Thank You, Thank You, Thank You From The Bottom Of My Heart ??

I just want to say thank you so much for your foundation’s web page and support group. I can’t say thank you enough! This is exactly the support system I have needed in my life since my daughter was admitted into the hospital at 3 weeks old due to failure to thrive.

This was worst experience of my life as a new mama and when the doctor told me my daughter could have died I was broken.

 

Because of the intense pressure, I felt the need to exclusively breastfeed my daughter. Yet for the 3 weeks that I tried I had no idea that I was starving my daughter ? My midwife was absolutely useless and she is a the biggest reason why this happened to us as she told me to keep breastfeeding and everything was fine. Long story short, I just didn’t have enough milk, and I didn’t find out until after my daughter was admitted to the hospital. This was the worst feeling in the world.  Formula is the only reason my daughter is alive today.  Formula saved my daughter’s life!

1516239314901

 

She is now 2 months but I still feel the guilt every day of not being able to breastfeed my daughter.  I feel like a failure. I cry most days because I am angry that my body failed me and my daughter. It’s a horrible feeling, but I feel this way due to the motto “breast is best”. However, for us this wasn’t the case. Although I know formula is the best choice for my girl, I still hate going into the supermarket to buy it as I feel like people are judging me. I also feel embarrassed taking her into a public place and feeding her a bottle. I would rather go and hide in a parent room where I will receive no judgement, isn’t this sad?  I also have scary thoughts that if I ever have another child will my breasts will fail me again. I hate this feeling but this has been my experience. For a while now I have been searching for some kind of support because of my lonely journey.  Your foundation page has brought tears to my eyes and I cannot thank you enough for your advocacy. It is something I needed when I was going through the toughest time of my life with my daughter.

FormulaStudy

#FedIsBest


Resources:

Clinicians’ Guide to Supporting Parents with Guilt About Breastfeeding Challenges

Can Redefining Infant Feeding Goals Enable Families to Feel Confident About How They Nourish Their Babies?

https://truthandcheesecake.com/postpartum-motherhood-battle-wounds-badge-of-honour/

My Inability to Exclusively Breastfeed Was a Constant Destructive Force in My Life After My Son’s Birth – I Had a Suicide Plan

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST

There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
  3. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  4. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  5. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  6. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  7. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
  8. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.

Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!

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Jillian Johnson: My Message To Parents During World Breastfeeding Week

By Jillian Johnson

It took all of the courage I had to put aside the debilitating amount of guilt I carried for five long years to tell Landon’s story—his birth, the first days of his life and how he died. In fact, I still don’t know where I found that courage, but I am convinced Landon gave me the strength. I wasn’t prepared for the intense scrutiny my story received. I was utterly shocked because people came out of nowhere to discredit my story with a vengeance, but I quickly learned how to be gracious in such a vulnerable time.

After all, nothing anyone could say to me could hurt me more than the death of my newborn baby.

I can remember a very specific time, when I was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital and Landon was on life support. My dad was there with me and we were talking about Landon’s prognosis and I won’t ever forget him telling me what a special little boy he was and that he would do great things. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around what his words meant because Landon was most likely going to pass away, and my dad was talking about how he’s going to do great things. I never dreamed that his death would change the lives of so many people across the globe. Continue reading

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My Son Became Severely Jaundiced and Dehydrated in a Baby-Friendly Park Slope, Brooklyn Hospital

By Fed is Best Mom and Advocate, Lilian B.

My son John was born at 42 weeks and one dayat Methodist hospital in Park Slope, Brooklyn, via uneventful vaginal delivery. His APGAR score was 9 or 10. He was strong and beautiful. My labor was quick, and once I got an epidural, it was a breeze. My water broke around 7pm at home. An hour later contractions began in earnest. Once my midwife told me I was ready to push, it only took 20 minutes to get him out. Once the bliss of easy labor wore off, my hospital nightmare began.

See, I was born with tuberous breasts. This is a breast deformity, characterized by severe hypoplasia (lack of tissue), a narrow breast base, and puffy painful nipples that droop downward, due to a lack of any breast base. It’s a poorly understood and studied deformity, but anecdotally, it can make breastfeeding difficult, if not impossible. On top of the deformity, I had two cosmetic surgeries to correct the appearance of my breasts.

Naturally, I had major anxiety about whether I would or wouldn’t be able to breastfeed.

Day One

Shortly after John was born, I tried to get him to latch, but he wouldn’t latch. He sucked various parts of my chest and fell asleep. He slept soundly from 5am to almost 2pm. While he slept, I attended a lactation workshop. When I got back from the lactation workshop, I called one of the lactation consultants to come to my room.

The LC arrived around 2pm. John was a bit lethargic, and he tried to latch to seemingly anything except my breasts. She showed me how to latch him properly, and he suckled, but to me it didn’t look like he was swallowing anything. The LC expressed colostrum from my nipples, which really hurt. I think it was all the colostrum I would ever produce… John ate the colostrum from a spoon and fell asleep again.

Around 4 pm, a nurse came in and checked his skin. To my surprise, she said he was jaundiced and may need therapy. I had never heard of baby jaundice. The resident didn’t even ask if he was eating or doing well.

I kept putting baby John on my breasts throughout the afternoon and early evening, and he would suckle away, but again, it didn’t seem like he was really getting anything. I tried to hand express colostrum like the LC had done, but nothing was coming out. He would fall back asleep after 10 minutes of nursing.

My husband and I dozed off. Suddenly we awoke to three people in our darkened room: two residents and a nurse. They announced that John’s bilirubin levels were now in the high risk zone, and he would be taken away from me and put into a glass box under UV lights. I was so disoriented, I just said OK.

One resident left, and the remaining resident explained to me that I was O Positive and John was A Negative blood type, which resulted in higher levels of bilirubin. I asked if there was anything I could do to help my baby, and the resident explained that the best thing for him was to eat. My heart sank. This is precisely what I can’t do: I explained to the resident my deformity and multiple surgeries, using medical terms. He just replied something about it being possible to breastfeed even after surgery, and left.

After the second resident absconded into the night, only the nurse remained. She explained that they would bring John back to me to breastfeed throughout the night. In desperation, I pleaded with her to feed him formula. I explained my surgeries and deformity again, this time in tears. She told me to take a hot shower or use a warm compress on my breasts to stimulate milk production, and she too disappeared into the night.

I remember lying in the hospital cot, despondent and crying. My husband spooned me and cried with me. I remember saying, “They keep telling me to breastfeed, but my breasts aren’t real. They’re basically prosthetic. There’s nothing coming out of them.”

Hours passed and I kept going into the hallway to try to look at baby John. I could see him in the glass box, with a blindfold on. It hurt my soul to think about how confused and alone he must feel.

Later I checked on him again, but this time I could see he was crying. That was the last straw. I called the nurse and demanded they give him formula. She told me that only the chief resident or pediatrician can authorize formula, and he was tied up in an emergency C-section. Are you kidding me, I thought.

Finally, hours later, a 20-something child shows up in my room in the dark. She tells me that the benefits of breastfeeding include lower rates of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, as well as higher IQ. Was I sure that I wanted formula? I told her yes, because my baby is alone in a glass box and screaming for food, which apparently he needs to survive. She said OK.

Day 2

Eventually the sun came up, and I expected to wake up relieved. The morning nurse came in and shattered my relief. She said that she attempted to give John formula but he wouldn’t latch onto the nipples for the bottles they stocked. The nipples were the long skinny kind, and John had a good natural latch. “This baby knows what’s best: breastfeeding” she declared in seeming triumph.

She then proceeded to explain to me that I really should work on feeding him, because he needed to eat to get rid of the bilirubin. It was only then that she explained that high bilirubin levels can lead to brain damage. But I ought not to worry, because her own children looked like oompa loompas when they were born and now they’re very intelligent. Oh good, thanks, I thought.

My parents, sister and brother-in-law came to Brooklyn that day to visit me. They were shocked to find John in a glass box and me sobbing in my hospital room, since they heard that yesterday’s birth had been super easy. Yes, the nurses eventually wheeled John’s glass box into my hospital room, because his non-stop screaming was disturbing the other babies in the nurse’s station. This gave me relief in a sense. I played music for him and held his hand. But it was awful to watch him cry.

Thankfully, my sister was lactating at the time, and she breastfed John. She told me his latch was deep, perfect and painless, unlike her own son, who had a tongue tie and a shallow latch. I saw him take big gulps, and when he unlatched there was a dribble of milk down his cheek. I wept tears of joy.

The Fed is Best Foundation supports safe, laboratory-tested donor milk supplemental feeding. Had John’s mother been provided formula when requested, she may not have needed to supplement her son through casual donation. 

It was against hospital policy for my sister to feed John, as the morning nurse had told me, when I made the mistake of mentioning it. So literally I guarded the door while my sister fed my child to keep him alive. It was freaking nuts.

A lactation consultant came in after visiting hours and showed me how to use a hospital-grade pump, which she wheeled into my room. I pumped and pumped but literally nothing came out. The LC was able to hand express a few watery drops of milk from my breasts, and she declared that they were so “full and healthy-looking. Surely your milk would come in.” Again, I explained my deformity and surgeries. She asked me what my surgeons had told me, and I said they weren’t sure what my outcome would be, but it was theoretically possible to breast feed.

My sister had hand pumped another 2 oz or so and left it in the hospital room for us before she went home. Later that evening, when my baby woke up hungry, I pipette fed him the breast milk. Unsurprisingly, his bilirubin levels dropped significantly since he had finally eaten, and they told me that I would likely be released the next day. I only had 2 oz of breast milk for the night. Once it was gone, I had no plan.

Day 3

The next morning, the nurse announced that John’s bilirubin levels had inched up again, but since he was a day older, he was technically out of the danger zone. She encouraged me to keep breastfeeding, and told me we would be OK. Throughout that day, I kept pumping and getting nothing. The LC kept telling me, “Pumps don’t work for some moms. The best pump in the world is a baby!”

I kept putting him at my breast, and I could tell that he was suckling but not gulping, as he had done at my sister’s breast. I pipette fed him formula while he suckled. He still refused to latch onto the formula bottle nipple. I left the hospital feeling as if I was stepping into a void, where nobody would hear me cry.

The third night was restless. John kept waking up crying. I didn’t have formula at home, so I was just putting him on my breasts. He would suckle and fall asleep after 10 minutes. An hour later the same thing would happen.

Day 4

In the morning, I was overjoyed to see the pee strip on his diaper had changed colors! He must have gotten some milk and peed! But when my husband and I removed the diaper, we saw that the urine looked like it was slightly bloody. My husband googled it, and found “brick dust” indicates severe dehydration.

I panicked. I told my husband to go out and buy formula. ANY formula. ANY bottle. Because of the jaundice, we had our first pediatrician appointment that morning. When his pediatrician came into our exam room, she found me frantically squirting formula into John’s mouth, since he wouldn’t latch onto that nipple. He was sort of gagging on it, swallowing some, and the rest was spilling all over him but I didn’t care.

Thankfully, my pediatrician just seemed grateful that we would be switching to formula. She told us to research anatomical bottles, that John might have better luck with a different type of nipple. Until then, I had no idea that baby bottles came in different nipple formats. I’d always thought of them as universal.

He latched right on, guzzled formula as heartily as he could, and then unlatched. He burped like a trucker, with a stream of milk dribbling down his chin. He looked happy, like he had when my sister fed him. He went right to sleep and stayed asleep for hours.  The jaundice faded in a day and a half. John had lost 10% of his weight, but he put it right back on in the first week. He was super cute, alert, and clearly thriving.

Phototherapy-requiring jaundice as well as infant hunger and dehydration are improved with ad-lib supplementation.

Still, I wouldn’t let the guilt leave me. I spent weeks taking supplements, and pumping. The most I ever got was one ounce A DAY, which I dutifully fed him. I paid for a consultation with a lactation doctor, who helped me buy domperidone. As soon as I started to take the domperidone, I got a horrible headache and much of my visual field became watery and blurry. By then my husband was back at work, and it was just really scary not to be able to see, so I gave up on it immediately. I returned the hospital grade pump I rented. And I never looked back.

Since giving up on breastfeeding, I started to look at some of the studies that supposedly validate the benefits of breastfeeding. I was shocked by how few studies had any adequate controls for class and socioeconomic status.  I am upper middle class and privileged, as are many of my friends. Some of them are downright rich. Their mothers all formula fed in the 80’s, and yet, none of my friends are obese, dull, or have diabetes. I began to seriously doubt the data that is out there.

As a philosophy major, I am accustomed to analyzing magical thinking, that is, thinking that is not supported by the evidence. The vain hope behind much of the magical thinking that I see is a desire to return to nature. Nature is best. Nature is right. Nature is true. And if we stop being artificial, we as humans will be better off. Biological systems work, BUT they are not necessarily efficient or good.

If your baby is hungry, feed her. And if other moms guilt you, remember that they are scared and alone too.

#FedisBest

— Lilian B.

Here’s John now!


There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation.We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
  3. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  4. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  5. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  6. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  7. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
  8. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.
  9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  10. If you need support, we have a private support group – Join

We believe all babies deserve to be protected from hunger and thirst every single day of their life and we believe that education on Safe Infant Feeding should be free. If you would like to make a donation to support the Fed is Best Foundation’s mission to teach every parent Safe Infant Feeding, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to our organization.

Donate to Fed is Best

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My Lactation Consultant Slapped My Nipple And Called My Nipple Shield A Cheater

I’d heard pretty much since starting puberty that breast is best. It’s in movies, books, social media, health class, and even in my own family. So, you can imagine my surprise to be sitting across from a very concerned doctor with a starving infant hearing that my breast milk wasn’t enough.

My baby gained only 7 ounces in 1 month.

I wanted to breastfeed because I wanted to do what was absolutely best for my son, no questions asked. But before he was born, the intense pressure to exclusively breast feed was causing anxiety attacks, frequently. I have flat nipples but I was assured breast feeding would be no problem.

Then I had my beautiful baby boy. We immediately had issues with breastfeeding. One lactation consultant slapped my nipple trying to get it to poke out and called the nipple shield a “cheater”. So I didn’t use one after that. We were not allowed to give him a pacifier. It was four days of pure hell in the hospital with both of us crying.

I was told over and over my body would produce enough milk for my baby and to just keep breastfeeding.

We went home and it wasn’t much better. So, every time I held him he’d cry, and then I’d cry because I’d have to feed him. I began dreading my child. No parent should have to dread their child. Continue reading

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I Am Not a Formula Feeding Mom

Writing helps me process my emotions. A few weeks ago, I wrote this, and have debated whether or not to share it, because sharing the things I write makes me feel really vulnerable. But, today I needed to reread it to remind myself that I am not a “formula-feeding mom”, I’m just a loving mother. I decided to go ahead and share it with you guys. I’m hoping that this can maybe help someone else who may need a reminder that motherhood is not defined by how we feed our babies!

Some days I have to remind myself that I am not a failure.

I didn’t fail at breastfeeding. I did not fail at being a mother.

Society and my inner voice may sometimes convince me that I came up short in the infant-feeding part of motherhood, but in the rare moments of clarity, I know that this is not true. I am confident in my decision to exclusively formula-feed my son.

You see, I didn’t start out motherhood with the goal of breastfeeding my son. It wasn’t my plan to exclusively pump. Nor was it my plan to formula-feed my baby. My only plan was to feed him.

I took a breastfeeding class. I bought a nursing cover and nursing pads. I bought a breast pump and breastmilk storage bags. I signed up for formula samples, and sanitized baby bottles.

Before my son’s birth, I prepared to provide nourishment to a healthy thriving baby boy by whatever means necessary, with whatever method worked best for us.

After his birth, there was an overwhelming pressure to breastfeed no matter what. Women from all directions told me that breast milk was the best gift I could give my child, that it would give him the healthiest start to life. They said to me that breastfeeding was how we would bond as mother and son. They chided I needed to stop pumping and try harder to get baby on the breast or my supply would suffer. They warned that I needed to stop supplementing with formula.

They said that they wanted to “support” me on my breastfeeding journey, because “more mothers would succeed at breastfeeding if they just had enough support.”

This pressure continues to weigh on me. This pressure has created a guilt unimaginable to anyone who has never experienced it, who have never cried as they fed their baby a bottle simply because it wasn’t breast milk, who have never sat up at night with knots in their stomach while questioning their worth as a mother, simply because they didn’t breastfeed.

But that pressure and guilt hasn’t changed the fact that formula was and is best for our situation.

FormulaStudy

I made the decision to exclusively feed my son formula in a moment of clarity, where I KNEW that it was absolutely what was best for us, where I was a confident mother and woman making a decision that she felt completely sure was good.

Unfortunately, pressure from society and other mothers can make those moments of clarity less clear and more rare, even nonexistent.

So, in this current moment of clarity, I want to write the following statements that I can look back on when unnecessary guilt becomes too much and so that other mothers may reflect on them and be confident in their decision to feed formula:

  • Not breastfeeding doesn’t make me any less of a mother than those who breastfeed their babies. Not feeding breast milk to my son doesn’t mean I don’t love him as much as other mothers love their babies. Feeding my son formula doesn’t mean that I didn’t try hard enough. It simply means that I am a mother who knows and does what’s best for HER family.
  • Our breastfeeding relationship did not fail. Our bond has not suffered. My baby is healthy, thriving and loved. It is NOT how we FEED our children that defines us as mothers. It is how we LOVE our children that defines us as mothers.
  • And how we support other mothers on their journey, on their MOTHERHOOD journey, on their LIFE journey, rather than just how we support them on their breastfeeding journey that defines us as human beings.
  • Our babies thrive on love, not on breast milk. Just the same, us mothers thrive on love and support, not on breastfeeding.                                                                                                                                       #FEDisbest #LOVEisthebestgift #OurBondIsNOTLost #TheyNeedUsMOREThanOurBreastmilk #BreastfeedingROCKS #ExclusivelyPumpingRULES #FormulaIsAWESOME #AllMothersAreAMAZING #FeedWithoutGuilt #EFFwithoutSHAME #SupportALLTheMamas #NeverthelessFeedYourBabyWithLove” 

    Thank you guys for reading ?❤️ 

     


    WAYS YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST

    There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

    1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
    2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
    3. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
    4. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
    5. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
    6. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
    7. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
    8. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.
    9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
    10. If you need support, we have a private support group– Join                                 Donate to Fed is Best 

      Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!

      CoFoundersPic

     

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I Had All of The Support In The World And Breastfeeding Still Didn’t Work.

They tell you that if you prepare enough, it will work. They tell you that all you need is support, belief that you will be successful, and commitment. If only it were that simple.

I knew I might have issues. I had breast reduction surgery back in 2001, but had been told that using the right technique would preserve my ability to breastfeed. Nonetheless, I set out preparing to ensure I would be successful. Besides doing yoga, pilates, weight training, and exercise, I got into the midwife program and prepped diligently. I did prenatal workshops and tracked down a book on how to successfully be a breast feeding after reduction mom. I hired a private lactation consultant for a session ahead of time. We talked about teas and tinctures, techniques and diet to help my supply be optimal. We talked about how I could use a supplemental nursing system if necessary. I read extensively and was convinced breastfeeding was the only way to feed my son to ensure his well being and I would have no problem breastfeeding because I had SUPPORT.  

After lengthy pre-labour, labour finally started but my son was posterior and we stalled at 5cm dilated for over 10 hours. Finally, 33 hours after labour started, I delivered our son vaginally. I was exhausted after being awake for 3 days straight but determined to breastfeed. We seemed to struggle with latching and when he finally did, the pain took my breath away. I had already gone through 25 hours of labour before finally getting an epidural, but the pain during each feed was excruciating and only ended when he stopped feeding. Within a few hours I was concerned by the pain, and by my misshapen nipples that were already severely cracked and bleeding. I asked each nurse that I saw. All told me the latch was good and waved off my concerns about pain. My reading had told me to keep going but also mentioned it shouldn’t hurt this way. Worse yet, I often worried about how rarely he seemed satisfied with eating or would suckle to sleep. Yet we were released from hospital with instructions to be patient and told that breastfeeding would work out.

When I pressed about the bleeding, one nurse snapped at me: “What did you expect?”

My son barely urinated in the first few days, and by day 4 seemed more and more unsettled, finally crying 5 hours straight in the middle of the night. I was trying to let him feed as much as possible, but the pain persisted. The nipple shields a nurse gave me in the hospital helped my son to latch but the pain persisted with every feed, during the whole feed. My son still seemed always hungry and would stay latched on for over an hour if I left him. I’d try to persist feeding him, exhausted in bed, weeping at the pain and frustration.

CarlyCrying

After crying for 5 hours straight he fell asleep from exhaustion.

Our midwife team came for home visits every day. I dutifully showed our tracking charts of how long/often at each breast, his output and they would weigh him.He was quickly dropping weight so we tried to come up with a strategy. I kept up eating my oatmeal and good food like quinoa, as well as drinking lots of water. We bought a lactating tincture which I took religiously and by day 4 we both went for chiropractic and osteopathic care in case that would help. I got acupuncture. During this time, my wife contacted public health to have another lactation consultant come. I was doing all the right things, but my son was barely urinating and kept dropping weight. The lactation consultant ‘diagnosed’ a posterior tongue tie and lip tie which she believed was the cause of my pain and the state of my still bleeding nipples that would often be blanched white and misshapen after a feed. She thought temporary supplementation would be needed but was insistent no artificial nipples, so we had to tube feed him with SNS or by finger. I was told not to use a soother so he often fussed unless I let him latch onto the shield on my breast. I pleaded to get my son into specialist quickly and the frenectomy was performed at 7 days. Sadly, it did not help my pain. The Dr. who did procedure would tell me after procedure that she didn’t think tie was serious enough to warrant the frenectomy and that the real issue was an anatomically small jaw that would simply have to grow. 

By this point, my midwives were seriously concerned. My son had dropped over 11% of his body weight and still struggled to urinate. The minimal supplementation at breast was not adequate. Based on the recommendation of the LC, I pleaded for domperidone. Surely I had to get to exclusive breastfeeding. Formula was not the answer. My midwife explained I would need an EKG since it puts you at risk for heart arrhythmia. I have a family history of heart disease but I was still interested. (*Please note domperidone is banned in the US.)

At that point, my wife put her foot down. “We both need you alive. He needs you more than your breast milk.”

CarlyBSTS

Enjoying skin-to-skin time desperate to increase my milk supply.

From that point on, we stopped feeding with a tube and went to supplementation with a bottle. Our lactation consultant had cut off contact from me right after the frenectomy. Based on her comments, I was devastated to realize that she didn’t want to work with someone who used a bottle or a soother (something else the midwives insisted upon to give my poor nipples a chance to heal – my son wanted to be latched 24/7). 

All of this took place in the first 10 days of my son’s life. I persisted in trying to combo feed for 19 weeks. Any breastfeeding session still resulted in horrible pain with my nipples blanched white and misshapen. Worse was he hated latching without a shield and as he grew my supply never increased even with continued oatmeal, tincture, water, etc. I was really struggling to bond with him all those weeks later.

Even if I was the proverbial Queen of Sheba with an army of attendants and best medical care we would have still had all the problems. I still had low supply that was compounded by the chronic pain.  I look back and realize that I put us through a lot of heartache for no real benefit.

I finally weaned. My depression and anxiety lifted almost immediately and I bonded with the baby I had worked so hard to give the best start of life. I only wished I had listened to my midwife and not my lactation consultant, when she pleaded with me to understand that my son would thrive on formula. That I had done so much to make it work and it was ok. Sadly, I will never get back the time lost doing all of the unproven suggestions from my lactation consultant. Today, he thrives in daycare and I truly can’t tell which of his friends were breastfed, combo fed or formula fed. He is well adjusted, thriving and bonded to both of us. That is what really matters.

CarlyThriving

My precious son thriving on formula and love.

HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT FED IS BEST ? JOIN US!

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There are many ways you can support the mission of the Fed is Best Foundation. Please consider contributing in the following ways:

  1. Join the Fed is Best Volunteer group to help us reach Obstetric Health Providers to advocate for counseling of new mothers on the importance of safe infant feeding.
  2. Make a donation to the Fed is Best Foundation. We are using funds from donations to cover the cost of our website, our social media ads, our printing and mailing costs to reach health providers and hospitals. We do not accept donations from breast- or formula-feeding companies and 100% of your donations go toward these operational costs. All the work of the Foundation is achieved via the pro bono and volunteer work of its supporters.
  3. Share the stories and the message of the Fed is Best Foundation through word-of-mouth, by posting on your social media page and by sending our resources to expectant moms that you know. Share the Fed is Best campaign letter with everyone you know.
  4. Write a letter to your health providers and hospitals about the Fed is Best Foundation. Write them about feeding complications your child may have experienced.
  5. Print out our letter to obstetric providers and mail them to your local obstetricians, midwives, family practitioners who provide obstetric care and hospitals.
  6. Write your local elected officials about what is happening to newborn babies in hospitals and ask for legal protection of newborn babies from underfeeding and of mother’s rights to honest informed consent on the risks of insufficient feeding of breastfed babies.
  7. Send us your stories. Share with us your successes, your struggles and every thing in between. Every story saves another child from experiencing the same and teaches another mom how to safely feed her baby. Every voice contributes to change.
  8. Send us messages of support. We work every single day to make infant feeding safe and supportive of every mother and child.  Your messages of support keep us all going.
  9. Shop and Fed is Best Foundation will earn cash back! We hope to develop our online safe infant feeding classes with these funds.
  10. If you need support, we have a private support group – Join

We believe all babies deserve to be protected from hunger and thirst every single day of their life and we believe that education on Safe Infant Feeding should be free. If you would like to make a donation to support the Fed is Best Foundation’s mission to teach every parent Safe Infant Feeding, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation to our organization.

Donate to Fed is Best

Thank you so much from the Founders of the Fed is Best Foundation!

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Breast Is Best Failed Me And It Failed My Starving Son

My son was born at 8:33 am on a Saturday, delivered vaginally at 36 weeks and 3 days gestation. He weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces, and was in the 51st percentile for his gestational age. He latched onto my breast within the first 15 minutes. It was painful for me, but my nurse said his latch was great and that he was eating well. I continued to put him to breast every 3 hours as I had been instructed. We were told that we could see a lactation consultant, but one never came to our room. I was not concerned, since we were told he had a great latch and was feeding well.

On Sunday morning, we found out that he had lost weight and that he was suffering from jaundice and would need phototherapy. The medical staff told us that weight loss was normal and that his bilirubin levels were “borderline,” so the photo-therapy was just a preventative measure. Throughout the day he alternated between lethargy and crying. He only voided a few times, and his urine was very dark. His latch was still very painful, but I kept bringing him to breast to nurse every 3 hours. He never seemed to calm down after nursing.

HUNGRY1111

When he became inconsolable on Sunday night, known as the ‘Second-Night-Syndrome’ a nurse instructed us to continue trying to give him a pacifier and that he would settle eventually. He began screaming at my breast and refused to latch. There were no lactation consultants available at the hospital on Sundays. Another nurse brought in a Lansinoh latch assist, although my nipples were not flat or inverted. She instructed me to use the latch assist to draw out drops of colostrum, which I then swept out of the bulb with my finger and fed to my son. I did this for several hours. There were blood blisters on both of my nipples and I had not slept since the Thursday night before. My son eventually fell asleep in the early hours of the morning.

When he was weighed around 8 am on Monday, he was 5lb 4oz. He had lost 15% of his body weight in 48 hoursNewborn weight loss calculator 

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I Shared My Story a Year Ago And I Was Told To Go Kill Myself – How I Am Healing

By Mandy Dukovan, MS, MFT, Marriage and Family Therapist, Fed is Best Foundation Senior Advisor

It’s incredibly hard to put into words all the things that The Fed Is Best Foundation has done for me the past year.  I happened to stumble upon the Foundation when I noticed a friend of mine “liked” one of their blog posts. I was a first-time mom who was struggling with many different feelings, and wasn’t sure who or where to turn to. My son was 2 months at the time, and was just beginning to thrive after I had begun to supplement him with formula. While I was so happy to see my baby finally gaining weight and thriving, I had haunting memories and raw emotions that I was struggling to sort out. I had immense guilt that I didn’t see the signs that my baby was hungry, which tortured me non-stop. I was embarrassed that I could look at his 1-month picture and now see that he was obviously malnourished, but how on earth did I miss this at the time?

MandyBrock

1 Month Old

I was angry that I didn’t follow my own instincts that something was wrong with him and was angry that I believed all the terrible things I was told from lactivists that would happen to him,  if I gave him a drop of formula. I worried that we would not have the kind of bond that babies who were exclusively breastfed (EBF) experienced with their mothers. I now know that our bond is so much stronger because we bottle-fed him and no longer experienced the immense stress that came each time I tried to breastfeed my baby. I got to a point where I dreaded even trying to breastfeed him, but I was told that was the best thing I could do for my baby, so I kept going, at the expense of my baby’s health and my well-being. I honestly believed I was the only mother who had experienced what we went through because I only heard the stories about how amazing and natural breastfeeding was and every mother could breastfeed if only she tried hard enough.

Since I am a therapist, I knew I needed to share my story. I found courage in my strong desire for other babies and mothers not to struggle. I also found courage in the fact that I needed a reason for all of the suffering—I needed to know that Brock’s struggle was not in vain. I kept telling myself, “If I reach even one mother and prevent even one baby from suffering like Brock, then I have to do this.”  

Then I shared my story… Continue reading

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The Shaming Began In My Hospital Breastfeeding Course And Never Stopped

The shaming began prior to delivery, at the hospital breastfeeding class.  A soon-to-be mom asked if she should keep some formula on-hand, just in case she was unable to breastfeed.  The lactation consultant (IBCLC) insisted she not keep any formula around because, as soon as you start feeding the baby formula, you will give up on breastfeeding and never forgive yourself! She also said it was rare for a mother to not be able to produce enough milk, which is not true.  I told her it was fine to get some formula, if for nothing than to relieve the intense pressure of exclusively breastfeeding that was being forced in our class.  The IBCLC also instructed us not to use our pump for at least twelve weeks, and even then, only if we were returning to work–because pumping would interfere our milk supply. I later learned this is also  not true.

I delivered my beautiful baby, but I could not get her to latch, no matter what I tried after delivery. The IBCLC  said that I had flat nipples and taught me a new feeding position to try, but had to rush away. I struggled to get my baby to latch the entire time in the hospital without any luck, but no one was concerned.  We left the hospital, and on day three, my milk came in with a vengeance.  My breasts were rock solid and felt on fire.  My daughter was screaming and hungry but still could not latch. It was 2am. I was crying and begging my husband to go to the store for some formula (I had not taken my own advice because I was confident I would be able to breastfeed.  The thought never occurred to me that there would be trouble).  Meanwhile, I was attempting to hand express into a spoon to feed to my daughter. When that didn’t work, I quickly learned how to use my new pump and was I able to pump 5oz! I fed her my expressed milk by bottle, because she still could not latch onto my flat nipples and extremely engorged breasts.  At her doctor appointment the following morning, she had lost 14% of her body weight, despite my feeding her with bottles all during the night. I continued to pump and bottle feed my starving baby as much milk as she wanted and she began to gain back her weight quickly.   I went to see the IBCLC several times for latching help, and even though I shared how happy I was to pump, she told me to continue putting her to the breast. But she simply could not latch and breastfeed! What was I suppose to do?

I became an exclusively-pumping mom.

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Clinicians’ Guide to Supporting Parents with Guilt About Breastfeeding Challenges

Written by Dr. Ruth Ann Harpur, Clinical Psychologist

A systematic review of the scientific literature indicates that women who intend to breastfeed but who later feed their babies formula consistently report feelings of guilt, anger, worry, uncertainty, and a sense of failure despite the relief that introducing formula after experiencing difficulties with breastfeeding may bring (Lakshman, Ogilvie, & Ong, 2009). Recent research also indicates that this group of new mothers are at particular risk for postnatal depression (Borra et al., 2015).

Clinicians are uniquely placed to provide compassionate care at a vulnerable time for this group of parents. Their attitude and words can invoke a sense of shame, judgment, and failure, or they can inspire compassion, reassurance, and emotional healing.

Lacking any widely published evidence based guide on to how to best attain the most emotionally supportive clinical environment, the Fed Is Best Foundation has developed these suggestions in collaboration with parents in our support group and a clinical psychologist with expertise in mental health.

Florence Leung, 32, vanished on October 25, 2016 after driving away from her New Westminster home. She was suffering from post-partum depression and her body was eventually discovered in the waters near B.C.’s Bowen Island. Her husband subsequently posted the following on Facebook, “You are Not alone. You are Not a bad mother. Do not EVER feel bad or guilty about not being able to ‘exclusively breastfeed’, even though you may feel the pressure to do so based on posters in maternity wards, brochures in prenatal classes, and teachings at breastfeeding classes. Apparently the hospitals are designated ‘baby-friendly’ only if they promote exclusive-breastfeeding. I still remember reading a handout upon Flo’s discharge from hospital with the line ‘Breast Milk Should Be the Exclusive Food For the Baby for the First Six Months,’ I also remember posters on the maternity unit ‘Breast is Best.’ While agreeing to the benefits of breast milk, there NEED [sic] to be an understanding that it is OK to supplement with formula, and that formula is a completely viable option.”

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