Thursday, May 15, 2014

Doubts about Motherhood: Breastfeeding

'18/52 - Motherhood' photo (c) 2012, Nana B Agyei - license:

Search motherhood on the internet and you will find numerous blog posts about dozens of topics. One of the hottest topics is breastfeeding vs. formula feeding. Hospitals aren't even giving pacifiers any more to encourage breast feeding. Insurance companies offer breast pumps for free as well. As a culture we advocate very strongly for breast feeding. And I think that is awesome. There are a ton of resources out there for women to help them breast feed. That's great. Most soon to be mothers that I talk to say that they are going to try to breast feed. We have reached a point that women feel confident enough to  try to breast feed. I think all of that is awesome.


Breast feeding is really hard and even when people don't mean to they add stress to the process. There are in my estimation about 10,212 things that could go wrong with what is supposed to be a natural process. In my case, I can't produce enough milk. Lily is two months old today and taking 6 oz at every feeding. The last few days I have pumped have garnered about 2 oz. per day. At that rate it would take me 3 DAYS to give her ONE bottle.

I'm sure there are numerous websites with hundreds of tips on how to produce more. And I have a few ideas from friends. I might try them, but the bottom line is that I am a working mother of two. Besides the things that I have to do, I want to play with my son and spend time with my husband and my daughter. It is difficult to plan a separate meal for me. It is difficult for me to set aside time away from all 3 of them to pump extra. Basically, it is difficult for me to validate taking so much time away from my family to create more milk that my body is supposed to produce on its own. I don't want to go to extreme lengths to make my body do this because that will stress me out.

With my son, I couldn't produce enough either. However, my hypothyroidism wasn't under control. Now it is, so I thought this time around it would be easier. One of the nurses or doctors even said that it might be easier this time. This time I thought I would just start magically producing all that was needed. The first week or so hurt a lot, but she didn't seem to be hungry. Everything was going well. A few more weeks passed and she seemed to be eating all the time. It seemed odd, but I was still on maternity leave and she was still little, so I fed her. Then I started working again and started pumping. I would get 3 to 4 oz a day. She was eating 4 or 5 oz. per bottle. I knew is wasn't enough, but it was almost one bottle a day. A couple more weeks passed. She is eating 6 oz. per bottle and I'm producing 1 or 2 oz per day.

So I give up. I can't do it and I feel like a failure as a mother.

Well I don't completely give up because I'm still pumping at least once a day to see if I can get anything at all for her. And I don't completely feel like a failure. In my head, I know my ability to breastfeed does not determine my maternal success. I talked to my husband about it and the first thing he said was, "This doesn't make you a bad mother. This doesn't mean you can't provide for her." I think he was reading my mind.

I won't give in to those thoughts though. I'm going to keep pumping and feeding the little bit I can for as long as I can. Every little bit helps and when I can't produce any more, I will be happy with what I have been able to do. I am a good mother and my goodness is not dependent on my ability to breastfeed.


  1. Absolutely do your best not to stress over it! You'll do what you can do and that will be that. It definitely does not make you any less of a mother! One of my closed groups on fb is a mom's group and as such breastfeeding is discussed a LOT. Two tidbits from there...1) You'll never be able to get as much by pumping as a baby can get by their mouth (but believe me as another working Mom, I understand the need for pumping too!) and 2) Trilight herbs sells a tincture called MegaMam. It has all the extracts that are in the teas and cookies only in high concentrates. Highly recommended by midwives and LCs. Increase supply in 24-48 hours most times. (If you decide you want to try something for boosting your supply.)

    1. I thought about trying, but I find myself running out of time at work. So we are using all formula. Well for another day or two. She is eating 4 to 6 oz every two or three hours. So tonight we tried a little cereal. She didn't like it because she was impatient. We are going to try again Monday.

  2. Formula is made for situations like yours! Praise God for it. .. and you, hard working mama, have done your best. Well done. Can't remember, are you in DFW? I found a Facebook group called Eats on Feet that is for requesting and donating breast milk. It's for TX.

    1. Thanks for the reminder. Formula is made for those who can't breast feed for one reason or another.
      BTW, I'm in North Carolina. That is awesome they have a group for donating breast milk. Women are so awesome!