One of the things that pulled me out of the mommy wars was all of the stories. This week I’m sharing the stories of other moms that have touched me through their experiences. If you have an experience you would like to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll publish it here this week. (All names will be changed to initials to keep them anonymous unless you give me permission to use your name.)
I am the mom of soon to be 5 boys, my nursing relationships with each one have been very different. I am very passionate about breastfeeding and the main reason is because of the nursing relationships(or lack thereof) with my older 2 kids. I truly understand and have empathy for the mom who turns to formula when she feels there is no other choice.
My oldest will be 11 in a few days. I knew from day 1 I wanted to breastfeed. I got a manual pump because I worked and went to school fulltime. He never had a bottle until I went back to work, never even had a pacifier until he was 12 weeks. I had a huge oversupply and I was told my sons miserable cries of pain at night was colic, first bad info, I could’ve solved this easily with blockfeeding. We made it through 2 bouts of mastitis and thrush all back to back. At 12 weeks I had an appointment with my midwife, she talked me into birth control. It was a new pill that she said was “safe” when breastfeeding. I jumped at the chance to take something safe. This was the second bad piece of advice I was given for sure. She gave me Yaz, an estrogen based pill. That night was the last drop of breastmilk my son ever got. Within the next 24 hours my son had NO wet diapers, was screaming and starving. I called my doctor, his doctor and everyone said give formula you are starving him. I felt like a failure but no one told me I could get the milk back, that there were herbs to raise supply or that the pill caused this. There was no local lactation consultant; I trusted my doctor and his doctor to give me the information I needed. The internet didn’t have the resources like it does now. My nursing relationship was over at only 12 weeks.
My second hated being touched, hated being held, but I made him nurse, gave him no choice. By 2 weeks old I had to go back to school, pumping was such a pain before I decided I would combo feed. Everyone including WIC and my pediatrician told me that was a great idea. For 3 weeks this worked fine for both of us. Then my oldest got Rotavirus, he was hospitalized and almost died. My then 5 week old was not allowed at the hospital. My mother in law kept my newborn and made a point of feeding him a bottle of formula on the way to meet me so I could nurse atleast once or twice a day. Great support huh? THEN came the kicker, Child protective services was called by my pediatrician and the hospital social workers. They informed me that the virus would pass in my milk and I could stop breastfeeding or they would take custody of my child. I have one on his deathbed and they are threatening to take the other. There seemed to be no choice. I stopped breastfeeding cold turkey that day.
While pregnant with my third son I learned that I had been lied to both times, that the pill dried me up, that I could’ve gotten my milk back, that the Rotavirus doesn’t pass into breastmilk. I fired my midwife, OB and pediatrician and switched offices totally for all of them. I found a pediatrician with a lactation consultant on staff and an OB who was a breastfeeding mom herself. This made all the difference in the world. I didn’t have WIC to stand over me offering formula and when I started WIC at 8 months they were shocked that he didn’t get even a drop of it! I found cafemom and found a group of women who gave me good, correct, evidence based info. Finally I had a nursing relationship and it lasted through a pregnancy and until he weaned at 3.5 years old all on his own.
Cafemom has become my outlet to help women avoid the issues I had with nursing. If a mom chooses to formula feed, that is her option, but I never want a mom to feel she has no choice. I never want her to feel that she was betrayed by her doctors, family, friends, trusted people in her life. I look forward to
nursing my fifth child, my 4th is now just over three and still nursing a few times a day. I want moms to have this choice.
I feel for moms who have been misled. I see moms with their babies, often giving bottles and I wonder to myself was she misled, did she want to breastfeed but didn’t have the info, didn’t know who to trust, who to get help from? I understand more than most that sometimes moms choose formula because they feel it wasn’t a choice, like it wasn’t for me.