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November 27, 2004


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Feeding your baby breast milk is the best way to love and care for your child.

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I am proud of that! Katie has gotten, and continues to get, many health benefits from breastfeeding. And it is almost as nice to hold her while she drinks her bottle as it was to hold her while she nursed.


When I was pregnant for the first time I read everything I could about feeding and baby care. I decided that formula was made by men to poison small babies and I decided that I would breastfeed for a full year. Then reality set in: my baby had a bad latch, I was in the doctor's office crying every day for 3 weeks, she never seemed to get enough, she was always crying, and I was always uncomfortable in public. My doctor was a strong supporter of BF so I continued. I finally gave in after 6 months. My daughter's personality changed almost immediately - she became happy, slept better, and rarely cried.
When my second daughter came, I vowed to be less rigid. Even so, I was plagued with guilt as I initially used both breastmilk and formula. Still uncomfortable with breastfeeding, I gave it up after 7 weeks.
At 6 months, my second daughter is happy, healthy, and sleeps through the night. I am now very happy with my feeding choices.
I feel that there is so much pressure on new moms to "do everything right". Everyone that you meet will have an opinion on breastfeeding. I even had a perfect stranger berate me in the mall when I gave my 9-month old daughter a bottle.
In my opinion, mothers should do what's best for them. Happy mothers make happy children, and we should not have to give in to others' ideas of "what's right". BF works for a lot of people, so does formula. The babies will all be alright in the end...


Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I don't even think I realized how good it would feel to hear from other people who have felt the same way. It's not that I need for the situation to change - I know that Katie is healthy and happy, and I know that I did the best I could. I'm not sitting around feeling despair about any of this. Most of the time, I feel good, but there is a small part of me that is sad. And it's nicer than I knew it would be to hear someone else say, "Yes, I know. That's hard." So thank you.


I think we are so idealistic before we have kids, we just have no idea what we are in for, no matter what people tell you. Before my first daughter was born, I was going to "do everything right". I was going to have a natural childbirth, and spent 3 months going to Bradley classes with my husband. I was going to room-in at the hospital. After all, one is not supposed to get sleep when one has a new baby, and to expect such by sending your baby to the nursery was criminal! I was going to nurse for a year and never resort to formula. Crying it out? No way, not for me or my kid. No TV. Blah Blah Blah.

It all started to go out the window about 4 hours after my water broke and I didn't go into labor. I tried laboring without pain relief while on pitocin for 4 hours, and finally couldn't take it anymore. I got the epidural and aaahhhh, relief. My first lesson in "doing what works".

From the moment my daughter came out she was high need and never slept well. After hours of dealing with her crying (and they say colic starts after two weeks ... HA!) and getting no sleep, I sent her to the nursery so I could get some.

Then there was the issue of nursing. Hannah was 9.9 pounds and was HUNGRY! No waiting for my milk to come in. So here comes the formula. Just until my milk comes in, right? Well, let's just say, when I quit nursing her at a year, I also quit giving her formula.

The first year after Hannah's birth was by far the hardest year of my life. And what I realized is that you have to do what's going to work and what's going to maintain your sanity, and not beat yourself up over the decisions you make, as long as it doesn't harm your kid. Most of us are full of the best intentions, but sometimes they just aren't realistic, and when we can't live up to them, we feel like terrible moms, forgetting the most important thing we can give our kids is love and a feeling of comfort and safety.

Now that I have another child, I am much more relaxed and try and remind myself that I will never be a perfect mom, but I can always strive to be a better one.


What an emotional time. Congratulations for making it work as long as you did. And for not giving up. Even now, you're still nursing her when you can and when she'll have it. Its not always your choice.

I worry about the same issue. My son is 9 months old, he still nurses lots. I've been back at work for 3 months now and I only pump once each day. I was told that this would decrease my supply. So far, no problems, and I've actually had to express less at lunchtime to decrease the supply a bit because I was getting too full at weekends. Still, every day I worry, every day I wait for that full feeling in my breasts so that I know its ok, I know I've got milk, I know that I'll have plenty to feed him when I get home and during the night. I love weekends, especially long holiday weekends, when I can nurse him all day and I know that we're in synch, we're ok in the breastfeeding department.

When the time comes to call it quits, or when something brings about the end, I will feel so sad, but your story has made me realise that its not a "one year" or time limit issue. Its an issue of "I did it, we did it, we are both better for it. Now its time to move on to bigger and better things". Congratulations.


I would be equally sad if this had happened to me. I recently stopped pumping when Alex turned one year old, figuring cows milk would make my life easier. It didn't work out that way. Turns out neither of us was really ready to stop nursing during the day. I miss it and he fights the bottle every weekend. My nipples hate me.

I'm pretty damn sure there's just no right way to go about this particular task. All we can do is our best.


I think you did great! I breastfed exclusively until my daughter was 4 months old because I had so much trouble pumping. My third pump broke (after the first two had also broken) and I just couldn't deal with pumping anymore. I had never been a prolific pumper even though I had tons of milk for my baby, and when the equipment kept failing, I just couldn't do it anymore. We supplemented with formula until she weaned herself at 10 months. I was glad for how long the breastfeeding had lasted, and I felt okay when it ended. Like you, I was sad the first time she ingested something other than my milk. But I quickly got used to it and it worked out really well for us.

It was a hard decision, but I think we did the right thing for our situation. My daughter is happy, healthy, well-nourished, and extremely affectionate, so I feel very proud of all of that. It sounds like you have a happy, healthy little girl too - that's the most important thing! And a happy, healthy you.


I breastfed all of my children except the oldest. (she was allergic to formula, thus the nursing of the other 3) I gave up reluctantly each time. The point is, I did have to give up each time or I would be like that unfortunate women in my LeLeche League book (early 80's edition) that was still nursing her son at age 5 in case Armaghedan came. Nursing is sweet but the time comes when all must let go. And pumping milk? You should be proud of yourself you were able to do it for so long. I could never get more than a couple of ounces when I pumped.

The church nursery ladies always hated me.
Take care. Ellie


We're going through the same thing with my son Zach, almost 9 months. My goal was to BF for 6 months, but had challenges producing enough milk for him at first (he doubled his birth weight at 4 months!) Once we got the hang of it and I saw how easy it was, I thought I could handle a year. Then I got sick for 3 months with a sinus infection, and the medication dried me up some and work picked up and I could only pump once a day and I needed to go on anti-depressents. So he feeds about 2-3x per day with me, and loves his bottle as well. I would rather him get formula than be subjected to the medication I've had to take, so it's a small sacrifice for me.

Congratulations on making it this long! Do lots of cuddles and feed her the bottle yourself, and you will still connect with her as she gazes at you.


"We started supplementing with formula. That's not such a terrible thing to do to your baby, right?"

How could feeding your baby ever be a terrible thing to do to your baby?

You did the best you could and this is how it worked out. The good news is formula isn't poison. The sad news is, you're right. Emotionally it isn't the same as breastfeeding.

I know it's not the same but a happy healthy baby is always the result of feeding it no matter how it gets in there.

I'm sorry though it didn't work out the way you'd hoped.


Oh hugs to you. That is such an emotionally tough transition. I BF my son for 6 months, and the last night we did it, I cried with him in my arms. Months later, I missed it and wished we could have gone longer, but it was time for me to end for a few reasons similar to yours. I am proud of you, as you BF for as long as you could! It sounds like you have a wonderfully healthy little one; congratulations!

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