Saturday, July 17, 2010


Ok, I am not sure what else to say, but I need some support.
I cannot breastfeed. I have no milk. None. It's day 8 after delivery and after "breastfeeding" every 2 to 2.5 hours for 15 minutes on each side, and pumping for 15 minutes in between each feeding, there are still-literally-drops of milk. Not even a ml.
After she lost an entire pound from her birthweight, I started giving her a full amount of formula in a bottle(was supplenting by cup feeding before that), but still putting her to the breast and pumping, and she is gaining weight again.
But it's too much. I have to quit. It takes so long to breastfeed, then give formula, then pump. And every time I pump and look at those stupid empty bottles, I get depressed. And she has a perfect latch. And she loves to breastfeed. She's the perfect breastfeeder. And again, my body fails. It doesn't do what it's supposed to do.
I've seen a lactation consultant-every day in the hospital and twice in the week since we got out. She told me I did everything I could and shouldn't beat myself up over it. I sat in her office and Avery fed for 20 minutes off both sides and she gained ZERO (they weighed her with one of those sensitive scales before and after). I have pcos and she says they are seeing more and more research with infertility linked to poor milk supply. Heck, I'd take poor milk supply. But I have none. None.
I got the herb fenugreek, which gave me severe diarrhea (sorry if tmi) and gave me a two day long headache.
I give up.
And while I know, rationally, that it's not my fault and that she'll be completely healthy and fine, why do I feel so guilty?
I'm just looking for someone to tell me it's ok.
I know I shouldn't need it, but I do.
I just give up :(


Amanda said...

i understand you want to breastfeed your child with your milk supply. i think deep inside it's what we all want. however, with the stress of new mommy-ness and upset/hungry baby cries our bodies can become overwhelmed an shut down on us. Who knows why??
You seem to be doing all you can. have you considered, contacting a breast milk overflow supply company. momma's who have lost children, or those that the Lord has blessed with an unending supply for their own children pump and donate to said facilities and the milk is portioned out to families wanting, or preferring, breast milk to formula... i just googled 'donate breast milk' and then the name of our town. my son was born and passed away 3 weeks ago, and my left breast has been a geyser ever since. best of luck to you. i say if they are eating anything, sleeping and pooing, then something is going well.

AKD said...

Oh, Christy. I know it doesn't help to hear, but this isn't your fault. If you could CHOOSE to feed her completely with your own milk or use formula, which would you elect? That answers how much you care for Avery, and how you love her. This choice was made against your will, and that sucks so much - but you are doing what is best to help her grow. You are a great mother.

Love to you and Avery.

margaret said...

Christy I too got no milk with either Lorelei my first or when Calvin and Georgia were born. Because of the pressure I felt to breastfeed with Lorelei, I pumped for eight weeks as well as putting her to the breast for a natural latch but I was going out of my mind. I took the max dose of Domperidone for the entire time and never made more than an ounce a day. Our babies can't live and thrive on that. My lactation consultant told me that they are finding women with little milk producing breast tissue also have major issues breastfeeding. Hon, this has been happening since the beginning of time. That's why wet nurses have their place in history, thank God for formula!!! I decided after struggling to breastfeed Lorelei and resisting medication I badly needed for post partum because I was breastfeeding, that when Calvin and Georgia were born that I would give it the old college try but that if I couldn't do it, would be okay with that. All my babes were fed formula. Both Georgia and Lorelei are healthy and thriving girls and are better for not having a mother who accepted that breastfeeding was not going to work for me. Let go of the guilt and just love her. Feed her formula and be okay with that, it truly is okay to stop pumping and to feed your baby what she needs to grow and stay full and satisfied. Sending you hugs mama, you're definitely not in this alone and btw, I too have been diagnosed with PCOS. Much love....

Catherine W said...

Oh Christy. You've made me cry. It is ok, it really is. Please don't feel guilty as you have done absolutely everything you possibly could have.

I know how depressing it is to put so much effort in with the pumping and still get empty bottles. It is truly destroying.

J was the same as your little girl, she had a perfect latch and loved to feed. But, by the time we finally got going and she was no longer being tube fed, I couldn't make enough to feed her. But you've seen the chunkiness of her thighs now. All thanks to formula!

I also tried fenugreek but it didn't help a great deal. I was going to suggest domperidone but reading Margaret's comment above I can see that doesn't work for everybody either.

You are a fantastic mother Christy. As Margaret says, just love her and enjoy this time.

stumbull said...

I understand COMPLETELY!!!!! I also had a horrible time breastfeeding! My little one gained no weight the first month because she was just not getting enough food. She would feed for over 1 hour each time and then be screaming for more as soon as I took her off. It took me 6 weeks to finally give her formula and I wish I would not have waited so long. She was hungry for 6 weeks and I let it happen! I have been pumping for 6 weeks now and i barely get 1 or 2 ozs at each feeding and I don't have PSOS so my body fails and I don't even have a reason for it. PLEASE don't beat yourself up. Do what is best for you and your little one. I was so stressed over the breastfeeding that I got PPD and have been battling that now. We can only do what we can do. Formula is not going to hurt her and you will be much less stressed about feeding her. I know it is hard.

stumbull said...

Oh and NONE of the meds worked for me either so you are not alone in that.

Tina said...

Oh Christy it isn't your fault. I chose not to breast feed my oldest. He was formula fed only and he is perfectly fine and healthy...Avery will be too. You gave it your best shot and you have to give yourself credit for trying becuase we know breast feeding is not easy even when everything goes smoothly. I think once everything is settled and you are adjusted to the idea you and Avery will both be happier because the stress will be gone. xx

Lori said...

I don't have any words of wisdom or advice, but I do want to tell you that it's OK and Avery will be just amazing with formula. I'm so sorry it's not what you want it to be, but it isn't your fault in the do the best you can and you deal with what you can't. Please be kind to yourself!

Inken said...

Hi Christy, I had the same problem with my now 2 year old daughter Sophia. I had a little milk - got about 1 oz when I pumped, but never enough to satisfy her in any way. I saw a lactation specialist who assured me that I could breastfeed like "everyone" else - but everything I tried didn't work. I felt enormously guilty and very, very, frustated (my sister had breastfed her babies without a problem but later my mother "confessed" both she and my grandmother had had the same problem). I finally started to feel better when I decided to work out my own thing and not listen to other people telling me that all women can breastfeed... So I let Sophia have breast at each feeding because we both liked it and I thought 1 drop is better than no drop - and then I gave her a full bottle feeding with formula. The whole thing was a relief and we did that for 9 months (she slowly lost interest in breastfeeding and I finally decided to stop). No one in my family has ever had fertility issues so in our case low milk supply didn't have anything to do with that - I have a hard time believing that could be connected. I've been following your blog for a while and very happy for you! All the best to you and your family!

Christa said...

It's ok! You're doing an amazing job...but it sounds like it's time to give yourself permission to stop, and move on. This is an amazing time, and you deserve to ENJOY it! Please don't beat yourself up over this.

Hope's Mama said...

Oh I'm so sorry. I went through similar things at the start with breastfeeding, but it did work out for us. That's not to say it will for you, because clearly it just doesn't happen for everyone. I can only understand your despair and frustration, and for that I am very sorry. Formula these days is so very good and obviously everyone goes on with "breast is best" but if that's the case, the formula runs a very close second.
I hate all the guilt and regret we feel not to mention the pressure from other mothers.
You are doing such a good job, don't let anyone tell you different. Ultimately Avery needs to eat and you need to get rest when you can so you have to do whta you have to do.
You are a long way from a failure.

Anonymous said...

You are getting good advice here!
You're not a failure! I had supply issues for about two months. I have no idea why. I supplemented with formula, and still let my guy nurse whenever he wanted. It was a happy medium. Then after about the two month mark, the milk really started coming in. So I supplemented less (sometimes just nursed a whole feeding, I finally had enough milk). I went back to work about the six-month mark (I'm a teacher), and my supply slowly went back down, until he was simply disinterested, and my milk dried up. He was done nursing at around nine months. He's two now, and totally healthy. Remember, any drops of colustrum you have given Avery in her first days are sooo healthy and good for her.
Do what's right for everyone - you and Avery, that is. Don't let the faceless masses persecute you, don't let the LC make you feel like you're making a bad decision. If you decide to just stop breastfeeding, it's fine. If you decide to try and still give her a bit here and there, and supplement, it's fine.

Bluebird said...

Do you consider it supportive to say, "I understand"? Because, if so, honey - I understand! DS lost 14% of his birthweight and his pedi freaked out that he might be unable to gain weight. He had me nurse and supplement every 2 hours around the clock for 4 days. . . and DS gained 14 ounces. Little stinker! I was thrilled, but also brokenhearted! DS was such a *happy* baby all of a sudden (even though I hadn't considered him *un*happy until I saw the difference), and I realzied that he had been so hungry all along! Of course that led to tears that I had been starving my baby, my body failed me again, etc., etc. You know the story :)

My pedi encouraged us to keep this up since, as he said, even one drop of breastmilk was a benefit. . . but the nursing (for basically nothing more than 1 drop) plus formula feeding took over an hour every time and I was just exhausted. I ended up supplementing more and more and trying to nurse less and less -- I know it's not a popular answer, but it was the right one for us as we are all so much happier now. Even though my body can't provide for DS, I can still make sure he gets what he needs, and I know that that's what matters!

GL honey. Be gentle on yourself.

Holly said...

I'm sorry that your supply isn't what you want it to be. :( I'm sure that is so disappointing. It is ok to just switch to formula. If it gives less stress then that is what is best for you both.

LP said...

Hi Christy,

First of all, I think you are amazing! I have only been reading your blog for a week or so. But I want you to know that FORMULA IS FINE!!!!... in fact, formula is fantastic.
I too was racked with guilt for months when I was not successful at breastfeeding. I pumped for 2 months but I never had an adequate supply for my daughter, who was a preemie born 6 weeks early. She was never satisfied after nursing. I couldn't stand to see her not getting enough to eat so I switched over to formula. You will feel so relieved when you put her on formula and know that she is getting enough to eat. At first, I felt guilty, that I should have somehow made more effort, even though I was taking all the recommended supplements and pumping constantly to increase my supply. Now she is almost a year and I could not care less that she has been on formula almost the whole time.
There are so many people out there who will make you feel guilty for not breastfeeding. Formula is an amazing invention. It will not prevent you from bonding with your daughter. It will not mean she won't grow as well, or will get sick a lot more, or will not love you as much! She will be AMAZING, whether she drinks your breastmilk or not, and I guarantee you, 6 months to a year from now, you will not care. And she will never remember anyway!! It makes me mad that the nurses in the hospital and so many other moms make us feel so bad about ourselves for not being able to breastfeed. They offer so little information about how many mothers DO have problems breastfeeding, and believe me, it is a lot. It is about whatever works for you and you have given it every necessary effort and you will both be fine!!!
Sending you lots of love, hugs and kisses for your baby girl.

litanyofbritt said...

First- I desperately wanted to breastfeed my oldest, and due to circumstances beyond my control it wasn't happening. I cried for days, she got formula and thrived.

Second- With my son I was able to breastfeed, but my milk didn't come in until day 10. I read about eating oatmeal to boost supply and tried it, but I don't know if it was the oatmeal or not that made the milk finally come in.

Breastmilk or formula, either way your babe will be healthy and happy.


With Out My Punkin said...


sara/emerging butterfly said...

It's just another way to feel that your body has let your babies down. ((HUG)) But are doing it. If she likes suckling, there are ways to offer formula via the breast...adoptive mama's do it all the time. Then she can have her cake and eat it too! Who knows...maybe your milk will come in after all. Just relax...your a loving mother, and you are giving her all you have. And it's going to be enough. Take care. :o) XXXXX