To all the mothers who struggled with breastfeeding

This was the story I knew I wanted to tell.

It felt right the moment I put hands to laptop. And when the opportunity arrived for me to tell the story…well I knew it was meant to be.

From the hundreds of e-mails and comments I received when I initially wrote this post…I knew this was the story meant to be said out loud.

No matter how embarrassing. No matter how many times I had to say the word “breast”. And believe me, it’s a lot.

But after hearing from so many of you…the guilt, the shame, the heartbreak…all that needed a voice.

I couldn’t let my pride deter me.

I had an incredible opportunity and privilege to take the stage with 13 other brave souls.

Each willing to share a piece of their journey. To give a voice to all that is motherhood.

So…this is for you dear mothers, sisters, and friends…if you have ever felt betrayed by your body. If you have ever had your heart broken over what you could not give your child…you are not alone.

And in the end…there’s always hope…and celebration for all that motherhood is. Celebration in you.



53 Responses to To all the mothers who struggled with breastfeeding
  1. Lorette Lavine
    September 12, 2012 | 8:41 am

    Beautifully spoken…as a maternal child nurse in the 70’s I watched many women struggle to breast feed during their postpartum hospital stays…in those days most women stayed 4-5 days after a vaginal delivery and longer of course after a C/S.
    Many of the women had difficulty especially immediately after their milk came in and their breast became engorged…we had a lactation consultant who tried to help and as a nurse I encouraged moms to keep breastfeeding. Babies screamed in frustration and moms cried…I was young without any children…I did not want to breastfeed after seeing my patients both mothers and babies so frustrated with something so natural. When I had my own children I was not permitted to breastfeed due to anticoagulant therapy…it was almost a relief.
    I am now a grandmother blogger and I read about how young moms feel about formula vs breast feeding…some are adamant breast feeders and push their experiences on other moms …this reminds me of those moms who had uncomplicated deliveries without pain meds and thought that all moms should refuse pain meds no matter what.
    What I have learned in more that 35 years experience is that each dyad mother/baby is unique and their needs are unique…thank you for sharing your story.

  2. MJ
    September 12, 2012 | 9:38 am

    This brought me to tears so beautifully put;) I too could not breast feed all my kids and I forced it because I too would get the comments, “Well such and such did this” or “She had no problem, maybe you need to try this or do this” as if I was doing it all wrong. I too felt a failure and was ashamed of myself when I just gave in and decided to switch to bottle before I expected to. I realize some people do not realize we are all different, we all carry different bodies, spirits, words, thoughts, walks in life that instead of judging one another we just need to learn to empathize instead of criticize. Oh what a wonderful world that would be;) Awesome words!

  3. Katie
    September 12, 2012 | 12:42 pm

    I’ve read this post about a thousand times and each time I cry but I also heal a little more. Hearing you read it out loud made me cry even more but I think it helped me heal more, too. Thanks again for writing this and sharing it with the world. It means more than you know to know I’m not alone.

  4. Kathryn
    September 12, 2012 | 2:24 pm

    Thank you.

  5. Ann
    September 12, 2012 | 6:49 pm

    Your story could have been written by me. Thank you so much for sharing and helping to make other mothers aware of insufficient glandular tissue. I had NO idea that such a thing existed until it happened to me. With my first child, I did all of the things you talked about – the supplements, the tubes, the pumping, saving the 1-2 ounces I would get to bottle feed with. My first child started refusing the breast at around 3 months and would only take a bottle. With my second child, I started doing all of those superhuman things again and just couldn’t do it. Still, we had a breastfeeding relationship that lasted for 10 months where I would breastfeed him the meager amount of breastmilk my body had made and then bottle feed him formula.

    I was surprised to find myself crying through your presentation. My firstborn turned 5 recently, and it’s amazing how I still have not healed completely. Thank you again for sharing your story and helping me to heal just a little bit more.

  6. psychsarah
    September 13, 2012 | 6:33 am

    Wow-beautifully said. Movies, commercials, etc., never make me cry, but I needed a few tissues as you spoke from such a place of vulnerability and honesty. I’m a lucky woman who is able to nurse (something I try not to take for granted) but only after getting help after a rough start. I will treasure each nursing session I have as I think of your presentation.

  7. Natalie
    September 13, 2012 | 7:05 am

    Thank you. I also could have written this myself. Right down to my son’s birth weight. I did all of the same things…pumping, supplements, tubes, medications, etc. Feeling inferior buying formula with a notice that “doctors recommend breastfeeding” as if I were buying my baby ciagarettes. Every trip to the doctor having to explain that no I am not nursing, not because I am lazy and don’t want to, but because I can’t. I was never given a reson why. I suspected my thyroid was the culprit, but I may never know. I never knew how emotional I would be over breastfeeding. People thought I was ridiculous for being so upset. I am so happy to know i am not alone in my feelings. Thank you again.

  8. Monica
    September 13, 2012 | 7:08 am

    Sorry about your situation! BTW, 2oz is a full feeding! I don’t know who your LC was that told you this was a sign of low supply (this is what I’m understanding from your video). I didn’t “feel my milk come in” either, and had a low supply at first. Literally. She wasn’t producing diapers. I syringe fed her 1/3 ounce in between sessions in the evenings when she didn’t make enough diapers and she was on the breast nursing (from start of one session to the start of another) every two hours and would nurse 45 minutes on each side (to make sure my breasts go enough stimulation). On top of this she was jaundiced and her latch was bad. BOth of them were fixed, and it has been pretty good since. This went on for 11 days until my milk finally came in. I appreciate your story, and wish you the best.

    • Monica
      September 13, 2012 | 7:09 am

      BTW, I could not pump anything (though I knew that did not mean I could not breastfeed).

      • Nyssa
        September 13, 2012 | 11:58 am

        Moms with insufficient glandular tissue are not able to produce milk as quickly as a mother with breasts with normal glandular tissue. So even if she got 2 ounces, it could be hours and hours and hours, even with constant stimulation, before she made 2 ounces again. Meanwhile, the baby is screaming and hungry.
        There are many other markers that go along with insufficient glandular tissue, and many more signs that baby isn’t getting enough milk, I’m sure her LC put all the signs together to come to the conclusion that she had low milk supply.
        I’m very happy your persistence paid off, but mothers with insufficient glandular tissue aren’t so lucky. Even with herculean efforts, some us of only make a few drops of breast milk a day.
        It took me 3 kids, and many IBCLCs to finally get a lactation consultant to “diagnose” me with insufficient glandular tissue. Most LC’s out there aren’t quick to say “You can’t breastfeed,” or “You have low supply.” Quite the opposite, in my experience.

        • Monica
          September 13, 2012 | 1:36 pm

          That’s a good thing that there aren’t. I’m sorry for your experience, but your situation is very rare. Now women are going to think of you and have another reason to not breastfeed in their minds. I don’t want LC to just say “you can’t bf” they need to help women find any way to continue to breastfeed as possible before mom turns to donor milk first, and then formula. Pumping and bottle feeding baby should get 1-1.25 oz per hour. This amount never changes, so mom can pump what she can and feed donor milk or formula after. Of course I believe that if a mom employs the assistance of a lactation counselor that she wants to breast feed. I’m not trying to say that ff moms are bad. They aren’t. I also feel that lactation training needs to be more streamlined (I think that’s the word) so that the quality of care that one mom gets in x town is the same as the quality of care that another mom gets in y town, if you catch what I mean. I also feel that medical professional, especially those working with pregnant women, babies, your kids, and lactating mothers should be required to have training and keep that training up to date on lactation issues. Too many medical professionals are giving moms inappropriate advice and telling moms to wean for the wrong reasons. You made a choice that worked for your family, and that is wonderful. I’m honestly just worried about the majority of women who stop breastfeeding or don’t start because they are sabatoged in one way or another by a lack of support or bad information. I hope that I haven’t hurt your feelings. That wasn’t my intention. While I believe breastfeeding is right for every baby I agree that it isn’t always possible. What is possible (though hard) is to take responsibility for my own education on the topic of lactation and to try my best to help normalize breastfeeding.

          • Monica
            September 13, 2012 | 1:38 pm

            Sorry, didn’t realize you aren’t the OP. LOL! I don’t mean to come off as callous. So many women say “I couldn’t” instead of just saying they didn’t want to that, I’m sorry, it’s hard to believe people.

          • Dee
            September 13, 2012 | 2:18 pm

            Monica, I am quite frankly stunned by your lack of empathy! You are insensitively preaching to a community of women who are more committed to breastfeeding than you will ever know. I could catalog the lengths i (and nyssa and the op) have gone to to feed our babies but i doubt it would make any difference to you or your agenda. The sad fact is that sadly not every woman can breastfeed. And rather than celebrating the heroic efforts of these woman, who continue to try against all odds, you feel instead that we should be gagged. I despair for the lactation community with people like you involved! I just hope a low supply mom never encounters you!

          • Nyssa
            September 13, 2012 | 2:46 pm

            Not the OP, but also a mom with insufficient glandular tissue. It’s less rare than you think, and our numbers are growing thanks to environmental toxins.
            But I completely agree that doctors and medical professionals are frighteningly ignorant when it comes to lactation.
            I use an SNS to supplement and in 3 days, my baby will be 18 months, but I am lucky that my baby likes the SNS and hated bottles.
            You lived with low supply for 11 days. Try living with it for months or years, and then try cut a mom down who did the best she could. She is sharing her story, and reaching out to those who have had the same struggles and are still desperately looking for answers.

          • Monica
            September 14, 2012 | 11:46 am

            I have read the post. The thing is that with low supply AND to maintain a pump response you need to pump OFTEN. Adding a few pumping sessions a day is not going to increase supply. Pumping must be done a minimum of 8-12 times a day in these cases. And pump output is NEVER an indicator of supply issues. The only way to gauge supply is by counting diapers. Weight gain is also a poor way to gauge supply because baby may be getting plenty, but have a tongue tie, high palate, or other issue and be spending more calories working for the milk. Also, with tongue tie baby can’t get the milk effectively, and so the body mistakenly thinks it only needs to make that amount. It’s important to know this information because then women can work on finding the cause. In this case it was apparently IGT. I’m not saying this mom does not have IGT; what I am arguing is that pump output is not a sign of it.

          • Monica
            September 14, 2012 | 11:52 am

            Dee, I am empathetic. I just refuse to mollycoddle facts. I respect women too much to hide information that could be valuable to someone coming in. Why do you think I would spend my time finding information and talking to people on other groups to help them continue. I’m not making these facts up. I sincerely feel bad about this woman’s issues. My fear, again, is that some new mom is going to come in here. Hear “I only pumped x amount” and assume she has IGT. It isn’t uncommon to not get anything from pumping and baby get plenty of milk. I really do understand the struggle and you have nothing to feel guilty about. What does need to happen is for mothers to be educated and to receive proper care. Women also need to stop skirting around issues and have honest dialogue rather then pats on the back that don’t actually help the situation. I’d be interested in knowing more about IGT from reputable sources. I tried looking at Kellymom, but haven’t found anything. I’m honestly not trying to be mean, but I am trying to make certain things clear and to understand other things.

          • Melissa
            September 14, 2012 | 4:45 pm

            Monica, you don’t even know about IGT? You’re focusing on one issue…the amount pumped….ofcourse that doesn’t tell the whole story nor signify how much baby is actually getting. The fact that there is a paucity of information out there about IGT even from reputable breastfeeding help sites is disturbing. This is what needs to change.

          • Melissa
            September 15, 2012 | 8:04 am


            Believe me…any woman struggling with breastfeeding is not looking for an excuse to stop. They’re looking for solutions and help. No woman is going to think she has IGT simply because she can only pump X amount. The pump becomes a necessity because of our condition (and the diagnosis is based on multiple signs and symptoms, none of which have to do with how much is pumped out of a breast pump) and we do it around the clock in hopes of increasing our milk supply (after already have our babies nurse).

            Here are some reputable links about IGT. I highly recommend them and click through to the pictures, they are worth a thousand words.




          • Melissa
            September 15, 2012 | 8:22 am

            Here’s another link about IGT for you from LaLeche League


    • Cheryl
      September 13, 2012 | 1:30 pm

      Hi Monica, did you listen to her story thoroughly? She didn’t say that she pumped two ounces every two hours. It was only 3 or 3 times a day that she was able to get that much. She wasn’t always getting that. And she told about how much work she actually put into trying to make milk. She went well beyond 11 days with a very, very low supply. If you go back and listen to it again you might be able to hear how important it was to her and how she didn’t give up. If you still hear something else, let us know. A lot of women have dealt with this and can explain.

      • Monica
        November 8, 2012 | 10:33 am

        I get that. You don’t need to put me down. There was also the option to feed donor milk or formula with an SNS type device to encourage more milk production and to emulate BF. Certainly she did what she could.

    • Melissa
      September 13, 2012 | 2:19 pm

      I should clarify, Monica. At the height of my breast-feeding I was able to produce 2 ounces but only 2 to 3 times today. At that time my son was around four months old, so essentially he was receiving at the most 4 to 6 ounces of breast milk per day. And it wasn’t enough. Certainly for a newborn 2 ounces of breast milk per feeding is enough. But more than that, is looking at the baby to see if the baby is thriving and growing. My son was not. He was jaundiced and screaming in hunger with every feeding. So aside from me having all the other symptoms of IGT, I knew my baby was not getting enough regardless of how much was coming out. I had a wonderful LC actually. I had two previous LCs prior to her who just kept telling me to keep breast-feeding and that it would come. That wasn’t helpful. She was knowledgeable and knew what she was talking about. And very supportive. I believe IGT is a condition that is far underrecognized. And more lactation consultants and medical personnel need to be aware of it to help women in their breast-feeding endeavors.

      • Kate
        September 13, 2012 | 3:27 pm

        You sing it sister! IGT is the real deal and it SUCKS!

  9. Amelia
    September 13, 2012 | 7:10 am

    Beautiful. You put so many nursing mother’s feeling so eloquently. I think more women than not go through these struggles. I know I had the physical capabilities to bf, but it just wasn’t working. It wasn’t a matter of trying harder. It’s natural, but not easy.

  10. Tabitha
    September 13, 2012 | 7:28 am

    Curious why moms think 1-2 oz is measely when pumping? I applaud moms who have IGT who BF, its amazing, but I also think that people are misleading moms into thinking that 1-2 oz pumped is showing a low supply. Thats NORMAL amounts!! 1/2oz to 2oz a session is normal for a MISSED feed. I just hate that some of these moms make a heck of a lot more than they think and they end up drying up or with baby weaning because large bottles of formula re given so often. I feel like often moms with IGT are being shot in the foot and sabotaged into more and more formula and nursing less and less and it breaks my heart for them!

    • Monica
      September 13, 2012 | 1:22 pm

      I agree. I see that it is hard, and I’m not trying to denigrate anyone’s efforts. My issue is that people often expect too much. Some women have to supplement at the breast for the entire duration. That still means that baby is getting some breast time. Breastfeeding isn’t just about the breastmilk.

    • Melissa
      September 15, 2012 | 8:17 am

      Not the case at all. 1-2 oz is measly when after pumping every 2-3 hours you only make (at the most) 6oz a day…that’s at the height of BFing. Not during the newborn period. Sure, it’s normal if you get that each time. See my comments above. It’s SO much more than the pump…it’s our babies crying in hunger…

  11. Dana Pojas
    September 13, 2012 | 7:41 am

    Thank you for sharing! I also have a low milk supply caused by IGT and PCOS. There is a closed group on facebOok called IGT and low milk supply support group- I cannot express how helpful that group has been- both emotionally and physically (ideas to boost my supply).

  12. Becky H
    September 13, 2012 | 8:08 am

    Thank you so much for this. I had all the same signs as you mentioned, but my lactation consultant refused to let me give up breastfeeding. After 2 months of using the SNS and supplements, I decided it was time. I switched to formula, and my life became my own again. My son was finally happy and not fussy, I didn’t cry every time I fed him, and we all seemed much more happy. I still feel like a failure when I think about it. This video made me feel better about it though, and I thank you so much for that.

  13. Amy
    September 13, 2012 | 8:11 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. Not for the same reason but I have been struggling with breastfeeding just the same- supplements and pumping and diet changes and medication. I feel like I’m doing it all and nothing changes. I pump less than an ounce every 4 hours. It feels like torture but I am so hesitant to give up because of feeling like a failure. And I can’t imagine planning the last time I let my sweet little boy breastfeed because despite it all, he is still trying to nurse. It’s true we need to be as kind to ourselves as we are to others. The rational part of our minds knows that it really isn’t the end of the world if our children are given formula. It just feels like it.

  14. Rachel Marshall
    September 13, 2012 | 12:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! This could have been my story. I also have IGT. We had the same routine of appetizer from Mommy, then pump while giving a bottle. I also called it his appetizer :)

  15. Kathleen
    September 13, 2012 | 2:39 pm

    We as moms put waaaaay too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect mothers. My mother did not breastfeed and most mothers of her generation did not. When I had my first child in the mid 70s, breast feeding was just beginning to be recognized as a good option, but was by no means the majority. I tried very hard with my first child, but he was a premie and was literally starving b/c he couldn’t get enough at a time. I switched to formula–no one I knew even heard of a pump, never mind had one. He did fine, as did the two others who were bottle fed. I nursed the last 2 and now that they are all grown, you would never know the difference. No dramatic difference in medical issues, learning issues, behavior or anything else.
    Do what works for you and your family; if you can breast feed, do it; if you can’t or choose not to, IT IS NO ONE ELSE’S BUSINESS! And for sure, don’t make it a test of your ability to be a good a parent.

    • Jessica
      March 9, 2013 | 8:36 am

      Well said!!!!!!!!

  16. Dee
    September 13, 2012 | 2:52 pm

    Your story brought years to my eyes. I totally empathise. Please do consider joining the IGT/Low Milk Supply support group on Facebook. They are a wonderfully supportive community of women who have been through exactly the same experience.

  17. Kate
    September 13, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    I just cried my eyes out. I am you. Baby #3 with IGT and it breaks my heart every time. Thank you so much for sharing. It touched me.

  18. Karen
    September 13, 2012 | 4:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for helping me heal. Keep your head high and be proud of the milk you were able to give your sweet little baby.

    IGT Mama

  19. Amy Messick
    September 13, 2012 | 6:26 pm

    Wow, this is MY story, too…almost to a “t”…I have lived it 3 times…I just bawled watching this. We are not alone, as heartbreaking as that fact is. It’s amazing how many do NOT know what it’s like, do NOT realize that this is real. But, it is…and, here we are. You ROCK!!!! Thanks for sharing your story…OUR story.

  20. Cinda
    September 13, 2012 | 9:56 pm


    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Heartbroken… exact words for many weeks, after surrendering my breasts and going exclusive to formula.

    I would examine every latch, pumping session, SNS and lactation consultation etc… wondering if I was making the right decision. My son came via c-section, after 22 hours of labor and we struggled with feedings from the start. Like you, I tried it all, did everything I could, and was lucky if I got a few ounces a day. Between the supplements/food to increase supply, latching problems, clogged ducts and countless pumping sessions every day, I was feeling defeated. For me, things went downhill fast due to becoming very ill after leaving the hospital (vomiting for 5 days)…it was a horrible situation, when all I wanted to do is care for my new baby. After one month of trying it all, we went to formula. In one day, my breasts dried up without any pain, as if it never happen. Heartbroken….I wanted so badly to breastfeed my baby. And yes, I did feel like I failed him. Like I did not try hard enough, even though I could barely walk at that point still. We all agreed, the focus should be on my recovery and my son will be just fine and will be a healthy baby, fed on formula. I knew this. But, I didn’t want to hear it.

    Breastfeeding was very important to me. I was bound and determined to do anything to make it work. For the past 7 years I have been pregnant 11 times. This last pregnancy gave us our first child. With our long road to parenthood, I knew better than to take breastfeeding for granted, as my journey to motherhood was not easy. I had other friends that struggled with breastfeeding, so knew to prepare for the potential challenges that could come. What I did not know is how important milk supply is in that first month. And, I have not heard about IGT until tonight.

    My son Leo is 5 months old now and is thriving! He’s such a happy little guy. This past month I’ve found myself thinking about breastfeeding again. Of course the thought of it has never left me, but I have come to terms with it. But, now I daydream of it again, wishing on it, for his sake. I truly believe he is completely fine, being fed with formula. And, yes, it’s pretty crazy how the slogan “breastfeeding is best” has been encrypted into our brains. It’s no wonder women that struggle with it, would feel a sense of pain when it doesn’t work out.

    And yes…that first time feeding my son in public was hard. I was at Nordstrom’s womens’ lounge. I walked in and there were three women nursing their babies, all talking amongst each other. It took every ounce of me not to turn around and rush home to give Leo his bottle. But, I sat down, pulled out his bottle, prepared it for him and fed him. I couldn’t stop thinking that I needed to explain myself to these strangers….

    Melissa…your story is important. Thank you again for sharing it! I wish you and your son all the best….remember that “best” comes in many forms!

  21. Sherry Weersing
    September 14, 2012 | 1:49 am

    It makes me sad that instead of feeling sad at what she couldn’t do that that she can’t feel happy for what she was able to do. Give herself credit for how hard she worked and not discount that “measley 1-2 ounces”. Every little bit is liquid gold and should not be looked at as too little.

    • Melissa
      September 14, 2012 | 4:50 pm

      I am happy about it…now. This is simply giving voice to a process, a hurt that I (and other women like me) had to work through. Of course I am thankful for my healthy, beautiful children.

  22. Kate Brinkley
    September 14, 2012 | 8:05 am

    Good grief…as a mom that had to supplement with formula, I can understand the frustration…to a point. What does it say about our society that a medical professional is beating herself up this much about not being able to breastfeed?

    As a young breast cancer survivor, I KNOW what it is like for your breasts to let you down. My right one tried to kill me. So I wish some of these moms would get some perspective. Yes, breast milk is best, but your child is going to be ok, whether you have a freezer full of milk or you choose not to nurse at all. There are people going through much more serious situations out here, so I am disappointed that people are getting so hung up on this when they are healthy and their babies are healthy.

    • Melissa
      September 14, 2012 | 4:49 pm

      Of course there are more serious issues and of course I have perspective now. But the process to getting there is an honest and valid one. Women should allow themselves to grieve a loss in order to move on. I have another child now and my baby in this scenario is almost 8! I have perspective. I’m thankful for what I can give them. That is all.

  23. Jasmine
    September 14, 2012 | 10:09 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I do not have IGT, but I had an inverted nipple on one side, and my daughter was never able to properly latch on that side (I tried nipple shields, pumping first, etc), so it soon dried up, and I was only able to nurse her on one side. Somehow I managed to make enough milk for her from just the one side (though it meant nursing her almost constantly), until I went back to work when she was 4 months old and had to start pumping – the pump just didn’t work as well as nursing did. It was literally one of the hardest things I had to do to start supplementing her with formula – I felt like a total failure. I still feel jealous of the mothers who brag about effortlessly being able to EBF their babies, but in the end, I’ve realized it’s not about being perfect because perfection is impossible, it’s about doing the best YOU can for your child.

  24. ThatMom
    September 15, 2012 | 11:16 am

    Thank you so much for this. I don’t have IGT, but I have low milk supply as a result of a breast reduction. I struggle with all of these feelings, as well as the challenges of feeding my baby using the SNS.

    I linked to your video on my site, I hope that’s okay. After getting a lot of responses to a post I wrote about using an SNS, I thought it would help spread the word.

  25. Talia H.
    September 16, 2012 | 9:18 am

    I was not diagnosed with IGT, but I spent 9 months trying to breast feed, using the SNS at every feeding and pumping for what felt like hours each day. Never once did I get more than 2 oz when I pumped. I ended up having a cesarean and I tried to refuse supplementing, which I eventually did. I too did not feel like a mother. I cried every day and finally at my son’s 9 month check up. His doctor looked at me and said it was time to stop. I was just not providing what my son needed. I cried and cried. Hearing your story brought it all back. My son is now 3 1/2 and a thriving energetic little boy. It took many months after I stopped trying to breast feed to realize that I was still providing for my son and I was still a mother, no matter how he came into this world or how long I breastfed. Although, I still well up when I see a woman breast feeding and wishing I could have done better.

  26. Andrea B
    September 21, 2012 | 5:57 pm

    Wow thank you so much for that! That is totally me 100%! Even though I cried right with you you showed me that I am not a bad mom for not having any milk for my baby. Thank you so much for sharing your story you helped me so much!

  27. Calliope
    September 28, 2012 | 9:14 pm

    The more breast feeding stories the better. I wish I knew then, with my first,
    all that I know now. But this story did not so much make me cry as much as it did anger me! I was barely able to sustain my first through exclusive nursing. I never had enough milk and he always fussed for more until I would supplement with formula. But rather than feel guilty or sad, I enjoyed every moment with my son in my arms, yes even when feeding him formula from a bottle. The LCs were very supportive, my family and friends were encouraging and understanding. And I felt like I had a community of mothers around me that understood my plight. What this story made me realize is that I had a great network around me that didn’t judge my inability to breast feed and this might be what she was lacking?
    Mothers need to be better educated about breast feeding… And for many, it isn’t as easy as it seems…

  28. Ruth
    October 5, 2012 | 9:22 am

    I am not an IGT mum, but I’ve gone through many of the same struggles. I’ve used SNS lines, finger feeders, cups, syringes, NGTs, Haberman feeders etc I’ve done suck training and gone through 15 different pumps over our 3 children. I’ve spent 12 months combined exclusively pumping for them, with each child diagnosed at failure to thrive. My firstborn was ultrasounded while feeing to discover she could not breastfeed effectively and had a high suction causing me great pain and damage. She had posterior tongue tie, high palate and lip ties. No-one we saw (and we saw paed surgeons, paed dental surgeons, speech therapists etc) would treat the tie. She permanently damaged my nipples trying to feed, as she would simply chomp each time. She was a failure to thrive, and after months of pumping full time for her my breasts involuted (different situation, they were full as she was stimulating supply, we just could not get the milk out even with hand pumping). I was told never to nurse again as I had remained severely engorged the whole feeding relationship. My second arrived after an emergency section when I laboured at just 25 weeks. He had oral motor issues, oral aversion issues, neurological issues, chronic lung disease and the same high arch, posterior tongue tie and lip ties. Again, I tried for months to feed him. Again, I was severely engorged and again that led to involution. My third baby was a beautiful birth, but due to position in utero he was born with severe torticollis. (Both boys are in multiple therapies to this day for their probs). We did find someone to snip his tongue tie, and worked around his high palate and lip ties. Unfortunately the disorgansed suck he also had, combined with the physical barrier of the torticollis, meant that he was not able to be exclusively breastfed. He was supplemented and expressed for just as my others had been, and feed by feed he weaned off the breast very young. It has been devastating for me! My issues have been very different as I had supply, however being distressed as my babies have been crying out in hunger and winding up back in hospital with jaundice and failure to thrive has been awful. I also have Reynaud’s of the nipples, and my breasts have cracked the skin due to the constant severe engorgement. So I had physical pain along with the emotional pain of failing to provide a breastfeeding relationship to my children. I am currently studying lactation (as I would like to be an IBCLC, we have seen so many ourselves and see the great work they do!) So I really appreciate the open honesty both for my own experiences and not feeling alone; and also to be aware of the emotions surrounding the issues I am currently learning in my course. Thank you for being vocal, it is important to women like myself who desperately wanted to breastfeed.

    • Monica
      November 8, 2012 | 10:47 am

      I’m sorry about your situation. That had to have sucked!

      • Ruth
        November 9, 2012 | 3:16 am

        It really did! Very hard to go through.

  29. Monica
    November 8, 2012 | 10:39 am

    Another thing I want to note is that while this is a sad individual story and I’m certain the poster is just trying to share her experience, many women read about how others couldn’t and assume that they can’t either. I’m sure this is a case of IGT as was stated before. What I see a lot of otherwise is mom not pumping often enough, giving bottles rather than using a supplemental system, and basically assuming low supply when it either wasn’t the case or could’ve been picked up. I believe in going through all the possibilities. Using syringe or sns feeding while allowing sucking at the breast. Using donor milk and formula when diaper counts are low. None of what I am saying is me being mean. Perhaps not having all of the info. I think perhaps I’ve spent so long hearing stories of women who complain about not having milk and they pump a couple times a day and feed baby 4 oz bottles after nursing for 10 minutes that I just couldn’t listen to another mom. Also, this is just me, but why would someone feel bad if they tried their best. She did her best and she should be proud. I don’t feel guilty for giving my daughter formula in the first few days.

  30. B
    January 9, 2013 | 1:55 pm

    I wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. I sobbed while listening to it; it is so similar to my own story. I read through the comments and am so surprised (although I shouldn’t be) at how insensitive and just wrong some people are. I appreciate you sharing your story and for standing up to those who didn’t have nice things to say in the comments. You have helped me in coming to terms with my own lactation failure.

  31. Ilana
    June 7, 2013 | 11:13 am

    Thank you for this. I had the opposite problem – bags of milk but baby doesn’t suck! I grieve for the lost experience of putting the baby to my breast and feeling all those things you did get to feel, and count my blessings when I read experiences like yours that on the other hand I could pump enough that he got to drink it another way.