I Found Breastfeeding Success In The Fed Is Best Support Group

I have been praised in pro-breastfeeding groups for my tenacity.  For overcoming overwhelming odds.  For persisting when others would have “given up.” Along the way there were people who told me that I should just feed formula, that I should just stop breastfeeding because of the horrible experiences I was having, but I honestly thought those people were just misinformed.  I never thought that formula was bad, horrible, or poison, but I honestly thought that I should keep going.  It wasn’t until I broke down crying in front of my midwife with my second child, my second bout of severe PPD, and my second struggle to breastfeed (26 months into my parenting journey) that a medical professional or breastfeeding support person told me that my mental health was more important for my child than my milk. And I don’t think I will ever forget that moment.

My first pregnancy was textbook.  Very uneventful. I took the classes, read the books, had supplies, had supportive friends, ordered my pump.  I had heard it was very important that I not have any formula in the house because it might be “tempting” and that babies shouldn’t get bottles until 6 weeks, so I had no bottles and no formula.

My baby arrived at 36 weeks, 6 pounds 5 oz and quite healthy for a preemie. I was encouraged to supplement with formula from birth because we were afraid he wouldn’t be able to latch and suckle properly.  I used a nipple shield because of my flat nipples.  I wasn’t even 2 hours postpartum the first time I was hooked up to a pump to get a drop or two of colostrum which got smeared on baby’s lips.  We spent the first week in and out of the NICU and on and off phototherapy for jaundice.  By 3 weeks old, he was diagnosed with severe GERD, and we cut dairy and soy.

I triple fed for 3 months, every feed taking 1.5 hours if my husband could help, 2 hours if I was home alone.  I woke my baby to feed every 3 hours for the first 5 weeks.  I took all the galactogogues.  I took prescription drugs that I really shouldn’t have taken because I have a cardiac condition and aren’t even approved by the FDA. Continue reading

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The Benefits That Come From Breastfeeding Doesn’t Automatically Make It Best

My breastfeeding relationship seemed like it was going to be perfect from the start—I had no problem producing colostrum, my milk came in while in the hospital, my daughter latched on easily, and she had a very strong suck. The pediatrician even told me not to tell people how easy it was for us because “other moms would be jealous”. My daughter was back up to birth weight by the end of her first week.

Bethany5

My newborn daughter.

Although my daughter had wet diapers and was nursing well, she would spit up, quite often and something was stopping her from continuing to gain weight. When I took her to the pediatrician’s office multiple times, none of the doctors were concerned by the amount she spit up. They all said that I couldn’t know how much it truly was. Let me tell you something, though, watching my daughter choke and vomit all of her breast milk, I knew that she was spitting up too much. She was born above the 95th percentile but rapidly dropped her weight. Continue reading

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I Found The Fed Is Best Foundation Before The Birth Of My Third Child – Thank God For Them. 

I don’t think I ever thought about infant feeding till I became pregnant. I never looked at a baby and wondered what it was fed. But it seems like everyone nowadays is so concerned; it’s the first question I was asked with each pregnancy. When I imagined myself as a mother, I always saw myself breastfeeding. It’s something I wanted desperately, and yet, I couldn’t produce enough milk for my babies. I have insufficient glandular tissue  (IGT) and I don’t make more than a half ounce to an ounce per feeding.

I thought that I had failed my first two babies because I thought breastfeeding had to be all or nothing. My first almost starved to death on so little milk, and my husband wouldn’t let me repeat that experience with our second, so I fed him only formula. I found the Fed Is Best Foundation before the birth of my third child, and thank God for them.  They empowered me to see it doesn’t have to be all or nothing—combination feeding is just as good for my baby. In fact, it’s the best for my family because I can breastfeed like I want, and my baby received the nutrition from formula that my breastmilk cannot give her enough of.  Without them, I probably would have stopped just like I did with my other two. They gave me encouragement and support to make sure my baby is fed and happy.

And here I am, five months later, still latching her at every feeding. I wouldn’t change a thing.

StephanieBlog2 Continue reading

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

Written by: Allison Young

I had our second child last Monday. Since that evening, we’ve been supplementing with formula due to the fact that I have insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) and I am not physically able to exclusively breastfeed. Yesterday, our older son wanted to help feed his baby brother a bottle and, while he was helping, my husband took this picture of them that I loved. I made it my profile picture, and the fact that I felt comfortable posting a picture of my sons with a bottle really shows a sea change in my feelings about infant feeding. Because of that picture, I wanted to post my story about lactivism, which is extremist exclusive breastfeeding advocacy, and how it affected my postpartum mental health after my older son’s birth. It’s pretty long, but I hope my story illuminates how The Fed is Best Foundations provides important support for new mothers.

Prior to my Soren’s birth, I really drank the “breast is best” Kool-Aid. I was absolutely convinced that it was the only acceptable way to feed a baby, and that moms who didn’t breastfeed were lazy. At no point did anyone in my birthing or breastfeeding classes tell me that lactation failure was even a thing, and it wasn’t something I learned in nursing school either. I mean, looking back, as someone who has an autoimmune disorder and two long-term mental illnesses, I should have recognized that the breasts are able to fail just like any other part of the body, but it just didn’t cross my mind at all.

A couple of weeks before Soren was born, I went to a lactation consultant to be fitted for a nursing bra, and the lactation consultant asked if I’d had any changes in my breasts during the pregnancy. I had. So I said “yes” and she left it at that. Later, she would tell me that she recognized I had markers for IGT but that she didn’t want to scare me, so she withheld this important clinical information from me. Continue reading

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