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Giving Breastfeeding Another Go?

breastfeeding - tongue tie

To breastfeed or not to breastfeed…that is the question.

If you’ve followed me from when I gave birth to Mabel, you’ll remember that I was super pumped (pun intended) to breastfeed and give her breast milk.  I read all the books I could get my hands on, looked up websites on tips, info and positioning, bought almost every product out there to help be successful, and I can’t tell you how many times I heard ‘breast is the best’…and I had it all figured out (or so I thought).  But Mabel had other plans.

Mabel was born, my milk came in on day three, and Mabel wouldn’t latch.  I tried, and I cried…and I tried some more, and I cried some more.  Nothing worked, she wanted nothing to do with the breast and would pull back out of frustration each time.  It was killing me…every mom should be able to feed their child, right?

Mabel lost weight…a lot of weight.  And at the 1 week checkup, they figured out she had a tongue tie which was preventing her from latching (it’s when that little flap under your tongue is too tight so your tongue can’t move as much as it should).  So it was clipped…but it didn’t solve the problem.  Mabel had gotten used to the fast flow of bottles and despite many meetings with lactation consultants, breast feeding just wasn’t meant to be this time around.

I cried some more…I continued to feel like I had failed her and just couldn’t understand how it could be so easy for some mothers and it had been a task as daunting as climbing Mt. Everest for me.  It wasn’t fair.  It was obvious I had entered the world of postpartum depression, couldn’t stand to see anything breastfeeding related on tv or in person, and I was sad when I was around Mabel being fed by a bottle…it made me feel even more like a failure.

Not to mention, I still to this day remember getting nasty messages left on YouTube videos and blog posts about how I was a bad mother for not breastfeeding or that Mabel would have died back in the day before formula was created.  I was amazed at how easily I was judged from women who didn’t even know or care to hear the whole story.

I pumped for two months before giving in to formula.  I had been pumping religiously but had started resenting the amount of time I spent hooked up to a pump (I’m pretty sure the depression was why I felt that way).  I let myself dry up for my sanity.  And I remember the first bottle of formula being so hard for me to prepare (I actually had my husband do it and feed it to her).

And you know what…it wasn’t the end of the world.

Mabel was happy…my husband was happy…and I was getting there.  My postpartum depression slowly faded and I began to feel like a real human being again.  But the kicker was that in the whole stupor of feeling bad for myself about not being able to breastfeed, I feel like I missed out on the first three months of Mabel’s life.  Nothing can give me that back again.

And trust me, I’m not going to let that happen to me again this time around.

So if you’re wondering if I’ll give breastfeeding a shot with this little baby, the answer is yes.  I will give breastfeeding another go…BUT I will head into it knowing that the breast is not always the best.  I know some will disagree with me and that’s completely fine but you know what?  Breastfeeding doesn’t always work out…and that’s okay!

Neither breast milk or formula will determine your child’s future or what kind of parent you are.  Simple as that.

I feel kind of silly looking back on all of this and how hard I was on myself.  Babies don’t care how they are fed…breast or bottle…breast milk or formula…they just want to be fed.

I’ve got all my breastfeeding essentials prepared this time; nipple creams, pads, nursing bras, and a trusty pump (on it’s way to my home as I type this) and I’m optimistic…but realistic too.  🙂

I guess all I can do now is sit back and wait for Baby Girl’s arrival.  And trust me, I’ll keep you all posted as to how it all pans out…

But right now…cheers to feeding whatever way works best for you and your baby!

Was breastfeeding challenging for you?  Did you decide to formula feed from the get go?  I’d love to hear your story!

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Tara
    January 26, 2015 at 8:45 am

    “Neither breast milk or formula will determine your child’s future or what kind of parent you are. Simple as that.” That statement is so true! I feel like people put so much emphasis just on that one factor… and there is SO much more to parenting than just feeding your baby.

    I’m blessed in that my girls have been successful at breastfeeding, but we did have a hard time getting both of them to latch in the early days, too. I ended up having to use a nipple shield at the beginning both times (even when the lactation consultant told me I didn’t need it with my second, but the reality was that she was too tiny (5.5 lbs!) to get started without it). Thank goodness for the shield, or I’m not sure nursing would have worked out at all.

    Wishing you the best of luck this time around! 🙂

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 26, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Tara,
      Thank you so much for your support! I’m really hoping we have an easier go at it this time around since it would just make life a little easier too. 🙂 And I’ve been there with the nipple shields…our LC had us try one when we were still working with Mabel to see if we could get her to latch (but it still didn’t work, lol!) Sooooo at least I can look back on it and laugh now…
      Once again, thanks so much for the luck…I’ll probably need it. 🙂

  • Reply
    Andie
    January 26, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Yoy rock! It’s so great to read about other moms struggling with breastfeeding. I, like you thought I was going to be breastfeeding my baby and had no clue the difficulties I would endure. My baby wouldn’t latch either and it just hurt so much when she did try. I tried pumping too but my milk took forever to come in. I was getting depressed and just hated this time with my child. So formula feeding it was. I hated being asked how breastfeeding was going or anything having to do with how I’m feeding my kid. It was just too personal and people’s judgements could be felt a mile away.
    In the end I just didn’t care about other people’s opinions or thoughts on how I was feeding her. She was getting fed and we were happy.
    I wish you the best of luck the second time around! !

    • Reply
      Andie
      January 26, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Oops sorry for the spelling errors! Typing on my phone lol. That should read You!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      Andie, don’t you worry! I have soooo many typos when I do posts and then feel silly when I see them later, lol! i didn’t even notice yours. 🙂

      The judgement is the worst…I constantly felt like when someone would ask me about breastfeeding that I would have to launch into the whole story to explain myself…which I should have just not cared about! But that’s easier said than done! Thanks for the luck for Baby #2…I’m going to need it! Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment.

  • Reply
    Megan Spilman
    January 26, 2015 at 10:21 am

    All 3 of my kids were formula fed for similar reasons. They were all NICU babies, w my oldest being born at 28 weeks and in the NICU for 74 days and my twins born at 35 weeks and in the NICU for 6. When your baby is sent to the NICU, there is no opportunity for immediate holding/feeding/bonding. The NICU feeds the baby pumped (from me) or donated milk. So my first breastfeeding experience both times was w a pump and I just never had the supply. My body pumped between 2-4oz each session and that’s all it ever made. Even with valiant attempts to breastfeed after my babies came home. I tried all the tricks and went to all the classes, only to have a screaming child who was hungry and wasn’t being fed enough from my measly supply. I also had PPD both times and spent way too much time pumping. It is SO good you have realistic expectations this time and are ok w not breastfeeding if it comes to that. I was so determined to make it work the second time (even w twins!) that I let myself slip back into the same anger, frustration and resentment. I wish I could go back and just be content w healthy babies and not try so hard to meet unrealistic expectations to exclusively breastfeed. Thank you for this post! Can’t wait to see your new baby girl!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Wow…you had a lot on your plate with having babies born early and NICU time. I can’t imagine how hard and stressful that must have been…so kudos to you momma for being strong for them! PPD is no joke either…I kept thinking I had the baby blues and it just never went away so I’m really going to try my best to not be so hard on myself this time around when it comes to things that I can’t control (and I’m going to try being a crunchy mama and have my placenta encapsulated to see if that might help, lol!).

      I really appreciate your comment and I’m going to try to keep reminding myself and doing my best to not fall into the same thinking this time around. Thank you!!

  • Reply
    Natasha
    January 26, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I tried breastfeeding with my first baby and i just couldn’t. I had tons of milk but my milk wouldn’t let down. It was so frustrating because i couldn’t even pump enough. I was cracked and bleeding and i cried everytime. After about 10 days i realized that my son wasn’t getting what he needed and i wasn’t being the mom i wanted to be and i quit and started formula. I had a happier, full baby and i was happier too. It was the best decision i made for both of us and i don’t regret it for a minute. I am planning on trying again with this second baby but i know now what to look for and where to get the extra help if i need. This time i again will know that whatever makes my baby and i happy is what is best for us. Thankfully no one judged me pr made me feel guilty for doing what i had to do. Good luck this time around! 🙂

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      Natasha,
      That must have been super painful and I commend you on making the decision so quickly! I wish I could have seen it that way a lot earlier rather than dragging everything out for so long…ultimately making myself and Mabel more miserable. I’m also so glad you had a lot of support and no one judge you! I wish we could all be surrounded by awesome people like that.
      Good luck with Baby #2 and I hope you have a much easier go at it this time around. 🙂 Thanks so much for the comment!

  • Reply
    Shasta
    January 26, 2015 at 10:30 am

    So many women judge others based on what THEY see as being best, and I hate it. As long as your baby is being fed and loved, who cares if you are bottle feeding, breastfeeding, or formula feeding? With Rylie, I was lucky and we’re still breastfeeding (22 months and she’s finally starting to wean) but there were times in the beginning when I just wished she would take a bottle or even take a paci. She had a horrible gag reflex, so anything other than breast would have her gagging and spitting up. I wanted to give up because I had toe curling pain for about 3 weeks before my breasts got used to breastfeeding. I seen LC’s every week and her latch was perfect, I just had a vasospasm causing nipple blanching that hurt so bad when cold air hit them. Showering was my worst enemy.

    No matter what you end up doing, don’t feel bad about it this time around. I know it can be hard to take all the criticism when people think they know what’s best for your child, but just keep your chin up. You’re a great mother!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Shasta,
      Exactly…I wish moms judging other moms would just cease! And congrats on getting to almost 2 years! I don’t think I could do that even if it had worked out! That’s a ton of dedication so you go momma! 🙂

      And what you went through sounds super painful! No one ever talks about complications in public whether they are successful or not with breastfeeding so it’s been really interesting reading what everyone has been saying in their comments. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me!

  • Reply
    Brittany Waller
    January 26, 2015 at 10:53 am

    I breastfed my son for nearly a year and a half, but there were only about four or five months of the entire process that I enjoyed and that went well. The rest of the time was painful and frustrating and very very painful. I was so frustrated because of latch (no tongue tie) and overactive let-down issues so when he absolutely refused to take a bottle-like at all- I started to resent nursing. But I had to do it because he would not eat any other way. Now that our second is due in a few short weeks I’m becoming very anxious about breastfeeding again. I told my husband that if this baby doesn’t take a bottle (either pumped or formula), I honestly don’t know what I’ll do. I’m already so fearful of all of the issues we had with my son.

    Best of luck with your upcoming baby girl! I don’t understand why people make such hateful comments. However it turns out, I know that you’ll do everything as a momma to take care of her and she’ll be so so loved.

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 10:27 pm

      Brittany,
      This has opened my eyes to the other side of breastfeeding…I had never thought about those babies who won’t take a bottle at all. I can only imagine since I’m one who needs some alone time here and there to remain sane and when your little one won’t take a bottle, I guess you don’t get a break at all. But I’m sure your second time around will be different since all babies are different! I’ll be sending positive vibes your way that this little one will take a bottle for you when you need it. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story with me!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    January 26, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    All you can do is try it doesn’t always work out the way you want though. I was incredibly fortunate to not have any major issues with breastfeeding and it was still so hard and there were times when I wanted to just throw in the towel and quit. When I was pregnant with my first I thought that breastfeeding would be easy and anyone who didn’t breastfeed or said they couldn’t obviously just didn’t try hard enough(obviously I realize that’s not the case at all now). I had a lot of plans of how motherhood would go and not all of those things happened and that’s ok. I had plans to let ds self wean I thought that was the right way and what would work for us but when I was 12 weeks pregnant I developed an awful nursing aversion and started to dread nursing and ended up weaning ds just after he turned 2 and I felt awful and so guilty for weaning him but really I shouldn’t of getting to 2 was a huge accomplishment. I’m due with number 2 at the end of next month and hoping things go smoothly with this baby as well but really you never know wbat will happen. best of luck with your next lo hopefully everything works out for you.

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 10:52 pm

      You’re right…all I can do is try! I just hope it works out this time for me and I hope it’s just as easy for you this time around too. 🙂 And you’re almost to the end of your pregnancy too…I bet you’re happy that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, lol! I’m sooooo ready to not be pregnant anymore and to just meet this little baby. Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story with me!

  • Reply
    Devan
    January 26, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    With my first one I tried for 3 weeks. Was working with a LC and not producing. 1 ounce total when they would have me pump. He kept losing weight and they finally told me for his sake I needed to start supplementing. After giving him the first bottle and seeing how hungry he was made me feel even more horrible. My LC finally told me for my sanity to just switch him over to formula.
    I remember when we moved to Texas there was a billboard that said something along the lines of breastfeed your child if you want them to become a rocket scientist. Still makes me mad to this day to think about it.
    Tried with the second one again and they couldn’t even get any colostrum out of me. Never had any milk come in. Switched her over to formula before we left the hospital. Didn’t deal with postpartum depression at all this time around

    I hope it works out for you this time but your baby will be just fine if it doesn’t!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      Devan,
      That must have been really hard to go through and I’m actually proud that your LC recommended you switch to formula…and I know that sounds odd but I kinda wish mine had been more supportive of seeing how stressed I was and that it would be have been beneficial to recommend that to me. AND I’ve totally been in the position of seeing billboards like that or public service announcement commercials in Delaware about being an awesome mom means breastfeeding…made me upset and sad at the same time. I know they are trying to encourage women but I wish they’d see that they are also kind of insulting the women who can’t at the same time. Thank you for posting your story and sharing it with me!

  • Reply
    Whitney
    January 26, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    i totally feel you! My oldest had a tongue tie, and that among other things made it tough for us to nurse also. I also pumped for a while, began to resent that process (which I was doing for less and less return) and switched to formula. She’s healthy as can be and I’m glad I handled the situation the way I did! My second baby nursed just fine until 8 months, if that is some encouragement! You do you, because you know best!!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      Whitney,
      I had no clue what a tongue-tie even was until they told me Mabel had one…it was just surprising because I didn’t know it could affect breastfeeding. I read that it can be genetic so I’m assuming your second didn’t have it at all? They are going to make sure to check right after Baby #2 is born to make sure she doesn’t have one and if she does they’ll fix it then and there. So glad it was smooth sailing for you the second time around…I hope I’m that lucky too! Thanks for commenting!

  • Reply
    Ketlin
    January 27, 2015 at 4:01 am

    I know how big the pressure is to breastfeed. My little girl is two months younger than Mabel and before she was born I was very afraid of not being able to breastfeed her. Not only because all of this breast is best slogans, but also because this pressure and people who thin k you´re a bad mum when you give formula. I live in Estonia, it´s a tiny country in Eastern Europe, between Finland and Russia, and here mums are advised to breastfeed at least one year, prefereably more. Luckily I found it easy and I indeed breastfed my girl a little more than a year, but I often found myself thinking how much stress it would have caused if I couldn´t do it.
    But your story reminded me another thing I really struggled when my baby was born and which I still remember so vividly even now when she is almost 3 and we are planning another baby. It sound so silly, I know… but I was very depressed about using baby wipes, can you imagine that? In my country, mums are advised by pediatricians and midwives to use wipes only when being outside with the baby. At home you are supposed to wash baby´s bottom under running water, as plain water is said to be best for the baby. Midwives show in the hospitals how you are supposed to hold the baby to wash his/her bottom. I found it horrific. Newborn baby seems so fragile, and I was supposed to hold her with one arm in the sink, and to wash with other hand? It seemed so dangerous , although practically everyone in Estonia does it and wipes here are indeed used mostly only outside. I remember crying first day at home, as I felt I couldn´t do it. I felt I was a bad and incompetent mother as I wasn´t able to even wash her bottom.
    I was afraid the times baby pooped – and you know, at the beginning they poop almost every diaper – so it was getting absurd. So at first I tried cotton wool and water, which was much easier than washing in the sink. And then later I switched to sensitive wipes, which seemed a blessing! It is funny t o think about it now, that first times I used wipes it felt like I was doing something illegal! 😀
    Bathing the baby was totally another thing, that was fun! But definitely not washing in a little sink during every diaper change…
    Now, planning another baby, I am definitely much more composed and going to do things the way they feel right to ME, not how someone said it SHOULD be done. After all, most mums in the world seem to be using baby wipes. And there are soooo many mums feeding formula to their babies, and the babies are absolutely ok.
    So I wish you good luck with breastfeeding, but there is definitely no need to worry when you truly cannot do that. After all, what the baby needs most, is a mum who is calm and happy. No matter if breast or formula, no matter if her bum is washed only with water or cleaned with wipes.

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 27, 2015 at 11:22 pm

      Ketlin,
      I’m so glad it was easy for you. 🙂 Did you have a lot of support from other women who were able to give you help and advice? And that is pretty interesting about the use of wipes primarily being for outside! I’m sure it cuts back on waste and can save a lot of money in the long run though. But I’m glad you found what worked best for you with the cloth and then the sensitive wipes. If it makes things easier and causes you less stress, I’m all for it! 🙂
      Thank you so much for the well wishes and luck for Baby #2. I hope breastfeeding comes easier this time. And I wish you luck with planning your Baby #2. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your story with me.

  • Reply
    Caroline Green
    January 27, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Been there Morgan! Lila had milk, soy and gluten intolerance that caused blood in her stool/colitis while I nursed. After six months of doing an elimination diet, her colitis continued and I was advised by her Gastro specialist to stop nursing and use a RX formula. I too had post-partum during this time and felt like a failure after switching for formula. I agree I missed out on Lila’s first months! You know what? When Owen was born, I nursed and we noticed the exact same scary symptoms at 3 weeks old. We went directly to the RX formula and it was the best decision we could have made! Not ideal, but everyone (including Owen) was much more peaceful and happy. I’ll nurse this baby again but have NO hesitation switching if it’s necessary, or if we just want to at some point, or whatever!!! I’m pro-nursing! I’m also pro-mom and pro-family!!! Whatever works. That’s my motto:)
    You’re an AWESOME mom, Morgan! You’re girls are blessed to have you!

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 30, 2015 at 11:36 pm

      Caroline,
      That must have been a huge challenge! And I bet the RX formula wasn’t cheap at all! And postpartum depression is rough…I had just put so much pressure on myself to breastfeed no matter what and then of course it just wasn’t meant to be. I often wonder if something similar happens this time, if I’ll be able to handle it easier and switch to formula sooner for baby girl’s sake and my sanity too…so what you told me is very encouraging. The switch made everyone happier which is always the best thing! I wish you lots of luck with this little guy not having the same situation and that everything comes super easily for you guys. Thanks so much for the kind words and support…it means a lot to me. I wish we lived closer!!

  • Reply
    Loni H
    January 27, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    I had actually passed by your original post on Facebook, thinking, nope don’t need to read that, just another post to make me feel bad again. And then I read your second post thanking people for their kind comments, so I thought, well I’ll give it a glance over.

    So now I need to thank you. I am in this “mom guilt” rut and now I know I am doing what is best for me and my daughter. I was able to breastfeed my first baby for 7 months, so with my second, I was more than ready and prepared to breastfeed her as well. The first couple days were ok, a little difficulty but nothing that seemed to be a problem. And then we get home and she just all of a sudden would not latch and would just scream and cry. It got to the point where I would just put her in the position to feed and she would start crying. We gave her a bottle with breastmilk and even with the bottle, she would take it but still fuss about it. She wasn’t gaining weight so we had to do something to get her to eat, so we made the decision to give her formula since I wasn’t able to keep my supply up with pumping. Pumping with a two year old and a newborn was like doing jumping jacks while brushing my teeth and talking on the phone at the same time, it was exhausting and sometimes very painful. It really wasn’t worth it, and looking back on it, I really wasn’t able to be the best mom I needed to be.

    She has since been diagnosed with reflux, and even though getting her to eat will be a struggle more times than not, I now know that I am doing my best and what is best and she is now the happy baby I knew she wanted to be.

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 30, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      Loni,
      I thought that some ladies might feel the same exact way you mentioned you did when you first saw the title on facebook…I’m still like that when I see a lot of breastfeeding things. Still to this day too…I’m reading a breastfeeding book trying to prep for this baby and I’m sitting there rolling my eyes at so much the author is saying because it’s just soooo biased and apparently she never had a tough time feeding her little ones. -_- But I’m super glad you chose to read it the post!

      I’m so sorry that you’ve had to deal with the ‘mom guilt’ as I know all too well exactly how that feels…not fun at all. The reflux must have complicated everything for your little girl but I’m so glad things are getting better and that’s she’s happy. 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and leave your story for me to read. Keep in touch and let me know how it’s going!

      • Reply
        Loni H
        February 20, 2015 at 12:44 pm

        Still working on her with this eating thing. I guess all babies really are different, and we sure are stumping the doctors with this one.

        She’s finally gaining weight after having to add more formula to each bottle. We are now working on the possibility of a milk allergy so she’s on soy for now to see if that helps.

        Oh the joys of motherhood and newborns! I just keep telling myself that it’s all worth it in the end!

        On a side note, congrats on the beautiful new addition! I’m sure you’re in heaven. Nothing better than a cuddly newborn. All these people around me having babies is making me want a third, even after it only being three months! I’m crazy right?!?

  • Reply
    Brandnewmom
    January 27, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Hi there! I just followed you back on Twitter and read this post! I just recently posted about 10 things I wish I knew about breastfeeding. I can’t imagine what you went through but I would have to say that leading up to breastfeeding I did the same. I researched everything and bought the best pump etc too. I was hell bent on BF and was also convinced breast is best. Although my LO did take to it after a bit, I know my heart and would probably would have felt as you did.
    Having said that, there are definitely certain unpleasantries as I call them about BF too that I was unaware of. So, even if it isn’t the case with your next LO, have a laugh at my expense. Your new blog friend,
    Brandnewmom 🙂

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 30, 2015 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks for checking the blog out. 🙂 And it was a truly tough time for me but I’m really optimistic this time around. Every baby is different so hopefully we won’t have the same tongue tie issue and this little baby will be a natural at it. If not, it is what it is and I’m going to try not to stress as much as I did last time. I appreciate you taking the time to leave me a comment! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jodi
    January 30, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Don’t forget a nipple shield. They can help start things if it’s not going well and you can get rid of it later when she has the hang of things.

    • Reply
      Morgan
      January 30, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      Good tip! I had them last time with Mabel so I’m hoping to not need them this time but if they are needed, no problem. 🙂

  • Reply
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