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My Relationship With Breastfeeding: Round Two

Eva Amurri Martino breastfeeding her son Major at her Connecticut home

Now that I’ve had a little over two months under my belt of breastfeeding my second child, I thought I’d share a little update on how it’s all going, and my thoughts and feelings (and new discoveries!) this time around.  When I wrote a bit about my Breastfeeding journey with Marlowe while I was pregnant with Major, I remarked that my expectations for breastfeeding him were purposefully undefined.  I had vowed to go with the flow, without self judgement, and see where it all took me.  Well, now I have an idea about all of that, so figured I could update you!

Eva Amurri Martino of lifestyle and motherhood blog Happily Eva After breastfeeds her newborn son Major while wearing a striped breastfeeding shirt

Like Marlowe, Major took immediately to the breast.  I didn’t do the “Infant Led Breastfeeding” this time around, because I actually forgot.  Ha! I was so swept up in the moment that I put him on my breast instead of allowing it to happen.  Verdict? Turns out it didn’t make much of a difference in his appetite for breast milk, or his ability begin the suckling process.  There was a version latching difficulty this time around, though.  The culprit? Tongue Tie! AGAIN.  If you read my last article, you know that I ended up having to get Marlowe’s upper and lower Frenulum cut in order to establish a comfortable and productive breastfeeding latch.  I was on high alert for it this time around, and I noticed almost immediately that breastfeeding Major was VERY uncomfortable for my nipples.  Since I had forgotten almost everything about newborns in the past two years (it wasn’t until day two with him that I even remembered I was supposed to be BURPING HIM….doiiiii) I thought it was possible that this discomfort (dare I say pain?) was just a normal part of the feeding initiation process.  Well a few days in, and my nipples were cracked, bleeding, and my three day old baby was spitting up blood from feeding on them.  Yeah, that is as horrific as it sounds.  I had a lactation consultant come by and she, along with his pediatrician, told me to take him to a specialist to get one more opinion and probably a little snip.  Immediately upon checking him out, the specialist told me that he did indeed need his lower frenulum cut.  Since the process had been so traumatizing for me with Marlowe I was really nervous.  I had been in tears, and she had screamed her head off for a few minutes after the snip.  Well, never has that old chestnut “Every Baby Is Different” rung more true than when I held my itty bitty baby boy in my arms and watched him sleep through his own frenulum procedure.  Not even a peep! I actually laughed then and made a mental note that Marlowe was in fact as much of a drama queen as I’ve always suspected.  LOL.

After his frenectomy, breastfeeding Major was much more successful.  But just like my last experience, in the first month of breastfeeding him I had to deal with oversupply and fast letdown issues. Well luckily, the amazing Happily Eva After community had my back on this one! I had mentioned in my last update just how much I hated pumping, especially because of my Blockfeeding schedule with Lowie.  A really helpful reader (Thanks, Elle!) told me that she used something called a Milkie on the other side while she was Blockfeeding, and this suggestion changed the game for me! If you don’t know about the Milkie Milksaver, it’s a little silicone “pocket” that you put in your bra to catch the letdown on the non-nursing side.  The pressure from the bra helps get the milk started and relieved the pressure from my full breast.  All while saving the milk! It made it so I didn’t have to pump that side at all, and I was able to start saving up milk in the freezer.  Such a win-win.  We were in a great groove.

Then, Major had his accident.  And my breastfeeding journey got totally thrown off.  While we were in the hospital with him, and in the next couple of weeks, my milk supply dipped big time.  The stress was just too much for my body, and I had to start pumping to up my supply, as well as use lactation tea to increase it.  My favorite tea was the Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk Tea, in the Shatavari Cardamom flavor (try with steamed milk and honey! YUM!) This combo ended up helping a lot, and my supply was able to bounce back.  And luckily I had that milk from the Milkie saved in my freezer to subsidize the process.  But then, my post-partum anxiety began, and my milk supply has been so troubled ever since.  On “good days” it was fine, and Major would be able to easily get a robust and full feeding from me– but then on the bad days or weeks when I was having a hard time emotionally, my supply would suffer.  What made this even worse is how much I would blame myself for it all.  I would put so much pressure on myself to battle the anxiety so that my son’s food source wouldn’t suffer.  When I would fall short (which you always do when you try to strong-arm anxiety!), I would feel even worse for “failing” my son.  I still had to be supplementing his diet with saved milk from the freezer, and each time I used one of the bags, I would get even more upset that my supply of saved milk was dwindling.  What would I do when it ran out?  Add that to the Fear and Anxiety List! I hadn’t introduced formula yet because I had so many feelings about using formula at a point “earlier” than when I had introduced it with Marlowe.  I felt like the Breastfeeding Police were going to somehow know the second I made the decision and blame me for not trying hard enough, for not battling through and finding a solution.  Even though I remembered how much happier Marlowe and I both were when I started formula with her at four months, my own feelings of self-doubt and guilt wouldn’t allow me to view it as an option this time around.  Basically, I was living out the exact opposite of my own advice.  Funny how that can happen when you’re in a funk…

Eva Amurri Martino breastfeeds her newborn son, major, while daughter Marlowe looks on

Kyle finally stepped in and asked me to stop torturing myself.  At this point, Major was 11 weeks old and my morale was in the toilet.  Between my pumping and feeding schedule, and my hyper-vigilance surrounding Major and his safety, I was barely leaving the house.  I knew that something had to give, but it was my husband that finally put it in to words: “I know that I’m looking at this from the outside,” he told me, “but I just see so many ways that you can take some things off of your plate if you start giving him formula.”  Even though it made me emotional, I had to agree.  Freeing up my time would allow me to seek therapy and get more fresh air, as well as start to implement a little more self care– all things I needed if I was going to begin to get myself back on track mentally.  Around the time that we decided to go public with Major’s accident (so that I could begin my own healing process) was when we decided that I would begin a slow weaning process.  I started introducing one bottle a day of formula, with the plan that every few days I would replace another breast milk feeding with a bottle of formula.  In this way, I could make sure that my body weaned as gently as possible and I could extend his breast milk intake a little more as well.  I plan to give him a bottle feeding a day of frozen breast milk once I’m fully weaned.  I have enough saved to last two weeks with that plan.  This wasn’t an easy decision for me, but I will say that I felt a great sense of relief after making it.  I think as Moms it’s never easy to make a decision based on our own needs, but it’s important to remember that as Mamas we are the beacons of light that our children follow.  If we are miserable it’s very challenging to make our kids happy and to help them shine as brilliantly as they deserve to.  Secure your own oxygen mask before helping other passengers!

We went with the HIPP Organic formula again this time, and Major loves it!  I’m now towards the end of the weaning process, and aside from some uncomfortable breasts at times, it has been going smoothly.  Major is doing so well with the transition that it is inspiring me to take it in stride as well.  When I gave him the first bottle of formula, I was fighting back tears. I felt like a failure and was worried that he wouldn’t accept the change.  But Major took a few gulps, and then he pulled away from the bottle, and looked up at me.  He cooed a bit and then gave me the biggest smile.  My heart just burst with gratitude.  I felt in that moment like he was telling me it was ok– not to worry, and that he knew how much I love him.  My kids are always teaching me the art of compassion and forgiveness, of openness and understanding.  I’m so thankful for that quiet moment we shared because it really helped me let go and release a lot of the guilt I was feeling.  I will admit that I get emotional when I realize that I am almost finished breastfeeding my last baby.  It’s so bittersweet. The finality of that phase is hard to swallow, but I also feel an immense amount of relief.  The theme of 2017 so far for me has been about moving forward, letting go of unproductive feelings, and trying to be the best version of myself for my family.  Luckily, I feel like I’m on the right road to accomplish that.

Was your breastfeeding/feeding journey different with your second child than with your first? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

Photographs by Stephanie Elliott Photography

 

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66 Comments

  1. Rachel says:

    Again, I am so thankful for your openness!
    So thank you! I went through similar troubles with a lip and tongue tie that went undiagnosed for 10 weeks and a small baby that wasn’t gaining loads of weight (or any at times!) – breastfeeding was painful, my supply was almost non existent, but I had “the guilt” and just pumped and pumped and pumped, for 6 months! I was lucky enough and crazily determined to continue feeding and supplementing with expressed milk. However at six months, way past the point of dread – I loathed pumping, loathed looking at it and hated the time it was taking up – many tears later and my husband (like Kyle!) and my mum suggested offering formula instead of pumping. I tried that and my baby took it well and then decided that two weeks later, he no longer wanted me! To say that didn’t hurt emotionally would be a lie, but I felt relief that he was getting what he needed and gaining weight!
    I now have a healthy one year old and am so proud that he’s happy and healthy 😘

    01.18.17Reply
  2. Kendra says:

    I love you Eva! You are so real and open with us and you can’t even begin to know how impactful that is. I experienced that same heartache and guilt with my first when had to supplement with formula and eventually stop breastfeeding earlier than I had wanted to. Now with my second due any day now I’ve been obsessively planning and thinking about how I can make sure it’s different this time around. I have a collection of nursing snacks with lactation boosting ingredients, supplements, teas, a lists of foods to keep on hand to boost supply, a new pump on the way that I read was better, a schedule for nursing and pumping all written out, and a bunch of pins saved on Pinterest on the topic. But reading your post has reminded me to calm the f down and take it one day at a time. I’m sure I’ll be revising this post again to help me through tough spots. A million times thank you! And thank Kyle for me too, those were wise words. He’s a keeper!

    01.18.17Reply
  3. Amy says:

    Thank you for being so open and honest! My first was jaundice and had to go back into the hospital and trying to breastfeed turned into exclusively pumping. I hated pumping and felt like I was missing bonding with my new baby to go pump. After 2 months my husband made the suggestion to switch and after beating myself up, he was right. Our baby was almost instantly happier.

    My second I still wanted to try breastfeeding. He was jaundice too and I was worried we’d be back in the. hospital and the problem would happen again. Knowing what I knew the first time I told the doctors, nurses, lactarion consultant and anyone who would listen my story. I developed a great support system in the hospital. It seriously does take a village. I didn’t have to go back to work after my second and that helped that I didn’t stress myself to build a supply. My entire journey was so much easier. I 9 months I wanted my body back but my little boy wasn’t having it. In the end I’m grateful we made it to a year but was happy to have my body back.

    Again thank you for your honest. As women we beat ourself up when in the end all we want our happy and healthy children.

    So glad Major is doing well!

    01.18.17Reply
  4. Is says:

    Hi Eva! What a journey! Very relatable. With my first I tried and tried and my breast always produced tiny amount. Pumping was maybe a quarter ounce. Didn’t help my mental coping mechanism. I still feel mom guilt and sensibility in my breast. I was supplementing with formula and kept trying breastfeeding and pumping for 2 weeks. Lactation consulting, watching videos, massaging, trying home remedies.
    With baby #2 I gave up after 10 days. 100% formula by then. They are both very healthy girls. Now 22 months and 3.5 years old. Posts like this help with some anxiety I have around the subject.

    Thanks for sharing and creating this platform to express ourselves as well.
    Kindly,
    Is

    01.18.17Reply
  5. Kate says:

    Hi Eva –

    I love your blog posts! My son and Major had the same due date and my son James was born on 10/28. I run my own company and have been struggling with how to get him fed when I start working full time again (even though as you know when you run your own business there is no such thing as maternity leave!)

    I’ve decided to do formula during the day and try and keep his morning and last feed of the day. But I’m not sure how that will work with my supply. I also purchased HiPP formula and have mixed it with breastmilk for a few bottles and he doesn’t seem to mind though it is upsetting his tummy a little. Did Major or Marlowe have that when adjusting to formula? Does it just work itself out? I feel badly that he’s gassy and a bit constipted when he’s never had those issues before.

    Thanks for all your openness and honesty!!

    01.18.17Reply
    • Kate says:

      Hi Kate (from a different Kate!) – just had to comment because I just went through this. My baby is 5.5 months old now and I decided to switch him onto Hipp formula during the workday when I went back to work about a month ago. I dropped one daytime feeding at a time over a two week period, and now he’s totally on formula during the day and we still nurse with no problem mornings and evenings. My supply has been just fine, so it is possible! We had a few gassy days when we first started the Hipp but in a week or two he fully adjusted. We never had any issues with constipation, but as babies get older they do poop less generally (my baby is about 1x a day now tops)…maybe that might be part of it? I hope your little one adjusts!

      For any mamas looking for a reliable Hipp source, I use A New York Baby at this website: http://www.anewyorkbaby.com/apps/webstore/. I’m in no way affiliated – just a happy customer! She ships from the US and I always get my order in 2-3 days, which helped my stress about using a European formula a lot. I also buy the ready to feeds to keep as a backup in the diaper bag and on the go.

      01.18.17Reply
  6. Izzy says:

    Thanks for sharing Eva! I really struggled with breastfeeding, not so much because it was physically taxing, but more because of the mental toll it took on me. I suffered from such anxiety wondering whether my baby was getting enough milk, the right kind of milk, how long to nurse for, etc,. After only 6 weeks, I decided to pump and feed him my milk from the bottle, and 6 weeks after that switched entirely to formula upon my return to work. I found that when I made that difficult decision to switch to the bottle, my anxieties instantly dissolved and I could really enjoy the experience of feeding my baby. You’re so right when you say that when we are not our best selves, it is so challenging to make our kids happy and bright! Glad you’re taking good care of yourself-your kiddos are so lucky.
    xx

    01.18.17Reply
  7. Tina says:

    Hi Eva,
    Sorry, i only have one kid (a wonderful almost 3 year old girl…:-) so i can’t compare but i Know that when i was breastfeeding , my newborn was eating ALL THE TIME… ALL DAY LONG stuck to my Boob… and i thought “ok so i am going to be doing this for the rest of my Life in my living room … this is going to be fun!!! So i realized That formula was maybe a good idea for me to be able to go somewhere or do something Else than breastfeed… but i was feeling a little guilty because it was only about MY well being… and isn’t motherhood about your kid wellbeing..? Well you know what She loved formula, she was still the happiest baby i know and she had a really happy mom who could finnally drink champagne!!! 😉 happy mom=happy baby
    Don’t be so hard on yourself you rock and i am this close to move to connecticut to become Your best friend… 😘
    Love from Paris… (a little to far to connecticut…;-)
    Tina

    01.18.17Reply
  8. Darienne says:

    Oh Eva, somehow your posts always make me so emotional! I mean that in the best way, too. We’ve never met and I do not yet currently have my own children but reading your posts makes me feel so emotionally connected to you and your family, and also to my dream of becoming a mother. I have come to care about you all and hope that as you continue forward in getting yourself back on track you remember that you are STILL, even in your darkest time, a beacon of light in this world. Not only to your children (but most importantly to them), but also to every single one of us that reads your blog. We are here for you as you have been here for us ❤

    01.18.17Reply
  9. Cat says:

    Dear Eva,

    The best advice in parenting (yes THE best one) is “do what works for you and your family”. In 5 years of being a SAHM I have found that nothing rings true like that statement. Every mom, kid, baby and family unit out there is so different that you’ve gotta do what works for you and what’s best for you and yours (and us momma bears, we know!)

    I applaud every woman out there for any amount of time (or even trying) to breastfeed their babe. For a lot of people it isn’t an easy journey. I too had overproduction and had to pump some before each feed. I had awful bruising the first few days both times. Sat in my bathroom crying with my breasts in a pan of warm water and Epsom salts. I am now 18 months into my second breastfeeding journey. About to wean my babe (I breastfed his sister for 18 months as well). He is my last and weaning is breaking my heart because I am clinging for dear life to all babyhood things ❤️!

    Much love to you, momma. You have dealt with some insanely difficult things in the past few months and your positive attitude and willingness to share your experience as to help others is just amazing. Bless your heart!!

    Xoxo,

    Cat

    01.18.17Reply
    • Angela says:

      It’s times I read of these types of experiences that I know I’m not alone! My son is now 20 months old, but we got off to a rough start. I had a post partum hemmorage, and because of that, had a really, really hard recovery (blood transfusions, after we got home, back to the ER b/c I was fainting). Looking back now I realize I had some post traumatic stress, and trying to nurse him gave me the worst anxiety I’d ever experienced! B/c I was dehydrated, he was dehydrated, and losing more weight. He wasn’t getting what I thought he was. This terrified me that I wasn’t able to feed my child, and I thought that I was hurting him even more. So, that was giving me anxiety on top of it.. I started to supplement at 1 week, and at 10 days, I finally switched over completely to formula. I cried for days, and my pediatrician finally told me it was OK. Once we introduced formula, he started thriving, and I was actually able to enjoy him and bond with him! I look at pictures from this time and barely remember b/c I was so stressed out, and I see it in my face. Smiling but miserable. Whenever I read the breast is best articles, I tear up – but I know what was best for us. Happy baby, happy mom. Thanks for sharing.. your children are beautiful.

      01.18.17Reply
      • Angela says:

        I meant to post this alone, sorry about that 🙂

        01.18.17Reply
  10. Ginger Frisbee says:

    As a mother of three children I was not able to breastfeed any of my babies and honestly I did not want to breastfeed! My oldest one ate one kind of formula and the other two had to drink soy milk. They are all healthy kids! Personally I did not feel upset at all that I could not do that for my kids! Formula is fine! I would not put so much pressure on yourself! It’s ok!

    01.18.17Reply
  11. Azalia says:

    As always, your posts are so honest and it is much appreciated.
    You are doing great girl! I was only able to do it for like 3-4 weeks and that’s with supplementing because my supply SUCKED. I engorged but nada ☹️
    My 2 yr old lost a pound after she was born because I had no supply. The doctor would not let me take her home until she gained weight so I had to give her formula. Luckily she did gain the weight and home we went 👍🏻
    I still tried though, determined to give her SOME nutrients from mama at the very least. Even the state-of-the-art breast pump I got could not help. So I released my sad feelings with love and realized that she was going to be just fine. She’s healthy as can be now and we are expecting a boy in June. This time I am so ready for my baby to be fed from a bottle/formula if it’s necessary. The most important thing to me is that he’s healthy and thriving.
    I also have an older son who just turned 20 and I could not BF him either .. I feel it was not meant to be for me and I’m OK with that now.
    You are doing fantastic and keep up the good work mama. Hang in there 👊🏻

    Azalia

    01.18.17Reply
  12. Amy says:

    Thank you thank you! I had my mind set that I was going to breastfeed my son for a year. After he was born I was in a bad place and the stress of breastfeeding in pain (we seriously struggled with latch issues) was too much. I was not a happy mama like I thought I would be. After two weeks my husband suggested that we try formula. It was such a hard decision and I felt like a total failure. But after he had his first bottle I felt like a weight was lifted and things turned around right away. I could be a happy mama like I wanted to be! He is almost two and even though I wish I had tried to stick it out, I know I made the right decision. Thank you for your honesty!!

    01.18.17Reply
  13. Mariel says:

    My first baby was a champion breastfeeder and weaned himself at 11 months. It was one of my favorite things about having a baby and I truly cherished (most) every moment. My second proved a bit more challenging. At around 2 months we discovered that he had been aspirating (fluid going to lungs) his feeds due to a weak swallow. He was spitting up multiple times a day and dropped to the 30th percentile for weight after being solidly in the 70th. In order to make feeding safe for him, I was pumping all feeds and thickening with single grain oatmeal so that his little body would swallow appropriately. Add to this that I went back to work, full-time in a busy pediatric emergency room and my ability to pump during the day was cut in half and my supply suffered. I cried for two weeks when I had to switch to formula and felt like such a failure after having so much success with my first. But he soon gained back the weight he lost and was really thriving. The most important thing to remember is that FED is BEST. Your baby just wants to eat! It is interesting to me that there is so much stigma in either side of this issue. Some people will judge you for breastfeeding openly in public and some will judge you for giving a bottle of formula. Let’s stop the guilt and judgement! We are all making it work the best we can. ♥️

    01.18.17Reply
  14. Grace says:

    Motherhood is no joke! And breastfeeding isn’t a walk in the park either. I can totally understand your feelings as I had the blues really bad when my oldest stopped breastfeeding altogether one day at 6mos (I had always given him a bottle or two a day because I wasn’t familiar with pumping and saving milk in the freezer) so with my second one I tried “harder” to go exclusive breastfeed. Every baby is different so when I tried to pull the same trick of a bottle or two of formula (specially when I needed to work from home or leave him with his daddy for to run an errand) he would not have it. So it felt very restricting (good for him but restricting). I was counting the days until his 6th month lol because I thought he would wean as my oldest did but no. Ha! Silly me.. he is 12 months and still breasfeeds like there is no tomorrow. I just embraced it and now I’m holding on to it as one of the last things of him being a little baby as his first year has flown by. You’ve have been through so much with little Mayor in such short amount of time! So give yourself some credit! It is rough as it is so I can’t imagine having gone through what you have. Thank you for being so open an honest about such delicate matters in a cyber world full of very judgmental mommys. Bear hugs to you.

    01.18.17Reply
  15. Shauna says:

    Good for you! I felt such a struggle breast feeding once I went back to work. I hated every second of pumping and when the anxiety hit my supply slipped. I would pump all these random hours and hope I had enough for the next day. I had no saved frozen stash and it was miserable. My husband is a SAHD he felt anxiety because if he spilled we didn’t have any milk for the day. He would open the fridge “we only have 8 ounces?” and I would start feeling pressure, which didn’t help. I went a year pumping/nursing and I really don’t know how I did it. I’m glad you felt empowered to do what you needed to do.

    01.18.17Reply
  16. Leslie says:

    I can relate, my first son nursed for 6 weeks and it tore me apart to give him fomula (my mom was a lactation consultant and although she didn’t make it a big deal I felt like a double failure) I was basically starving my child because of my stubbornness. Jump ahead 20 months later when my middle son was born and he nursed like a champ until 10 months old, took formula for a month and went to milk early. Then there is my third and final son, he nursed until he was 15 months and at 4 years old now still says how he loves my boobies even though he hasn’t nursed since he was 15 months lol All the while I struggled and wanted to stop so many times and even did and there is nothi g wrong with that! Kuddos to you for sharing and good for you for even trying because most moms would say screw it after the first struggles.

    01.18.17Reply
  17. Dawn W says:

    Hi there! You sound so much like me with my 2nd child in this post! However, I had a tough time even making enough milk so at least that part was working for you for a while at least. with my first one, i breastfed for 9 months with the help of a lactation consultant and herbs to help me produce more milk. But with my 2nd one everything seemed harder and I was so miserable. I felt guilty because I coudn’t do as much with my older child and I felt like I could never leave the house alone for fear of not getting back in time if he had a fit and couldn’t feed. I remember going to dinner with my husband while my mom babysat and crying all the way through dinner about anything and everything. He then suggested I might have some PPD. I thought he was crazy but went to my dr and dumped on him all the issues I was having with breastfeeding. He then said some very wise words, when breastfeeding is good, it’s great and when it’s bad, it’s the worst thing ever. And he suggested I stop. I felt so guilty too but I think I needed that permission. And then I started getting out of the house more, with both kids, exercising more, and life in general turned around! It was a hard decision, but it was the right one. Sounds like it was for you too. You are a great mom and those kids are beyond precious! Hang in there!

    01.18.17Reply
  18. Stephanie says:

    Love hearing your thoughts on this, Eva. I have a 10 month old and I’m thinking we’ll try for one last kid soon (I’m 37 and considered geriatric in reproductive years!). I pumped non-stop with my son and supplemented with formula (Holle Lebenswert) because my supply was never enough to cover what he needed. I definitely won’t be able to pump to the degree I did with my first so I’m already planning to use formula with the second if that’s things turn out. All of us got here just fine and who the hell cares if you were breastfed or formula fed?

    I’m only sad you stopped pumping because I was dying for you to get your hands on the new Willow pump and do a review of it. It looks kind of revolutionary (wireless, hands-free, etc!) and makes me not want to punch a wall at the thought of pumping again.

    01.18.17Reply
  19. Virginia says:

    Eva,
    Thank you for sharing your truth. My story is a tad different. I had a c-section and well that made my milk come a tad bit later then if I had a natural birth. So we started supplementing, because he was a big and hungry baby. What it help us discover is that my son had MSPI. He had an intolerance to cow’s dairy and soy. The formula was very expensive and it just wasn’t realistic to put in our budget. So I had to read labels like no other. Everything has soy and dairy ! What modivated me was that we just couldn’t afford 400 dollars a month. I met with a wonderful LC who helped me build my supply. I nursed my son til he was 19 months.

    I don’t think I deserve a pat on the back whatsoever. I really had no choice but to make our breast-feeding journey work. I think it heightened my PPD and made me really isolated at home. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

    I think you should be extremely proud of the fact that your tried. And never ever look at it as failure. You are still feeding your son.

    01.18.17Reply
  20. Marci says:

    I had my first at 19 years old. I was in the Air Force and my family wasn’t around so I tried to breastfeed as that was what I was told was the best of the best to give your child and let me tell you!!… it hurt like hell! I would cry every single time she would latch. I wasn’t sure how much I could tolerate. I didn’t have support and the lactation consultant was a guy and very eager to help babies latch on that I didn’t feel comfortable asking. My husband convinced me to give her formula and I felt like such a horrible mom. But it was an easy transition and when #2 came around, I did more research and was able to breastfeed exclusively for 3 months. I had to go back to work and so I weaned him and he transitioned just as easily. Fast forward and here comes #3. I wasn’t working so I tried again. I was able to breastfeed for 2 years! She never took a bottle (which made anyone watching her or my husband or her siblings wanting to feed her impossible) and the same for #4.. I was able to breastfeed her for almost 2 years. I’ve had two kids on formula and two kids breastfed and they are perfectly fine. I truly enjoy reading your blog and watching your babies on social media! I think you are doing an amazing job and you’re right about parenting. There isn’t a perfect parent or a manual on parenting. You learn by experience and instinct.

    01.18.17Reply
  21. Jenna says:

    I can relate to this post so much. BF my second baby was a lot more challenging and stressful for me, probably because I also had a two year old needing me. Don’t get me wrong it was challenging in the beginning with my first baby but I didn’t get as emotionally caught up as I did with baby #2. I stopped BF my second baby at 4 months and I was a mess about it but knew it was for the best, I was just way too stresssd. I put a lot of guilt on myself. After I weaned I had a few real freak out moments of WTF did I do.. lol. But it was a great relief to allow others to help me because my daughter could take a bottle. It took me a while to accept help from others because I felt I needed to be able to handle it all by myself or else I was weak. That’s so far from the truth. It truly takes a village. And once I got over my pride and weaned I felt a lot happier.

    Thx for sharing your stories. A reminder I’m not alone. BTW both my kids are tongue tied too!

    01.18.17Reply
  22. Elle says:

    Ever since Major’s arrival, you and your family have been on my mind often. I am so glad I was able to provide some helpful advice! Motherhood is truly one of the most amazing and challenging journeys we take. I am so happy to hear about the positive progress you’ve made on yours and that everyone is healing nicely!

    01.18.17Reply
  23. Martha says:

    People don’t know the difficulties and pain involved with breastfeeding. It’s so helpful of you to share and allow conversation. You were so brave to hang in there this long with all the circumstances involved! Kyle is so supportive and wise. Be kind to yourself!

    01.18.17Reply
  24. Andrea says:

    Breastfeeding didn’t happen for us. First, my baby couldn’t get a good latch. He tried and tried. The lactation specialist was really frustrated and rough and said my baby was being lazy! (Sheesh, he was 18 hours old) A sweet nurse finally figured out that he had an unusually high palate. Then the pediatrician noticed the medications on my chart and did some research. As turned out one of the medications I take is shown to cause anxiety and apnea in infants who are exposed to it through breast milk. No thank you! We stuck with formula. I didn’t feel guilt as much as sorrow. I was sad to lose out on the bonding experience of breastfeeding and I was sad because the formula tasted (to me) like seaweed. Postpartum hormones were blowing my emotions out of proportion for sure. I was and am so grateful formula is an option, but in those first few days I felt so sad my baby had to drink something not very tasty.

    01.18.17Reply
  25. Renee says:

    I so feel everything you are saying! I have a boy (8), a girl (6) and my baby girl (3 months). I had a miscarriage the same you did and then we both got pregnant again at the same time so I relate a lot to your blog! It’s hard when we put so much pressure on ourselves and feel like we are doing a disservice to our baby if we don’t do this or we don’t do that. Breastfeeding for me has definitely come easier for me this time around but I definitely am putting more pressure on myself about too because it is my last one. I am going back to work on Monday and some serious mom guilt is starting to take over me. I worry about pumping while at work, the freezer stockpile doing down (ahhhh!) and if she’ll remember me after I leave her each day. I know she will but crazy thoughts take over our minds at times! Thank you for sharing your journey and making me feel like I’m not the only one!

    01.18.17Reply
  26. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s honestly so nice to hear another mothers journey with breastfeeding. With my son I wanted so badly to breastfeed but unfortunately my breasts were too big and my little man was 6lb 8oz when born. I’m a size 34 K. Yes a K. It’s awful. No matter the position I had him in I was terrified I would smother him with my boob. I was so upset but thought maybe to pump instead. I managed to pump for a month before I finally made the extremely hard decision to use formula. It was something that both myself and my fiance felt would better our baby boy and myself. I too have post-partum anxiety and having to spend 35 minutes pumping every 3 hours was extremely stressful and I felt like I couldn’t enjoy my baby because I was always so concerned about my milk supply. I cried. I felt like I failed my boy in a way. Thankfully I have a fantastic fiance who supports and encourages me. He held us both when i gave the first bottle of formula and when i seen that my little guy was eating so great with the formula it was like a weight lifted. He even started sleeping better at night! It was hard but switching to formula was the best decision for all of us!

    01.18.17Reply
  27. Jackey says:

    Hi Eva, I’m sure you probably won’t read this but I found your post inspiration and thought it might be therapeutic to share my story. Mom guilt is a thing, like a big thing and mine has been accumulating for 8 months. I’m a first time mom who was induced at 37 weeks due to cholestisis (bile in my blood which could be deadly for baby if not induced) i checked in Friday and didn’t deliver until Sunday night. I knew my body wasn’t ready to deliver I knew that 3 days was too long and so my baby was delivered and as soon as he was placed on my chest he was quickly removed. My husband works in the medical field and knew exactly what was going on. He was rushed to the nicu and I started to hemorrhage out. They couldn’t stop my bleeding. My husband torn between his son who wasn’t breathing and his bleeding wife I told him to go with our son. I would later find out that the my son was born with a severe infection, so severe he had to be resuscitated. He spent an entire month hooked up to machines, oxygen and was hooked up to morphine for 2 weeks to be sedated long enough for the antibiotics to work. No carrying for days so that meant no latching. I was pumping every 2 hours and packing the bottles to take to the nicu. I wasn’t producing enough to feed him solely on breast milk so he was getting half formula which ate at me. I felt like as a mother I failed him! I failed him at not being able to bring him into this world healthy i failed him at not being able to feed him. My husband would tell me it wasn’t my fault, there was nothing I could have done. I was so pale and thin from the stress that one day my mom told me I needed to go home and sleep and eat. I was so determined to pump enough to feed my son that I wasn’t feeding myself. I felt guilty leaving him nightly. After he came home I decided that I needed to breastfeed him for at least the 1st year of his life, if I couldn’t bring him into this world healthy I would do everything in my power to keep him healthy so I strap myself up to the stupid pump that I hate so much while at work. I’ve reached a point where a milk blister is reducing my milk supply and we’re dipping into my freezer stash, the guilt of not being able to produce enough milk to feed my son is back and i don’t know what the future will hold but being a mom isn’t without guilt, we do what we can to raise happy good little human beings and there’s no right or wrong there’s just trying and I hope they see that and know how hard we try.

    01.18.17Reply
  28. Catherine says:

    Hi Eva,

    Thank you so much for sharing, and I’m so glad to hear Major is doing so well! I tore badly in labor with my first daughter and had to go back for surgery a few weeks after she was born. I was in so much pain that when the lactation consultant brought me a pump to use while I was in the hospital, I simply ignored it. My supply went away quickly, and I turned to formula and never looked back! With my second, my husband really encouraged me to look into breastfeeding. Formula was very expensive for us and he’d heard how beneficial it is for the baby. I vowed to give it a go. At her 2 week visit, the doctor was worried she wasn’t gaining enough weight. My first instinct was formula, but my husband told me that I’d be quitting and sacrificing all the benefits for our child, and that he didn’t support my decision and blamed hormones for why I wasn’t thinking rationally. There was so much wrong with what he said and how he said it, and we have worked though it, but at the end of the day, I was so glad that your husband was so supportive of your decision! I went through months of struggle and a bit of depression feeling forced to breastfeed and constantly worried she wasn’t getting enough to eat. I pumped 5 times a day while gone at work to get barely enough to leave at daycare. She’s now a year and I’m trying to start to wean, and feeling more like myself again. I’m glad I got her to this point and that I experienced some good parts of breastfeeding, but I’m so happy for all moms out there who listen to their instincts and do what’s best for them and their baby, and who have great support systems throughout their journey. We all just want healthy babies who have a full belly! I’m wishing you and your family the best.

    01.18.17Reply
  29. Bre says:

    I have a 6 month old and my oldest just turned 2. Weaned at 14 months with the first but think I’m about down with the second and will wean soon. With this one I got a much nicer pump and that helped with supply but this baby just eats so much more. Even at 6 months I’m tied to him for a good 15-25 minutes each session and I feel like the 2 yr old and I barely interact. Constantly feeding her brother. I returned late last night from a work trip to NY-lugging my pump and cooler and milk. Getting frisked security, fun times. I spent my days trying to disappear to make time for it and had a hard time finding a mothers room. I was thinking that this is making things so much harder at times but was feeling very guilty for even thinking that way. So your comments are helpful. Bless those who go for extended time but it can overwhelm people easily. Good for yo for making this choice, a happier mom is so much better for the children. And you’ve made a lot of sacrifices physically so a break for you too.

    01.19.17Reply
  30. Bre says:

    I have a 6 month old and my oldest just turned 2. Weaned at 14 months with the first but think I’m about done with the second and will wean soon. With this one I got a much nicer pump and that helped with supply but this baby just eats so much more. Even at 6 months I’m tied to him for a good 15-25 minutes each session and I feel like the 2 yr old and I barely interact. Constantly feeding her brother. I returned late last night from a work trip to NY-lugging my pump and cooler and milk. Getting frisked security, fun times. I spent my days trying to disappear to make time for it and had a hard time finding a mothers room. I was thinking that this is making things so much harder at times but was feeling very guilty for even thinking that way. So your comments are helpful. Bless those who go for extended time but it can overwhelm people easily. Good for you for making this choice, a happier mom is so much better for the children. And you’ve made a lot of sacrifices physically so a break for you too.

    01.19.17Reply
  31. Samara says:

    I love everything about this. Thank you for being honest and always keeping it real.

    01.19.17Reply
  32. Amanda Leone says:

    I am struggling through this exact same scenario currently . My son will be 4 months on the 28th and we started supplementing when he was 3 months old because I went back to work and he was taking 30 oz of breastmilk between 7-6 😳 He went through my freezer stash of over 200oz in 2 weeks and I bawled my eyes out! While home with him we fed on demand and he was almost always attached to me and I loved it. Back at work and my body just does not respond well. I got sick twice and my supply went from being able to feed every baby in Africa to maybe 6 oz a day! It was awful and upsetting and stressful and really draining in all sense of the word. We now give him all bottles of formula and i nurse him in the evenings as much as possible and on weekends as much as possible. I don’t want to give up that closeness yet. It’s my last time doing this and I just want to cherish every moment before he’s 4 and eating a plate of spaghetti and playing video game like my eldest. You are not alone mama and it’s nice to know I’m not either!

    01.19.17Reply
  33. camelia says:

    Hi there, can you please tell me where you buy your formula from? Also, what were the reasons that you chose this one in particular?I’m currently using Similac for my son but I’m open to switching up if there’s a better one around.I did a quick search on Amazon but it didn’t come through, is this a British brand?
    Thank you so much, your post made me feel better and took away some of my guilt for not being able to exclusively breastfeed my son.

    01.19.17Reply
  34. Elizabeth says:

    I’m so happy to see so many positive comments. This is such a personal decision and you know in your heart that you made the right one. I have a 4 year old and a 7 month old and every dang decision I make feels like it’s going to be the one that finally screws them up for good. The truth is that loving your kids and basing each decision on what you feel is best for them and yourself is what makes us good parents. That’s it, that’s the bottom line. I mean we’re going to screw them up alright, every parent does. It’s just going to be in bigger and more meaningful ways. haha So basically that is my way of saying to try to continue to not sweat the small stuff. Thank you for sharing your journey. It helps so many of us to know we aren’t alone.

    01.19.17Reply
  35. Teagan says:

    Thank you for such an honest post about your breastfeeding journey! I love the mantra “fed is best” as it reminds us that no matter how our baby is being nourished we are doing what works for mum, baby and family! I was lucky enough to have a daughter who was a rockstar breastfeeder from the beginning, so good in fact that I am still nursing her multiple times a day and she is 20 months old. At 2 months I tried to start her on the bottle and after many many tries it just didn’t work. After she turned one we tried her on regular milk, soy milk, almond milk and in every kind of cup/bottle imaginable and still she didn’t want anything but Mum. Although I am happy she is getting breastmilk still and we have our time together to nurse, what I wouldn’t give to have a baby that would at least occasionally take a bottle! I am getting anxious about weening and I think I have pushed it off so much because I know it will be a difficult transition for us both! I wish you luck with your feeding journey with Major 🙂

    01.19.17Reply
  36. Rabiah says:

    I just love you and think that we are mama bffs! My first is 12 and I only lasted 3 months breastfeeding because I had to go back to work. My second is 11 months and I have breastfed him since day one – many emotional lows along the way – it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I made a decision to stop taking all sorts of lactation supplements (ive tried them all) at 10 months and to stop pumping because at his one year birthday I plan to start weaning. I myself suffer from anxiety and post partum depression – so I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. I actually started (at the advice of my doc) giving him 2 oz of organic whole milk at night. Yay for two of us! And he loves it!

    01.19.17Reply
  37. Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this!! My breastfeeding journey for both my little ones was very, very difficult. The first one had tongue tie that we finally got diagnosed and clipped. I was able to enjoy breastfeeding with her for 7 months (with supplementation). My second one latched on immediately and I knew she didn’t have a tongue tie and I was so happy and optimistic about our breastfeeding journey. She had horrible reflux and I got terrible post part in depression so our journey ended suddenly at 6 weeks of age. I’ve been so sad but it was the right thing to do. Thank you for helping normalize the struggles of breastfeeding and the emotional postpartum period. ❤️

    01.19.17Reply
  38. Natalie Ellens says:

    Hi Eva,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for being so open and honest! I always enjoy reading your blog and 100% related to reading your first post about breastfeeding (and now the second one too!) I struggled with my first son (now 2.5 years old), never had enough supply, went to countless appointments at a lactation clinic and felt SOOO guilty about giving him formula! The stress was too much, by baby was hungry, and I was tired of ‘having more of a relationship with the breast pump than my baby’ – exactly what you said! I struggled for 3 months and switched completely to formula. My son is now super healthy and active (and it was the best decision ever!) I wish your post was around when I was having those issues with my first son. It made me realize that I’m not alone!

    I have another son who is now 5 months old, and after he was born, I dealt with poor supply again and within the first week made the decision to go with formula. It’s a lot easier and best decision ever (and no mommy guilt this time around!) He’s also a happy and healthy baby. It’s really about what works best for you and your family.

    Can’t wait to see what’s next for your family and love the photos of Marlowe and Major – so adorable!!!

    01.19.17Reply
  39. Sarah says:

    Breastfeeding was so much easier with my second than it was with my first. I think stress plays a big part in the problems with breastfeeding and the more we feel like we are letting our kids down, or being mommy shamed, the worse our supply gets. Thank you for sharing and remember it does not matter how Major gets milk as long as he gets what he needs and that is the most important part.

    01.19.17Reply
  40. Kim M says:

    Third time poster, long time reader here. The two previous posts I made were related to both your BF struggles with Marlowe and Major’s accident. I apologize for the length of this in advance, but hope it will make you feel a bit better knowing that there are many of us in very similar circumstances!

    I too have a 2.5 year old daughter whom I had to stop breastfeeding at 4 months old due to both medication I had to take for shingles and the general stress it was putting me under. I was very hopeful that BF this second time around for my now 5 month old daughter would go much more smoothly as I was far less stressed and felt much more confident in my abilities as a mother. However, at just 2 weeks old we found out my daughter had some bad intolerances which went beyond the typical dairy/soy combo. I decided it was my mission to cut out all the big culprits from my diet: dairy, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, corn and even rice. That basically leaves you to eat plain fruits, veggies, meat and some nuts. I lasted on this diet for 7 weeks total but was incredibly unhappy and HUNGRY. That diet is not conducive to a mom of a newborn and toddler!

    In any case, because her symptoms would flare up even with me on this diet, we, along with her pediatrician, decided to “rest her intestines” for a couple weeks then try out BM once again. This meant giving her an amino acid based formula. For three weeks I kept the diet and pumped every three hours in order to maintain my supply. However, just like Kyle, my husband had to tell me that everyone, including baby, would be so much happier if we just left her on the formula. I had to agree, and made the decision to wean myself down. This was such an emotional decision as I felt like it was the last “good” thing I could do for her after so much, and further, it was the last thing I could CONTROL. I was happy in knowing that at least I had 600 ounces of BM stored in the freezer. However, just to really remind me that I am NOT in control, my daughter refused to drink any of the stored BM. Turns out I have excess lipase in my BM (not harmful, just makes the milk taste bad after it’s stored). Therefore, I decided to donate it to the milk bank our children’s hospital uses, but was disappointed to find out that I didn’t qualify as the restrictions were far too great for preemies in comparison to standard guidelines for healthy, full term babies (i.e. you need to go 6 hours between a glass of wine and pumping, no one in the house could have had a fever during my pumping sessions, etc.).

    So very long story to say, I feel you. If you lived in Chicago, I would certainly take you out for a drink or three, because girl, we deserve it!! I hope that you have a smooth transition with little hormonal hiccups as you complete this phase of breastfeeding!! (I got pretty darn sad once I was fully done pumping). And as a side note, as of a couple weeks ago, we are now on HiPP Organic as well, but the hypoallergenic version. And she loves it!! Makes my heart very happy.

    01.19.17Reply
    • Kim M says:

      One more note. My little one had to go through an upper GI scan at 8 weeks old where I had to hold her down and feed her a barium swallow while she had many x rays taken. Let’s just say it gave me a solid bout of PTSD and post partum anxiety!!

      01.19.17Reply
  41. Megan says:

    Thank you for being so open and honest!! I feel like everyone talks about how hard breastfeeding is in the beginning but once you get past the first two weeks you are good to go. Well my daughter is almost 6 months old and has been exclusively breastfed until tonight when I supplement with formula at her nighttime feed. She’s going through a growth spurt and teething. Meanwhile, I had a dip in my supply and have gone through my entire freezer stash. My supply is better but I have been feeling so much pressure and guilt and honestly trapped being the only one able to feed my daughter. Your post made me feel so much better about giving her formula…I had this goal in my head of wanting to breastfeed until she was a year and to be able to say she never had formula which was only putting pressure on myself. Because just like you said fed is best. Being a stay at home mom with a husband who travels for work and while he is a loving husband and father, he’s totally clueless so it’s nice to hear your story and be able to relate. Thank you again for sharing your story!

    01.19.17Reply
  42. Jenny says:

    Thanks for sharing Eva. Love your shirt! Where is it from?

    01.21.17Reply
  43. claire says:

    Dear Eva,

    Thank YOU once again for sharing your experience. Every time a new post pops up, I am all excited to read it.(often while feeding my Baby) I do connect with you on so many Levels…. I also have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old Girl and a 8 week old Baby Boy. In between we also lost one Baby.

    I also run a Business and try to be a good wife, daughter and friend..while I often feel like I can not be all at once.

    I also had both babies naturally and thought it was the most empowering experience! (I had read lots of Ina May Gaskin- did you as well?)

    The breastfeeding journey is so often tied with guilt, even though I too realize it is I above all setting these standards to myself and then feeling upset if it does not work out as ‘planned’. I breastfed my daughter for 5 months and I was convinced to feed longer when I also realized I could not and that was OK as well. My mental and physical health improved once I was able to let go. This time I am more relaxed and trying to just go with the flow.

    Good for you that your realized as well (and your husband helped) that you were being too hard on yourself perhaps. Be Kind to yourself.
    Much love,
    claire

    01.23.17Reply
  44. daphne cevallos says:

    Hi Eva, lovely post! Thank you for sharing and helping others that are dealing with or have delt with the same situation support each other. Just out of curiosity why Hipp formula over Holle or Lebenswert?

    01.23.17Reply
    • Hi Daphne!
      It was recommended to me by Marlowe’s pediatrician who was very holistic-minded. Luckily it worked for us!

      01.24.17Reply
  45. You are such an inspiration to be discussing the realities of motherhood! My son (1st baby for my husband and I) had to have a frenectomy as well, and we had a similar experience as you did with Marlowe. It was even more traumatizing for me than for my son. Even after that, he couldn’t latch properly (it had gone undiagnosed for too long, and I had been bottlefeeding him pumped breastmilk and supplementing with formula since Day 2). When the pediatrician began to worry about his weight percentile, we switched full-time to formula. I was gutted to have to do it, definitely fighting my mommy-guilt, but it was what was best for my baby, and it actually helped ease my postpartum anxiety. (It’s amazing the amount of stress we mothers put on ourselves, and the hormones don’t help!) He is now a happy, healthy 7-month-old baby, crawling and babbling. You are doing great, thank you for sharing your journey!

    01.26.17Reply
  46. Becky says:

    Eva- this sounds just like my experience with breastfeeding! The stress I was feeling as a new mom reduced my supply immensely, and I had to start supplementing.

    I felt so ashamed of myself, and I could feel people staring at the canister of formula on my counter, which made me feel even worse!

    I did the best I could, and I’m at peace with my decision, but a part of me always wonders if I gave up too early. Oh well…life goes on.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Becky

    01.26.17Reply
  47. Lisa says:

    As mothers we deal with guilt from pregnancy until god only knows when. With my first child I made it 8 weeks until the pain was so bad from cracked nopples and mastitis that I finally gave up. For my second child I swore I would try harder and made several visits to the lactation consultants. Once again I developed mastitis with a high fever and my son developed thrush. I gave up again at 8 weeks. I lived with the guilt, but to be honest my kids were just as healthy if not healthier than my friends who were breastfeeding for a year. Don’t beat yourself up. This is your child and you are doing what is right for you and him.

    01.29.17Reply
  48. Leah says:

    My son had a posterior tongue tie, and lip tie, silent reflux had to go on omeprozole, was a month early so we used a nipple shield for a bit, dairy issues and a crazy letdown. I was very lucky we resolved this before my maternity leave was up and we are now if you can believe it 15 months going strong. Of course now we are at an impasse of do we wean by me forcing him or keep going until he weans.
    Everything in motherhood is judgment and I cannot stand it! The fact that anyone puts this much thought into how or what they are feeding their child, says so much, that regardless of how or what you feed your baby you care enough to worry so much about it. Thank you for sharing such an amazingly real and heartfelt story Eva.

    03.14.17Reply