Boob fail, and that’s okay

I wrote part of this two weeks after my daughter was born, and other parts more recently.

A bummer that I’m still struggling with – I’m not making enough milk to nurse The Peep. All babies lose a few ounces after birth, but The Peep really can’t afford to lose very much. We had to start supplementing with formula in the hospital, and even now, nearly two weeks later, she’s primarily formula fed. I find myself both relieved – YAY! Formula means anyone can feed her – and also hating my body. I have had these damned boobs since i was 9 years old, and they’re useless!

T and I talked extensively about nursing and/or formula feeding when I got pregnant. We knew the likelihood was high that I would have some difficulty with nursing, as all of the cards were stacked against me from the get go: my age, questionable PCOS status, post-weight loss surgery, and the final nail in the coffin: c-section.

I held out hope that my milk was just taking its time due to the c-section. I made a batch of lactation cookies, which are delicious but upset my stomach something horrible. I drank tons of mother’s milk tea (imagine melted black licorice) and added enough fenugreek to my supplement regimen that I smelled like maple syrup. None of it made any difference. My breasts never swelled with milk; in fact, my production, which had never been much, declined. After the third week, we switched to formula. I know women who have sought out and fed their children from milk donors. T and i were not comfortable with this, as we had no idea if the milk we’d be getting was truly safe for our girl. Our lactation consultant was leery of this practice as well, and we decided against it.

I am THRILLED that I was able to give her that first week, even if it wasn’t much. Feeling her amazing latch right after she was born and seeing her milk drunk that first day calmed some of the panic I was experiencing at having such a tiny baby. I was heartbroken when we were at the pediatrician’s office and saw that she hadn’t gained an ounce since leaving the hospital and it hit me that my baby was likely starving, which was confirmed when she gulped down a 2oz bottle of formula in mere minutes. I don’t regret the decision to exclusively formula feed our child. Watching her bond with her daddy while he feeds her, seeing her progress on the scale each week, and the fact that I’m still (mostly) sane & returning to work in just over a week is proof enough that it is the right choice for my family. My girl is fed and growing and doing wonderfully.

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