Accidentally Starving My Baby Broke My Heart, But Made Me Want To Help Other Moms

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When our son was born, he weighed 6 pounds 5 oz., and we had issues with him latching from the start. Part of the problem was me having flat nipples, so the nurse gave us a shield and showed me how to use it, and he seemed to do much better. He seemed to be a very content and alert baby.  During our hospital stay he lost almost 10 percent of his birth weight and we were discharged to see our pediatrician for follow up. 

We continued to use the shield because he really struggled to latch without it and were told to put it back on if he got really frustrated trying to latch. I started to notice that the shield would be full of milk when he finished. I also noticed that he wanted to eat for very long periods of time and didn’t seem to ever be settled during or after feeds.

My friends in Facebook mommy groups said this was pretty typical behavior, and that he was just cluster feeding, so I continued to let him eat as often as he wanted, for as long as he wanted. I also never felt like my milk really came in, at least not the way my friends had described it.  He didn’t get back up to his original weight by his 1 week visit, but the doctor didn’t seem overly concerned at that point because he was having wet and dirty diapers.

At his 1 month appointment he only weighed 6 pounds 5.5 ounces.  He had only gained ½ of an ounce and his pediatrician suggested I talk to the lactation consultant. I went the next day to a group class, but the class was so large that I felt very overwhelmed and left early. I decided to go to the class offered at the hospital where he was born, where two of the nurses we had met would be teaching the class. The first thing they had me do was weigh him, feed him, and then weigh him again. When we weighed him after his hour-long feeding, the lactation consultant told me he had only eaten 20ml!

StarvingBaby2

She suggested I start supplementing with formula and put me on a pumping schedule to try and increase my supply. We went home and immediately began the routine and at the next week’s visit he had gained nearly 2 pounds. The nurse’s response was, “Wow! He must have been hungry.” He wasn’t just hungry, he was starving!

We continued the routine and he continued to grow and thrive, but my supply didn’t seem to be increasing, and he still seemed so restless while nursing. The restlessness turned into full on screaming after he nursed or drank a bottle of breast milk. I called his doctor, and she said it sounded like he had reflux. She prescribed Zantac and suggested that I cut dairy out of my diet. I met with my own doctor for my 6-week postpartum checkup and told her about having to cut out dairy. She had experienced the same thing, so she sat down with me and went over things I could and couldn’t eat and what to look for on food labels. I also had a friend who did the same thing, so I followed her food plan, but he still would get so upset when he had any breast milk. After nearly a month of pumping every two hours, not eating, not sleeping, and trying to grieve the loss of my father, who had passed away two weeks before our son was born, I was an emotional mess.

My mom called me one day, and I was on the verge of a mental break down when she said, “he needs you to be healthy and sane far more than he needs breast milk.” It was in that moment that I felt a little bit of weight lift off my shoulders. I made an appointment to talk to his doctor about not breastfeeding. I was having a really hard time accepting it and was worried that she might push me to keep breastfeeding.

Her beautiful response:

“You’ve tried harder than 99% of the moms I’ve worked with to make breast feeding work, and it’s totally OK if you stop and exclusively formula feed.”

I cried in her office because that was the validation and permission I was looking for. I tried so hard to breastfeed my baby, but it was certainly not what was best for either of us. By his two-month appointment, he had more than doubled his weight and at 6 months he is back to being a happy, observant, content baby and so far meeting his milestones right on schedule.

I have felt so guilty, and it took a tremendous amount of courage for me to write my story. At the same time, I am so thankful my baby is now thriving and feel it is extremely important for other moms to understand that if your baby is not gaining weight, it is critical to figure out why and not assume everything is normal, no matter what popular breastfeeding mom groups on Facebook might say!

Bottom line: I could have lost my baby and my own sanity. For me and my baby, #fedisbest

I will be forever grateful for finding the Fed Is Best Foundation, and I am now committed to working with their advocacy team to promote #SafeBreastfeeding.  

#FedIsBest Advocate  Mandy D.  

Please look for our follow up blog where we will point out what went wrong and how to prevent unintended consequences of insufficient milk intake while exclusively breastfeeding your baby.  Starving2


For more information on how to protect your baby from feeding complications due to early exclusive breastfeeding, please read and download the Fed is Best Feeding Plan, a way to communicate your feeding choices to your health care providers.

In addition, please read and download the Fed is Best Weighing Protocol to prevent newborn dehydration and failure to thrive.

Lastly, for more detailed information, please watch our educational videos on Preventing Feeding Complications.

Our full list of parent resources can be found on our Resource Page.

305 thoughts on “Accidentally Starving My Baby Broke My Heart, But Made Me Want To Help Other Moms

  1. tasha hissam says:

    a lot of women im sure proud of u …. I myself being one took a lot of courage … bless u and ur son… I tried to breastfeed to but it wasn’t happening with my son … flat nipples , latching issues and not producing enough was my problems but I decided to formula feed before getting as far as some do or has or is

    • Erin says:

      I thought I was reading my story while reading yours! No kidding! EVERYTHING was exactly me…to the Zantac even. I felt guilt when giving him formula, but then felt guilt for NOT when I saw his weight gain. #noshameinfotmula #fedisbest

    • Laurence says:

      I experienced the exact same thing. The pressure Americans put on breastfeeding is such that some feel very guilty when it doesn’t work out and this is really stupid. I had 2 babies: one in the US and one in France (I’m French). Both times breasfeeding didn’t work out. In the States I felt like a horrible mom each time I was bottlefeeding my baby because other moms judge A LOT! I hated that! For my second baby I tried for 2 months and he wasn’t gaining much weight either so I switched to formula and the doctors there (in France), didn’t even understand why I had tried and tortured myself so hard. They kept telling me that a mother shouldn’t be judged by whether or not she could breastfeed but in the love she gives to her children. From the start they had told me the 2options and made it clear that it was a matter of choice. Having babies should be a moment of pleasure, not torture and I can’t see how being frustrated and breastfeeding can be healthy for your baby (they can feel everything). My 2 kids are happy and healthy and that’s the only thing that matters to me and the doctors I saw.
      If it works out that’s great, if it doesn’t it is far from being the end of the world !!

    • Michele says:

      Although the “baby” I’m addressing is nearly 25 years old, this story haunts me, as it is so close to my own. My nationally renowned pediatrician dismissed my concerns my daughter wasn’t eating enough and all but forbade me to use formula. Following my instincts, I gave her formula anyway and watching her guzzle the formula down broke my heart. I have no doubt she would not be with me today had I relied on the medical community.

    • Maria J says:

      No mother should EVER be made to feel less of a mother because they can’t or don’t breast feed. That is cruel and unfair to put that responsibility and guilt on a new mother. That in no way measures the love you have for your child and you can be as great of a mother whether you do or do not breast feed. I’m glad to know there is a push to promote healthy feeding, regardless of it being through breast milk or formula.

    • Cherie says:

      I had this very same thing happen to me with all three of my boys. My nipples would just not cooperate, and I ended up quitting breast feeding and went to formula. Every single lactation consultant I met with was stumped. But they could never bring themselves to say anything even remotely close to sometimes breasts just won’t support breast feeding. Whether it’s because genetics or deformities, sometimes parts of our bodies can really let us down. We can’t beat ourselves up over it or let anybody else do that to us.

      Hopefully, there will be a test doctors can do in the near future that will let mothers-to-be know if they will be more likely to have breast feeding difficulties or incapacities. Then the moms won’t have to put up with the Breast is best shaming!!!

  2. Missy says:

    I Breast fed my first for 4 weeks before I had surgery it was a fight from day one and I felt stupid and drained and incompetent. 19 years later we adopted a baby girl and she was a formula baby and I enjoyed not having the pressure and she was 6 weeks premi and hit every mile stone her dr called her an over achiever women need to back off of each other when it comes to this!! My first I was 22 and scared of disappointing my 2nd I was 41 and I could have cared less and guess what I have 2 beautifully healthy children a 22 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. Always # fedisbest

  3. Alex says:

    I absolutely love this. I went thru this as well, not as extreme though. Milk was never enough, and as much as I wanted to BF, I just couldn’t. My son turned 6 months 1-2-17 and he is a healthy happy 19.6lb chunk. 🙂
    The difference between your 1 month and 2 month pictures is remarkable! It is just amazing.

  4. Angela says:

    Thank you for sharing! I had an extremely low supply when trying to nurse and pump with my son. He was a late term preemie, so the hospital basically forced me to supplement if I wanted to bring him home. I was so glad they did! At most, I was pumping 2 oz a day (pumping every 3 hours with a hospital grade breast pump). I saw a breastfeeding medicine doctor, who gave me the permission and validation I needed to stop. I am pregnant again now, and plan to see that breastfeeding specialist in the 3rd trimester and have a plan worked out with our pediatrician so thanI can try to safely breast feed this time around. But, if it doesn’t work out, I will know that I tried and #fedisbest!

  5. Kathleen says:

    I had almost the same issue my daughter would latch and I thought she was getting enough but she really wasn’t I couldn’t figure it till I started to pump my breast that’s when I realized I wasn’t producing much milk for her to eat so I switched to formula and she started to gain her weight I switched without consulting a doctor cause I’m like maybe if I switch she will gain weight I’m glad she did cause I felt the same thing you did it’s heart breaking bot knowing what to do when they are screaming and crying

  6. Kirsten says:

    Oh my god! THIS. We didn’t go into it on facebook but it’s so important to share my story now for new mums. Anna was taken to hospital on her 3Rd day because unbeknownst to us, she was not able to transfer milk from my breasts. She had a great latch and her little jaws moved up and down vigorously 24 hours a day from 10min after she was born. I was told to tickle her feet if she fell asleep at my breast to wake her up. Eventually she got so tired she barely woke up for a feed one morning. She spent 3days in hospital ‘breastfeeding’ and topped up with formula and the following 8 weeks we (I) almost killed ourselves trying to get her well enough to breastfeed exclusively. The hospital trauma I went through meant my milk never came in. I took medication to relactate, I pumped every 3 hours around the clock as well as bottle feeding (I.e.making up formula, sterilising bottles etc). After she got home from the hospital David and I fed her through a device made from a nasogastric tube every 3 hours like a little rescue possum. I became obsessed with making sure she was fed and only this past week have been able to let her cry without wondering if she is hungry. She had a tongue tie, lip tie and buccal ties which meant her little mouth was restricted. She’s had these cut with laser and now we need to train her how to use her new little tongue and how to explore parts of her mouth she didn’t know we’re there. She sees an osteo, has myofacial therapy and we’ve seen multiple lactation consultants. During this time we’ve had little option but to feed her 90%.formula with some expressed breast milk top ups. She’s thriving and has put on weight and is a healthy Bubba. We are still doing some breastfeeding to help her learn to suck and also for the other benefits ( comfort, cognitive development etc). I want to use my experience to advocate responsible breastfeeding and encourage people not to be afraid of formula and also to look for signs baby is not getting enough food. I’m still not 100% at peace with what has happened and am still in a bit of shock about her unexpected start to life bit am getting there. No one ever talks about formula or you never see mums bottle feeding wee infants because there’s so much shame attached. So next time you here a mum saying she had problems breastfeeding, it’s likely she tried everything under the sun before she ‘gave up’ #fedisbest #responsiblebreastfeeding

  7. Jenny Rogers says:

    I had the same thing happen, my milk never “came in” my son weighed the same at his one month checkup as he did at birth. His doctor recommended switching to formula then. My milk also didn’t come in for my second baby, but i knew what to look for then and started supplementing the first week, and I didn’t try again with the 3rd or 4th. It was too much for me to try and fail again. I totally agree with fed is best.

  8. Naomi Farley says:

    I had a similar issue my milk never came in I talked to 3-4 lactation consultants and was out on a pumping schedule and the most I ever got out was about 2oz. So from day one he was supplementing and then after about a month or two I was like no more. I’m tired of trying to breastfeed, I was very depressed and felt unwomanly cause I could not the one thing a mom can do after the baby is born. We thought he was tongue-tied, I tried fenugeek, mother’s milk tea, pumping every two hrs, and nothing was working. So I just stopped trying and told his Dr and mine and they were like that is okay. He has been on formula since birth haven’t really had any weight issues but he is under weight for his age he is about to be 7 months old and weighs about 15lbs. Dr says he may just be skinny he is about 27 inches long he eats really well but spits up a lot and may have reflux or slow stomach emptying. He has had a rough first 7 months even delivery was difficult for him. But he is stong and doing great. I love him so much. Not every mother is gonna get their milk in so don’t destress. It took me some time to learn that just because I can’t breastfeed it doesn’t make me any less of a mom.

    • Kay says:

      You might already be doing this Naomi but I figure I’ll put it out there anyway… on the spitting up issue, when mixing the formula, I have found that using good bottled water and/or filtering our tap water, to get rid of the Chlorine, water softeners and other gunk in the our drinking water, pretty much stopped the spitting up altogether. I was at amazed how well it worked. I hope this helps. You’re doing great!

  9. Crista Ashworth says:

    My story is very similar to yours–thank you for putting your experiences in writing! You absolutely did the right thing for you and your baby, and that makes you a VERY GOOD MAMA!! ❤️

  10. Jennifer says:

    I went through something very similar Mandy! Breastfeeding hurt! I really struggled to latch her on and because I was so flat it constantly hurt and I ended up with mastitis so bad I was admitted to hospital for three days. I had rigours, chest pain and the infection had spread under my armpit and down my arm. I cried and cried and cried at the thought of giving up because I didn’t want people to think I was a young mum that couldn’t be arsed. I was worried she wouldn’t do well at school if I didn’t breastfeed for goodness sake! I felt like I had to wait for everyone around me to give me permission to stop. When I did, a weight was lifted off. Even then one of my other halfs friends asked “are you breast feeding” and when I said no, he made a comment about how mothers milk is best. I felt crippled. If I was in a stronger mind at the time (and I wish I was) I’d have told him where to stick it! Your campaign is wonderful – Fed IS best!

  11. Fiona Hodgson-Kerry says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You are always enough! Dont feel guilty, it doesnt matter what path you take to get to the destination. Well done for being a fantastic mummy x

  12. Karley Davidson says:

    This is hard for me but Seeing this bravery has inspired me to share my story…

    I completely can relate to this story. As a first time mother I was under the impression my daughter was getting what she needed from me, even at her first few check ups I was told she was perfectly healthy and it turned out that I wasn’t producing enough milk to sustain her. At that time I wasn’t formula feeding because everything I read or any advice (both medical and other moms) that I got was considered normal behaviour for cluster feeding and just the routine of a new born baby. She wasn’t even that fussy or showed any significant signs of not getting enough, dirty diapers were normal to everything I’d been told/learned and she even latched from day 1. She would latch and feed for anywhere from 40 mins- 1.5 hours, and then fall asleep and wake up soon after and we would repeat the pattern. She was happy and seemed like a well adjusted baby but when she didn’t start gaining proper weight It started to raise doubts. When I sought out help, and told my dr that I just didn’t understand what was wrong, but I knew in my heart that something was deff wrong. instead of support and understanding my dr went the opposite direction. With a sneer he told me I was starving my daughter and when I broke down in sobbing tears he simply told me to get formula and stop breastfeeding and walked out to tend to his other patients. This being the same dr that less than a month earlier told me she was perfectly healthy and that everything was fine. Until I forced him to take a closer look, and examine my daughter more thoroughly, he was happy with her progress even though she was in the lower percentile. I stayed in that little dr room and held my daughter as I sobbed my whispered grief and guilt. All I could tell her was that I didn’t know and how sorry I was that I failed her. Then his receptionist came into the room and saw my mental and emotional breakdown and when she asked what was wrong I sobbed my story to her, and told her how I failed my daughter. I shared my fears of being a horrible mother and when I couldn’t go on talking She gathered both of us into a hug and told me that every single first time mother goes through this over one thing or another. She cried with me asking me how I could possibly know how to do everything right as a first time mom? She told me that I didn’t fail my daughter and asked me why I came in? And I responded with, I knew deep down that something wasn’t right so I made the appointment and came in. She looked at me with more tears in her eyes and said, and as a mother that is all we can do for our children. Our mommy radar goes off and listening to it and acting on your gut feeling shows more about me as a mother than anything else. And although it made me feel an insignificant amount better that I could wipe my face and gather myself enough to leave the office, her kindness, tears and comfort she gave me made a difference. Even if at the time, I didn’t believe her at all. Now 2 years and a beautiful bright, smart, happy and healthy daughter later, I still look back on this time and my first thought is, how could I have failed her so badly? The guilt is still overwhelming and just thinking about it makes me tear up. I know realistically I shouldn’t beat myself up over it but a huge part of me still feels like I failed her at her most venerable time and my heart aches because of it. if you have anything negative to say, you can go right ahead and say it, but honestly, anything you want to guilt me with is nothing compared to how much guilt I pile on myself. Nothing can compare to being sneered at as a first time mother by the very dr that told me everything was fine. And if your reading this, and feeling mommy guilt, reading this article shows me that we are not alone. We stand united in our mommy guilt, and honestly I know that I shouldn’t have felt like a failure but I did anyways because I love my daughter and it feels more acceptable to punish myself than to accept the fact that as a parent I am not perfect because I want so badly to be perfect for her. But we aren’t perfect and life is full of learning and growing. I’ve grown into being the mommy she needs me to be and I can’t tell you how proud I am to be able to call her my daughter.

  13. Becoming Mommy says:

    You are not alone!! I ended up breastfeeding for a year… the first 6 months I know now he wasn’t getting the breastmilk he needed 🙁 he is smaller but he’s super healthy and active but I wish someone had told me it was okay to supplement with formula… everyone just kept reassuring me that he must have been getting enough because he was gaining but personally I think the shield did more harm than good on the amount of milk he was actually getting! Thanks for sharing it’s nice to know I’m not alone!

  14. Jessica says:

    My daughter was born 6 weeks early she was 4.4 pounds after I had her so for 2 weeks she was on formula became she couldn’t latch on to my breast or a bottle so she had a tube running down her nose feeding her at that moment I felt as a failure to my daughter after 2 weeks of being in the nicu she finally suck a bottle and got to come home I tried the breast pump but my milk had already dried up by then so formula was the only way I could feed her now she is currently 21 and half months is is still really small for her age she’s 20 pounds now and she walks talks but don’t know half of what she says but almost everyday me and her practice new words and shell say them clear as day…she is a really smart child and she’s really sassy to me now she’s on a cup next is potty training…a month ago I found out she had to have glasses and its been hard trying get her keep. But now she eats more and gaining instead of losing I doubt think people should put any mother down of there trying so I say fed is best…

  15. Leah says:

    I feel your pain and struggle. I never realized until after how close I was to loosing my baby. Dr.s didn’t care either. My baby was 3 months when a total stranger(happened to be a nurse ) saw us at a BBQ and tracked us down after to tell me he needed to go to emerg asap. Poor latch, nipple shield and tongue tied. The next day the public health nurse showed up at my house, a plan put into action immediately. Referral to a pediatrician, tongue was clipped and I took meds to increase my milk. I did continue breast milk until 6 months, the constant pumping at that point was enough for me. I had got him back on track. At 6 months formula kept my baby healthy until he was able to drink homo. Now he is 8 and perfect!

  16. Nicole says:

    This 100% happened to me as well. My baby got so skinny and cold and gray colored. I didn’t even really notice the last two until they changed, he got warm and pink. I thought everything was fine because he was so happy and calm. Our pediatrician said it usually happens to the happy ones because they don’t complain much. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. I didn’t let myself feel too guilty because there wasn’t any way to change what happened and he is fine now but you know there is always just that little whisper that you could have done better and how close you came to losing your baby. So thanks again for helping me and others know we are not the only ones. Great article.

  17. Mommasue says:

    I appreciate your post. I went through a similar situation, not as extreme but went through months of mine not gaining the weight (and looking back she was way too skinny). Also just mine pretty much nursed the first 4 months of her life or she’d just scream. I supplemented and that worked for us but it honestly doesn’t matter what you do so long as baby and mama are healthy! I commend you for your efforts but also for sharing this. Mom shaming or being told “your body will make the right amount your just not doing it right” is wrong.

  18. Amy Hall says:

    I went through the exact same thing with my first baby. After a month of pumping & nursing & supplementing nonstop I realized fed is best & my sanity is best so I switched to formula. I did feel guilt but I also know I tried so hard. My next two babies I had absolutely no problems nursing.

  19. Chantal Pelham-Edwards says:

    Thanks for this story. I had two kids and trouble breastfeeding both of them. I had recurrent thrush with my first, and I think the shock of a first baby did a number on my husband and I. I ended up pumping with good success, so he had mostly breastmilk for the first 6 months, with only small bits of formula. I was determined that breastfeeding would work with the second baby. I had two meetings with a lacatation consultant before the baby was born, and she came to the hospital as well. The thrush came back immediately and I was in a lot of pain from the c-section, which didn’t go as planned as a result of a large amount of internal scar tissue. Breastfeeding was terrible. I hated it. I would bit my tongue so not to scream when it came time to feed, and I was always crying. The second day of my daughter’s life was terrible. I fantasized about someone saying that another family really wanted her, so they would take her and I could just go home with my husband and son and we would be fine as a family of 3. I had one really lovely (seasoned) nurse who told me “this baby needs you to love her and to feed her. The love is most important part and that’s what you need to do.” Again – it was the permission I needed. I still tear up over the whole thing, 3 years later. I started pumping and she also got formula. Neither of my kids have ever had antibiotics or any infections of any kind (6 and 3 years old). The most important thing is that they are loved and fed.

  20. Natalie Toni Brown says:

    beautiful! Thank you for sharing this. I was able to breast feed for about 6-9 months depending on the child and then I would just lose my milk. I was eating and drinking a ton and doing so many things to try to keep my supply. I researched, “what is the best formula for my child?” and was just left in tears because of all the formula shaming #breastisbest stuff. It made me feel so inadequate. I was happy I was able to figure it out and happy for you as well!

  21. Emily Clark says:

    Thank you for sharing your story!!! It is nearly identical to mine, except for different weights. My guy lost over 15% of his weight and I still cringe anytime I look at pictures from the first month. UGH I was STARVING my baby and had no idea.

  22. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story and post your photos. What a dramatic difference in one month. I was in your same shoes with my first child and felt like failure to breastfeed was equivalent to failure as a mother. I hope your story helps other moms in those early days who are struggling the same way.

  23. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for this! The exact same thing happened to me and my LO. At 3 months she was still the size of a newborn, and I knew it was time I let go of my pride and start formula feeding. I saw a comment someone made recently that formula fed babies will eventually be a “burden” on society with all their health issues. I had to laugh… I know breast milk is great for a child, but I’m pretty sure heridity and lifestyles choices make a way bigger impact on a person’s overall health. Fed is definitely best! Breast feed if you can and be proud of it but don’t put those like us or anyone down for choosing formula to sustain our children! I’m so happy to see your choice has allowed your LO to thrive and taken that stress off your shoulders! ♡love- a mom who has been there and had to make the same hard but necessary decision

    • Christie del Castillo-Hegyi MD says:

      Not all mothers want to give donor milk because of the risk of bacterial infection. For mothers with access to formula and clean water, formula supplementation is much safer than untested, casual milk donations.

  24. JW says:

    Thank you for sharing. 10 years ago when my first was born, he spent two weeks in the NICU. I pumped and breast fed during that time, but he needed supplemental feedings. When we were released, I was encouraged to breast feed exclusively. My little brother passed away 3 days after returning home. I was stressed and grieving. My milk never came in even with pumping every 2 hours and nursing. Finally, my best friend hung formula on my front door. I began supplementing again. In the end, I found that formula feeding was best for our family. My son now at 10 is healthy and happy. He plays soccer nearly year round, runs cross country, and is at the top of his class academically. I never regret the decision I made.

  25. Mel says:

    Your story is EXACTLY the same as mine. EXACTLY! My boy is super healthy now on formula. When I look at early pics of Josh I cry because he looked so bad and I didn’t notice it!

  26. Alisha says:

    You are amazing. I was in the same boat except he started drinking formula at 1 month along with breastfeeding. I know when i get pregnant next time to make sure i don’t have flat nipples. It is treatable.

  27. Kat says:

    We had a very similar experience with our oldest son, not latching, using a shield, nursing so long he would fall asleep but never getting full, my milk never coming fully in even though I was taking supplements to increase it. The main difference was that the medical community was dead set on me doing everything to breast feed. I finally took my son off the breast, and started pumping and giving him breast milk in a bottle just so I could see how much he was getting. That made it so much better. I refer to that period as “the Dark Ages”.

  28. Vone says:

    It wasn’t until my 2nd child that I stopped feeling guilty for stopping breast feeding my 1st at 3 months. My first baby was latching ok but she was never full, I could barely pump anything and she seemed happier on formula. Other moms judge you and say all the things they were cutting out of their diet for their baby. Maybe I could have tried harder but being a new mom is hard enough plus my mom still tells me that my brother had milk and honey in this bottles when he was a baby and there’s nothing wrong with him.
    My 2nd daughter was completely different. I remember breast feeding her at 2 months and realizing that this is what it’s suppose to feel like and stopped feeling guilty for stopping with the 1st.
    They are both happy, healthy, strong 8 and 11 year old girls. Everyone has to make the decision that’s best for them.

  29. Beth says:

    What a great article. You are doing such a good job by putting your story out there. You are a brave woman for sharing this as it would have been hard to put it into words. I will definitely share your story, it is so important for other women to know they are not alone in their struggles. Thank you.

  30. A thankful Mum says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I was in tears reading it. I had the same struggle for 10 weeks. When I finally told my Mum how hard I was finding it and how much it was hurting my heart, she said to stop immediately and just feed my baby. Fed is best, and my little bear is happy and healthy and impossibly chubby. I hope you reach every sweet mother feeling that horrible guilt and show her she doesn’t deserve the sadness, only the total joy of watching her baby giggle and grow. Thank you again for such a wonderful article it meant so much.

  31. Sarah says:

    I just read this story and the first half is very similar to my experience. I had my first baby, no problem with nursing, second baby.. Born 7.1lbs, by the time we were discharged 2 days later she had lost over 10% of her body weight, over 1lb. The cries were different, she was going hungry even though she nursed almost all the time. She never nursed long enough to get past the colostrum to the fat part of the milk. I felt terrible, I was doing my best, the public health nurse came daily or we went to see her. I nursed and pumped and finally had to give her formula to supplement my breast feeding. She wouldn’t take a bottle so we fed her from a spoon. You can imagine that my whole time was taken with trying to feed this little baby thank goodness for her 7 year old big sister who helped me, so much responsibility and caring on my young child. It took 3 months of constant care and support from the PHN to get her back to her birth weight. We celebrated her 1/4 oz gains.. I admire this woman for the strength to tell her story, to know that she will be judged by pro breast feeding and pro bottle feeding advocates. As a mom who went through a similar experience, I can tell you that judgement would have knocked me flat and made me have an even harder time to cope. What we need, as moms, when going through such a tough time is only support, help, guidance and knowing that what is best for our baby may not be the same as the next baby, but that getting our baby fed, however we do it , was the most important task. By 4 months she was exclusively breastfeeding again, getting lots of milk and growing.While she has never been a big child, almost always on the 10th percentile for growth, she was healthy and happy. What a journey! Sorry this was long, this just really struck me.

  32. Jenifer Bishop Blood says:

    Congratulations on doing what is best for your baby. While breastmilk is easiest on most babies tummies, there are so many different issues out there that make breastfeeding not the best option. I had to give up breastfeeding with my first due to medications and it took me so long to forgive myself. The mom community needs to push this idea that #fedisbest and stop guilty moms over their individual feeding choices for their babies. We have enough guilt about everything else we think we fail at as moms. We just need to cut ourselves and other moms some slack. We need to lift each other up. You go mom! You advocated for your baby. That’s really what is important in the end, that you do what is best and make sure he gets what he needs. Keep up the good fight.

  33. Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. I know it must have been hard, as I went through the same journey. Five weeks of hell, no sleeping, just screaming. I had lots of support to breastfeed, went to all the meetings ect. But it just wasn’t meant to be for my son and I. He is such a happy baby on formula. I keep reminding myself that you can’t tell who was formula fed or who was breastfed when they are all running around the playground.

  34. Heather Liddle says:

    Your story and mine are exactly alike, except that because of all my struggles, I was made to feel like I wasn’t doing a good job, that I was failing as a first time mom! With all that pressure, I silently struggled with postpartum depression too!! I was so scared that they would take my sweet girl away, because I couldn’t feed her, and that someone else would do a better job!! I have since had a second baby, whom I attempted to breastfeed, but very quickly stopped trying and switched right to a bottle!! I now have 2 very HEALTHY and ACTIVE kids (11yrs and almost 9yrs old). Thank you for sharing your personal story with those that need to hear it!!
    Heather Liddle

  35. Courtney Stoops says:

    We have almost the exact same story! Thank you for sharing! More moms need to know! Breast, pumped, donor, formula.., it’s all perfectly okay and FED is best!

  36. Cecile Hoare says:

    I feel your pain and lived it for three months before the lactation consultant suggested soy formula! Three months of sleeping upright in a recliner so he wouldn’t scream, three months of soaked linens and pjs because of my milk letting loose when he cried, three months of multiple visits per week by the health nurse, three months of guilt of not knowing what my baby needed…all traded on the first 6 oz bottle and 8 straight hours of him sleeping through the night ( I woke up every few hours thinking the worst…my god Mother’s daught died from SIDS). There is no manual for these little humans and we can only do our best! Can’t wait to see his 3 month photo!

  37. Miranda says:

    I had a similar experience with my daughter. I remember the guilt! I had to start supplementing formula at 7 weeks. I do not remember the exact numbers now but she was not gaining weight. I continued to pump and give her breast milk until it completely went away at 11 weeks. I was so happy when it did, we were both miserable. I am happy to report she is a super healthy 5 year old, and hardly ever sick. She is one of the youngest in her Kindergarten class and is excelling! I agree, Fed is Best!!

  38. Kelly says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. While I’m still breastfeeding my daughter (8 months so far!), I’ve had friends that struggled with the decision with stopping breastfeeding because it just wasn’t working out. It’s important that moms hear “yeah breastfeeding is great, but you’re still an awesome mom if you don’t”. Moms deal with enough guilt as it is. They don’t need to deal with this as well. So good job momma taking care of yourself and son and sharing your story for others out there!

  39. Wendy Koppe says:

    Thank you so much for having the courage to share your story! I’m sure it will encourage other moms! It really encouraged me. I feel like you almost wrote my exact story! My sweet little girl is 17 months old now and when she was two months old I had to stop breast feeding, partially because it was so agonizing for both of us and because she wasn’t gaining weight and partly because I had just been hospitalized for pancreatitis for a week and due to the pain of that illness I wasn’t able to pump. My supply was so low by that point and I was still recovering which made it seem so daunting to get my supply back up especially when my sweet girl would scream after 5 minutes of breast feeding and obviously wasn’t satiated. I also lost my dad just before my daughter was born. He passed away 3 weeks to the day before she was born and I’m just now finally working through the grieving process. Thank you again for telling your story!

  40. Tia says:

    This was my exact story but I had a feeling deep down we were so focused on the symptoms and treating the Main symptom: starvation, that we were overlooking the why. In my case, and I believe in MANY cases it was a repeatedly undiagnosed tongue tie & lip tie. Formula wouldn’t have fixed that. Pumping and formula became my best option, but not my solution. Tie release resolved EVERYTHING. proper latch (on bottle), semi return to breast, “colic” symptoms, gas, intolerance symptoms, etc. I’m glad that this story ends well but I think that many ties are also missed due to formula introduction/bottle and baby’s ability to latch somewhat better and gain so people stop looking for the underlying reason. And in my experience, pediatricians miss them most times, unless they are anterior or obvious. PLEASE parents, if you share a similar experience, please see an IBCLC or pediatric dentist who’s very familiar with/specializes in ties…rule it out.

  41. Sarah says:

    Wow , thank you for writing this! Fed is best and everyone else needs to be more supportive and so much less judgemental. I’m not sure if this was mentioned in other comments, but there is also an amazing group for insufficient glandular tissue, low milk supply on Facebook – IGT LOW MILK SUPPLY. It helped more than anything else!!

  42. Megan says:

    Omg you told my story!!!! This happen with my daughter. Everything from flat nipples to feeling like crap bc quitting. Thank you! She is now 4 and healthy as she can be

  43. Jen says:

    Beautifully written…. As Mom’s we put so much pressure on ourselves to breastfeed and it is not always possible. I tried for two weeks and it just didn’t work. I was heartbroken. Then there was always someone who would have something to say when I fed my baby a bottle and did not nurse. I realized it didn’t matter what everyone else thought because my baby was healthy and happy !!!!!

  44. Robyn says:

    The beginning of this story is my exact story. Discovered lip and tongue ties at 4months..had them lasered. Could latch immediately. Gained 5lbs the next month. Webt from getting one ounce in 15mins with the nipple shield to 4ounces in 10minutes withut the shield. Same day as lasering. Highly recommend you read the signs and symptoms as ties have a lot of other repercussions. 🙂

  45. Jen says:

    This article really resonated with me. My experience five years ago was pretty much the same! My son wasn’t struggling with weight but I had to use the shield, he was always feeding FOREVER, very fussy afterwards, tummy trouble, they also put on zantac (didn’t help). I did not have a supportive paediatrician but luckily a friend who supported me and helped me not feel guilty for switching to formula! Every other service made me feel inadequate that I couldn’t breast feed.

  46. Meaghan Potts says:

    I have never been overwhelmed by so much guilt and emotion as when we had to supplement our son with formula. I breastfed then pumped and supplemented every 2-3 hours for months. I remember just breaking down when my son was 6 months and my husband saying, you have done amazing, he has done amazing, he is going to be fine. He basically had to yell at me for me to realize it was okay to move to exclusively formula feeding. My son is now 19 months old, loves life and he smart and active. I am currently expecting number 2 and I am both nervous and excited about the prospect of breastfeeding again. Hopefully this time I will be kinder to myself.

  47. Ashlee says:

    Good for you mama for trying so hard! My son had lots of issues gaining weight in the beginning also and couldn’t latch. Come to find out he had a tongue tie, lip tie and torticollis. After revisions, chiropractor and CST he finally learned to latch and his weight took off! My body took a beating too and I never produced more than 2 oz on a weighted feed so we ended up using a SNS full time. We ended up nursing 19 months. I wonder if you had your little guy checked for ties at all? There are many many health obstacles with ties that go far beyond not being able to latch. If you haven’t maybe have him checked!

  48. mary mcdermott says:

    Thank you for your story, it may help other new moms who are exhausted and overwhelmed. My concern is with the health care providers who didn’t identify his malnourishment earlier. You have a beautiful baby boy, trust yourself!

  49. Brandi says:

    This sounds a lot like my story with my second child I’m currently pregnant with the third and very nervous about trying to breast-feed again. Thanks for sharing

  50. Annie says:

    Thank you!! I had a similar situation to yours- pumping, tube feeding, sore and bloody nipples, and a starving baby… when I finally lost it and screamed “I can’t do this anymore!!!” My husband looked at me and said “then don’t”. And that was it.. I was done.. we had amazing midwives that supported our decision – and once the decision was made, I all of a sudden had an appetite, my shoulders weren’t around my ears all the time from tension and I could finally just enjoy my baby instead worrying and dreading feedings… if I could have breastfed, I would have… but I couldn’t.. and my beautiful 13 and 7 year old girls are as happy and healthy as any breastfed one of their peers.. thank you for sharing your story…

  51. Heather says:

    After I had my first set of twins 10 weeks early, nursing was difficult due to their prematurity. I was struggling with pumping and trying to bottle feed the babies my breastmilk when I brought them home. The most amazing pediatrician who worked in my pediatricians office was the mother of triplets. She called me. She asked me if my mom nursed me or if I was formula fed. When I answered that I was formula fed, she said, “are you okay?” I asked her what did she mean. She asked me the question again. Guess what? I am more than okay!!! I stopped pumping that day and began to FEED my kids and STARTED to enjoy them. Amazing. I love that woman whose name I do not even know.

  52. Nahla says:

    I could have written this myself, apart from the loss of your father, so sorry for his loss. What a difficult time that was. My daughter is 2 years old now and i still feel the guilt. My lactation consultant would come everyday! I get people asking me now..so will you bf the next one…like it was a choice of mine or something. It really wasnt a choice, i tried tirelessly to get her to latch..to.get my milk to come in more. I had an emergency c section which got infected after 2 weeks. I was in so much pain and had no idea that it wasn’t normal.
    Thanks for sharing your story, you’re going to help many people release their guilt, especially those who tried and tried to their best.

  53. Serenity says:

    Completely know where this woman is coming from. Found out no matter how much I wanted to breast fed with my 3 child there was just no way. I could only produce enough to breast fed him every 12 hours. Found out from my grandmother on my father’s side that women just don’t produce enough milk to fed our babies.

  54. Beth says:

    Gosh, so so similiar of a story here. Babe was born 9lbs 9oz and weighed on 8lbs 2oz at 3 weeks.. He thrived on formula and bm for almost 6 months.. mom guilt is strong and us mamas have to support each other better..thank you so much for sharing. ❤

  55. SKHJ337 says:

    God bless you for sharing this.. PS: for others seeing this if you are interested.. there are some really amazing all natural DIY organic raw cow’s milk or raw goat’s milk formula recipes out there.. We had to go that route with my 2nd child, and she did so great with that..

  56. vmarquardt says:

    I went through the same thing with my new born now. She struggled to latch and I became highly frustrated and was losing hope in breast feeding until I decided to formula feed her. Best decision I made for her and myself. Thank you for sharing, it inspires me with your writing!

  57. Monica says:

    Thank you for stepping up and saying this. I have 4 children and I fought hard every time to feed them breast milk bc I thought maybe I had learned something different or my body knew how to do it ‘this time’. It was my downfall and I struggled so much during the first year of each of the babies lives because I stressed and fought for it. You are inundated with breast is best, it makes them healthier, smarter, happier; it bonds you, its easier and more cost effective. Well it almost destroyed me every time. I still get anxious thinking about it and dream that if we were to ever have another maybe I could be successful. No body was brave enough to tell me to quit trying no matter who I talked to. I wish there were people in the medical field and in mommy circles tell those who are fighting and not getting any results, that it is ok.

  58. Chelsea says:

    Thank you for putting this out there!!!! I completely do not feel alone!!!! This was me to a T!!!! I am so happy that I have been able to supplement and keep going now almost 4 months with some breast and some formula. Man it’s rough when it doesn’t come easy….. thank you.

  59. Krystle Chapman says:

    Love this! So glad your Mom and doctor gave you that advice. I went through a hard time deciding to stop breast feeding my third little boy. My Mom told me the same thing. That our kids needed me to be sane and happy. If giving my baby formula made him happier and to where I felt comfortable leaving him. Then that’s what I needed to do! I had turned into a total recluse and that is not my personality at all. But I was so worried about leaving him. I just stayed home all the time. So for our family we switched.

  60. Allyn says:

    Thank you so much for your blog post. I was crying as I read it. This is exactly what I was going through and it is so comforting to know that I am not alone with this issue of not being able to breast feed.

  61. Kellye says:

    Wow – you did great! You are a good mom and tried so hard to make breastfeeding work. You also were a good enough mom to know what was best for you and your baby and that is the most important thing! Great job! Congratulations on a beautiful baby boy and way to go on following your instincts! 👍🏼❤

  62. Gretchen says:

    This sounds all too familiar to me. My son has almost the exact same story. When I look back at his early pictures I almost cry to think about how hungry he must have been. With my second, there was a whole different set of challenges and I nursed her for an even shorter period than my son. I decided I wouldn’t starve a child again. I worked with the same lactation consultant both times and she told me similar advice that your doctor did, that I have tried harder than most people she has met, but nursing doesn’t work for everyone. Honestly, if we have a third I may not nurse at all. Nothing makes you feel like a terrible human being faster than not being able to provide the “motherly things” your children need. Thanks for sharing. So nice to know I’m not alone.

  63. Giulietta says:

    My baby was also born in June 2016, and we had the some experience. I can hardly look at some of his pictures from the pre-formula times, he looks so thin I feel bad, I was trying so hard I was going to midwife and breastfeeding consultant 4 times a week in total, I medicated myself with domperidone, I was pumping regularly every 3 hours….. and the story could go on and on…so glad we introduced formula and continued mixed feeding until 5 months, he is now a happy and healthy baby and quite chubby I must say. Thanks for sharing, it is truly important I was refusing pictures with bottles on it, feeling guilty and ashamed of fórmula feedig.

  64. Laurie says:

    I wanted to say Thank You for writing this and though we are strangers I wanted to offer my condolences for your loss. I can relate to you and your story almost completely. I almost lost my father 3 weeks before my daughter was born and spent almost everyday at the hospital with my dad and family the entire first month of her life while trying to breastfeed. I have been beating myself up for not being able to produce enough for her and for accidentally starving her, I didn’t find out until she was 3 weeks old. She was 6 lbs 14 oz when she was born for the first 3 weeks she was only 6 lbs and only breastfed (I went weekly to her doctor for weight checks and every week she weighed the same). The doctor finally had me supplement formula during the third week and she gained 2 pounds. So at 1 month she weighed 8 lbs. I was so relieved I burst into tears. I have been told by some that I didn’t try hard enough and that breast milk is best. I know I tried my best but felt like a failure. I still cry about it on a weekly basis. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not a failure and that as long as my baby is healthy and thriving that’s the important thing. My daughter is now 2 months old and weighs 10 pounds thanks to formula.

  65. Ema says:

    Your story is 100% mine! except i unintentionally starved my baby for 2 MONTHS!!! He was happy and meeting milestones and had wet and dirty nappies. I had no idea! I was just uneducated and blind to what was happening! Medication and Pumping schedules didn’t help me satisfy him, Formula was the best thing i did for my son, he is a happy healthy and chubby little man! Im very Pro BF but you have to do whats right for your child and yourself! Good work Mamma!!

  66. Danni says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story. I cried reading about your experience because It hit close to home. My daughter had a weak latch and I have the same nipple issue. And on top of that my husband and I had just moved 1,000 miles away from all our family and friends.
    I felt like a failure as a mother, attended the not so helpful “support groups” at the hospital, drank copious amounts of that horrible tasting tea, and cried for days at a time. I was determined to breastfeed because, in my head, that was what was best for my child. I can’t even tell you how many people squeezed my boobs and watched me nurse/pump to make sure I was doing everything correctly.
    Finally after multiple extra visits to my pediatrician it finally sunk in that I needed help. It was hard to accept that I couldn’t naturally feed my baby the way so many other women could. The realization that I was slowly starving my daughter was and still is painful to think about.
    Fortunately for me my pediatrician was very supportive. I’ll never forget her telling me that she was impressed with how hard I was trying and that I didn’t have to give up nursing all together. “Some was better than none” she said. And ever since that day nursing became an enjoyable bonding experience and, guilt was no longer felt when our sessions were followed up with a big bottle of formula.
    Four years later my son was born and I had to supplement with him as well. Luckily the thoughts of being less of a mother and a failure were not experienced the second time around 😀
    For any women out there please know that if you encounter issues with getting pregnant, staying pregnant, delivery, or nursing you are not alone and it does NOT make you less of a woman or a failure.

  67. Harpreet says:

    Fed is best! I went through a similar experience. Tried so hard for 2 months and there just was no supply. I felt like I was letting my baby down. Women should never feel shame like this. I beat myself up to no avail. Feed your baby the way you can!

  68. Sara says:

    Thank you for sharing. I have always believed fed is best, I continue to give both formula and BF with my second and no shame. I have happy and healthy kids and that’s all that matters. 😃

  69. Kv says:

    My story is not very different from yours! I tried everything and nothing could get my “girls” to produce. I beat myself up mentally about it for a long time. Those “breast is best” people are very harsh and do not understand that it does NOT work for everyone!! I fought to nurse my daughter supplementing with formula for 8 months feeling inadequate and terrible the entire time. I wish I had had enough support to decide to go full formula earlier!

    Thank you for sharing your story! I hope that many women experiencing the same battle will read your story and feel confident in their decision to use formula exclusively because it is right for them! Happy mommy = happy baby!!

  70. Teresa says:

    Thank you, for having the courage, to tell your story, and the struggles and guilt you felt! This article, helped me to forgive myself, and realize I’m not alone.

  71. Channa says:

    Was your child ever checked for tongue and or lip ties? Reflux and poor milk transfer are almost always caused by ties. Many doctors these days don’t even have a clue what they are. Trained IBCLC and old fashioned home birth midwives know about them. They caught my one year olds tie after her pediatrician tried to say she was ftt for little weight gain. Had he diagnosed her tie, she would have gained more weight I’m sure of it. Though slim, she was not ftt after blood tests showed her nutrients to be fine. Thankfully with my third I was aware of ties and was able to get my son’s tie revised a few weeks after birth. The differemce post revision was night and day. No more reflex, better milk transfer, weight gain.
    Yes fed is best, but there are many women being denied the opportunity to ebf by unknowledgeable doctors not diagnosing tongue and lip ties correctly.

  72. Hanna says:

    I had the same issue! 30% birthweight drop in a week!!! Built my supply to 50% of what my bub was feeding and the other 50% formula. She just stopped breastfeeding finally at 2! So I totally get you!!! Well done on persevering!!!!!!

  73. Carolyn says:

    I had a very similar experience with my son 8years ago he lost over 15% of body weight. I hired a big milking machine and sat there all evening expressing to top up his milk he gained minimal so I combination fed. But he didn’t gain weight untill I stopped feeding.
    My daughter is now 1year old and is still breast fed morning and night the difference between the two is incredible. My son was not feeding correctly and was dying I just didn’t realise I thought I was doing the best for him. It is the best thing I’ve ever done for My daughter but I wish I’d had better advice with my first. He thrived on formula.
    Every baby is different my daughter refused formula and has only just started accepting some cows milk.
    With my son I nearly lost my sanity, I thought i couldn’t breatfeed but my daughter shows I can but my son needed help xx

  74. Michelle says:

    10 months on and I still feel the guilt of not breastfeeding for longer. I lasted 5 weeks before I realised I was just not pumping enough milk and feeding my little girl enough. I get jealous seeing other mothers succeed in breastfeeding. But I feel joy and relief when I hear stories of other mother mums who also switch to formula, not because I think it’s better than breastfeeding but because I don’t feel as pressured. I do sometimes feel the pressure from others that I gave up too quick and it makes me feel like a bad mum, but in my heart I know if I had carried on, she would have starved and I was breaking down so much that I would cry every day about 5 times a day and she could feel the stress. As soon as I went to formula and stopped forcing her onto a schedule we both relaxed and she started to settle. I don’t regret going onto formula I just wish we weren’t made to feel guilty about it or that we are not as strong as other mums who do breastfeed.

  75. Leanda Bruijns says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. A similar thing happened to my little guy and I. He was born 6 lbs, 7 oz. and within a week dropped down a whole lb. My milk just never came in. However, the lactation consultants I saw were not supportive and made me feel like a horrible mother when I finally realized he was starving and needed to be supplemented. I breastfed what I could and then topped him up with formula until he was 7 months. At first, I felt so guilty I would hide away with him to give him his formula. Finally, I got to a point where I was emotionally and physically drained and said enough was enough and switched him to full formula and solids at 7 months. I wouldn’t wish those feelings on another mother ever! I am currently Due in two weeks. I will try to breastfeed, but if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. We will simply go straight to formula. Fed is best!!!

  76. Kimberly says:

    Wow. Did this story hit home. I went through the exact thing with my son. At one ooont I was told to sit with a dropper in one hand trying to squeeze breast milk into my sons mouth while using my finger in his mouth on my other hand to try to reteach him how to suck. (Advise from the lac consultant to teach him how to suck properly) and there I was sitting on the floor with a screaming baby, breast milk everywhere,and my finger in his mouth and I cried too. That was where my husband found us and when he said enough. He went and got a bottle and formula and gave it to him and said it’s more important he ate than to go through this. I cried and felt like a failure. On the other hand it was like a weight was lifted. Sometimes we need to understand that we aren’t perfect and not everything goes as planned. That doesn’t make us failures. Feeding our children and making good choices that benefit everyone is the true act of love.

  77. Angelique says:

    Thank you thank you thank you.
    So so much for sharing. To me you are the epitome of the title “Mom” because you sought out what was best for your child. You are definitely not alone and your story will surely inspire others to seek out what is best for their baby and situation.
    I struggled to breastfeed with my first for 12 months and out bond and sanity suffered immensely. For my second everything clicked from day one! It was bizarre. Then at 6 months I had to make the decision to continue breastfeeding and suffer my mental health or wean and start to take medications for my own health. It was actually very liberating when I chose to wean after having success. Both are happy and healthy as well as myself now!
    Cheers for mommy empowerment!

  78. renlass says:

    I was fortunate to be able to breastfeed all my babies, but just as there are millions of different people, there are millions of different ways to do things. You are a hero to that sweet baby of yours because you kept searching until you found what was best for him. I am proud of you. As I told each of my daughters when they became mom’s “You ask for advice, listen, and then do what your own heart tells you is best for YOU. Only you are living through the situation and it is OK to trust your intuition”.

  79. Angie says:

    I could have written this story. I had a very similar experience with the lack of latching, the shield, long feedings and wet and dirty diapers. At our 2 week appointment we were sent to the hospital because of such a loss in weight. Our daughter is now a wonderful and healthy 5 year old. It took me years to forgive myself. For me, it felt like I was a failure at motherhood. Thank you for writing this. I hope someone who needs this, sees this!

  80. Ruth O. says:

    My heart goes out to you. I had similar issues (latching on/flat nipples/ that darn nipple shield). I was pumping regularly and nothing worked. And further, I’m sorry about your dad. I lost my mom 5 days after giving birth, which ultimately is why I think breastfeeding never worked for us. I cried every time I tried to whip that whole nipple shield setup out, and with the stress of my mom, I never successfully pumped more than 2ml at a time! Thankfully I had lactation nurses that recognized my baby’s nourishment and my sanity were worth far more than checking the box beside breastfeeding! So glad your baby is flourishing! (Mine is too 😊)

  81. Lauren says:

    He is beautiful and definitely is thriving! You are doing an amazing job. Thank you for sharing your experience with mothers everywhere. Fed is best!

  82. Laine Greenidge says:

    Your story is so close to what I experienced with my little one, it is eerie! You are one amazing momma and woman for sharing your experience with the world – I thought I was the only one! Glad to see your little guy is happy and healthy! And of course, that your sanity is intact! 🙂

  83. Christine says:

    Great article. I had a similar situation. It took me two months to realize my son needed formula. My milk was not fatty enough and all he did was eat. I got the same info as you, cluster feeding. After I started formula he grew by leaps and bounds. Thank you for your story.

  84. Ericka says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I had a lot of difficulty breast feeding my son. He would have a full on latch, and with no warning whatsoever he would rip his head off of me. I was so sore from trying to nurse him while at the hospital. And while we were at the hospital, the nurses gave my son a pacifier, which then ruined his latch. I tried so hard to exclusively nurse him. Two weeks after having him, I got appendicitis and had to have my appendix removed. This caused my milk supply to dry up, and the formula samples we had recived in the mail my son could not keep down. I worked really really hard to get my supply back up, but by the time he was a month old our family doctor told me he was starving, and I sat there and cried. I felt so terrible and responsible for it all. My son was such an unhappy baby all the time and was constantly crying and here it was because he was so hungry. On my way home I picked up various brands of formula and found one that worked best for him. I stopped nursing and exclusively pumped and gave him what I could until I had my supply up enough that I was able to nurse him again. With him being fed from a bottle I was finally able to see what was wrong with his latch and was able to fix it so I could nurse him pain free. He is a very happy and healthy 16 month old now. Sometimes I feel like we are so pressured by other moms around us about exclusively nursing that we are made to feel like failures if we can’t or don’t. In the end, a healthy and satisfied baby is what is best.

  85. Aviva says:

    This was interesting for me to read, but also so painful. I tired to breast feed my eldest child and basically did starve her. I knew that things weren’t going well, I could just feel it, my milk began to come in and my boobs were huge and rock solid and she wasn’t latching properly. At 5 days post partum she was weighed and we were told that she had lost nearly 19% of her birth weight. She was admitted to the hospital’s NICU because her sodium levels were so high due to dehydration. A part of me truly died that day. I couldn’t stop crying, I wasn’t treated with kindness, the peadiatrician asked me roughly why I was crying and basically told me to shut up (5 days post birth). we all lived at the hospital for 5 days, wheee my daughter was tube fed and kept in an incubator, while I was told to express every 3 hours Day and night. I was pressured to continue breast feeding after we were discharged and used nipple shields to help her latch on. I continued like this, feeling like a fraud who still wasn’t doing it properly, for 5 months. She gained weight but very gradually, and she was NEVER SETTLED until she started having formula at 5 months old. At the time I was also told to cut out dairy, tomatoes and other acidic fruits and veg because she cried all the time. I gained a lot of weight, was completely miserable and probably had a touch of depression. It’s 6 years later and I still cry when I talk about it or reflect on that time. I felt completely alone and like a failure, the worst start to motherhood I could ever have imagined. Thank you for giving me a forum to share my own story- I’m still clearly haunted by it.

  86. Jess says:

    Both my babies were formula fed. The first I had low production and he had reflux. So I’d pimp for hours and get 3 oz and he’d throw it up. Once I decided to stop the weight lifted. But I was prepared for that. My mother also had low production and I wasn’t thriving. I knew it was possible that I too would have low production. The pressure I received from the hospital to continue breast feeding created stress and disharmony. Once I made rhe decision of what was best for my baby and me the stress disappeared and I was able to bond with my.baby better. The second child wasn’t even a guess. I said I’d try again, but came armed with my.formula and there was no stress there. I wish there was an organization for me back then to reassure me that it’s ok not to breast feed.

  87. Angelique Nowak says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. More women need to hear this!! I’ve had my own struggles with my babies weening so much earlier than my friend’s babies. Mine finish at 10 months and all my friends seem to breast feed till 15-18 months. My goal was 12 months but didn’t happen with either so far. Even I felt like a failure switching my babies to formula @ 10 months. My husband was great. He spoke the words of freedom I needed to hear. FED IS BEST!

  88. mrsredheadn says:

    This is an amazing story! Thank you for sharing. As a mom myself I totally get where you’re coming from. We need more women speaking up about how we need to come together and support each other, rather than shaming each other for our decisions. We make our decisions for our children based on what we think is best. Sometimes that looks different than what someone else would do. All babies and adults are different. My son was lucky enough to be able to nurse and we had our own problems too in the beginning and even though I didn’t have the same exact story I still got shamed for my son not gaining his birth weight 2 days after our Doctors App. (Seriously he was born 7,9 left the hospital at 7,2 and at the doctors app 2 days later was shamed because he was 7,5…) we also had a latch problem. I was fed formula as a baby and I turned out more than fine! My mom had to too. Your son is beautiful! Rest your heart in knowing you’ve done amazingly! Being a mom isn’t easy but it’s beautiful.

    You’re an amazing mom! And you’re doing an amazing job. You made the right choice. I would have done the same thing. #hatersgoingtohate

  89. CHRISTINE MCNAMARA says:

    I cried when I read your story – my beautiful daughter experienced the same as you with our amazing grand daughter – We tried so hard to convince her that Imogen needed formula as my daughters milk was not satisfying her- she had a huge piece of the placenta still left inside of her from the GP – consequently she had poison go through her body and needed a D & C – thankfully she disposed of the GP – and still the midwives made her persist with breastfeeding – sadly she became manic without sleep and no support from her husband – she ended up being admitted to a mother & baby unit where they placed my grand daughter on formula and nursed my beautiful daughter back to her wonderful self.
    I am so very pleased that I read your story and thank you for sharing it – I will show her tomorrow
    May God Bless You
    Sincerely
    Christine McNamara 🌹🌹🌹

  90. Jen says:

    Both of my kids were on formula only. Never breast fed once. Circumstances made it impossible. I don’t feel guilty about it at all. My kids are healthy and happy! We are just as close as anyone I know who breast fed! Good job momma! People need to mind their own business!

  91. Laurie says:

    Our daughter had problems eating too even from a bottle, many babies need to have a feeding evaluation covered under speech therapy to rule out things like being tongue tied or something else, wish they’d had that 30 yrs ago!!

  92. Kayla P says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! My son is now a very healthy 20-month-old, but this is so very similar to our story. I was forced to introduce bottles and formula when he was 4 days old, as he started showing signs of dehydration. I’m so thankful we had a pediatrician who was supportive of my bf-ing efforts, but also honest with me about what he needed. I was also blessed with lactation consultants at our hospital (where we had several out-patient visits) who supported me through trying to increase my supply, but also encouraged me with “fed is best.” I wish I had seen morI stories like this before he was born, as I had always assumed that even if it was difficult, we’d be able to figure it out.

  93. Anne Catlin says:

    This is almost my same experience with my first son. He lost 11 oz in the hospital and then did not gain a single ounce for 4 weeks. I tried everything to make breastfeeding “successful” and after developing post-parting anxiety, I finally realized that all that really mattered at the end of the day was that my son and I were healthy. Formula saved my sanity and his life.

  94. Bonnie Marrow says:

    My mom went through a similar situation with me. She had no supply and had to switch to formula…but then with my younger sister she had no issues.
    It makes me sad that you needed validation to switch to formula… it it makes me sad because I am the same way! I am 5 months EBF with my third child, the furthest I’ve ever made it, but it means I am off some medications I feel like I am starting to need again.
    Stay strong momma! You did the right thing! Fed is definitely best!

  95. Nichole says:

    I could have wrote this article. I was up all night pumping every 2 hours, taking pills, drinking teas- she still lost weight. With my next 2 I supplemented from day 1. Thank you for writing this.

  96. Jenn says:

    This is exactly the hell I went through with my son. At 1mth he was classified as failure to thrive. He had severe reflux, and we soent the better part of 4 mths in and out of Vancouver BC (an hour and 1/2 drive for me) seeing his gastro pediatrician. I had tried EVERYTHING, but the kid just never gained weight. He is now 5, tall and lean, but healthy. He deals with reflux still, abd has gone back on his medication.
    Seeing the picture of your aon at 1mth brought back a flood of memories from that time. I didn’t share photos of him, we ever went out, I too was an emotional mess.
    Thank you for having the courage to share your story!! Bottle fed with formula is NOT a terrible thing!! I’m lucky to have a happy healthy son now (most of the time 😉!)

  97. Jackie says:

    You should have reported and fired your pediatrician. How they could accept such a significant weight loss as normal is unacceptable! Just looking at your baby in the 1 month pic is obvious this baby wasn’t thriving. I’m a postpartum nurse at 10% weight loss we supplement with formula if mom can’t pump enough to supplement for stomach capacity. This makes me sick, I’m so sorry you were so horribly advised.

  98. Cheri says:

    Thank you so much for telling your story. I also have flat nipples and had to use a shield. I tried everything in my power to breastfeed my son. Pumping after and in between, feeding for hours, crying everyday for months because I was only getting a few ounces a day and feeling like a failure because it didn’t work. I understand 💯 how you feel and we are just dedicated mommies who care so much. Sometimes life doesn’t go as planned but I just try to be thankful I get to be his mommy ☺️

  99. Robin says:

    Your courage is amazing! This was also my story and I still struggle to tell it through horrible judgement. You are not alone and you made a great choice. One of many difficult ones we makes as moms! #fedisbest ❤️

  100. Candace says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! This is why it’s so important for those of us who (mostly) breastfeed to be very careful with our words, and to not shame those who have to supplement. In most cases breast is best, but in ALL cases #fedisbest

  101. Shannon says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! My story is much the same as yours and I carried a tremendous amount of guilt/shame from switching to formula. Women need to hear more stories like this so they don’t feel like failures! The pressure to breastfeed is incredible and I didn’t feel like I had anyone I could reach out to who struggled like I did. I didn’t feel like my husband understood the toll it took on my mental health. I ended up with ppd and I strongly believe that my struggle to feed had a lot to do with it. My baby is happy and healthy now on a great formula and I couldn’t be happier watching him grow.

    Thanks again for having the courage to speak up!

  102. Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. There seems to be a stigma against women if you don’t breastfeed. It’s important that mothers support one another no matter how they chose to feed and love their baby.

  103. Katie says:

    This is EXCATLY what happened with my daughter I didn’t get a supply and she wasn’t gaining. You did the correct thing. #fedisbest

  104. Delina says:

    I had the same thing happen with my oldest. I breastfed him for 6 months and for now reason my milk supply started to decrease. I tried EVERYTHING malt, mothers milk, oatmeal, pumping, etc. but it just wasn’t working. I had a check up with the doctor and when I returned my baby had lost 2 ounces over a weekend. That was when I realized he was starving and I needed to start on formula. I had a wonderful doctor who said that they don’t understand why things like this happen but it does! I lost my milk at 8 months with my second and 11 months with my third. Everybody’s body is different! I felt so guilty at first because ‘breast is best’ is so largely promoted. But I love this because the truth is ‘FED IS BEST!’ Thank you for sharing your story!

  105. Elayne says:

    Thank you for being so brave to write this article. I am sure many mums face this situation. I remember reading a book called “The Myth of Motherhood” which showed that bottle fed babies do just as well as breast fed ones.

  106. Megan says:

    What a beautiful article. I struggled with breastfeeding as well and it’s amazing the guilt we put on ourselves. I felt like I was the only Mom that wasn’t getting a “normal” supply. I thought my body should be producing more milk, but it didn’t! Keep sharing so other Moms can realize they aren’t alone and it’s okay if you need to use formula. Fed is best!

  107. Ginger says:

    Thank you for this. My now 22-year-old had the same issues. I successfully breastfed my next two children after that, but resorted to formula at 8 weeks and a dehydrated baby with my first birth. Everybody made it look so easy and I was so determined, yet got so discouraged. There was so much relief when we started formula. And, honestly, I can’t tell any difference in the health of my failure to thrive formula fed baby and my other two breastfed ones.

  108. Narelle says:

    Your story sounds eerily similar to mine, I was grieving my father who committed suicide 6 days prior to my first daughter being born.

    My daughter was always hungry, never content. I feel like the latch wasn’t right, the milk wasn’t right and she was too hungry but at the time everyone just said it was ‘normal’ and to keep trying. I continued with blistered nipples, feeding so often for so long that I generally only had half an hour to an hour breaks some days and in the end I was trying to pump in the middle of the night to increase my supply and I bled into the pump. I woke my husband up and cried to him I couldn’t do it any more. It broke my heart. I made it to 3 months and was so embarrassed that I couldn’t continue.
    She’s now a happy, healthy, thriving 18 month old! She had been on thickened formula due to reflux and she’s weaned herself down to a tiny bit in the evening to help her get to sleep. She still loves her food though, always hungry.

    I now also have a 3 month old too (just over 3 months) and she is feeding just fine, in fact when I was sick last week I decided that it wouldn’t hurt to add a sneaky little bit of formula at night to ensure she was getting enough nutrients (I can’t believe I thought that after struggling so much with my first) and she refused it, wouldn’t take it at all, so I guess this time is going better!

    It’s so nice to have a little one be satisfied after feeding, whether it be that first bottle of formula when I gave in for my first daughter or a big breastfeed to sleep with my second.

    #fedisDEFINITELYbest

  109. Narelle says:

    I forgot to add:

    Thank you for sharing, you don’t know how many heart strings this pulled for me.

    I hope you’re all doing well now.

    Sending love and good vibes!
    x

  110. Queen of Less Drama says:

    I walked that road twice with my two babies. With the first baby the lactation consultants had me doing all sorts of contortions with all sorts of contraptions. Feeding and pumping was an all day and night affair for all of us including my husband. After a month I realized our family was drowning and I made the hard decision to quit. With baby number two – my milk cane in a little better but not all the way. After big tears, I told the lactation specialists that breast feeding was supposed to be natural and everyone that did it successfully just plopped on the couch and didn’t think twice about it even if they initially needed help. I breast fed for three weeks and then got a stomach virus for 5 days that wore me out. At that point again I decided the hard decision for our family was #fedisbest! Thank you for sharing! I’m sorry for your difficulties. There is so much pressure. As a soon to be FNP, I will remember our stories and share with my patients who are struggling – that fed is best!

  111. Calli says:

    Oh my gosh. The feels! I did much the same thing with my first kid. I ended up supplementing and it was hard to accept but I’m so glad now that I did. ❤

  112. Robin says:

    Thank you for this! I cried reading it because this was our story almost exactly! I still feel sad that breastfeeding isn’t the exclusive way to feed my baby but she is thriving and that is what I want in the end. I have a happy and healthy baby girl who is loved and fed 😉

  113. Esther Seaton Dummer says:

    The same thing happened with me many years ago. My son (now 40) was not thriving and gaining weight either. Within about a two week period I had no milk and my son was burping up blood. Everyone told me to just keep trying that if I didn’t feed him the milk would not come in. I called my doctor and told him what was going on and he asked me , “Are you breast feeding?” When I said yes, he said, “Get him on formula right away and stop trying to breast feed.” That released me from the trauma that was taking place with me and my little son. I was so glad to see him eat. What I found out later was that, mistakenly, the doctor had give me a shot to dry up the milk because he thought I was going to bottle feed, hence the blood. It seems a lack of good communication on several levels is the culprit. When I look at the before and after pictures of your son, I see mine. Thank you for sharing.

  114. Linchi says:

    wow, this really touched my heart because I went through almost the same experience with my first born and no one understood how hard it was for me to realize and come to terms with the fact that I just didnt have enough milk for him. The guilt I still feel for having starved my baby his first month.
    Thank you for this article.

  115. Kenley Barker says:

    My baby was born 6 weeks early-he had a hard time latching on and they couldn’t find a shield small enough for him to use. He is 6 weeks old (today is actually his due date) and he has only latched a hand full of times. I was supplementing with a formula for preemies and then the formula became more exclusive, I have struggled to get my milk supply to come in fully. I, like you, just needed validation from my doctor that, in a world where breastfeeding is shoved down your throat by doctors, pediatricians and some fellow mommies, that it is okay to use formula. He got my colostrum and my breast milk for the first two weeks and after that, he’s mostly had formula. I’ve tried all of the things the doctors told me to try to get my milk in naturally and it just hadn’t happened. I’m glad to know I’m not alone

  116. kelly says:

    This brings tears to my eyes as I read this. I haven’t been able to breast feed any of my babies, because I just can’t make enough for them. I feel her pain of guilt, frustration, sadness, and mental break down. And it didn’t help with people asking me if I think that I may have “post par tum depression.” I understand they wanted to help and they were worried about me. But that wasn’t it. With my first baby and as a first time mom, I had nurses telling me that I need to feed her and keep trying. “She has to eat,” they kept telling me (as if it was the only way my child was going to get food). And the nurses would leave the room with no direction of help and only ask if I needed anything maybe an hour later. They’re lack of help didn’t help with trying. It just added so much stress and the continued thought of “what’s wrong with me?” as I left the hospital with my newborn. I had a nurse at my doctor’s office for my follow up, who asked me, “oh, bottle? Haven’t you tried breast feeding her?” She probably meant well asking, but I was so mad and started crying. I finally asked our family doctor what to do at her first follow up. He said it was perfectly fine to use formula. He gave me peace of mind and that nothing is wrong with me. He said to just give her formula so I can rest easier (mind and body) and that baby would get better at the same time. He could see how stressed I was and how broken I felt. (We still continue to see the same doctor with all our kids.) I was annoyed with people asking me “why are you bottle feeding?” I was tired of people making me feel like there was something wrong with me. This mom in the article did so much to try “the right way” to feed her child. It’s so hard on moms, especially new moms because they are not told before if they have any problems, that’s OK to use formula and not to feel guilty. You do what you can for your child and what’s best for yourself at the moment to keep each of you happy and healthy.

  117. SUSAN says:

    I have a VERY similar story. My son only gained 2.5 oz. By 5 weeks old. I contacted the lactation consultants, Le Lache League, seasoned nursing moms, etc. I even had him lapping up my breastmilk from a medicine cup, like a kitten.
    I had a sister who was nursing her second child at the same time. I was so envious of her milk supply. She would manually pump 6oz. In a matter of seconds. It took me 10-15 min to pump 1 oz. It was suggested that I try to trick my body into thinking I had twins. So, I would pump and nurse and feed and wash all the tiny piece parts of my electric pump. All that would take me 1 1/2 hrs. And I was to be doing this every 2 hours?? I was faithful, diligent, and committed.
    I was also, sleep deprived, anxious, and emotionally exhausted. I couldn’t find a baby scale, so I would drive across town to the grocery store where I would place a receiving blanket in the produce scale and then place my son on the scale to see how much he weighed. I would retreat back to my car and nurse him in the back seat. Then, trek us back into the produce section and weigh him again to see how many ounces he ate. I was trying so hard! I desperately wanted him to exclusively breastfeed. I was failing us both…
    My husband, sisters, parents, and nursing friends were all very supportive. But it wasn’t until I saw a picture I had taken of him that I realized how thin he was. I immediately called the dr and it was confirmed he had only gained 2.5 oz. Since birth, nearly six weeks prior.
    I gave him his first bottle of formula as soon as we got home from the Dr. He ate and ate and ate… I felt such relief. Huge pressure off of my shoulders. But… I was sad too… Why couldn’t I feed him the way God had designed?
    I continued with formula, but would breastfeed three times a day until he was six mos. and he decided he was no longer interested in nursing.
    My son is currently nine years old. A healthy, active, intellegent, boy. Today, I thank God for formula!! If it weren’t for formula, my son would have not have survived. I too believe fed is best!!!

  118. Jen says:

    thank you for writing this. This is so similar to my experience. i tired so hard to make it work and no matter what i did or how bad i felt, it just didn’t. In the end healthy baby and healthy mom are the only important things.

  119. Stoway3 says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I tried so hard to breast feed and then to pump and it just didn’t work for us. My baby was constantly screaming because she was starving. I was a wreak because right after birth that is extremely hard to take. Once we started formula she was so happy and content. I know she wasn’t getting enough to eat and that was why she was so unhappy.

  120. kim says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I experienced the same thing with my first and still felt the guilt with other 2 children. It’s nice to know doctors and pediatricians support mom’s in this!

  121. Dr. Shruti Kapoor (@kapoors_s) says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, it’s very important for us moms to ensure that our baby is happy and healthy and if that happens through formula then its perfectly ok. So glad you seeked help right away and was guided by the right people! Amazing!

  122. Laura Morgan Doty says:

    100% YES. So much like what I experienced! If I could tell myself back then these next 5 sentences, I would have had sanity: No, he’s not just colicky. Him not gaining weight in the second and third week is not normal. No technique is making him satisfied after a feed. Nope, kids don’t cluster feed for an entire month. He will acually be happy and quiet if you supplement, and I, your future self, give you full permission to do so.

  123. Kassandra says:

    This sounds like my start at breastfeeding 🙁 Horrible time trying to latch, was cut and bleeding to the point where I stopped latching him and just pumped which was almost just as painful. I had to pump then dump the first little bit because I would bleed into the milk and I didn’t think that would be healthy for him. Tried to supplement with formula but he would throw it back up every time 🙁 He stayed so small. Lost the 10% of his birth weight and was very very slow at gaining weight. His Dr kept saying that maybe he is just a small kid. Went and saw a lactation consultant and she got me latching properly where it didn’t hurt and I cried. I cried and cried and cried when I heard him gulping back my milk. He gained his weight back but slowly. Now at just over 2 he is heavier and taller than his friends that are 2 months and 5 months older than him! Now almost due wth my second babe I am so excited to try breastfeeding again with all the stuff I have learned and gone through. Bottom line is you know your kid. If you feel something is wrong then keep seeking help. Thats why they have lactation consultants and doctors and also fellow moms! Fed is definitely best!

  124. nechamah says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I too struggled with nursing. My husband is convinced that our 1st 3 were underfed most of the time. He would give them bottles when I just couldn’t nurse anymore. By baby #4 I gave in and I went to bottles after 2 weeks, she was my easiest baby. Now #5 is due in a few months and I would love to try to breastfeed again, but I am worried that I will get caught up in the negative cycle and become a mess. It is so hard that something so natural and easy for most can be so hard for me!

  125. Regina says:

    I have never seen anyone say a baby who is not gaining weight is ok. Never. The pediatrician dropped the ball on this one. Not checking on a baby from one week until one month? Disgraceful example of the problem of our health care system where we are all numbers.

  126. Ana V. says:

    Thank you for writing this, I had breastfeeding issues with both my kids, not only due to low supply but allergies and intolerances… with my oldest I was a mess as I felt I had failed her big time, but I would get 3oz a day even pumping every two hours… she would scream as well, because her lactose intolerance which doctors kept telling me was not possible… turned out she was and she developed anemia!
    With my second it was a new start and a full mindset of exclusive breastfeeding idea again, trying to amend… with all the possible supplements to increase supply, hospital pump, etc, she was severely allergic to dairy and lactose intolerant too, so here goes fail again!. Although this time around she had a restricted special diet since her first week.
    I remember that feeling, when the doctor, nurses and lactation consultants told me it was healthier for her and my sake to adjust to the idea I wasn’t going to breastfeeding mom, and it was ok. I was not OK at their time, hormones play us tricks anyway and once more it took a while to get the idea in my heart and mind that bottle feeding did not make me a bad and unaturalized mom like a lot of people wants to make it sound, yes in those judgemental groups I shouldn’t read in first place.
    Well at the end, we are all happy, with still restricted diets but kids growing healthy and happy like it really matters!

  127. Jacqueline says:

    I had the same experience after having my baby. It took 10 days for my milk to come in and was on the highest dose of meds the doctor could prescribe but it felt like all I was doing was feeding our son. In 1 week he gained an ounce and was not my happy baby. I was devestated and felt like I was failing! I went back to pumping and supplementing with formula, but not without guilt. In 3 days he put on over a pound and was slowly starting to cry less. I pumped and supplemented with formula until our 1 month appointment where my doc gave me the ok to stop breastfeeding and gave me a big speech about how my baby will grow and be healthy no matter where he gets his food. I won’t lie, I still feel like I failed my son but all that matter is that he is healthy and growing. He is 3 months today and is always happy and smiling which makes for one happy mommy

  128. Emilia says:

    My daughter and I just went through the very same thing. At 5 weeks old, she felt lighter than she had been previously, it turned out I was right. She was losing weight instead of gaining weight. I immediately made an appointment to see the pediatrician since our next appointment wasn’t until two months. The pediatrician suggested supplementing every feeding. Once she gained a full pound in a week, he thought it was because my milk had come back and suggested I stop supplementing. Rookie mistake, I did. Over Christmas weekend, the fussiness returned. She was eating nonstop. When I took her to get weighed, she had lost weight again! No more! I refuse to starve my baby because someone else says breast is best! Fed is best. 3 weeks later, she’s happy, healthy and on track with formula! I’m all for breastfeeding but not at the expense of my baby.

  129. Shanon says:

    I wish more Doctor’s and mother’s for that matter would understand that not all abies or woman can breastfeed. That it does not matter if you breastfeed, formula feed or pump.and use a bottle….As long as the baby/child is eating, thriving and gaining weight is what matters. Neither of my sons could breastfeed due to medical issues and my oldest has a G-TUBE. I did what as best for them both.

  130. Velsetta says:

    I’m wondering if this child was ever checked for a tongue tie! Everything that’s described here makes me think he might have one

  131. JT says:

    I was formula fed as I was adopted. The same thing with my brother. We are both healthy, fully functioning adults. I’m glad you shared this and I definitely agree, fed is best! There is nothing wrong with formula feeding and it does sound like you tried your hardest to breast feed and in the end did what was best for your family.

  132. Heather says:

    I went through this with my firstborn as well. Her pediatrician made me feel as if I was doing the right thing when I left the office with the decision to formula feed, but then I encountered society who seemed more interested in judging a new mom and pushing their own thoughts and feelings about the subject upon me. I felt so guilty about not being able to breastfeed that I hid in my home for almost 9 months. I’ve since found my confidence as a mother and am not afraid to stand firm in my decisions, but it’s been a long road. Thank you for sharing your story!

  133. Beth says:

    I have a very similar story of everyone reassuring me things were fine until we were on the verge of hospitalizing a dehydrated starving baby!
    Then one day I looked at a picture of the day he was born and comparing it to what he looked like now…I was horrified and felt like such a horrible human being for unknowingly almost killing my child!
    I didn’t bother with the breastfeeding schedule, I switched right over to pumping and topping up with formula and it saved my baby’s life! He is now a fully formula fed baby, eating well, growing a double chin, sleeping well and developing perfectly!
    Fed is best! Always!
    Thanks for sharing your story, but it make me sad that it is such a common one.

  134. Wan says:

    The guilt will always be there. And yes, more people need to be aware as there are more people out there giving wrong advice to mummies who keep trying and failing but thought they are successful.

  135. Teisha says:

    I’m happy he is doing great he looks healthy. I also my self just went threw the same thing she didn’t reach her birth weight till 2 months. And breastfeeding is so pushed upon us to do so. I am now successfully half half. And she is a little chunky monkey. Fed baby either or doesn’t matter there health is most important. Beautiful read thanks for sharing though I was the only one. Happy to hear ur success

  136. Sandra Hardwick says:

    Anyone pushing their ideas on any new mom is a bad thing. I knew from the start I did not want to breast feed my babies, for a variety of reasons. I never regretted my decision. My babies grew into
    healthy, happy toddlers. And now young adults.

  137. Liz says:

    This is my story almost exactly…. Thank you for sharing this. I also felt tremendous guilt and also battled sever postpartum depression along with it. Now my daughter is 4 years old and thriving

  138. Teresa says:

    Thank you thank you thank you for writting this. These could have been my words 16 years ago with my first son. I remember breaking down with the health nurse just like you did when she validated and reassured me that it was not my fault. I felt a flood of emotion bringing me right back to that very difficult time as I read your words. Moms need to know this very real struggle for some of us. I had such a negative experience that I didnt even want to try with my second. But I am glad I did. Every child is different and the second son had no problems nursing. So again thank you.

  139. Nicole says:

    Thank you for sharing! I’m a dietitian so when my first was born, I knew how good breast milk is for babies. But I did not produce and tried everything. Finally my sweet hubby firmly told me we were going to just do formula and it would be ok. My now 6 year old is doing great and is perfectly normal and healthy. More expecting mamas need to hear these stories and to be prepared for the possibility of problems!

  140. ROSA TORR says:

    I went through something similar. My problem was that I wasn’t producing enough for my 10 lbs. baby boy (both sides of our family have very big babies). He would feed for a very long time and start to whimper as soon as I removed him from my breast. When he lost 3 lbs., I spoke with my pediatrician and he basically said “fed is best”. He recommended I start on formula and stop breast feeding so that he would not get confused between the breast and bottle nipples. Within a week he gained the 3 lbs, plus an additional 1 1/2 lbs.

    When I had my second big baby boy, I fed him the colostrum for 3 days and then went directly to formula. Both of them are healthy and happy now and I’m so very glad for the Dr.’s advise because I had always been told that breast is best and was trying my best.

  141. Patty says:

    I hate how moms feel such a pressure to breast feed. I had mastitis with my first and only got about a week of good feedings before I literally was too sick to feed her then with my second I tried t out to see if my son would like it and it became such a horrible experience that I went formula with the second. I have two healthy kids with no food allergies and growing like weeds! Glad you got it figured out!

  142. Emma says:

    Wow, thanks for writing this!

    My little man was born 6 weeks premmie, I tried to breastfeed (for only one week, so to me you are a champion!). My schedule was feed for an hour, pump for 30mins each side, then try to sleep for about 20mins and start again. I was tired emotional and feeling like a failure. My wonderful pediatrician came in and said “I have never said this to a mum before, but please stop breastfeeding him”.

    Relief and sadness. I felt like a failure, not carrying to term (because of my body), having a c-section and now not feeding.

    But he had lost 15% in 3 days! I called my husband who said “no big deal you tried and that is the best you can do”. (I have the best husband!)

    Fast forward 3 years, same pediatrician, same circumstances, but a plan to formula feed, we were set. Even know family knew what happened prior some still felt the need to criticize and try to tell me “breast is best”, actually no keeping my babies alive is best!

    I now have a 7, 4 and 1 year old, who are very happy healthy children and have not suffered at all from not being breastfeed.

    Maybe if we all told our story, the Mums that needed or wanted to do this would feel better about it.

    Congratulations you are a warrior mum for doing what you needed to, to keep your baby healthy and alive!

  143. Celeste Elizabeth says:

    I love you. Thank you for sharing. My story was similar, and I felt so much pressure inside to keep trying, keep trying and the shame, guilt, and depression I felt because breastfeeding was not a success was truly overwhelming… with all 3 kids. I tried. I really did. I saw a lactation consultant. I did all the tips and tricks. I read the books. On and on. It didn’t happen, and I collapsed emotionally. The tears I shed could fill the Seven Seas. I see now that I really didn’t need to do that. There is a culture around breastfeeding that assumes you aren’t “mom-enough” if you don’t breastfeed. In the end, I formula fed, as the third time it happened where I had a baby at my breast, and it became obvious that my baby was panicking due to starvation, I told my husband I wasn’t going to have my baby suffer because I couldn’t make more milk. He made formula and my baby relaxed. It tore me apart and relieved me at the same time.

  144. Chelsey says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! I had a exact same problems- flat nipples, problem latching, nipple shield, and ending up with my baby in the 1 percentile. “Just keep trying” was all everyone could say. Then I got mastitis for 2 months until the pain was unbearable and turned into an abscess. It’s now month 4 of an open wound that won’t properly heal and 3rd round of antibiotics. I just might be in the clear, but if the infection comes back, my only option (so I’m told) is a completely evasive surgery.

    I gave up on breastfeeding because a friend told me that it’s not for everyone – contrary to popular belief. Once my baby went to formula everyone was happy – including my husband who finally felt like he could do something. Thank you to all the moms that are finally coming forward with their breastfeeding (and all motherly) woes. I just wish I read this sooner.

  145. Mary says:

    I completely relate to this story. I lost my dad 35 weeks pregnant with my son. After birth he struggled to breastfeed. My son had a lip tie but I didn’t find out until later. I did all the same things she did, consistently trying the shield, going to classes, pumping, etc. He lost more than 10% of his weight at his 3 day follow up. I cried and cried. I pumped and pumped, got up at 2am, 4am, etc and pumped. Ended up still having to supplement with formula and finally at 8 months I had no milk left, not even an ounce.

    Had my daughter almost 2 years later. And she is a 100% breastfed baby. It’s crazy how different they are, and how different the situations are. They both are happy and healthy and that’s all that matters!! Way to go momma’s!!

  146. Olivia says:

    So proud of you for figuring out what your baby needed and for having the courage to share your story. I’ve had 4 boys and they all had different experiences: 1 was supplemented, one fully nursed and the twins are full formula. #fedisbest

  147. Heather says:

    Wow! You can really see the difference between 1 and 2 months. I’m so happy you decided to do what was best for both of you! Thank you for sharing your story!

  148. Chelsie says:

    I had the same problem with all six of my children and felt like breastfeeding mothers ran me down because I could not breastfed

  149. Melanie says:

    I could have written this myself except I started supplementing at day 4 because of jaundice and tried breastfeeding for 10 weeks. I tried so hard and at most I could pump 4oz a day. I finally got to the point where I thought “this is silly spending all this time pumping for one feed” and finally came to my sense and started to exclusively formula feed. Even after I made my decision, I still had friends say “have the tired this, have you tried that?” And some even suggested I go to the Jack Newman centre. I took fenugreek, blessed thistle and domperidone. I drank tons of water and every time my son at I tried breast feeding for 1-1.5hrs, then I supplemented and then I pumped. Then I repeated. I would set an alarm and get up at 2am because I was told breast milk production was at its highest at that time. I had people reiterate that it was a supply and demand type thing almost impkyingni wasn’t trying hard enough. To top it off I was having anflare of my RA, I could barely stand and there I was washing pumping accessories every 3 hrs. Then my life became all about feeding my son and I realized I wasn’t even enjoying him. I gave up and formula fed and carried around tremendous guilt that I had failed as a mother.
    With my second I was much more prepared and determined to give breastfeeding again. I thought that my RA flare could have been the reason that I didn’t produce milk. With baby #2 she was hospitalized for 2 weeks with her so I again started the same routine right after birth except this time I had other obstacles. She was a late preterm with a poor suck. I saw about 4 different LC and at most could pump not even an oz. The one LC came for a recheck and basically told me I wasn’t producing any milk and that I had tried 100x harder than most mothers. I almost felt like I need this permission. Then when I would tell people I wasn’t breastfeed some would even ask me why I wasn’t using donated breast milk…so again in the eyes of the community of young mothers and breastfeeders I was a failure. Now I am older and wiser and the advise I would give my old self would have been to do what makes you happy, especially so you don’t have to hear your baby scream for what I now know was food!

  150. Katie says:

    Such a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing! I couldn’t help but cry reading this. I had a similar situation, but not as extreme. The pressure to breastfeed is very overwhelming. I’m so happy to have figured out fed is best. Congratulations on your adorable thriving baby! Condolences to you and your family on the loss of your father.

  151. Brie says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. I also had flat/inverted nipples, and a little guy who just couldn’t get the latch. By 3 months he had fallen off the weight charts, I wasn’t sleeping, and my doctor had a heart-to-heart with me that my baby boy just needed to be FED so that we could all move forward and be happy. I threw my pump in the garbage and have been a formula feeding mom to a happy, healthy baby ever since.

    I had lactation consultants tell me to ‘keep at it!” and that “every baby and mom can do this, if they really want to make it happen”. Meanwhile my babe was starving.

    You are doing a GREAT JOB. I am too. Happy, healthy moms and happy, healthy babies are best!

  152. Ann McDonnell says:

    This exact same thing happened to me. My daughter went from eight pounds down to six and was peeing crystals. A doctor told me I was a hysterical mom. Luckily, those at WIC helped me weighing her every day and pumping, formula feeding only 1/2 oz in the beginning. It was a constant struggle. Alas at eight weeks she gained back her birth weight ant was top of the chart at one year. All the time though, I felt alone in my plight.

  153. Cambria Ward says:

    3 kids!! Same exact issue with the first one. I tried and I cried the first time we gave her the bottle..she cried and cried for the first 2 weeks of life no matter how much I would feed her. I felt like I failed. I’d pump and get maybe 2 ounces of super thin milk. After the lactation consultant came and gave her the bottle she stopped crying!!! AND slept (which she didn’t do before)! It took some time for me to get over the guilt after having it literally shoved down my throats my whole life that “breast is best” and I couldn’t give her that. 🙁 I still always breastfed first and followed up with a bottle of formula. My next two it was a lot easier to give formula. Fed IS best!!!

  154. Pallavi says:

    Inspiring and absolutely true!!! Thank you so much for sharing, it gives me strength and courage and allow me to be guilt free mom.

  155. vaccinesworkblog says:

    How sad that your doctor did not know better, did not know to tell you to supplement. My story has a similar beginning but, thanks to a marvelous pediatrician, a very different ending. My first child was born at 6lbs 8 oz. We were discharged after 24 hours. I had been given very little attention after her birth, from the nurses, and she was not really nursing much. They discharged us anyway. At home, I didn’t know if I was nursing correctly, it did not seem like she was eating, and there were no lactation consultants. I had not joined a social media group (this was 2003) so I had no one with whom to chat. All my friends either had older children or were childless. No one had had trouble nursing.

    By the third day of her life, I knew something was wrong and called the pediatrician. They had us bring her in. She had lost more than 10% of her birth weight and was frantic, so we were instructed on how to use formula. The plan was as follows: I would wake her to nurse every two hours. Afterward, her father gave her a bottle of formula. The first few days, she drained the formula bottle. By the end of the first week, she took very little formula. By the end of the second week, she had gained enough weight that we got to stop the formula. My milk had come in and she was nursing just fine.

    Fed is best.

  156. Jane Greene says:

    I had the same feeling of inadequacy when my first child failed to thrive on breast milk. Finally, at 6 weeks when she was given a bottle of formula and slept 4 hours for the 1st time, I was overjoyed! I was starving my daughter and losing my mind. The worry and stress was real!
    Thanks for telling your story. I feel better knowing fed is better.

  157. Natalie says:

    Thank you for sharing. I couldn’t fill my son up, no matter how hard I tried/long I nursed. I got to the point where I didn’t want to touch him because he always wanted to eat. “Giving up” on nursing at 6 weeks has haunted me for years. Your story and your mom’s words in particular help me see that I did what was best for my family.

  158. Karen says:

    This is exactly what I went through with my own son- it’s heartbreaking and could have been much worse.. thanks for sharing!

  159. Anna says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I also struggled with my daughter who was born under 5 pounds. She didn’t latch and I pumped…I set the alarm every three hours and it was pure misery! Every half an ounce gained was a celebration…followed by more pumping, continued lack of sleep, and emotional breakdowns. After three months I decided enough was enough and we moved to formula. What a difference! Breast feeding is not for everyone…I feel like there is such a societal pressure for women to breast feed, but as you said, the sanity of the mother is key. My daughter is now nine and the tallest girl in her class! Thank you again for sharing!

  160. Diana says:

    Thank you for this. My story with my boy is nearly identical. So heartbreaking and I’m just so glad it’s all over. Bless your heart. He is beautiful. ❤

  161. Mary says:

    I just wanted to say THANK YOU for writing this… As I read this, I cried the whole time because this is also my story… Every bit of it… It’s almost like I wrote this myself. I’m now expecting my second child in February and the anxiety and stress I feel every time breast feeding crosses my mind is unreal! Thank you for helping me see that #fedisbest…

  162. kimberly Galbrecht says:

    I loved your story. I too felt that I needed to breastfeed bc “breast is best”. But after my milk came my daughter couldn’t latch and so on her 5th day of life I gave her a small bottle of formula….and she was finally full! I gave her both for 2 weeks, breast milk I pumped and formal until I finally switched to just formula. Now 10 months old she is healthy and happy. Noone ever explains how so very hard breast feeding is and that it’s really ok if you don’t or can’t. Way to go!

  163. Sarah says:

    I am so sad you and your baby had this horrible experience. The pressure on new mums is crazy and it takes a strong person to stand up and speak for their child. Wishing you and your little one a brighter and less pressured future.

  164. Becky says:

    I went through the same thing. I switched to exclusively feed formula at 4 months and it took me til 6 months to accept my decision. Breastfeeding just wasn’t in the books for me. I was more successful with my second and went until 6 months. I still feel judged but I have freedom and by babies are healthy and thriving.

  165. Rebecca says:

    I have 3 beautiful children I tried breast feeding with all of them but it didn’t work for me I still feel like my body let me down, my son got 6-8 weeks, my eldest daughter got 4 weeks and my youngest got about 3 weeks. It’s a hard choice to make but my babies and myself were a lot more settled and happier with formula feeding. Breast feeding is really hard work and I’m all for fed is best because everybody needs to be fed to grow and develope properly.

    Thank you for this wonderful read, it has helped me a lot.

  166. Allison says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I had a difficult time with breastfeeding my son and had to switch to formula earlier than I wanted. It was the best choice for both of us, I was no longer stressed out and he was gaining weight like crazy.

  167. Jessie says:

    I feel like I read my own story with the experience I had with my son. Thank you for writing this. I experienced the exact same thing.

  168. Katen says:

    My daughter is now 12 years old. Everyone around me breastfed their babies. My dad ghetto wouldn’t latch and I received pretty much no help in the hospital. Once we got home, she was hungry, not latching properly and I wasn’t producing any milk. My husband ran to the store and bought formula. What a relief once she was eating. I tried pumping, but never produced enough milk for her. My Doctor was wonderful and the guilt over not being able to breastfeed melted away. It’s hard enough with a new baby and everything else you were dealing with. You did the right thing for you and your baby.

  169. Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is so similar to mine and made me feel better about my situation. I tried so hard to breastfeed until my mom pointed out that I was starving my baby. #fedisbest.

  170. Joan says:

    This was my story too in but in 1974. There were no lactation nurses or electric breast pumps. After four weeks of constant crying and weighing 1 1/2 lbs less than birthweight pediatrician wanted to hospitalize her.
    My instinct told me my daughter was hungry and begged to just give her formula. He gave me three days and she gained 1 lb.
    There is no shame in bottle feeding as contrary to popular belief not everyone can Breast feed for various reasons. Your son will continue to grow strong and healthy.

  171. Meredith says:

    I had a similar experience with my son. I wasn’t producing enough milk, but I was determined that I had to breast feed even though my nipples were bleeding and my baby was miserable and losing weight. The doctor told me he was falling into a category called “failure to thrive”. After 2 weeks of hell for all of us, my husband finally gave him a bottle of formula. He sucked it down with a vengeance. It was such a relief when he started to gain weight. I pumped what I could and supplemented with formula. Today, he is a 6’2″ 15 year old playing varsity basketball in high school. He’s thriving just fine! When you are in it, it’s hard to see the perspective. I thought I was doing what was right, but I was so wrong!

  172. Iris Pearson says:

    I went through a similar situation. My baby girl wasn’t getting enough breast milk from me and was starving too. She wasn’t a good latcher and I had terribly sore breasts. I lost my young brother to an accident one month before her birth. I thought I had to try breastfeeding at all costs. After two months of hell, my husband said enough is enough and bought formula. She thrived after that. We never looked back. She’s now a healthy 11 year old. I wasn’t able to nurse my second child for very long either. But way less guilt with him. He’s 8 now. They turn out fine!!

  173. Amye says:

    Thanks for sharing your story! Ours was similar, with trouble from the start including using the shield, pumping constantly and what we were told was a tongue tie that had to be resolved.

    In the end we pushed through four months, at which time she just quit bf for bottles exclusively. Those months were grueling and seeing friends continue to bf is difficult, but I try to remember that she is healthy and getting good nutrition regardless. Still, not an easy journey for a new mom so I empathize!

  174. Terilee says:

    I was the same way…. tried forever, and at 6 weeks, after giving her a bottle of formula for the first time she slept for 12 hours!! I thought I killed her!! Really!! Once she was on formula she was a healthy baby! Thank you for telling your story!!!

  175. Alexis Switzer says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story!!! This is exactly how I felt!!!!! It truly is a life changing experience and when your baby isn’t eating it is so stressful. When you aren’t sleeping, he isn’t eating and you just want whats best, it is so overwhelming! I am so glad that there are other people that I can talk to about my experience. Again, thank you for sharing!!!

  176. Grace Katherine Lisch says:

    Oh my heck, YES. We had latch problems too, for the same reason, and every feeding turned into a scream out – me too! I had terrible post partum, and was so terribly depressed. I prayed about it, and God’s response was, “It’s more important for him to have a happy mom than it is for him to have breastmilk.” Amen, sister!

  177. steph says:

    I am so glad you wrote this 🙂 I had a similar journey with my first born. It took a good friend and my very supportive family to remind me that taking care of myself was also taking care of my precious baby. God bless you and your sweet boy!

  178. PYounk says:

    I had similar experiences. I just had no milk. By my third baby, I thought I had it right. He was happy,sleeping and just breastfeeding!!! Little did I know that he was starving and not gaining. He was just so content I had no idea. Bless you for sharing your story. There are so many breastfeeding moms that cast disapproving eyes when we pull out a bottle instead of our breast, not knowing the lengths we went to to try and nurse our babies.

    My niece just had a baby and experienced the same thing. I finally looked at her and said do you love your mom any less because she didn’t have enough milk for you? Absolutely not! Again, thanks for sharing your story.

  179. Kelly says:

    I can relate with this sooo much! My second child was EXACTLY your situation! I tried so hard but ultimately gave in to formula and he thrived! My third was exclusively breastfed and I honestly regret not supkamenribg something. He was soooi tiny. My pediatrician supported me and I was so proud that I accomplished that, but looking back it’s sad. He started rapidly gaining weight at 7 months after we introduced solids and I felt so guilty. We live and we learn. Thanks for sharing your story!!

  180. Amber says:

    When my oldest was born he had to stay in the NICU and like you I tried to pump around the clock, the drs ever gave me a prescription for a medication that was supposed to increase my milk supply. My breaking point was when I pumped a bottle full of blood. Then when my second son was born I was scared the same thing was going to happen again but decided to try to breastfeed anyway, well I had an ABUNDANCE of milk with that one lol.

  181. Elizabeth Sharp says:

    I have been there too. My oldest and i had a very hard time trying to breastfeed. She did not gain much weight for the first 3 months of her life and the doctor did bloodwork to make sure nothing was wrong. We ended up putting her on formula and she started growing wonderfully now she is 4 and perfectly healthy. finally with the third baby we got breastfeeding down and at 10 months she weaned. my middle girl had no interest in the boob she liked bottles much better. Fed is ALWAYS best.

  182. Nurse and mom says:

    I had this same internal battle and the same issue w my second child!
    I beat myself up much like you and today my child is smart, healthy, and happy! I am happy and we enjoyed what was left of those sweet baby days!

  183. Jena says:

    Thank you for this! My baby was miserable and I was not happy, I tried to breastfeed with everything I had (biting on a towel and crying to get through it and then her still be just as unhappy afterwards), my husband finally broke down himself and went and got formula, she was starving and I was losing my mind… my pediatrician told me… a happy mom is a happy baby and a happy baby is a happy mom..I felt completely guilty and suffered some depression because I felt like a failure… not true but no one was there to talk to me about it and everyone around me I felt was breastfeeding no problem… and made me feel guilty for giving my baby formula… breast is best… no nutrition is best… happy to report today my little girl is thriving, she is one next week and she’s literally running and is a super smart happy fun loving baby girl. Thank you for sharing, I hope it gets other mommas out of their shell and know their not alone! Blessings your way

  184. Jenn says:

    Wow. I’m blown away by how similar your story is to mine except that I stopped breastfeeding sooner. I also accidentally starved my baby. She lost well over 10% in the hospital and had stopped wetting diapers before her 2 week checkup. I felt so extremely guilty for giving up breastfeeding and also starving her the first 2 weeks but now that she’s a toddler I’m happy I had switched her to formula when I did. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not alone. Fed really is best.

  185. Christine says:

    This was exactly my story w my 3rd child Charlie. I was under tremendous amounts of stress and grief when he was born. Although he nursed and nursed and never really fussed as long as he was on the boob…. I felt my milk never really came in and he was losing weight. My pediatrician too treated me w the same sensitivity and kindness and I felt like he let me off the hook I had myself on… I cried and I love him for it. Definitely, definitely #fedisbest

  186. Sarah says:

    There is so much pressure to breastfeed and as a first time mum you don’t want to give up. I struggled with it too especially the first few days as my milk hadn’t come through and my son was just a super hungry baby. I ended up having to give him formula by day three as he was starving and at the hospital the nurses weren’t too happy about it. I even had to sign a waiver saying that the hospital was not responsible! That night my son slept for 6hours straight. And to me that just showed as long as he was fed (wether it was formula or breastmilk) then I’m happy as he was happy. I tried to persevere with breastfeeding until 4months however he was happier on formula. I was proud that I managed that long. You just have to do what is best for you and your baby. Nobody else opinion matters. Thanks for sharing your story! Your son is gorgeous! 😍

  187. Sharon says:

    Thanks for sharing. I had an almost identical struggle with my now almost 6 year old and your article still brings tears. No one warms you how emotional breastfeeding is and how painful it is when you feel like you’re failing. I would have loved to have read this back then.

  188. Paige M. Thompson says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It hits home for me because I had a hard time breastfeeding. I stopped shortly after I went back to work, so my LO was about 3.5-4 months when we stopped. I have felt that same guilt you described. Sometimes I still think, “What if…?”

    I am so grateful for your experience because my other mom friends have breastfed much longer than I did, so it’s nice to know I’m not alone. Again, thank you. #FedIsBest

  189. Nancy says:

    Congratulations to you, & God bless your mom & your doctor!! There is too much pressure put on moms to nurse…May you continue to have a happy & healthy little guy!!

  190. Shannon says:

    Thank you! My baby is almost 5 years old. I struggled, cried, saw lactation nurses. I’m educated in the healthcare field but when it came to my own baby (and sleep deprivation) I did not realize I was starving my baby. The whole “breast is best” and the ideals that your body makes what your baby needs is setting up a false idea for mothers. Sometimes formula is best, especially when your baby is starving. Luckily, my little man is healthy and happy but new moms should know that formula is ok!

  191. Jenna says:

    My little one and I struggled with the same issues when he was born. It took him almost a month to gain back up to his birth weight. His dr didn’t act too concerned. When he was a month old, I spent 4 days in the hospital for an unrelated issue and tried pumping while in the hospital but ended up supplementing with formula. He seemed so much happier and fuller after a formula bottle and finally started gaining weight. It was emotional to stop breastfeeding soon but I knew that was what was best.

  192. Teresa says:

    Thank you!! I went through the same thing with my son and after reading this i don’t feel guilty about not breast feeding!!

  193. PS says:

    Good job Mama have faith and know you did what was good for your baby. We know your struggles but just know we applaud your choices…..

  194. Alex says:

    This same thing happened to my daughter and I to a slightly lesser extent. She anyways seemed hungry and uncomfortable. I switched to formula and never looked back. She was on special acid reflux formula and finally became a happy, healthy baby. Never feel shame for giving your baby proper nutrition…breast milk or formula. Good for you mama!

  195. Christine Gray says:

    This is very similar to my own experience though I was fortunate in having a great GP and health visitor. I too have flat nipples and wearing hard plastic inserts to draw them out before the birth did nothing to change that. I remember getting up to sit on the electric pump in the hospital two hours before a feed to try and express milk. When I got home it was worse trying to use a hand pump. After a couple of weeks I was exhaustted. I seemed to be either pumping or trying to feed her for hours every day plus I was topping it up with formula. Then one day the health visitor dropped in and said to me “You are getting all the disadvantages of breast feeding without any of the advantages”. She was right it was a dual feeding system. Like you my milk never really came in. I changed to total bottle feeding and my life and my baby’s improved overnight. My GP callled in (they did in those days). He saw I was upset, I felt a failure that I could not feed my baby, He said “I have four strapping lads, two of them were bottle fed and two breast fed. If I lined them up in a row you wouldn’t be able to tell which were the bottle fed ones”. He was right. I still believe breast feeding is best but sometimes it just doesn’t work and if the baby, or the mother is suffering because of that then you have to take a common sense approach. My baby is now 35, happy and healthy with two children of her own, both breast fed. She is a midwife and part of her job is helping people with exactly this sort of problem.

  196. Maggie says:

    You go girl! I struggled for a month as well – My son would never latch. Formula was the best option for us and we were all happier after I let go of the guilt for not being able to nurse. Fed is indeed best. Thank you for writing this and may your sweet baby continue to thrive!

  197. Patti says:

    This sad story sounds almost exactly what I went through with my first born Courtney. Thankfully she was almost 9lbs(!) when she was born but she lost a significant amount of weight, was dehydrated and my midwives and doctors kept pushing me to breastfeed exclusively despite her skin peeling from dehydration and weight loss. I supplemented immediately one night and she made huge gains. She was starving. Breast isn’t always best if your supply doesn’t come in. Some of us aren’t “doing it wrong” some of us just aren’t built to feed. With my second daughter named Harriet, I snuck in formula to the hospital because it was such a taboo subject and I didn’t feel like explaining my previous story. As no one ever believed that I was built this way and simply just not breastfeeding correctly.
    I breastfed with about 1-3oz only per feed of milk and the rest formula for over three months each time. I fell into the rare category of those women with low supply. Not from anything I didn’t try but because it was the way nature built my breasts. I envy those that can feed and have ample supply. But some of us actually simply cannot. Thank you for this awareness it is very important to get the word out.

  198. Michele says:

    Thank u so much for sharing this! As an RN and a mother I wholeheartedly embrace this philosophy of making sure your child is well fed, no matter how.

  199. Lynette says:

    In short, formula is not a poison…ok…it’s ok to feed your baby 100% formula!!!! I’m a mother of two…I hate to see those mom that try so hard and insist on just breastfeeding their baby….what is wrong with their mind? If u can breastfeed, both mom and baby feeling happy, then go for it…but if it doesn’t work out for both mom and baby…then just stop doing it….it’s that simple!

  200. Kelly says:

    This truly resonates with me and I’m sure millions of other mothers. Thank you for being brave enough to share your journey. Your courage will go on to help many other new mums who are going through a similar experience. Nobody tells you how hard breast feeding is going to be. So thank you for being the voice x

  201. Erin says:

    My story is almost exactly the same! I’m so glad people are starting to understand…it doesn’t matter if you breastfeed or formula feed, we all love our babies and only want what’s best for them!

  202. Sian elweell says:

    This is amazing. I didn’t even get out the hosptal. I had a big baby 10pound 6. And he was getting upset and night before I was jue to go.home as had a c section. He cried all night and I did as I i was trying to feed. And he was feed but not getting any. Well or not a lot. But after a c section which I felt gulty over already and now could feed him. But most of the midwife made me feel terrble. Thier was 2 that was lovley. One look after my son when I had a shower and breakfast. And my husband came in and i was crying baby was crying. And he qent I’m not having this. And we made dission then. Midwife wernt happy I was made to sign a agrlment that it was my dission And they tryed. Which was terrble. I reather feed my child who was a hungry baby anyway. Then starve him. We need more people say bottle isn’t bad .

  203. Simone says:

    Thank you so much for being brave and sharing your story, mine mirrors yours and I struggled for years feeling like I had failed somehow! Both my babies needed formula as I was starving them while pumping, taking supplements and feeding all the time! It does happen and I’m so glad I now have freedom like you, to know that fed is best!

  204. Steph says:

    Thank you! My daughter struggled so much with latching, we figured out she had a lip tie and we revised it, but even though she was eating every two hours or more, she was hardly gaining anything. From 3 to 4 months she only gained 4 ounces. We figured out that yes, the lip tie was an issue, but my milk has very little fat in it, so even if she’s frequently filling her little tummy, it’s like she had broth instead of the whole stew! It’s been hard to accept that after all the work I put into increasing supply and helping her latch better, that my milk isn’t enough! But she is doing so much better, she’s not just surviving to the next feeding, and she is gaining weight like crazy! She is so much happier, and when I’m not grieving, so am I! It’s so validating to see that I’m not alone!

  205. Felicia says:

    With tears I thank you! We have never met but I understand your story. It isn’t identical but I too have felt guilty for having to stop breastfeeding. My milk wasn’t fat enough for my baby to gain weight. At 5 months he had LOST weight. I am so glad to have read this and will be looking into fedisbest!!

  206. nicole says:

    I bottle fed all mine from start i had seen too many starve because they weren’t getting enough.when my daughter had her 1st baby she breast fed and I watched it again so b4 I went home I went and got her bottles and formula 2 wks later she sent me a foto and her baby had finally put on weight and was not wanting to be fed hourly

  207. Lauren Jellison says:

    I had the same problem!!! My mom told me that at least they got the colostrum at the beginning and that’s one of the best things they could receive! My little girl lost a pound in less then a week and I didn’t know I wasn’t producing enough for her until one day I pumped and in three days both breasts I only got 60 mL. Now that she is on formula she has doubled the weight the doctor wanted her to be at and is still growing fast everyday. She is such a happy baby now and like you said about your litttle one more alert and calm and even sleeps good at night now too <3 thank you so much for sharing your story because it helps me know that there are other ladies out there that had the same issue as me.

    Much love,
    Lauren

  208. Janne says:

    That is a very touching story! You tried and gave everything that is all your baby wanted nothing else. They just want our love and dedication. You are an amazing mom!

  209. Maeghan says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I couldn’t breast feed due to breast reduction surgery 3 years prior to having my son, though he did latch and got something for the first few days after birth, I knew I would formula feed (and truthfully had no problem with this, it didn’t truly effect me emotionally, I wanted to breast feed but already knew the probability of it happening was very minimal). My aunt told me her story of when her first son was born, mid 1970’s, and she tried and tried to breast feed but her son was not interested, she went home from the hospital with her son and my Nana (her husband) out playing golf, and my cousin just cried and cried and my aunt felt defeated. She said she got her car keys and told my Nana she would be back. She went to the drug store and purchased bottles and formula. Got home made him a bottle and poof he guzzled the whole thing down. He never had a problem eating or gaining weight after that. My aunt told me that however you feed YOUR baby is the best way for YOUR baby. You are your child’s sole provider of everything to sustain life, so it doesn’t matter how they’re fed or what they’re fed, all that matters is that they survive and you in turn as the mother survive as well. They were very encouraging words to a new post partum mother. I hope your story helps so many other moms out there. 🙂

  210. Sharon Bielecki says:

    Thank you for sharing. More women, men, friends, professionals, ect need to know when to support a mom instead of increasing her guilt because they “know what’s right”. I felt so much guilt from the nurses, family members, friends, lactation consultants, even my husband when my son wouldn’t breast feed. I gave it my all, but there were problems no one understood. As mothers we need to respect one another and be aware of our baby’s and our own needs. Every situation is not the same, nor are you bad if things don’t go “right”.
    Thank you.

  211. Myra says:

    I had to stop breastfeeding my son also and it was due to me getting sick…. I was devastated because I truly wanted to exclusively breastfeed…. But it’s was more important for both of to be healthy…. Thank u for sharing…

  212. Karen says:

    I’m glad that you posted this because people make you feel pressured to breastfeed when it may not be right for you or the baby. When I had my daughter and tried to breastfeed in the hospital, they kept telling me that she was cluster feeding but everytime I thought she was done and I put her down, she would start screaming. I was up for 48 hours. I tried to express my colostrum but there was only a dot. The nurse said “see it’s coming out.” They kept telling me to continue breastfeeding so I did. When I left the hospital and atill struggled when I got home. I said forget this and got the formula. When I fed my daughter I could her the milk going into her belly because she was so hungry. I felt so awful. But forumula fed babies are just as healthy as breastfed babies.

  213. Roxi DS says:

    Thank you for sharing! I am a pediatric nurse that works with babies that have feeding problems and I have a 6wk old and we have a very similar story, except at our first Pediatrician visit the doctor suggested supplementing with formula. We then went back 3 more times for wt checks. That was hard and my milk supply is still minimal, but my baby is eating and gaining weight. Yes, breastfeeding may be best, but not if it’s not working! A lot of mom’s need to hear this message too! So again, Thank you!

  214. Jessi Colclasure says:

    This is literally my story! I have a now 5 yr old thriving boy. I can’t wait to read the tips for how to avoid this so I don’t have to go through that hell with my next baby.

  215. Kay says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. There is so much pressure out there to respond to our babies in certain ways – whether is be about feeding, sleeping, how we keep them occupied. It’s so easy to feel completely lost and overwhelmed by it all. Your baby is beautiful and completely blessed to have such a dedicated and loving mother. I’m dealing with issues of mothers’ guilt and it is so normalising to read your story and realise that I’m not alone in coping with a broken heart.

  216. niftynurse17 says:

    Thank you for this! This is exactly what I went through with my son and even though he is now a year and a half, I still have emmense guilt for not being able to feed him longer than a few months. But he is a strong, healthy, wonderful boy and our babies need to eat no matter what route and as long as we tried, and tried our hardest, that’s all that can and SHOULD be excepted and REspected. I’m so glad to know I’m not alone!

  217. Machelle says:

    My son was 5 weeks early, emergency c-section. Fortunately, he had no complications and we left the hospital together. While at the hospital, I continuely told the nurses I didn’t think he was latching, only to be told “his diaper count is fine.” I knew something wasn’t right, so we stopped on the way and bought a pump. Long story short, he NEVER latched. I started supplementing at 1 month and pumped till he was 6m old. I WISH I would have switched to exclusively formula at the 1 month mark. I will never get back the time I spent pumping, that I could have been spending with my newborn. It would have also reduced the stress and anxiety and the feelings of being an inadequate mother I felt.

  218. Kaela says:

    Literally, this was EXACTLY my experience as well, all the way down to the reflux. I feel that I have to explain to people everytime they asked me if my son was breastfed. But he is 2 now and so healthy. Fed is best

  219. Melissa says:

    Wonderful article….I did not produce any milk with my first son, the hospital was great about it all. I’m about to have my second son next week, this particular hospital is very breast friendly. I’m not sure I’ll produce again this time, and are already dreading their repercussions. As far as I’m concerned, the importance is a healthy baby no matter breast or not! You’re an amazing momma!

  220. Janet says:

    Courageous to write. This was my experience too. I became a vocal advocate that fed is best and tried to help friends also feel comfortable with using formula.
    The problem with the ‘breast is best campaign ‘ is how do u back peddle and tell someone it is ok to use formula after you have pushed the breast feeding agenda so hard?

  221. Lesley illingworth says:

    It’s a shame you felt you had to breastfeed for so long, what’s right for one person doesn’t suit all. Very, very happy for you that you have sorted this out and your boy is now doing so well. Good luck for the future. And do what’s right for you two.xxx

  222. Shannon says:

    Thank you for writing this. It brought me to tears because I have been there. When I had my first baby I was determined to breast feed. What I didn’t expect was an extremely difficult birth of baby that was over 11lbs. She instantly had the need to eat more than I could supply. I would feed and pump and be lucky to get 1/2 an ounce. I did so many things to fix it: lactation consultants, medications, diet changes. I felt like a failure because I couldn’t feed my beautiful daughter. When she was about 2 months old my mom gave me very similar advice… happy mom = happy baby. I switched to formula and we both turned a corner.

    I’m happy to say my 13 year old “baby” has an over 90% average in school, is athletic, strong, beautiful and extremely heathy. We all take different paths as parents but at the end of the day, healthy, happy children is the goal.

  223. Lisa says:

    Thank you for your story. About 4 years ago, I went throught the EXACT same thing! My milk never really came in, but the pressure to breastfeed was so strong that my son ended up being hospitalized for malnutrition, he was jaundice and STARVING!!!! It took us a week in the hospital, when they finally told me that I didn’t have enough milk and I should consider supplementing or straight bottle feeding. We switched the formula, and suddenly my cranky baby was happy and sleeping through the night. #fedisbest

  224. M C says:

    Soapbox Warning: Oohh this is a scary subject for me to comment on because I have so many strong opinions on what I see and know it does not coincide with today’s mentality, but I raised two daughters that are now young adults and I would say we did pretty great. We loved them abundantly and they weren’t breastfed, they never slept in our bed, they didn’t have choices as we made those choices for them (like what would you like to eat this morning or letting them choose when it was time to go to sleep), they never had a phone/iPad to entertain them (they weren’t even allowed to have just a just a simple non-smart phone till they graduated eighth grade) and we spanked them when they needed to be disciplined. Those are just a few of the things that have been missing in a lot of parenting.

    What a great story to share!! This can be difficult for new moms to get passed these days as breastfeeding is tagged by media and everyone to be the only way to go. I had Jorden just before the over excitement of ‘You Must Breastfeed Your Baby or Your a Horrible Mom’ mentality started and also the we need to be our kids friend and give them hugs instead of real discipline. Thank God for that!! As a young mom back then it could have been very easy for me to fall into this. Jorden had or should I say still has a thrusting problem with her tongue that prevented her from latching on. I remember the nurses in the hospital trying and wanting to send me to the Breastfeeding organization in town that just started to help me get help. I wasn’t to keen on having strangers grabbing my breast and forcing my new babies tiny head onto my breast anymore so decided I’d just try it on my own when I got home.

    Well after a few days I just knew she was struggling still and decided to get a pump. Mind you back then it was too expensive to get an electric one so we had a manual hand pump and proceeded to pump milk and bottle feed her. We had the same situation with Kasey who turned out to be tongue tied which we later had to have corrected.

    We have to remember that God gives us mom’s intuition that we need to go back and start listening too. This poor mother sensed things weren’t right but was listening to what everyone else was saying. Social media has become the crutch to all parenting as it has taken out parental intuition and filled it with a one way slate. It’s scary to me to watch where things are going with mom’s and parenting these days and the results are showing up early on and in the school system and carrying over to them through these generations now becoming adults. Trust me this isn’t a new issue because I am sure it’s happening all the time but no one is going to be as brave as this person to put herself out there for the ridicule.

    Well if you made it to the end of my rant thanks for reading haha This is such a strong subject for me but I will never be the one to go out and point out what I see. Every once in a while I do this 😳😲🙊🤐

  225. Nancy says:

    I understand completely! I remember that shriveled, red, little old man-baby that blossomed after every nap into a plump, contented happy supplemented baby boy. He’s 6’5″ now with a size 15 shoe! 🤣 Breast is best, but FED is better! ❤️❤️❤️

  226. Tracy says:

    Great post, and thank you for it! I went through pretty close to the exact same experience. I regret the first 6 weeks of my daughter’s life because it was so miserable for all of us. When the doc told me, as she was writing a prescription to up my milk supply, that formula is fantastic and I should not shy away from it… that was the turning point when everyone in my house got better both physically and emotionally. As a first time mom I had the idea I just had to try really really hard and it would work. No-one had said ‘maybe it won’t work’ so I did not see that I had formula as an option without being shamed for it. And unfortunately neither did other moms I met. This needs to be talked about!

  227. Sur says:

    Thanks for sharing. And your doctor was right…you tried harder and longer than most moms, including myself. That validation from your mother and doctor… so important cause you feel so guilty. So happy things worked out in the end!!!

  228. Adele Kelly says:

    I have had 5 babies. My first was c-section and everytime I breastfed I would bleed from the nipples more than there’d be milk for the baby. She had cholic and clicky hip with a harness for 3 mths. She would only sleep for 10-15 mins at a time every 20 hours. My partner couldn’t stand her crying so it was left to me. When she was 3wks I felt like I was going to have a breakdown so I changed to formula then at least other people could help feed her.
    When my second daughter was born naturally she took to breastfeeding straight away. But would feed continuously for up to 6-7 hrs straight with 1-2hr break in between. I learnt to breastfeed while cooking, doing housework and looking after my other child. I would always sit for the first 2 hrs of breastfeeding then get to work. She grew quite well and by 10.5 mths when she learnt to use her teeth I changed her to formula.
    My 3rd child was a boy who was born at 29wks as I had septic shock, little did I know I suffered with Crohn’s disease on top of my already diagnosed endometriosis and cervical cancer at 19 yrs old. My milk wouldn’t come in no matter what I tried so we changed to formula and he came along leaps and bounds.
    My 4th child was another boy. I’d had 9 ultrasounds to watch the baby’s weight as I’d been on steroids for my Crohn’s as it wasn’t until I was 34 wks along they found severe heart conditions. He was born at 38wks c-section and had open heart surgery 3 days old. At 2wks he came home. I struggled with my milk coming in again with the stress I was under, having 4 children, 2 severe asthmatics, 1 premi and 1 with 4dufferent heart conditions plus I was sick myself. Do he was formula fed with a lot of medication. He passed away after he had his second heart surgery at 4.5mths.
    A few yrs later I had my 5th child, another son, also with a heart condition but only mild. He was breastfeeding really well. He was born with MRSI(multi resistant staff infection) in his belly button and tinea on his feet. As we cleared that up we found him to be turning yellow. Each day he turned more and more yellow, and he was loosing weight and seemed really hungry all the time. So I had my milk tested and apparently my milk was lacking is so much nutrients as my body just didn’t have them to give, I was in effect starving my son too. He had breastfeeding jaundice. So I alternated with formula and breastfeeding and my milk dried up. So he was left on full formula feeds.
    I never set out stuck to one idea or the other when it comes to feeding my children. As long as the mother and child are healthy and happy I say go with what works for both of you.

    • Christie del Castillo-Hegyi MD says:

      Can you tell us your story again? We can translate from Italian to English using google translate if necessary.

  229. Livvy Schwartz says:

    Your story is almost identical to mine. We made it two weeks post-birth and my instincts were pinging. I took him to our prediatrician’s office, they referred me to the ER. The ER brought in their on call Ped. While we waited for him the nurses stuck my son three times (then I told them they were DONE) without successfully getting a line in him. The doctor arrived, called the nursery and asked for a bottle of formula. Fed my baby 6 ounces, burped him, my son passed out (he would only sleep for an hour or so at a time if we were lucky before that) for three hours. He peed, pooped, and ate again and we were discharged. Then I did the rig-a-ma-roll with the locatation consultant, the pumping, the supplements for me (goat’s rue), mother’s milk tea, more pumping. Finally, I broke down on the phone with my Dad of all people, and he said, “Feed your baby. Enjoy your baby. You tried. Harder than most people would. It’s ok.”

    And then it was. #fedisbeat

  230. Janet Carnegie says:

    I feel your pain. I was given the breast sheilds as well and my son just could not get enough. When he first started losing weight my mother-in-law said to me that my child was hungry. I started him right awayon formula. A few people commented on my no longer breast feeding, but my personality is that I never let it bother me. The main message is try breastfeeding, but you are not a bad mom if you stop in order to feed your child. My little boy is now a healthy 22 yr old .

  231. mamabearjournal says:

    That first photo of your baby just breaks my heart. Oh my gosh, it must be so hard to look back and that knowing what you know now. But I can relate. My daughter actually lost weight by her 3 month appointment. She didn’t indicate that she was being starved at all. But I did realize that my milk didn’t seem to be coming in, but I didn’t realize until after that doctor’s appt. We are supplementing with formula and she has been doing so much better! She’s very slow to gain weight, I think mostly because of genetics (my husband’s whole family is very very lean). But it’s so scary to even think of babies not being fed. <3 Cheers for you mama bear <3

  232. Lara Z says:

    I don’t know you but thank you so much for being brave enough to tell your story! I had a similar situation after my first child but my mom luckily realized what was happening when using a shield. We need more education!! Your article has sparked major conversation among my new mama and Facebook mama friends and I am so grateful! Thank you again and you’re a wonderful, loving mama! Fed is best.

  233. Amy Pyle says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Mine was very similar and I, too, was an emotional mess. We went in at about 2 weeks. Like you, we weighed, fed and weighed again. There was absolutely no change. Luckily we caught that early but I felt like a failure, and felt shamed by other moms. The first formula bottle we gave her, she filled up in record time. Poor baby was starving!

  234. Nikki says:

    Absolutely agree. Feed is best! I’ve had four children. Two formula feed and two breast feed. As long as bubs and mum are happy and healthy that is the most important thing xx
    I went through a similar situation with my first child and I really struggled with the emphasis placed on breast feeding.

  235. Ellie Marshall says:

    Congratulations on making the decision that you did. Over 30 years ago, I was in a very similar situation and made the decision to feed my first child formula (a big no no here at the time). I took a huge amount of flak for this and felt like I’d failed as a mother, but as in your situation, my son was unable to latch on properly and for the first eight days had been fed (my expressed milk) through a tube and spent these eight days in the Intensive Care Baby Unit. Once I got him home, this wasn’t possible and we both persevered for another week before we’d both had enough. I suffered from mastitis and he was always hungry; crying and losing weight. Finally early one Sunday morning (after an hour of me crying on the ‘phone to my sister who was half a world away – NZ / England), my husband went to the Urgent Pharmacy; bought the formula and we never looked back. My son slept through the night from five weeks of age; gained weight; loved his solids (pureed vegetables) from three months and is now an incredibly healthy 33 year old. My daughter however, latched on to the breast in an instant; woke five times a night until she was nine months old; would never eat the veges; opting only for sweet things (yoghurt, banana etc.) and was a fairly scrawny child and is still quite a picky eater. You need to do what is best for both you and your baby / family. No-one else has the right to judge you or comment on what decision you do decide to make. Do what makes you happy.

  236. Danp says:

    I went through something very similar. I noticed my daughter was really skinny and was always crying no matter how much i nursed her. At her 4 month checkup, she weighed as much as she did when she was born. She was admitted to the hospital for a week and put on special formula to gain weight. The doctors said even though i was producing a lot of milk, it probably didnt have all the nutrients she needed. I was going through a horrible divorce with her dad at the time and was very stressed so they think that was the cause. She ended up gaining weight and being a chubby baby. I was worried about breast feeding when i had my son 4 years later but he gained weight normally. It still makes me so sad that my daughter was starving and i didnt know it.

  237. Owl-Mom says:

    This story really hit home for me…with my oldest I learned just days after she was born that she was not getting enough milk from me. I felt awful but was told that I needed to start giving her formula right away. I tried lactation consultants and worked at it, but even after 6 weeks of doing everything they recommended, I was getting about an ounce for every hour of pumping and opted to stop and just continue with formula. I got judging stares when I pulled out formula to make a bottle in a public place. Each stare was like a punch in the gut reminding me that my body failed. With my youngest, I did still nurse and supplement for 6 weeks, but knew going in that unless things were different, I would feed him formula for the majority of his first year. I know that the home health nurse that visited our home just days after the birth of my oldest made a huge difference. Can we all stop judging people for the parenting choices that they make?

  238. Robin says:

    Thank you for sharing!! I experienced a very similar story with my first and it guided me to my decision on my second baby. I’m so grateful I made that choice for me and for him!! Good for you for sharing and believing in it!!

  239. Sharon says:

    I am not a mother but I have many friends who have become mothers. Some struggled with breast feeding and it took a doctor telling them that all that mattered was that the baby was healthy and happy, as was mom, it didn’t matter what the baby ate (breast milk or formula). I get angry when I see woman or groups pushing that breast feeding is the only way to go. It makes women feel guilty when they can’t breast feed for some reason. Sadly some mothers don’t even realized that they are starving their babies before it’s too late. All that babies care are that they are fed and loved. How you feed them doesn’t matter. My heart goes out to those who are made to feel horrible for something they can’t help. Sometimes the body just doesn’t produce milk or enough milk. It’s not anyone’s fault. Also there are times when the mother is unable to breast feed for other reasons.

  240. Anna Edmonds says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! This was my story too and I love the #fedisbest line!! So true… I will use it in the future! 🙂

  241. Kelly says:

    Bless you. I, too, share a similar story. The pressure to breastfeed as a new momma led me down a road of accidentally starving my infant. His weight was low and those high-pitched screams of starvation still ring in my ears to this day (seven years later). The guilt also stays with me. All I wanted was to do what was best for this brand new life; breast, as I was taught. Between trying different holds, techniques, pumping, nipple shields…it was a nightmare. The baby eventually began to breastfeed and gain weight, but the whole experience was horrid for me. The pressure to “succeed” was too overwhelming. The sad truth? I slid into a deep post-partum depression, dealing with guilt, frustration and anxiety. To complicate matters, I became pregnant with baby #2, four months postpartum. Breastfeeding and pregnant. Gave birth. Back to breastfeeding–now Baby #2. Bless the doctor who looked into my weary eyes and told me, “The best baby is a fed baby.” She encouraged me to do what was best for US…and I did. Once the pressure of breastfeeding was gone, I actually began to enjoy my babies. I cannot go back and change what happened to me. I do wish I would have felt like I could’ve made a different choice. Thank you for sharing your story.

  242. Amy Porter says:

    The 1 month picture reminded me of my first child when he was that age. I was a brand new mom living in Georgia with my army husband. My family all lived in Oklahoma so I was all alone. My mother worked closely with a bunch of nurses that worked with newborns but they were in Oklahoma a 20 hour drive away. The army doctors kept telling me he was fine while the nurses in Oklahoma were charting his growth and kept telling me that he was falling off the grid, he got down to the 2nd percentile for height to weight, and he had a very large head so lots of his weight was in his head. He would nurse for 30 minutes then sleep for an hour and a half and that was all we could do because he was either eating or sleeping, never awake. After 3 months of this I finally saw a civilian doctor at the army hospital who said he had a heart murmur which interferes with being able to nurse strong enough to get enough to sustain himself. He would only get enough to to keep him alive but not really live. Because of him only eating and sleeping he became developmentally delayed from failure to thrive. He did get caught back up rather quickly once he was on formula and was getting enough to eat.

  243. Tim says:

    I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the bottle. Mum persevered with my older brother until they both reached breaking point. Crying, projectile vomiting, never satisfied, both lacking sleep and going crazy. Nurses did all the lactation advice, massages and other uncomfortable things that made her feel bad. Nothing helped until she switched to the bottle and formula and it got better from there. She went through a similar process with her second son but switched to bottle much earlier. So little natural milk that medication was not required to dry her up etc. Without the bottle she would not have gone past having 1.
    If breastfeeding works, fine. If it doesn’t work, use formula and a bottle. Keep the baby fed and happy.
    Another woman had problems feeding the baby and the slow response of doctors to diagnose it after several visits led to the child having developmental delay (ie. brain damage).

  244. Sharon says:

    I so wish I had read this 7 months ago. A similar thing happened to me. My boy was born weighing 2575g. And he failed to latch, not without a lot of trying, nipple shields and expressing. At one point I was basically feeding ebm because of the failure to latch was causing me so much stress and at 6 weeks I was shaming myself and ready to switch to formula. With encouragement from my husband I persevered and at 7 weeks something clicked and he worked out how to bf. However during this time I was feeding a bottle every 3 hrs. And not realising he needed more than that, and that his cries were hunger not reflux like I had thought. This parenting gig is hard. But surrounding ourselves with supportive people is the best thing we can do. It’s not a bad thing to ask for help

  245. Sophie says:

    My daughter was 5.2 when she was born and she went down to 4.11 and I didn’t have much breast milk but fortunately the midwives at Oldham hospital in Manchester were execellent and encouraged me to give my daughter formula as well which helped her put 80g in one night it was amazing. Breast is not always best on its own.

  246. Amy says:

    Can I just say that I absolutely commend you for trying! And I also want to tell you that as a mother/baby nurse you have opened my eyes. Since reading your post I encourage moms to breastfeed but I also use your blog as an example as to making sure that the right choice is made. Not all moms bodies were made for breastfeeding and I have seen this first hand. Thank you for having the courage to post this. I am extremely proud of you!

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  248. Anna D. says:

    I am so glad this mom had the courage to share her heartbreaking story. Somebody needs to say something.

    I began breastfeeding my fourth child within the very first hour of her birth. She was born 18 years after my first baby, and let me tell you, things have certainly changed. The pressure to breastfeed did not exist back then as it does now. However, there were feeding classes–so we did fine. Eighteen years later I was not even asked if I was breastfeeding–was just assumed. I planned on doing just that anyway–no big deal. After having 3 kids prior, I consider myself to be “well informed” on how to feed my child though. After the first day in the hospital she was just sucking—not getting any colostrum. I could not express not even one drop( even with hospital pump). However, I kept her attached to me probably 20 out of 24 hours. The lactation consultant came, and said everything was fine with her latch. I knew she was not getting anything. I told my husband to go get some formula, and I asked for a feeding cup. Not even 20 minutes after asking for the cup, the lactation consultant/nurse showed up with another nurse. They made their argument for breastfeeding, and basically said they did not wish to give me the feeding cup. I informed them both that I knew my baby was not getting any milk, and that I was not going to let her starve. “If you don’t like it, you can leave.”My little girl actually moaned as the first liquid she had since birth touched her mouth. It took almost an entire week before I could express any milk at all. I kept putting her to the breast, but she was fed formula every 3 hours until I knew she was getting enough breastmilk. We were able to breastfeed successfully, but I would not have hesitated to keep her on formula if she needed it.

    I do not understand the way things are today with the breastfeeding pressure. My decision to breastfeed had nothing to do with any of that nonsense–it was just the way I fed her. If this had happened to me at a younger age—my story may have been a heartbreaking one too. So, if you want to formula feed–go for it. If you want to breastfeed–go for it. Watch your baby though—listen to your baby, especially in those crucial first days. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about feeding your baby. Just feed him/her.

  249. Karen Killeen says:

    Thank you for this frank and honest story. I too felt the shame of not being able to breast feed my first son properly. This is something that was never mentioned to me in the warm, cosy prenatal sessions including the one about breast feeding. I am an educated woman but still came away with the impression that all the baby had to do was look at a nipple and would latch on and drink the milk. The midwife who came to see him at my home was even blaming the scales at the hospital saying that they must be wrong because he had lost too much weight. No! He was starving, that was the problem! I cried when I realised my starving, crying baby had to have some formula. I remember thinking I was such a bad mother because I couldn’t feed him properly and I saw the formula as though it was heroin. He is now a hulking, healthy 11 year old who loves food but my guilt lies like a massive footprint on my memories of his first few months.

  250. Riti Mohapatra says:

    Thank you for writing this. I went through something similar – weight loss in the first 4 weeks – but was still advised to bf only.

    Got latch, tongue tie and suction checked by a LC. All seemed correct but baby was not getting enough. At week 7, I could take it no more – changed doctor, added formula and baby finally started to gain weight!

    Breaks my heart to think that I starved my baby for so long. And there were times that family members pointed out the obvious in the early days and I resisted – mistaking baby fussiness with cluster feeding. I really believed that I could exclusively breastfeed – and it was a tough reality check. And now I am saner, healthier and happier!

    Wish you and baby the very best for the future!!

  251. Rachael Schiffman says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. So much (ALL) of the breastfeeding literature suggests that if you just keep feeding on demand eventually your supply will increase and you will be able to breastfeed exclusively if you follow X steps. I had a similar experience in that my baby was constantly nursing, constantly fussing, and not sleeping. I began supplementing with formula in the second week, after calling the pediatrician at 5 am after being up with the baby all night trying to nurse. My baby is now 5 weeks old and I still feel guilty and like I did something wrong that I couldn’t breastfeed him. I know breast milk is “best” in most cases but formula is also best if your baby isn’t getting enough milk.

  252. Sheri Farlow says:

    My baby is now almost 40 but when he was born, I was going to do everything right. Well, everything was wrong. I won’t go into all of that but his trouble breast feeding was something I try to tell everyone about. The baby in this story looks just like my son did average/small. His issue left me frustrated and in extreme pain from being engorged since he couldn’t latch properly. Just prior to my second sons birth, a friend was playing a game with my first son who was nearly 4 by this time. She stuck her tounge out at him & when he tried to imitate her he couldn’t. His tounge pulled off to the side. He was tounge-tied! It was a bittersweet feeling because it was easily taken care of with a trip to the doctor who snipped the skin under his tounge allowing him to extend it properly. But I lost all that time, suffered mental, physical & emotional pain and generally felt like a failure as a mother.
    Check everything, moms & lactation experts.

  253. Kate says:

    American women: Stop. Stop! Stop judging each other! Nursing or bottle, cloth or disposable, daycare or raising your own, co-sleeping or cry it out, thrift stores/hand-me-downs or designer baby, carseat shaming, competitive “my baby wrote his PhD dissertation at 6 months!” “Wow, your baby was already 6 months before he finished? MY baby was holding hers in her hand right out of the birth canal” “That’s so cute that your baby didn’t have her dissertation done until birth…. MINE was sending hers to our printer when I was 23 weeks pregnant via Bluetooth that she created out of the umbilical cord”

    If your baby is healthy, fed, clothed, happy and learning/growing every day THAT IS ENOUGH! Whether you tote your tot in an ergo or garage sale evenflo – the baby is being loved. Bottle or boob- the baby is fed. Disposable or cloth – there’s no poop on the floor. The only thing I’ll admit to judging is vaccinations. If you don’t vaccinate and are willing to put at risk the health of the immunosuppressed, the preemies, the elderly and the frail because of some inane statements from a playboy model or some kook actress that chews her babies food for it – you should be ashamed of yourself.

  254. Bonnie Jean Ketter says:

    I stopped breast feeding when my daughter was about a week old. It was just too much. She is now a beautiful 19 year old college student who as a high school junior scored a 33 out of 36 on her ACT. Do what is best for you.

  255. Diane Singerman says:

    This could’ve happened to me. I got off to a very slow start with my now grown son. Fortunately, when I almost gave up, things started working out but I relate to this article. By the way, things went fine with my daughter, so I know every baby is different, but it still saddens me to look back on those difficult first few weeks with my precious son.

  256. Nicole B says:

    My story, like so many other women on here is so similar. My little angel had too tiny of a mouth to stimulate my milk to come in. From her first latch, she seemed to be doing it all right. SEEMED. She was constantly on me. Never seemed full. Never slept for more than an hour or 2. Still had the wet and poopy diapers. Lactation consultants watched us and even they thought she was doing fine. She gained only a few ounces her first month. We only got our girl satiated after using little tubes taped to my breasts, connected to formula. When she was finally full, my husband and I decided we were taking matters into our own hands and went straight to formula. With my mom’s input, I bound my breasts to dry up my milk (old school style, no drugs to do it) and that’s when we knew how bad it was – within 2 days, I was dried out; there was nothing there. After her first formula bottle, she slept for a solid 6 hours, gave us her first big blow-out and was finally happy.
    Flash forward 20 years later, and she’s about to have her first baby. The story of her rough beginning has her worried that her nipples – very much like mine, may cause the same problem for her little man. I am by her side, reminding her that it is HER choice, no one else’s as to how she nourishes her baby.
    Sadly, far too many judge those who don’t breast feed. Not worth losing a baby. My 2nd child never had a taste of the boob – I let all hospital staff know from the beginning that I would NOT be breastfeeding, nor would I be shamed because I wasn’t. She was happy, healthy and never lost out on a single thing in life.

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