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Tuesday, 06 November 2007


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Sorry no advise - just wanted to leave you a comment of support - Hang in there Thalia-it is going to easier I promise!!!


You've given her your colostrum and more. You've already done great things for her. This may not be the best outcome, but you have to be proud of what you've accomplished so far. At this point, you need to do what will allow you to enjoy your baby the most - whether that's pumping or not.


I'm not sure I can say anything that will help, but I am proud of your determination and I hope that you can make your peace with whichever route you go from here.


It's mid-evening here so I know it must be the dead middle of the night there. Just wanted to tell you (if you're up) that you are in my thoughts right now. I'm sorry that this isn't going according to plan.


Have you had a dentist look at her, to see if there is a structural problem with her mouth? I say this because my lactation consultant is also a dental hygeniest and she is married to my son's pediatric dentist. She has mentioned to me that sometimes breastfeeding problems are due to the oral structure of the baby.

Also, another thought...I've been seeing a chiropractor to help ease my birth (hopefully in the next week or two) and she was telling me today that she is able to help newborns that are having difficulty with breastfeeding.

Both a bit non-traditional, but perhaps worth looking in to...

I think you have done a wonderful job so far, and I applaud your persistance. No mother could do more! What a lucky little girl you have.

Cat, Galloping

Thalia, it is okay. It is really okay. You love her daughter and you are feeding her and that is what is important. I swear to you that if/when you stop and those hormones start to drop, this will stop feeling like such a big deal. I know it's impossible to believe, but it's true.


PLEASE remember that your ability to breastfeed or not has NO BEARING, I swear, NONE on your ability to parent.

(Which is something I wish someone had sledgehammered into my head when I was going through much the same thing.)


Oh Thalia. I know how devastating this must be--I was told basically the same thing by a LC (that BG was "so sleepy" it was unlikely she'd ever get all her breastmilk intake directly from the tap). In my case, I decided to pump and feed since I wasn't making nearly enough milk for her anyway and since she was rejecting the breast half the time. But it does sound like Pob enjoys her boob time and honestly, if you do want to try to keep going, Kristine's suggestions are excellent. Sometimes something as simple as clipping the baby's frenulum (tongue tie) can make a huge difference (as it did for a friend of mine).

But if you decide that you're ready to stop, you have already gone above and beyond and done so much for your baby. You should be so proud of how hard you have worked and how much devotion you have shown to your daughter. Whatever enables you to enjoy her little smiles will be the right decision.


PS Cat and daysgoby speak the truth.



I feel odd like I'm the one who keeps trying to tell you to breastfeed, and then it gets harder instead of easier, which probably doesn't help much. Sigh...

Okay, so I know you have tried the supplemental nursing system, and found she didn't get much out of the small one, and then too much out of the bigger tube, but she is bigger and older now, so it might worth trying again. You can also try cup feeding, or spoon feeding, both of which require her to work harder. I know you are resistant to the SNS, but the bottle is just too easy.

As far as it being too late and thinking she just has a weak suck so you should give up---I just can't believe that consultant said that. You can always train a healthy baby to suck harder, but she will need those jaw and throat muscles to hold up her head and babble or speak at some point soon, so she might as well start exercising them now.

She knows how to do it, she is perfectly capable, she just doesn't feel like it. This isn't competency, it's behavioural. And that is the beginning of the great struggle of motherhood, right? Parenting styles, wants, needs, who is in charge of their life...it starts now, not with the terrible twos.

Someday soon, she's only going to want to eat applesauce and ice cream, and not vegetables and meat. What will you do then? I assure you no child EVER starved themselves to death when offered carrots instead of dessert, but plenty have thrown tantrums and clamped their mouths shut. She may be tiny, but she's damn smart, and this is a baby's version of a tantrum.

Look, if you sincerely don't want to breastfeed, or pump, or you yourself for your OWN sake want to quit, then quit. In the annals of trying to breastfeed you have KICKED ASS, truly. I'll understand and always love you.

But please don't give up because she is more determined than you are. You are an incredible intelligent woman who has never backed down from a professional challenge. You've done some amazing things that most people think women can't ever do! I can't believe that one little baby is more determined than you are.


Just wishing you luck finding the right things to do.



I pumped with supplementation from 4-7 months with my son. He would never breastfeed, but he had breastmilk for a long time. Maybe you could rethink that combining is fine, that pumping alone is fine, or that life without breastmilk is fine. I remember how hard it was to try to breastfeed, then to pump, then to feed a reluctant kid. There are only so many hours in the day. I was crazy and would not do it again.


Oh sweetie, I am so sorry you're having a rough time. I wish I had some words of wisdom, but hopefully sending you lots of love will be helpful too. Hang in there, friend. You are doing a *great* job. xx


Oh, hon. I'm sorry this is turning out to be so hard for you. I have two-ish things to say here.

1. If you want to keep trying the breastfeeding thing - can you find a Cranio-Sacral Therapist? We saw one for MissM's colic, and she spent most of her time working on correcting M's suck. Literally, she'd have her finger in M's mouth. It's weird, for sure, but if it helps it's worth it. I've heard that chiropractic can help, too (as someone else mentioned). If you're interested, I can tell you more or help you find your own CST.

2. Remember that the most important thing is that you love Pob and you get to love your interactions with her. Do what you need to do to enjoy this.


I've been one of the ones saying it's OK to add supplement, but I'm finding myself agreeing with Aurelia, here. I struggled to b/f because of supply issues but I certainly know my DS has quite a suck because I felt it on my fingers, and of course also my nipples (i.e the problem was me, not him). And yes, he is sometimes too lazy to want to bother with the breasts when he knows he can have a bottle, so if it's important to you to EBF, well, stick with it.

But I do also want to come back to the point that it is possible and OK to combine bf'ing and supplement with formula. My DS sometimes takes a little more formula and sometimes a little less, and is now at 8 months also eating solids. But we continue to bf and enjoy it...even if you do decide to add in formula, that need not mean it is the end of b/f. Which is only to say, you have options. I hope it is or becomes clear to you which is the right one for you and for POB and that you are comfortable about choosing it.

Drowned Girl

Oh sweetie.

Excuse the quick message but I am about to get up for work.

It sounds to me as if ths is pretty classic at this point - baby being supplemented via bottle finds it easier than the breast, hits growth spurt, need for milk goes up, takes that extra via bottle, mums supply doesn't get the message to ramp up output.

The advice normally given is to take to your bed, feed feed feed and junk the bottle. Is that an option? (Difficult while worrying about Pob's weight gain, admittedly)

I'm really surprised the consultant is almost counselling giving up. Their role is to keep trying with practial tips and techniques while also supporting the mother.

If you have pretty much had enough at this point, then it's correct for her and all of us to support you in that and reassure you that you've really tried hard and given Pob a great start.

But if you're someone who will regret stopping at this point then she and we should continue to support you... and the evidence as you describe it here is that the battle is far from over.

Where is the consultant from?

Is Pob being measured against the new, breastfed baby weight charts?

If I were you, I'd try a few days of no bottles, no pumping, just feed Pob every time she opens her eyes, lol on the sofa, watch dvds, eat chocolate and plenty of fluids and snacks. No weighing of Pob till the week is over.

Have a look at the kellymom site, if you haven't already.


Drowned Girl

PS advice on this issue is clearly coloured by our own experience - mums who didn't bf for long and struggled will empathise with the difficulties and reassure you that stopping is just fine for you both.

Mums who fed for longer and would have been distraught if they had "failed" will gee you on and try to keep you going at this point.

All valid advice, only you know what's in your heart xxx


My first weeks and months wih my son were much the same, except that I was so unrealistic about his sucking abilities that I put him through several weeks of exclusive breastfeeding at one point. He never complained. He also lost enough weight (quite a good %) that even I had to admit it wasn't working.

Eventally, I pumped exclusively but, in order to manage my misery with the pump, only 3 times a day. Each session was 45 minutes, much contrary to what I was advised, but also the only way I could produce anything of substance. Those 3 sessions allowed me to give my son about 60% breastmilk, 40% formula. It was a compromise I allowed myself to live with. It was also a compromise that I would fully understand not chosing.

You are doing well. You have given Pod some very important colostrum and breast milk. At this point, the solution you must find is not simply for the breast feeding problem, for we are confident you are doing your best in that department. You also need a solution for your misery , which would benefit from even a fraction of the determination you threw at your fertility travails.


Hi Thalia - I just want to second what Alex said - not being able to *exclusively* breastfeed doesn't mean you can't BF at all. It isn't all about the milk. Combining breast and formula bottlefeeding is ok - it's just a revised goal, right? We are still doing that at 8 months.


Oh Thalia, I'm sorry this doesn't seem to be going according to plan. Hugs and the hopes that the struggle gets a little easier today.



I second what Alex and Meg have said. If Pob enjoys her Boob time, I'd keep giving it to her. That boob time is so lovely and precious, it would be a shame to ditch it just because Pob needs more supplementation.

There's something else that nobody has mentioned so far. Babies go through spurts of needing more milk. Six weeks is a classic mark, and you're just hitting that milestone. So I would continue as normal and then see how things settle down. Combination feeding is normal and possible.

Oh, and that HV? She sounds like an interfering nuisance. I would ask not to see her again until a fortnight has passed. This is not helping you at all - instead, it's making you CRAZY.


No advice from me either, although I know the feeling of failure when your baby prefers the bottle and the lack of comfort you get from her on the breast. But she's eating well and presumably putting on good weight, that's important too right?



Oh Thalia...sorry that this has been so difficult. As so many people already said, breast feeding doesn't have anything to do with your ability as a mother. Your determination alone shows how much you love and care for your daughter. I myself was a psyho about pumping and feeding, but knowing what I know now--I wished I wasn't so comsumed by it so much and instead spent those precious pumping times with B. Sending you a big hug!


"I feel completely desolate".
No, Thalia, NO, NO, NO.
You have a beautiful daughter and you are suffering through massive sleep deprivation and crazy hormones.
Take a deep, deep, DEEP breath and let up on yourself a little bit, okay?


Motel Manager

My heart totally goes out to you. I'd echo what some of the others said about partial breastfeeding - I ended up there and found it very worthwhile. It did take some getting there (ie, in terms of feeling okay about it), however, so if you need/want to keep trying things before you ditch the dream of exclusive breastfeeding, then try them. I really felt as if I had to try everything first.

I'd respectfully throw a word of caution in about ditching all supplements. I did this and did the whole "nursing holiday" thing, and for whatever reason, I simply cannot make enough milk, so my son actually LOST weight during that time (when he was more than a month old), despite my feeding him essentially constantly (and waking him up to feed more, etc.). God, that was an awful feeling. I think that if this sort of thing is going to work, it's going to work earlier on, and it's not going to work for everyone. I'd hesitate to try it now that Pob is already over a month old and her nourishment needs are only increasing.

As with any body part or bodily function, your milk production can fail or just not work entirely right. Beyond the obvious reasons like IGT and thyroid issues, it may be hard to determine why it isn't working. My LCs and OB theorized that maybe it's something endocrinological (beyond thyroid), maybe it's something structural, maybe it's something autoimmune. Someone will probably figure it out someday.

Anyway, I bring this up NOT to encourage people to use formula but rather to do what you need to do to feel as if you've achieved the most success possible, being aware that it is okay if that level of success isn't EBF. There's this kind of all-or-nothing feeling in the air about breastfeeding, and the reality isn't really like that.

Hang in there. You are doing GREAT!


Oh, T. This is really hard, and I'm so sorry. I can't begin to note all the bits of comments I agree with. You're doing great in a tough situation. Any breast milk is better than none, so you've done great already, and anything else is gravy. You're exhausting yourself by pumping and agonizing. I saw Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah, and she said she likes to start the day with the question, "What do I really, really, really want?" What if you could get some peace, quiet and rest and ask yourself that? Lots of love.


Have no advice on the breast feeding I'm afraid. Just wanted to say thanks for helping explain my clinic protocol.

Betty M

Its so very hard. POB probably is, as others have said, going for the easier option and given she is in a growth spurt why shouldn't she. Eveyone has said it all - stay in bed, just feed, get another bf advisor, dont weigh too often, get the new charts, check for tongue tie - but you know all that and have probably tried it all. If you have had enough then don't put yourself though any more grief. You did amazingly to get this far and you are doing a fab job. With you whatever you decide to do for you and POB.

Carla Hinkle

1. You are doing a great job. GREAT.
2. You can BF and supplement, if you want. Just keep giving her the boob first and then top up as needed.
3. Frankly, your LC sounds like an ass who is basically encouraging you to give up. Saying that Pob will "never" get what she needs from the boob is crap. The more you put Pob to the breast, the better your supply will be and the better Pob's suck will be. Please do what feels right to you but don't give up if you really don't want to.
4. You are doing a GREAT JOB!!!!!


Since you have a book of comments above this one, I'll just say that I'm sorry it's not working out as you wish it would. I hope that you can come to peace with a plan that works for you, your family, and Pob. Keep your chin up.


You know, I have such a hard time with this. Everyone gets so uptight about how a baby is fed. As long as you are feeding Pob something, that is what really matters. It seems like such a big deal because it is the only real decision you have to make right now. You can't decide whether to change her or not, etc etc. This seems tough because right now, it is all you know. Tonight, my 9 year old asked my 6 year old if he would "commit suicide" for all the money in the world. This led to several conversations, not the least of which was that there is nothing in the world so bad that the love and support of your family can't get you through. In nine years, when Pob comes out with some thoroughly heartwrenching, disturbing, scary comment, it won't matter how you fed her when she was a baby. The only thing that will matter is that you and H love her, and support her, and are there for her. What you feed your child is really such an insignificant factor in the entirety of their lives. Just a different perspective. Try not to lose out on these precious, innocent baby days by beating yourself up.


Thalia, DO NOT beat yourself up - you are doing an amazing job and POB is very fortunate to have a mom who has gone to all ends to do what you feel is best for her. Wishing you the best whichever road you end up on with the feedings. You are really an inspiration. xxMoo


Oh, Thalia, I really don't have any advice either. My experiences with breastfeeding each of my boys were SOOO different. I will jump on the reassurance bandwagon: you've done great trying to persevere. Don’t beat yourself up over it, because, in the long run, Pob isn’t going to hold it over your head that you didn’t nurse her until preschool, trust me! And please keep in mind that, while the medical community loves to slam new moms that breast is best, a number of us from past generations whose mothers were told under no circumstances NOT to nurse don’t seem to be any worse for wear! Most important is that you are well rested, happy, and okay with whatever works best for YOU and YOUR family! That’s the biggest secret to parenting: take the advice that works for you, and forget the rest.


Ahhh, yes, I remember these struggles. One thing: you don't have to make a decision today. Or tomorrow, or the day after, for that matter. As time passes I hope it'll become clearer what the right path will be for the both of you. Hang in there, you truly are doing a great job.


Thalia, I would recommend speaking with another lactation consultant. I've never heard of a lactation consultant here telling a mother that a baby will NEVER get what they need from the breast. Particularly from only one session with the lactation consultant. There are ways to train a baby at breast. Giving a baby a bottle after breast is a sure way to teach a baby that they don't NEED to learn to suck effectively at breast (believe me, I had that problem with Sam for a while). Have you tried using a supplemental nursing system to encourage her more at breast?

That being said, while I do believe that there may be other opinions out there that might be more helpful than the doom and gloom of this lactation consultant's opinion... do remember that this has NO bearing on your effectiveness as a parent. You've done an amazing job. And while breastfeeding is best when possible, it is MOST important in the first few weeks, and you've done that. You are a superstar!

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