her.
    LOVE your blog, girl. THANKS again!

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  58. Wow! It's amazing how many women have trouble when it comes to breast feeding/pumping. When I had my son three years ago the one thing I was sure of was that I wanted to breastfeed my son for as long as I possibly could. I did my research and took classes offered at our hospital. I had a husband who supported and even encouraged it. Little did I know that my son would be born 6 weeks early requiring him to be in the NICU for 3 weeks. During this time he was way too little to breastfeed because it was too much work for him. He only weighed 4 pounds. I had to pump exclusively but was producing more than what was needed! However, when it came time to actually try nursing him I developed mastitis in my left breast. The result was flu like symptoms unlike I've ever experienced. This was during the height of the swine flu season and I cried uncontrollably thinking I was going to get my already fragile baby sick. I was relieved when I found out it was mastitis and not the flu, but the mastitis infection caused my production to go down. Regardless I stuck with it and even had to double my pumping to try and build my production back up. I ended up getting mastitis two more times in my other breast and was told by my doctor that I HAD to stop. I felt like such a failure even though I knew other women would have given up a long time ago. I felt like I was letting my baby down, letting myself down and letting my husband down. I thought (perhaps hormones came into play) that my husband would think less of me as a mother if I failed at this. He was at every appointment and saw my many breakdowns and I now know that he never once thought that. The most important thing to remember is that things don't always go as planned and that you have to do what works for you and release some of the pressure we place on ourselves to be perfect. Things are always perfect! Jessica, I appreciate you telling your story because I think the more moms that hear the not so easy breast feeding stories, the better!

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    1. I was in the exact same boat as you! I totally understand where you are coming from. But you are absolutely right--things work out in the end!

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  59. Virtual fist bump to you for doing what's best for Harper AND your own sanity. I had my own personal love/hate relationship with my breast pump (which I finally ended this week - woohoo!).

    I think all of us moms get self conscious about making the so-called right choice for our kids, and we worry way too much about what everyone else is gonna think. Harper is obviously a happy, healthy little girl and that's all you need to know to be reassured that you did the right thing.

    Rather than judging or criticizing each other, we should ultimately support each other and applaud the tough decisions we have to face each and every day as our babies grow. Thanks for sharing your feeding story! Here's mine:
    http://jayandjamielynn.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/breastfeeding/

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  60. Kuddos to you! This is a great post, thanks for sharing your story. My sweet little boy is due at the end of July and I'm curious as to how my breastfeeding will go. Fingers crossed!

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  61. This is so great to read! I laughed out loud a couple of times ("he only thing worse than waking up to your crying baby is waking up just to stick your boobs in a vacuum") because I can so, so relate. LOVE your blog, and your honest experience... so many women deal with breastfeeding issues, and so many are ashamed when they do, like they failed on some level. So sad... way to go for pumping exclusively for as long as you did! That's a serious commitment!

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  62. thank you so much for sharing your story. i had a baby just over 2 months ago and have been going through this exact same thing.. seriously i felt like i was reading my own story. my baby stopped latching because of his acid reflux. he would seriously puke up everything that he ate. he would cry and seemed so unhappy all the time. i tried nipple shields, different positions, went to lactation consultants. i feel like i tried everything. we got him on meds for acid reflux and i just started to pump exclusively. i was miserable. i felt like i could never rest and he still seemed to spit up everything that i fed him. one day a couple weeks ago, i had a breakdown and told my husband that i dind't want to do it anymore. i slept on it and decided to feed him some gentle ease sensitive formula that my mom had picked up for us and told me to try. he was on it for 24 hours and was an entirely different baby. i too had tried cutting things out of my diet, different bottles... etc. that next day i went out and bought a cabbage and took some benadryl to help my milk dry up. i was done. clearly he was so much happier and i was happy to not have to see that damn pump again. we have so much frozen milk in our freezer but i don't even want to use it because he is a lot happier. he still spits up a lot, but is so much happier now. i feel guilty about it from time to time and expressed those feelings to my doctor. she said to me "a lot of people say that the breast is best, but that was not what was making your baby happy. you are doing what is making your baby happy now, and that is what is best for him." that made me feel better. so yeah... i am in the formula club now and proud of it! i hate spending the money, and i don't feel like this was the "easy" option, but considering the circumstances it is what was best for all of us! i will for sure try to nurse with my next babies but i wont beat myself up about this one! i am so glad you shared this. seriously. it's nice to know i am not alone! you are awesome!

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  63. I have been a fortunate soul to ease into breastfeeding and pumping with my two girls. The younger one is just 8 months now and I am so grateful it's gone so well again. The main thing, as a nurse who helps teach breastfeeding, to know is, it's NEVER worth stressing about. Babies survive, with breastmilk or formula. And for those hell-bent against formula, they need to know the real world. Not all moms/babies excel at it. No fault of their own. That's why wet nurses existed back in the day...Kudos too all moms. We deal with SO MUCH with that first baby. It gets easier, I promise.

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  64. I have been a fortunate soul to ease into breastfeeding and pumping with my two girls. The younger one is just 8 months now and I am so grateful it's gone so well again. The main thing, as a nurse who helps teach breastfeeding, to know is, it's NEVER worth stressing about. Babies survive, with breastmilk or formula. And for those hell-bent against formula, they need to know the real world. Not all moms/babies excel at it. No fault of their own. That's why wet nurses existed back in the day...Kudos too all moms. We deal with SO MUCH with that first baby. It gets easier, I promise.

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  65. You go girl! I flippin hate my pump too. I have the freestyle and agree, it was totally worth the money but omg I don't ever want to see it again. I had to pump and supplement in the beginning too since my milk didn't come in right away, I swear it was the c-section. SO brutal. Matt would remind me it was time to pump and I would want to kill him!

    Don't feel bad about giving Harper formula. You obviously did what was right for your girl and she's happy and healthy!

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  66. I had a very similar experience and I also felt the guilt that people would judge me. But, like you said, you have to do what you have to do. I tried and tried to breast feed but he wouldn't latch. Then I tried a nipple shield and it didn't work. I didn't produce enough. I tried these vitamins prescribed by my doc to stimulate milk production and nothing. So I stopped killing myself pumping and we switched only to formula. And switched formulas and switched formulas and now used a hypoallergenic one bc he has a sensitive tummy. We tried to ween off it on to a less expensive one and he CRIES and throws up so we switched back. It's crazy expensive, but like you, I love him more than life itself so I will go broke making his tummy happy :) you go mama!

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  67. I exclusively pumped for 3 months because my son was tongue tied and never was able to latch correctly. Pumping sucks! I felt like the time I was pumping I could have been sleeping or spending time with him. I was having to supplement with formula too. I stopped pumping when I got mastitis (not fun). I felt it was a sign that enough was enough. My son is totally healthy on formula and literally the day we went to all formula he slept through the night. Went from waking up every 2 hours to sleeping 9! I too felt weird telling people we weren't breast feeding and always felt like I needed an explanation. Loved that my doctor said that lots of Harvard grads were formula fed... Enough said :-). Thanks so much for this honest post. Just like breast feeding moms need support so do bottle feeding moms so we don't feel like we are bad moms!

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  68. I stopped pumping/breastfeeding at 7 months due to lack of production. My baby did a complete 180, too! I don't know what it was about the breastmilk, but she is such a happy baby now. She used to spit up all the time. Although formula costs so much, it's worth it to have a baby who is so happy and healthy.

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  69. Great post and great way to look at it! My daughter is 9 months old and we went through most of those same problems, only I could never produce enough to keep up with her. I tried EVERYTHING but could still only pump around 2 oz each time and we supplemented the rest of the time with formula. I work 12 hour shifts and knew that we would eventually have to switch to formula only, but it was such a hard decision to stop because of the stigma associated with the dreaded "formula feeding" vs "breast feeding" debate. You are so, so right...in the end it is about the health and happiness of your baby, and they always turn out just fine! Love your blog, and that adorable sweet girl!
    Anna @ www.laughterinlove.wordpress.com

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  70. Thank you SO much for doing this post! I'm probably one of the mama's that kept bugging you to post your story :/ I seriously had the same EXACT experience, except I could never get my supply up. It was rough! I'm so glad to see another Mama who had the same experience, didn't sugar coat it, decided to do what was best for her family and all were just fine. I too want to burn my breast pump as I described in this post: http://babysaiz.blogspot.com/2013/01/burn-breast-pump.html

    Thanks again for being an open book and sharing your bf story! :)

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  71. I could never breastfeed. I had my heart set on it with our first, but my midwife noticed I had flat nipples and said I may have trouble with latching. She was right. It was sooooo painful because I didn't have nipples for him to latch onto. Then we tried a pump. I bought the cheap travel kind thinking that would work. Big mistake....it took 15-20 minutes for each boob and after a month, the motor crapped out, and so did I. We tried again with our second child, but this time we bought the same pump you did. It worked for a couple weeks, until I developed blocked milk ducts, an infection on my nipples and mastitis. So I had purple nipples and bras, very painful boobs and a fever with vomiting. I ended up in the hospital overnight. We took that as a sigh that I wasn't meant to breastfeed. We stuck with formula for the next 5 children.

    The nurses and other moms looked down on me for not nursing my babies, but in the end, you have to do what is right for the health of your baby and yourself. Who gives a s*** what other people think!

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  72. Good for you girl! Good for you for doing what was best for your baby, and good for you for having the guts to tell the world about it. It's inspiring and important for new mamas to read that breastfeeding isn't always a breeze.
    In my experience, breastfeeding was the hardest thing about having a newborn. Both of us had to learn how to do it and it wasn't always easy-going.
    I applaud you for sharing your experience (and I love your blog!)
    Thanks!

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  73. Wow, this is almost exactly what I am going through right now! My little one will be one month old tomorrow and I am having to exclusively pump/supplement and he also spits up EVERYTHING! I am going to try that formula. Thanks so much for this post! :)

    PS: Harper is adorable!

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  74. Great post, thanks for sharing! Harper is such a lucky girl to have you :)

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  75. UGH!! Breastfeeding...no one tells you how HARD it can actually be. They only tell you how beautiful it is, how "natural" it is, how much more bonded your gonna be with your baby if you do it, thats just a bunch of BOLONEY!

    They don't tell you its like a little Piranha waiting to attack you every 2 hours! Second they don't tell you it hurts when your MILK comes in and your boobs go from being normal to being rockhard Pamela's in seconds, and third...anyone who says breastfeeding is convenient...seriously?! Have you NOT seen formula and a bottle?

    But even though its hard, for me I felt like I HAD to breastfed, I felt like a failure that I wasn't have her latch on to my boob. PLUS my body is a freak of nature and totally thinks I'm having triplets EVERY SINGLE TIME I have a baby, so my mother would always say, " Cathy, how could you give her formula when you have so much milk! Thats a sin!". Oh brother...

    I breastfed my first until she was 2 1/2 (I know I was a freak and NO a child shouldn't be 2 1/2 and breastfeeding, my bad)but the first 4 months I strictly pumped fed her. She couldn't latch on and it would HURT so bad!! Seriously I cried for the first 2 weeks I was dying it hurt so bad. After 2 weeks I strictly pumped and bottlefed her. FINALLY when she was 4 months we got the hang of it.

    Second baby was my boy and he has a gigantic mouth, so nursing him was a breeze he picked it up right from the start and didn't have any problems. THEN when he was 6 weeks I had to have an emergency gallbladder operation. I guess its super common to have your gallbladder go bad after your 2nd baby!! I didn't know that, but I was in the hospital for 3 days, then couldn't have him on my stomach for 2 weeks, seriously the most painful freakin surgery EVER. pumping and dumping. Came home to this new found magic powder called : FORMULA!!! Oh my gosh EASIEST THING EVER!!! I still breastfeed him at night but by 6 months he was done. Just formula feed. DONE DEAL!!

    Now my Little Kate...SAME problem as my first couldn't latch, I think its cause their mouth is so small our boobs become gigantic (Seriously ...its like 3 times the size of the newborns head!! I'm afraid I'll kill the baby with my boob) that they have such a hard time latching, and again I got that crazy mother bear I need to breastfeed even if it kills me and this time we bought the same pump you did. Oh my gosh BEST PUMP EVER! Makes you feel like a cow, BUT seriously so good! I strictly used that for probably 4 months this time and then we got the hang of it after 4 months. But I weaned her at 12 months and started her on formula. She was on formula until she was 2...seriously the most convenient thing EVER!!!!...but now I look back and wonder what is this NEED to breastfeed even when it seriously probably was the most hardest thing while she was a newborn. I felt guilty and like a failure. I was crying at 3:00am when she was 3 weeks cause she couldn't nurse! ....New mamma's....don't stress!! Formula is amazing now! Full of DHEA and other healthy stuff. probably way better than breastmilk now...lol. =) Thanks for sharing!! We feel your pain Jess!!

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  76. I have been in your shoes exactly! Breastfeeding is the hardest and most painful thing I have ever done. Just thinking about the sound of my pump makes me want to cry! My plan was to exclusively breastfeed, but that when out the window and we did formula along with breastfeeding for 6 months. I used to worry about the looks I got in public mixing a bottle of formula too! Ugh, who cares looking back! I know I will NEVER judge a mom for not breastfeeding after what I went through. You did a great job--look how happy and healthy Harper is!

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  77. This is awesome. I'm 21 weeks along with my first. I hope to try breastfeeding, but I know that you can't plan everything. I think so many books/sites assume that it's one way or another- breast or bottle- and just don't prepare us for what it could really be like! I think you are awesome for sharing this. I admire you sticking with it and going with your gut. Thanks so much.

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  78. Thank you so much for sharing! My daugher was born 2 months early and in the NICU for a month, so in order to leave she had to learn to drink from the bottle, which she did just fine. But then she wouldn't nurse because the bottle was so much easier so I was exclusively pumping. Honestly, it was horrible and she eventually she outpaced me in terms of what she needed versus what I was producing. So she's been a formula baby since three months and none the worse because of it. (But OMG the GUILT!) I am always glad to see other mom's who went the same route. I love following the Garvin family and seeing what y'all are up to each week! Thanks for the awesome post!

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  79. I'm expecting and my sister gave birth about 2 months ago. She has had similar issues with Dayton and is so incredibly frustrated with it that I've come and spent weeks with her just to keep her company while she pumps at night. Altogether it's been a miserable process and I feel for her. Her husband's family has been WRETCHED about the process. His mother has called in the middle of the night when she knows she should be pumping to make sure that she is so that her grandson doesn't end up formula-fed. She babysits during the daytime while my sister works and constantly interrupts her to ask her when she'll be pumping next. If she doesn't see a large enough store in the freezer, and she never does because the poor thing can only get a half ounce at a time, she complains to my brother-in-law. It is everything I can do not to scream at her and let her know that breast milk does not equate to a healthy, happy baby. Dayton is miserable trying to breastfeed because it's just not working for them and Olivia is miserable because she 'can't naturally provide' for her baby and her mother-in-law never lets her forget it. If there are any ladies out there that are ashamed of their troubles with breastfeeding/formula supplementing, I beseech you to embrace that if your baby is happy and healthy, it should not matter whether his/her sustenance came from a boob or a can. And don't beat yourself up about it because you are the best momma you can be to your baby!

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  80. Thank you so much for sharing! My daugher was born 2 months early and in the NICU for a month, so in order to leave she had to learn to drink from the bottle, which she did just fine. But then she wouldn't nurse because the bottle was so much easier so I was exclusively pumping. Honestly, it was horrible and she eventually she outpaced me in terms of what she needed versus what I was producing. So she's been a formula baby since three months and none the worse because of it. (But OMG the GUILT!) I am always glad to see other mom's who went the same route. I love following the Garvin family and seeing what y'all are up to each week! Thanks for the awesome post!

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  81. In response to not knowing what caused her to spit up...beware of food allergies as she gets older. My mom had the same experience with me having to be on special formula and constantly spitting up when I was a baby. Later on in life I developed food allergies that doctors suspect spitting up/special formula was an early symptom.

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  82. Very well said! I am soooo glad that I wasn't the only one who had to go through this. I struggled so bad with what people would think or say to me...I finally decided that we did the best we could and I needed to do what was best for my baby boy not for everyone else. We had the exact same experience. Thank you so much for sharing :)

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  83. Good for you love you tried everything and in the end you did what was best for you and your family! xoxo

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  84. Jessica,
    Thank you for sharing your story! My daughter, Ella, is 6 months old and we had similar problems, except with the added complication of her incredi-high birth weight. She was 10lb4oz when she was born, and I was not producing enough for my very hungry little chalupa (yes, weird nickname). My husband is in nursing school, and was incredibly supportive when it came to breastfeeding-- not so much when we were forced to supplement with formula. But Ella would wake up a million times a night and stay up till 2am when I was trying to exclusively breastfeed and/or pump...it was hell. When we started using formula, she immediately slept through the night. (Btw, we ended up using Similac Sensitive, too. It's the only one our girl wouldn't spit up like crazy on. Nice choice!)
    And I completely agree-- pumping is pretty much the worst thing ever. So impersonal, uncomfortable, and you feel like a cow! Moo!! :)

    Have a great day, and thank you for always being a 'mommy inspiration' to all of us out here,

    Shelby
    dsmcconville.blogspot.com

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  85. Great post! I have a 2 week old and I am exclusively pumping as well. I had to have an emergency c-section and then he was in the NICU for a couple days so the whole breastfeeding latch thing kind of went out the window. I seem to be producing enough milk and I'll supplement a bottle or two of formula...especially if i have had visitors and have missed a pump, damn in-laws are CONSTANTLY at my house. I have the medela and actually pump both boobs at the same time, too impatient to do one at a time especially in the middle of the night. I love following your blog! You have such great posts about what has worked for you and what hasn't which I appreciate someone else's experiences.

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  86. Great post! My little one is 10 weeks old and so far breastfeeding is going pretty well but I remember having to wake up in the wee hours of the night/morning to pump because I was so engorged and it sucked! I felt like I'd never have more than 2 hours of sleep at a time again. We're having a spit up issue too so we're trying Zantac right now and hoping that it does something for her. So far, so good.

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  87. Man, do I hear you on the pump. I finally stopped pumping at work as of this week and it is SUCH a relief. I HATE that thing with a burning passion. No one prepares you for how hard BFing and pumping is. I had no idea and it's so refreshing to read about your journey. It's really different for everyone. I also want to punch those mamas who have no problem with producing/let down/etc. ;)

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  88. My story is similar, but very different at the same time... major props for you pumping as long as you did. Once we finally got the hang of BFing I refused to pump. It was just pure hell. Now that we are officially weaning, I plan on posting my journey when it's complete.

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  89. Although it sucks, it's still comforting to know that other people go through the same things as you do with a newborn. (My story http://rheannewrites.blogspot.com/2013/02/feeding-baby.html)
    I had lots of tears over exclusively pumping, and it wasn't until I called my pediatrician sobbing and he said "No one should be this stressed out over a HEALTHY baby" that I realized it was making me crazy. Breastfeeding/pumping totally jacks your hormones anyway. The worst thing I did was Google for help, where I was led to forums that assured me the only way my baby would be happy and healthy was if I breastfed. That shit is for the birds!

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  90. I tried breastfeeding too as I thought that it was the only way that "good" moms feed their babies. Well my daughter was born at 30 weeks so that through everything for a loop. I couldn't give her my colostrum because I had to be put to sleep and the drugs needed to be out of my system before I could save it for my baby. Then I ended up never producing more than 2 ounces. I pumped every 2 hours 24 hours a day. I tried everything, even a prescription medication. I once fell asleep pumping and woke up with my next alarm 2 hours later...........STILL PUMPING! hahaha I hated it. I gave up after 8 weeks, I was exhausted and was producing less and less. I felt awful but became a better mom because of it. Thanks for sharing!!! It helps to know that its not easy for everyone!!

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  91. Props to you for doing what is best for your baby and yourself. Taking care of a baby and keeping it fed is a tough job, breastfeeding or not! I've been featuring different women's breastfeeding and pumping stories on my blog...would love to have you guest post if you are interested!

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  92. Wow. I have been reading your blog since I first out I was pregnant over a year ago and it's been an amazing resource for me while I prepared for our baby girl and then also, after she actually arrived!

    But it is so crazy reading your exclusively pumping story - minus a few details it is almost exactly what we have gone/been going through! My little one will be 5 months next week and I am still exclusively pumping.

    Baby girl had a lot of spit up issues as well in the beginning but finally seemed to outgrow it in the past month or so.

    I just wanted to say that I really love your blog and there have been many late night pumping sessions that I have gotten through by reading your it (but luckily for the past couple of months I have just been reading at night before bed since the baby and I both sleep through the night now!) :) thank you for sharing all your experiences with all of us out here on the interweb. :)

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  93. I agree that breast milk is best for babies but it doesn't work for everyone! Society is too quick to "judge" mom's who can't or choose not to breastfeed their babies. Good for you to do what was right for you and your family and geesh...I don't think I could have lasted as long as you with exclusive pumping! My first i breastfed during maternity leave (2 months) went back to work and couldn't produce enough milk so had to supplement with formula and then quickly switched to just formula. My 2nd was much easier in breast feeding and he weaned himself by about 7 months. Much better but again each baby is different! Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  94. Breast feeding is hard, period. No one should judge anyone who honestly says they tried their best. I was fortunate in that my son took to it well, but once I went back to work when he was 12 weeks old and started pumping, I wanted to throw that effing pump in a bonfire with you. I had mastitis after being back at work for 2 days... I've gotten plugged ducts multiple times since, thrush and ridiculous injuries from the pump/my teething son. My body hates pumping and I think people who exclusively pump are amazing people. My son is now 10 months old and I finally just went down to pumping just once a day while at work and nursing him the rest of the time. While I'm hoping to end my experience on a high note, I could never judge anyone who supplemented or switched to formula. We have no idea what other people have gone through before they made that decision.

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  95. I feel like I could not have read this post at a better time! I am almost 34 weeks pregnant and actually discussed my concerns about breastfeeding with my doctor today. I want to BF and plan on it. I have taken a class, read a little about it and already have my Medela breast pump.
    I'm just worried I won't know what to do,when baby gets here. Will I know how much to feed her, when do I need to pump, what if she doesn't latch on right? I could go on and on!
    I know everyone is different and all babies are different but just to hear a personal experience from a mother makes me feel better.

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  96. Great post! I felt like I was reading my own story with my now 10 month old daughter. During my pregnancy, I had visions of blissful nursing sessions, an awesome milk supply, and no pain. However, nothing went to plan and I quickly discovered how hard breastfeeding was. I ended up exclusively pumping and found it totally sucked - constantly cleaning parts, the annoying sound (seriously, I sometimes still hear my pump talking to me in my sleep), waking up 2x a night while my baby slept through the night, etc, etc, etc. After crying hysterically at my 6 week postnatal appointment, my doctor told me it wasn't worth my sanity to keep it up. So I made the decision to stop. I had mommy guilt for months for not "toughing it out", but looking back I realize a happy momma equals happy baby! I wish there were more honest posts out there about how hard breastfeeding can be, thank you!!

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  97. If you host a breast pump bonfire party ill come - and bring beer! I started exclusively pumping when Parker was a month old because I thought I would be going back to my 40 hour a week office job, I then found a work from home job but had to keep up with pumping since he was already used to bottles....and like you mentioned breast feeding and pumping is just way too hectic. With #2 due in August I'm going to try just regular ol' breast feeding because I don't know how I'm supposed to take care of two kids if I pumped and bottled fed! I always tell everyone the most important thing you can do for your baby as a mom is be mentally healthy and sometimes breast feeding is enough to be one insane!

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  98. If you host a breast pump bonfire party ill come - and bring beer! I started exclusively pumping when Parker was a month old because I thought I would be going back to my 40 hour a week office job, I then found a work from home job but had to keep up with pumping since he was already used to bottles....and like you mentioned breast feeding and pumping is just way too hectic. With #2 due in August I'm going to try just regular ol' breast feeding because I don't know how I'm supposed to take care of two kids if I pumped and bottled fed! I always tell everyone the most important thing you can do for your baby as a mom is be mentally healthy and sometimes breast feeding is enough to be one insane!

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  99. Invest in a hands free pump bra for next time- it will change your life!

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  100. I know I'm not alone but thank you for actually writing about this because it helps. I have been in your shoes. I wanted to breastfeed my baby so bad. But she wouldn't latch, no matter what. It got very very painful so I decided to EP....it is hard. Olivia would spit it up all the time as well. And had horrible tummy problems. I would have tried removing things from my diet but they suggest dairy first but I couldn't. My diet is mostly dairy and if I didn't eat that, I had nothing to eat. So I finally made the decision to switch to formula for my baby. I cried and cried and cried because I felt horrible that I couldn't give my baby the best food for her while all my friends were able to breastfeed just fine.

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  101. I just have to say, "thank you!" THank you so much for haring your story and putting it out there! My little man is almost 3 and my breastfeeding story was very much the same. C-section, latch issues, baby that slept through the night early on, going back to work, not producing enough, and feeling like a "failure." I beat myself up for it for awhile...but then, like you, realized, "screw them!" Them being the judgemental people that tell you to sacrifice your own mental well-being when really, formula is not going to kill them. My son has always been healthy, happy, and wonderful. I think more of us need to speak up and let other moms know...it is ok. So, thank you again for sharing your story...LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!

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  102. First off let me say that you deserve props for what you have accomplished. Every woman is different in there experience, their lifestyle is different and their physical make up. So with that being said, let me say this about that: I do not judge by any means whether a mom breast feeds/pumps. (I do however get irritated with people that don't accept breast feeding in public if you are discreet, or work environments or those that do not support the cause, because let's face it, the mammary glands only serve one purpose. But you get my drift).

    I wanted to share my story so as to help any other Moms out there because the only advice I really got was from my son's pediatrician's nurse who was also a lactation consultant. (Yes I saw lactation consultants in the hospital, took classes on BF, etc... but that specific nurse was a God send).
    Here is my Reader's Digest Version of my story:
    My son was 2 weeks past my due date, so we scheduled an induction. Went in on a Thursday evening, was in labor for 36 hours until emergency c-section in Sat morning (apparently have a bicornate uterus and prominent sacral promontory). Basically I had 5 epidurals, hadn't slept it eaten in three days, exhausted, drugged up and well passed out after the surgery, but I was still able to BF. everything was going great, second/third day and my milk came in. I looked like freakin' Pamela Anderson, the skin on my breasts was so stretched it was shiny. It was ridic. Went home, no problems for a few days.... Theeeen I noticed I had this rash/demarcation were the baby monitors were. No biggy. Just slathered on some hydro cream and call it a day. Theeen I developed a HORRIFIC rash all OVER my body (aka ID reaction. Which is an allergic reaction TO an allergic reaction. WTF?? Yeah. There's such a thing). Well by that point I was already pumping anyway b/c I was producing a massive amount of milk. The rash itched so badly I had never experienced anything like it so I ended up seeing a derm after seeing my Fam doc and was put on a month of steroids. I couldn't have my son feeding off me b/c it irritated me so much from the sweating and itchiness. So I exclusively pumped. No problem.

    Continue on next post.....

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  103. Okay, so then I go back to work full time after 3 months and I find it extremely difficult to pump more than once at work (I am a cytotechnologist and I diagnose cancer, therefore when I am paged to go on a procedure/biopsy, I gotta go! Because most of the patients are anesthetized and it puts the patient at risk. So if I'm in the middle of pumping, too bad, I have to get there). So I thought we would introduce formula to supplement. Scariest shit I've ever gone through. My son went into anaphylactic shock. He was allergic to cow's milk protein. So he barfed and couldn't eat for 2 days. Tried soy. Wouldn't take it b/c he had an aversion to anything other than my milk. So I had to have a serious discussion with my coworkers (almost had to use a milk bank. VERY expensive) and needed to pump three times at work b/c my supply was significantly less. Any time you use a synthic system such as pumping, it doesn't produce as much stimulus as an actual baby so your brain thinks you can produce less. To offset, you have to pump more frequently, and longer. (I'm not trying to sound like an asshole here if you already knew this. Just adding it in for other moms). This stimulates the nerves sending info back to the brain so that you produce more. Usually it takes 48 hours or so for an increase.

    So I was pumping in the morning before work, 3 times at work, 1 time when I got home, 1 time after dinner, and 1 time before bed. Still wasn't enough. Son of a .... So I had to add a middle of the night pump. Set my alarm, wake up, pump, go back to sleep. Still wasn't enough. Then I got my period. FML. I think I was going to have a nervous breakdown. So. During that time my ped's nurse had suggested Fenugreek. An herbal supplement in pill form. I was really skeptical. I read everything about it that I could and I called my OB. She said it was safe enough. So I tried it. 3 pills in morning, 3 pills at night. Within 36 hours, I was producing 3 times the amount of milk (8 ounces) at each pump. I shit you not. That was the only saving grace for me, because after my rash was gone and my son got use to the bottle, he didn't want to take to me any more. I was so pissed off and devastated. But that herbal supplement seriously worked. You can google it. It's pretty incredible. I did this for THIRTEEN MONTHS b/c of my sons allergy. Then slowly introduced almond and coconut milk. Now he is 2.5 years old and has finally developed a tolerance for dairy. Thank God!

    Anyway, I don't even know if you will have a chance to read this or not, with everyone else's responses. :-) But anything or any advice I can help for another Mom is worth my 30 minutes of typing this. :-)

    Cytonoodle.blogspot.com

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  104. Thank you for sharing this! I was in the exact same boat as you (minus the spitting up) and it took me a while to get a grip and accept that it was ok with what we were doing, that we had to do what worked for us and not force any other person's opinion in to our lifestyle. I ended up exclusively pumping until 10 months but by the end of it, it became a chore and I was so sick of pumping and ready to burn my pump...except I had been renting the hospital's all 10 months since we didn't think we were gonna go that long! So great to see many other people were in the same boat and it made me feel better that I wasn't alone! Thanks again!

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  106. Thank you for sharing! I breastfed/pumped for almost 10 months. I took 3.5 months of maternity leave and went back to my night shift nursing job. Which was hard. And hard to wake up to pump or feed during the day WHILE I was trying to sleep. It all seems king of a blur but was worth it. That's what we moms do. Whatever is best for our little loves! Keep up the good work girl!! You're doing a great job!!!

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  107. I wanted to add to your comments of support!! I had a rough time breast feeding and pumped for as long as I could. But I completely agree, not the best feeling to be the only one awake in the middle of the night to pump.Breast feeding is made out to be the most natural thing, and it isn't always. Each family has to do what is right for them. There are so many women struggling with this that you will help!

    Your blog is helping more women then you know, by just banding women together in a place to read and share everyday experiences. I have friends with babies slightly older then my own, but somehow reading a post from someone across the country from me, living a life that has no connect to my own can somehow have a bigger impact.

    oh, and LOVE the Gap dance pants per your recommendation, and my husband thanks you too lol

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  108. As I am currently pumping as I type this, I had to laugh out loud at the 'black-ops, black ops, black ops'...... while on the phone with my friend, she said she couldn't help but hear 'aflac, aflac, aflac..' over and over. So now, everytime I pump, I think about the damn Aflac duck. Awesome.

    On another note, SAME EXACT pain and annoyingness here at my baby girl turns 5 months on Saturday. Somehow, I have steered clear of supplementing with formula but I have no idea how. Such pain, bleeding, everything for MONTHS, and having to pump 24/7, clean the pump stuff, and I only have one set. I can clean this shit with my eyes close, no joke. AND, I am a habitual '2-minute' hitter of the microwave now from sterilizing so much that I almost set something on fire that was only supposed to be on for 10 seconds. Just too used to this routine.

    It's a crazy routine, but honestly, now at 4.5 months, somehow, it just clicked with her and she is able to breastfeed much better and it doesn't hurt like it did! It's crazy to me that I've made it to this point bc this ish is in-sane sometimes! We had to stay in the hospital a little longer trying to get her to latch. She basically didn't eat anything for nearly 3 days and I was pretty much being yelled at by nurses and told to give up. I'm about to hit 5 months and damn proud of myself haha.

    What you did was so selfless and all you can do is TRY! That's what I tell myself every day at least. At this point, if I have to give it up, I'm okay with that, I'm not going to kill myself over it. Props to you for trying as hard as you did and your girl is striving as she should so woohooo!

    -Charlene
    www.becomingthebarrs.com

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  109. I had difficult expiercenes too. With my oldest she would not latch so I exclusively pumped for 7 months, then my production started to decrease so I had to make the decision to put her on formula. This was so difficult because so many moms make you feel awful for not breast feeding. With my youngest she would latch but would feed for 45min-hour and still did not seem satisfied so I supplemented too and pumped. Then I got mastitis in my left breast wich was AWFUL! After I took the antibiotics my once left breast that would produce 3.5-4 oz in one pumping would now lonely get 1/2 oz. so I eventually stopped pumping and continued giving her frozen breast milk and formula. I think as moms we really need to support each other instead of making other moms feel guilty and less of a mom for not doing things the way they feel it should be done. We already are hard enough on ourselves we don't need others making us feel worse. Thank you for your story!

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  110. Bless your heart! My heart broke for you while I read this post! But thank you so much for sharing your story. I understand the frustration of pumping. At two months, Sophia had not gained enough weight (she was 6lbs5oz at birth, 6lbs when we left the hospital, 7lbs at one month, and only 7lbs6ozs at two months). At that point, she had been sleeping through the night for a good month or so. The ped told us to feed her every three hours 'round the clock...exclusively pumping, so we could keep track of exactly how much she was getting each time. I would cry over how little I would pump each time, so I would pump an additional time halfway between feedings to make sure she had enough. As soon as we got her weight stable, I went back to work full time. So it was back to the pump...and stressing to make sure that I had enough for her while I was at work each day. Since I work retail, there was no way I could pump every three hours to keep up my supply. It dropped drastically and would spend all my time outside of work hooked up to the pump. I even spent my breaks in my car (in the hot Texas summer heat!) pumping...and sobbing at the same time. It's amazing what mamas will try for their babies! I love how much you love your Harper and how have come into our hearts and homes. Harper is such a lucky little girl to have you as her mama! Thanks again for sharing.

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  111. Thank you for posting this. I know a ton of other women have already said the same thing, but it helps to know that other women have trouble breastfeeding and pumping as well. And I feel much better about formula feeding after reading your story and all these wonderful women's comments.

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  112. I love this post. I went through almost exactly the same thing you did. I had a c-section and then my baby (who is now seven months) was in the NICU for a week. In order to keep her blood sugar up due to the medication she was on, she had to be bottle fed because of course I wasn't producing enough by day 2. I did almost exclusive pumping for a month and used the nipple shield to nurse a few times a day (I eff'n hate the nipple shield!). After a month I got sick of pumping all the live long day and decided to breastfeed and then top her off with formula afterwards, since I never produced enough. We're still nursing, but she really only exclusively nurses for the first feeding of the day and for the last feeding of the day. She gets mostly formula during the day. It's refreshing to see your post, because like you, I wanted to exclusively breastfeed but it just did not work for us. Thank you for your post. I think people feel guilty about not exclusively breastfeeding because it's natural and should be easy to do, and it's refreshing to see someone speak so honestly about the subject.

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  113. My son will be 12 weeks old on Saturday and I am breastfeeding and pumping...it is HARD work!!! I don't think women (or anyone else) give themselves enough credit...I'm also working full time and have an 8 yr old little girl as well. Good for you for even trying, and thanks for sharing your story, because it's very inspiring!

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  114. Wow. I feel like I could have written this post. My son was born 2 weeks after Harper on Leap Day.
    We started off with a short frenulum, remedied with a nipple shield. He then became attached to the nipple shield, awful weaning him from it. We rocked along til he was 4 months old. I noticed he was spitting up every time he ate then every 5 minutes for about an hour after. It was awful to see everything I had worked for all over me, him, the furniture, the floor. I mentioned it to my ped at his 4 month appt and she told me that all babies spit up, as long as he's not in pain, it's fine. By 6 months he had lost 2 pounds. I went from having a chunky 10 pound baby at birth, 18 pounds at 4 months and at 6 months he was 16 pounds, a 2 pound loss. So sad. He was unhappy and cried every time it was time to eat, as did I. My doc said to still just breastfeed, he would grow out of it, but we could try reflux meds. We went through 3 RX's, nothing worked. We moved to adult Prilosec, just dosing it for a baby, at 7 months I waved the white flag as my supply had dwindled. I was so stressed, cried at the drop of a hat and was emotionally exhausted. Within weeks of starting formula my happy, chunky baby was back.
    The weirdest thing was that it took 4 months for the reflux to really pick up speed, no idea why it didn't show up right away. I wish I would have listened to my gut and got him on meds sooner. When we switched to formula he hated any anti-reflux formula so we dealt with 6 months of spit-up and medicine twice a day.
    I do not wish reflux on my worst enemy. Thank you so much for sharing. :) Sorry for my novel.

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  115. Loved this! Every part! I can relate 100%. I too, struggled with latching. I was forced to pump and use the Medela. I pumped for 4 months until I was just not producing enough for my VERY big girl. Made me very sad but I NOW see that I wasn't getting enough water.....nutrients...etc. I really should've had that cheeseburger too but thrived on that extra hour of sleep more than eating.

    You live you learn. I now see that I will chug water and do the supersize versions haha.
    Love the bonfire ending! I'm with ya! Mine will be in there as soon as I'm done with kiddos. I HATE IT! And yes the sound is like a rocketship:/

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  116. such a great, honest post. I have an exclusive pumping draft waiting to be published. I've been exclusively pumping for 7 months and it fucking sucks. everyday I count down until my 1 year goal. I just started supplementing with formula because my supply has suddenly dropped, and it feels like shit, honestly. I hate that I am not producing enough to feed him breastmilk 100% of the time. I'm also hoping for a better breastfeeding experience with baby #2, but I do know that it may not work out. and I'm okay with that.

    great job, mama! you are doing your best, which must be pretty great considering that happy and healthy baby girl you have.

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  117. I went through the same thing with my son! Only his issue was caused by a tongue tie. I was so scared that he wouldn't get enough to eat so I stopped nursing and went to straight pumping, but no one told me how often I needed to pump so my supply dropped and I couldn't really get it high enough. The first few weeks before we realized he wasn't eating enough were so rough (he was crying constantly out of hunger and not sleeping) that by the time we did get the tongue tie resolved, I was too scared to nurse again. I gave up pumping around three months and felt like a huge failure. It's nice to know that other moms have similar experiences and that I'm not alone!

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  118. I had some similar problems with my son, did the whole breast guard thing. It helped and I did get him eventually to latch correctly then he had the gas and stomach, spitting problems. I ended up having to cut all dairy out of my diet and It took time for the dairy to leave my system. It helped him but was oh so hard for me. I loved being able to breast feed him but it was so hard to keep up discipline that made it posb. I managed to hold out almost 7 mo before I gave up. I just want to say it is not easy mentally or emotionally when things don't go as planned and I give you prop's for trying as hard as you did. Its so tempting to give up when its not "easy" and so so many do. I am glad your girl is doing well now. My son still has to use special formula because he still reacts to milk but crossing fingers he will outgrow it. He reacts to the milk protein not to the lactose. makes it a complicated problem to address.

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  119. I'm an OB nurse and work with labor and delivery momma's and post-partum as well(and also 38 weeks pregnant with first baby) , just wanted to let you know that your post made me cry! You and your husband were such troopers about trying to do what you felt was best for your baby, but hooray for being open-minded and that there was another option for your baby to thrive. Just wanted you to know that your willing to be candid helps break stigmas that if your not breastfeeding your baby you just obviously don't care as much-as ladies we need to be supportive because who knows why a woman has had to made the choice not to breastfeed.

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  120. Our babies had the same due date (thats how I found your blog!) but our baby decided to wait 11 more days. We had a similar experience in the hospital. Our baby wasn't latching and it was taking longer for my milk to come in. The nurse insisted we try formula and I felt the same way (even had similar thoughts when my husband wanted to feed her)!! She wouldn't drink the formula and when the pediatrician came to examine her, she noticed she had a moderate version of "tongue-tied". We had to take her to a surgeon for him to snip under and tongue and she nursed great after.

    Harper is an beautiful healthy baby and you are a great Mom! Pumping that much is some serious dedication and struggles make us stronger. Who knows maybe #2 will nurse just fine! I love your blog!

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  121. Oh my heavens, I wish I could have read this 6 months ago! I only breastfed for 2 months because of a very similar story to yours. Nolan is perfectly fine today. So glad I wasn't alone and yes.. pumping sucks.... the sounds haunts me....

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  122. Just wanted to commend you for writing this. People can be so judgemental - especially other Mama's. I'm not sure why parenting is such a competition. I'm thankful each and every day that my daughter is healthy and in my life. It shouldn't matter that one week of failed breastfeeding and 13 months of formula feeding is how I got to this point. Keep up the honest posts and you'll always have people who can commiserate with you!

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  123. Our babies had the same due date (thats how I found your blog!) but our baby decided to wait 11 more days. We had a similar experience in the hospital. Our baby wasn't latching and it was taking longer for my milk to come in. The nurse insisted we try formula and I felt the same way (even had similar thoughts when my husband wanted to feed her)!! She wouldn't drink the formula and when the pediatrician came to examine her, she noticed she had a moderate version of "tongue-tied". We had to take her to a surgeon for him to snip under and tongue and she nursed great after.

    Harper is an beautiful healthy baby and you are a great Mom! Pumping that much is some serious dedication and struggles make us stronger. Who knows maybe #2 will nurse just fine! I love your blog!

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  124. So, I'm not a mama myself (yet), so it's really hard for me relate to this. I don't think I fully comprehend the great divide that seems to exist between breastfeeding and bottle feeding - it's really kind of mind boggling to me! But I have to say, I love your sense of humor, in general, but especially in this post. I know that this is an emotional topic for many mothers and I'm sure it's no different for you, but you're able to tell your story in such a refreshing, honest, no BS way and I love that. These are the types of anecdotes that I put in a little file back in my brain that says "For Future Reference," because I know that when the day comes, I'm probably going to need to recall the wisdom of women who went through it before me. You are helping so many people by sharing things like this, so thank you!!!

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  125. Thank you so much for this post! My daughter, Willow Harper, is 4 months old and we had almost the same experience. I didn’t make it quite as long as you, obviously, but I know what it’s like to exclusively pump, and then deal with the decision to stop. I also hated feeling like everyone was watching me and judging anytime I had to make a formula bottle in public. I love reading your blog, and Instagram...so much great information!

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  126. When my mason was two weeks old I finally gave in an started supplementing with formula. I wanted so badly to bf 100% of the time! I never produced enough milk no matter what I did. I took a shit ton of fenugreek daily and that about doubled my supply but it still wasn't enough. From about 5 months on I quit the pumping all together (HATED that pump) and just nursed when I could. I quit all together when he was 9 months old. Not all babies/mothers are meant to bf full time. You did just fine.

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  127. I love this. All of it. All so similar to my experience. And I feel the exact same way about my pump, taking it to a field and beating it Office Space style sounds pretty awesome.

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  128. Audrey -- Portland, ORApril 12, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Gah! I frickin love you. So many times I wanted to take that damn pump and go all Office Space on it in the backyard. :) Loved reading your story and so proud of you for doing what's best for your little Harpsicle. She is obviously happy, healthy and thriving!!

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  129. Thank you for this post. And I'm grateful for all the responses. It's nice to know I wasn't alone in my breastfeeding struggles. I felt like such a failure at first and like I was the only mother in the world not strictly breastfeeding my baby. I was afraid of being judged, especially when I was out in public and would whip out my bottle and little Similac to go pack. After a month or so I realized that I needed to do what was best for my baby and me. And I don't care what anyone thinks, she is healthy and happy (and so am I) and thats all that matters!

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  130. I was an exclusive pumper for three months while my son was in the NICU. He was so small and couldn't latch so I was an exclusive pumper. It is one of the hardest things anyone can do but I woke up every three hours on the dot while he was in the NICU to pump for him. My milk dried up after three months of pumping even with mother's milk tea and fenugreek. My pump is sitting in my closet and I cannot wait to get rid of it. The emotional part of pumping was the worst for me not the actual pumping part. Feeling like a failure because I couldn't breastfeed my son was worst than the pumping pain or not sleeping. Be glad that we both had caring, respectful and supportive men in our lives to help with such an emotional part of being a momma. Thanks for writing this because some people just don't understand how hard EPing can be!

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  131. Thank you so much for this post, i know it wasn't easy to write. my son is 10 months old now and were in the process of moving solely to formula. i dont know how many times in that 10 month period i have wondered/wished i could just stop nursing but always had the worse case of "mommy guilt".

    Like you I had a c-sec, little mans cord was wrapped around his neck in such a way every time i had a contraction his heart rate would drop leaving us no option. I had a difficult pregnancy and the whole time i was envisioning my "prize" at the end of it all...them placing my sweet new son on my chest after delivery. i thought of that moment maybe a million times while i was pregnant and when at the last min that wouldn't happen i was determine i would do the one natural thing i could and that would breastfeed him. it has been such a topic of frustration in our home. The first month i only gave him breast milk, he was eating just about ever 45 min TWENTY FOUR HOURS A DAY! he still has NEVER slept through the night. Dylan just wouldn't gain weight and most of the time would puke up everything i just fed him (worst feeling in the world). We were going in for weight checks every 3 days, i meet with multiple lac consultants, drank the mothers milk tea, took the supplements every 4 hours (which taste so bad they would make me gag every time),I tried everything. I even used the shields the first few weeks because i would absolutely dread putting him to my breast it hurt so bad, make your toes curl bad. I was so determined that i was going to do this. But finally after a month my husband talked me into supplementing with formula, i cried the whole time he was taking that bottle. i felt like such a failure, but i was just so exhausted. But for the first time in a month i had a full happy baby who would sleep slept longer then 30 min! from their i would offer him an ounce or two after every feeding. if he took it great if not that was fine too.

    i went back to work after 8 weeks and would tote that beautiful Madela pumping bag along with me. i love that you talked about burning it. LOL i don't know how many times i have told my husband that when I'm finally finished I'm going to burn it! I love that it has enabled me to feed my child but resent the amount of time i have lost with him because of needing to measure each of his feedings to verify he was eating enough. At his 9 mth check up he ranks in the .5% -little baby! i really don't know if i would/could do the same for the next baby. not sure if all of it was truly worth it. how do you compare the value of breast milk with the extra attention and love from a less stressed momma.

    Thank you again Jessica, for all your post!

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  132. I was also a shield user when my son now 5 would not latch right away post c-section. I felt bullied into it and after a couple mints of shield and pumping he developed a sore on the roof of his mouth from the shield. They almost admitted him into the hospital for 21 days thinking he has a infection that would attack his brain, until I asked if it could be from going between the shield and bottle nipple. Ah ha! Mama was right :) I breast fed for 3 months then he went on formula exclusively. It was hard but completely the right thing to do. As a first time mom I did not know better and my emotions were bat shit crazy so I like you was trying to be the super hero and push my mama milk. Crying like an ass in the shower as milk was pouring out. It was a hot mess but he is a fun rocking 5 yr old. Great post!! Love the blog;)

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  133. Its so great to see that you're not the only mom going through the whole breastfeeding disaster situation. I've been exclusively pumping for 6.5 mths because of latch issues and it sucks !! The first 3 mths i got up 5xs at night to pump and feed her...talk about feeling dead during the day. I figured if I've made it this long I can make it to 1yr. A tip I got from la leche league is keep your flanges and pumping bottle in the fridge in between pumps so you only wash once a day Instead of like 8 and it helps a ton. Ill join you with the breastpump bonfire soon ! Haha

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  134. Thank you for sharing this story, ours is very much the same. Met with many lactation consultants ended up using a shield because my son was biting down more than eating. After a month of exclusive breastfeeding we noticed he was still looking small and was throwing up a ton! We took him to the doctors and he was below his birth weight, as well as tongue-tied (which resulted in the bad eating habits). We were told to supplement with formula and pump to try to keep my supply up. It was such a relief knowing he was getting the nutrients he needed. We'd nurse, supplement with formula, and pump-so much work and time consuming. I tried everything to eating differently, not using the shield, pumping more, fenugreek pills, everything. and my supply wasn't going up. I kept this up until 4 months, it's sad to say but I wasn't enjoying it. I was hoping for that special bond you're supposed to get, the one you get in the hospital but it felt more like a chore at this point. I was mad at myself for wanting to give up but was also mad at myself because I couldn't produce enough for my baby. I couldn't imagine "failing" and giving up on him, and us. Finally at four months without even thinking about it. I just stopped. I was happier, he was happier, he was getting what he needed and we tried for as long as we could. Thank you for sharing your story, it's nice knowing you're not the only one who had to give it up.

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  135. Thank you so much for the encouraging post! My daughter is 2 months old and we have had a really rough breastfeeding experience as well! She didn't latch at all, so we used a nipple shield, a lactation aid, finger fed her, etc! Now with the lactation consultant's advice, I am exclusively pumping/bottle feeding. I was having a hard time emotionally with it at first, but I now know it is the best thing to do for both of us! Knowing there are so many mom's out there that went through the same thing helps so much!

    www.ourocliving.wordpress.com

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  136. I have been a long time reader if your blog (though this is my first comment). It is so nice to read about other moms who have every intention and do everything they can to breastfeed. I also struggled as my baby way born by emergency c-section 6 weeks early and had to be supplemented with formula right away. We also used a breast shield and had to breast, supplement, pump...exhausting and frustrating! I remember reading about other moms that breastfeeding came so easily for and they produced enough milk for a village and wanting to punch them in the face! We eventually got to exclusively breastfeed but at 5 months hadto start supplementing with formula. I probably should have done this sooner to make us all enjoy life a little more but you was so stuck on breastfeeding it took on a like of its own. I then read somewhere there "there is more to being a good mother than breastfeeding", and that's when I realized I was stressing too much and not enjoying this precious time with my baby. Thank you for sharing your story!

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  137. I went through the EXACT (to the T) thing with my daughter (first). We now (3 babies later) think she was slighlty lactose, I know I don't produce enough baby #2 did great so I was exclusive breastfeeding and he lost almost 1.5 lbs. And baby #3 was allergic to milk so we had to do nutramagien. So it was a VERY hard experience the first few months with all 3 of mine, but at least I was better prepared with the other 2. So thanks for sharing and keep in mind if you have more adorable babies.

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  138. I had a similar experience with my first baby. I blame it all on the nipple shield!!! The second one came out and latched right away with no problems!!! I think I was way more relaxed about it. Plus I didn't pump at all for the first 6 weeks.

    Thank you for sharing this post. I felt the same way with the guilt of using formula. I try never to judge peoples parenting because I don't want anyone judging mine!!!

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  139. Thank you for writing this post! Breastfeeding is hard for so many different reasons! I really struggled because I didn't understand how hard and what a commitment it actually would be. We also had family visiting nonstop (without any notice!) while she was a newborn and it was a battle to just leave the room with her for 20 minutes while I breastfed her. The leaking and pain and also having no help (plenty of visitors yet no help!) were enough to just get me to quit! i tried exclusively pumping but the pump we had just wasn't doing the job. i tried getting educated on pumping first but he had insisted we just go for it and i ended up not pumping enough. then i tried nursing her instead of pumping but it just wasn't enough. i cried for 3 weeks straight it seemed like until we decided to just go for the formula. we had the formula sitting in the cabinet for a week before and i kept pumping - literally only staying 2 bottles ahead of her eating schedule. You are seriously a champ for sticking it out for as long as you did! Thanks so much for posting this, it's very comforting to know that i'm not the only person out there who didn't have a perfect experience. and judging by the number of comments this post alone has gotten, there are several mothers out there who are or have gone through the same thing. Thank you for sharing your experience! I'm going to try harder with the next one!

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  140. I can relate to SO much of this post. I exclusively pumped for my now 2 year old daughter who was also a c-section baby and a projectile vomiter. I stuck with it for 8 looong months. The one and only reason I lasted that long was because I had the good fortune of being a major overproducer and I just couldn't justify paying for formula when I produced milk like a dairy cow. Next go around I am going to commit more to breastfeeding and hopefully it will work out.

    Just to reiterate some of what you wrote and what I've read in the comments for anybody out there still pumping and needing advice:

    1. Hands-free pumping bra - ENOUGH SAID.

    2. Rinse pump parts and put in a gallon bag in fridge - I only washed once at the end of the day. This seriously made a HUGE difference for me.

    3. Keep a spare set of parts for just in case - I only had one set and forgot them at work one night. Of course no local stores had spare parts to fit my pump so I had to cough up $40 for a manual pump to relieve myself just for one night...yeeeah, stupid.

    4. Nursing/pumping women need more calories to produce milk so make sure you are eating enough and drink, drink, DRINK! Water, that is. ;)

    5. For anyone freezing extra milk - you can fit more than 6 oz. into those Lansinoh bags. I put as much as 10 oz. in them at one point and I never had one bust, just make sure to lay it flat to freeze.

    P.S. LOVE your blog.

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  141. Thank you for this post. I went through the same thing with my little one. Sort of. My body thought I had triplets and produced so much milk I was practically suffocating my little one. We made the executive decision to pump and bottle feed. It was so so hard when society tells you that breastfeeding is totes easy and is the BEST FOR BABY. Bull. Frustrated mommy and angry energy is so not the best if that's what it takes to breastfeed. Felix is a happy camper now at almost a year. He rocks eating like he invented it. Glad to know I wasn't alone in my experience!

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  142. I understand this post completely. I was pumping exclusively by 2 months and by 6.5 months I was done with breastfeeding. It's just too hard, especially for a working mother, to keep it up.

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  143. this is such an inspirational post! I think you will help a lot of people! Kudos!

    http://scaifebabywatch.blogspot.com/

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  144. Thank you for this post! I don't have any children yet, but would like to in the near future. I appreciate just hearing other experiences from real people, just like me! Also, love the longer posts!! :)

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  145. I exclusively breastfeed and find your posting so honest and refreshing to read. Breastfeeding is so very difficult, probably the hardest part of the newborn stage for me, and it sounds like you put your heart into it and did what was best for your little one! Thank you for the honesty of your post!

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  146. My daughter wouldn't latch either, and the lactation consultants acted like it was my fault and I wasn't trying hard enough. I was flipping pissed. Sooo, I exclusively pumped for 5 months before my supply dried up, I would guess from a lack of natural stimulation. Frankly, aside from feeling like a cow, thought pumping was awesome...I wasn't the only one who had to feed her, she got the same nutrients, and I didn't have to worry about awkward public feedings. I'm preggo w/ #2 and hopefully he'll latch, but I'll have no qualms about pumping again if I need to. Glad to know I wasn't alone in that. You rock.

    -Nicole
    www.lifesolovely.com

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  147. When I was pregnant I read all the info about breast being best and was sure my baby and I would be pros at it. She latched on great the first time hours after she was born, but it was downhill from there. After seeing several lactation consultants in the hospital, no one could figure out why she was so horrible at latching on. After 2.5 weeks of pumping, supplementing with formula, and using a nipple shield (which would help her latch on but she would just want to eat for hours because she wasn't getting much milk), and a newborn with a hoarse voice from crying so much, I decided it was best for both of us to switch to formula. I was devastated and felt like the worst mom because I wasn't providing the best for my baby (and there are lots of judgmental people out there who can't understand why anyone would ever not breastfeed). But after hearing so many other similar stories (yours included), it helps reassure that we are still doing our best for our babies, no matter how we've ended up providing for them. The point is we ARE providing for them. :)

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  148. I had my 2nd baby at 29 weeks. She started on a belly button Iv, then to feeding tube,& finally to bottles only. Talk about awful time at night waking to pump! When we brought her home almost 8 weeks later, I could only attempt 1 bf session, followed by bottle , then would pump. We had to stay on the feeding schedule & I could only attempt to add 1 bf session every week because she was still under 5 pounds. It took too much energy & calories for her :/ Every time we were at a new appointment I'd get asked if she was formula or breast and if she then was bottles or breast feeding. I'd get told OH, I'm sorry. Even nurses knew how hard it was to attrmpt to breast feed, feed a bottle, then pump. It took her about a whole month at home (12 weeks old) before she was solely breast feeding. Ugh! I can't believe I did that, nor would I again! Along with the anxiety of a preemie during RSV season, I'm sure it helped send me over the edge ;) I felt enough guilt from the early birth that I felt it was all I could do for her in the NICU,& I just wanted ONE normal thing once she came home. There are so many reasons why people have to pump. You weren't alone! Read about my sweet miracle here http://lucasandemilyhowell.blogspot.com/2010/12/lucy-emilia-howell.html?m=0

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  149. I had a hard time with my first son, he wouldnt latch well and i ended up using the nipple shield after 3 days of him barely eating anything, lots of tears and frustration! He dropped almost a pound and didn't get back to birth weight until one month old. I started pumping and supplementing with formula inbetween feeding him at the breast.
    With my second baby he latched on right away after birth and always ate great, I am still breastfeeding him at one year old.
    Hopefully with your 2nd baby it will be alot easier!! :)

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  150. We have very similar stories from having c-sections to feeding our babies. Elle would not attach either and we had several laceration specialists meet with us, the shield, the syringe feeding you name it. Nothing is worse than waking up so engorged the nurses couldn't believe how fast my milk came in. What was not cool was the pain and than nipples would bleed and there went the milk just like that... gone. I was never a big "oh I must breasteed" so after three weeks of having no life due to pumping and being in constant pain and also feeling like i was not bonding with my baby since my husband was the one giving Elle her bottle I stopped. I was like forget this I don't care its gerber gentle start for us. Elle was also a huge spitter until she started on the gerber gentle start.

    I remember a sweet nurse telling me that it doesn't matter how your baby comes in the world-all natural, epidural, c-section and it also doesn't matter how your baby is feed- boob or formula. Amen to that!

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  151. What a relief! It is nice to know that I was not alone in the battle of breastfeeding. I had an emergency section and due to all of the stress of a long stalled out labour, plus surgery did not make for the ideal breastfeeding situation. I never produced enough milk and had several complications after my section. I beat myself up for months as I have three cousins who are all lactation consultants. I tried everything and eventually had to make the decision to switch to formula and I am so happy that I did. Like you said, you notice a huge difference in your wee human, your mood, and your relationship with your hubs. It's important that we not stress ourselves out over breastfeeding. Sometimes we cannot control it all and I agree, the judgement of others did weight on my mind. Thank you for sharing this. Your story will help give others the confidence they need to make the right decision for their little bundles. Just thinking about my pumping schedule makes me want to get out a sledge hammer and take out three months of sleepless nights and endless frustration.

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  152. Thank you so much for this post. It is nice to know there are other moms out there going through breastfeeding difficulties. I too have had some struggles with breastfeeding and it was very hard for me because none of my friends who breastfed had any difficulties. I also had to use a nipple shield in the beginning because my son wouldn't latch and do lots of pumping to increase my supply. After a few weeks my son learned to latch on but I still continued having a low supply so began to take fenugreek & continued with frequent pumping on top of nursing. I finally was able to increase my supply enough that I was able cut back on the pumping. After my son was 3 months old I returned to work & again my supply decreased. I work 12 hr nights and wasn't able to pump enough volume for him while I was away, so I had to begin supplementing him with formula. I remember feeling so guilty at the time. My son is 6 months old now and I still breastfeed and supplement him. It works for us and he is a happy, healthy baby and that's all that matters. Thanks again so much for sharing your story.

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  153. Thanks for sharing such a real story about your life with baby.

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  154. I ready to burn my breast pump too!!! My son is almost 8 months and I'm having to pump a lot because he is a busy boy and not interested in nursing unless he's tired. Pumping is seriously the worst and I have so much guilt and I feel like I am a quitter if I stop before he is a year. But your post helps me not to feel that way--thank you for sharing!!

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  155. I had almost the exact same story. But with a EASY vaginal delivery. My little guy and the boob just didn't mix. After 6 miserable weeks of breastfeeding our pediatrician told me I had to stop. He wasn't gaining weight and I wasn't producing enough. I cried and cried and cried! I stopped pumping at 5 months because I just couldn't handle it anymore and we were already supplementing A LOT! I still feel like people judge me because of our decision but it was for his best interest. With our next baby, I will try and nurse again. No one tells you how something as natural as breastfeeding can be so hard.

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  156. I'm going to echo everyone else, but thank you for this post. I had a vaginal delivery, but my son just wasn't into it; I actually had a lactation consultant tell me he was acting like a c-section baby. It seemed like breast feeding was so easy and just worked for everyone I knew. Between 2 & 3 weeks I switched to exclusive pumping and did everything I could to build a magnificent supply. I pumped for 9 months ( went back to work at 3) and had frozen enough to get him to a year. There was a lot of guilt and tears, a lot of tears. Mommas have to do what works for them and their baby!

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  157. As an EPing mama currently on month 9, I love this post. My daughter was a preemie, so it was even more important to me that she be breastfed, and I cried the first couple times I had to add in small amounts of formula. But we are still going strong! I laughed so hard at your comment about waking up to stick your boobs in a vacuum - it is the worst! Only 3 months to go for me, though. Whew!

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  158. Shield. Pump. Stress. Cry. Sounds like my experience. You tried your best which is all you can do. You're still an amazing mom and you're doing great!

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  159. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It sounds so much like what I went through with my 4 month old. We used the shields & I spent so much time pumping/eating/drinking. It was exhausting. I know your story & honesty will help to encourage other struggling mamas.

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  160. Thanks for sharing your experience. I had intended to breast feed, but it all changed the moment I had my daughter. She was born with Cleft lip and palate and was unable to breastfeed due to the birth defect. It broke my heart and there were many many tears. I had five ultrasounds through out pregnancy and not one showed that she had it. I pumped for almost two months, but I didn't have much to begin with. With all of her doctor appointments, it was too much to continue to stress about pumping. I still get sad, but I did what I was able to. Great post!
    www.lyndsey-littleharper.blogspot.com

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  161. Major props to you for continuing to pump like you did... we had a similar situation with our daughter rejecting my breastmilk and then being extremely gassy/upset after each feeding. It was horrible, I thought I was doing the right thing by bf'ing and was so adamant that I would bf for her first year but at the suggestion of our pediatrician we switched to formula to see if it would make a difference and wow..... totally different baby! I was in denial for a few weeks thinking there was no way my breastmilk could have been the cause of her spitting up/gassiness/uncontrollable crying, etc....but sure enough, as soon as we switched she seemed so relieved. It made me feel bad that I kinda forced it on her because of my own built up ideas of how it should be all while thinking I was doing what was best for her. In the end, I stopped breastfeeding at 11 weeks and pumped for almost 3 months (until I ran out of room in our freezer) hoping to re-introduce it to her when her digestive system had matured (4 months according to her ped) BIG MISTAKE... she wasn't ready and I felt like such an idiot for causing us all to have a horrible day/night. I hesitantly tried one more time at 6 months and for whatever reason, she was completely fine with it at that point. Thankfully, I was able to supplement the breastmilk I had saved into her diet until it ran out and by being able to do that, it made me feel better knowing that we had a semi-success with breastfeeding... All in all, we just want to do what's best for our babies, even when we don't know what that is exactly. Thank you so much for always being so honest and real in all your posts, you're such a great source for all the new (and not so new) mom's out there! xo

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  162. I think this has been one of the most helpful post that I have read on your blog. Don't get me wrong I love your blog and check it religiously but this was truly great. I am currently having issues myself with breastfeeding. Thanks for sharing.

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  163. With my now 2 year old, I had to use a shield for 4 months and then struggled to pump enough for her bottles while I was at work. We made it 14 months but it was HARD! Now, with my 5 month old, I haven't had to use a shield but am once again struggling to pump enough while I am at work. I applaud every momma that does what is best for her and her baby...whatever that choice may be.

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  164. You are awesome, you need to hear that. Harper is beautiful, happy and thriving because YOU are her mama, don't let anyone make you feel like anything you did was the wrong decision, us mamas have to stick together and build each other up instead of criticizing or judging the choices we make. I'm glad you had the courage to write this post because I think lots of mamas need to read it and be kinder to themselves. Hugs!

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  165. Great post! You did all the right things for Harper and obviously she is a happy and healthy little girl. My son struggled at first with breast feeding and I had to pump every 2 hours. I felt like I was killing myself just to have enough for him. He finally caught onto breastfeeding, but I was so close to giving up. Kudos to you and all your hard work. :)

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  166. If I could write my exact story of how I had to use a nipple shield, cried every night, took an hour to change baby, feed, burp, have him spit everything I just did up all over me, the couch, and himself and then have to feed him again, out to bed, wash parts, label milk and THEN try and fall back asleep, knowing j had to be up in another 1.5 hours to do it all over again...well this blog post would be written exactly how yours read! I feel 110% of your pain, struggles and feelings to a T! I stopped at 5 months as well and my son is 2.5 and eats great, sleeps through the night and life is good:)

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  167. Wonderful post. I know so many people have encouraged you and I will do the same. There is nothing wrong with formula feeding. My story is very similar to yours.. My daughter had a tongue and lip tie, and pretty severe ones at that. She is 4 1/2 months old now and we got both of them clipped, and I still go through pain every single day because I have a condition called Reynaud's phenomenon (my extremities don't have good circulation). So pair that with the tongue/lip ties and nursing in general, and it is a painful process. For the first month I had to bite down on something and take Tylenol every time she latched just so I could stand the pain. My milk production was shaky to begin with as well. I made the decision to keep going, because I am in the Navy and this year will be the only year I will be able to breastfeed her. So I pumped every two hours day and night, fed DD through a syringe at my boob (supplemental nursing system), and tried like hell not to give her a bottle. I finally had to just to give my boobs a break, and gave her a bottle at about a week old. After her tongue and lip were clipped, I had severe pain still, and it took about 2 months for them to figure out that it was Reynaud's. I got treated for thrush, staph, dermatitis, and eczema. It was a grueling process, but I kept going. And now we have a pretty good nursing relationship and I don't want to stop!! It is now more uncomfortable than anything else, but I have been through worse. On weekdays I pump during the day from 6am-4pm. Anyways, don't feel self conscious about giving the girl formula. I felt the same way when I had to supplement. I wish you all the best. Any little bit of b-milk helps, even if she's spitting it up a bit.

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  168. LOVE! Remember me packing my cooler FULL of 10oz bottles to fly home with? #dontmisspumpingATALL

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  169. LOVEEEEE this post! I have a 15 week old daughter, Nadia, and I also had major latch issues! I was strongly against formula in the hospital, and when she would not latch, they gave me a pump and I pumped my colostrum. I had teeny bottles of colostrum lined up next to my bed. I worked with about 4 different nurses to get the latch and it still did not work. When I got home I had a Public Health Nurse arrive to visit, and low and behold, she got Nadia to latch WITH a breast shield. I almost cried. I did not have any issues with milk, my milk came in on day 3 and I have always had plenty. However, even with the nipple shield, I still was pumping, too, and we were giving Nadia bottles the entire first few weeks. After a few weeks of the shield(kinda a pain in the ass), I really wanted to wean her off of that, so I had a Le leche consultant spend a day with me and we got Nadia to latch properly without a shield. At first Nadia was confused as you can imagine. My goal was 3 months..now here we are at almost 4 months. My husband can't believe I did not give up.
    Another struggle, is Nadia's reflux. After weeks of her spitting up, crying at the breast, refusing to drink, curling up her legs, arching her bag, and screamed for hours at night, we FINALLY went to the Dr. who gave Nadia Zantac. She is still on it. She still spits up but does not appear to be in as much pain.
    FORMULA---- I have tried formula just out of curiosity and she will drink Similac Sensitive condensed, but the 2 times we gave it to her, she was extremely fussy! I have heard good things about Enfamil Gentleease as well as Isomil, might try those. My next goal is to start some rice cereal at around 5 months old and see if that helps with the reflux as well as her sleeping all night long. Might even get her to go in her crib! haha

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  170. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  171. First time commenter. First, I just want to tell you how much I like your blog. You keep it real. (or at least it appears that way)
    Thank you for sharing your experience. I had a similar one, and really struggled with feeling like a failure. My goal was to BF for a year, but that definitely didn't happen. After struggling a couple of weeks and baby not gaining enough weight, we were asked to start supplementing after feedings with a couple of ounces of formula. So I was nursing, then formula feeding, then pumping to try to increase production. But my body just didn't want to cooperate, and my supply sucked even though I took these nasty herbal drops to help increase it. The best I ever got was like 3oz on one side and 15mL on the other. Sigh. Baby H is five months old now and is exclusively formula fed and has been for 2 or 3 months. It was sad for me at the time, but I just had to do what was best for her and I. It wasn't what I expected, but it's what worked.

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  172. I love how real you are. Thank you for sharing! It's not a sin to formula feed your baby... so many moms put so much pressure on themselves.

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  173. Thank you for this post. This is exactly my life right now. My daughter is two weeks old and I am in tears every day. I don't understand why she doesn't want to nurse. She lost a ton of weight at birth so the doctors made us bottle feed with formula and now she fights me every time I try to nurse because the bottles are easier for her. Its so frustrating! I never prepared myself for this situation. And no one tells you that this can happen. I always thought breastfeeding was a natural process that just "happens". Man was I wrong! I'm not ready to give up quite yet on nursing and going exclusively to pumping, but its nice to know that I'm not alone in this. Thank you!!!

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  174. I read this whole thing and I don't even have a baby! Your story is still so valuable to me because I know the physical and emotional aspects of it are different for everyone. Knowing your story will help me accept mine....whatever it may be.

    And yes - Harpie turned out perfectly!!

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  175. My problem is that my baby girl seems to get gassy from my breastmilk, the crying is exhausting and heartbreaking. She's got a good latch and is a good eater. Reading this post and some of these comments makes me wonder if I should supplement some breastmilk for formula

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  176. Kudos for the post! Our DD wasn't gaining weight on my milk so long story short b/c my pediatrician knew i was hell bent on breastmilk, we ended up on an exclusive pump routine and had to fortify my milk with premie formula. I produced like a milk cow and my pump was my "breastfriend", it EVERYWHERE with me and pumping while driving was called time management. HAHa... I feel like pumping exclusively for our next one is how i want to go. With the right accessories (hands free band, car A/C adapter etc.!!) It can be done on a low stress level :)

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  177. I had the EXACT same experience as you did with breastfeeding. We tried it all with my daughter, including the breast shield, and she just wasn't having it. I felt like a failure when she actually preferred formula over breast milk. However, the formula has been much easier than breastfeeding and she is now doing well growth-wise.

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  178. You are amazing, and I loved reading you're story. I'm 16 weeks in my pregnancy so far, and I've already been doing lots of research. I have been so frustrated with what some people have had to say on the subject of NEVER touching formula. It was making me very nervous about the possibility of not being able to breastfeed, but your story makes me feel so much better. Thank you ever so much for sharing. I will definitely approach feeding my baby with more peace now. :)

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  179. Let me just say that I am so relieved to read this post! It feels like I wrote it myself, just add in my baby being a preemie with the added complications and take off a month of the pumping game. It's so nice to see that others have the same problems and thoughts. I finally had to tell myself that momma has to sleep to take care of baby and that every little bit of breastmilk she got was beneficial even if we didn't make it to our goal of 1 year.

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  180. I love this! I had the same issues and would get so made because everyone I knew was all of a sudden obsessed with my boobs-- "are you breast feeding?" "how is it working?" strangers on the STREET I felt like were asking me--and I just couldn't do it.

    It's amazing how many people struggle and it's just never talked about!

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  181. Great post. Such a real, honest story of your breastfeeding/pumping/formula journey. Every mom wants to be able to do the best for her baby and that doesn't always end up being the way she planned it. I struggled with breastfeeding at first and remember crying through most of my days wondering if I'd ever have my life back. While my son finally ended up becoming a good nurser after the first 3-4 weeks, I still struggled over decisions about when to stop pumping at work and when to start supplementing with formula. At one point I was so stubborn about exclusively feeding him breastmilk that I think he was going hungry because my milk supply was so low and he wasn't getting enough. My friend and I have a saying "formula isn't poison." I do think breastmilk is the best thing for a babe, but I also think a mom's sanity plays a pretty important role in her baby's life. Besides in 10 years, we'll wonder why we worried so much about it all and we'll have a new set of child-rearing issues to worry about! Thanks again for sharing :)

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  182. I know I'm a little (OK, A MONTH...) tardy to the post party.. But I'm so thrilled that you were so open and honest! When Em was born she had a hard time latching. Most of it was that she was so tired that she couldn't really get on properly, and then she would get so worked up about being hungry that she really couldn't latch. My Medela PISA came in when she was 5 days old, and I've never been so happy to see a package. I think my husband was ready to lock me in the closet and feed her formula after the hellish experience that we were having, but I was determined to breastfeed!

    We gave her a bottle of expressed milk when she was around a week old, and it surprisingly helped her with the latching issues. I was pumping almost full time, but like you said it's an insane amount of work to pump and then feed, and then wash.. and then sanitize... and then start all over again! So I'd pump after she went to bed, and breastfeed the rest of the time. When I went back to work at 7 weeks we decided to transition to almost exclusive pumping again. She still nurses right after we get home at night, and if she wakes up in the middle of the night. But aside from that she gets bottles.

    I was also lucky enough not to have supply issues, and I was making about 32 oz of milk a day plus nursing once or twice, which helped me get about 100 oz in the freezer which has been crazy helpful! But Em started to sleep through the night at 5 weeks as well, so I had to get up in the middle of the night to relieve myself of the engorgement. One weekend I decided I had just had enough and I cut out that session entirely and after a few days I was no longer in pain when I woke up. Unfortunately that cut my pumping output to about 27 oz. a day, but at least I'm not in agony. :)

    Thanks for sharing your journey!

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  183. I just gave birth to our first child, a baby girl (also named Harper!) last Monday. I remember reading this post on your blog when I was pregnant and now I'm sitting here at 5:45 am with my pump going reading it again. Our situations are so similar- I can't get her to latch so I'm pumping, trying to BF when I can (it is incredibly painful) and also supplementing with formula. I get so down about it some days but I know I'm doing what's best for her.
    We are also having some spit up issues but not as intense as you described. Anyway thank you for writing this post. It's encouraging to read how another mamma got through it all.

    -Veronika- veronikasblushing.com

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  184. I wish I would have read this much earlier I also have the same issues and my son is now 2 months old and I too felt awful giving him formula to supplement and one of my friends is a breastfeeding champ so I feel so judged when I'm around her making him a bottle to supplement with! It feels almost like she doesn't understand but I'm so glad I read this it makes me feel like there is hope for my milk supply! Thanks so much for sharing your story and giving advice! I hope it works!

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  185. I'm so happy to have found this post. After lots of various struggles over the last 2 weeks, I've made the decision to exclusively pump and supplement with formula. I feel like a failure. Everyone around me seems to have an easy time breastfeeding and talks about the fabulous bond. My baby and I are so stressed during our nursing sessions that we completely miss the bonding experience. Thanks for this post, because it makes me realize that other people have trouble as well, but you typically just hear from the people who have it easy.

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  186. I enjoyed reading your exclusive pumping journey. I also exclusively pump and can relate to a lot of the issues you had. As of last week my son will latch on for three minutes at a time, then pull off and cry. It's heartbreaking, but I'm grateful that I am able to pump and feed him my breastmilk. Thanks for sharing!

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  187. This is my second child I'm exclusively pumping for and it STILL helps to read that other women were not successful with breastfeeding. I am working hard to release to guilt associated with not being able to breastfeed. Great to see so many others doing the same thing!

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  188. You have no idea how much not only this post, but all the comments on here have helped me today when I really needed it. I recently gave birth to a baby girl and had planned my entire pregnancy to breastfeed. My baby was tongue tied, so I couldn't feed her on day 1, even after getting her frenulum clipped. Then day 2 and day 3 consisted of latch issues, with various nurses and lactation consultants coming in to help me as my baby just shredded my nipples. I felt the pressure (by my midwife, the hospital nurses, lactation consultants, etc) to push on and trust that it would work itself out. Meanwhile my baby was constantly trying to nurse, and crying immediately after out of hunger, so I suspect there was a supply issue even though all the "experts" around me insisted all was fine.

    Anyway, long story short I agonized over the decision and am switching to formula. The guilt I feel is unbelievable, and I really feel like there is a societal pressure to breastfeed no matter what. I'm scared I'll be judged, but as my husband says, eff 'em. We need to stop with the judgement and do what's best for ourselves and our babies!
    THANK YOU for this post!

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  189. I developed post partum depression from lack of sleep because I agonized over breastfeeding so much and my baby ate every 2 hours that I didn't sleep for 3-4 months. As a result of the depression I had to move away from breast feeding and transition to formula. I felt so defeated, but in retrospect, now realize that breastfeeding even just a bit is better than nothing, and that in the long run, a happy (and somewhat rested mom) is better than an unhappy and exhausted one. I am now pregnant with my second and starting to read up on how to balance breastfeeding, pumping, and sleep. I will gladly forego a nighttime feed/pump session if it means not getting sick and being the best mom I can be for my baby.

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  190. I am so happy you shared this experience!! It's encouraging to read about other moms who have struggled with nursing. I had no problems nursing my first child but my second was a whole new ballgame. I spent months (six to be exact) beating myself up and agonizing over breastfeeding before finally throwing in the towel. Thank you so much for the insight and the encouragement. Being a mommy is so challenging and we all need to rally around each other to make it through. Good for you for making such a valiant effort and then having the wisdom to make the switch when it was time.

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  191. This is a very similar story to mine too! Ended up having a C-section after being in labor for 36 hours and no progress. Milk came in 6 days later. My son kept losing so much weight that we had to go to the pediatrician every 2 days. I was supplementing in the hospital. I struggled with feeding and was literally crying in his face. After about 2 weeks, I decided to just pump and supplement. I was suffering from some post partum too, so I didn't eat that much. My milk supply was incredibly low, but I was determined to give him some milk! I went back to work at 8 weeks, but I only pumped once a day at work and my supply just started dwindling. My baby turned 14 weeks this past Saturday and yesterday morning was the last time I pumped. I'm feeling incredibly guilty, but it's just not worth the time to pump only to get 20 mL every 5 hours. I packed up my pump and parts and put it away. Starting to feel better. So glad I stumbled upon this blog!

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  192. I'm so glad to see I'm not the only one with pumping struggles. My daughter wasn't gaining weight on the breast so we ended up SNS feeding her on the finger as well and it all went downhill from there. The whole process surrounding feeding her took so long that I emotionally decided to give her a bottle of pumped milk. So I now exclusively pump and I absolutely hate it. The pressure to give baby breastmilk is so intense. I don't even know how to say I'm done and stop. I have quite a few friends that are always telling me how "lucky" I am to have such a great supply (40-50 oz/24 hr period), so I feel like I can't just stop. Even though they are my close friends they don't realize how they are affecting my decision because I am so worried about being judged. So I'm stuck pumping, with a almost 4 year old that likes to act out when I'm doing it, a 2 month old that is unhappy because she isn't being held during those times and me being unhappy because I have no time at all for myself. It's a lonely and isolating decision to exclusively pump.
    Seeing the posts from all these ladies helps me tell myself that it's okay to just let it go. I need to make myself and my kids happy.

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  193. when I had my daughter my milk was not coming in. I would cry and cry, I felt so bad like I did some thing wrong and I was so determined to breast feed. it also was hard cause she would not take to the breast. so I decided to buy a pump. that way well I kept pumping to get my milk in I gave formula. so after awhile my breast milk started coming in and I was able to leave the formula and go back to giving he breast milk. even tho she still never took to the breast. I kept pumping and pumping putting it in bottles to feed her. that was she still getting my breast milk. I love it would not change it for nothing in the world.

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  194. when my breast milk did not come in right away I felt horrible. felt like I did some thing wrong, and also my other problem was daughter would not latch on. but I was determined one way or another to give formula. so I decided to give formula for awhile while I was continuing to pump to get milk to come in and kept trying the breast. after it started to come in but daughter still not taking to the breast I decided to just pump my milk out and then put it in bottles to feed to my daughter.

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  195. Hi Jessica. I found your blog this past summer after our baby girl (also named Harper!) was born last January and I love following you and stealing your ideas! But oh my goodness I just had to comment on this. I too switched to exclusively pumping at around a month. My daughter didn't have sensitivity issues but she was in the NICU for 9 days after her emergency c-section and got so used to a bottle there that she just never latched correctly and wasn't gaining weight (that failure to thrive label is so disheartening) like she should. I hated every.single.second of our pumping journey. We made it to 9 months before I just couldn't take it anymore, but I loathed that pump. Putting it away was the greatest day of my life (and she did just fine on formula these past three months until we switched her to whole milk), and having to take it out again is probably the scariest thing when thinking of having another. Haha.

    Hope your second try at breastfeeding goes better! Love your blog!

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