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I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while!

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As I wrote the first time that I tackled the breastfeeding topic:

 

One of the things that I’ve realized about nursing is that is really can be difficult and trying (both physically and emotionally), as well as totally amazing, and it helps to hear other people’s stories.

 

Did you know that breastfeeding rates in the USA are on the rise?   Breastfeeding initiation increased from 74.6% in 2008 to 76.9% in 2009.  Almost half of mommas continue to breastfeed at 6 months – about 47.2%.  And 25% of moms are still breastfeeding at the one year mark (Source).  That being said, most mothers stop breastfeeding earlier than they thought they would.  In fact, while half of new moms say they want to exclusively breastfeed for the first three months, 42% of women stop breastfeeding in the first month (Source).

 

Medical professionals believe the breast milk is the optimal nutrition for infants (rich in nutrients and antibodies to fight disease; easier to digest than formula; lowers the rate of respiratory infections, asthma, allergies, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, as well as other diseases and conditions).  There are also benefits for the mother – the logistics of breastfeeding can be easier; you can save money; it helps burn off baby weight; and women who breastfeed are at a lower risk for Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression (Source).

 

Like most new moms, I always intended to breastfeed my baby.  But I was never really excited about the act of nursing.  I’ve heard some women say that they were really looking forward to nursing and couldn’t wait to breastfeed.  I was always kind of “meh” about the actual act.  However, I was committed to it because of the health benefits.  But I was also motivated to breastfeed because of the monetary benefits.  Breastfeeding is free, right?!  I figured that I’d be able to save so much money by breastfeeding – sweet! (More on the later).

 

When I wrote my first post on breastfeeding five weeks after Henry’s birth, I described the numerous issues that we were facing:  oversupply and strong letdown (which meant Henry would choke on the spray) and Henry’s allergy to dairy (which meant that I had to stop eating dairy completely).  An issue that I addressed in the comments section was my flat nipples, which basically makes it difficult for the baby to latch.  I would look at some of my friends’ nipples (yes, breastfeeding moms do things like compare nipples), and mine looked nothing like theirs – no wonder I had to use a nipple shield more often than not!  In the post, I said that, “{Breastfeeding} has been challenging, but my experience has been overwhelmingly positive; I think nursing is really fun, and I enjoy it a lot.”  While I did enjoy some aspects of breastfeeding, I think I was painting a rosy picture – for numerous reasons.  One, I really wanted to enjoy breastfeeding.  After all, I was committed to doing it for at least a year and didn’t want to hate it.  Two, I felt (and still feel) a lot of pressure from the breastfeeding community to LOVE breastfeeding.  Quite honestly, I felt guilty saying that I was not totally enamored by breastfeeding. 

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A few weeks after writing that post, the small part of me that felt negative about breastfeeding grew and grew.  I began to dread nursing sessions.  We graduated from the nipple shield but Henry still continued to choke on my overactive letdown reflex.  We’d end up covered in milk, and he would kick and scream through many feedings.  It was exhausting for us both, and I felt like he was never happy to be nursing.  And you know how breastfeeding moms talk about that ‘incredible bond’ they get from nursing?  Um.  I never experienced that.  Breastfeeding was akin to changing his diaper – something that I had to do for Henry to keep him happy and healthy, but not this magical moment.   Instead of feeling bonded because of breastfeeding, I began to feel trapped.  With his frequent feeds, I couldn’t even step away from Henry for more than 30 minutes.

 

Also, I began to realize that breastfeeding – at least for my family – was not free.  The fact that breastfeeding was ‘free’ was the biggest draw for me, remember?  But it was not free – not at all.  My best friend just has a baby and exclusively formula fed from the start.  One day, we were comparing notes on the cost of our babies, and I gasped when I realized that I had, unwittingly, already spent more money than she had on formula:

 

  • Medala Pump in Style Advanced:  I got it on sale for $240.
  • Consultant with a lactation consultant:  $140.
  • Nipple shields: $20.
  • Nursing bras: $50
  • Nursing tops: $100

 

Grand total:  $550.  Now, granted, I realize that I did not really need to spend any of this money.  Nursing bras and tops are very, very helpful but not totally necessary – I also could’ve thrift shopped before Henry’s birth for some regular tops that buttoned down.  A pump is not necessarily required to breastfeed, but if you work away from home or travel for work, you must pump somehow.  Manual pumps are cheaper but can be very painful (I tried one; it didn’t work).  You can hand express milk but that can be inefficient.  My consultation with the lactation consultant was extremely helpful, but I could’ve gone to free classes offered by my hospital; however, I wouldn’t have gotten the one-on-one help in the first few days that I desperately needed to keep breastfeeding.

 

Anyway, I only do a financial tally of the cost of my breastfeeding experience because I really thought it would be ‘free.’  And it’s not for me. 

 

My other issue with breastfeeding:  I began to hate having my boob hang out all the time.  I felt like I was naked 24/7.  My choices were either to breastfeed in front of family and friends or retreat into another room; I didn’t want to disappear every hour for twenty minutes, and while I’m not shy about nakedness, I really began to hate feeling ‘on display’ all the time.  The cover-ups were difficult to use and annoying.  And speaking of the logistics of feeding – our society is not breastfeeding-friendly.  People give you the stink eye for breastfeeding in public… even if you are covered up.  And I can’t tell you how many ‘family restrooms’ I have walked into and discovered that there is no chair for a nursing mom to rest in. 

 

More than anything, as the weeks progressed, I really began to understand why other mothers choose to formula feed.  Look, it’s really, really easy before you have a baby to sit there and say, “Oh my god, I have no idea why someone would feed their baby formula.  Breast milk is so much healthier and cheaper and easier.”  I’ll admit – I thought like that.  “Breast is best,” as they say, and while I respected others’ right to choose formula, I couldn’t really understand why they would. 

 

The reality is that breastfeeding is hard.  Everyone says it gets easier, and I’m sure it does, but the statistics don’t lie:  for many women, it is hard for a long time, and most ‘drop-out’ before it gets easier. 

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So.  Over the course of a few weeks, I began to pump more and more.  I started off pumping a bottle a day so that the Husband could feed him once at night, but soon enough, I was pumping almost every bottle.  Before I had Henry, I used to think that in the spectrum of breastfeeding and formula feeding, pumping would be the worst.  No magical breastfeeding bond, a round-the-clock commitment, boobs still full of milk, and bottles to clean.  But for me, pumping really isn’t that bad.  Yeah, it’s not ideal, and it’s not the way that I expected to feed Henry.  There are many drawbacks to pumping – it’s annoying and time-consuming.  The stress of being tied to a pump has been hard – I had one epic crying session.  But I got over it quickly because there are benefits to pumping, too.  Henry gets to happily eat my breast milk; he eats more milk per session and seems more satisfied.  He’s not struggling to latch to my breast or choking because of my letdown.  I feel more bonded when feeding him from a bottle.  Plus, other people can feed the baby, giving me a break and the Husband or DadHTP a chance to spend time with Henry.  I pump about 95% of Henry’s feeds and breastfeed every now and then.  Fortunately, he’s never had ‘confusion’ between the breast and the bottle, so we can jump back and forth in a pinch or at night.  He’s still fed exclusively breast milk, and I hope I can keep this up for a year. 

 

The vast majority of my real-life friends breastfeed; most are doing extended breastfeeding past one year.  When they learn that I pump, I get a lot of “I’m soooo sorry” looks.  But pumping is my choice, and I don’t feel bad about it.  Sure, it would’ve been great if breastfeeding had worked out, but for so many reasons, it wasn’t for me.  Yes – it wasn’t for me.  Maybe some people would say that I should’ve fought past feeling trapped or naked or uncomfortable and gotten over it for Henry’s benefit, but you know what?  Henry is my priority, but I’ve got to think about my happiness, too.  I don’t feel selfish for giving up breastfeeding and choosing to pump.  Pumping has allowed me to feed Henry want I want to feed him and maintain my sanity.

 

I would hate to scare anyone away from breastfeeding – that is not my intent at all (and I would LOVE for breastfeeding moms to comment with their success stories just to illustrate the point that things can be easy and wonderful).  I do think it’s important to step away from the “breast is best” rhetoric.  All that does is make women feel pressure and guilt.  Instead, we need to prepare moms for the realities of breastfeeding and figure out ways to prevent issues before they start.  Education is paramount.  We need to make breastfeeding easier – like putting chairs in family restrooms, for goodness sake! 

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And I think everyone needs to keep in mind that while “breast is best” for the baby, moms who choose to pump bottles or formula feed their children are not selfish.  And we are not missing out on some magical bonding opportunity; there are many ways to bond with your baby, and quite honestly, I don’t think one is better than the other.  We do not love our babies any less because we give them bottles.  Some of us can’t breastfeed.  Some of us just don’t want to.  And that’s okay.  It’s hard enough being a mom without feeling judged for what you do or do not do with your breasts. 

 

One of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned from being a new mom is this:  You really don’t know how things are going to go until you do it. And because of that, we should all just take a deep breath, chill out, and refrain from passing judgment.  That might be the ‘best’ thing of all.

{ 366 comments }

 

Leave a Comment

  • Jenn S. September 10, 2012, 12:22 pm

    I exclusively pumped for 13 months for my son. It was a lot of work but I was happy knowing he was getting my milk. We did end up supplementing with formula as we approached a year, but only sporadically because my supply started dropping. Good luck!

    Reply
  • Kim L. September 10, 2012, 12:27 pm

    Love, love, love this post!!! Breastfeeding never worked out for me and I ended up pumping with both of my children. I felt like a ‘failure’ at first, but quickly figured out I was doing the best I could for my babies and myself and it was OKAY! Thank you for your honesty and most importantly for encouraging people to refrain from passing judgement.

    Reply
  • Lindsay J September 10, 2012, 12:30 pm

    I’m on the other end. I hated pumping. I pumped while I was at work or away from my baby. I dreaded each pump session and aboslutely hated cleaning the parts/bottles and having to discreetly store the milk in the work fridge.
    However, I was happy I could still provide for my child and that was all I needed to be happy. Do what you want/need to do in order to feel joy. No two people are alike. Good luck!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 12:31 pm

      Gah, we need to invent a machine that magically washes bottle parts in the blink of an eye! And you can take it wherever you want.

      Reply
  • Rachel September 10, 2012, 12:30 pm

    Thank you for posting your perspective. I am also a relatively new mom (9 mos.). I’m amazed at how emotionally-charged breast feeding is as a topic and truly appreciate your level-headed sharing of your experiences. I wish more moms felt comfortable doing that. (I wish *I* was more comfortable doing that!) Your note shows how sharing makes us all more informed and more accepting. Thanks again.

    Reply
  • Kaylee September 10, 2012, 12:31 pm

    I am currently trying to ween my almost 13 month old daughter from breastfeeding. Honestly, if anyone was to ask me what my greatest accomplishment has been, it would be breastfeeding my daughter for over a year. HOWEVER, I also pumped a good portion because I went back to work, and I somewhat disagree with your usage of the word breastfeeding. (I’m not saying this because I’m offended by any means, just to show you that I think you are still a breastfeeding mother). I always say, and will continue to say that I breastfed my daughter for over a year, even though 4 days a week she was getting 5 or so bottles of pumped milk. But when you go to the pediatrician, (at least mine) they ask you if you are breastfeeding or giving formula. They don’t say, are you breastfeeding, giving formula, or pumping and giving breastmilk. I think the main point of breastfeeding (even with a slogan such as “breast is best”) is that they are getting the nutrition of breastmilk. There are of course other benefits, skin-to-skin, bonding, endorphins, but as you stated, if you are having a hard time you aren’t really getting those benefits. So to me, you are still a breastfeeding mother. :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 12:33 pm

      I think I am still BFing too but I know that some *serious* BFing mommas would disagree with me, so I was trying to be PC. I think this is an interesting debate. Am I BFing? Or just pumping?

      Reply
      • Sheryl September 10, 2012, 12:36 pm

        Also, I would consider what you’re doing BFing… what Henry is eating is coming from your breast, regardless of how he ingests it!

        Reply
      • Amy September 10, 2012, 1:00 pm

        I agree- I would say you are breastfeeding b/c Henry’s food is coming from you. Like you said, it’s actually more work than “just” breastfeeding, so hats off to you. I believe that breast IS best, breast referring to the milk!

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        • Caitlin September 11, 2012, 1:15 pm

          Agreed Amy!

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      • Alison September 10, 2012, 1:15 pm

        I would say that you are most definitely breastfeeding! (But perhaps not “nursing”)

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      • Nicole September 10, 2012, 1:32 pm

        I agree that you are BF. You’re still producing milk and your son is drinking it!

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        • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) September 10, 2012, 2:22 pm

          You are absolutely breastfeeding in my opinion! His food is coming from your breasts after all. :) So maybe you are not nursing but breastfeeding? Yes indeed!

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      • Allison September 10, 2012, 1:52 pm

        You are absolutely BF!!!!! Holy moly, pumping is WAY harder than just sticking om the boob. Kudos to you. I am really impressed with how you are handling things!! I was able to exclusively BF both kids, but now see that I was just lucky that everything fell into place. Seriously, you are doing an amazing job, mama!!!!

        Reply
      • Kristin September 10, 2012, 2:16 pm

        I have felt the same way when people ask me or when I refer to what I do I hesitate to see “breastfeeding” bc I do pump exclusively but its so true we are breastfeeding mammas! I say lets just forget being PC LOL

        Reply
      • Sarah September 10, 2012, 3:28 pm

        If your breasts are making milk and your baby is consuming it, then that’s breastfeeding in my opinion. I remember when somebody said that to you.

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      • Chrissy September 10, 2012, 4:28 pm

        I agree. I would call it breastfeeding!

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      • Samantha @ Mama Notes September 10, 2012, 6:24 pm

        I would say your breastfeeding. Wether he gets your milk from your boob or from the bottle your boob put it in, I think it’s all the same :)

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      • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} September 10, 2012, 7:43 pm

        You are breastfeeding! For sure.

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      • Katie Heddleston September 10, 2012, 9:41 pm

        I think what you are doing is breastfeeding as well. The breast is best motto really just means breastmilk is best in my opinion. Sure there are bonding moments from nursing, but you can bond while bottle feeding as well – and more people get to bond with the baby that way.

        Also, just wanted to share that we finally got Xander off the nipple shield. He turns 6 months on Saturday and got rid of it around 4.5 months — that’s a LONG time for using the nipple shield and I totally had feelings of always having my boob out because he was eating sooo often because he ate slower with the shield and got less milk too. Eventually it did get better but yet it was hard.

        Great post Caitlin :)

        Reply
      • Caitlin September 11, 2012, 1:14 pm

        I agree with everyone else, you are breast feeding Henry. He is eating/drinking/surviving on your breastmilk and not formula, no matter which vessel your breastmilk is being given to him in- bottle or breast, the important thing is that he is having your breastmilk and not formula.

        Reply
      • Heather September 12, 2012, 8:01 am

        I exclusively pump for my daughter and have since she was 2 weeks old when breastfeeding just was not working out. I too, stressed and met with a lactation consultant, spoke with the L.C. daily, tried an SNS and fingerfeeding and my little one was just misable, certainly NO bonding occuring. Thank you for writing this post (maybe a future book? I think there needs to be more resources out there). Anyway, back on topirediatrician records it as breastfeeding on her chart each time we are at the doctor’s and I tell them I am pumping.

        Reply
    • Kelly @ Runmarun September 10, 2012, 12:49 pm

      This is a really good point- I think you are absolutely right- if little one is getting breast milk, it sure seems like they are breast fed to me. Kudos to you for continuing to pump while at work.

      Reply
      • Krista September 10, 2012, 1:03 pm

        Wow, there are mommas who don’t consider pumping to be BFing? Bizarre!
        I’ve only formula fed both my children, wouldn’t have it any other way looking back, but it is very expensive! My youngest is 7 months and we spend $36/week on formula. So that’s $1008 so far on formula. I’ll switch to milk at 12 months, at which point it will be around $1700 spent!

        Reply
    • Natalie September 10, 2012, 12:57 pm

      I’m so glad you brought this up. I was just about to ask about this very thing. Granted, I’m not a mother so I may just be woefully ignorant on the topic, but it seems to be that as long as the baby is still getting breast milk then it doesn’t really matter whether it comes from you directly or from a bottle.

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      • Kristy September 10, 2012, 10:09 pm

        I didn’t even realize that some people wouldn’t consider pumping to be breast feeding. Like someone said…maybe it’s not nursing, but I would most certainly consider it breast feeding. You keep doing what you’re doing, girlfriend! Mama knows best

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    • Jennifer September 11, 2012, 12:50 pm

      Amen! You ARE breastfeeding. You’re just using a different method to accomplish it than you thought you would.

      I’m committed to breastfeeding and had already considered the logistics that you’ve laid out. If we have to move to pumping most of the time for scheduling or sanity’s sake, so be it. If nursing or pumping just won’t work, then we’ll use formula – it exists for that reason.

      Mindfully interacting with your baby in any way will enhance your bonding. Yes, some magical hormones are released from the physical act of breastfeeding but those hormones are also released when you gaze at each other over a bottle or cuddle or play- maybe not in as large a dose, but they are released. As for the financial benefits, if you keep feeding Henry breast milk until 1 year, you’ll still save more than $500 over formula.

      Reply
  • Kelli September 10, 2012, 12:31 pm

    I only formula fed I didnt even consider breastfeeding but boy did I get the stink eye! Like you said do whats best for you and your child! Thats what it comes down to!

    Reply
  • Julie (A Case of the Runs) September 10, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Great honesty here. Besides cleaning the pump, is the main downside of pumping the time you have to sit there doing it? I would imagine that if you could pump and store, you get the best of both worlds, right?? Just curious for future reference.

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    • Angie September 10, 2012, 1:22 pm

      In my opinion, as a mom who is nursing her 4th child, the downside of pumping is the time involved that is time you are not using to feed your baby. Huge kudos to Caitlin and all other exclusive pumpers, I would have had a hard time devoting the time to pumping and then still having to devote the time to preparing the bottles and feeding the baby. I have had to pump some because of work obligations, and I far prefer just to give the baby the boob! That said, I am really fortunate that my family circumstances have allowed me the freedom to nurse my children and that breastfeeding worked great with all of them. I am still nursing my 4th at 15 months old, and he still nurses a lot because he is dairy and soy sensitive. The most nutritionally sound thing he can tolerate right now is breastmilk, so we’ll keep doing it for a little longer.

      Reply
      • Ashley September 10, 2012, 4:07 pm

        I totally agree, Angie! I’m a mom of twins who are 12 weeks old. They were born 8 weeks premature so I had to pump because they were in the NICU and couldn’t latch, etc. Even now, I still pump 90% of the time – only BFing once per child per day.
        I’ve been scared about how I’ll be able to keep this up long term though precisely because of the TIME COMMITMENT that you mention. Right now they still sleep a lot, but as they get older and have more awake periods I dont know when I’ll have the time to pump! While they’re awake I’d like to be spending my time with them…not pumping. And even though I know that pumping is important (since its their primary food source and all the benefits of breastmilk) – how do you weigh the costs/benefits of providing breast milk versus providing your time/attention???
        I guess I’m scared about what happens when the day comes that they’re demanding my attention and I have to choose between being attentive to them or pumping food for them. What’s the “right” choice??? Caitlin – I’d love to hear your opinion on this, too!

        Reply
        • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 5:50 pm

          I keep an emergency bottle in the fridge for this very reason! Or I shove a pacifier in his mouth, pull him over to my pumping area, and pump while I play with him. It usually works.

          Reply
    • Kristin September 10, 2012, 2:18 pm

      I pump exclusively and I thought it would be a pain, the time, but honestly it hasn’t been for me. I pump about 10 min each time and I pump 6 times a day, or thereabouts. My baby is 4 months old. Lots of times if she is super hungry and screaming and I dont have any milk in the fridge for her my hubby just entertains her until we have some milk to give her. I dont ever feel upset or overwhelmed by the time away b/c my husband is always there to help out and in the end I think its really a minor amount of time.

      Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:04 pm

      Yes – the pain is the time involved and then you still have to bottle feed the baby. BUT thankfully I can pump REALLY fast. 5 minutes or so? Not too bad.

      Reply
  • leah September 10, 2012, 12:33 pm

    Props to you, mama!! I HATE pumping and my body stopped responding to it around 9 mos. (I only ever got a max of 3 oz/session anyway…and that took 45 minutes!!!!) Also, my little girl is allergic to formula (tried 3 kinds with the same reaction so we stopped!), so thankfully breastfeeding worked out great for us! However, since I do often have to leave for meetings, and to do other things I connected with some AMAZING mom’s in my area who donated a TON of frozen milk for us to build up our freezer stash. I think the key to this post…FEEDING your baby is the right choice! :)

    Reply
  • Sheryl September 10, 2012, 12:34 pm

    You are so right that they need to make BFing easier! I have had to nurse while standing in an airport restroom… no fun, for mommy or baby!

    Reply
  • kim @ vegan mama September 10, 2012, 12:34 pm

    Breastfeeding has been a huge struggle for me, and it most definitely is not free! I have low milk supply and had to supplement with formula for 3 months. Now we are off formula, but it is still a struggle to keep my supply up. I’ve spent sooooo much money on lactation consultants, herbs & domperidone, formula, pumps/pump parts, etc. I chose to stick with it, but I’m not sure I would do it again if I have the same issue with another baby. (I would give my very best try, but just not sure I would work so hard if I have supply issues again).

    I absolutely understand why women would chose to exclusively pump or formula feed. At one point, I was nursing, giving a bottle of formula, then pumping – 8x a day! I for sure had many days where I felt it would be easier to just pump & bottle feed. No judgement here.

    Reply
    • Merry September 10, 2012, 2:52 pm

      I did this same routine of nursing-formula-pumping for my twins because of my low supply – its more than a full time job!

      Caitlin, I love you for this post. Breastfeeding is HARD, and some factors are just out of our hands. There’s enough personal guilt when running into challenges feeding your child(ren), that there is just absolutely no room for judgement from others. I was seriously on the edge for the first month of my kids life. Its getting easier to accept my lot now at 7 wks (of nursing then formula), but I still get a knot in my stomach when other people say how awful formula is.

      Reply
  • Emilie September 10, 2012, 12:38 pm

    Thank you for this.
    I exclusively breastfed until 7.5 months but it was NOT fun, easy or everything people say it should be. I experienced many of the problems you have (milk allergy, strong letdown, oversupply in the beginning). I had MAJOR hormonal issues from breastfeeding that I don’t hear many women talk about. I had my period for 3-4 weeks at a time. Horrendous acne all over (I have never had skin problems), trouble regulating my body temperature, and contrary to popular belief, bfing did not help me lose weight. It actually prevented me from returning to my pre-preg. size. I am an avid runner and returned to running at 4 weeks postpartum. I did not lose a pound all through training for a half marathon and working with a personal trainer. I had a full physical from my doctor to check for any issues such as thyroid etc. There was nothing wrong with me and I was told that things should ‘even out’ when I was done nursing. This was crushing for me and I had begun to resent nursing my daughter, even though I was terrified to give her formula. Finally I decided that my mental health had to account for something, and we switched to formula at 7.5 months. She is now 8 months and we could not be happier. I feel completely different and she is thriving, and I now take pleasure in feeding her rather than dreading it.
    It’s important for everyone to share experiences, good and bad, so that moms know that each experience is unique and we must all make choices that work for US.

    Reply
  • Lisa September 10, 2012, 12:39 pm

    I breastfeed my 15 month old.
    He will NOT take a bottle and only just started taking a sippy with water.

    I’m jealous of you!

    Reply
  • Verna September 10, 2012, 12:39 pm

    I didn’t love breastfeeding. I didn’t hate or dread it but I didn’t love it. I didn’t feel magically bonded to my son because of breastfeeding. It was easier, cheaper, and healthier so we made it 10 months. I was disappointed that we didn’t go the whole year but I dried up. My daughter was a whole different experience. I enjoy breastfeeding her. I’m not super in love with it still but I’m enjoying it so much more this time. I think because I realize how fast this time goes now and I’m savoring all the snuggles I can get while I can still get them. ; ) Good job you for pumping! Do what’s easier for you!! You might feel different about breastfeeding next time though. You might not have as much of an over supply (I have the perfect amount this time), and you might just feel better about it mentaly! You’re doing a great thing for Henry wether you feed him directly or are pumping!!

    Reply
  • Erin September 10, 2012, 12:39 pm

    I applaud your honesty.
    So many of my friends told me how difficult breastfeeding was for them. It really scared me! Fortunately breastfeeding has been pretty easy for me and baby. I do find it to be a great bonding experience. I don’t have a particularly cuddly baby, so I enjoy our time while she nurses. But like you said, there are many issues that arise when I comes to breastfeeding. My little 10 week old sweetie refuses to take a bottle. It is difficult, because I literally can’t ever leave her for more than 2 hours. So I’ve been dealing with feeling guilty for wanting some time to myself. Thanks for making me feel like this ‘trapped’ feeling is normal, and doesn’t mean I don’t love my baby!

    Reply
  • Courtney @ Translating Nutrition September 10, 2012, 12:40 pm

    Great post! This is a very important topic, and I’m glad you shared your perspective. There is a lot of judgement and pressure around breastfeeding, on both the doing it and not doing it sides. I’m glad you are doing what is right for you and your baby and not feeling bad about it! Good for you!

    Reply
  • Crystal September 10, 2012, 12:41 pm

    For the first few weeks, my son and I went through a spectrum of issues, similar to yours-he was a “lazy” eater, my milk came in late, oversupply & flat nipples. I needed to use the shield for every. single. feeding. for about a month. Eventually he was able to latch on to both sides without the shield which has made things so much easier, but I still struggle with being away from him for more than 3 hours. Yes, pumped milk in a bottle is great since someone else can feed him, but I’ve still got to pump for the next feeding, so I’m either near him or the pump every couple of hours! Now that he’s sleeping more, I’m occasionally having to pump before feedings in the mornings…or else he needs a bath afterwards, lol :) Interesting to hear your story since our little ones are 2.5 weeks apart!

    Reply
  • La September 10, 2012, 12:41 pm

    Bravo! Great post. I exclusively pumped for three months b/c my daughter was born a month early and had to be finger-fed the first two weeks and then she would never latch. I had great visions of breastfeeding for at least a year, but that didn’t happen. After I stopped pumping at three months (my supply dried up) I was devastated, cried often, felt guilty, and believed I was a terrible mother. Once she was on formula though and I slowly started to give myself a break, I found I was a better mother, I enjoyed time with my daughter more, and let go of all of the stress of wondering if I would produce enough milk to feed my child that day. We do need to change the rhetoric because being a mother, and a wife, and a professional woman is hard, and it’s terrible that we often make our choices based on how other people will judge us. I was embarrassed to tell people that my child was on formula, but now, three months later, I’ve made peace with it. She’s growing great, is alert and focused, smart and happy. Ultimately, that’s all that matters. Thanks for your candor.

    Reply
  • kwithme September 10, 2012, 12:44 pm

    Your final statement is great and should be repeated loud and clear for new parents. You really don’t know until you do it. Everyone’s experiences are different. We had a mom in my parent group who felt so guilty because she wanted to stop nursing her second child at 6 months. She felt she was short changing him because she had nursed her first for about a year. BUT the experience was so different for her the second time. His nursing sessions took 45 mins every 2 hours, she was exhausted and miserable. Because of her emotional state, she was not the mother she wanted to be for either of her children. When the group pointed this out, she was alot more forgiving to herself. One of the hardest lessons I have had in parenting, is making the right decision for the FAMILY and not just the baby. Sometimes the best for one, is really detrimental for the rest. And the parents have to learn to make balanced decisions for the good of all in the family.

    Nursing my first was lot like your experience. Crazy letdown, lots of milk. Lots of crying until I found out what the “problem” was. I frequently pumped 6 oz before each feeding. After about 4-5 months it was easier and the need to pump was gone. I don’t remember all the details but it was not so bad (it was 10 years ago). I went out and did stuff with her and it just was not an issue. We nursed until 16 months.

    My second was much easier in the beginning but we traded that ease for “colic” . She wanted to nurse all the time. She required 3-5 hours of walking/motion after 5pm everyday. We tried all kinds of stuff, she was cranky if I ate eggs. I did a full dairy elimination diet in hopes that it would stop. When she was 11 weeks old, and I was really depressed because of the frustration, she discovered sucking her thumb. And the colic was over. That day, she was done with the screaming sessions. Nursing was reasonable again. And if she had been willing to take a bottle, I would have nursed until 14-16 months but since I had not had more than 3 hours to myself in a year, we weaned at 12 months.

    Reply
  • Molly @ Duchess of Fork September 10, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Amen, amen, amen! Good for you, Caitlin. You are absolutely doing what’s best for Henry and yourself. If momma isn’t happy nobody is happy. You are a great mom!

    Reply
  • Lisa @ The Splattered Apron September 10, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Caitlin, you hit the nail on the head–do what’s best for you and your baby. Henry is still getting all of the benefits of breast milk even if it’s from a bottle. I went back to work when my daughter was 5 months old and pumped 4 times a day to make sure she would have enough milk (I ended up with 3.5 months worth extra. That I then lost in a power outage. Story for another day.) She’s now 13 months and still nursing when she wakes up and before she goes to bed. For us, breastfeeding has been fairly easy with only a couple of stumbling blocks in the beginning and it’s something we both enjoy. For that, I am incredibly grateful.

    Reply
  • Kelly @ Runmarun September 10, 2012, 12:46 pm

    Wow, excellent, very well-thought out post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on what tends to be such a controversial topic.

    Breastfeeding is such a HUGE commitment. I had no idea how hard it would be or how much work it would entail until I actually started nursing my daughter who is now almost a year old. I remember crying in the hospital after she was born and remarking to my husband, “It’s a wonder anyone sticks this out!” I’ve been breastfeeding since then and she has never had a bottle (and I’m not bragging when I say that). I desperately wanted her to accept a bottle but she just never took to it. I was disappointed because I wanted my husband to have the opportunity to feed her too!

    I really like what you said about feeling as though you were always on display. My mom and step-father came to visit shortly after my daughter was born and my step-father is somewhat uptight so for me to nurse in front of him was a pretty big deal- but there was no other option unless I stayed in her nursery for my parents’ entire visit.

    Fortunately, she is much more efficient so nowadays, she nurses for about 10 minutes (both sides) and it’s on to the next thing.

    Even now, I still have days where I get so sick of it. People always ask me when I am going to wean and I usually respond that I will do so when she’s ready…or around 18 months. If she decided she was done tomorrow? I’d pump until she turned a year and gladly move on.

    As always, it seems like we women need to do what is best for our particular situation and own it…you’ve done just that!

    Reply
  • Tara September 10, 2012, 12:47 pm

    Thank you for writing such an honest post about a very emotional topic for a lot of mothers. I always planned to BF my son. After he was born he latched right on and I thought “Perfect…this is going to be just fine!” Until I realized after feeding him for 45 minutes at a time he would still scream for more food, everything was sore from extending feeding sessions, and I started to feel like a failure before the first 24 hours were up. As we were packing up to leave after 2 days in the hospital a nurse came in, heard him crying, and said “Are you sure you don’t want to feed him before you leave?” I almost broke down, since I’d just fed him for over an hour. We started supplementing our first day home and suddenly he was a different baby. Happy, sleeping better, and not interested in latching at all. It was so hard being a new mom and realizing that formula seemed to make my son happier than the milk I could provide. I started pumping up a storm, but would still only produce 4-6 oz. a day. It was hard and I finally did switch to all formula after 7 weeks due to reoccuring mastitis that almost put me in the hospital.I also felt judged by others and that the BF moms I knew spoke so glowingly about it that anyone who didn’t do it must have something wrong with them. It was hard and I struggled with feelings of guilt for a while, but in the end it worked for us. My husband got to be more involved in feedings and I also bonded with my son more over bottle feedings (probably in part due to less stress over milk production and worrying about my body). Two years later I have an amazing healthy son who loves me even though I couldn’t bond with him through BF-ing. I am expecting our second child and I do plan on trying BF again. I feel like I am better prepared to know what to expect and have a sense of the things I would have changed the first time around. More importantly I know that it will be okay if it doesn’t work out and I don’t have to beat myself up or worry about the opinions of others. I actually feel more excited and looking forward to the experience than I did with my first, because I don’t have any pressure on myself. I know in the end my baby will get the nutrients he or she needs no matter what and it’s a good feeling to have.

    Reply
    • Sally December 7, 2012, 9:38 am

      Thank you for this comment Tara. I have been struggling to bf my now 8 week old son. I have had supply problems and a very slow let down and my issues seem so similar to yours. I’ve been supplementing and pumping while trying to bf (with very limited success). I’m going to try to provide bmilk (in some way, depending on my supply and Tommy’s ability) until 3 months but it is exhausting – pumping, bfeeding and formula feeding at every feed.

      It is so reassuring to hear the stories of other women and know that I’m not the only one!

      Reply
  • Jen September 10, 2012, 12:47 pm

    You ARE breastfeeding!

    The whole breast vs. formula feeding thing is weird. In the beginning, I got a lot of praise for nursing my son. But now that he’s 9 months old, a lot of people think it’s odd that I’m “still” breastfeeding. It’s just food and both options are healthy. Moms can’t win.

    Reply
    • Shannon September 10, 2012, 1:08 pm

      I totally agree with this! Many people judge if you don’t breastfeed, but if you choose to do so for an extended period, you’re suddenly considered strange.

      Caitlin – keep up the good work! You’re a great mom and kudos for all that hard work pumping – I know it’s not easy!

      Reply
      • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:06 pm

        Women can’t win.

        Reply
        • Amber K September 11, 2012, 8:18 pm

          Sad, but true. Women really need to start supporting each other more.

          Reply
  • Lauren September 10, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Caitlin, I can’t tell you how much I ALWAYS admire your honesty with everything. I think way too many women place unnecessary judgement on each other, especially when it comes to raising your child. You are doing what is best for you and Henry and that is and should be the only thing that matters!

    Reply
  • Amanda Hollenbaugh September 10, 2012, 12:48 pm

    Good for you for doing what’s best for you guys! Like you said, you’re still fundamentally giving Henry breast milk which seems to be the ultimate goal whether it’s pumping or breast feeding. I’m glad you found something that is working for you :) And you most certainly shouldn’t be ridiculed for that. You are a brilliant, educated, and open person and are doing your very best for Henry AND yourself!

    Reply
  • Tara September 10, 2012, 12:50 pm

    I totally hear you! I was so frustrated that breastfeeding did not come easy. Not in the least! First, baby would not latch so I pumped and kept trying to nurse, then it hurt like a son of a b$%^h!. I had so sit in awkward positions, use the football hold with the breast friend and suffer through what was supposed to be so wonderful. I actually managed to stick with it despite wanting to give up but I also HATED pumping! It took 4 months for it to finally stop hurting and become somewhat enjoyable for both of us. I breastfed for 8.5 months and then went to strictly formula because working full-time and pumping blows. I couldn’t do it anymore. Point is, breastfeeding is no joke and it ain’t easy! I really wish women would stop getting in these crazy fights over “breast is best” and you’re the devil if you feed your baby formula. It’s not right and we should just worry about our own choices and not others personal choices.

    Reply
  • Greer September 10, 2012, 12:52 pm

    I have never commented on your blog, though I have been reading for months. Now I have to because I want to say thank you for this post! As a new mom to an 8 week old boy, I have had so many ups and downs with breastfeeding and have had to supplement with formula as well as pump, etc. thank you so much for your honesty and your general support of mothers–it’s so refreshing. Henry is precious and lucky to have you!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 12:57 pm

      Congrats on your baby and thanks for reading!

      Reply
  • Lissa September 10, 2012, 12:52 pm

    YOU GO GIRL!! Each mom’s choice is hers and hers alone to make and I LOVE hearing a mom like you say I tried it and it wasn’t for me. Because it’s NOT for everyone. I don’t care if it makes me sound selfish but I didn’t like the idea of being “tied down.” And how nice is it that you can now have your DH or a friend give your sweetpea a bottle?! It’s still YOUR milk!

    I never had over-abundant supply — quite the opposite — but I was hellbent on giving Maya breast milk so I pumped … at home, in the middle of the night, at airport bathrooms, you name it — several times a day at work, etc. It drove me insane trying to make enough milk for her, and I definitely still had to supplement formula — but I quickly got over that. She needed food, period. So she got half from me, half from Enfamil. And she’s a thriving, healthy, 20 month old now who sucked down cow’s milk at 12 months like it was NBD. I really think having been bottle-fed all along helped wean her to a sippy easily, too.

    When I stopped pumping (at 9 months) sometimes I’d feel sad seeing a mom nursing her baby and realize I wasn’t doing that anymore, but the bonding we do now is soooo much more amazing than that ever was. I think we all go into motherhood a little delusional because until you’re there … you just don’t know.

    Reply
  • Meryl September 10, 2012, 12:52 pm

    You just narrated my current internal thoughts perfectly. My baby is a little over one month old and I also thought I would be feeding just one bottle a day so dad could feed. But I also felt SOO trapped breast feeding. I was crying all day and dreaded feeding my child. Pumping had been incredibly freeing. Especially since I can do either. I feel like I get looked down upon as well for giving up exclusively breast feeding but this is best for me as well. My child is still getting my breast milk and pumping is no easy task either. Stick with what makes you happy. Henry needs a happy mom :)

    Reply
  • Becky B. September 10, 2012, 12:54 pm

    The slogan should be BRESATMILK is best. Not necessarily the act of the baby removing the fluid from the breast! I am in the 9th month of breastfeeding/pumping for my second child. I work full time so I pump for him while I am at work, but I often mostly pump on the weekends too because babies over 5 months old, when they start to get curious and dont want to just cuddle and nurse all day, become what I call “supply killers”. My little guy (and my first one was like this too) is so distracted while nursing (“what was that noise?” “Whats my brother doing?”, “Did the dog just bark?”) that he will only nurse for a few minutes, and then a half an hour later be hungry again. I would spend the whole day nursing for 3 minutes at a time. Then on Monday when I go to pump for the 20 oz I need to send with him to day care the next day, my supply has dwindled by a few ounces after two days of playing around. I learned this the hard way with my first little one, and strggled in the last few months to keep up my supply, but with this one I knew what happens and just pump more on the weekends and give him bottles. I know many friends who nursed exclusively and their supply dried up by around 9 months for ths very reason.
    No matter the method, we are still breastfeeding!! I always say to anyone who will listen that I wish breastfeeding in America was more supported. Women are not educated enough, supported enough (the two days in the hospital are not enough education for most women to be successful) and given wnough maternity leave or the proper space to provide for their infants either nursing or pumping. Too many women are having to pump in bathrooms at work.
    You are lucky for your oversupply- I started that way too with baby #2 and as a result of pumping have been able to donate over 1000 ounces of milk to women in need for their infants.
    I also know how difficult it is to breastfeed a child with allergies- my little guy is allergic to dairy, soy, wheat and eggs. My diet has been exceedingly simple for 8 of the 9 months of his life. I spent the last week on antibiotics recovering from a bout of mastitis and surgery on a breast absess.- that being said I think that 95% of being successful at breastfeeding is pure stubborness to succeed. I have contemplated giving up many times…especially in the last week when I was weak and in agonizing pain. We should be proud of what we do for our little ones… and remember that the choices we make are for our families alone and no one else.
    Breastfeeding, working, sleep deprivation (I wont even go into the poor sleep patterns of allergy babies- although it sounds like from your previous post that you are expereincing it- I have spent 8 months waking up every other hour all night long) and managing a household and a marriage is A LOT OF WORK!!!
    YOU are doing an amazing job.

    Reply
  • Laura September 10, 2012, 12:55 pm

    I haven’t had any children yet, but I’ve always known I wanted to feed formula and not BF. I feel like you turn into a glorified cow when you BF (not trying to start any wars on here-just how I feel). My SIL BF and she hated it-said she felt like a cow 24/7 and actually resented her child and didnt’ bond with him for the first few month until she quit BF and used formula. Also, I had a breast reduction so there’s only a 50/50 chance I could BF anyhow. My mom gave formula to my sister and I exclusively and we turned out fine! So many people talk about their decision to BF and not to feed formula. I’d love to hear from someone who never wanted to BF-maybe your friend who only does formula would be willing to do a guest post on her about her decision, how it’s worked out and the cost?

    Reply
    • Whitney September 10, 2012, 2:30 pm

      I love this comment! My mom formula-fed my sister and I from day one. She just knew that BF was not for her. We turned out just fine. It’s a shame that moms get judged about anything after having a freakin baby. So ridiculous.

      Reply
    • Michelle September 10, 2012, 3:38 pm

      You’re not trying to start a war and yet you don’t mind calling breast-feeding moms glorified cows? Wow.

      Reply
      • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 3:49 pm

        I don’t think she meant it this way. I think she meant that when you feel negative towards bfing YOU can begin to feel like a milk machine. I know I did.

        Reply
      • Anna September 13, 2012, 1:43 am

        I’m breastfeeding (my daughter is now 8 months old) and I would definitely say during the first two months when the nursing was constant I felt like my only purpose was to make milk. I remember having so many moments of sympathy for dairy cows.
        After passing that 2 – 3 month hurdle, when my daughter became more efficient, things got much better, but I agree that in the beginning, it’s hard to see past the “my purpose is to make milk, constantly.”

        Reply
    • tarynkay September 11, 2012, 3:19 pm

      That would be a great guest post, I agree. Our son (now 10 months) has been exclusively formula fed. We didn’t really have a choice about bottle-feeding, in our case (we adopted him at birth.) He is delightful and happy, and extremely healthy. He has never had any ear infections and he’s only had one short cold (lasted less than a week.) He is large for his age (wearing 18 month clothes now). He’s on time or ahead on all of his milestones.

      My mom was a Lactivist in the 1980′s, and I always assumed that I would breastfeed. I always looked forward to doing it. I was worried about formula, b/c I had always heard so much pro-breastfeeding/anti-formula information. I have a good friend who has an MD and a masters in Public Health and she really put my fears to rest with that. In studies that control for things like income and education of the parents and whether the baby is held while being fed or has a propped bottle, there isn’t a statistically significant difference in outcomes between breast and formula feeding. I totally support women breastfeeding and I think that we should do everything possible to make that easier for all women who want to. I just also think that if women can’t or don’t want to, for whatever reason, there shouldn’t be any guilt or judgement.

      What I love about bottle feeding is that it has given my husband a wonderful opportunity to bond with our son while feeding him as well. We always hold him closely while feeding him. It’s very sweet and I don’t really want to wean him off bottles. I also like sleeping. Newborns have to be breastfed every two hours, but formula fed only every four hours. Our son also started sleeping 12 hour stretches at night at 5 months. I have no idea if this is a formula thing or just that our son was born a good sleeper.

      I haven’t had any friends for whom breastfeeding was just easy, and for some of them, the difficult struggles with mastitis and clogged ducts and nipple shields and tongue-tied babies and so forth really did make them resent feeding their babies and dread nursing. So I’m glad that I didn’t have to go through that. What I dislike about bottle feeding is the judgement. If you want to see stink-eye, try mixing up a bottle at a mommy-and-me group! I had a friend comment “I didn’t know that formula-fed babies could be healthy, I thought he would be sickly.” So things like that suck.

      The cost: we started out on Enfamil, but that didn’t seem to agree with him. The dr suggested a sensitive formula, but the first ingredient for most of the sensitive formulas was corn syrup solids. The only exception we found was Gerber Gentle, which is whey based rather than milk based. That makes it easier to digest, since the milk is already broken down. We have always done the powder which is much cheaper than the pre-mixed kind. It is very easy to mix, you just shake it up in a bottle with water. We’ve never warmed it, he’s always gotten room-temperature bottles. So that’s easy. And you can wash bottles in the dishwasher, that is not a big deal either.

      On the Gerber, we were spending $120/month. When our son turned 6 months old and started eating table-food, we switched him to the Target brand generic formula. This is great b/c they have several different kinds that say “compare to Similac” for instance. If you read the labels, they are exactly the same as the “compare to” brand. Formula is very strictly regulated, so the brand names are not better or more nutritious than the generic. They unfortunately do not have a compare-to-Gerber option, but since he was eating food, we tried him out on one of the Target options. He has been doing great on it, which is awesome b/c it is literally half the price of the Gerber. We are now paying $60/month for formula. So all told, we will probably spend close to $1080 for a year of formula. If you were able to do generic the whole time, it would be about $720/year. This is not exact b/c he is eating more table food and less formula as time goes on, but it should give you an idea. When he turns 12 months, we will switch him to whole milk.

      Whew! That was a long comment, sorry! But I hope it was helpful for those who choose formula.

      Reply
  • Shayna September 10, 2012, 12:57 pm

    I breast fed both of my girls, the first for 9 months and the second for 12 months. I experienced a lot of the same issues as you. I also have flat or inverted nipples (and never realized they were different until I got pregant. I used a nipple shield with my first for the first 4 weeks, and after a visit from a lactation consultant I was able to go without it for the rest of the time. With my second, I need the nipple shield because my nipples sort of “stayed out” enough between pregrancies, though I did pump quite a bit the first few days which seemed to help. I also had oversupply with my second, and she would scream and choke with every feeding. At the two month mark, I seriously considered switching to formula and had numerous crying sessions. But I also really wanted to breastfeed and knew that I could do it because it had worked well with my first. After a call to the same LC I used the first time, I changed feeding positions and would also pump just for 5 minutes before each feeding, which made all the difference. The oversupply sorted itself out around month 4 so that I didn’t need to pump beforehand, though I did continue to pump and give a bottle once a day so that my husband could feed her and so I could get out of the house for more than 2 hours at a time.

    I have to admit, I’m in the camp of hating the pump, and stopped almost completely by month 8 (though continued to breasfeed). I just really wanted to be doing other things than pumping and then cleaning all the parts and bottles.

    On the whole breasfeeding in public thing, I used a cover-up and though it was hard to use at first, I kept trying and eventually both the baby and I got used to it. I live in Toronto and never had any negative reactions to breasfeeding in public, I’ve even done it just on a bench in the middle of the mall or out in the open at Starbucks. My family was also very supportive and I always breasfed in front of them, just with the cover-up.

    Sorry for the long comment. Overall, I feel very lucky to say that I’m one of those moms for whom breasfeeding was wonderful, I enjoyed it, and once it was over, I kind of missed it.

    Reply
  • Mary September 10, 2012, 12:57 pm

    Great post! It’s funny how hitting this 3-mo milestone brings with it such perspective. My son was born on the same day as Henry, and I finally feel like I “get it”…and can’t believe what a rollercoaster it’s been. I intended to BF/pump for a year, spent all the $$, then had to switch to a VERY expensive formula when it was the only solution to calm the poor guy’s tummy troubles…and I tried everything! The mental and physical weaning (on my side) was incredibly painful, in part because my silly self seems to want something more when I can no longer have it. :) And I felt like I was failing my kid. Even started thinking I loved my pump (still kind of look at it longingly).

    The upside is a happier, slightly stinkier kid who can just about make it through the night (as the formula takes longer to digest….the only reason I mention this!). Highly recommend the Miracle Blanket too. :)

    Reply
  • Sarah September 10, 2012, 12:58 pm

    I’m terrified of breastfeeding when I have a baby. I have super sensitive nipples and really don’t like the naked thing for myself either. However the health benefits are so important, I know it’s something I’ll be committed to doing.

    I don’t know why, but it had never occurred to me that even at-home moms could exclusively pump. This post actually really calmed some of my fears and appeals to my type “a” planning personality. I’d much rather constantly have a bottle available than have to be prepared to drop everything and find a place to whip my boob out. Thanks Caitlin!

    Reply
    • Claire September 10, 2012, 1:53 pm

      You shouldn’t be! I’m a very modest person, and I was also very nervous about breastfeeding (I have sensitive nipples as well, but that turned out to be a complete non-issue!). Caitlin asked for success stories, and I guess I’m one of them. Luckily for me, breastfeeding was just really easy and completely natural (a little pain and discomfort in the beginning but that was gone by two weeks). I pump while I’m at work (I started pumping around 10 weeks to build up some supply and went back to work at 12 weeks), and that part is hard (I HATE pumping!), but breastfeeding my daughter is the most natural, wonderful thing I’ve ever done. And any sense of modesty I might have had flew right out the window when my sweet little newborn started crying and rooting for the breast – I couldn’t imagine NOT breastfeeding her, wherever I was or who I was with, when she was hungry! And it is SO much easier than bottles, when we go out all I bring is an extra diaper or two and my nursing cover, I don’t have to worry about packing powdered formula and filtered water and bottles or a cooler for pre-pumped breastmilk and and and… just bringing myself is so much easier! :)
      And I think the vast majority of women that really want to breastfeed can – I think, like anything, the difficult stories stick out, but they are relatively rare – for most women it’s not that hard, and women have been breastfeeding (without formula or pumps!) for millions of years. I think the biggest bit of advice is NOT to introduce a bottle or pacifier too early (and to make sure to breastfeed on demand for the first three months if you can); all my mom friends that ended up pumping or switching to formula did so because they introduced bottles early on. Good luck!

      Reply
  • Katy September 10, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Caitlin,

    I think you are doing a great job! You are definitely still breastfeeding in my opinion. I breastfed (traditional and pumped bottles) my daughter exclusively for 6 months while working full-time for the last 4 of those. It is hard no matter which way you do it. (i.e. breast or bottle) Breastfeeding is what really opened my eyes to not judging a mother for the choices she makes for her children. We are all fighting the good fight :)

    Reply
    • Nicole of Raspberry Stethoscope September 10, 2012, 6:10 pm

      For the women that work outside of the home, when you pump at work–where do you store the milk? Do you have to keep it in a refrigerator? what if you don’t have access to one? Do you bring a cooler? or are you just pumping and dumping? I don’t have kids, but will in the next few years, so I’m only curious. Thanks!

      And Caitlin, you’re doing a wonderful job and you’re just an inspiration. You make me excited to have babies one day.

      Reply
  • Deanna September 10, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Kudos to you for being true to what works best for you and Henry!

    Reply
  • Jennifer September 10, 2012, 12:58 pm

    I am currently 20 weeks along and am feeling a lot of pressure and guilt about breastfeeding. I have a son who is 9 years old and I don’t think the pressure was out there when I had him. Now, its every where! And people are not afraid to ask what your plans are with feeding and then dispense lots of unsolicited advice and opinions about it. I think the worse are message boards and forums where are other women are very quick to judge anyone that is not breastfeeding. I have thought about exclusively pumping but have only read negative stories about it. So thank you for writing about this! And I am anxious to hear more about your journey.

    Reply
  • Dara September 10, 2012, 12:59 pm

    This post is just GREAT. I’ve failed at breastfeeding not once, but twice, and both times I’ve felt devastated during and after. I still have moments when I wish it could have worked out and I feel sad about it — but the bottom line is that my 5 month old is HAPPY and for the most part, so am I. If we have a 3rd, you better believe I’ll try again, but I’m going to try and remember that having a baby is about so much more than just breastfeeding.

    More power to you, Caitlin. You definitely have it right — when it comes to babies, you can plan to do things a certain way, but you really never know how it’s going to go. You have to adjust.

    Reply
  • Alexandra Chappell September 10, 2012, 1:05 pm

    I had (pretty much) the same feelings as you do in regards to breastfeeding. I knew that breast was best, but didn’t want to be the only individual responsible for feeding my son, nor did I like feeling exposed all the time! I also had an extreme over supply- my freezer was full of breastmilk. After 2 months, I exclusively pumped and bottled. While pumping does have it’s disadvantages, I was able to have more freedom, while still providing the best nutrition for my baby. He was fed breastmilk up to his 1st birthday, when I promptly said “bye bye!” to the pump. Do what works for YOU!

    Reply
  • Kate September 10, 2012, 1:05 pm

    I have such a problem with people differentiating between having a baby latched on to get the breastmilk versus pumping and giving the baby a bottle with breastmilk. It’s still breastmilk and there’s no difference in nutritional value because the baby drank it through a bottle. Way to go, Caitlin, for making the committment to give Henry breastmilk and doing all that you can to provide for him!

    I nursed (and pumped!) my son for his first year. I had very low expectations for myself when he was born. I think the exact words I used with the lactation consultant in the hospital was “if I make it three months, I’m good”. We made it a year. I went back to work full time when he was 13 weeks and pumped three times a day, every day. Did I feel bad that he wasn’t latched on to me to eat? Nope – he was still getting breastmilk and that’s what I cared about.

    I think that they use the phrase “Breast is Best” because it’s catchy and rhymes. Breastmilk, if you can make it work for you and your child, is best. Formula, if that’s what works for you and your child, is best. Being a happy mom is BEST however you get there.

    Reply
  • Brittney September 10, 2012, 1:05 pm

    This is great Caitlin, I’m still in wrapping my head around the options and trying to picture scenarios of how breastfeeding will go, so it’s good to know this is an option if I have trouble or choose to do something besides traditional breastfeeding or formula. I didn’t really think about this option. I think you’re doing a great job :)

    Reply
  • Erin September 10, 2012, 1:06 pm

    I nursed my son for 18 months and at the end I think it was harder for me to quit than it was for him. I enjoyed our special bond and I felt like in the big picture the breastfeeding relationship lasts for such a short time. That said, it was hard and I didn’t always love it. Sometimes I felt trapped and tied down, sometimes I was SO TIRED of my son hanging from me and just wanted to be left alone, sometimes he ripped the nursing cover off of me and exposed me in public. But those things were in the minority and overall the experience was vastly positive. I also HATED pumping – it felt like a milk cow and would count down the seconds (that seemed to each take an eternity) until the pumping session was done. I did it though, as that was the only way I could ever be away from the baby for more than an hour. But in the end, I think everyone has to do what is right for them. Breastfeeding worked for me, but it doesn’t work for others. No judgement, we all just need to do our best to take the best possible care of our families that we can. What else can anyone ask?

    Reply
  • LS September 10, 2012, 1:06 pm

    great post. maybe your best ever! i was formula fed because my mom had to go back to work {lots of travel} very soon after i was born. i turned out just fine. i rarely got sick (and still dont) and developed right on schedule. now that i’m pregnant, its annoying to hear a very vocal one-sided discussion on the topic. every mother wants what is best for her baby, and that is not always the same as the next person. im not going to beat myself up if breastfeeding doesnt work out for me and i wish other women wouldn’t either. everyone needs to take a deep breath, do their own thing, and ignore the naysayers. again, i think this post was incredibly supportive of ALL moms, and its so hard to find that anywhere. good job :)

    Reply
  • Cori September 10, 2012, 1:06 pm

    I exclusively pumped for my TWINS for 10 months and don’t regret it one bit. I struggled to get my 34 week preemies to latch. It was stressful and painful and none of us were happy or bonded. I started pumping while they were in the NICU to establish supply and at about 6weeks of struggling to nurse – I had an epiphany: I wasn’t enjoying my babies. They were growing and changing and doing magical baby things…and I was missing it all because I was too stressed out to enjoy every moment. And I was pumping most of their meals anyway. I called my hubby and told him that I was going to break the mold…I was going to only pump and bottle feed because that was what was working for us and he was totally on board.

    At that point, I didn’t know I wasn’t alone! I figured I was this baby feeding pariah – scoffing traditional wisdom to either breast or formula. GASP – I was feeding what doctors said was best in a way that actually got it into them!

    I also found there is a really helpful book on the topic…pick it up if you can…it’s called “Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk” (http://www.exclusivelypumping.com/) and has a ton of helpful tips for increasing supply and freezing your milk.

    Oh – one tip if you do freeze…bag the milk inside of a large ziploc freezer baggie and wrap it in foil. It will protect it from freezerburn. I had a 6week supply end up ruined because of freezer burn. I could have kept the girls on breastmilk after my supply diminished had I protected it better before freezing. those little storage baggies aren’t enough.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:08 pm

      Thanks for that link!

      Reply
      • Cori September 14, 2012, 1:43 pm

        I hope it helps. It’s a small book, but packed with so much helpful. I gave my copy to the lactation consultant who supported me through my decision and she has gone on to actually recommended it to others who wan to take the same path I did.

        Reply
  • Jess September 10, 2012, 1:06 pm

    LOVE this post!!! All those words could be my own!! I’ve exclusively pumped for my 3 month old since he was about 3 weeks old. I have gone through so many emotions regarding all the things you have addressed. I’m so relieved to hear that I am not the only one who went through it. How come when people ask if I breastfeed or if he’s on formula I feel the need to say “I pump.”? As if that’s the third option. I still struggle with the label, am I really breast feeding?

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:09 pm

      Lots of people say yes!

      Reply
    • Laura September 10, 2012, 8:27 pm

      I say if it came from the breast, it’s BF!!!

      Reply
      • Cori September 14, 2012, 1:44 pm

        I used to say “I breastfeed by bottle” I tended to get less criticism and people seemed to understand what it meant. Occasionally, I’d get weird looks, but not as often as awkwardly saying “I pump”

        Reply
  • Alison September 10, 2012, 1:07 pm

    I exclusively pumped for my oldest daughter for 14 months, I have been there and I totally get it. I EP’d out of necessity though because she would. not. latch (mostly likely the result of induced labor, cesarean and our separation following her birth) and so I pumped while I kept working on latching, and eventually pumping became “normal” and all a part of our new routine.

    I’ve gone on to successfully nurse two children so I can say that breastfeeding is much easier, but EPing most definitely has some perks.

    I actually kept track of how much I pumped each day to just to keep an eye on my supply. I later put all that data into a spreadsheet and figured out that I pumped 85 GALLONS of milk over the course of 14 months. That’s A LOT of money saved in formula costs! Way more than a $300 breastpump. :)

    The only regret I have is not finding the right help soon enough in those early days, but it worked and I felt great that I was able to give her breastmilk exclusively for her first year (and then some!)

    Two things made life easier for me:

    1. Having extra sets of all things breast pump parts so we washed pumps parts less frequently.

    2. A hands free pumping band! Find something like this if you haven’t already!

    http://www.pumpingband.com/

    Way to go on still giving Henry the best even if it’s not straight from the tap!

    Reply
  • Kristin September 10, 2012, 1:07 pm

    I LOVE this post. With my first child, I breastfed for 9 weeks and hated it the whole time. I felt so guilty that I hated it but I also have flat nipples and between flat nipples and a nervous new mom, I was overwhelmed and just gave in. I also, at the time, wasn’t too thrilled with pumping so I stopped pumping a few weeks later. With my latest baby I planned to breastfeed again and pump when I went back to work. However, with my new baby (born May of this year), I had similar problems. Rather than stress myself out I stopped breastfeeding after a week and chose to do exclusive pumping. SO much better! The benefit for the baby is still there, the milk is so precious, but much less stress on mommy which is a big deal too. I agree, I dont find pumping to be a hassle (I work full time out of the home and would have had to pump anyway). I pump 6 times a day and have accumulated a nice stock for daycare and for home. I have two manual pumps and an electric one and even pumped all the way to and from Colorado in the car (we live in Iowa).
    Anyway, what I am meaning to say with all this yacking is I totally understand you and see where you are coming from. KUDOS to you for sharing!

    Reply
  • Rachel September 10, 2012, 1:07 pm

    YES! thank you for writing this! no mother needs to feel guilty about how she chooses to feed & nurture her child! we all are just trying out best to get by!

    Reply
  • Mayra B September 10, 2012, 1:07 pm

    Breast feeding is definitely not easy, and like you, I did not experience the magical bonding because I had flat nipples and my baby just wanted to eat all the time. A lot of physical and emotional pain because I felt guilty and inadequate. Pumping was a great help and also I was enjoying the time feeding my baby. The second time around, with my second baby, pumping actually made me feel more emotionally connected to my daughter because that’s all I could do for her since she spent 3 months in the ICU. Whatever makes your and your baby’s experience easier is what is best. As a mom, you will always know what’s best for your baby. Good luck with everything!

    Reply
  • Meghan September 10, 2012, 1:08 pm

    My daughter turned 8 months yesterday and we’re still breastfeeding. When I was pregnant, I thought about feeding in black and white. You either breastfeed or gave formula. Now I know there is a whole spectrum of how babies get feed. Some moms pump, some supplement with formula, some only breastfeed at night because of work, and everything in between. Everyone has to find a healthy balance for their family. I don’t think it matters what or how you feed your baby as long as they are thriving.

    My personal experience is that I went through hell and high water tho breastfeed my daughter because I did love the act of breastfeeding. We used a shield for the first 5 weeks and then from 6-9 weeks, he did not want to nurse. She’s latch, unlatch, and scream her head off. I got ideas at my hospital’s breastfeeding support group and tried everything we could come up with to get her to nurse. After a lot of work and doing the EASY routine from Baby Whisperer, we were back on track. I also cut dairy from my diet and I suddenly had a happy baby for the first time in three months.

    The first three months were so hard and I cried so much because I thought I was failing my daughter. I’m thankful we pulled though. I enjoy breastfeeding and do feel a bond with her while she nurses. Her little hands are always grabbing at me and she likes to touch my face and hair. I’ll take her hand and kiss her palm. She will look me in the eye and I feel an overwhelming love for her. The best time is nursing her to sleep. She is able to relax and drift off. It’s the nicest part of my day.

    The “breast is best” campaign ignores the fact that breastfeeding is not for everyone and that everyone’s life situation is different. Am I any more bonded to my daughter then someone who gives their child a bottle? No. In my opinion, if a woman doesn’t want to breastfeed and dreads having to do so, she had options and she should be able to choose whats best for her family. I’ve met many mom’s over this past year and I know they all love their baby just as much as I love mine. Food has nothing to with it.

    Thank you Caitlin for sharing your experiences as well and showing other moms that there is more then just “breast is best.”

    Reply
  • Nicole @ Making Good Choices September 10, 2012, 1:08 pm

    Thank you for this post! at 8.5 months pregnant I feel the exact same way you did about it…meh. I’m going to try it and see how it goes, but there is SO much pressure! You have made me feel a bit better about the whole thing! And I would also say you are absolutely breastfeeding!

    Reply
  • Beks September 10, 2012, 1:10 pm

    I don’t have kids, so I obviously don’t know what I’m talking about with most of this stuff, but I never understood why so many mothers get down on each other about mothering techniques. One thing I like about your blogs on different mothering subjects is that you blatantly state “This is ME. MY Experience.” You’re right. Everyone is different, and breast feeding or not, so long as you raise your child with love and care, why is it such a big deal?
    It’s like the schoolyard bullies with sparkly jelly shoes who looked down on you for wearing saddle shoes (or some similar analogy). No matter what, rock those saddle shoes and don’t let others get you down! To quote my favorite author, Jane Austen, “You know your own mind.” ~”Persuasion”

    Reply
  • Danielle September 10, 2012, 1:11 pm

    Good for you! I BFd for 3 months and pumped for 9 more. Its not easy but I agree, its a good medium. Stick with it as long as you can and know that you are doing your best. If you decide to stop or cut back and supplement, do not beat yourself up. YOU are whats best for your baby and whether you feed him breastmilk or formula you still love him more than anything!

    Reply
  • Lauren September 10, 2012, 1:12 pm

    Caitlin – I could not agree with you more. I have a 9 week old son, and I’ve found breastfeeding challenging. Physically, it’s gone well (I do have a bit of an oversupply issue, but nothing major), and I do feel a bond with him when he feeds, but always feeling “tied” to him is awful. I find it insane the amount of times I’ve left the house for 40 minutes or less, and come home to a screaming, hungry baby. So I totally understand the ease of pumping and have started doing much more of it recently. Also, babies = visitors! And everytime my husband’s family came over, I began to resent them because of how I was always leaving the room with the baby while they hung out, drank, and enjoyed themselves. Now I just pump whenever visitors are coming and enjoy myself too! It’s not worth the resentment.

    One question for you – do you feel the pump doesn’t empty your breasts completely? It’s my biggest complaint when doing a lot of pumping. I feel I need to have him drink from the breast to feel that it’s fully or mostly emptied.

    Thanks for the very honest post.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:10 pm

      I don’t know about the breasts feeling empty when pumping, but I’ve heard this compliant from others. I never felt him ‘empty’ them when nursing so I’m not sure?

      Reply
  • Amanda September 10, 2012, 1:14 pm

    I’m only nine weeks preggo but am already so scared to breastfeed. BFing is how I would ideally like to feed my baby, but I never knew that it could be so friggin’ complicated until you had Henry and started posting about the problems you had BFing him (thank you, by the way, for your openness).

    I have big tatas (D-cup) and am afraid that I’ll have oversupply too. Also, I keep googling pictures of women’s nipples and breastfeeding (lord help anyone who looks at my browser history) and my nipples look smaller than the gigantic eraser-sized ones in the pictures of the women breastfeeding. I’m such an emotional wreck that I actually had a lengthy cry session looking at Internet pics of breastfeeding boobs.

    Thanks for letting me share my fears, and thanks for giving me hope that if my breastfeeding ventures fail, that it’s not the end of the world.

    Reply
    • Ashley // Our Little Apartment September 10, 2012, 1:39 pm

      Hey Amanda – just wanted to let you know that supply isn’t related to breast size. I had A cups pre-baby and struggled with oversupply! So it’s possible your D-cups will have a normal supply. Also, your nipples get bigger when you have a baby. Not sure if that’s comforting or more scary. ;)

      Reply
      • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:11 pm

        Yup – size isn’t related to supply (which I find interesting!).

        Reply
    • Colleen September 10, 2012, 7:16 pm

      The eraser nipple happens gradually. 6 months in, I look like the end of a #2 pencil after a feeding.

      Reply
  • Katie September 10, 2012, 1:20 pm

    Even though I don’t want to have biological children, I would like to adopt someday. I am learning so much from your baby posts! I think you should add that breastMILK is best. That should be the focus. By pumping, the baby is still getting all the nutrients it needs in the breastmilk, which is the important part, no matter how the baby gets it. I think if more moms focused on pumping as a solution, many wouldn’t just jump right to formula.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:11 pm

      Did you know that you can induce lactation by pumping? So you can BF your adopted children. Cool huh?

      Reply
      • Liza September 10, 2012, 8:30 pm

        Medication is required to induce lactation. Not just pumping.

        Reply
        • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 8:34 pm

          Are you sure? Everything I have read same you can just pump and induce milk. But I have only briefly looked into it and could totally be wrong. The supply is rarely enough to totally feed the baby though, I know that.

          Reply
          • Julie September 10, 2012, 9:15 pm

            Yes, your body has to produce the hormones in order to lactate and there is medication you can take to do that in order to BF an adopted child.

          • tarynkay September 11, 2012, 6:12 pm

            I spoke to a lactation consultant about this, actually. It’s very involved. You take hormones + medication to make you lactate, you pump for 3 weeks before bringing the child home, and you use a lactation aid device (Lactaid) which requires that you tape tiny tubes for milk to your breasts. All that and most women make about 25% of what the baby needs, so you’re still supplementing.

  • colleen September 10, 2012, 1:30 pm

    Awesome post! I breastfed all three of my kids, but for different length of time. I was able to go 11 months with my oldest (eating from the breast and pumped bottle). But I hated the times when he was hungry all the time(felt like I was tied to the chairs for hours/days), making sure I didn’t do anything to reduce my supply, the inconvience of feedings in public or with friends/family around, etc. My second son only lasted 4 weeks. He hard a horrible time latching on, dealing with the letdown, etc. It left me in tears everytime I tried to feed him. For my daughter I was able to breastfeed 6 months before repeated infections and starting a new job that wasn’t very breastfeeding friendly. It just proofs every baby and mom are different.

    Reply
  • Ashley // Our Little Apartment September 10, 2012, 1:32 pm

    You are a brave woman to address this topic! I appreciate the candid discussion.

    My experience, briefly: it was effing hard at first. I cried, he cried. I had a crazy firehose letdown and too much foremilk. It hurt like a b*tch. It got easier after 6 weeks (and even better after 2 months when I went to work and my supply adjusted), and I went on to nurse for nearly 2 years. I only pumped 3 times a week since I worked part-time and I really hated the pump, so I definitely admire you for sticking with that.

    I breastfed because it was cheaper (my pump was a gift – though I spent some $$ on tanks) and because I am very lazy (traveling was so much easier when bottles aren’t involved). And the calorie burn! Also, I loved the special time together. I felt special. :)

    I think it’s a tricky balance between encouraging and supporting women (“it gets easier! it’s worth it!” side of ‘breast is best’) and filling them with guilt (‘formula is awful!’ side of breast is best).

    You are right – it really is a different experience for every woman. I’m a big fan of breastfeeding because it was so great for ME. But that doesn’t mean it’s great for everyone!

    Reply
    • Ashley // Our Little Apartment September 10, 2012, 1:34 pm

      Oh! And just a tip – baby-friendly hospitals are great – we had a free LC appointment 4 days after he was born and all the nurses there were trained in breastfeeding support. :)

      Reply
  • Jessica September 10, 2012, 1:33 pm

    “And we are not missing out on some magical bonding opportunity; there are many ways to bond with your baby, and quite honestly, I don’t think one is better than the other. ”
    This is a minor quibble, but since you cite sources for many other facts in your post, I do have to point out that there has been peer-reviewed research done that shows that the actual act of breastfeeding does, in fact, make a difference (even compared to bottle feeding with pumped breast milk): http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=surety-bond-breast-feeding

    That said, it is tough for some women to breastfeed! And I remember reading one of your initial posts where you said your lactation consultant told you that you could pump and feed Henry a bottle in the first few days, and I cringed inside, since the research shows that any pumping in the first few months can seriously disrupt the setting up of the natural balance of milk between mom and baby, and now you’ve got to deal with oversupply and let down issues. I’m sorry that you got that poor information from the beginning; I wonder how different your breastfeeding relationship with Henry would be if you didn’t introduce a bottle so early. And I’m sorry to hear that you felt uncomfortable nursing in public or in front of family or friends, that’s a real shame. I think that it will take a lot of work by breastfeeding moms and lots of breastfeeding in public to normalize it in our society.

    Reply
    • LS September 10, 2012, 2:44 pm

      I’m sorry, but you come off a little judgy here. Caitlin said “I THINK” ..aka she was clearly stating her opinion. As for the research you are using to “point out” that you disagree….the study looks at ONE factor. I don’t see anything about whether they looked into how much the parent interacted with the child in other ways, such as reading. As I stated in my comment, I was exclusively formula fed from birth. My parents read to me every single night. We bonded perfectly and I would love to compare IQs with you.

      “I cringed” + “poor information” + real shame” = phrases that don’t add anything to this discussion. Do you have a personal experience that you would like to share with everyone Mrs. Perfect Queen of Breastfeeding?

      Reply
      • Marissa C September 10, 2012, 4:49 pm

        While I get your points, I think you are being a little judgy here too…

        Reply
        • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:12 pm

          For what it’s worth, my LC told me that because she literally saw that I was going insane because of our BF struggles, and I think she thought it was give him a bottle or I’d quit. Which was probably true.

          Reply
      • Jessica September 10, 2012, 8:05 pm

        I apologize, I didn’t to come across so judgmentally. Breastfeeding is something I’m incredibly passionate about (it relates to my job), and I hate to see that part of the reason why anyone would quit would be because of poor information (told to introduce a bottle too early, disrupting establishing a normal supply) or because our society makes women feel uncomfortable about exposing their breasts to perform the function they were intended for. So many people choose not to nurse because they are uninformed of the proven, scientific benefits of breastfeeding or because it has not been normalized in their upbringing or community. But I understand completely about moving to pumping or formula if one is experiencing extreme pain or has physical barriers – not everyone can be Elena (http://prebabyblog.com/2012/04/my-breastfeeding-journey/)!
        I didn’t have a perfect breastfeeding journey, I experienced a fair amount of pain in the beginning (working through a bad latch), and a few very painful episodes with thrush. But I pushed through and I am still breastfeeding, and I love it now and it really is amazing. But, again, it is something I am really passionate about.

        Reply
        • Lesley September 10, 2012, 9:25 pm

          “I hate to see that part of the reason why anyone would quit would be because of poor information (told to introduce a bottle too early, disrupting establishing a normal supply) or because our society makes women feel uncomfortable about exposing their breasts to perform the function they were intended for.”

          I agree wholeheartedly with what you’ve written here.

          Regarding your “not everyone can be Elena” comment: That’s an understatement! Most mothers in the US can’t emulate someone like Elena since they have to work outside of the home and/or have other children to parent while caring for their newborns.

          I think it’s a really slippery slope to compare other moms to someone who leads a life that would never be remotely possible for many people, though I assume your ultimate point was that establishing a healthy, sound breastfeeding relationship was still challenging even for someone with resources, commitment, support, and time on her side.

          Reply
          • Jessica September 11, 2012, 9:27 am

            Oh, absolutely – although I disagree with a lot of what she writes on her blog, I am in awe that she could power through such awful pain for MONTHS and end up with an awesome, healthy breastfeeding relationship with her daughter.
            I guess this might make me pretty unpopular, but I guess I really do question women who choose not to breastfeed, not due to extreme pain or real physical barriers like tongue-ties or low supply or preemie issues, but because they find it annoying, or because it’s hard work. To be completely honest, why become a mother or father if you want to avoid hard work? Parenting is hard, really hard, but it is also incredibly, unmeasurably rewarding. When someone chooses to have a child, they know they are signing up sleepless nights, monotony and lots of hard work – you don’t have to martyr yourself, obviously, but to be a good mother or father you do have to mature as a person, become less selfish and self-involved, and put in the work. I think one can overreact to the “mommy wars”/”war on women” mentality and say that any hard work associated with mothering is “anti-feminist”, but I think, to be a good parent (mother or father), you have to put your child’s needs (and what’s best for the child) above your own.

        • kathy September 10, 2012, 11:57 pm

          Jessica
          I do not think you came off as judgmental in your post. Some people do not like to hear facts that go against what they want to hear.

          Reply
      • Lauren M September 11, 2012, 1:45 am

        LS I’m sure you have a very high IQ, I suspect if you had been breastfed you would have MENSA knocking on your door!

        Reply
        • LS September 11, 2012, 12:23 pm

          Lauren M – I tell my mom that all the time! She doesn’t feel too bad though. It was important for her to be able to get back to work and make money so we had a place to live instead of staying home to breastfeed me. I don’t think women had as many resources for making it work AT work as we do now (and we still don’t have enough). Shockingly enough, I had to go to daycare at an early age too and I SURVIVED despite my lack of breastfeeding. yay me.

          I only brought IQ up because that’s the whole study that she is referencing. It says babies who are breastfed have higher IQs. My husband’s 3 siblings were all breastfed (as was he ) and they cover the spectrum of IQs. I don’t understand what Jessica was trying to say by posting that link…that Henry, along with me and millions of other babies are just destined to be not the brightest of the bunch? that is FALSE.

          Reply
          • Lauren M September 12, 2012, 1:45 am

            I know, I was just making a joke :)

  • Leslie September 10, 2012, 1:34 pm

    I am a grandma now but I still remember the stress of trying to breast feed. I felt so much guilt and shame when it did not work out for me. I admire you for finding what works for you and your baby. There are many right ways to do things. I encorage you to continue to trust yourself and make no apologies for what you decide is right for you and your child. Henry looks to be thriving.

    Reply
  • Nicole September 10, 2012, 1:34 pm

    Wonderful post!! My husband and I just learned that I am pregnant, and I so appreciate your honesty on all these important mommy topics. The comments in these posts are so insightful too!

    Reply
  • Morgan September 10, 2012, 1:35 pm

    This post is awesome. Thank you for writing it.

    I hated nursing…it was horrible for me. The baby didn’t enjoy it, either and it turned into an all-out scream fest most times. I started EPing at 6 weeks.

    I didn’t like pumping, either. This is very selfish, but my once perfect complexion turned into cystic acne once she was born and I started breastfeeding. I knew once I stopped pumping, it would go away. I was miserable and extremely self-conscious all the time. I didn’t even want to leave the house. I quit breastfeeding all together at 3 months. I struggled with this decision, but our whole family is happier on formula.

    Reply
  • Michelle September 10, 2012, 1:35 pm

    Thank you for being so honest, Caitlin! I tried breastfeeding both of my kids and felt horrible when it didn’t work out. I felt like something was wrong with me. I tried for 2 weeks with my daughter, then ended up pumping for 3 months because neither of us could get the hang of it. My son was just such a voracious eater and my supply was low, and at 3 weeks, 2 doctors suggested we supplement with formula. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that it didn’t work, especially when my good friend has successfully nursed 3 kids, each to 18 months. But I know there’s nothing wrong with me, my kids are healthy, and I would continue to encourage a new mom to try to find what works best for her and baby!

    Reply
  • Courtney September 10, 2012, 1:36 pm

    Caitlin, thank you for your honest and refreshing perspective. I wish more mothers and doctors could talk about breast feeding neutrally rather than as the loaded topic it is currently. As others have said, I also felt guilty that I didn’t enjoy nursing, My daughter was on the small side and nursed constantly at the beginning. Breastfeeding is not straightforward and the mother’s mood (wacky enough with a new baby) is much more important to milk supply than often talked about. I remember weeping as my daughter nursed and thinking that it couldn’t be helping matters! She started to favor one side (very uncomfortable for me) and wasn’t gaining enough weight, so we eventually switched to formula after four months. Even now, I feel guilty about the formula bottles in our recycling bin. Yes, breast milk is best, but formula is not evil. Nor are mothers who use it, for whatever reason – even if they simply prefer it to breastfeeding. We need to pay attention to our own bodies as well as to what our babies want. Mine is thriving and loves her bottle (and – shhhh, don’t tell – the purees I feed her with a spoon) and as a stay-at-home mom, we are definitely bonded!

    Reply
  • Lauren September 10, 2012, 1:36 pm

    I really appreciate you posting this! I’m about 6 months along with our first – a boy ! – and am still thinking about options. I’m going to give breastfeeding a shot but not freak if it doesn’t work for us.

    My question for you is, how much time/how often are you pumping?

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:13 pm

      I pump around 8 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, 8 PM, 11 PM, and around 2 AM. Good times.

      Reply
      • Claire September 10, 2012, 7:54 pm

        Wow, that must be one nice benefit of pumping… I’m still breastfeeding at least 8 times per 24 hour period, and when my daughter was Henry’s age, she was nursing at LEAST 12 times very 24 hours! And since you mentioned that it only takes you 5 minutes or so to pump, it sounds like you have a really easy set-up. Good for you!

        Reply
      • Lauren September 11, 2012, 12:10 pm

        Thanks for the reply! I was thinking about pumping from the get-go but read so much on the internet discouraging it as hard and even more time consuming. I appreciate this article and your perspective SO much!

        Reply
  • Allison September 10, 2012, 1:41 pm

    I agree with lots of other comments…. I’d still consider you to be breastfeeding. And so much more goes into the decision of how/what your baby will eat than the simplistsic ‘breast is best’ idea. I think it totally makes sense that you’d pump and think it’s awesome that it works out so great for you!

    I’m only 8.5 weeks in to breastfeeding, but honestly for me it hasn’t been near as hard as I expected. I heard from a lot of friends who had kids before me and got lots and lots of tips on how to deal with cracked nipples and engorgement and all the other issues, so when those things happened, I knew it was coming and knew how to deal with it. So, the hard and painful part didn’t last long and wasn’t bad at all for me.

    As for the schedule part, I think I’m pretty blessed. My little one has eaten every 3 hours ish from the beginning (every 2 hours when he’s growing, but that’s not every day). And I live overseas and have a pretty open schedule, so I can be at home whenever I need to be. Another perk to being overseas, there are rooms in every mall designated for mom’s to breastfeed… complete with comfy chairs and changing tables, so it’s pretty simple if I’m out and it’s time for him to eat.

    My plan is to breastfeed at least a year, but I have too many friends who encountered problems from the start or had to stop around 8 or 9 months, so I really think any amount of time he’s able to eat breastmilk is great and I’m just thankful that we’re able to at all. It’s such a hot button topic now! I’m glad it’s being talked about :)

    Reply
  • Jenny September 10, 2012, 1:41 pm

    Great, great post!! You’re right…breastfeeding is great, but it’s different for everyone. I breastfed my son for about 9.5 months — nursing and pumping– but it was such a struggle, and I was always worrying that he wasn’t getting enough. After many tears, a lowered supply, and many visits to the community boards on babycenter (BIG mistake), a friend told me that yeah, breastmilk is great for baby, but even better is having a mom who’s not stressed out all the time. So we switched to formula and it was such a relief. I’m 100% in favor of giving your babe breastmilk, but it was so good for me as a parent to finally relax and realize that whatever choice I made– for his good and mine — was ultimately the best.

    Good luck, and enjoy every minute of being Henry’s momma! You’re doing an amazing job!

    Reply
  • Nicole September 10, 2012, 1:41 pm

    Great, honest post! I’m due Thursday and am not sure how breastfeeding is going to go for me. Sure, I’d love (like everyone else) for it to be easy and breezy, but I’m also prepared for the possibility I may not like it. I’m a prude and am not really looking forward to having my boobs out all the time either, let alone a little person attached to the end of them- but that’s me and my hang-ups that I will hopefully get over.

    I do plan on pumping because I will be returning to work after my leave is up. Thankfully I work at home and don’t need to worry about storage and cleaning the pump parts at an office. We’re also hoping to hire an in-home nanny to help take care of the baby while we’re working (we both are lucky to work at home, which I’m sure is going to spark a lot of “why do you need a nanny when you work at home” comments from friends and family), so there’s ample opportunity for both breast and bottle feeding.

    Reply
  • Amy September 10, 2012, 1:42 pm

    I have an almost 2 year old and am 29 wks pregnant with my 2nd child. With my first I never even considered breastfeeding. No one in my family did it, and the ones the did had negative experiences with it. Since having my son i have made a few friends that had wonderfully easy BF’ing success stories. That make it look effortless. So I bought a breastfeeding book, have done some research and decided I would try it this time. Honestly this post scares the crap out of me! I waver every day wanting to breastfeed and the next day thinking- who am I kidding! I have about 21 more wks to decide what I want to do still but this was enlightening b

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:14 pm

      Just give it a shot :) It could go just fine!

      Reply
    • anya September 11, 2012, 7:39 am

      Wow, no-one did it? Where i was born most people breastfeed. That’s because 20 years ago in central europe there wasn’t much formula on the market and nobody was there to educate the mums. I was a rarity being fed formula from 2 months, because mom had to take antibodies and i refused milk. And no one told her she should pump. She got a serious condition after that. But my brother ate milk a lot. I remember how serene they looked, my mom on her “nursing chair” with the little bundle.
      Please give it a try, it can totally work. I friends who did it, and there wasn’t any special preparation. You might be in the lucky ones. I think this is the sort of knowledge ( like homebirths) that simply passed out because it wasn’t transmitted from mother to daughter.

      Reply
  • Amy September 10, 2012, 1:43 pm

    Gah! I meant to write that I’m 19 wks pregnant. Not 29!

    Reply
  • Allison September 10, 2012, 1:44 pm

    I nursed both of my kids for over a year each. Neither one of them had any formula at all. There were a lot of reasons that my husband and I didn’t have a third, but part of my reason was that I just couldn’t do that again. I, like you, had an over supply and a strong let down. I had thrush, mastitis and some other issues that, at times, made breast feeding REALLY PAINFUL. My daughter had a lazy latch (because of my over supply, etc she still got plenty) and I had scabby, bloody nipples that had to be soaked in hot water. Sometimes I pumped a lot, other times, I would stop for months. At times, the pain was unbearable and I spent one day, when my daughter was 2 months old, crying All.Day.Long. Why didn’t I stop? Because of guilt. If breast is best that I would just be a terrible mother if I stopped. In retrospect, it was kind of crazy. I just didn’t want anyone to be able to judge me and say I wasn’t doing a good job, especially because I continued to work part time and so many of the moms around me stayed home full time.

    Reply
  • Jess (#2 for this post!) September 10, 2012, 1:44 pm

    I love the acceptance of yourself and your life in this post! My mom and I were laughing the other day about the differences in the infanthood of my siblings and me. As the oldest, I got to go to work with her and she made a point to breastfeed in her office. By the time the baby rolled around, she had 6 children under the age of 10 and she had to do whatever kept her sane!

    I credit the incredible personal, academic and professional achievements of all 6 of her children to my mother’s graceful pursuit of a happy home. We were free to be ourselves, to explore our interests, and to strive for excellence without fear or frustration, because mom accepted herself, her life, and all of us. You are a great mom for loving yourself and your family, and finding what works for you!

    Reply
  • Marissa C September 10, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Oh man, kudos to you for pumping. For me it was easier to pump vs breastfeed in the beginning, but seriously, you still haven’t reached the stage where breastfeeding gets SO MUCH EASIER. We really didn’t get there until about 4 months–that’s when I was thanking my lucky stars I wasn’t having to deal with dragging bottles of breastmilk everywhere…because we did that the first couple months when I didn’t want to nurse in public and breastfeeding was still hard.

    Do what works best for you, but I really encourage you to try breastfeeding more as he gets older, simply because it is a MAJOR time saver. 5-10 minutes nursing sessions are WAY better then 20-40 minutes spent setting up a pump, pumping, and cleaning parts and bottles. That and feeding her at night while I slept was awesome. I really haven’t missed out on sleep since she was 3 months old. Also, latching will get easier. By the time Henry gets older, he’ll be hunting you down and latching himself. <—Yes my child does that.

    Also, while I breastfeed for the nutritional aspect, I also think a huge part of why "Breast is best" is the actual act of breastfeeding…however, I'm a huge proponent of attachment parenting, which influences how I raise my child. I know many aren't. Don't get me wrong…I work full time and pump often and don't feel my kiddo is going to be scarred by drinking from a bottle…but she wont even take bottle from me and definitely prefers breastfeeding. And nothing makes me feel better about being away from her all day than cuddling up and nursing her, just the two of us.

    Finally, how the heck do you stand almost exclusively pumping with a Pump In Style? If you think you are going to be doing more than 50% of the feedings being pumping, I'd seriously check out the Medela Freestyle. While it isn't sexy to be walking around hooked up like a dairy cow, YOU ARE FREE TO WALK AROUND! Just don't bend over…made that mistake before ;)

    Reply
    • Marissa C September 10, 2012, 4:50 pm

      I want to clarify that I do still consider you to be breastfeeding even though I referred to the actual act of putting the baby to the breast as breastfeeding above…I just couldn’t think of any other way to describe it vs pumping!

      Reply
    • Elizabeth September 10, 2012, 6:32 pm

      Oy, bending over – I made that mistake, too, and watched all that precious liquid gold spill all over my office carpet. I am now nursing my second baby (who’s just six weeks old). Thanks for the memory I can only now laugh about!

      Reply
  • KatieTX September 10, 2012, 1:45 pm

    Your experience is identical to my coworkers. She loathed breastfeeding due to the stress and issues. Her daughter’s tongue was too short, and therefore, could not latch properly. She pumps exclusively and loves it (as much as you can love pumping). It is great to know there is an option for the baby to still get breastmilk when things don’t go as planned.

    Reply
  • Jennifer September 10, 2012, 1:48 pm

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I was totally committed to breastfeeding my first but like you had difficulties with oversupply, aggressive let down and flat nipples. Add to it a lazy eater who would just scream at the breast and was completely unwilling to latch on to a shield. At his two week appointment he was not up to his birth weight despite me having more than enough to milk feed him, so I pumped and cried (and cried, and cried!). Pumping was going well (and I had a TON of milk) until I started getting horrible migraines and ultimately quit at 8 weeks because I was having two and three migraines a day.

    Second baby, similar story. I was willing to try it all again, latched on OK in the hospital, milk came in and he screamed. Lactation consultant came to help and said this is going to be a lot of work because he won’t take the shield but he won’t take the breast either. I had promised I wouldn’t make myself crazy this time so I started exclusively pumping that day. I could pump 5 times a day and make enough to feed him (35 oz). I was a fanatic about pumping for the first and pumped 7-8 times to day to maintain my supply but was pumping 80 oz a day…no baby needs that much milk. ;)

    Pumping tip: You may already do this but I would store everything I needed to pump (those cones, bottles) in the refrigerator. Pull them out, pump, put them back in and wash them once a day. Such a lifesaver!!!

    Reply
  • Ali September 10, 2012, 1:49 pm

    This post points to an important topic – you never can assume what kind of feeding you can do before you actually have the baby and try breastfeeding for yourself. I never thought I would breastfeed before having my daughter (the thought of it totally grossed me out) but then was wooed to it by reading about how much weight I’d lose by breastfeeding. Turns out that my daughter loved breastfeeding, it was easy for me (apart from the first couple of weeks of pain and scabbing – thank God for lanolin cream!), and I didn’t mind whipping out my boobs in front of people ( who knew?!). So a yuppie professional can turn into an earth-mama just as easily as someone who is a natural/alternative person can find out that breastfeeding doesn’t work for them. It’s all about figuring out what works for you.

    Reply
  • Susan September 10, 2012, 2:01 pm

    I breasted both of my boys for a year. I never realized how lucky we were that it was pretty much effortless (after the excruciating first few weeks of cracked, bleeding nipples) and we never encountered many bumps in the road. But, the truth is that it is not easy for everyone and sometimes it doesn’t work out. At the end of the day, formula is not poison. It is not the end of the world if you feed it to your baby. They could still go to Harvard. There is so much to feel guilty about in parenting, don’t make giving your baby adequate calories and nutrition one of them.

    Reply
  • Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset September 10, 2012, 2:02 pm

    Such an excellently written and level-headed post. I’m not a Momma or anything (still in college), but you are so right- as important as Henry is, your needs and desires are just as important! More Mom’s need to realize this- I think it makes them better Mom’s when they take care of themselves, instead of just give, give, sacrifice, sacrifice. That is no way to live. Our society pressures a lot of Mom’s into punishing themselves I feel in order to live up to some ‘Super Mom’ status. As always, an enlightening, real and inspiring post. Keep on being unapologetically YOU. :)

    Reply
  • Sara September 10, 2012, 2:05 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting such an honest account of breastfeeding. As a mother of two children (2 and 5 years old) both breastfed babies I can totally relate and appreciate your take on this subject. With my first child breastfeeding came so natural to me. I don’t know the magic but we just synched and I had pretty much one year of exclusive breastfeeding (pumping while I was at work) bliss. Then came baby #2. In all my “Breast is Best” glory, because obviously I was an expert and has mastered it….I thought I was ready for a repeat this first experience. FAIL FAIL FAIL! Had my first child reacted to breastfeeding like my second, you would have most definitely had to talk me off the ledge. Similar to your experience, my let down would choke the heck out of my son and then he was lactose intolerant to boot. A combination of the worst case of bloody nipples, scratch that mangled nipples, and endless of attempts of feeding him…a month and half in and I gave in. I hate to even phrase it like that, but you’re right, in today’s society saying that you had to switch to formula makes you feel like a failure. Anyhow, I’m rambling, but no two experiences are the same, there is way too much pressure to go all breastfeed or your not doing it right and I truly believe if more women shared their true to life experiences in a non threatening way, maybe more people would give it a shot. You’re doing awesome!

    Reply
  • myra September 10, 2012, 2:06 pm

    I think breast feeding is over rated but a personal choice. I also think that any child that can hold a cup is too old to be breastfed. It’s a little weird to see these kids run up to Mom for the breast! Ween already! just my opinion.

    Reply
    • Jess September 10, 2012, 2:56 pm

      What is overrated about feeding your child the way your body is intended to do? Weaning is a very personal choice. I used to have the same opinion as you about how old was too old until I had my own child. I’m still proudly nursing my 14 months old. Nothing gross about it. It’s still just a healthy and full of nourishment as it was before she was a year old and it is comforting to her.

      Reply
      • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:16 pm

        What is weird (to me) is when people are forced to feel uncomfortable doing something healthy and natural (extended breastfeeding IS natural) because our society thinks it’s wrong.

        Reply
      • Verna September 11, 2012, 8:07 am

        Isn’t it funny that before you have kids a 14 month old is too big to be breastfeeding and when you have a baby, your 14 month old is still your baby and it’s not strange at all? My daughter is almost 11 months old and refused to drink from a cup or bottle. I’m doing everything I can to help her learn but she doesn’t want anything to do with it. I’m not in a hurry to wean so we’re just going to keep working on the cup until she has it figured out.

        Reply
  • Annette@FitnessPerks September 10, 2012, 2:07 pm

    I had no idea about some of this (not a mom), so thanks for raising awareness! ANd i agree-no one knows how it’s gonna go–so everyone stop judging & try your best.

    Reply
  • victoria September 10, 2012, 2:09 pm

    WHAT an AWESOME post! Go you! I have to say who the heck cares if you pump or nurse if the baby is getting breast milk any which way that is fabulous!

    Personally I think pumping breast milk is even more of a commitment then nursing and that you should be appluaded for putting in the time, energy, effort and money to make this possible for your little man!

    I had terrible yeast with my first pretty much from birth through 3mos, tried everything to get rid of it until seperation became the only option – and I do mean EVERYTHING people! I tried pumping but it seemed like for the amount of pumping that I did I wasn’t yielding a ton of milk each session – probably b.c I was upset that the nursing was so hard and not working for us. Oh and did I mention that we never did get the latch thing down which added to the pain?

    I finally surrendered and started formula around 4mos. I wasn’t happy about it but knew I had truly done my best. A wise friend said to me – you know what? You are someone who values good nutrition period and there is more to feeding your baby optimally then the first 6wks, 3mos, 6mos, year etc. You will provide your daughter with a lifetime of good food options/choices and the like so try not to feel badly about a few mos. now. THAT really helped me put things into perspective.

    On another note – breastfeeding is supposed to be all wonderful and prevent allergies etc right? Well – I only nurse my first (above) 4 mos and started solids around 4mos too – all things you are not supposed to do to avoid allergies. Well – that child – no allergies.

    I nursed my second 17mos, started solids are 6mos – all things you are supposed to do to avoid allergies and guess what? she has a nut allergy! Go figure.

    Breast milk is great and wonderful but certainly not the one and only thing that can work for a baby.

    And since when did food become the only way to nourish a child right?

    Nursing or formula – what works for the mom, baby and family unit – that’s what’s best – IMO!

    Reply
  • Alison September 10, 2012, 2:16 pm

    You are breastfeeding! You are feeing via your breast…you just aren’t nursing!

    I feel like we have a very similar experience. The amount of stress I felt about nursing was so overwhelming…mainly because I had built it up to be the ‘end all be all’ of my pregnancy/motherhood experience. When she wouldn’t latch, every time the 2.5-3 hour mark loomed nearer I felt sick to my stomach..I pumped from day 1 to ‘help’ my nipples…so since the beginning I was doing this nurse (or attempt to) and then pump. Eventually, I was like, “aaaaand why can’t I just pump?” (knowing that I’d have to eventually for work anyway)

    And that’s where we’ve been ever since! She will be 6mo. tomorrow and I’ve pumped every 3-4 hours the whole time (6-8 at night). I won’t deny that I often dread the pumping session, but after a quick (I”m lucky in that sense) 10 minutes, I’m done and feel so FREE to do whatever I want and go wherever I want. Baby and I can do whatever without worrying about having a PC place to nurse.

    I’ve loved the persision of it. I know it will work, I know when to do it, I know how much I’ll get and I know there won’t be a scream fest before my child is happy and fed. The bottle is ready for her when she is…and there is no fight.

    Best of all, over labor day I got to spend a whole weekend away while baby got some grandparent lovin’.

    I really think it was the best decision for us, and while some don’t understand it, I’m so happy we found this balance.

    Reply
  • Kristen September 10, 2012, 2:17 pm

    A million thank you for your honesty and for writing this post!!!!
    Sadly, a huge chunk of me has still not gotten over the disappointment of being unable to nurse my two children and that was NINE YEARS AGO! I remember once hearing that breastfeeding is the most “unnatural natural thing you can do” and that really was true for me. (Plus I hardly had any supply.) There is so much judgment and assumption between mothers and it just has to stop. This post was so moving and I am so proud of you for having the courage to write it. I feel like reading this FINALLY freed me of the guilt I’ve been harboring all these years. In truth, we are all doing the best we can and guess what, that is all that we can expect from ourselves and from each other. My children turned out to be incredible athletes, gifted students, and amazingly wonderful people and they accomplished all that despite the fact that they drank formula for a year. : )

    Reply
  • Linda September 10, 2012, 2:17 pm

    What a great post! As mother’s we need to find more ways to support each other and decisions about our children. I breastfed my daughter just over a year, but also pumped as I went back to work when she was 12 weeks old. Breastfeeding was a great experience for me however, it came with a lot of challenges too. I’m really proud of myself for making it through a year with my daughter. Aside from that, I believe what works best for every woman and child is the best decision. If that means breastfeeding, pumping, bottles, formula than that is the right decision. I know that before I had a child I was very quick to judge others. Now I know the truth about how hard raising children is, and how you do your best and the choices you make are for the good of you, your children and your family. This means what works for me may not be what works for you. The important part is to remember this and be open to what is working for others and to support them in this. You clearly live by this and share it in your blog and I love reading it because of this!! Keep up the great work Caitlin!!

    Reply
  • Sarah September 10, 2012, 2:22 pm

    This was a fantastic post. Good perspective. I often read and almost never comment, but the insight here was so good I felt you needed some affirmation! :)

    Reply
  • Lori September 10, 2012, 2:24 pm

    Thank you for being honest and inspiring such great conversation in the comments. I have 15 month twins and feel like I was so ill-prepared for what breastfeeding would really be like, so I think you are providing great insight for those people who haven’t experienced it yet. Not that people should be scared or nervous, but just that they would understand the wide range of experiences. No one had told me their experience prior to my giving birth and I assumed from all the press and even a breastfeeding class that I took at our hospital that it would be ‘natural’ and ‘easy’.

    I had major supply issues and one twin that did not latch well in the beginning and an ill-informed lactation consultant that just made things worse (mentally). Lack of supply meant that we supplemented from the very beginning and I felt so guilty and spent days crying over not being able to provide for my daughters. I was breastfeeding both, bottle feeding both (had a lot of help from dad with that when he was able) and pumping at each feeding. After a few weeks and some serious conversations with my husband, I realized there was no way I could continue that schedule and have any semblance of sanity. So I cut out the pumping and feed what I could directly to the babies at each feeding. This of course may have affected my supply even more, but I was able to actually enjoy my babies and not constantly be calculating and worrying about breastfeeding.

    I breastfed as much as I could for about 3 months, until I returned to work, and then made the decision to go to exclusive formula. Looking back on it, I know that I made the best decision for my family and only regret the guilt and stress of the first few weeks – mostly due to being totally unprepared (and raging hormones). I am due with our 3rd child in about 9 weeks and will again try to breastfeed and get my supply up with him. I really hope I am more successful with him and am willing to pump when I return to work if things are going well. However, it’s nice to feel so much more prepared and know that either way, I will do my best and he will be just fine.

    Reply
  • Rachel September 10, 2012, 2:24 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    Just wanted to let you know (if you didn’t already) that breast pumps became tax deductible as of last year. I was in my doctor’s office and was very happy, as an expecting mother, to read that in a parenting magazine.

    Reply
    • Alison September 10, 2012, 3:39 pm

      AND, a lot of insurance companies pay for the entire pump. Doctors have closed a loop hole and now regard milk as ‘medicine’ so they are able to perscribe the pump.

      Reply
      • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:17 pm

        NICEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

        Reply
      • Maureen September 10, 2012, 8:01 pm

        Yes, I was going to suggest the same thing about insurance companies covering a pump for others as well. I didn’t even realize it until I met with the lactation consultant in the hospital and she asked about my insurance and told me they would cover a pump in full………3 days after getting home from the hospital with our first a Medela Pump in Style arrived on my doorstep!

        For those considering breastfeeding it is so worth finding out if it’s covered by insurance!

        Reply
  • Stef September 10, 2012, 2:31 pm

    I EBF my 6 month old son and plan to do so until he turns a year and then beyond for as long as he wants (or until I absolutely need to wean him). However, I stay at home and don’t leave him too often so that makes it easier for me. When I do work (I substitute teach a couple of days a week) I have to pump and I HATE pumping. I think it’s because I have a manual pump and I can never seem to get very much milk from it. I think if I had an electric pump I would feel differently and be more willing to pump so others can feed my son as well. So for me it’s just easier for him to nurse than bottle feed, but I think every mom needs to do what is best for HER.

    Oh, and I have an overactive letdown, but he got used to it once he got older!

    Reply
  • Priyanka September 10, 2012, 2:32 pm

    Great post! I come from a country where breast feeding is synonymous with motherhood and you cannot be a good mother if you don’t breastfeed. Sad but true. Women struggle, cry and get depressed if they have difficulties, why because the female folks of the family will look down upon the new mother and deem her unfit to be one. I was really stressed about Bfeeding and my son had issues with latching which escalated his second day syndrome in the hospital. The hospital did not push for formula and the nurses and LCs helped in everyway they could to aid us. After lots of struggle, we decided to include formula and guess what my son is hale and hearty. I am not guilty! As a matter of fact, the lack of pressure helped me strategize the feedings such that I understand my son and trained him to latch myself by trying different positions. He learned it eventually and now he eats his milk through breast and bottle (except for some formula, occasionally)

    Society will not fail to judge a women at everyone point in her life and leave her alone right?! I mean first it was weight issues that plagued women, and now at this stage, I think breastfeeding is the new hot topic. Every mother knows whats best for her and her child, so best for people to keep their pointy noses to themselves.

    Kudos to you for addressing this topic!

    Reply
  • Brittnie (A Joy Renewed) September 10, 2012, 2:32 pm

    THANK YOU for writing this post. Oh my gosh I had the same experience and I have been exclusively pumping since Clara was three months (she is four months now). I also tried to make it work – met several times with lactation consultant, used the nipple shields, etc etc. But after a few weeks of Clara screaming and flailing her body every time she ate off my left side (and then I would start to stress) I said you know what enough is enough. What is the point of having her in a tizzy at every feeding which then sends me in a tizzy?

    Deciding to just pump was an easy alternative for me for all the reasons you listed. For one, I never loved nursing. I am so thankful you shared that nursing was not this magical bond for you and Henry. I never felt some close connection to Clara from nursing. Sure – I feel that connection in many other ways, but never from nursing. I always thought that made me some crazy unemotional freak mother! I was beginning to dread each feeding and get a tad anxious the few minutes leading up to a feeding. Plus, I always had to pump after a feeding when she refused to eat off my left side so if I am pumping one boob I might as well pump two. Ha!

    Oh – and pumping doesn’t really take up much more time (other than the time spent cleaning bottles and pump parts). Clara would take a full 30 minutes to nurse. I can pump a bottle in 10-12 minutes, feed her in 10-15 minutes and thus we fall right at that 30 min mark anyways.

    Caitlin – thank you for writing this post!! Good luck , from one pumping mom to another!!

    Reply
  • Erika September 10, 2012, 2:32 pm

    Caitlin, thank you so much for this post and for being so open and honest about your experience with breastfeeding. I’m currently 14 weeks pregnant with my first child and while I would love to be able to breastfeed my baby with the grace and ease as so many other women seem to, I now realize that it doesn’t always work out that way. I always assumed that since it was such a natural part of human nature, it would be so easy and absolutely no difficulties. Unfortunately I think most women who have problems with breastfeeding don’t share their disappointments with other people for fear of feeling like a failure. How sad! We women need to be more honest with each other and support each other with every aspect of pregnancy and child rearing. There are no failures as long as you are doing everything you can to make sure your child is happy and healthy (and that the baby’s mama is happy and healthy too… we’re important too, damnit!).
    I think you’re doing a fantastic job with Baby Henry and I want you to know I think you are an amazing woman! Rock on Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Jayce September 10, 2012, 2:33 pm

    It is so sad how our mothering choices, whatever they are, always seem to be criticized in this society. The “mommy wars,” as you have discussed previously. However, I don’t think the “breast is best” phrase is bad. Research and history show that it truly is best for baby. But that doesn’t mean formula is a bad choice for families that take that route. That being said, I think the statistics on moms who stick with breastfeeding could vastly improve if there was better community and professional support for moms in the early months. And if there were not so many mixed messages (breast is best, but not in public).  My son is 12 weeks old, and BFing really only got easy around week 7 or 8. Before that it was exhausting at times, emotional as I worried about my supply every time he would cluster feed or have a growth spurt, and just a challenge to get the hang of in general. Thankfully, I had great support from my very BF-experienced sisters and local Le Leche League. I absolutely love nursing my baby! And feel totally comfortable doing it in public.  I have many friends who BF (some of whom pump, which I also consider BF!), and some who switched to formula early on. Hearing their stories makes me want to go find every new mom that is struggling and tell them it really CAN get better! But I believe you have to be strong-willed, prepared, and thoroughly educated about it if it’s really what you want (like a natural birth, barring complications). For you, pumping is the best solution, and I applaud that as I absolutely HATE pumping and have a grand total of 5 oz stored in my freezer. Thanks for a very thorough and honest post. And speaking of BFing in public, I really enjoyed this Luvs commercial. Here’s to being confident mommas, whatever decisions we make!

    http://thestir.cafemom.com/baby/142982/best_diaper_ad_ever_captures?utm_medium=sm&utm_source=facebook&utm_content=natural_fanpage

    Reply
  • Jen September 10, 2012, 2:36 pm

    Very well said, what a great post! I too experienced over supply, plus fast let-down, resulting in a squirming, gagging baby. Inverted nipple? Check. That meant difficult latching, as you know. While I struggled the first 8 weeks to breast feed, once I went back to work, and began pumping full-time, I realized it really wasn’t so bad, and certainly wasn’t worth the struggle to nurse. Hey, if she could still get the benefits of my milk, this was the answer to our struggles. I was fortunate that I have a great boss, and my own office, so I could shut the door whenever I needed to pump at work. At home it was more of a struggle, because I had to take my pump when I would be out during a pump time, but I tried to view those 10-minutes pump sessions as “me-time,” where I could scroll through Pinterest and Facebook on my iPhone while Daddy played with the baby or she napped. The plus side of over supply is that I needed only 4 pump sessions a day to pump out close to 30 ounces of milk, more than our daughter needed when she was little, so enough for me to freeze extra bags.
    My goal was to pump for 6 months, but at that point I decided to continue for the full year. Around 9 months, my supply began to decrease, so I started using up those frozen bags. I gradually cut back on pumping sessios a month ago, with our pediatrician’s approval, and began the wearing process just shy of Maya’s first birthday. Finally, last week, I happily retired my pump, damn proud that we had done it for nearly a full year!

    Reply
  • Kris September 10, 2012, 2:37 pm

    I was just reading a post on another blog where readers were congratulating the mom for nursing as long as she did, saying that was better than not nursing at all. I felt bad that people make that statement when they aren’t aware of individual circumstances. Mothers/parents want what is best for their child, and sometimes breastfeeding works and sometimes it doesn’t. I absolutely agree that the judging has to come out of it, and I wish everyone could feel good about their choice, whether nursing, pumping or feeding with formula. Thanks for your thoughtful posting on another tough subject!

    Reply
  • Lacie September 10, 2012, 2:38 pm

    i like this post. i breastfeed in public whenever i need to, and i HATE using a cover. my baby can’t breathe and she gets hot and uncomfortable under there. but GOD FORBID anyone get a glimpse of my boob–i get total stink eye like i’m a playboy bunny or something. ridiculous.

    i pump sometimes too so my husband can get a chance to feed baby, and this bra is honestly the BEST thing ever, it allows me to be hands-free while i pump! do you have one? it makes pumping so much better!

    http://www.greencupboards.com/hygeia-pumpease-hands-free-pumping-bra/p/

    Reply
  • Samantha September 10, 2012, 2:38 pm

    Thanks for this thought provoking post and for being so honest. I am not a mom (yet) but when I think about this very personal choice I tend to lean more towards pumping for some of the reasons that you suggested (ie its still healthy for baby, don’t want my breast out) and because I just am not comfortable with the idea of a baby latching on bc I imagine it miht hurt/feel strange. Of course this might change when its my time but for now Iwould prefer to bottle feed breast milk and the bonus is dad gets lots of interaction with baby too because we can share that special bonding time!!

    Reply
  • Monica September 10, 2012, 2:40 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this. I had a c-section (breech baby) and recovering from surgery while trying to juggle the horrendous breastfeeding schedule was just awful. I too had to use a nipple shield, had latch issues, all of which I addressed with a lactation consultant. In the end I switched to pumping for a few weeks and then went straight to formula. For me, it was the best decision and I don’t regret it at all. I learned that it’s OK to do what’s best for me and my family and not what others think I should do. I have a happy, healthy 2-year-old son who was primarily formula fed, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Don’t feel pressue from anyone – do what’s best for you and yours.

    Reply
  • Whitney September 10, 2012, 2:41 pm

    It is really sad to me that moms actually judge other moms on if they BF, pump or formula-feed their kids. That is absurd. Who gives a crap as long as they are getting fed?! I do not have any kids but plan to do so in the next couple of years and I really don’t feel passionate at all about BF. Do what’s best for you and Henry and screw the rest! :)

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:19 pm

      AGREE

      Reply
      • Krista September 11, 2012, 11:12 am

        I also agree. Do these people not watch the news, and see that there’s REAL child abuse rampant out there? Go fight against this, not how you feed your baby!

        Reply
  • April September 10, 2012, 2:42 pm

    I breastfed and pumped for both my children. I can honestly say, just as breastfeeding or pumping isn’t for every momma, it may vary from child to child. I had one child who hated the bottle and only wanted breast. The other would take what ever she could get. My experience with both children is completely different, and they still are completely different (one loves mac and cheese and the other loves tomatoes, shrimp, and rice).

    Reply
  • Laura September 10, 2012, 2:42 pm

    This is weird but I can’t tell you how relieved I am to read you have flat nipples. I am not a mother yet but have already been researching if I can breast feed with my nips. I’ve done a ton of Internet searches but I haven’t read a solution. I am really self conscience and don’t talk about it with anyone.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:20 pm

      Yay, flat nipples unite. :) You can do it, your nipples will eventually pop out a little bit more. Mine did! Just be prepared with a shield to use at first. I like the one I linked to in the post.

      Funnily enough I never knew I had flat nipples or that my nipples were different until I was in the hospital and a nurse was like, “Oh you have flat nipples.” And I was like “I DO?!?!” LOL

      Reply
      • Julie September 11, 2012, 6:40 pm

        I know, me too!!!

        Reply
  • Vanessa September 10, 2012, 2:46 pm

    Here’s my experience (which I consider to be an imperfect success!): Breastfed my daughter for 18 months. Thrush the first three weeks (OMG, pain). The first five or six months just plain sucked (haha), in that it always hurt. We didn’t have a latch problem, my girl was just a vigorous sucker in the beginning. I didn’t want to breastfeed in public, because of the pain—didn’t really want to sit on a park bench saying “OW, OW , OW, OWWW!” I remember Googling “I HATE BREASTFEEDING” at one point—try it, you’ll be surprised what you find! Somehow it eventually got sort of easier. I didn’t really feel the bond of it all until around four or five months, when she’d start to look around. Then it got pretty special. I absolutely LOVED the sight of her smiling up at me with my nipple in her mouth, or when she would reach up to touch my face, or when she’d giggle with her mouth full. Was surprisingly crushed when I impulsively decided to wean at 18 months. I never, ever would have thought I’d cry when it was all over, but boy did I.

    Reply
  • Jess September 10, 2012, 2:50 pm

    I’m pumping at I type this. I don’t feel sorry for anyone who pumps because it’s their choice. For me, I could not stand to exclusively pump. I am still pumping at work, after an entire year back from maternity leave. I’m weaning from the pump and cannot wait to let it collect dust in our basement until I have another baby.

    I am still nursing my 14 month old. I absolutely love breastfeeding. I do feel like it is a special time for my daughter and I, especially when we get home from a long day at work/daycare. It is the first thing she wants to do when we get home. it’s like she wants to reconnect with me, then we can play. It makes her happy and makes me happy.

    I was really nervous and uncomfortable nursing in public in the beginning, even with a cover. but after about a month, I just said hell with it. I nurse anywhere and everywhere. I’ve also pumping in some interesting places. I’ve never had a harsh word said or received nasty looks. I really do believe breastmilk is best, though there are ocassionally medical reasons why a woman cannot.

    Seriously, when it comes down to it, every woman has to make the choice of what is best for herself, her baby and her lifestyle.

    Reply
  • Claire September 10, 2012, 2:51 pm

    There is no shame in pumping! I went through a lot of stress an guild breastfeeding too. My supply never got established well because I had to go to 3hour seminars for graduate school starting when she was just two weeks old. What was the worst for me was that pumps didn’t work for me – I tried three brands! So I’m glad they are working for you AND Henry doesn’t have nipple confusion! I’d say you are a pretty lucky momma, Caitlin!

    Reply
  • Helen September 10, 2012, 2:55 pm

    Hooray! I’m so pleased you are using a great pump, seriously. I don’t know you in person but I started to feel very concerned for you when I was reading your tweets about tiredness etc. I kept thinking and wondering about whether you were breast feeding exclusively. my close friend pumped exclusively from birth (she has twins) and just being able to share the load on the night feeds kept her functioning. Not just to do with the night feeds, but monitoring exactly how much milk the girls were getting etc. Also my other good friend bottle fed her son and again, her and her hubs devised a great shift pattern system to ensure that they both got some sleep and one didn’t carry the whole load on their own.

    I really am happy, I can’t believe you get “poor you” looks though, if it suits you and H, do it.

    Reply
  • Sara September 10, 2012, 2:57 pm

    I recently found out my mother never wanted to breast feed me. It never appealed to her, so she did formula. We’re TTC now and the thought of breastfeeding my future baby really doesn’t appeal to me either. I thought I’d be able to save money if it goes well, at least while I’m on maternity leave, but once I go back to work, I wasn’t sure what we’d end up doing. I can’t leave my desk to go pump x-times a day. I wouldn’t get much work done. While my company is very considerate–they have a mother’s room with rocking chairs and other items to make pumping more ideal–I think they’d be a little unhappy that I JUST came back and I’m gone all the time. Who knows how I will feel once my child is here. I’m glad you feel this way, Caitlin. I read so many blogs that are pro-breastfeeding and it makes me feel bad that I am not excited about it either. I have lot of allergy and asthma problems and part of me wonders if some of that would have been avoided had my mother breastfed me.

    Reply
    • Sara September 10, 2012, 2:58 pm

      Oh–and is it bad if I decided to exclusively pump from day one? Couldn’t have nipple confusion if the baby only knew the bottle’s nipple, right?

      Reply
    • Marissa C September 10, 2012, 4:54 pm

      Curious–is yours the type of job that is done via laptop? I’m able to continue to work while pumping. I spend 1.5-2 hours a day in there and none of my coworkers mind–most don’t even know. If your job is different, it is harder, though!

      As for exclusively pumping, if you plan to only use a bottle, you don’t need to worry about nipple confusion

      Reply
      • Jess September 11, 2012, 9:44 am

        That’s exactly what I do. I bring my laptop with me. No harm, no foul. Plus, unless it is a really small company, they are legal required to provide a place and give you time to pump.

        Reply
    • Nicole September 11, 2012, 8:32 am

      I’m not saying your allergy/asthma issues are or are not related to the fact that you weren’t BF. But I just want you to know that I was a formula baby and grew up with virtually no health issues (still don’t have any at 31 yrs old), went on to earn two degrees, and have a successful career and home life. So sometimes BF and formula can be completely unrelated to the child’s health and wellbeing. Sorry if I’m overstepping my boundaries here but I don’t want you to feel any ‘less’ of a person because your mom formula fed — no one should feel differently about the way she received or gave nutrition. Do what’s right for you and your family, whatever that may be :)

      Reply
  • mama September 10, 2012, 3:01 pm

    Good for you!! I also exclusively pumped with my first DD for 9 months and my second for 7 months except for a night feeding or 2 every now and then! I also had oversupply and continued to pump all the extra out! Our Local hospital has a milk bank that i donated the excess milk for a grand total of about 4,000 oz that went to preemies in the NICU! Pumping can really rock! Keep it up!!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:23 pm

      HOLY SHIT. 4,000 ounces!

      Reply
  • Martha September 10, 2012, 3:05 pm

    I don’t know if anyone will read this, but this is something that the physician at the pediatric practice where I rotated for med school said to a new mom, and it was just so wonderful and beautiful and true: That she is the most important thing in the world to her baby, and the baby needs her to take care of herself too.

    If that means breastfeeding or not breastfeeding or exclusively pumping and bottle feeding or breast and bottle feeding or whatever, then that is exactly okay.

    Reply
  • Kelly September 10, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Oh, Caitlin, how I love thee!!! You are so awesome – your honesty and your way with words. Thank you for sharing!!

    The only comment I will contribute beyond my love of your blog is that I find it very interesting/ frustrating/ confusing how society will look at a woman cross eyed if she says she’s not planning on breastfeeding or doesn’t like to breastfeed — YET in the same breath, will look at that woman cross eyed for breast feeding in public (and/ or not provide the necessary equipment — a chair — to make public nursing comfortable!). It’s such a mixed message to women!! No wonder it’s a controversial topic!

    Reply
  • Katie September 10, 2012, 3:07 pm

    Thank you for this! I started breastfeeding purely because of logic. It was best for my baby and it was cheaper in the long run. I never felt warm and fuzzy toward it and I never thought of it so much as bonding, I felt how you decribe it, it seems. I went back to work three months after Liv was born and could never pump as much as she ate, so I ended my pumping relationship at 4.5 months because I was constantly pumping and producing barely an once or two at a session. I wonder if I had been able to pump more easily if I would have kept it up much longer than 6 months. I guess we will see next time, but I am glad to see I am not the only one feeling, as you say, ‘meh’ about the whole thing!

    Reply
  • Kelly September 10, 2012, 3:09 pm

    I agree that you are still BFing, no need to call it “pumping”.

    But you wanted positive bfing stories and I wanted to share mine. I have a huge oversupply issue. I could feed lots of babies. And I have that forceful letdown issue. It does get better. The baby mature enough, or gets stronger or bigger or whatever, and can handle it eventually. In the time before that happens though I am told to breastfeed for blocks of time. 4 hours per breast and it helps with the oversupply. So any time in a four hour block of time that the baby wants to eat it’s on one side. And then for the next four hours it’s on the other side. Whether the baby wants to eat once or 5 times it’s all on one side. It helped a lot.

    But I don’t say this to make you feel bad but for people to see another side of the story. I almost quit completely with my first. I had thrush for 4 months and the oversupply and forceful letdown and she was tongue tied. I don’t know how I continued and I hated it for a long time. Maybe 6 months. But then it was easy and wonderful.

    Good for you for figuring out what works best for your family.

    Reply
  • Liz September 10, 2012, 3:10 pm

    I am in an area of the Uk where there is a huge amount of social pressure to breast feed. I struggled with my first, and was incredibly stressed by the experience but succeeded in establishing exclusive breast feeding from 2 months after mixed feeding with formula. It was a revelation for me that you could mix it up, and I think a lot of people would enjoy it more if it was more relaxed and not ‘all or nothing’. I fed her for 18 months in the end and only stopped with the new baby who I fed for a year but who had a nightly bottle of ( gasp) formula from 5 months due to my insomnia. I agree with your post – we should be less prescriptive about it all.

    Reply
  • Sarah September 10, 2012, 3:11 pm

    Hi Caitlin,
    Longtime reader, first-time poster here. My son was born about a week after Henry, so we’ve been experiencing things around the same time (and also? I smile every time I see you wear your Old Navy blue maxi dress — I have the same one). I’ve had the opposite problem of undersupply, and began supplementing with formula the day we returned from the hospital (he had lost more than 10% of his birth weight, wouldn’t stop screaming, but would work himself up so much that he wouldn’t take the breast, etc.) Unfortunately, he stopped taking my breast once he had that first bottle (and I hired an expensive lactation consultant to come into my home to try to remedy this, etc), so I started pumping. I’m now a SAHM, and I pump for all of his feedings (and supplement with formula). Sadly, it takes me 30 minutes to get a decent amount of milk (and never enough for a full feeding), so it’s been extremely time-consuming. I have told myself that I will try to do this for 6 months, but we’ll see. One thing I actually really LIKE about pumping is the fact that I know precisely how much food my son is getting at every feeding — when I breastfed, I never knew whether he was getting enough. My husband and I can’t get over how much emphasis is put on breastfeeding, when in reality, it seems like most women either have some variation of “breastfeeding”, or don’t breastfeed at all. There is so much pressure put on us it’s ridiculous!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:24 pm

      Thanks for reading and congrats on your baby! Fun that they are the same age.

      Reply
  • Callina September 10, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Love this post. I am a brand new mom, my daughter is almost 4 weeks old…I was one of those “duh, of COURSE I’m going to breastfeed!” people when I was pregnant…but wow. It is HARD, and I haven’t even had any major difficulties. I had maybe 2 days of initial difficulties when my milk came in, but a trip to the lactation consultant worked wonders. Since then breastfeeding has been pretty uncomplicated, but I can’t say that I love it either. It’s tiring and most of all I just wish my husband had boobs too! This week he is going to start giving her a bottle of pumped milk each day and I can’t wait, because it means one less feeding I have to do! I’m also pumping to build up a supply and I will also have to pump when I go back to work…whether you pump or not, giving your child breast milk can definitely be hard, and I can totally see why people end up going with formula. Still, I’m committed to carrying on with giving her breast milk, whether it’s directly from the source or through a bottle.

    Reply
  • Jackie September 10, 2012, 3:21 pm

    My son is 6.5 months old and I’ve exclusively pumped since he was 2 weeks old. It works better for our family. 6 months in, it’s just a part of our day now (just like changing diapers, play times, nap times, etc.). Others might scoff about “how much time it takes to pump, wash bottles, wash pump parts…” but if you view it simply as the way you feed your baby, it is what it is. It takes X amount of time and requires X actions to be completed.

    I read in your post about sleep that you pump in the middle of the night. Might I recommend quitting?? :) I, too, used to get up in the middle of the night to pump because I was worried about not having enough milk/needing to keep a freezer supply. When I went for my annual exam (baby was 4 months) my doctor suggested eliminating that pumping session. The first couple weeks my boobs were CRAZY in the morning (huge, engorged, so so ready to be emptied), but after that my body got used to no night-time session. And my supply didn’t change all that much (maybe went down by 5 ounces?). I wake up every morning and pump 16 ounces.

    If you eliminate the night, your husband can take night duty maybe one night a week and you can (wait for it…) SLEEP THE WHOLE NIGHT! (Also – Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child saved us [like it did so many other readers] – just read the parts applicable to your son’s age if you don’t have time to read the whole thing.)

    Reply
  • Margaret September 10, 2012, 3:23 pm

    My (admittedly not very educated – no kids) opinion is that there needs to be distinction between theory and reality – breastfeeding, as an isolated thing, is almost certainly the most nutritionally-sound food for a baby (and I may be way off base here, most of my BF-info is from blogs, but isn’t there some difference between pumping and nursing, I thought I’d read about different types/qualities of milk at the beginning or end of a nursing session, making pumping slightly different nutritionally?), but that doesn’t inherently make it “best” for the baby in terms of what creates the best overall quality of life for the baby and its family. A stressed out mom is not best!

    I’d liken it to organic and local food – in theory, reducing your exposure to pesticides with organic food, and maintaining peak nutritional value with local food, is the “best” food for you – but there are so many factors that affect whether that is affordable and feasible, and stressing about affording food, or buying organic processed food over conventional whole foods, means you’re not looking at the whole picture and viewing the issue in context of overall physical and mental health, nor does doing the “best” thing guarantee you the best outcome. Like you summed up, not every option will work for everyone.

    Reply
  • Sarah September 10, 2012, 3:23 pm

    I exclusively pumped for 10.5 months. I can’t believe how much I’ve spent on formula in just the last month and a half. I work full time, so it was hard but I pumped 6 x a day for about 9 months. I had good support from my family and bf but it gets harder when they start crawling around and climbing on you and grabbing your pump. I’m relieved it’s over now but I plan on doing it again when I have another one. (i have flat nipples too) I am going to supplement more with formula so hopefully I can get by with less pumps per day. You are not alone in your pumping!

    Reply
  • Sarah September 10, 2012, 3:27 pm

    I LOVE reading how people’s opinions change after they actually have a baby! Mine did as well and continue to change as my children get older.

    I also almost exclusively pumped for 3 months after 6 weeks of exclusive breasfeeding. I was a depressed mess when I was actually nursing. As soon as I made the switch from breastfeeding to pumping my mom commented how much happier and relaxed I was. Granted it’s still not easy keeping ahead of the bottles but it can work!!! I wish more moms would just do what works and stop judging and comparing!

    Reply
  • Katie September 10, 2012, 3:27 pm

    The judgement piece is crazy, and I can even honestly say that I felt a bit judgmental about this post when I first read it. Probably because I am one of those women who breastfeeds (pumps while I work full time) and absolutely loves it. I even rearrange my work day so I can see her in person at least once to breastfeed over pumping. It would be hard for me to pump when I am home for such a limited amount of time before she goes to bed.

    That being said, I know that breastfeeding can be hard and it is very emotionally charged. Sounds like you are doing what works for you and Henry and he still gets the benefit of breast milk and your husband gets to help too. Best of both worlds.

    I will say that I think a huge issue with breast feeding success rates is that many women work at jobs that are not necessarily friendly. I have my own office and my have the ability to adjust my schedule, but if I had a different job, that just would not be the case. And for lower income women who cannot afford a double pump, it is almost impossible. I think that is one of the biggest issues in breastfeeding, is that there is not equality in who can do it. Insurance companies should pay for pumps, everyone should get one. So when you look at health disparities, this is just one more area in which women get the short end of the stick.

    Reply
  • Becca September 10, 2012, 3:35 pm

    Very interesting topic. I am not a mother, but I find the amount of judgment on this issue ridiculous.

    What I really find fascinating is that all this judgment and controversy centers around breastfeeding/breast milk. Interesting, because that is the one decision that is part of a WOMAN’S BODY. Some people start feeding sugar, soda, and cookies to their toddlers on a regular basis. Some people raise their children on Hamburger Helper (I was one of those kids!). We don’t hear anyone calling these parents “horrible,” “uncaring,” or “un-nurturing.” Sure, we might say they’re not making the best decisions, but I don’t hear people questioning the parents’ LOVE. When it comes to breastfeeding, though, you hear this ALL THE TIME!

    In my mind, this is just one more area where society wants to say “WOMEN: You don’t have a choice about your body! If you make the wrong choice you are DOOMING your child and you are the Worst Woman Ever.” I mean, heaven forbid you use formula. Clearly, you’re a monster. However, if you feed the kid processed crap for the rest of its life, that’s fine.

    I don’t think any judgment is appropriate when it comes to choosing what another woman does with her own body!

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:25 pm

      AGREE with this comment X 100000.

      Reply
  • Kendra September 10, 2012, 3:36 pm

    Great post, Caitlin! We are breastfeeding soulmates for sure! You took the words right out of my mouth on all fronts. It didn’t work well for my son anwhen we’d I and we’d both end up in tears. It became a moment of tension instead of a joy. Pumping was a wonderful solution to the problems we were facing.

    I love how you are very open about everything and I hope more people start realizing that parenthood isn’t a “one size fits all.” Good for you! Oh, and have you ever seen the movie Full Metal Jacket?? You know the chant that they recite about their rifles? Well pretty soon you’ll be replacing the word “rifle” with “breast pump!” ;)

    Reply
  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) September 10, 2012, 3:37 pm

    I worked full time after I had my first son (he stayed home with his dad) and I pumped 50% of the time. He nursed the other half. Seriously, you have to do what is right for your family. That’s really what it all comes down to. I’m glad you shared this. While I didn’t have to deal with the same things you do, others are definitely benefitting from you sharing your experiences.

    Reply
  • Casey September 10, 2012, 3:40 pm

    I love this honest and refreshing post. I’ll add my confession and two cents…

    I have a 10 month old who is breastfeed and has never had a single bottle. That’s correct…every single liquid (he now gets some solids) feeding he has ever had has come straight from my boobs. I was commited to breastfeeding and somehow got in my crazy post partum head that bottles were a sign I was a horrible mother who couldn’t exclusively breastfeed.

    After a several months of thinking this way, it dawned on me. No one was going to give me a gold star for exclusive breastfeeding, it didn’t mean I loved my child more or was a better mother then anyone else. We still stuck with it because fortunately I’m a stay at home mom and it did get much easier and is so simple for us now.

    I guess what I’m hoping to add is that no matter what the method, if the baby is fed and well taken care of no one way makes any mother better then another. A happy mom makes a good mom!

    Reply
    • Laura September 10, 2012, 4:55 pm

      Now that my youngest is almost 4, I can look back and say: I think I had this huge committment to breast feeding b/c I made that decision when I was well rested and well read. I couldn’t pump enough for extra bottles, and I wanted to stimulate my supply so my husband still thinks our kids slept through the night at 3 weeks…because he never had to get up for the many, many night time feedings. I was so sleep deprived after babies, I knew (subconsciously) that I shouldn’t be making any decisions! So I just stuck with my original one!

      Reply
  • Emily September 10, 2012, 3:45 pm

    The first time I gave my daughter a bottle of formula was the most bonded Id felt with her up to that point. Its hard to feel all those lovely bondy feelings when your half naked, baby is screaming whenever you try to latch her on and theres a nurse manhandling you.
    Mothers get criticism whatever they do, breastfeeding mothers may have issues when people see them feeding in public.. . but so do formula feeders. Restaurant owners refuse to heat bottles because we should be breastfeeding, people demanding to know if ours formula or expressed milk in that bottle, the looks when buying formula at the shops. What matters is that we feed the babies, in two years it won’t matter what.

    Reply
  • Megan - NewlyWife September 10, 2012, 3:46 pm

    Great post! I am not a Mom yet, but I also plan on breastfeeding when the day comes. This post was a great look at the other side.

    Also, I read this article about a perk (ha) of breastfeeding — it keeps you from getting saggy boobs, if you slowly wean the baby, versus a quick dropoff after 6 months or so.I would imagine it is the same with pumping! http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/avoiding-saggy-breast-syndrome-after-nursing/

    Reply
  • Noelle September 10, 2012, 3:46 pm

    I appreciate your completely realistic attitude about it. BFing is easy for some people and hard for others and you should make the decision that is right for you!

    Reply
  • Jill September 10, 2012, 3:49 pm

    I’m still breastfeeding my almost 13 month old daughter. Breastfeeding is easy peasy now, but oh man, for the first two months is was horrid. It didn’t really start getting good for me until around 4-5 months, but I’m so happy I stuck with it! Moms need to do what’s best for their situation and no one should pass judgement. We’re all trying our best, right? Anyway, here’s a post I wrote about my breastfeeding experiences! http://ramblingsofawanderlust.blogspot.com/2012/02/i-love-breastfeeding.html

    Reply
  • Chrissy September 10, 2012, 3:56 pm

    I definitely prefer hand expression over the pump! It is only inefficient when you first learn to do it, but I found it much easier than cleaning a bunch of parts. I could just express straight into a pint glass and pour it into a bag for storage (so little cleanup!). I would get 4-8 oz per session in about 10 minutes! Whereas I’m sure that’s still not AS efficient as a pump, I don’t think it should just be labeled as “inefficient” and disregarded before really even trying! Just like you feel awkward for pumping, you should imagine the looks I get when I say I hand express and don’t pump (I just switched to saying “pump” because people didn’t understand).

    Reply
    • Marissa C September 10, 2012, 4:56 pm

      Dude…that is impressive

      Reply
  • Barbie September 10, 2012, 4:00 pm

    The perfect post! After bf’ing for 6 weeks, my child was still under birthweight and labeled failure to thrive. I wasn’t ‘producing’ and had tried everything! I switched to pumping and her bottles were half and half until she was 5 months. By then, I had had mastitis 3 times (once before i quit nursing and twice after) and decided we had both had enough. I was a much better mama NOT stressing over it anymore!!

    Reply
  • Patti September 10, 2012, 4:01 pm Reply
  • Ali September 10, 2012, 4:01 pm

    I was lucky to have a great supply since I had twins (it’s crazy how your body knows how many babies it’s trying to feed!) but I struggled to get them to nurse. I’d always start by having them on the breast for like 10 minutes, maybe, and they never got a great latch so I ended up giving them a bottle of pumped milk after a failed nursing attempt. I would repeat the process with the second baby and once they were finally both fed, I would pump my breasts dry to keep up my supply and have enough in the fridge to give them when they would inevitably fail at nursing. By the time I was done with this whole process… guess who was hungry again? A few weeks of this and I was a frazzled unhappy mess of a mommy so I cut out the nursing part and just pumped. I think if I have another kid I might just pump exclusively from the very beginning. Not sure if you belong to any groups on BabyCenter but the Exclusive pumping group was very helpful and not judge-y!

    Reply
  • Chrissy September 10, 2012, 4:06 pm

    I wanted to add that I agree with everything else you said. What’s important is that you feed your baby, not how you do it. Even though I’ve breastfed for a year, I have never been thought omg this is so special and amazing. It was more like this is easiest, cheap and the best fit for my lifestyle. It is so important that you look out for your happiness, too!

    Reply
  • Cindy September 10, 2012, 4:06 pm

    First of all kudos to you for pumping – its tough!! I’m going on 9 months of breastfeeding and we’ve had our ups and downs (incl. many, many night wakings, mastitis x2) but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My son took to it well right away, so I never struggled with issues getting him to latch, etc. he was a frequent nurser and we had some (many) marathon cluster feedings in the first months. But finally around 3.5 months or so it got A LOT more predictable, which made all of our lives easier. One thing I will say is that I attended a feee breastfeeding support group at my hospital led by a lactation consultant almost every week from when my son was born til 6 months (I’d probably still be going if we hadn’t moved) and it was seriously SO, SO helpful to hear other mamas talk about issues, problems and successes. Just to know that what you are going through is normal and to see others ahead of you who are doing well was great. And a forum to bounce issues off of was great too. I highly recommend it for anyone who is wants to BF. it’s amazing the power that a group of women has as a support network! And was a fun time for our babies to interact too :)

    Reply
  • Theresa September 10, 2012, 4:06 pm

    I cannot thank you enough for this post. I’m a new mom of a 6 week old and while we are still breastfeeding, it has been much more difficult and complicated than I ever imagined. I also am dealing with oversupply and the return of sore nipples after a week of more comfortable nursing.
    Please do not ever feel like you need to paint a rosy picture for your readers. To be honest, a little while ago you posted that motherhood was way easier than you imagined ( or something to that effect). I happened to read it on a super sleep deprived, crazy hormonal day and had a mini meltdown because on that particular day mommy hood seemed more difficult than I had ever dreamed. My meltdown ended with me promising my husband that I would take a break from reading blogs and googling baby info.
    Today I read your posts on sleep and breastfeeding and it was SUCH a relief to know that I was not the only one experiencing some struggles. There is so much out here that makes it seem like being a mother is instinctive and fulfilling 100% of the time. I wish everyone would be as honest as you were in these posts.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 5:51 pm

      Aw I wish you the best of luck :) You are in the roughest patch right now, truly. You can do it!!!

      Reply
    • Simi September 10, 2012, 11:32 pm

      OMG I remember feeling EXACTLY how you do during the 6th week when my 13 week old baby now was going on marathon nursing. Eating every 35-45 for 20 minutes and doing it all over all day every day for a week. I cried every. single. day. MAJOR meltdowns. EVERYONE kept telling me it’ll get better, all I heard was blah blah blah bc I was miserable. No sleep, no help, bf all day, no shower, dirty house, greasy fast food, no eyebrow waxed ha, I was a HOT mess and HATED my life during that time. It’s not fulfilling 100% of the time, it’s HARD HARD work and it’s VERY exhausting, but soooooo worth it. :)

      Reply
  • Melissa September 10, 2012, 4:07 pm

    I pumped for my son for 13 months and it worked great. I had the same issues once my milk came in i was drowning my son and having trouble latching. I dreaded feedings because it just wasnted working he would be screaming and I would be crying I made the decision to pump at one week and immediately it was so much better. People used to always say how much they hated pumping but for me it was so much easier. My son was getting my breastmilk and we were both much happier. I also never had to supplement he got 100% breastmilk until we switched to cows milk at 1 year. There is no way i would have lasted that long without pumping

    Reply
  • Robyn September 10, 2012, 4:11 pm

    Love, love, love this post Caitlin! Thank you for being so honest and tapping into exactly the way I’m feeling about breast feeding, which I also think has also filtered down into my feelings about motherhood. Because breast feeding exclusively in the beginning means you are the source of your baby’s life practically all of those issues that surface (I’m dealing with the heavy let down issues and big time gassy baby) make you question whether you’re any good and I can tell you there have been so many nights where if there had been a can of formula in the house we would have been making up a bottle pronto. But I think like you said you can’t really know what it’s like until you are in the throes of it and you have to do what’s best for your babe.

    Reply
  • Katie D. September 10, 2012, 4:15 pm

    My friends just adopted a newborn and she said that she really struggled with knowing that the baby would be formula fed and feels so guilty about it.

    My feelings on child raising are this – Something works for EVERYBODY but it is up to each family to figure out what that “Something” is! And unless there is abuse or neglect, let it be! Some kid who only did/had XYZ doesn’t always turn out bad and vice-versa!

    Reply
  • Rachel September 10, 2012, 4:17 pm

    Do you have a hands free pumping bra? I’m not sure if you need one with your pump, but mine was invaluable even though I only pumped occasionally.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:26 pm

      I don’t. Fortunately, I can pump FAST so I don’t really need one.

      Reply
  • Christy September 10, 2012, 4:17 pm

    I had to exclusively pump for my son. And it was challenging. I pumped every 3-4 hours for 6 months just to barely get enough milk for him. By the time 6 months came I had to begin supplementing with formula. I wanted to continue for a year but my body had other plans…If nothing else having a baby has taught me to be more flexible!

    Reply
  • Ashley September 10, 2012, 4:29 pm

    Good post! I love that you are never afraid to bring up controversial topics! :) Good for you!

    Reply
  • Emily September 10, 2012, 4:29 pm

    Rock on!! This was such a great post. As a mom who was “forced” to switch at 9 months to hypoallergenic formula because of lots of allergy issues, I felt so much guilt for doing so for a couple weeks. Then I saw a whole different part of the feeding equation with my son– I need to do what is best for him and for me. And in our situation at that time it was to switch him to formula. And I will never look back on my decision! I hope to breastfeed my next child but I have learned that parenting doesn’t always look like we want it to and that’s OKAY! What a great momma you are to your son! He’s so lucky to have such a strong and confident mom!

    Reply
  • Anne Weber-Falk September 10, 2012, 4:37 pm

    This is my favorite blog. Best site ever. Thanks for all you do Caitlin.

    Reply
  • Katie September 10, 2012, 4:44 pm

    I could have written this post!!! I have a baby that is a week younger than Henry and I was almost exclusively pumping, we now do more breast feeding as she have both gotten the hang of it and my let down has relaxed a bit but I love the freedom that pumping allows. I started out using the nipple shield so never felt like I could nurse in public or even in front of family in private because I had to manhandle myself. Now I use pumping when we are on vacation or on weekends to give others a chance to feed her and myself a break.

    Do you have a car charger adaptor and hands free bustier?? More money to spend but it will make your life 100 times easier. Instead of carving out 15 minutes and entertainment for the baby I pump when we are in the car. I put on my bustier in the garage and then cover the entire thing with my nursing cover and turn off the pump 15 minutes into the drive. I leave myself connected until I reach my destination then cap the bottles and put in my cooler.

    Everyone’s journey is unique, this post provides an alternative that may work better for some.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 5:49 pm

      i have a car adapter and it is AWESOME. so great for when you are out and about.

      Reply
  • J September 10, 2012, 4:44 pm

    this is an amazing amazing post. i faced basically the same exact problems with both of my children. I actually had my 2nd one day after you had henry and have been following closely. i could not agree more with this and it could not be stated in a better way. kudos to you!

    Reply
  • Katie September 10, 2012, 4:44 pm

    My boys are 5 & 6 and I still feel bad telling people that they were not breasted. I tried for 2 weeks with my set son. I had breast reduction surgery years before I got married and that was probably a big factor in not being able to breast feed. But I spent the first two weeks trying so hard. And on day 15 when we gave him his first bottle I sobbed and sobbed and felt like a failure. As I look back I realize that I had no where near the support that I needed, even of breast feeding was possible. But bottle feeding gave me back a joyful baby who slept well. Durin Those first 14 days he probably wasn’t getting enough because after I started bottle feeding he never screamed again. Not the way he had before. Isn’t a well fed baby an a well rested mother the healthier option? In my case I think that it was. But boy was it a painful and highly judged decision. And one more thing, there is such an intensity in those first months. Those decisions seem to be so large. So über important. As years passed I wished that I could have realized that those decisions in the early days, about feeding and disposable diapers did not define who I am as a mother. At all. But what I love most about this amazon post is the rwminder not to judge. And that we don’t always understand something from the outside. Amen!!!

    Reply
  • Laura September 10, 2012, 4:48 pm

    I didn’t have a chance to read all 155 posts, so maybe this was covered already. I wanted to feed my kids 100% breast milk, but I couldn’t produce enough. Very frustrating. I nursed exclusively for the 3 months I was on maternity leave, but pumping at work didn’t produce enough to for the next day. I felt like a failure even though I knew I wasn’t. I supplied as much breast milk as I could, and nursed for 9 months with each kid, but had to supplement with formula. It was the best for my babies (they have to eat to grow!) but I still feel like a bit of a failure…even though I know I’m not. BTW, I hate those of you with over supply! ;)

    Reply
  • Kara Newman September 10, 2012, 4:52 pm

    Thanks so much for this post. I have a 16 month old son and had a very, very similar experience to you post birth. He didn’t sleep through the night until last month and it has been difficult to even consider having another at times! I breastfed for the first 2 weeks and then began formula feeding. I cried for a long time as I felt so guilty, but I was also spraying excess milk into his mouth; he was feeding every 20 minutes and I just couldn’t cope.The midwives were putting so much emphasis on “breast in best” and I felt like a failure. I definitely think there needs to be more help with how to breastfeed successfully before and post birth. Our son thrived on formula though and is a very healthy, happy little man and I know I have an amazing bond with him x

    Reply
  • Cristina @ Tiny Perfect Bites September 10, 2012, 4:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Caitlin! I don’t have children yet, and I know that women pump to provide breast milk for when they aren’t with their baby, but it hadn’t occurred to me that this can be a full-time solution for some. It’s great to hear about additional options.

    Reply
  • Jessie @ Graze With Me September 10, 2012, 4:57 pm

    I would absolutely consider you a breastfeeding mama! It’s food from the breast so Henry is breastFED.

    I don’t know if this point was brought up yet but the only thing I’d have to say about pumping exclusively is to make sure Henry is getting your current milk (as in, not milk from 3 months ago) because your body will produce the exact type of milk that your baby needs at that particular moment. As in, if he’s sick you will make more antibodies, when he crawls your milk will change it’s protein/fat ratio to accommodate his extra movement, etc.

    Props to you for still aiming for a year! I’m still nursing my almost 1-yr old and we’ve been lucky enough to have had no issues. So yes, for some it IS easy but that’s not always the norm!

    Reply
  • Kris @ tryingtotri September 10, 2012, 4:59 pm

    I rarely chime in on your baby posts, simply because my “babies” are so much older now! But when my oldest (16 last week!) was born, I tried breast feeding, and I hated every minute of it. Hated, hated, hated… resented. It was NOT in any way a bonding experience, I cried all the time, and it was just not good. I weaned him as soon as he cut teeth (3.5 months), and I purposely chose to formula feed my two other babies.

    The fact that you are so dedicated to doing what you feel is best for Henry is fantastic. And if pumping means you are happier and he’s still getting breast milk goodness, then it’s the best of both worlds, right?

    Reply
  • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 5:21 pm

    I haven’t had children, but I have 1 sister who’s breast fed all three of her kids and loves it, and another sister who had twins and wanted nothing more than to breast feed them, but wasn’t able to due to supply issues as well as general issues. My second sister brought up her struggles with breast feeding to the twins pediatrician and was super concerned about it and the pediatrician turned to her and said, “I hear that bottle fed babies are getting into Harvard.” In other words, it will be okay…as long as they’re getting what they need nutritionally it will be fine- and maybe Henry will get into Harvard!

    Reply
  • Amanda September 10, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Oh my gosh, such a great post for so many reasons!!!

    (I was a formula feeding mom-and judged for it a lot)

    Reply
  • Regina September 10, 2012, 5:32 pm

    I read this while nursing my 3 week old son. I’ve been incredibly lucky in that my son is amazing at latching and loves to feed. However, the reverse side of that is that he loves it so much he does it OFTEN. Finally, he’s starting to get my productive and efficient at it and I’m not spending quite as much time nursing as I was but I tracked it last week and he literally had 16 feedings. 16 feedings of 45-60 minutes. That’s 16 hours exclusively filled with sitting with my boobies hanging out, tied to a chair or the bed, unable to use the bathroom or shower or brush my teeth or eat or do anything really that requires two hands. Thankfully I’m a SAHM so I’m able to spend that time nursing my son and luckily he’s amazing and sleeps through the night only waking up twice for nursing. However, with that said my husband and I were both discussing yesterday how we never thought breastfeeding was so intensive. Time intensive. Physically intensive. Mentally intensive. Emotionally intensive. I can’t leave do much at all without him and bathroom breaks and meals are literally mad dashes to complete before he’s ready to feed again (he’s also incredibly attached and hates being put down. Sometimes he’ll let daddy hold him for awhile or his grandma but usually even that only lasts a few minutes before he realizes mommy and the milk factory aren’t nearby). As a new mom and one who is exclusively breastfeeding for the time being (with hopes to continue until he’s a year old–adding bottles once he’s over a month old), I’ve encountered lots of stress. How do I know he’s eating enough? My boobs don’t come with measuring lines. How will I navigate breastfeeding on car rides, in public, out to dinner, etc.? We’re going on vacation in December, 3 months away and already I’m wondering how the heck we’re going to make it from our house through parking, security, loading the airplane, the flight itself, baggage claim, etc. while breastfeeding. And the questions are endless. It doesn’t matter how you choose to feed your child, the best option is what’s best for YOU AND YOUR BABY to make you both happiest.

    Bottomline: You’re absolutely right. The IDEA of breastfeeding is amazing but the actual act is hard to imagine and grasp until you’re actually in the midst of it. Every baby, every pregnancy and aftermath, every mommy is different and as long as you’re giving your baby food and love then you’re doing an amazing job. It doesn’t matter if it’s coming from a boob, a bottle or from packaged formula. A breastfeeding mom who is feeding from the boob and miserable and depressed is much less healthy than a mom who is feeding from a bottle (whether breast or formula milk) who is happy.

    Thank you so much for posting this. It’s so important to have honest, real-life information out there and people to tell you how it is. Breast may be best in some situations but in a lot of other ones, breast from bottle or formula are even better.

    Reply
  • Jenny September 10, 2012, 5:44 pm

    Such a great post. I am always impressed with your ability to write about big issues. And I 100% think that what you did is still “breastfeeding”.

    Reply
  • Claire Zulkey September 10, 2012, 6:04 pm

    Thanks Caitlin. After doing a lot of investigation I always intended to exclusively formula-feed, and an argument that helped seal the deal is that “Breastfeeding is only free if your time is worth nothing.” I absolutely tip my hat to the moms who breastfeed and think it’s a beautiful thing. I however knew from the start that I wanted my husband to be as involved with feeding the baby as I was, that I wanted to sleep as much as he did. I got a little annoyed by folks who said I should “just try it.” Even if the baby took naturally to my breast, I’d still be the one who was totally beholden, and my husband would be left behind in terms of nourishing our child.
    I’ve contemplated writing my own full blog post about this, as well about how I feel about people who claim that “it’s OK if you CAN’T breastfeed but it’s selfish if you CHOOSE not to” but I don’t feel like going there for now.
    Anyway, thanks for the post–we’re all just trying to do what’s best for us and nobody needs to nit-pick.
    Give Henry a squeeze for me!

    Reply
  • susan September 10, 2012, 6:22 pm

    I personally could not imagine having to pump for a whole year, but we all have to do what works best for our family.
    We had to pump/bottle feed our son in the beginning after every feed, because he was born at a low birth weight and we had to get calories into him (and nursing made him sleepy…), but I got so tired of cleaning pump parts and bottles, I stopped pumping and started to breastfeed exclusively from 6 weeks on, and now at 12 months, I really enjoy the bonding and snuggling time during nursing sessions. He’s pretty mobile now and busy playing and discovering, and he eats solids, so the nursing sessions are much less frequent, than in the newborn stage. It took us 4 to 5 months to really enjoy breastfeeding, though, so it might still take you a while to get the hang of it. I know I will miss it, and I’m glad I stuck out the first tough few months.

    Reply
  • Katie September 10, 2012, 6:32 pm

    Oh my goodness! I’ve been dealing with the SAME issues since Roman got here – flat nipples and all! I started out thinking that breastfeeding was OK, but more and more I was dreading breastfeeding too. I eventually just moved to pumping, but that made me so anxious….I was worried about missing a pumping session, worried about freezing enough milk so he could have some while I was back to work, worried about ALWAYS being attached to a machine…..I felt like a prisoner! With the encouragement of my doctor and lactation consultant, I recently decided to wean myself from pumping. It has been such a HUGE relief to accept that it’s just not for me – I was toying back and forth with switching to formula for several weeks, and the “mommy guilt” was enough to drive me to a PPD session with a counselor, who also encouraged me to switch to formula. Now that I’ve “accepted” my decision, I feel SO much relief. Roman is still getting 3 oz or breastmilk per bottle, but it’s mixed with 1 oz of formula, I’ll gradually transition to full formula. I’m down to only pumping at 4:30 am and 4:30-5 pm. Huge weight off my shoulders!

    Reply
  • Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good September 10, 2012, 6:38 pm

    I’ll say what I always say. Everyone has to do what works best for them.

    I did breastfeed, 10 months for my daughter and 12 months for my son. I was working more hours when my daughter was a baby, and the pressure to keep enough milk on supply was stressing me out. She always drank more than I managed to pump while I was gone to work. So I always felt like I was playing catch-up with the pumping, trying to store up enough to last her.

    My niece’s son was born with a cleft palate, and he couldn’t breastfeed. I don’t remember now what he drank from, but it wasn’t a typical baby bottle due to his cleft palate. Anyway, my niece pumped so that he could still have her breast milk. I wouldn’t have thought less of her if she had used formula, but I must admit, I was impressed and proud of her for her commitment to pumping.

    I agree that it’s good to share stories. While I might tell someone that I thought pumping was a pain, they can also hear pumping success stories from someone like you or my niece. It’s so long ago for me. My youngest is 7. Feeling all nostalgic here. :)

    Reply
  • Marci September 10, 2012, 7:09 pm

    Loved this post, don’t have time to read the other comments! I stopped bf’ing after 3 months and was sort of sad to stop. The pros of stopping outweighed the cons and I am happy with my decision. Anyway, I struggled with pumping because it seemed to take a longer time to pump and then feed the baby if someone wasn’t available too. And when I would pump, someone would have to watch the baby. I read somewhere (maybe here?) that bf’ing is only free if your time is worth nothing.

    Reply
  • Courtney September 10, 2012, 7:21 pm

    I guess I’m on the other end of the spectrum. I absolutely loved breastfeeding and cherished every moment of it with all my boys. But you have to decide what is best for you and your family. No one can tell you that and I don’t think people need to be so quick in passing judgement. What works for one family might not work for another. I think we should all be in it together! There is enough judgement and “mommy guilt” out there!

    Reply
  • Sarah September 10, 2012, 7:31 pm

    Great post. Like every decision you make in motherhood, you do what works for you. Good on your for your honesty!

    What you say about nipples really is true. Maybe TMI but I have rather large, dark-brown nipples and the first midwife that saw them exclaimed “They were made to breastfeed, you’ll have no problems”…. I was a bit bemused as big, sticky-out brown nipples are not very ladylike or white tshirt friendly! However, I never had a single problem with my boys latching on or feeding. Really, it was luck of the draw.

    You are doing a fabulous job and sharing such great stuff.

    Well done Henry’s Mummy!!!

    Reply
  • Bonita September 10, 2012, 7:33 pm

    Did you all know that formula is closer in composition to cow’s milk than it is to human milk? Formula companies don’t tell you that. Thanks for feeding your little human -human milk! Whatever way he gets it… Don’t give up… and try to get him on the breast again- it is not too late… might be easier now that you have most of the other routines down.

    Reply
  • Miranda @ Working Mom Works Out September 10, 2012, 7:34 pm

    Hey Caitlin! I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with what you’re doing. There is enough Mommy Guilt in the world – in this lifetime. Don’t start now.

    I breastfed for 18 months with no problems. I loved it and wouldn’t change a thing. BUT I was a stay-at-home mom and considered it part of my full-time job.

    The question I have – If you always pump, will your supply ever regulate?

    I remember how full I was in the beginning. I can’t imagine maintaining that for 18 months.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 7:35 pm

      It has pretty much regulated now, which is awesome. I just have to be careful to only pump in response to feedings.

      Reply
  • Stephanie September 10, 2012, 7:36 pm

    I’m so glad you wrote this post! I’m a new mom to twins and exclusively breastfeeding. Thankfully, despite a C-section, my milk came in on day 3, I’ve had no supply issues, both babies latch on well and are gaining weight nicely. But I know it doesn’t happen like that for everyone. And even though I choose to EBF, I find the attack on formula/pumping and a mother’s right to CHOOSE how she feeds her child(ren) really disheartening and quite anti-feminist. A woman’s right to choose should be protected, regardless if one agrees with that choice or not.

    Reply
  • Katie September 10, 2012, 7:44 pm

    I pumped for my daughter too. She got my breastmilk until she turned 1. I had trouble with an oversupply and decided to just pump and freeze what she couldn’t eat. At the height of my pumping, I would pump double what she would eat in a day. I didn’t like pumping at all and was able to stop when my daughter was 9.5 months old because my freezer stash lasted til she turned 1!

    Because of your oversupply, you may be able to stop well before Henry is one!

    Reply
  • Amy September 10, 2012, 7:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing this post! I have a boy 2 days older than Henry. He’s my 3rd and I exclusively pump for him. We tried hard to nurse with the shield, he liked it at times. But I felt my entire day was taken up with nursing and pumping and he often still wasn’t satisfied. My 2 older kids (4.5 and 2.5 years old) began to take the brunt of me spending so much time caring for the baby so I gave up on the nursing at about 1-1.5 months old. I pumped exclusively for all 3 kids and I love it! But, I’m like you Caitlin, where I can pump 7-8oz in about 5 mins or less! Pumping isn’t always fun, the parts and bottles are a chore, but I love that I provided nutrition for my daughter for 10 months, my middle son for about 8.5 months, and I’m hoping for my last son for at least 8-10 months :)

    Reply
  • Dana September 10, 2012, 8:11 pm

    Love this post so much! I don’t have children – so don’t consider myself anywhere near an expert – but have always envisioned myself breastfeeding whenever I do have a baby. I also envision it to be very easy – so a huge thanks to you and all the other ladies for bursting my bubble. :)

    I really applaud your honesty, your story, and your efforts to kill the mommy wars. Women have the ability to be extremely vicious, but we are also capable of great compassion. I’m glad that we lift each other up in this space, so thank you for that.

    My sister (who is expecting her first child in November) just sent me this article. Really really interesting: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2012/09/10/natural_parenting_the_same_old_sexism_dressed_up_in_fancy_new_clothes_.html (disclaimer – if I did have children, I would probably be a “natural parent”, so I don’t know that I agree with all the points here. An interesting article nonetheless.)

    Reply
  • Jen September 10, 2012, 8:21 pm

    AWESOME post. Thank you for being honest. ;).

    Reply
  • Jenny L. September 10, 2012, 8:25 pm

    I’ve never commented on your blog before but felt like I was reading a diary entry of something I would have written one year ago when my twins were born. I also started breasfeeding because of the “cheaper” incentive but realized with a specialized twin nursing pillow (75$), pump (>200$), and bfing friendly clothes, I did not save any money for the 7 weeks I breast fed/pumped. My goal was initially 6 weeks so the babies would get colostrum and I would see how things would go and after I met that goal I aimed for 6 months. I began to count down the days and would dread sessions and also feeling like I was missing out on social situations because of the boob display issues-its hard! Once I realized I was wanting to get to the end goal and not actually enjoying breastfeeding, I nixed the bfing and pumped every 3-4hrs for a cpl months before I could no longer keep up with demand. No one talks about this grey zone in breast feeding so its nice to relate to soemone else. I counted down days for about 2.5 months and couldn’t live that way b/c I felt it was robbing away from my experiene. I read on someone’s blog your role as a mother is to 1) enjoy your baby and 2) feed your baby; and if #2 begins to interfere with #1 than its time to reevaluate. I’m a registered nurse and know “breast is best” but for me mental health was a huge factor in my decision to start pumping exclusively then combination feeding before transitioning the twins to formula.

    Reply
  • Kayla September 10, 2012, 8:40 pm

    Thank you so much for writing this! I am a brand new mom, my daughter is 4 weeks old. I had intended to exclusively breastfeed but we have had problem after problem since day 1. We went to the lactation specialist 3 times a week for the first 3 weeks of her life and it just never got better… I have pumped and supplemented with formula because my milk supply never increased the way it should have. I felt SO guilty giving her formula but it takes me 20-30 minutes to pump 3 oz… and she has got an appetite so I started feeling very depressed sitting there hooked to a pump so much. INow I pump about 3-4 feedings a day and give her formula the rest of the time. It definitely makes things a little easier knowing that everyone has their own issues with breastfeeding and that it is not some really easy, natural thing that I always thought it was.

    Reply
  • Christina September 10, 2012, 8:45 pm

    Great post- well written, thought-provoking.

    Reply
  • Z September 10, 2012, 8:50 pm

    THIS is why I love your blog so much, total honesty and your dedication to research and detail. I don’t have little ones yet, but it’s been so educational and refreshing reading through your whole experience. (I kind of feel a book in the making, I’d read it!) Keep it up, I think you’re doing awesome figuring out the whole parenting thing. I know once we have a kid I’ll be coming back and re-reading some of your posts for reference.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 8:54 pm

      I can say with 100% certainity I will not be writing a book on mommyhood :) At least not in the next decade!!! But thanks a lot :)

      Reply
  • Amanda K. September 10, 2012, 9:01 pm

    i agree with you SO much that you just can’t know how it will be for you until you do it. sometimes i want to kick the pre-baby me in the head because of all the judgement i cast. ugh.

    i do want to tell you, though: my son just turned 1 and weaned himself. we had a LOT of trouble at first (a lot of tears, screaming through feedings, calls to the pediatrician and lactation consultants, etc.) but eventually it gets easier. it may sound crazy now, but you get past that “covered in milk, naked all the time, ohmygoshalli’mdoingisnursing” stage. promise.

    i didn’t really feel the “bonding” part until my son started eating food and only nursing a few times a day. it was the ONLY time he’d lay in my arms and let me hold him.

    it’s awesome that henry hasn’t had “confusion” because, who knows, down the road you may love breastfeeding a little more.

    Reply
  • Allison B September 10, 2012, 9:13 pm

    My oldest daughter I had no issues, had enough milk to nurse and pump for a freezer stock. By time she was 6-7 months old, she gradually weened herself off her nursing schedule because she preferred to be exploring. So I went to just nursing her in the morning and at night. My youngest daughter had an awful time nursing, she just never latched correctly and I didn’t have the same milk production, probably from the lack of correct latching to tell my body to produce. I pumped as much as possible, but it seemed to get harder and harder once I went back to work with finding the time, meeting deadlines, and not feeling like I was getting talked about by the other women in my office (Yes, the women seemed to be the worst! I don’t know if it was generation or demographic or the combination of both that gave me the judged feeling.) Anyhow, both girls are lactose intolerant and it took a year to figure that out with my oldest, even with constant visits to the pediatricans office (I guess the male military docs just didn’t have a clue). With my youngest I read up on breast feeding and how lactose etc can affect my milk supply, but alas I still had issues.
    When number three comes around, I have to be honest and say that I don’t know if I will breast feed per se, perhaps only pump or just formula feed. Either way, there will be a bond that my husband will gain because he felt completely left out and there will be a freedom I will gain with not feeling on display, like you pointed out, and knowing I won’t have to be home in exactly two hours if I have to run errands.
    And one last point…I think I turned out to be a productive, successful, loving and nurturing wife, mother, sister, friend, etc and I was formula fed. :)

    Reply
  • Allison September 10, 2012, 9:18 pm

    Beautiful post! I love that you wrote this. Bonding with your baby is so important if there is something hindering that experience, then it is important to make a change. I have so much admiration for exclusive pumpers. Oh the parts to clean!!! It may not seem like a big deal, but man…those little parts! I love that you have a goal for a year, but for me, it was better to make smaller goals….3 months, one more month, one more month, then when I was ready to let go of the pump, the guilt I felt was intense, but I didnt feel completely like a failure cause I didnt make to X amount of months due to my small goal setting. However, just being able to let it go and allow myself to be fully present with my baby, rather then obsessing whether I was going to get 3.5 ounces, or 4, (cause if it wasnt 4, then that wasnt enough and I would be sad about it forever). Bottomline – love this post! Henry is such a cutie!

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  • Julie September 10, 2012, 9:20 pm

    I think it should be that “breastmilk is best” not “breast is best” and it is everyone’s choice. And when these formula or breastfed kids are in kindergarten–you can’t tell the difference.;0) I didn’t really get that “awwww, this is so sweet” nursing feeling until both my kids were about 4 or 5 months old when the feedings spread out more and I didn’t feel so trapped by nursing. I also loved my nursing cover and used it often! It is just really hard in the beginning–especially with your first. With my son (my second baby), he nursed very quickly and latched on right away as compared with my daughter where I would be gripping the side of the couch trying to get her to latch on and I would cry with the pain. Totally depends on the baby too. Just do what you think is right and don’t let any breastfeeding elitists get to you.

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  • Rachel September 10, 2012, 9:38 pm

    I am so glad that you wrote this point. I could have written this word for word.

    I think so many people out there don’t understand pumping, and those that BF think I am crazy. I’ve been exclusively pumping my 10 month old twins. We tried breastfeeding in the beginning, but it wasn’t going well. They were born early and in the NICU for 10 weeks. I pumped like crazy early on to establish a good supply, and they were only taking 5oz a day from a NG tube. When they were ready to BF, they got too tired out too soon, had bad reflux, and choked from my over supply/letdown. It wasn’t worth the constant stress to BF. Plus, I needed my husband or family to help with the feedings. I hate pumping, but to me it is the best solution. It was really important to me that they receive my milk, but I honestly don’t care at all that they receive it via a bottle. I wasn’t strongly tied to the actual act of BFing. So here I am 10 months later and still pumping. My goal is to make it 1 year. It is definitely getting harder and harder to pump as my kids are more mobile now. I have it down to a pretty good system now – pump before they wake up, pump during afternoon nap time, and pump after they go to bed.

    Kudos to you for figuring out what works best for you and Henry!

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  • Lindsay @ Fuel My Family September 10, 2012, 9:42 pm

    i exclusively breastfeed for over a year and my babies would never even take a bottle of pumped milk. But it worked for us since I am a total stay at home mom and my kids are always with me anyways. I do agree though that manymoms “give up” before it gets easier. Because it does get easier. Nursing is hard at first, for a good month or so. And is exhausting for a good 3 or 4 months. But I just nursed my 13 month old to sleep and her staring up at me, smiling, while still nursing, is the sweetest thing in my world. But to each his own. I only think those who don’t even try to breastfeeding because “its gross” can be viewed a selfish. But to each his own

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  • Verlin September 10, 2012, 9:58 pm

    You are definitely breast-feeding, in my opinion – you just aren’t nursing. Henry is getting the healthy stuff, and you are doing it the way that works for you. Excellent choice! Personally, I found nursing easier than pumping, so avoided pumping as much as I could and nursed instead. Laziness was a huge factor for me – especially the middle of the night feedings – I barely woke up until after the feeding was over and I needed to change the diaper. As some others commented, if you freeze your over-supply, Henry could be getting breast milk for long after you decide to stop pumping. I have older kids, and I’ve never heard of a 16 year old complaining about how his mother fed him as a baby, so don’t stress!

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  • Melissa September 10, 2012, 10:35 pm

    I love your honesty. My daughter has not flat but inverted nipples. She felt so much pressure on her to nurse and it just was a nightmare for her and her son. She switched to the bottle and formula at about 6 weeks and that was the very best decision for her. She did get over the guilt pretty fast and I’m proud of her for that. She knew she was doing the best she could possibly do for herself and her son. By the way, I’m super proud of her. She is a single mom who got pregnant in her 2nd year of college. She spent the entire year in a dorm and finished that year out and went into labor during exams. (She missed 2 exams but made them up within the allotted 6 months) She moved home over the summer but when her son was only 3 months old, she moved into a 1 bedroom loft apt. and finished out her 3rd year. (she and her son’s father scheduled their classes on opposite days and both took care of their son) Now my gradson is 16 months old and my daughter is in her last year of college. She does have to use childcare 3 days a week now as her son’s father is not in the same city now. I love reading your blog to help me stay in the know and hopefully be a hip grandma.

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    • Caitlin September 10, 2012, 10:52 pm

      You sound like you have an awesome daughter and are an awesome grandma!

      Reply
  • Stellina @ My Yogurt Addiction September 10, 2012, 10:41 pm

    I could not agree with you more on this topic!!!! I do NOT have children, but when I do I know that I will NOT breastfeed. I just don’t like the idea! I was not breast fed and I am fine! I thin breast feeing is GREAT if you can and want to do it! I think it is more natural, organic and (sometimes) cheaper. I do not look down upon women who do it in public. It’s every women’s choice to do what is best for her baby. What is right for one, may not be right for another. The most important thing is to make sure the baby is happy, healthy and well-fed! :)

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  • Belinda September 10, 2012, 11:01 pm

    I BF my first son til about 17/18 mos. my 2nd son BFed over 2 yrs. neither would take a bottle, neither would take a pacifier. While I’m happy I did BF them, it seriously drained me. If I pumped I would produce even more milk causing engorgement and the liquid gold was poured down the drain eventually because they wouldn’t take a bottle. In hindsight, I wish I had gotten them used to a bottle early on just for the sake of giving me a break. I think had i had those much needed breaks, i wouldve handled life in general better. I was a sleep deprived mess by the end of those 2 years. Plus I couldn’t lose weight til After I stopped BFing which was very depressing for me. I also would’ve quit After one year because that 2nd year just was too much for me. Good for you doing what works for you and not to Make others happy.

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  • Simi September 10, 2012, 11:13 pm

    I WISH I could read all 250something comments…
    My daughter was born a day after your son, so I’ve been reading your blog daily and have even shared the whole nipple shield experience. I couldn’t agree with you more!!!! I went back to work a month ago and started to exclusively pump. I HATE pumping, I hate having to wake up at 5am every morning while she sleeps in so I can pump bc I’m so full (including weekends). I hate washing all the parts and I hate having this feeling. I pump at work and it is so inconvenient. I always have to find a place to pump and sometimes there isn’t a place that’s available, or I have to wait 5 hours to pump! Before I had my baby my goal was to bf for a year, I thought the same thing… easy, free, breast is best, formula is poison (according to nurses and all these websites), etc… but then I had her and dropped my goal to 6 months due to all the issues I had, now that I’m back at work I plan to stop the end of the month. I can’t handle the stress anymore, I’m tired of having to plan my days around pumping, not being able to have drinks with the girls bc I’m gonna pump, etc… I feel selfish for wanting to stop, I feel like I’ll regret it, but at the same time, my baby girl needs a 100% HAPPY mom! I have BM in the freezer so I’ll be ok for a little bit. I’ve started supplementing with formula bc I work full time and can’t pump every 2 hours nor do I have the desire to, therefore, my supply has decreased. I applaud you for wanting to do it for a year, I think I would too if I had support out here (no family or mom friends where I live) it would be much easier for me. Ppl I work with are shocked I lasted 3 months, they gave up at 1. I feel guilty and selfish, but again… I need my sanity and need to get it through my head that it’s ok.

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  • Jennifer Burns September 10, 2012, 11:29 pm

    I honestly still consider pumping to be a part of breastfeeding. Your son is still getting all of the benefits of breast milk! I totally don’t feel bad for you!

    Reply
  • Carrie September 11, 2012, 12:08 am

    Thank you so much for writing this post! I was a breastfeeding “dropout” and definitely felt pressure. I wanted so badly to love it, but things didn’t go as I planned and it became very stressful.

    I hear what you are saying about not knowing truly how things will be until you are experiencing a situation. Before I had my daughter I used to judge mothers who brought their babies in public dirty (I know.. For shame!). I now realize that was ludicrous. I took my daughter to a store today after daycare and she was a mess! Changing her would have potentially thrown her mood off for the rest of the night and I wasn’t willing to risk that. It’s definitely different to be in the situations myself. It has been an important lesson!

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  • Heather September 11, 2012, 12:30 am

    Great post! Long time reader, first time commenter. My son is a few weeks older than Henry – it has been really cool following your journey through motherhood as it has closely paralleled mine.

    My breastfeeding journey has definitely not been a walk in the park. If somebody would have told me while I was pregnant that breastfeeding would be more painful and exhausting than my natural homebirth I would have laughed in their face. Well, as it turns out, it took TEN WEEKS for breastfeeding to be pain-free for me. I would gladly go through labour again rather than deal with that initial breastfeeding hell. I have one flat and one slightly inverted nipple (I too was unaware of this until it was pointed out to me), as well as an extreme oversupply. My baby actually “corrected” my inverted nipple by literally ripping out the inverted portion. I had a huge gash that would not heal since my nipple would try to invert again and consequently my wound was not able to air out and scab. It was so painful that I would sob and scream every time he latched. I became terrified of nursing and would get furious with my husband for noting that “the baby seems hungry”, and we would play songs like The Eye of the Tiger to mentally prepare myself for a nursing session. I seriously considered breastfeeding from my right boob only.

    Looking back, though I am definitely glad I stuck it out, I can not believe the ridiculous lengths I went to in order to claim that I exlusively breastfed my son. I refused to supplement with formula, I refused to pump, I even refused to use a nipple shield. I can only attribute this to extreme mommy guilt, sheer determination, and a bit of the crazies. I think we all would have been much happier (my poor, dear husband) had I given the baby a bottle and given myself time to heal.

    There is far too much pressure on women when it comes to breastfeeding. We get it from all sides – shame for not breastfeeding, and shame for breastfeeding too long. Shame for breastfeeding in public and shame for being embarrassed and not breastfeeding in public.

    I think the bottom line is that a happy, healthy momma = a happy, healthy baby. We all need to respect and support each others choices so that we can all be happy, healthy mommas.

    Reply
  • Jessica September 11, 2012, 12:31 am

    My daughter is 11 weeks old. From the beginning she latched on well and was good at breast feeding. The hospital staff said everything looked good. Well for the first month she wanted to eat every hour. My nipples were cracked and sore. It was very painful. Then I got an infection which added more pain. I finally got her feelings spread further apart and my nipples healed. Now I really enjoy feeding her. It’s nice to snuggle with her. I haven’t introduced a bottle yet because I love our time together. Fortunately feelings only take 10 minutes and she comes to work with me. I’m going to misss having her by me 24/7 when she can no longer come to work with me. I completely agree about the need for a chair in family restrooms!

    Reply
  • LizW September 11, 2012, 12:48 am

    As always, your honesty and frankness is so very much appreciated. I love reading your blog – it’s so inspiring and positive. Thank you :)

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  • Lara September 11, 2012, 12:59 am

    Breastfeeding is so much harder than I thought it would be! I spent so much time preparing for labor, never thinking that it was ONE day (okay, it ended up being more than one day!), and I spent hardly any time reading about breastfeeding, which is obviously a much longer endeavor!

    I too have an oversupply and a strong letdown, so I can totally relate. I’ve started pumping once a day, but we have yet to introduce a bottle. One thing that makes pumping SO much easier, I’m not sure if you have it or not as you didn’t mention it in the list of your expenses, is a hands-free pumping bra. I would link to it here but I don’t want my comment to go into spam. It’s on amazon and the one I have is by Simple Wishes.

    I think it’s great that you’ev found a way to make breastfeeding work for your family :)

    Reply
  • Kelly September 11, 2012, 1:24 am

    Hoo-boy. Thank you for this. It’s an emotional subject, and it’s nice to read an account of breastfeeding that doesn’t paint it all sunshine and rainbows and bonding.

    I was totally committed to breastfeeding my daughter for at least a year – the thought that I would have problems doing it never even entered my mind. And then she was born, and right from the start she would scream and scream and pull off the breast constantly. I worked with amazing lactation consultants and figured out that I had an oversupply issue. As that issue began to resolve itself feedings got a bit easier, but my daughter just never seemed to like breastfeeding. Seriously. Have you EVER heard of a baby who doesn’t LOVE the boob? I haven’t. After a few weeks, my daughter started going on repeated nursing strikes… it was so frustrating and honestly hurtful. We tried EVERYTHING to get her back on the boob – and I do mean everything. I worked with lactation consultants, and with her pediatrician. Nothing worked. Finally she went on one final strike and just never went back to the boob.

    At first I exclusively pumped so that she’d keep getting breast milk, and oh lord that was so hard and PAINFUL. My body just didn’t take well to it. I began to resent it so much – every time I was hooked up to that stupid pump I’d be crying, wishing I could be holding my daughter and feeding her directly. After keeping that up for a couple of weeks I realized that exclusively giving my daughter breast milk was costing me my mental health. Even my very pro-breastfeeding pediatrician told me that she would fully support me if I decided to formula feed. The first time I supplemented with formula I cried and cried, but eventually it got easier. Unfortunately once I began to back off the pumping my supply tanked (crazy that I could go from oversupply to barely anything within weeks). We now formula feed exclusively- the baby is doing great, I’m doing much better mentally, and I have to admit that it’s a lot easier to give her formula.

    I still wish breastfeeding had worked out. I still feel a lot of anguish and sorrow that it didn’t. And I feel… mad, I guess. It wasn’t my choice to give up breastfeeding, it was my baby’s.

    I’m probably not making any sense, but I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your experience. It’s helpful to read that other people struggle with this too. It’s never easy, is it? But we do the best we can.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 11, 2012, 9:30 am

      I am so sorry you went through that!

      Reply
  • Lauren M September 11, 2012, 1:28 am

    For me breastfeeding is a choice I have made, regardless of any personal issues I have about it, in order to provide my babies with the best possible nutrition. Looking at all the health statistics you cite above I wonder how anyone can ignore the importance of it and stop early or never even give it a try. Our society spends years pushing child rearing back because of careers/finance and then when our babies finally come along we push them out of our rooms and to other people to feed.

    The best and most rewarding things in life are often the most challenging. Put it into a little perspective – it’s such a short time out of our entire lives to be a little put out for the benefit of our little baby who relies so heavily upon us.

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  • Amanda September 11, 2012, 1:35 am

    I’m not a parent, and I don’t plan on becoming one any time soon, but I just have to say that I love how open an honest you are with all the joys and tribulations of the various aspects of motherhood, and how you refuse to condemn others who make different choices than you. I just think it is so kind and so refreshing to see someone say over and over again, “This is what works for me, and it is totally subjective to my experience, and it’s no more or less valid than the choices of others.” I just think it’s awesome that you’re able to approach the many various choices you are making as a parent (and throughout the rest of your life) as the right choice for you without making others feel badly about the choices that are right for them if they are different than your own. Your open-mindedness and empathy toward the situations of others is really admirable, and I personally really appreciate it.

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  • Haley September 11, 2012, 1:59 am

    I love that you wrote this post.

    My son was born just a couple of weeks behind yours, and while you were dealing with oversupply issues, I was dealing with UNDERsupply issues. And here I am at 11 weeks, STILL dealing with issues because my son is barely gaining enough weight… we have one more appointment on Wednesday with an ear, nose + throat specialist to see if he has a posterior tongue tie (which would make total sense and explain EVERYTHING), but I honestly am preparing to let go of my control issues if not and just let it be what it is: we’ll start supplementing because I can’t seem to pump any more than an ounce and a half, no matter what I try.

    The whole process has been so emotionally and physically draining… I’m STILL in the phase where I can’t leave my son for more than 30 minutes (he’s always fed for at least 60 minutes every other hour — probably the only reason he’s been able to gain ANY weight this whole time). And I honestly just can’t wait for this all to be over… to put a period at the end of this experience and move on. Or at least to be able to go for a swim and not worry about how my son is going to be fed. Or even to do some yoga in my living room.

    “They” say that it gets easier, but I totally agree with you… it’s TOUGH! And we do the best we can with what we’re given. I’m proud of you for doing what works FOR YOU. I’m in the same boat, just with different oars ;)

    Reply
  • Lital Peled September 11, 2012, 2:05 am

    Awesome post. Really and truly

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  • Lisa O. September 11, 2012, 2:15 am

    AMAZING post!

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  • Emily B September 11, 2012, 5:23 am

    I would call it BFeeding:D Yes I’m not a Mum and no I’ve never breastfed because of that – but no matter how you mould it your breasts are still administering nutrition to Henry and it’s still full of all the goodness. No it’s probably not technically “nursing” but that is a relative term and has different meanings to every person. Henry’s growing rapidly and he’s happy, and you’re happy – that’s all that matters.

    Reply
  • FinnP September 11, 2012, 6:25 am

    Great post. I tried without success to BF my son, my supply was low and he wasn’t latching on, and then pumped for a few months before my supply dried up and I cannot tell you the guilt I felt for so long. One day a lovely nurse said to me, if you see two kids walking down the street, can you tell which was breastfed and which was bottle fed? I laughed out loud! Have started to let go of the guilt and realise that I did the best I could in the situation I was in, like everyone else does.

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  • meredith September 11, 2012, 6:50 am

    I read your blog often although have never commented. I nursed my son for 16 months. That first month was a true battle and test of my abilities, strength and sanity. I did not think I would make it through and did not have the strength or time to pump. After a month, it suddenly became easy, painless and natural. I pumped from time to time but did not have the real time or even enough milk to pump since my son was constantly nursing. Everyone does what they can and pumping takes extreme dedication in my opinion just as nursing exclusively does. My son never took a bottle (tried a few times) so it was all me for over a year until he started to adjust to milk/juice/water here and there. I think people need to do what works for them. Nursing worked for me, but it wasn’t all that simple first and it isn’t for everyone. I never could have exclusively pumped – I give you a lot of credit for that!

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  • Megan September 11, 2012, 7:06 am

    Pumping is not easy – I did it around the clock for one month while my baby was in the hospital (premature). And, since you did breast feed for awhile with Henry, your supply is good and strong, and well established, so I bet you can pump out a good amount.

    We had a rough start to breast feeding but after a month and a half or so, it has gotten much easier, and I enjoy it now. I’ve had days where I want a break, like when I got a stomach virus, but typically I find it easy. I’ve got a husband in the military who is frequently gone for a month at a time, so it’s just me and my baby home for feedings, making it easier than pumping and then feeding her a bottle, but if my husband was home every day, I am sure I would take advantage of the pump and then let Daddy help out more. Now that my baby is on solids, my husband enjoys feeding her sweet potatoes.

    And yes, there are so many other ways to bond, and it shouldn’t be killing you to breast feed. You’ve done well – and you know what’s best for you, your family and most of all, your baby.

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  • Elizabeth M. September 11, 2012, 7:47 am

    It blows my mind how people are SO opinionated about breastfeeding even though there are SO many factors that can influence what you do. Good for you or choosing what’s best for your baby!! I recently wrote a magazine article about breast feeding and discovered that some research has shown the exclusively feeding formula costs on average $1500 in the first year, so you’re still coming out ahead :)

    Reply
  • Kelsey September 11, 2012, 8:48 am

    I have a 9 month old; since I work full-time, I pump during the day and nurse in the mornings, evenings and weekends. My feelings about pumping are neutral: I never look forward to it, but I do enough to distract myself (read emails, blogs, etc.) to get through it.

    I do think formula feeding mommas have a much harder time when it comes to preparation. I love being able to just feed my son on the spot (as long as I wear the right top and bra!).

    And while I agree with you that our country on the whole is not pro-public nursing, I’ve chosen to not let it bother me. Let it bother them instead!

    Reply
  • Jenn September 11, 2012, 8:57 am

    I never loved breastfeeding when my kids were little. I wanted too but I my body couldn’t keep up with my son’s needs so I supplemented with a formula and pumped like a mad woman to increase supply. It was horrible. I felt so guilty and bad about my body. I was 22 and now I’m 35 I realize how hard I was on myself. I also have amazing 12 and 9 year old sons who thrived despite not being exclusively breastfed.

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  • Sarah C September 11, 2012, 9:51 am

    My twins were born prematurely and therefore in the hospital for a couple of weeks. Since the nurses needed to monitor their input I pumped and gave them a bottle so that I could chart each ounce. By the time they were “strong enough” to nurse they were so accustomed to a bottle that it never worked out for us. So I just continued pumping. I never felt bad about it because I knew that they were getting breastmilk even if it wasn’t directly from the source. Good for you for making the decision to do whats best for your family!

    Reply
  • tricia@ZOOMA September 11, 2012, 9:54 am

    “You really don’t know how things are going to go until you do it.” love this lesson

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  • Tracy September 11, 2012, 9:55 am

    ” I gasped when I realized that I had, unwittingly, already spent more money than she had on formula” Just remember ,you may have spent some money initially, but your friend is going to KEEP spending money on formula!! The cost of formula, especially if it is a specialized formula, is a heck of a lot more than what you will ever spend.

    Reply
  • Sarah September 11, 2012, 10:10 am

    Hi Caitlin, I’ve been reading for a long time but have never commented before. I just weaned my daughter from BFing after 12 LOOOOOOONG months. I’m with you. I never felt the magical bond that breastfeeding is supposed to bring. I had the opposite problem that you had, undersupply. My daughter literally nursed around the clock. Every hour and a half for 40 minutes to an hour. She gained weight slowly but surely, but had terrible colic and dairy allergy (so I had to do a total dairy elimination diet after she had blood in her stool). I remember one night, after not sleeping for more than an hour at a time for 4 weeks, I broke down and tried to give her a bottle of breastmilk. She wouldn’t take it. I tried to give her formula. Same story. I waited until 6 weeks because that is what my lactation consultant suggested, and I was stuck. I tried again and again and again with every type of bottle imaginable. With breast milk, with 10 different kinds of gentle/soy formula. Nothing. So we trudged along and breast fed. For a year. With no bottles. Everyone is right, it does get easier. But it also gets harder. Try getting a walking 10 month old to sit still and breast feed even though they are starving! And I agree with other comments. I was praised religiously for exclusively breastfeeding for the first 6 months, but once Jenna got teeth and started walking, it was “Don’t you think she’s getting a little old for that?” at nine months… We can’t win! Bravo to you for doing what’s best for your family. Women really need to start cheering for each other rather than criticizing. So happy for you that Henry is HEALTHY (isn’t that most important??) and he likes the bottle!

    Reply
    • Sarah September 11, 2012, 10:13 am

      Oh and every time I tried to pump I’d pump for about 20 minutes (medela pump in style advanced) and get a whopping ounce, or maybe, on a crazy day two. Tried different size breast shields etc. Some of us just don’t have the correct anatomy for pumping!

      Reply
  • liz September 11, 2012, 10:17 am

    great post! i am also an exclusive pumper and i love your honesty. it is easy to read mommy blogs and feel like everyone is doing a “better” job than i am… nice to know i am not alone! another benefit of pumping is the opportunity to build a frozen supply. i have a deep freezer full of hundreds of ounces and i hope to be able to stop the pumping around 1 year but continue to give my little one breastmilk long after.

    Reply
  • Michelle M September 11, 2012, 11:06 am

    I exclusively pumped for my twin girls until they were 6 months old. I had the same feelings (and flat nipples) that you experienced. The girls’ pediatrician didn’t understand when I told him I was pumping only. I had to explain it everytime I took the girls in. And I got those “looks” from almost everyone I knew when I told them I was pumping exclusively. Way to make a new mom feel good people. However, it was a choice made by me and fully supported by my husband and that’s all that mattered to me in the long run.
    With my son (he’s 6 years older than the girls) we had put him on formula from the start. And of course I got those “looks” when I’d tell people I was formula feeding him. I don’t understand why it’s got to be such an issue with people. I’d understand if I was giving my child bottles of whiskey or just not feeding at all.

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  • Lisa @ I'm an Okie September 11, 2012, 12:15 pm

    I love that you wrote this post.

    You hear so much about breastfeeding and formula feeding. However, the great commitment that is pumping is often left out of the mix. It needs a voice as a viable option of feeding our babies as well.

    Cora never latched without a shield. And even with a shield, she didn’t transfer a lot of milk. I saw many LCs. I would nurse her, then pump, then feed whatever I pumped through a syringe so she wouldn’t get nipple confusion from the bottle.

    It became too much. I had to take something out of the process. I just introduced the bottle and said what will be, will be. I still attempted to nurse. Even that became too much. Each failed nursing session made me an emotional wreck.

    I only attempt to nurse about once or twice a week now. I keep hoping that someday it will click for her, but if it doesn’t, I’m ok with that. I feel good knowing that I am doing my best to give her great nutrition through breast milk.

    Reply
  • Stephanie September 11, 2012, 12:27 pm

    Thank you, as always, for your complete honesty. I read your blog not only for the fitness training/healthy lifestyle aspect, but also because I’m hoping to start a family soon. I feel very strongly about some things (natural birth, breast feeding, etc.) and appreciate your honesty about the reality of it!

    Reply
  • Jessica September 11, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Great post! I’m the mom of a 10.5 month old boy and I really wanted to breastfeed for all of the health benefits but I knew sitting in the BF class at 8 months preggo that it was going to be a struggle for me b/c of my…anatomy! ;) I used the nipple shield in the hospital and had a consultant come to almost every feeding. I had the worst blisters – even the LCs couldn’t believe I was still doing it – but reality hit a couple days after we went home and we found out that our son wasn’t actually taking in any milk so I had to start pumping. I pumped exclusively until he was 5 months. (My goal was 6 months but my grandmother passed away suddenly and my supply took a major hit.) I had to start supplementing and then the stress of my low supply gave me the push to wean him off of BM at 8 months. I froze enough though that he is still getting 2 oz a day. After switching to formula, it was amazing how much time I got back – at work, at home, at the gym! There are some days that I seriously consider not BF next time but, for me anyway, the health benefits will probably outweight the simplicity.

    You are totally right though – you don’t know how it’s going to go and chilling out is the best thing for everyone!

    Reply
  • carole September 11, 2012, 1:25 pm

    Alot of comments on this post! I have two girls and my first experience with breastfeeding was a FAIL. I suspect alot of it was the pressure I put on myselft to succeed at breastfeeding because (as an RD) that is what I should do…..I had horrible post partum depression with my first and after 6 weeks of struggling, I pumped for awhile but went to all formula by about 6 months. It was the right thing to do. There is so much pressure to succeed at breastfeeding and by God, you are right..IT ISN’T EASY…may be natural, but for me the first time it was work and stress and emotional damage to me and my baby girl. The second time I got pregnant I made up my mind that if it worked a second time great-if not-my baby would be OK….and things just clicked and it worked…,maybe because I took the pressure off of myself. I feel that personally, the lactation consultants in the hospital were the most helpful. Frankly, my La Leche consultant led me to feel that I was awful if I didn’t MAKE IT WORK. You just have to do what you know is best and be true to that voice. Like you. Good for you, Caitlin, and Henry will be better for it.

    Reply
  • Angie September 11, 2012, 2:08 pm

    I know I commented earlier, but I have been thinking a lot about this post in the context of my life.

    You see, I am an almost-42 year old nursing my 4th (unplanned!) baby. My oldest is now 12 and when I had him I was in the middle of law school with every intention of finishing law school and going back to work and move up and up and up in my chosen field when I finished. I also planned to “try” breastfeeding, but I didn’t know how long I would do it and I certainly wasn’t going to become one of those LLL “breast nazis.” Now it is 12 years later and I have not gone back to full-time work (I have worked a number of jobs but with flexible schedules) and I have nursed my babies for a combined total of almost 7 years. As I write it 7 years seems like a long time, but let me tell you, it goes by in a flash! My nursing experience has not been all good, of course – the 2 bouts of mastitis in a month and the times I thought I would never ever get a full night’s sleep again stick out – but there has definitely been more good than bad. Those of you who are just starting out as parents or who are thinking ahead to the time when you might have kids, please don’t close any doors. You may think now that breastfeeding is gross or too difficult or just too much of an invasion, but really do give it a try if you can. Our life expectancy is over 80 years…those years of nursing babies is such a tiny amount of that time.

    Although I had not planned my 4th pregnancy, I love this baby with all my being and know without a doubt that he was meant to be a part of our family. And I cherish our nursing snuggles because I know that they will end very soon and I will not have that experience with a child again. I absolutely make no judgment about those who choose to pump exclusively (except for what I said earlier about their dedication to devote that much time!) or to formula-feed, I can only tell you that in my family in my life nursing has been an incredible gift of closeness with my children and a way to start them on a good track nutritionally.

    Reply
    • Lauren M September 12, 2012, 1:49 am

      Great comment! 7 years is so impressive, well done.

      Reply
  • Andrea September 11, 2012, 4:26 pm

    Very happy to see a pumping mom post! My daughter never mastered the ability to transfer milk from the breast very well and in the beginning I wanted to be an EPer…but my ped and the lactation consultant all said to just keep at it, that she’d get better, and because most EPers won’t BF as long as those who nurse. So, for 7.5 months I nursed AND pumped for almost every feeding because she could never get all the milk out. When I tried to just become an EPer, my milk dried up. I wish I would have just followed my mama instincts at the beginning. Kudos to you :)

    Reply
  • Angela September 11, 2012, 6:27 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I wasn’t able to breastfeed my son (long labour + days of trying + my milk not coming in after 5 days = crazy everyone and the decision to formula feed)…I felt so much guilt and depression afterwards because formula hadn’t even entered my mind before having my son. I love your last few sentences: “You really don’t know how things are going to go until you do it. And because of that, we should all just take a deep breath, chill out, and refrain from passing judgment. That might be the ‘best’ thing of all.” and I just want to say thank you thank you thank you for posting this blog. I’m about to have baby #2 in December and I will try again BUT I will not put myself through what I did the first time if things don’t work out the way I want them to!

    Reply
  • Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana September 11, 2012, 8:16 pm

    Caitlin, I was in exactly your position with my daughter. I exclusively pumped for the first three months due to an overactive let-down that caused my daughter to choke and then clamp down on my nipple, which caused severe pain and damage! I was under a lot of pressure to breastfeed as a pediatrician, and sometimes was made to feel crazy for 100% pumping. It made me realize that we have to let each mom make the decision that is right for their family, without judgment. I was working full time and having trouble with the middle of the night pumping, as I was waking up to feed my daughter with a bottle, putting her back to sleep, then pumping and cleaning parts and going back to sleep myself before the next feeding. This prompted a visit to a lactation consultant, who was initially not hopeful about me getting my daughter to latch after prolonged use of the bottle, but she was still quite interested in getting back on the breast. Her mouth had gotten bigger and my let-down was less strong. By six months of age, we were exclusively nursing at the breast. Both pumping and nursing were bonding experiences, and served me well at different stages of my daughter’s life. I guess my point is that if you feel later on that you’d like to get Henry back on the breast, it’s definitely still an option for some babies! Big hugs to you for all your hard work and dedication to your beautiful son :)

    Reply
  • Karen September 11, 2012, 8:44 pm

    I think that your lucky you can pump. I tried pumping with many different pumps and would get only an ounce or 2. It was very frustrating and then my son wouldn’t drink it out of the bottle anyway. My son is 17 months and I still breastfeed him before he goes down for the night. Everyone should do what works best for them at that time.

    Reply
  • daphna September 11, 2012, 10:44 pm

    Nothing wrong with that! I was just wondering whether you always pump while Henry is sleeping or what you do w/ him while you pump? I had twins and nursed one and pumped for the other and that was always a big issue for me, when to actually do the pumping and still take care of the kids.

    Reply
    • Caitlin September 12, 2012, 12:55 am

      I pump after :)

      Reply
  • Erinn September 12, 2012, 12:46 am

    I’ve beenreading your blog for a while, but have never commented. First of all, congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! It is very clear from your posts that you are a very good mother. You clearly do what’s best for you and your family! I agree 100% with the posters that said you are breastfeeding Henry – his food is coming exclusively from your breast, regardless of the mechanism of putting that food into his mouth.

    In many ways, exclusively pumping is WAY harder than exclusively nursing due to the reasons you discuss – washing bottles and pump parts, time spent pumping and time spent nursing. I applaud you for sticking with breastfeeding in the face of the difficulty you have had. Many would have thrown in the towel and used formula, which is completely fine at any point in my opinion.

    My baby girl is 3.5 months old now, and we have luckily had a very easy time breastfeeding. I do pump at least one time per day so my husband can give her a bottle. I absolutely consider my baby 100% breastfed, and will continue to do so in 2 months when I return to work and she is getting 4-5 pumped bottles per day.

    I agree that as women we should be more supportive of each other and less judgy. What
    Works for some does not work for everybody!

    Reply
  • Lauri September 12, 2012, 8:12 am

    I think this is one of the best posts you have ever written because you so well capture a lot of feelings no one ever wants to put into words.

    All throughout my pregnancy with my (now 4 year old) son I had the attitude that I would attempt to breastfeed and if it worked, great – if not, no big deal. To be honest I never was that into the iea but I knew that breastmilk had wonderful benefits and that I owed it to him to try. I had a breast reduction surgery when I was 19 so I knew from the get go that breastfeeding might not even work for me…

    Fast forward to the birth of my son – I breastfed in the hospital for the 2 days I was there, however the day I delivered I was under such heavy narcotics that I was too out of it to breastfeed, and they gave him formula in the nursery b/c his blood sugar dropped. When the lactation consultant came in to see me, her first words were very accusatory ” Can I ask why they gave him formula??” I explained that he had low blood sugar and she told me that was the only “acceptable” reason. That made me feel pretty crappy. Anyway, breastfeeding went ok in the hospital but our first night at home was a nightmare, he was awake and or screaming most of the night, wanted to constantly latch on – it hurt, I was tired, in pain (from the delivery AND the nursing), overwhlemed and clueless. We went to the pedi the day after we got home, and she told me that he was “starving” and that I should spend the weekend supplementing with formula. To hear that my baby was starving didn’t make me feel too great…I was in tears most of that weekend – emotional after giving birth, in pain, and not sure what the heck I was doing. Instead of supplementing, we ended up just giving formula that weekend. He was happy and I was happy so we went with it. We rented a pump to attempt to pump but nothing came out…I made the decision for my own sanity and his health that I just needed to switch to formula. I don’t regret the decision at all. As it turns out, I don’t think my milk ever came in so I’m thining that is due to the surgery – I never was engorged, in pain or any of the things that are “supposed” to happen when your milk comes in and you don’t get rid of it.

    When it comes down to it, I am 90% certain that physically I could not breastfeed, however I’m not using that as an excuse. Before I even knew that, I made the decision to stop. I had to do what was best for all of us – me, my baby and my husband! Some may say I “gave up” but I say it’s just one of the many many decisions you are faced with as a parent where others will make a different choice. I don’t force formula on breastfeedng moms and I don’t think breastfeeding should be forced on those of us who choose not to…

    Reply
  • Alicia September 12, 2012, 8:26 am

    Thanks for this post! I read a lot of yours, but have never commented. I had to have surgery when I was in my early 20s that prevented me from being able to breastfeed. I tried really hard and ended up with painful, bleeding nipples and some angry lactation consultants because I couldn’t get it right. I pumped for a little while, but due to surgery, most ducts didn’t work and I didn’t get much milk at all! I felt very guilty for a while and then realized that I had to feed my child and my body was not going to produce the milk I needed. Women need to do what is right for them and their child! If breastfeeding is in any way causing you to not bond with your child, DON’T do it! I had a horrific first few days with my daughter and I regret letting those people make me feel like I was less of a mom! I should have been enjoying my new baby and being a first time mommy!

    Reply
  • Heather September 12, 2012, 11:35 am

    Thank you for this!!! I was never excited about breastfeeding but decided to do it for my son’s sake. He was early, less than 3 pounds, and stayed at the NICU his first 3 weeks of life. He was on a feeding tube and then bottles and would never latch. We had several crying episodes (both of us!) trying to make it work, but it just didn’t. Because of his size, we had to feed him at night and for NINE long months he didn’t sleep through the nights. The first 3 months I was up pumping, feeding him, changing him, putting him down, cleaning the pump, back to bed for an hourish before we started all over. My husband offered to get up, but I hated for both of us to be up, especially when he had to go to work and come home to deal with an infant and an emotional wife. :) By the end of 3 months I was exhausted on every level, my supply was very low so I had to pump as much as possible, and I was up crying and crying one night that I couldn’t do it. My husband was so supportive and said, “then stop.” Men can be so logical sometimes! It was one of the best decisions I ever made! My son even liked the formula better! He is now a healthy 3 year old who (not that this has anything to do with it, but just to say it hasn’t negatively affected him so far) wasn’t sick at all his first year, and other than a stomach bug once when he was 2, I can’t even tell you the last time he was sick with a cold or anything! He’s healthy, strong, and just a little bit of a runt since he’s a premie – but he makes up for it in his energy! :) I will never judge a women’s decision on this!! We love our children more than anything, but we have to do the best for us all to make it through! I am a better mother with a little more sleep. :)

    Reply
  • Diana @ frontyardfoodie September 12, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Even though I’m not gonna give you the ‘I’m sooo sorry’ look I am sorry that breastfeeding has been difficult for you.

    I’m one of those annoyingly ‘perfect’ for breastfeeding moms. Never had a single issue, had extended breastfeeding with my oldest son (to fifteen months, would have gone longer but I was pregnant and my milks dried up) and have a wonderful breastfeeding relationship with my youngest (three and a half months old).

    I think there definitely is a ‘magical’ bond with breastfeeding but it can certainly be hidden when issues arise. I applaud you for pumping instead of giving up on breasts all together. It definitely shows dedication and that’s amazing to see.

    I grieve for all mother’s who aren’t able to have the same experience that I do but know that we’re all different.

    Also, to cheer you up a bit on your own situation……the rushing let down, struggle latching, and those sorts of general issues do tend to clear up as your baby gets older and has more motor skills.

    And on one more note, I NEVER hide away during feedings. It takes practice but there are way to discreetly breastfeed without an obnoxious cover or a boob hanging out. It’s not something that comes right away as you learn nursing positions and tactics but it’s definitely useful. I breastfeed in public all the time and most of the time, no one even knows I’m feeding!

    Reply
  • Anna September 13, 2012, 2:06 am

    I’ve been fortunate to have a daughter who latched on at birth and we never really looked back. I’m a fairly modest person and thought I would be very self conscious nursing but once my baby was born, I basically said “okay, this is what I do to feed my kid.” Now I do live in California and I think the attitude in this area is much more open to women nursing in public. I’ve nursed in the park and around other mothers without a cover and no one bats an eye. I do use a cover when I’m around people who seem to be uncomfortable, but I also have met moms whose kids just don’t tolerate covers and so gave up that battle. I also agree with Diana – not using a cover is actually sometimes more discreet than pulling out a giant sheet to cover half my torso & my baby.
    You mentioned not feeling a bond while nursing and I want to share that you are definitely not alone. While I didn’t have pain with breastfeeding, I will say the first 8 – 10 weeks was just hard. Constant nursing, all the time, it gets old and was not this pretty “aww, I’m nursing my baby” feeling but instead “I’m so tired, why is she eating again.” And then, suddenly the 45 – 60 minute nursing sessions every 2 hours changed to 15 minutes every 2 hours and life was wonderful. That change made all the difference to me. While I still don’t really find nursing to be a “special bonding” time, I do appreciate the quiet moments it brings as my daughter (now 8 months old) gets more and more active. It’s a nice time to cuddle with her. It’s also so sweet when she reaches up and touches my face while nursing – but I’m betting these moments will happen with bottle feeding as well.
    I did start pumping when I went back to work and I’m so grateful that I did as it does give me much more freedom. I’m not sure I would’ve pumped if I didn’t have to go back to work, but now our daughter will happily take a bottle from dad if I’m not around, and the two of them have these nice quiet moments together as well.
    Wonderful topic & good thoughts. I hope we one day are in a society where people can feed their children without having to think “is this appropriate, will anyone care” (since it sounds like people have that worry whether it’s nursing in public or pulling out a bottle and wondering if people are judging). We’re all raising our children the best we can.

    Reply
  • Allison September 15, 2012, 6:17 pm

    I am late to the party on this post but I just wanted to add my experience since it is kind of the opposite of your’s. I had no trouble breastfeeding my babies when they were born and I did experience all the mushy bonding feelings with it. I continued to breastfeed where and when my babies wanted to until they were each 6 months old and I went back to work. I was not bothered by hanging out in public and in front of family and friends. However, my trouble started when I had to pump. Pumping when I went back to work was a huge hassle for me at work, was extremely painful, and despite lactation specialist help with the pump, it was just not enough milk for either of my kids and they both had more and more formula each week until I was only getting 1-2 oz per day pumping and quit around 10-11 months. I still nursed 1-2 times per day until the kids were 14-15 months old.

    So in some ways, I was really lucky with breastfeeding but it sounds like you are lucky in the other ways…if you work, exercise, or ever leave your baby, you have to pump (or formula feed) and for some people it is really the pumping that is difficult.

    Reply
  • Sarah September 21, 2012, 5:22 pm

    I tried really hard to breastfeed but it turns out I have a condition where I actually don’t produce much milk so I had to use formula and I can tell you, I felt so guilty about that. Also? Formula is really expensive. In the long run your $550 is probably less money.

    Reply
  • Cinemarie October 1, 2012, 9:02 pm

    As requested, dear Caitlin, a happy breast-feeding story:)
    My son just turned 2 and I am still nursing him before bed time, and sometimes once at night and a few times a week in the morning as well. We have been using a nipple shield the whole time, it works for us. When he was nursing all day I would always just carry a clean shield in a ziplock bag, ha! :)
    At this point, I still enjoy the bond – mind you there are days when it’s just annoying, but lots of days when it’s some very nice and special time I have with my boy. I considered ‘quitting’ many many many times. Especially at the beginning, but then I got through the first month, then the first 6 months, and then… I felt like: “well, I got this far, I can’t just stop now!” :) I just continued… I went back to work when he turned 11 months, and started pumping at work (which as I write this I realize – for all you ladies in countried like the USA where mat leave is extremely short – work and breastfeeding is a huge, HUGE challenge!) Gradually he started drinking less of my milk since he was eating more and more regular food.
    Now I just don’t know how we’re ever going to stop! lol The nursing session at night is so much part of our routine (I mean he nurses for 30+ minutes before going to bed!) And I still love it so much – at this point he is such a ball of energy that the time I spend nursing feels like the only time I get to cuddle with him and really just ‘look’ at him, and how much he is growing!
    But I’m getting rambly :) Yeah, anyways, breast feeding is HARD, but it can work out for certain families, and not for others, and that is OK. The important thing is that the whole family is healthy and happy and that you all love each other unconditionally :)

    Reply
  • Emily October 3, 2012, 9:57 pm

    and I’ve spent the past 6 months of my pregnancy dreading breastfeeding again…glad I’m not the only one who doesn’t enjoy it. And glad someone has the guts to say it haha I really thought you’d be a gung ho nurser so I’m glad to see even people you think will do great and stick with it have their challenges. I pumped exclusively for 3 months when the twins were too little to nurse and were in the hospital. Then finally I started being able to nurse my daughter exclusively. I kept trying with my son but he just never had a strong latch, then he’d want to nurse every 10 minutes, it became so time consuming I just finally decided to pump exclusively with him and nurse exclusively with my daughter. But as they got bigger and needed more, I had to eventually pump more and more and it became exhausting. I felt like it was my full time job to pump and nurse and I started dreading every second of it. I made my husband do a ton of the work around the house (granted a certain percentage I expected him to help with) but I was constantly glued to the couch and the pump and really got a lot of negative feelings about it. I hate going into baby #3 with such a bad attitude about nursing and pumping but I’m really hoping for a better experience or some way to spin it into a positive because I really do want to give this baby breast milk for atleast a year, just like I painfully did with the twins haha

    Reply
  • Chattynatty October 6, 2012, 3:36 pm

    Didn’t read through all the above comments but FYI with my second I pumped almost 95% of the time and my little one just like henry wasn’t confused: one nipple vs other but I also didn’t realize that for some women when you pump that often your milk supply will decrease- just a warning if you are really gung ho on giving Henry breast milk for a year.

    Reply
  • emily October 28, 2012, 5:36 pm

    Hi Caitlin, I can really appreciate this post because my daughter is now 6 weeks old and was in the NICU for 5 days when she was first born. I couldn’t breastfeed because she wouldn’t latch and I too have the flat nipples you speak of! So frustrating! I tried to pump while she was in the NICU, but had such a hard time because of the constant back and forth to the hospital. I’ve already had mastitis once, where I had a fever and wanted to puke. I am pumping now, but have to supplement with formula because I’m not producing enough. I have two questions for you. 1) My daughter is taking about 5 oz of formula or breastmilk at every feeding, how much did Henry take at 6 weeks and how much does he take now? I find that the more we increase (because shes hungry!!) the harder time I am having keeping up with her, since I barely produce enough as it is. 2) I have to say I’m jealous you can pump for 5 minutes at a time!! How much do you get? I pump for 30 minutes, 4 times a day and get about 3 oz each time. Sometimes I’m not that lucky and only get 2 oz. My goal since day one was to make a huge stash for her, and stop the formula, but at the end of the day my fridge is always empty and I never have anything left over! :(

    Reply
    • Caitlin October 29, 2012, 8:36 am

      He eats 3 – 7 ounces per feeding. 2) I have come to learn that I pump ridiculously fast compared to most people so please don’t compare! I don’t think it’s anything special that I do, I think it’s just something about my boobies. I hope your daughter is doing better!

      Reply
  • Lynn November 6, 2012, 12:43 am

    Pumping is the new breast-feeding, I guess! If the baby isn’t sucking the breast, it really isn’t truly breast-feeding…which means “feeding at the breast”. But who-the-heck-cares as long as the baby is drinking breast milk?? Do what works for YOU. That’s long been the best advice and it still applies. Having your baby actually sucking on your nipples is NOT the only way to “bond” with him. Enjoy!

    Reply
  • Rachel November 14, 2012, 4:43 am

    I just discovered your blog :) as a mom who is (still) nursing her 2.5 year old, I can say that I’ve seen many friends go through the baby feeding experience. Most moms completely stop nursing with a few months. Why? Mostly because, as you said, our society doesn’t prepare us for daily breastfeeding and it is way harder than anyone can explain. I’m not asking for a pat on the back, but getting over ALL of the BF hurdles isn’t for wimps! I have some friends who have *easier* babies than I did. Their little ones go 3-4 hours between nursing. This was not my reality. I am a SAHM and have a very pro-nursing family, but I still had many moments where I wished I had used formula. My kiddo wouldn’t take a bottle of pumped milk for nothing! He screamed bloody murder like the bottle was filled with ear wax!

    I always planned to nursing for 2 years, I just didnt realize how long that is. I also didnt realize how often a toddler might nurse (Silas= avid) and did I mention how LONG 2 years is?! He will be 3 in May and I find myself really hoping he is weaned. Most boob-loving toddlers dont wean overnight! Weaning an avid toddler nursling is not an easy task. I don’t say all of this to complain, I’m absolutely sure I will nurse my future kid(s). It’s just that a lot of us nursing moms tend to get self-righteous and act like nursing is soooo easy and fun! Ha. I’m neutral to BF these days, but i know ive been judgy and condescending in the past. Nowadays, I just tell my friends to do whatever works for them and I’ve stopped trying to make the world be 100% breastfed. There are pros and cons to every type of feeding. Mommy’s mental health is just as important.

    This whole mommy thing is tough. You’re always making choices and hoping it is the best one.

    Wait til you tackle discipline.Now THAT’S a fun one!

    Reply
    • Caitlin November 14, 2012, 8:40 am

      I am so impressed! Two years is amazing.

      Reply
  • Joanna November 27, 2012, 11:56 am

    I don’t know how many times I’ve read this post now. I found your post in a moment of desperation while I was nursing my 2 and 1/2 week little boy. I hate breastfeeding. I want to give up and everything you felt in this post is identical to what I feel. Last week it was sore and cracked nipples and this week it’s fighting him at my boob while he struggles and tugs every hour to two hours. I don’t know how many times I’ve cried out during a feeding. I’ve been doing more research on exclusively pumping and it seems like the lesser of the two evils in terms of my sanity, but how do you make it work? Did you write another post on it and how you schedule your pumping sessions? Do you feed him from a stock and keep stocking or pump and feed right away? You are months into it and I’m curious how you keep at it. I am a few days into pumping and can’t imagine being 5 months in. You are amazing for keeping it up and even more so for posting this. It really does give me hope that I can still give him breastmilk without having to risk my sanity.

    Reply
    • Caitlin November 27, 2012, 12:04 pm

      I pump about 5 to 6 times a day. One of the major factors in why I am comfortable pumping exclusively is that I pump rather fast. if it always took me 30 minutes to pump I probably would not do it. Or if I were you I would set a short-term goals such as pumping until three months. Pumping is extremely hard both emotionally and physically. Please remember that there is really nothing wrong with formula.

      In terms of the logistics with pumping, I have set up a play space in my bathroom and Henry plays while I pump. I bought a soft Mat so he doesn’t hurt himself on the tile. It is getting harder now that he is crawling but it really does work well.

      Reply
      • Caitlin November 27, 2012, 12:05 pm

        Oh and because your baby is so young, I would really recommend reaching out to a lactation consultant before deciding to pump exclusively. My consultant was very helpful and definitely is what kept me breast-feeding for the first six or eight weeks. You are still establishing supply and you may need to pump more often with such a young baby then i do with an older baby.

        Reply
    • Kelly October 23, 2013, 9:50 am

      Your pumped milk can stay at room temperature for a while. Some posts say 8hrs but I try to use 6hrs and then you can put in the fridge for 6days and then you can freeze for 6months. In the beginning I pumped every 2hrs on the clock but then as time went and my supply was good I changed to every 3 and then eventually every 4hrs. But I was pumping an ounce an hour per boob basically. My pump is setup on the end table by the couch and as my child got older she would just play in the living room or sit/lay by me on the couch and now (12.5m) she stands there and watches…lol

      Reply
  • Lisa December 26, 2012, 11:05 pm

    Your story and feelings on breast feeding are pretty much identical to my own. So nice to hear a story that’s so similar to mine and my sons experience. I’ve stuck with it 10 months and am aiming for 12. It’s hard. And sometimes I hate it. But to see how he needs it (and how he gags on formula) I know that I am doing what he needs.

    Reply
  • Cassie January 13, 2013, 11:17 pm

    Breast pumps are now required to be covered by insurance until the Affordable Care Act! Apparently some insurance companies are being jerks about what kind of pumps to cover, but women who are now pregnant should contact their insurance provider or speak to their doctors about how to obtain a pump covered by insurance!

    Reply
  • Liliana January 22, 2013, 8:55 pm

    Good for you! I just found your blog and happy I did. My son was born October 2012, and I’ve been successfully breast feeding him ever since. I admire you being able to find a balance that works for you and allows you to enjoy your son even more. I look forward to reading more of your posts :)

    Reply
  • Amelia January 29, 2013, 5:25 pm

    I especially agree with you that “education is paramount.” So is support. New moms need more support and more practical, hands-on (so-to-speak!) breastfeeding help. For many people the hard parts about breastfeeding/pumping can be pretty easily fixed, but we moms don’t often know this and don’t have a breastfeeding support network at our fingertips. This needs to change! (And luckily, it slowly is).

    Thanks for a great post!

    Reply
  • Jasmine May 3, 2013, 9:30 am

    Great article! I wish I found this one sooner! I exclusively pumped for 9 1/2 months. I tried breastfeeding just like you and also had trouble with baby having a hard time. We started out pumping at the hospital because she was in nicu for her first few weeks of her life. I am thankful for all the tools and support I received from the hospital. If it wasnt for them I dont think I would have been able to do any of this.
    I’ve been beating myself up because I have recently stopped pumping. I began drying up because I was pumping as frequently anymore. Between my 5 yr old and my almost 10 month old that is crawling its been harder to stay on track. I am very sad about this. Trying to find a bright side.

    Reply
  • Jackie July 6, 2013, 10:15 am

    Wow! So happy I found your post. I felt like I was reading about my own experience. My son is 15 weeks old. I strictly breastfed for the first 9 weeks and experienced everything you described. I then pumped for a day for a break because I also had an extremely bad case of breast yeast. And I realized I was happier pumping and my baby boy was happier with a bottle – he too had trush so breast feeding was painful for him too – he would take more from a bottle, was more satisfied and was generally happier. So I’ve been pumping since and he still will take my breast which is also nice. My newest issue has been extremely sensitive nipples – just started a week ago out of the blue – cant stand anything rubbing against them, showering is very uncomfortable and there’s times when I can’t stand to hold my baby because he will rub them and it is so UNCOMFORTABLE. I’ve been struggling and my husband tells me it’s okay to stop and give formula but I don’t want to. I make enough milk for him plus I’m able to freeze 10-15oz a day and when I think about all the hard stuff I went through in the first 9 weeks of his life, I think, I can do this! Just another bump in the road to feeding my son!
    My goal is to feed him for a year and with any luck my extra freezer stock will help me to stop a little earlier but still give my son the benefits of breastmilk.
    My advice to any new mom struggling with breastfeeding issues….DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU! A happy mom, makes a happy baby!

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  • Cici September 12, 2013, 5:30 pm

    I love this post! My LO has been breastfed on demand from birth and is now 20 months old. Soon I will be tandem nursing (LO2 due in December) and I must say it never really becomes easier. Sure, I’ve become more comfortable with my body and both myself and LO have become great at nursing, but it is still a huge sacrifice on my part. I love BF and will continue to do so, but I do really miss the idea of having my body to myself. Not to mention it is crazy trying to nurse in public, which I don’t have too many issues with unless I’m around my SO’s male family members. I’m sure with this second child I will lose most of my modesty, but that’s a part of the fight for normality. I am sad because it seems to me that you never really got the support you needed and I feel you there. It’s hard to explain to a small child that you can’t just pop you “boo” out in the middle of the store. But again I think it’s a worthy sacrifice and kudos to you for insuring your Lo got the best he could!

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  • Melissa September 20, 2013, 11:40 am

    Thank you for this.

    Reply
  • Kelly October 23, 2013, 9:43 am

    I have successfully exclusively pumped for a little over a year. My lo was a preemie and was tube fed for a while and then she had to be bottle fed every 3 hrs and her intake had to measured while in NICU. So after all that she didn’t want to latch and it was stressful for both of us so I just continued on with pumping. People do say “I’m sorry, don’t know you do it”. But honestly I feel pumping is easier than actually nursing. I can have others feed her, pump in my car or at home before we go places and give her a bottle when she demands it. Especially while driving or at other school/sports activities for my other kids. There was also a few times throughout the year that my nipples were VERY sensitive and it was painful to pump or shirt brush against or baby accidentally touching that area but it eventually went away after a week or so each time. And I also went from pumping every 2hrs in the beginning to every 4 hrs and then I quit pumping at night and would only pump right before bed and then when I woke up. now I pump every 5-6hrs during the day and then usually 8-9hrs at night. My supply was very good and now I’m kinda starting freak out that isn’t enough for her, but honestly I can start giving her whole milk during the day and just breastmilk at nap/bed time instead of it throughout the entire day. I loved reading your post and seeing the pictures because that’s how my counter looks :)

    Reply
  • anamaria October 27, 2013, 8:45 pm

    Thank you thank you soooo much for this article!!!

    I was feeling like the worst mom ever. But after reading this post, I don’t feel like from another planet :)

    Reply
  • Brianne December 10, 2013, 1:14 pm

    I breastfed my first two babies for 15 months without any issues. I loved it. It was my special time to bond with them, not to mention the health benefits for us both. Plus, it was so easy to just lift my shirt and have them eat. I didn’t understand how women could hate it. Then I had my 3rd baby. From the day he was born, he was difficult to nurse. He would scream instead of latch on. When he did latch on, it was done poorly. He would “chew” my nipple instead of suck. One night I was burping him and he spit up blood. I was freaking out thinking something was wrong with my son, until my husband pointed out to me that it was because my nipple was cracked and bleeding. After that, I tried nipple shields with minimal success. After that, I would try nursing my son (mostly he would cry and thrash) then pump afterwards to empty out and give him the contents of the bottle. It was exhausting, time consuming, and took away time from my older kids. I have recently decided to exclusively pump. It was been a relief. Now, my son is happy, mom is happier, my older kids and husband can help out more. I used to be a breastfeeding snob but now I understand, it doesn’t matter how we feed out babies; as long as we are doing out best to provide them with the nutrition they need, we are succeeding.

    Reply
  • Chelsea T February 27, 2014, 6:40 pm

    I just found your blog while researching weaning from pumping…and I’m so glad I did. I have one flat and one inverted nipple, overproduction, and fast let down as well. I felt a lot of the same emotions you’ve explained, and after 7 weeks of trying to breastfeed, I made the hard decision of exclusively pumping. When my daughter was 4 months, we realized that what we thought was colic, was actually a cow’s milk intolerance, so I went dairy free. She is now 8 months and we are going to try the milk I saved before going dairy free, to see if I can be done with pumping. Did your little one grow out of his dairy intolerance?

    Reply
    • Caitlin February 28, 2014, 12:38 am

      He did! I am so thankful! Thanks for reading my blog :)

      Reply
  • Bryn @ with her own wings March 8, 2014, 10:45 pm

    Props to you! I feel the complete opposite. http://withherownwings.com/2014/01/05/10-reasons-i-hate-pumping/

    Reply
  • Kathryn M. March 20, 2014, 8:08 am

    Thank you for writing this. My first child refused to breastfeed – we had issues with heart shaped tongue and a few other things. I tried for 3 months to get her to feed and spent many nights crying feeling like a failure. I pumped exclusively for 6 months, and gave up because the WIC nurse made me feel like a failure because I couldn’t feed my child.
    I just had my second child and we are running into similar problems. I was torn between pumping exclusively or trying to put myself through what I consider to be a horrible experience. You are so right — I felt so much closer to my 1st child when I stopped trying to breastfeed. I was more relaxed adn she was still getting the benefits of breastmilk.
    It is so good to know there are others who feel the same way.

    Reply
  • Smithc607 March 27, 2014, 10:24 am

    Very nice! cfeedfedae

    Reply
  • Solveig April 5, 2014, 5:14 pm

    OMG I can’t explain how happy I am that I found this blog post! I’m not alone! I have a 10 weeks old son and I simply HATE breastfeeding. I have two older children and I successfully bfed them (DD for 7 months and DS for 12 months), but I never much cared for it. I mean, of course it’t nice sometimes, especially at night, but mostly I feel trapped. I don’t know why I’m hating it so much more this time around. I think maybe it’s because I’ve got three kids now fighting for my attention, and there’s just so much of me to go around. I’ve been seriously considering exclusively pumping, but haven’t really dared to take the step. DS has cows milk allergy so I can’t eat dairy products, which is a bit irritating, but it also means he would need super expensive hypoallergenic formula, should I choose to stop bfing. I think I might start pumping a bit more and stop feeling guilty about it. They say bfing reduces your chance of getting postpartum depression but I think I’ll soon get depressed if I don’t stop!

    Reply
  • Kim April 12, 2014, 2:06 pm

    Caitlin, I really needed this post! I know it’s an old one, but I just came across it through google. I’m a new mom and have been EBF my son for 4 months. I had the exact same problems you did – oversupply and overactive letdown, latching issues, nipple shield (those things are a PITA!), crying at the breast. I had many epic cry sessions but I continued on because I wanted that magical breastfeeding bond that other moms talk about. He finally got the latching down at 10 weeks, but he never got over having issues with the letdown and oversupply. Now he has acid reflux and starts nursing fine but ends up screaming and crying before he can eat enough.. I guess the nursing positions make the reflux worse. He’s taken more and more to bottles and I think I’m finally going to switch to mostly pumping. I think it will be best for our family. I’ve been worried about not being able to bond with him though, so thank you for this article! It’s good to know other mom’s have the same experience I have, and that you all are happier with your decision to pump. You’re completely right about education for soon-to-be moms.

    Reply
  • Rachel M. July 30, 2014, 3:29 pm

    I *HATE* pumping but have to do it for work. I hate the stress of counting the ounces to make sure I’m pumping enough every day for my daughter to have at daycare the next day. I hate counting the ounces in my freezer to feel like I have enough in case I get sick again and my supply drops or have a work function that runs late, etc.

    I was warned how difficult breastfeeding is by friends when I became pregnant so I went into it with realistic expectations and brought it up as a priority with the doula I hired during pregnancy. I’m so happy that I’ve successfully breastfed a premature baby for over 8 months and am on my way to the year mark (and will probably go over a bit too). I feel extremely accomplished by achieving this so far and I think having realistic expectations on the difficulty of breastfeeding, as well as a stubborn personality that said ‘I WILL do this!’, definitely helped.

    Reply
  • Holly July 31, 2014, 12:00 am

    I love this post! My daughter is 6 months old and I pump and breast feed. I too have flat/inverted nipples so I started with a nipple shield. Luckily we were off of it within a few weeks and I think it may have actually saved my nipples from extreme rawness at the very beginning. Like you I have never felt that huge bond, and breast feeding is just a way to feed baby. I don’t mind pumping, but my husband has no idea how much work it is for me and wastes a lot of my frozen milk because he thaws way too much at a time. I could smack him every time I see a half full bottle after a bedtime feed. I am happy to breast feed and I have gotten very good at public feeding. I don’t notice people staring, but I also don’t care. I cover up and have had to try three different covers to find one that isn’t too hot for babe. So I too have spent a ton of money for the “free” option

    Reply
  • S. Graham August 6, 2014, 6:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this post!! I have a one-month old and am literally feeling everything that you describe in this post at this very moment (I’m pumping as I’m writing this!). I’m so grateful to know I’m not alone.

    Reply

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