Tuesday, 11 March 2008

(not) (breast) feeding carnival post

explanation here more stories here

I've had two babies, both bouncing, happy children now. Funny they can't remember me trying to breast feed when I so clearly remember the weeks of sobbing and crying....

Cassidy is my first born.

A lovely, lovely boy baby who didn't enjoy breastfeeding at all. Floods of tears of pain and regret - what was I doing that hurt him so much? And why wasn't this working? - We tried breastfeeding for a little over six weeks and when his weight was still dropping, (host of other problems - inconstant supply, shredded bleeding nipples, bad latch - and yes, I had three different LCs - The La Leche League used to draw their skirts aside as I passed, and after the pumping odyssey (Mah nipples! They've taken on a life form of their own! Honey, are they supposed to look like that? No, I'm pretty sure I'm not supposed to bleed into the milk.)- went exclusively to bottle feeding. The difference was night and day.

Night and day. He'd always been a good sleeper - but now instead of five hours, he'd sleep seven...maybe eight. (Which, as a new parent, was a gift straight from God.) He'd been hungry. And filling him up, holding him close while the nipple of the bottle fed him, staring into my not-starving baby's eyes as he happily ate - was so worth it.
So worth not breast feeding. I did feel bad about not breast feeding from the health standpoint, (as I believed it then, anyway) but I never missed the feeling of closeness - I had that with bottle feeding. *

Rosemary came along three years later. Almost to the day. (She was born twelve days past C's third birthday.)

Her birth was suddenly traumatic and terrifying, and she was given glucose water from a bottle before I even saw her. (B okayed it, thank God, I was still rocking in the free world aka Too loopy to know my name.) She probably would have loved breastfeeding - she used to hunt for my nipple - but my milk never fully came in more than a trickle and soon petered out. By the third day, it was obvious she needed supplementation, and we transfered over to formula by six days - because starving two babies? Not in my nature.

*This issue could probably make an entire post by itself, but I never understood how people could talk about 'missing that feeling of closeness' when choosing bottlefeeding over breastfeeding. (Although it could have something to do with breastfeeding being a morass of pain and confusion for me, eh?) B finally asked one lady in the grocery store who was blathering on about the 'special closeness' if she picked up her child when she fed him, or if she just left him on the ground. (My hero.) She wasn't amused but I giggled about that for days.

Holding that sweet baby close to you, smelling that new baby smell and having your baby look at you while she feeds is the best part. I don't give a hoot about how the food gets into her.


Sarah said...

My son never got into the whole breast-feeding thing either. I could insert a tasteless joke here but he's my SON for heaven's sake.

Also, my kids were born 3 years and 3 days apart. Great minds think alike, eh?

Mr Lady said...


I was a hardcore nurser and my husband was a hard core bottle feeder and our children survived just fine. With both. Every day.

Good for you.

(And you know there are 11 other months in the year you could, um, er....make babies, right? :) )

Jeanne said...

Sorry it was such a pain for you. I breastfed all my babies and wouldn't go any other way.

I have to agree with B. :)

DD said...

I made a lame attempt at breastfeeding, but I knew it wasn't fair for me to have all the "fun" so I pumped for 4 months and we bottlefed expressed and formula.

And I applaud the statement about closeness. I've read some blogs where the desire to breastfeed is so intense that wonder why they are making the first few weeks/months of their lives about the pain and misery when they should be about seeing the biggest changes and advances they ever will in a new little person.

Christy said...

I hate the tyranny of the norm. Anybody who says their way is the best or only way for YOU?

I LOVE what B(?)said to that woman! That's so funny, and true.

Btw, I was a big nurser and when I stopped I could have rolled up my breasts like fire hoses. And my teens are mean to me now, anyway....I got a breast lift and implants.

Unknown said...

OMW I can relate to that last sentence so well. As long as the baby has milk, who cares how it gets it :)
I'm off to write my post now.

Unknown said...

What gorgeous babies! And what a great post.

meggie said...

I went through the starving little boy thing too. Once he was on the bottle, he gained weight, & was a happy little lad. I desperately tried again with our daughter, but my MIL caused me to lose my milk, so another bottle baby. I agree with you, they are just as close!

Rebecca (Ramblings by Reba) said...

Good for you for doing what was best for you and for your babies... Thanks for sharing your story.

Missy said...

awesome! not the pain and agony part but the rest of it!
i think a baby will bond just the same no matter how they are fed, just as long as you are feeding them and holding them close.

Cat, Galloping said...

i've written about this ad nauseum, as you know. but it can't hurt to say again that i felt a hell of a lot closer to Gatito when I could feed him without crying. I couldn't even *see* his little face over my boob, but with the bottle, we gazed into each other's eyes. If i am so lucky as to have a second, it will be all bottle from the very first day.

Stomper Girl said...

Breast feeding for me - especially the first time- was really hard work. I had scabs on my nipples that the baby Climber would suck off at every feed. The things you do!!! And then when we wanted to give him a bottle (I started teaching at nights) he just would not take one. It was so hard. Fixit would be minding him and couldn't feed him, some nights I'd come home to find them both in tears. We tried for 6 months to try and get him to accept a bottle. Every technique we could. He even defeated the bottle-feeding experts like the Nurse. You can lead a baby to a nipple but you can't make 'em suck.

Your wee baby photos are so sweet.

Lotus (Sarcastic Mom) said...

What's wrong with leaving your baby on the ground when you feed him? Sometimes I used to just put Braden in the closet with his bottle and go watch tv.


Really, though, thanks for telling your story!

SUEB0B said...

The you are obviously an uncaring horrible mother!

(joking. I am just always surprised at the amount of controversy and passion this topic generates.)

Angewl said...

Great blog!

I tried Breast feeding B, but she started getting dehydrated and had blood in her diaper before we even left the hospital. gave her a bottle and fixed her right up.

I figured since I had so obviously neglected her, I didn't want the others to feel left out. So they all got the bottle, too. (just joking here, but really they all got the bottle. lol)

As long as your child is getting the nutrition he or she needs, I really don't see where it's any one else's business HOW you feed it to them.

Had you seen this: http://www.healthquest-nf.com/suppnursSys.htm

that could help the ones out worried about the 'bonding' issue, I believe.

My float said...

I did persist with breastfeeding but I'm not quite sure it was worth all the trouble. All that matters is a happy mum and a happy baby.

And closeness? It happens anyway. If you're going to love your baby, you're going to love it regardless if you breastfeed it or not.

Christy said...


For me, and lots of moms, the breastfeeding is easier than bottles. It's lazy, almost.

And not more loving, necessarily....I was bottlefed and really healthy, my kids were breastfed and really healthy.

As a matter of fact, when I was in public nursing, my kids looked like they had on little birkhas, so there was no eye contact.

OK. Final word. Bottlefeeding is better for bonding, but breast is better, nutritionally.

Christy said...

Maybe not the FINAL word....

Suzanne said...

At the end of the day, you've got two happy and healthy kids. That's all that matters.

We were slightly different: 3 years, 3 months and 3 days. :)

molly said...

What matters is the love and the snuggling...Go Bear for the comment to yappy mom! I am basically lazy, so breast feeding was perfect for me. But my mother told me I practically starved to death and almost drove her to distraction with my crankiness for the first few months of my life. Then she switched to a bottle and voila! Instant happy, unstarved, well loved baby!

Anonymous said...

We did both with all of our kids. They're incredibly healthy.

Anonymous said...

I breastfed my first two for a couple of years each and never thought for a moment that I would have any problems feeding the third. Your story here is my story. She cried, I cried, I bled, she howled, I sobbed. After seven weeks of using an electric pump, recurrent mastitis and a fretful squalling baby, my husband gently made me see reason and we bottlefed from that point on. Happy, serene baby, guilty mother who had to GET OVER HERSELF ;)
I wish I'd listened to Peter BEFORE 7 weeks had passed. Then maybe I wouldn't still have scarred nipples 16 years later.
We mothers should talk about this more often.

Washington Crunchy Mama said...

OMG the pump. I remember vividly thinking this is how cows in a milk house feel. Sigh.

It was nice to not have bottles to wash in those first few weeks and I wish I could have been a natural like these people who breast feed for a year, but in the end it all comes down to the fact that everyone is different.

Thank God we have options! :)

Janine said...

So true that the closeness is there no matter how they're being fed. I mixed bottle and breast feeding because I had to go back to work within a few months and regardless of what I was feeding them, they were still being loved and cuddled.

Anonymous said...

i remember when i was nursing my first, and feeling the bond of new baby, i was also working in my church nursery. a couple brought a 4 month old in and tucked neatly next to him in his car seat was a bottle of breast milk with a long tube connected to a pacifier like apparatus in the baby's mouth. I remember his mother telling me he should be almost done with that bottle and what a life saver the contraption was. I remember snuggling my own tiny infant closer to me the next time i nursed her and crying for that other little one... i agree the bonding is all about the time you take to bond, regardless of what the baby is eating.

angelfeet said...

(whispers) In hindsight I wish I'd bottle fed my first. I think she was hungry a lot of the time and the early months were hellish. Still, I breastfed until nearly a year with her and she continued to grow. It wasn't any easier with number two, but she seemed to absorb more. I loved breatsfeeding - and I hated it too.

beagle said...

I'm a bit late commenting on this one but I wanted to thank you for writing this post because I was feeling a bit bad about not wanting to try adoptive breastfeeding. I've been through enough medical intervention.

*When* I finally get my child home I do not want to torment myself with a formula backpack to make up for what I (yet again) can't do naturally. I want to snuggle my baby and enjoy those moments of closeness.

so, it's bottles for us here.
And now I don't feel bad about it anymore.

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