Tuesday, April 3, 2012

When breastmilk isn't best

That's right, I said it. Breastmilk isn't always best.

I always considered myself to have a very healthy attitude about breastfeeding. I set a goal for myself to do it for a year, but was willing to occasionally supplement with formula. And when women tell me they want to breastfeed, I try to offer practical tips, including telling them not to stress if it doesn't work out.

But recently, I've realized that my attitude about breastfeeding is far from healthy.

Ways you know you have an unhealthy breastmilk obsession:

--You have passed up a chance to do something actually enjoyable in order to pump

--Your baby is 6+ months and you are still pumping

--...even though it means you leave work later and see your baby less

--Your freezer contains more milk than food

--You have fed your baby breastmilk that might have been going stale instead of fresh formula

--You make breastmilk bottles with less milk than you think your baby will drink so none of it will get "wasted"

--You feel sad/angry when the baby doesn't drink all the milk in a bottle because it is "wasted"

--You have given up sleep to pump

--You have given up sleep to keep your baby from getting a single bottle of formula

--You think formula smells bad

--When your baby does get formula, you feel guilty

--Even though you pretend not to, you secretly judge other women who don't breastfeed for at least a full year

Is this healthy? Is it necessarily in my baby's best interests? I'd say it's often very clearly against my baby's interests, actually.

The way I finally realized this might be a problem was that recently I had an issue with my pump equipment. I found some old crud on the... yellow thing the milk filters through (OK, I don't know what any of the equipment is called). I washed it daily but apparently didn't completely dismantle it properly. I worried that all the milk I had pumped was tainted. Two months worth, about 300 ounces. And I started to panic.

I started to plan: No more skipping pumping sessions. Maybe start pumping again on weekends. Somehow I had to replenish all that lost milk.

That's when I realized that I was being completely ridiculous. My baby is almost a year old and the winter is over... so what if she got a couple of months of formula? Would that really be so harmful? Would it be harmful AT ALL? In fact, might it even be better to give fresh pumped milk and formula, rather than all frozen milk?

(By the way, the above is a great reason never to use donated breast milk that isn't well screened.)

Anyway, I emailed my pediatrician's office and they said I didn't have to throw out all that milk. But part of me still thinks I should, just to cut the chains (and be safe). I haven't decided yet, but I've decided I'll be okay with it either way.


  1. Yes yes yes! Read this while pumping and had to add my own crazy to the mix:

    -You pop herbs meant to "increase your milk supply" round-the-clock---going well above the "recommended dosage"

    -You save HALF AN OUNCE of unused fresh milk because OH MY GOD, that's a fifth of my afternoon pumping session!

    -You are ecstatic when your baby has a poor appetite one day and doesn't take his last (fresh, so still good for the next day) pumped bottle...even though he is underweight.

    -You freak out when your baby throws up after a bottle. Not because he is sick...but because...ugh the wasted milk!

    The breastmilk hoarding phenomenon. Its bizarre. I feel real anxiety now that my freezer stash is dwindling...why???

    I strongly feel that this whole "exclusive breastfeeding" recommendation has led to a lot of neuroses in mothers. The whole formula=failure thing. Why "exclusive" anyways? Does a bottle or two of formula a day NEGATE the super-magical effects of breastmilk????

    I have no judgement with others using formula, I did it myself with my last kid...but this time I was determined to BF and 6 months in I just can't cut myself any slack.

  2. You could totally make this into a validated questionnaire. Just saying. I do at least 1/2 of these things, and the other things I can't do yet because my daughter is only 2 months.

    I sort of feel like, in this day and age, there is NO REASON for moms to freak about about feeding their babies, because so many good, healthy options exist. Of course this doesn't stop it from happening anyway. Perhaps there is an evolutionary advantage to being OCD about it....

  3. Yeah, and for a bunch of doctor-types, if you (I) read the literature carefully, the "super magical" effects of breast milk are more like "maybe, possibly" magical. ... Pop literature way exaggerates benefits. (And now the WHO is thinking about amending the 6-months exclusive to only be for developing countries where GI issues are more prevalent and more serious when they occur. )

    Anyway, I went through some of these same neuorses myself. But my milk supply isn't stellar and my baby is underweight so I started adding a bottle a day at about five months. I found it made me much less neurotic and much more laid back. My baby is still underweight (and thriving and perfectly happy), but now I don't worry about it as much because I know I can meet her milk demands with extra formula, so I am certain she gets all she wants.

    Also, conventional formula does smell bad. I use "Baby's Only." ... I like the ingredients list and they use a safer method for deriving the DHA/ARA in the milk. ... Speaking of which, I also like with the formula that I know my baby is getting some vitamins and things.

    People have gone nuts about breastfeeding. ... It's ridiculous. (And I don't mean to be criticizing you. I am just as susceptible to all that thinking ... But I think it's best for us and our babies if we fight it!)

  4. People have only gone nuts about breastfeeding because its a battle for women in this country. In other countries (my original one including) women stay home for first year and get paid, then have option to stay home longer (paid less but still all preserved benefits, including these years count as working years for social security). So, women who comfortably stay home can make it work without pumping, hurrying and worrying. Here working women are made to compete with women who can afford to stay at home.

  5. Anon #2 -- I would be even more nuts if I had to stay home for a year. I hate being a SAHM. Just saying. While I agree that it would be nice to have the choice in this country, implying that being a SAHM would alleviate all/many important difficulties of being a new mom is probably inaccurate. At least it is for me.

  6. Hey Fizzy, I had the same gunk near the yellow part issue. That part doesn't come into contact with the milk and I asked around A LOT/OBSESSIVELY and finally concluded that the milk I pumped pre realization of the gunk was actually ok!

    and I did SO MANY of these things! I can say that now I am delightfully nursing my 16 month old in a stress free fashion (I don't pump anymore, and she drinks cows milk as needed during school). She still nurses three times a day and it is So much more enjoyable minus the neurosis and stress of exclusivity - this is what nursing should be like!

  7. Hmm, I expected more advice on whether I should keep/dump the milk, considering how much advice I always get when I don't ask for it :)

    Cutter: Are you sure we're talking about the same yellow part? Did you have a Medela pump in style? I'm talking about the part that attaches to the bottom of the breast shield. I mean, the milk definitely goes through it. I can see it now, covered in milk. The gunk was on that and on that little flimsy white sheet that attaches to the yellow thing. (I hate that little white sheet.) I probably should have been detaching the white sheet to clean it separately, but I wasn't.

    There's no question that the gunk must have been in contact with the milk. The question is: does it matter, considering my kid puts her mouth on much worse things.

  8. I live by the saying, "when in doubt, throw it out".

    And... formula's not the devil. I had to make the switch after 6 weeks and she's healthy, a fantastic student, level headed, and an overall great kid. I don't think any permanent damage was done by putting my boobies back in their cups. ;)

  9. I had the same gunk on mine, Fizzy, and totally didn't even flinch about feeding my son the milk I pumped that definitely touched it... He got probably hundreds of ounces of "gunky" milk and is fine! I agree with whoever said that the baby is most likely putting more disgusting things in their mouth... My son certainly was and is! Like, the dog licks his face after he eats, which is just gross.

    1. Oh my gosh you guys have put me at ease! THANK YOU!! I'm over here freaking out because I found black gunk in my pump parts too. My babe is 8 months old and mostly gets milk straight from the breast but occasionally will get thawed pumped milk.

      And duh... he's starting to crawl. He licks his Daddy's shoes. Gross stuff.

  10. 1) Isn't the reason you are breast feeding partly because of the (way over-hyped) immune benefits? Then think of the frozen breast milk as having a built in immunity to whatever it got frozen with. Pretty sure that gunk isn't harmful/infectious anyway.

    2) We had a fabulous pediatrician who encouraged us to start giving our daughter 4 oz of formula every day when she was a month old. Because:
    a) what happens on the day supply does not meet demand and she won't touch formula?
    b) gives an opportunity for pumping and storing while Dad has a chance to bond with baby over something other than diapers
    c) our child was an ounce over her birth weight at 6 days. She clearly was getting way more than the average kid in terms of immune components of breast milk anyway, and there is no good data on adequate dosing, but not very much appears to be plenty.

    Worked great, and it was so nice to have a pediatrician who didn't add to the crazy.

    My addition to the crazy list: when she started eating cereal at 3 months and 3 weeks (gasp, and yet she is healthy as a horse and remarkably allergy free given she is my offspring), I used breast milk to make it. Then felt horrible when she sometimes didn't eat it all, because that is pumped milk you CAN'T save. So I started making it in formula and saving the pumped milk for drinking.

  11. ewww, seriously, THROW IT OUT! That gunk could be mold, bacteria, etc... How can you feed it to your child not knowing that it's safe? Would you drink it yourself?
    A fabulous article anyways :)

  12. Well, I wouldn't put the remote control in my mouth either or lick the coffee table, but my kid does that all the time. And I don't even want to think about all the stuff she licks in daycare.

    It's easy to follow the "when in doubt, throw it out" rule when you're talking about last night's Chinese food. I'm talking about 300 ounces of milk that probably took me 60+ hours to pump, a huge sacrifice. It's not so easy to just toss that out, especially when the pediatrician says the milk is okay. Not to say that I wouldn't if I had to, but it's not a decision I take lightly.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has any *evidence* the milk is tainted or not tainted, beyond just "ew! gross!"

  13. Peds says it's ok? I'd totally keep it.

  14. The arguments here seem to boil down to (1) "EW GRODY" vs (2) "Eh, why not? Kids are gross anyway."

    To me, it seems like the fundamental question here is: what is the gunk? My guess is that it's a mineral precipitate left over from being bathed in milk without regular vigorous scrubbing (does anybody do that anyway?).

    But, really, who knows?

    Since the major concern is that it's an infectious contaminant (either bacterial or fungal), why not test it? You work in a hospital / rehab facility, right? Do they do cultures? Get 4 plates, 2 bacterial agar, 2 fungal. Swab the concerning milk on two, and a fresh milk control on the other two. Leave on top of the refrigerator for two days, then compare. My guess? They'll all look the same (slightly spotty). We're humans, not autoclaves. Covered in gunk even at our freshest.

    There's also the reasonable possibility that the act of freezing the milk actually makes it less contaminated. Of course, the immunologic properties (antibodies, live cells, cytokines, etc) also take a hit with freezing/reheating, as well. Such is life.

    Anyway, that was a rather long-winded way of saying that I'd probably use it... but I never produced enough to make a freezer stash in the first place. Bias noted.

  15. Most recent Anon: Very clever :) We send our cultures out, but even if we didn't, I already scrubbed away all the offending crud. Somehow it didn't occur to me to save and culture it :)

    I've decided that I'm probably going to keep the milk, but use less of it. At this point, all my frozen stash is from February or later and I'm going to switch to cow's milk at the end of May (when I really will toss it all), so there's no worry of expiration. So I'm going to mostly use fresh milk and the frozen stuff will just be a supplement.

  16. Fizzy, I was actually talking about a different part in the tubing. Honestly, I'd probably throw it out with the part you're talking about. I actually threw out some milk once when I realized that there was some dishwasher crap in one of them, but I also only lost a bottle, and not a bunch of milk, and I KNOW how its painful to throw out even a half ounce (I have saved so many half ounce bottles of pumped milk its ridiculous!). However, you'd prob have the most peace of mind if you threw it out, because now you know if she gets the slightest little sniffle, you will totally blame it on the gunk and just add more to the breasfeeding psychosis!

  17. Fizz-
    Had the gunk. Assumed similar quantities affected - used anyway. Baby is now happy, strong almost-7-year-old.

  18. Had the gunk too. I still used the milk to feed my baby and my baby is fine. Still prefer to give breast milk over formula though my 1-year-old is getting about 1 bottle of formula a day because of my dwindling supply. I'm a pumping nazi, haha!

  19. Even if the gunk is infectious...antibodies in the milk would likely cancel it out! I'm for keeping it...just builds your kid's immune system (like the remote and the dog!). I don't think I am neurotic, though I meet a lot of the criteria on your list. My neurosis is part "breast-is-best" fanaticism and part "I work so much, this is one thing that I know I am providing for my kid that no one else can do, so I am still the Mama" neurosis. I am comfortable with it...by the way, have you tasted formula? It is gross, in my opinion, while breastmilk is delicious (oh, yeah, I have tasted it).

  20. Also had the gunk with my son -- didn't realize that the yellow thing came off at all (let alone the white membrane)! You can only imagine how much gunk there was when I realized I could clean there separately after about 6 months of continuous use. My son was fine.

    Doing better this time around with my daughter. The one time I threw out milk out of contamination fears was when I found black mold (with hyphae and everything) growing in the clear part next to the yellow thing - seriously horrifying.

    Do you do the microwave sterilization thing? If you do, the gunk is really almost certainly just precipitated minerals, etc, anyway.

    P.S. It's 11:15 and I'm pumping while reading this instead of sleeping. This with grand rounds at 8 and a baby who has started waking every hour. I see your point.

  21. This blog has really been taking a turn for the sad lately. So many discouraging and unhappy mothers posting disdainful things about other mothers who find happiness in different choices. I hope that you find peace and make decisions that don't require so many sour grapes. In the meantime, i'm unsubscribing.

  22. I had the gunk too... And fed the baby all the milk - it is bacteriostatic! And I agree we are way to crazy about breastfeeding. Both my kids got some formula, but I pumped for 12 mo with each and I'm proud of it! My best realization with the second was I didnt wash / rinse the parts each pumping session - just put them in the fridge or with the ice pack... Then rinsed them at night and it them in the dishwasher. I had enough parts to get through 3 days. Today I actually put away all the bottles - I gave the pump away a month ago. We are moving into new stages in our house. Good luck!

  23. Well ,a good piece of information shared .These are essential things which every mother has to remember,after all breastfeeding is best for child.You may have heard that breastfeeding is natural and easy but there is one more option of breast pumps which is very useful for some mothers.

  24. Christie: Sour grapes means criticizing something you can't have. Like if I wasn't able to pump, then saying pumping was stupid and harmful. If you're going to call us names, at least do it correctly :)

  25. @ Christie - are you referring to the posts or comments? The last ten or so posts have been about, balancing medical motherhood and successfully loosing post baby weight, successfully standing up for yourself and pumping at work, encouraging residents who choose to have children during residency, a post for encouragement after not matching, a post on a currently huge social issue (Trayvon), a wonderful commentary on lifetime learning, anger against pink eye, and a tribute to my grandmother! What exactly is sour? Just wondering.

  26. 1. I say keep the milk! There was a day where I gave my Little One thawed milk that was right at the 3-4mth freezer expiration mark, he refused to eat it. He had a happy day with my aunt in spite of refusing the milk and when I came home he made up for it by nursing around the clock until bedtime. I checked the milk when I got home and he knew it wasn't quite right, I smelled it and it had a weird smell :-( I was sad, but he was fine. I think these Little Ones will let us know when their milk isn't quite right. KEEP THE MILK!!! JUST MAKE SURE TO MARK IT WITH A * or something and have back-up.

    2. Part of the reason many of us are crazy with the "breast is best" is because the formula industry has been inundating our society with "formula is equivalent" messages since the early 1900s. Remember the days when Docs were being paid by formula companies to advertise (this while advertising cigarettes for everyone and Pepsi Cola even for babies, uggghh). I think we are morally obligated to tout the goodness in breast milk. Yes, sometimes it can be horrible, but it's the best thing for babies. I like the folks who commented on how pumping sucks and this should engage us all in advocating for more family-friendly laws such as mandatory 12month maternity leave so that those of us who would choose to be at home can. Breastfeeding saves lives and lots of money. Check out the ingredients in formula, you KNOW you wouldn't eat that stuff yourself.

  27. I am all for sanity, but honestly this question of breastfeeding with pumping vs formula is really one for the priveleged. That is perfectly fine for this forum but please do not down play the benefits of breastfeeding on a blog with a focus of medicine. When we talk about the global benefits of breastfeeding, most have been in countries with bad water supplies and limited resources that can be spent on formula. I hope you would not advocate that a mother with limited resources spend on formula instead of food for herself that would become breast milk.

  28. Anon@4/9: Do I honestly have to preface this post by saying that it does not apply to women living in third world countries? Do you think there's a real danger that some impoverished woman living in a hut will run across this post and feel pressured to buy formula? Is this an actual concern you have or is this another case of someone always needing to make a patronizing statement about our problems being "problems of the privileged"?

    In case anyone is interested in an update, I decided to dump the milk. I was planning to keep it, but then the baby got sent home from daycare with diarrhea. Related or not, I just couldn't willingly feed her mold-contaminated milk anymore and the pediatrician agreed.

  29. Whatever Fizzy. I do not think it is being holier than thou to comment on your post being for a particular slice of humanity. No, you are right, the woman in the hut will not be reading your post.

  30. I don't know what you're talking about, Anon. I don't have the ability to delete comments.

  31. Anon@3:08: I do think it's irritating when someone seems to feel compelled to say something like that so often. Do we need to put a disclaimer at the bottom of each post? I really think these things go without saying, and most of the women reading these posts do really relate to them.

  32. I am on call to to tonight and prepped with the obligatory breast pump for my 8 month old. I LOVE the thread and appreciate that other physician moms like me have "breastmilk" psychosis also. Keep the thread going!!!

  33. So because I hate the smell of formula, and think its gross I'm unhealthy? Oh I pump for my 8 month old so he can have a bottle when I'm not around rather than have him have formula that could contain crushed up bug parts I'm 'obsessed'?

    I think your projecting your short comings and mental blocks to justify your own feelings of inadequateness and I'm offended by it. Enjoying breast feeding is not unhealthy. Staying up to pump a few ounces for 10 extra minutes before bed so my husband can do a 2am feeding isnt abnormal, and wasn't when my son was 10 weeks old. Its not necessary now, but there was a time I'd gladly haven given ten minutes to empty my breasts before bed so my dh could feed our son in a few hours for me.

    I find your post offensive. I have never said anything to someone who chose formula, it's their choice as a parent on how to feed their child. Just like its a breatfeeding mother's choice on how to feed hers. Just because you had issues doesn't mean those of us who nurse have a problem. Seriously, If you are so deeply troubled by having breastfed or pumped that you feel the need to put down others who had similar actions(even if they weren't bothered or scared by them as you seem to be) I suggest you get professional help. Don't bother responding. I'll never read another thing you write. Good luck to you, I hope you don't resent having to cook good foods for your child one day and Just drive through for them daily so you don't develop a psychosis again.

  34. Why so angry, Tammy? If breastfeeding is easy for you, you should feel happy and grateful. This post is for women who have struggling and persisted in their quest to provide breastmilk, even to the point where it's ironically gone against the baby's best interests. From the comments, it sounds like a LOT of women can relate. Don't throw stones at those of us who aren't as fortunate as you.

    And regarding formula smelling bad, that was a bit facetious, but most women I've talked to think it smells bad until the baby starts drinking it. Then you get to really like the smell b/c it smells like your baby.

  35. Great post fizzy and great responses to the crazy! I love it:) just proves that the who bf msg gets taken too literally. With my first bub I took it too far: pumped bilaterally what felt like all the time, due to recurrent mastitis fed for 12months on just one breast!!! In retrospect it was a whole bucketload of crazy. I felt isolated and depressed attached to a pump /sterilizing bottles, add that to paranoia about bugs/gastro and trying to balance sleep deprived internship- the bf mantra of "breast is best" and the bf assoc nipple nazi advice to continue made my life ridiculous. I shouldn't have felt the pressure I did as a first time mum and don't really blame anyone but myself, but I just wanted to do "right thing" or the "best" thing for my baby. Baby 2 = much more relaxed bit of breast bit of formula as required and no pumping at all= much happier mum and =happy chubby bub. As drs the Msg for crazy developed nnationwide st time mums should be supportive to tailor bf or formula to their and their babys needs. Hopefully I can convince my hubby to have baby 3 while Im training in emergency :) and I'll bf again when I can!

  36. I was recently reading a blog post from a woman who was plotting to keep her baby from getting formula from 6 months to a year... solutions included giving whole milk early and feeding the baby *expired* breast milk. And I was contemplating feeding my baby mold. I really think this is a little out of control. There aren't really any studies showing breastmilk has benefits in the 6 month to one year period.

  37. My neurosis was that I breastfed my son until 19 months and then felt horribly guilty weaning my daughter at 15 months because I was going to Africa for 2 weeks...but I didn't want mastitis in Africa and I'd had trouble pumping on a plane before. I didn't want to go through that again.

    Fizzy, I looked up the benefits of breastfeeding after a year. Here's what Dr. Jack Newman has to say:

    "'But it is said that breastmilk has no value after six months.'

    Perhaps this is said, but it is patently wrong. That anyone (including paediatricians) can say such a thing only shows how ill-informed so many people in our society are about breastfeeding. Breastmilk is, after all, milk. Even after six months, it still contains protein, fat, and other nutritionally important and appropriate elements which babies and children need. Breastmilk still contains immunologic factors that help protect the child even if he is 2 or older. In fact, some immune factors in breastmilk that protect the baby against infection are present in greater amounts in the second year of life than in the first. This is, of course as it should be, since children older than a year are generally exposed to more infections than young babies. Breastmilk still contains special growth factors that help the immune system to mature, and which help the brain, gut, and other organs to develop and mature.

    It has been well shown that children in daycare who are still breastfeeding have far fewer and less severe infections than the children who are not breastfeeding. The mother thus loses less work time if she continues breastfeeding her baby once she is back at her paid work.

    It is interesting that formula company marketing pushes the use of formula (a very poor copy of breastmilk) for a year, yet implies that breastmilk (which formula tries unsuccessfully to copy) is only worthwhile for 6 months or even less (“the best nutrition for newborns”). Too many health professionals have taken up the refrain."

    Obviously, I support breastfeeding and think it is the best for at least one year. So I am leery of any BF bashing. But I could see that, for me, focusing on what was wrong (stopping earlier than I had for my son) was detrimental. As my pediatrician said, "You shouldn't feel guilty. You should feel proud."

    Ah, the overachieving doctor syndrome.

  38. Well, if a random doctor who cites no references says so, it must be true! I breastfed my daycare baby all winter and I can't imagine her having been sick more often than she was.

    This post isn't about bashing breastfeeding though. It's about the times when women breastfeed to the detriment of their babies and their selves, which I think is a little silly. Right now, every minute I spend pumping at work is one less minute I get to spend with my baby. What is more important? Is an ounce of formula more important than ten minutes of mama cuddles?

  39. As a male who occasionally peruses this site, I would like to leave a somewhat controversial remark.

    Breast-feeding has been damaging to our sexual life. There, I said it. I am not a monster that would deprive his child of this vital nutrient. I supported my wife breast feeding, almost exclusively for a year. However, it was a downer on our love life. Her breasts were no longer to be seen as sexual, instead they were utilitarian devices used only for feeding. I could no longer touch them. Foreplay involving them was forbidden. She complained about the sensation. To hear her complain turned me off. It was tough. Furthermore, I think the expression of prolactin that breast feeding stimulates diminished her libido.

    I realize this may sound incredibly selfish, but having a baby destroys marital physical intimacy. Breast feeding contributes to this state of affairs. Again, I firmly state breast is best and I support giving our child the best, but there comes a time when you should consider the state of your marriage also.

    oh boy

  40. I don't think it's selfish to want to have sex with your wife. Although I suspect there are men who appreciate that breastfeeding enlarges the breasts and suppresses menstruation.

  41. Oy. Here's what I tell my patients. Breastfeeding actually is best for your baby ( I usually try to suggest that it will help them lose baby weight, especially the younger ones) however I also tell them that only they can make the the best decision regard g what is the best form of nutrition for their child that will also e nance their relationship with the child. A bad mother is one that does not feed her baby at all. I breastfed my first child for 3.5 months and my second for seven months. Both times exhaustion a nd call schedule won out against milk supply and it dwindled. Boy was I glad for formula especially since I couldn't do as evolution intended a d walk arou d with a child o. The breast the entire day to stimulate milk supply. And yes I got totally neurotic about how much I was pumping,how much I sassy ring blah blah blah. Never did store that much cause they ate it all! At any rate when I got up set or obsessive. I tried to remi d myself. Bad moms are ones that do t feed their babies period. Breastfeeding is HARD. Add a full time time job where your first confer is supposed to be other people's wellbeing and not your family's and it's a super human feat.-- :)
    OB in NJ

    1. Thank you for first stating that breastmilk is best and then stating your accepting nature for mothers! :] I was disappointed in the title and words used in this blog which could relay a very wrong message to a pumping mother. Your comment is very clear and encouraging, either way, Bravo.

  42. wow just wanted to say that i enjoyed this post. I am a first time mom and my baby girl is only just 10 days old and i am trying to breast feed... we have problems with latching there for i am pumping everyday at every feeding. She seems to be gearing up for her 2 week growth spurt because she will easily drink 4oz in one feeding and yet i can only pump 2oz each time so i have to supplement with 2oz at each feeding. Pumping exclusively is hard work, you cant really go anywhere (i have a portable battery operated pump but its extremely loud and awkward..) When i was pregnant i was 100% on the absolutely no formula front, and when my little girl went 7-8 hours our second night home without eating because she wouldnt latch, i didnt have a pump and didnt have fromula on hand, i was happy when she did get her formula because i knew she now had food in her system and wasnt starving. It broke my heart, i was crying while she was crying. I still am nervous to feed her formula (not sure why...breast is best has gotten the best of me) but if she is hungry and i cant produce the amount she needs then i am more then happy to give her formula to nourish her! I applaud the women who have no issues with BF and i envy you, i thought it was going to be so easy and i was so wrong, i never would have thought we would have latching issues and now that she takes a bottle so often she flips out when i try to feed her on the breast, she just wont take it. I'm glad to read your post, it makes me feel even better about what i am doing for my baby. (oh also, she wasnt gaining weight yet at her 1 week appt so feeding her what she needs to be healthy is what makes us both happy.)

    My doctor also gave me a good little talk the other day at our 1 weeks checkup: \
    1: dont ever beat yourself up or feel guilty for feeding her formula or not being able to have her straight on the breast, if she is nourished and happy, you should be happy.
    2: Use a plan A,B & C guide if you can...
    Plan A: Perfect latch, baby feeds well
    Plan B: Pump
    Plan C: If she is not getting enough, supplement with formula

    When he said that i truly cried (hormones and emotions still a bit off the wall) but it seriously was such an eye opener, you cant always have things go perfectly the way you want them too and ive realized that :)

  43. While this is a fun list that helps to ease the stress mothers feel of pumping and breastfeeding, I think the title and word "unhealthy" are really misleading. Your first bullet is that, if you missed something enjoyable, then pumping or breastfeeding may be unhealthy in your family. I would like to know what mother (breastfeeding OR formula feeding) DOESN'T miss LOTS OF enjoyable somethings in the best interest of her child. There are many different opinions on the amount of stress a mother should endure in order to choose the best for her child(ren), surrounding breastfeeding and sleep, etc. My personal opinion is that the decision I make will always be out of what is best for my son and not at all related to what is convenient for me. This is just my opinion and I don't expect everyone to agree, but I think it would be a really sad scenario if a mother believed she was unhealthy for doing what she believed was best for her child. Again, I understand this post was meant to air some of your own stresses related to pumping and I can definitely relate, but I think it's important to be careful with what your spreading into this world. You have a powerful voice and you should exercise it with caution.


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