How can I be a good mom if I can’t even do this?

How can I be a good mom if I can’t even make enough milk for my baby?  I’m failing already and we are just getting started!  (commence tears pouring down my face).

This is how I felt that first week home from the hospital, even longer I’m sure, but those first two weeks really stand out in my mind.  But I was so determined to make this happen.  

To start with, my milk didn’t come in for 5-6 days.  We had to go back to the doctor every day or every other because they wanted to keep checking her weight.  The doctor said, well, for now, give her some formula after she nurses.  WHAT?????  In case you haven’t heard doc….that’s not part of our plan!  I was so devastated!!!  I felt like the world was falling apart.  She said, nurse her, pump, feed her what you get, then offer her formula.  How exhausting…she is already nursing all the time, because that’s what new babies do…right?  

She seemed to be nursing fine, and she would nurse herself right to sleep.  The doctor said, don’t let her nurse more than x amount of minutes (I forget now), she will end up burning more calories than she is eating.  Really?  So we tried following her advice.  As soon as I unlatched her, she would scream.  After all, I was just her pacifier and she was trying to sleep!  

So, we nursed.  I laid down the screaming baby and pumped….and pumped ……and pumped.  I was lucky to get 2 full ounces after at least 10 minutes of pumping.  This can’t be right.    But I did it anyway and gave it to her.  Sometimes she would take it, sometimes not.  Then I’d offer her formula, she almost always turned it down.  So we started pumping (Okay, I started pumping) after every time I fed her.  And by the end of the day, I might have 2 ounces to put in the fridge.  Which I gave to her before bed at night…so we could do it all over again the next day.

I found help, advice and support at our local La Leche League.  I’m so glad I did, I don’t think I could have handled this on my own.  Within a few months, she wasn’t even taking the breastmilk I had in the fridge / freezer anymore.  I actually got to store up a tiny bit.  It never lasted long, but it was nice to once in awhile open the freezer and see some milk.

I got tired of people saying things like, Oh, really, I had a freezer full in a week.  Gee…after listening to me and hearing me cry, that’s really helpful!  Get out of my house!

We made it through however, but I never left her because she ate very often….like every hour, or maybe two.  Now, she’s a very happy, active 17 month old who still likes to nurse even though I have nothing for her right now because of the pregnancy.  She doesn’t care much, just likes the comfort.

To every other mom out there struggling…stay strong!  Get the support you need and deserve.

Did you have low milk supply?  Want to link up and share your story?

15 Comments

  • I had low supply with my first baby, a boy, and I agree the help from La Leche was invaluable. Also took fenugreek. Hang in there, you are doing a great job! You’re daughter is beautiful and healthy – and congrats on the little one due in June!

    • I took fenugreek too. I couldn’t quite tell if it was helping. They also prescribed me something they give cancer patients, I don’t remember what though, and it helped boost my supply. I was nervous to take it, but it really helped! One of the few times I would take actual medicing.

      Thank you! 🙂 I can’t wait to meet this baby, and neither can Maggie!

  • For the first few days of nursing my daughter, she wasn’t really getting anything from me so the nurse suggested formula feeding her through a tiny tube that she placed right next to my nipple – so my daughter was stimulating my milk to come, but still getting the nourishment she needed. She gained weight, and my milk came in soon after.

    • I’m glad that worked! I will have to keep that in mind for next time. I was very naive the first time, and relatively uninformed. I had read the La Leche League book, but mostly I thought, this will be natural, right?

  • I had the same thing happen and before we even left the hospital Joslyn had lost too much weight, so we had to supplement. I had so many issues with breast feeding. Cracking, bleeding, unbelievable pain, had to use a shield, that after 2 1/2 weeks I realized that we were done. I wanted feeding to be a pleasant time and bonding time and it was such the opposite that I couldn’t stand to have my baby touch me there. I am so glad that I didn’t listen to the multitude of criticism coming from other mothers that never gave up. Every baby, every body is different. It’s good that you were able to stick with it. Follow your intuition, it doesn’t steer you wrong and I believe that asking for help is one of the best things a new mom can do! I think you did great and maybe with this next one the milk will flow easier? 🙂

    • It is good that you realized what was best for you and your little girl. That is the most important thing. Some mom’s will always criticize other mom’s and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. People like to judge without knowing all of the details and that is frustrating!

      Thank you, so do I!

    • Yeah, that was my sister in law to be that said that…not her biggest fan as it is.

      So am I! When we started, I never imagined that I would still be breastfeeding at this point, but now I can’t imagine anything different.

  • I had the same thing happen to me, what seems like over and over and over again. I’ve wrote about it a few times on one of my blogs, Letter to Pistol, where I write letters to my little girl. I’m at 7.5 months EBF now and SO PROUD! Fenugreek is my friend, so it regular pumping.

    http://letterstopistol.blogspot.com/
    http://letterstopistol.blogspot.com/2011/12/long-live-milk-supply.html

    Would love to partner on a blog! I also blog here: mean-baby.com for my baby planning business.

    • Oh and I mentioned a trip to NYC soon and my mom said ‘you should just quit since your supply is dwindling anyways.’

      A support team is so important to success!

    • I can feel your pain as you are writing that letter 🙁 That’s such a cute idea to have a blog dedicated to your baby! I keep a journal that I will add to her scrapbook.

      Did you lunge at your mom when she said that?! It’s so frustrating when everybody thinks it’s just so easy to quit. It’s more than just a food thing!

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