Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pump, wean, or supplement, Oh My! A response


My last post drew a lot of comments - thanks for your thoughts and for taking the time to share them. And thanks for keeping the comments mostly constructive. I know this is a really hot button issue. As such, I wanted to share my thoughts on some of yours:

First of all, thank you for all of you who wrote in about successfully feeding using only one breast. Reading your stories was inspiring and encouraging. All I can say is I'll give it my best shot. If I could make enough milk for Magpie with just the one breast, that would be awesome. It had honestly not occurred to me that that could be a possibility.

Jenny F. Scientist, PhD: Thanks for sharing your story on your use of long-term antibiotics to prevent recurrent mastitis. I talked to my doctor and she recommended against it due to the risk of developing C.diff or another related infection. So that'll be a no go for me. So glad it worked for you!

Amy and Alexicographer: Thanks for the warning about inflammatory breast cancer. Scary stuff. I didn't realize the ultrasound I had last week might not have picked it up. I know the chances I have IBC are slim but not none, so I will speak to my doctor about how to rule it out.

Dora: The major downside to combo feeding from the beginning of a baby's life is the increased risk of allergies because of the introduction of foreign proteins (cow's milk or soy) into the baby's immature "open" gut (see this well-written explanation regarding the importance of delaying solids for infants for the same reason). As I understand it, this risk gets smaller and smaller as the baby ages. You're completely right otherwise, the addition of some breast milk to formula is a great solution and gives a child all those yummy immune factors, making combo feeding very appealing.

Shannon and MaybelB: Hormones, yup. Got those going on, big time. I've never felt so driven by them in all my life, so...um...animal....Thanks for pointing out the role they may be playing in my decision-making right now. I wouldn't be surprised. I am humbled by them, but will try not to be just swept away by them. Also, the sleep deprivation...that does a number as well on my rational thinking abilities. Not a good thing. I miss sleep.

zerodoll and Becky: Thank you for sending info on milk sharing. What an awesome thing that these communities are forming! At the moment, I'm not comfortable with it, however, because of the slim risk of viral and bacterial contamination. I know the risk is very small, but it's still too frightening for me.

Where I'm at today:

I am in the process of weaning the left breast while on antibiotics. My doctor gave me two more courses to have on hand in case I have a recurrence while I start and complete the weaning process on that side. I am sad to do this. It feels so final, and I had so hoped to find another solution. But I, and my family, can't afford me continually getting sick with such high fevers. Enough is enough.

I purchased banked donor milk Friday to supplement and get us hopefully to Magpie's four month birthday. Yes, I'm aware that pasteurized donor milk is lacking some of the benefits of fresh, but you do what you can.  Perhaps my supply will have increased enough by Magpie's four month birthday that I can make up for the loss of the left breast's milk. I doubt it. I expect to combo feed with breast milk and formula after that point. If I could, I would eek it out with exclusive breast milk to six months and then happily combo feed with formula upon the introduction of solids, but I'm not expecting to be able to make it that far with exclusive breast milk and the banked milk is too expensive and difficult to obtain to be anything but a short-term solution. So we'll see, but I'm expecting we'll be a combo feeding family soon enough. Any thoughts or recommendations on the healthiest/best  formulas is most welcome.

Finally, I wanted to respond to Anon and Carrie and anyone else offended by my post:

I'm very sorry you were offended or annoyed by my post or felt that I was disparaging formula feeding. I wouldn't want anyone who needed or chose to use formula to feel badly. I was merely trying to express my struggle with my personal situation.

To respond to a few specifics:
  • "You are really sort of making anyone who has ever used formula feel like you think they are an abusive parent." 
  • "What EXACTLY are all of these terrible, scary, no-good, very bad things that so many of you believe will happen to a baby upon having formula touch her lips, and that will render her forever identifiable as a (insert shameful whispery voice here) "formula-fed baby?""
I never said there were any "terrible, scary, no good, very bad things" or that anyone who chose/needed to use formula was "abusive" in my post.

In fact, I said, "Thank God for formula. It is a lifesaver."

We NEED to have formula. I am grateful it exists. I am taking a trip with Magpie and Will this week and we will have formula with us...just in case. That said, breast milk has been demonstrated to have anti-allergic, anti-neoplastic, and immune-enhancing properties.

This does not make anyone "bad" or or "abusive" for using formula and does not make formula "evil." It does make me want to explore avenues to continue to offer Magpie breast milk while she is so little, exclusively, if I am able.

My personal situation is my own. I had cancer, as did both of my siblings, all before we turned 40. Will and I both have asthma. We both have eczema. There are major food allergy issues, again also on both sides of our families. None of these things were "caused" by formula, but they are our personal vulnerabilities. I am motivated to want to reduce the likelihood that Magpie might experience any of these things if I am able.  I realize that she may have to struggle with any or all of them anyway, but I would like to try.

It is a shame that the issue of baby feeding has become so contentious in our culture that one person's wish to continue feeding with breast milk feels like an attack on others. It wasn't meant to be, and so if it felt that way, I apologize. We all want the same thing: to love our hard-won kids the best we can at each moment in time.

Mo

photo credit: americanmusicpreservation.com

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52 comments:

Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

Hope that it's smooth sailing with one breast, and that this last bout of mastitis clears soon!

If I didn't mention it before (I probably didn't since supply wasn't the issue before), The Breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk is outstanding. It helped me more than anything else. Among other tactics such as modifying the pumping schedule with power pumping, fenugreek was also pretty helpful (and domperidone though Will would probably object since it's not FDA approved; I read the data differently from the FDA, as do most other countries in the world). You can see my blog post for the full range of things I found helpful and unhelpful.

http://babysmiling.wordpress.com/2010/04/27/breastfeeding-part-2/

The post and comments may also help you feel like you're not nuts to try so hard at providing milk!! So many of us have struggled with it and kept going beyond reason.

Marcia (123 blog) said...

I'm so sorry you've felt "attacked" while you're going through the craziness of your situation.

A very nice reply post, by the way.

While I really would just stop (that's me thought), I now get why you're putting all your efforts into this. I always have and still fully support your efforts.

Had no idea all your siblings also had cancer!

Anonymous said...

We used Similac Soy and it worked great. Baby had eczema caused by a variety of foods (legumes, corn, etc) but soy was never a problem. Baby has since outgrown the food-related eczema and soy has continued to be no problem.

Mihaela said...

We are/wore a combo feeding family due to lack of supply. I never made enough for my son. Our ped said Similar is the caddilac of formulas. We used the regular blue can, but any of theirs could work for you. They have a green organic can, and other sensitive varieties if needed.

Missy F said...

My guy had FPIES/Severe GERD. We did everything from elimination diets (for me which were so limited that I was losing weight & hair) to alimentum/nutrigimen on up to Elecare (an Rx only elemental formula that is 100% dairy free for those with severe allergy). Our GI at Mass Gen ended up with us using Good Start Gentle Plus (it is partially hydrolyzed which is more gentle on digestion). Turns out milk wasn't his issue but rice/banana/soy (and I am already GF myself) all were so this formula was a good fit. Massive constipation (further comppunding the GERD) was an issue for him too, in part to the alimentum/elecare (which I was told can be fairly common with those). Having breastfeeding fail after the trials of IF is a major blow, I felt like I was poisoning my son every time I BF'd bc it was making him more increasingly sick. You do what you have to for you and magpie to get thru with health & sanity intact, you love her and she loves you and ultimately regardless of what you choose you will all (will too!) get through it together. Big hugs, this all totally sucks & I am so sorry it has been so difficult.

Retro Girl said...

I have decided that whenever parents feel offended/defensive in re: to what other parents are doing...it is truly all about them and nothing about you. Maybe insecurity in their own choices (for who knows what reason)? I have no idea. But I was consistently surprised how I came acrossed parents defending their decision to use formula without me saying a word...simply a response to me whipping out my breast. Funny - not once did I ever feel "attacked" about breastfeeding..not at all because I felt it was superior - simply because I was confident in my decision. I got the same kind of flack about cloth diapering. In the end, it was helpful to conclude that I was confident in my decisions and actually felt kind of bad with those less confident in their's.
Follow your gut, do what feels right for you. No time in parenting to worry about "offending" and the insecurities of others.

Rachel said...

Beautiful post...so sorry BFing has been such a tough road for you.

I expected there to be comments on your last post saying nasty things about continuing to try no matter how sick you are.....but not people getting offended by your post. It wasn't the least bit offensive. But society has become very proBf and antiformula regardless of the reasons for switching so I think some people who used formula are quick to get defensive since they're used to being attacked or told their insufficient for not BFing. So try not to take it too personally!

Good luck!

Denise said...

Love this post!! So glad you have a plan to move forward. I too, have a couple friends that have been very successful with single breast feeding. I hope it works well for you also!! I had sent you an email on Friday in regards to milk donation and wasn't sure you had received it. Regardless, I definitely understand the risks involved. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Glad you have a plan! I hope your mastitis days will soon be behind you. I mentioned a one-handed pump by Aveda, but I meant Ameda.

This is the one:

http://www.amazon.com/Ameda-Hand-Breast-Pump-Free/dp/B004E9SW7Q

It's really awesome for quick pumping and could be very useful for stimulating supply on the one side.

I was also the annoying person who sent you an e-mail about the Field Center in NYC. www.thefieldcenter.org

I think Sheryl would have insights into Magpie's sucking issues that you would find very helpful and she could evaluate her tone. I'm probably also biased toward "well-researched alternative aproaches" (like Feldenkrais) because I never had good experiences with physical therapists with my infants -- I found them too aggressive and not working with each child's individuality.

At any rate -- good luck!

Anonymous said...

some allergy moms use goatmilk (it's powdered). it is NOT infant formula, although many people use it to supplement.

i think you handled all of the criticism very well... you are obviously well-read and have a strong feeling about this. and obviously it comes down to a personal choice for what is best for your family...

its just one of these ISSUES that are very difficult to talk about in a blog or on a forum and not expect to have it explode- it reminds me of when women come to IVF forums and ask about IVF for family balancing or gender selection, and they are not IF. it causes a huge reaction, but the thing is- this is their life and their choice- just not the most popular subject to discuss with a bunch of IF women.

with the breast vs. formula, it is hard not to come off as sounding holier than thou... "breast is best... formula is... well, i'm not giving it to MY baby.". it just comes off sounding like those who use formula are choosing to neglect their kids. i am sure you can understand that.



Tamara said...

We started supplementing at about 5 and a half months. Moe didn't like Similac or the Target brand, so we tried (on a friend's recommendation) Earth's Best. Of course he loves the expensive brand!

MabelB said...

Good luck with it all! I would make exactly the same choice as you in your situation I think given all the variables.

Hoping it works out as you want! (and don't worry if you develop "mutant boob" as I called mine! It will go back to normal post weaning.)

sonja said...

I did not feel attacked in your last post (I formula fed my quads with some pumped milk to supplement however I could). You have a right to want to give your daughter breast milk for as long as you possibly can. It is an admirable goal and I really hope you are able to do it!

I have heard about people making their own formula using Nourishing Traditions recipe. Here is a link to a kit:
http://www.radiantlifecatalog.com/product/nourishing-traditions-kit-homemade-baby-formula/superfoods-supplements

I have NO idea if this is up your ally and I certainly can't vouch for it. I can't even say I'm recommending it because I don't know much about it. I just figured it was another option out there that you could research if you so desire.

Hang in there. You are in my thoughts!

Jen said...

I did not feel attacked by your last post (I am astounded at your persistence). But it definitely brought up all the guilt I had surrounding not being able to breastfeed my twins. Typically I am okay with the situation, but it's hard knowing that there is something better out there (and that I had planned on doing) that my kids can't have. I chose not to comment because I wasn't sure that I could say anything that would have been supportive at that time. But I thought I would pipe in now. You aren't wrong for the parenting decisions you make, especially not when they are well-informed and deliberate ones such a this. I hope that things go well for you.

Mina said...

Sweet Lord, can we just get past the blaming game already, anons et al? Give the poor lady a break, she is having a hard time already, no need to pile on the guilt, eh?

Mo, motherhood is the miraculous filter-deleting device in most people, they start spouting assvice the moment you open your mouth, even if it is for eating or breathing and not speaking. No matter what you do, there will always be someone who thinks you are doing it ALL wrong. Find what works best for you. (On this topic, breastfeeding, you could have been a whole LOT gentler with Mo, instead you're choosing to be an ass, which is thoroughly not cool, breatsfeeding, NOT. COOL. And I am being a lady when using 'ass', yes?) I am deeply sorry you have to deal with such a mess. I wish you nothing byput the best and best of luck.

It Is What It Is said...

I am sorry I was unable to comment on your previous post but for some reason I cannot comment from the iPad or my phone which are the devices I usually read from these days.

I do not know how we degraded to feeling like one person's opinion or desire for THEIR life was an encroachment on someone else's differing belief. There are seriously a LOT of insecure yet self-righteous people among us.

You have a reasonable and solid plan and I hope that it plays out in a way that supports your desire to continue to exclusively feed breast milk to magpie. You deserve at least that much. And, learned person that you are, I know that if you must come to another decision, you will.

I wish I could comment more often but am struggling with my own different issues with baby boy. In fact, he is rousing, much to early from his nap, so must go.

Always thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Fwiw I don't think it's fair to label posters as insecure. There is a lot of lact-nazi formula bashing, and some of mo's comments did seem to suggest formula is bad ( not to mention spending 100$+/day for someone else's milk just to avoid the evil stuff) so let's not attack others in an effort to defend mo.

Anonymous said...

i agree... just because we are having a discussion (on mo's blog, lol...) about formula and breastmilk, there is no need to name calll. i never called mo a name or in any way intended for her to take on any additional guilt that she may or may not feel. i was just responding to her previous post in which she made some comments about formula, and her onw health concerns.

i'm not insecure OR self-rightious about this! just pointing out some things in a comment box, to mo, who is an adult and well-adjusted enough (it seems...) to read differing perspectives.

Anonymous said...

Mo - you mentioned taking formula on a trip this week. Caution: Magpie might not drink it! Gasp, as awful as it might feel to finally break down and offer it to her, she might reject it entirely. That happened to us when we least needed it to. Please consider giving her a sip before you hit the road. Even though you feel strongly about introducing "foreign" substances at her early age, if you needed it and she was hungry but wouldn't eat it, things would not be good.

claire said...

I am sure you have looked into possible causes as to why you keep getting recurrent bouts of mastitis. I would be more inclined to seek out a certified lactation consultant who could give you tips on how to be more effective pumping. Just like doctors are not car seat techs they are also not trained exclusively in breastfeeding and pumping :) I hope thats not offensive doctors are great resources just for other reasons.

Here is a good place to start as to why you may be getting recurrent infections. http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/mother/recurrent-mastitis/

I love kellymom they have great resources and info

Mo and Will said...

Hey Claire, Good advice. We've done the lactation consultant thing. Over and over and over. They finally referred me to an MD who is an internist but whose practice is solely devoted to breastfeeding difficulties. I've been working with both LCs and this MD in concert since then.

Mo

infertilefollies said...

I have not read comments... and I don't think I have commented on your blog before, Mo. But I have been following for I-have-no-idea-how-long... a few years? I am just SO happy for you that you have your precious girl!

But what I really want to say is that people who are SO offended by your desire to EBF can just GO AWAY! Or keep reading but shut up. They obviously did not read your specific reasons for wanting to BF, and are so defensive about their choices that they must make you feel bad for yours.

Mo, do what you gotta. I wish you all the best with EBF, I understand your rationale completely. But no matter what your baby is eating, you are doing what's best for her, I know you will make the best decision day by day.

xxoo
Jane

Anonymous said...

Not to belabor the point, but some of the commenters are suggesting people offends by the ant-ff comments must feel defensive about their choices . Uh, it seems most if them really didn't have much "choice" ( eg adopted babies/failed supply). So maybe lay off already?

gwinne said...

Mo, you've gotten a ton of advice, not to mention a dose of criticism.

I don't really have anything to add that hasn't been said in some way... but to add another voice whose kids were exclusively breastfed and still had allergy/eczema issues beginning in infancy. Well, not just "still"...one of them was, for all practical purposes, allergic to my milk (not in any technical sense, I know, but I was unable to figure out what she was reacting to, after months of a crazy elim diet). It used to make me absolutely insane that people on an allergy board would refer to her formula as basically some miraculous thing (I believe the comparison was made to the biblical manna!!!!). Bottom line for me: formula is stuff concocted in a lab. Yes, my kid needed it in the absolute worst way. And it broke my heart. BUT parenting got SO much easier, and she got so much healthier, without breastmilk. For some kids and moms, for some situations, big picture, breastfeeding really isn't best.

I hope you find a solution that can bring you some peace. And health for both of you.

Vaso said...

Mo, I am commenting again, and hope that you didn't find my last post offensive. I really wish I could give you advice on what to do, but each mother/child relationship is so unique that you have to find what works best. Unfortunately, there is no magical book that us mothers can read to figure out how to make it work. Just keep on going at it, until it doesn't work any more, at which point you seek other solutions.

I read the article you quoted in your current post. I agree you have to give your little one the best possible chance out there. I did the same thing for my kids. In my first post, I just pointed out that even though my first one was not EBF, she's healthy while my second one was EBF and ended up with RSV , hospitalizations and asthma issues. Just try your best at what you are doing, but be flexible (which I see you are :)). That's my take home message...

I hope I'm not offending you or anybody else for that matter.... Just a friendly advice :) btw, have a great trip this week and try to forget about all the BF-formula debate!

Alexicographer said...

Hi, Mo,

Glad you have a plan and I hope it works out well for you. Also glad to know you'll double-check the IBC thing ... it does seem highly unlikely (surely) but scary.

I can understand, honestly, why there were people who felt offended by your last post. You are going through all sorts of things and to all sorts of efforts to try to ensure Magpie can continue to EBF, and I think it's easy for those of us who didn't get there to read into that something along the lines that we should have tried harder -- not that you said that or meant it, but it's not a hard leap of logic to make. At the same time, I do recognize that you are talking about your personal concerns and goals and also, that you are in a context (new mom to a new, long-awaited baby and dealing with all that entails + repeated bouts of mastitis and that it's just possible that we should cut you some slack :).

(I was frighteningly blasee about which formula we used (other than, you know, one of the main brands), so am no help there.)

Anonymous said...

Hi. I have been following your blog for a whie and l am very happy that you finally had a baby. I just wanted to say that I had surgery on 1 of my breasts and breastfed my son and currectly breastfeeding my twins from 1 breast. You can do it :)

jenicini said...

You do such a great job handling everyone's viewpoint. Everything about parenting is so intensely personal. With your background, your commitment to giving Magpie the best chance possible to access the benefits of breast milk is awesome. So, do what you need to do mama!

momtohowmany said...

Holle Organic. U.S. formulas have major flaws (hexane, arsenic).

Jay said...

I'm uninformed about all this, since its totally not in my zone yet (and most of the time you feel that you will never manage to enter the zone when all of this info suddenly becomes relevant, so you don't pay attention)

Nonetheless, this is an excellent post for the neophyte. Yeah, beastmilk is good, and there can be no substitute for the immune support it offers. I have not even figured out the access-to-breast- milk problem if I get to have a baby using surrogacy- but its going to be a big one, and I'll do everything possible to manage to supply my baby with breast milk, atleast for the first 4-5 months.
I doubt I'll be able to escape the supplementing with formula option though. The issue about formula early on increasing the risk for food allergies is an interesting one.

Man, more knowledge = more uneasiness.

Kasey said...

Hi Mo, I've been constructing a response to your last post in my head and as I finally get to a computer this morning, I see you have a response. I don't know that I really have anything to add...

I was going to say your one breast may compensate and you will make up the difference with pumping only on one breast. Our bodies are crazy adaptable that way.
Also, once you get to 6 months and introduce solid food the amount of milk Magpie needs may decrease and you might be able to keep up with it more easily.

And just to share my story: I was lucky enough to have a slight over-supply and was an informal milk donor (150 oz over 6 months) to twins whose mother died from c-section complications. I don't think I would take milk informally, but I was happy to give it. The babies I donated to were combo fed and thriving.

In the end we do what we have to do to feed our babies. Best of luck.

Andrea said...

We combo fed after my son was 1 month old (I didn't pump enough milk. We used enfamil, but I think that all infant formulas are generally created equal.

Good luck

I saw that a previous poster had mentioned domperidone. I took it and had a much better experience than I had on Reglan. Even though its not FDA approved in the US, I rationalized that since its available in Canada, and I'm Canadian, I would have had access to it had my baby been born in Canada. In anycase, it really did increase my supply and I it was a walk in the park compared to Reglan, which made me anxious, depressed, nauseous and tired.

Anonymous said...

When I run the world all pregnancies will be desired pregnancies. All wanting a child will be able to become pregnant and remain so for 9 months. All children pre and post natal will be well nourished and healthy. All parents will be healthy, employed at dream jobs, in happy relationships and financially secure. In the mean time, Thank heavens for formula and clean drinking water to make it. Lots of this world does not have either. YOU are being the best mother possible for magpie. Thank you for sharing with us and stacks of good wishes for you all.

Anonymous said...

Question about banked milk - any idea of the mother's diet? In other words, if she is eating four jars of nuts per day, would you know? I know that there is no formal causation between the mother's diet and allergies, but it is often suspected that it could play a role. Just something to think about since food allergies are a huge concern of yours.

Anonymous said...

Formula - My DD wouldn't drink enfamil or similac. She just gagged on the nipple and refused to drink. It was quite traumatic. I knew I wanted an organic formula anyways, so I researched and decided on Earth's Best (they have a sensitive too). She ate it immediately, with no problem. We continued to use it until we switched to whole milk. The only negative is the hexane derived DHA, which is apparently how all formulas derive it (except Baby's Only). If you read the reviews on ama.zon you will see the hexane argument. I felt it was the best choice for us, all things considered. We also researched Baby's Only but decided against it for several reasons. One, it's only approved for toddlers and although the company insists it has all the same ingredients as an infant formula, it just didn't feel right to me (they say they want breastmilk the first year so they only want this for the second year - whatever). They also use rice syrup which has the big arsenic thing with it. And Baby's Only tends to cause more constipation, so we avoided it since that was a problem for us.

I hope that info is helpful. I know you are a researchaholic, so those are the highlights regarding the two main organic formulas.

Dora said...

This is a terrific post. I totally hear you on allergy prevention. Since Sunshine's brother has a peanut allergy, I was terrified of giving her any nuts until she was tested. I tried to have her tested when she has her 1 year old bloodwork, but they didn't get enough blood on the first stick, and I didn't want her tortured unless it was absolutely necessary. So when she had her tonsil and adenoid surgery just after her 2nd birthday, I asked the surgeon to have a blood draw done while she was under. And YAY, no nut allergies.

You are a rockstar mom! I know you are relishing Magpie's infancy, but I predict that as you start feeling better it will feel like storm clouds parting. Sunshine and rainbows. :-)

Kiss that beautiful girl for me. I can't wait to meet her! xoxo

nurslouisa said...

Bravo Mo--- sounds like a great plan. I think some of the more "passionate" coments on this topic were really about you. Folks have followed your journey and incredible struggles to have your little Magpie closely and they don't want to see your struggles continue with BFing. So it's out of love that they recommend formula or other solutions that might help.

TINA said...

I THINK YOU ARE DOING A GREAT JOB AND ARE DOING THE BEST THAT YOU CAN! GOOD FOR YOU! I MIGHT HAVE GIVEN UP ALREADY. i AM CURRENTLY BF MY 7 WEEK OLD. WE HAD TROUBLE WITH WEIGHT GAIN IN THE BEGINNING AND DR SAID AT ONE POINT WE MIGHT HAVE TO SUPPLEMENT. tHANKFULLY HE HAS STARTING GAINING AND WE HAVE NOT. THE POINT IS THAT MY PED WAS INVOLVED IN NOVEMBER IN A STUDY THAT COMPARED BRAND NAME FORMULAS AGAINST GENERICS SUCH AS PARENTS CHOICE, TARGET, SAMS ETC AND THE FINDINGS SHOWED THAT THE NUTRIENTS ARE EXACTLY THE SAME.MY PED RECOMMENDED THE GENERIC VERSIONS BECAUSE THEY ARE SO MUCH CHEAPER. SHE SAID AS LONG AS IT HAS DHA IN IT THEN IT IS FINE. BTW, I HAVE BEEN A FOLLOWER FOR A LONG TIME ALSO WHILE I WAS TRYING TO CONCEIVE AND I AM SO EXCITED YOU GOT YOUR MIRACLE BABY.IT TOOK ME 5 YEARS TO GET MINE AND THIS LAST 7 WEEKS HAS BEEN AMAZING :)

LStewart said...

You have to do what is best for you and for your baby. Having you sick and under the weather reduces the time you can enjoy her. Don't feel like you've failed ... you've just experienced a miracle in giving birth that, a year ago, you never thought would happen. Take care of yourself and enjoy your baby ... do what you have to do and don't allow others to influence you in another directions ... just because. You are awesome!

Anonymous said...

I've been following your blog for a while and just want to say-- you go girl. Nutritionally speaking, breast is best. I applaud you in determination to give this to magpie.

Also-- fwiw I know a few people who have donated/received milk in milk donor situations -- I mean the free thing not a milk bank. The donor moms were all very dedicated and the babies thrived. If you were in NYC I'd share my milk with magpie, nursing an 8 week old daughter. So I would keep checking on that--doulas, LCs, and LLL often know of donors.

Anonymous said...

Sorry just to add-- have you looked into the GAPS diet? Great for allergies and eczema. Might be something also to help magpie when she's a little older -- extra protection.

Cat said...

I'm so glad you've made a decision and hope you're at peace with it.

I don't know what the commenter said about adding EBM to formula, but we kept them separate. I pumped for my triplets for 11.5 months and got enough for 2/3 of their needs. The rest we used formula. The thing about formula is that once the baby has sucked from that bottle, you can't keep any leftovers to use at the next feeding, but you CAN keep the breast milk until the next feeding. We kept them in separate bottles, which was a lot of dishes for two bottles for each baby per feeding, but we didn't want to throw away any EBM. If you ever want to hear our sort-of complicated "dance", send me an email.

As for one breast making enough, it definitely can. Each of mine essentially made enough for one baby. The books Mothering Multiples and Making More Milk both have good suggestions to increase supply. The Mothering Multiples book in particular has great advice for exclusively pumping since many mothers of multiples end up pumping because their preemies can't nurse. It's well organized and indexed so you could easily find and read only the parts about pumping.

Cat said...

I forgot to add that the LCs I spoke with didn't have much advice for pumping at all. The Mothering Multiples book and other exclusively pumping moms were much more helpful.

Suzanne A. said...

I sympathize with your situation. After 10 days out of the hospital with my newborn (he's 9m now) I realized I was unable to breastfeed. 1 oz per pumping (alternating with feeding) was not going to cut it and he was a GREAT latcher. I was devastated, completely. I cried for days. I then switched to formula, because like you said, thank goodness for it! As soon as I put that bottle to his lips he greedily ate it. He was starving. I was starving him. I felt like a horrible mother. For the first time in his little life, he was satieted.

But as for your post about recommendations...we chose to go with Gerber Goodstart Gentle (after 2 other formulas - Similac - which we have nothing against) because we found he he has a casein intolerance, confirmed by his pedi. Gerber makes theirs with whey protein only so he can digest it without pain and cramping and gas. He is thriving on it. He's now 24 lb and 30.5" at 9 months. We chose to try the last formula on the market with a different ingredient list before trying soy or other non-milk alternative. Gerber did it for us.

So there's our experience. I hope you can make a decision that you can live with. Because that's what it is. You'll never be completely happy not using breastmilk 100% but you'll have to live with the decision. I'm living with mine and I'm okay. I still regret it, but it's not like I had much of a choice. Physically, my breasts do not produce.

Tracie said...

Mo, I read both of your recent posts and all of the comments. You are doing a great job and are a great mom. YOU ARE A MOM!!!

certainly don't see why anyone is taking offense to your post or feels that you are being disparaging to FF moms. The last time I checked your blog was about YOU and YOUR story and YOUR challenges and YOUR decisions. I didn't notice any comments that you directed towards the FF'ing public.

My daughter is 17 weeks and has been EBF. It is still painful or at minimum uncomfortable at nearly every feeding, but I am thankful that she is healthy and my milk appears to be easy on her tummy. She had 3 posterior tongue tie revisions, but her suck still isn't right, so its painful. I was 100% miserable for all of the first 2.5 months due to extreme pain. For whatever reason, I just couldn't make the decision to switch to formula. My oldest son was EBF for a year and my older daughter was EFF after seven weeks due to tummy problems with my milk. So, while I would love to say that you need to call the fight, I know first hand with my current infant how hard it is to do that. I also know first hand with my older daughter that FF'ing was awesome and I was a way better Mom after I switched and I saw no decrease in personal connection with the baby.

It seems that your plan is to try to make it work with one breast. I hope you can get comfortable with supplementing one way or another if necessary because if I felt there was any way that my LO was hungry, I couldn't bear it. Best of luck with your one magic boob!!

Also, if you aren't happy or able to enjoy this special time, please consider alternatives so that you can enjoy the blissful babyhood that you have worked so hard for.

Jessica said...

Hi Mo~I had problems with breast feeding my babies as well, although mastitis wasn't my issue. We had other issues, including low supply from the time each baby reached three months. I tried herbs (fenugreek, blessed thistle) the first time, which did not help me. The second time I went right to Reglan, which helped my supply, but I do not recommend it as it caused some depression (that is a well documented side effect). The third time there was more info available and I went right to Domperidone, as one other poster suggested. It was a life (and milk) saver! I ordered from an online pharmacy because the US makes it difficult to get, unless you use a compounding pharmacy. Mostly "who holds the patent" issues, I believe. You do your own research though. When I needed to supplement I ordered an organic formula from Nature's One, as I could not stand the thought of feeding my baby formula made with hydrogenated oils. I suspect that is a concern of yours also, with your history of cancer. I also know some moms who make their own goat's milk formula. However it works out, I'm sure Magpie will thrive and grow, but I sympathize with your worry and frustration:( Hang in there, Mama!

Jenny F. Scientist, PhD said...

I hope it works for you- I know how emotional this is! Even though I know intellectually that my baby would be fine with formula (both my nephews certainly are! - my sister couldn't pump more than an ounce at a time, it turned out) somehow I just couldn't give it up. I hope that in a year or two this will all be a much-faded memory.

JB said...

http://feedingthebaby.tumblr.com/

For some wide ranging thoughts from moms about how they fed their babies, and all the complicated emotions and circumstances that came with these rarely straightforward situations, please take the time to read this tumblr. It was created by a group of friends ruminating on this topic after one mom (an IVF veteran) had difficulty with breastfeeding and needed to document her frustration with her body and other people's opinion about her choices. Take a gander. Hope you find it helpful.

RDR said...

Mo-
my goodness, breastfeeding and the like, always brings up stuff for people. do your do. do what's best for your little one. bfeed, formula, guilt, attacking because you aren't doing one thing or another. remember when all we (ttc after multiple loses) just dreamt of a baby, one little being who would warm our chest at night as they slept and our hearts always? sorry you felt attacked, that just feels crappy. i think of you three often and am confident whatever your next step is, she is going to be OK. waving to you from CA.

RDR said...

loses=losses

Kristen said...

Just wanted to say you are amazing and so cool-headed and rational and respectful addressing a very contentious issue. Really admire you for that. My takeaway from this is your (each person's) life experience really influences what feels right for you. Best of luck with everything!

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mo, I felt attacked in that post as well. My kids got breast milk for 2 months (pumped) and then formula, and they have been extremely health- much more so than my friends kids who BF'ed. I think things are clouding your judgement if you would use unscreened milk from a random person over formula which is tested/certified/etc. How would you know what that person ate? Or as you mentioned, any diseases?? That post made me think you've taken this thing to far. It doesn't sound llike Magpie is thriving on breast milk either, if she's losing weight and all. Maybe give formula a shot and see. On top of everything else, if you're miserable, that is going to do a lot more damage to her than feeding formula. Best wishes in your choice, but please don't knock what you haven't tried.

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