Dear Aunt Becky,

I gave birth to the most wonderful baby boy – my first kid – several weeks ago and am in absolutely in love. However, I was I labor with him for 36 long and insanely painful hours that finally ended in a c-section, after which he was taken to the NICU for so something which has now been thankfully resolved. During my stay in the hospital, he was fed formula and I was so drugged up on painkillers that I was unable to start breastfeeding right away. He never really got the hang of breastfeeding and I decided to pump and supplement with formula, because really, kid’s gotta eat and hi, screaming baby biting at your nipple? Not pleasant. Of course, in the interim, my dad got sick, and I’ve been taking care of his business as well as working at my own job. , I started losing all hours of sleep and I haven’t pumped for a while now.

My son is now eating nothing but formula and I’m getting nothing but criticism for abandoning all efforts to breastfeed. I would love to…but I’m gonna have to split myself in two or five. I feel terrible, nevertheless. I want to provide my own milk for him and give him the immunity and benefits of breastmilk and all that good stuff. What say you? Am I a bad mom? I feel like I suck for just throwing the formula his way.

No. You’re not a bad mom AT ALL. HEAR ME? YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM AT ALL. Don’t you DARE let a single person let you feel like shit about it because until they’ve walked a mile with your tits, they don’t have the space to judge you. And if they do? SEND THEM TO ME.

Sometimes? BREASTFEEDING DOESN’T WORK OUT AND THAT IS OKAY. You’re not feeding your kid apple juice or vodka or Diet Coke so you’re fine. Please, give yourself a break on this one. You’re one person and dealing with feeding issues on top of the stress of life PLUS a new baby? So. Not. Worth. It.

Want to step into the Way Back Machine With Aunt Becky?

I had every intention of breastfeeding my first son, Ben. Bought all the gear including the ugly ass nursing covers they made and when he was born? He was having NONE of it. I had no C-section, no sick mom or dad. I tried to feed him and he refused to latch on every time I tried. I do mean every time.

I tried SNS, the nipple shields, skin to skin, lactation specialists, I was bullied, I was shamed, I pumped and eventually? I said FUCK THIS and gave the kid formula. Because mealtime would end with us both in tears. Not. Worth. It. Ben was a colicky horrible baby and I didn’t need the extra stress.

I went on to nurse Alex and Amelia who had no problems (turns out that Ben had sensory issues) after feeling like a failure for five long years. I was ashamed of my inability to nurse my kid, which was “supposed to be” so easy. Well, it wasn’t.

What I’m saying here is this: you matter too, sweetie. Your son will love you every bit as much if you give him formula because he’s a baby. They’re love buckets. That’s what they do. And people are going to judge you for the breastfeeding thing because people are fucking assholes. They’ll judge ALL of your parenting choices, but the breastfeeding one is particularly annoying.

My advice to you is to try and NOT MENTION IT if people ask. Make a joke about feeding him steak or something and try and deflect it. If they persist, remind them that it’s REALLY none of their business and if they still persist, ask them how much they weigh. It’s none of their fucking business. It simply isn’t. That’s between you and your son. That’s it.

You’re doing a great job. That little boy is thriving and that’s all that matters. Take care of yourself, okay?

Dear Aunt Becky,

I’d like to know how to handle my Hitler-esque husband when it comes to watching programs we DVR.

You see, we have a toddler and cannot watch the shows we like when he’s around due to either bad content or the extreme guilt that The Man puts on us for rotting his brain. So, we DVR.

After he is blissfully sleeping, we trudge to the basement to indulge and that’s when it happens. It doesn’t matter what or how many backed up episodes I have, we will watch whatever he wants.

I mean, really. What can I do? Sometimes I just want to watch a cake challenge instead of someone in a motorcycle club get brutally beaten. Am I asking for too much?

Signed,
Not Hailing to My Hitler

First off, Gentle Reader, you have a DVR? I am VERY jealous right now because, you see, Aunt Becky lives in The Dark Ages and has no DVR. She is lustful after yours.

*lust*

*lust*

*lust*

Anyway.

What I would do, my televisionally controlled friend, is to insist that a certain portion of the night be Your Part Of The Night. Because I’m sure that just as you hate the Motorcycle Gang beating each other, he hates the Ace Of Cakes or Biggest Loser Marathon (side note, be sure to eat cake while WATCHING Biggest Loser because it burns more calories if YOU are on a diet, FYI).

But he needs to compromise. I personally would rather gouge out my eyeballs with a spork than have to watch Star Trek and I’m pretty sure The Daver would rather eat his own vomit than be forced to watch reruns of Sex In The City, so we simply go our separate ways when we want to watch these things.

Otherwise, the heavy dramatic “I HATE that you’re making me watch this” sighing would never end. Ah, TRUE LOVE.

So a friend of mine at school and I are both graduating around the same time with similar degrees and we’re looking for jobs. She applied at a company for position X. Two weeks later a new position Y opened up and I applied. I let her know that I applied to the company for position Y and NOT position X. Although she claims that everything is a-ok, it is clearly not. She’s acting different and generally being very cool towards me. I feel that I didn’t do anything wrong, because I didn’t apply for the same job and I told her that I did it (didn’t try to hide it from her). I know I can’t change her reaction, but here is my question for you Aunt Becky.

How can I stop dwelling on the fact that she’s mad at me (but unwilling to admit it)? Any advice on how to let it go? She is (was?) a good friend, and I miss chatting with her. Help.

It looks like your friend is pulling a “Melissa.”

Let me explain the term. Melissa was a friend of mine from nursing school and one day she mentioned that there was these positions opening up at a hospital. Eagerly, I asked her for the HR information, figuring that, like I would, why not pass along the info to a friend? I knew she was going for it, but there were a couple positions because the hospital is a pretty big place.

She never did.

When I asked her about it (because I am oblivious) she ignored me. Obviously, she had no obligation to help me, but I couldn’t fathom why she wouldn’t help a friend.

Same way I can’t imagine why your friend could possibly be upset with you, except that she’s insecure about herself and afraid that you’re going to eclipse her and somehow take her position. It’s really stupid, but I’d be willing to guess that your friend is threatened and/or jealous of you.

I’m sorry, but this is clearly because you are full of The Awesome.

Good luck. I hope that you get the job.

——————–

As always, my Gentle Readers, please feel free to fill in where I left off, although I must insist that you do not berate my first guest for her choice to formula feed. Like I said in my response, you may take it up with ME, but not her. I’ve had years to make my peace with my decisions. She needs some good lovin’.

If you’d like to see some places I’ve been:

I’m over here at Skirt! with an column about finding yourself.

I’m here at Sodahead talking about Preppers, who are people preparing for The Worst, and here where I’ve posed a question about online support groups and whether they have an obligation to help.

Comments = full of the awesome. Like gravy. I can haz an RSS RSS feed .

86 Responses to Go Ask Aunt Becky

  • I can’t believe I’m first to comment on this post. I promise (cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye) I’m not a stalker or anything. :)
    But, DUDE, you’re, like, famous and all.
    Love the posts! You friggin rock. Definitely the coolest aunt I know.

  • Deanna says:

    Oh, hugs to you, first letter. Great big virtual hugs. You’re doing a great job. I’d respond to critics with either silence and a vague stare into the middle distance until they shut up or a snappy “I’m sure formula doesn’t taste as good as a nice helping of smug satisfaction, but it’s what we’re doing” if I was feeling feisty. *hugs again* Hang tough and keep being awesome.

  • Tanya says:

    NOT breastfeeding isn’t the end of the world… people just like to make you feel like crap if you don’t do it. It didn’t work out for me with my first son for a combination of reasons. Guess what? He’s completely normal… and get this… I’m pregnant again and I have absolutely NO intention of even trying this time.

    I NEVER need to feel like I did when I gave up trying last time. And when I tell that to people the response I get? “But babies are different there is no reason why it wouldn’t work this time!!!!”

    Um… did you miss the part about the 4+ hours crying session that I never need to experience again?

  • Randa says:

    Talk about bullying when your breastfeeding. I got a staph infection in one of my milk ducts and my right nipple actually turned black. And then I had a boil that was sticking out about an inch from my skin. And a lactation Nazi I mean Nurse had the balls to tell me to keep feeding from that boob. I flashed my boob at her and screamed “YOU THINK I CAN FEED FROM THIS?!” And she cried. Yup honest to blog she did. Dude, breast feeding should be done, IF you can do it. If not, it’s alright, we’re not going to hate you, you’re kid is not going to grow up and say “why didn’t you breast feed me?! Don’t you love me??”
    Oh and to the DVR question. Get two DVRs that’s what we did. I get to watch what ever the hell I want to in my own room. On my own time. (Jealous Aunt Becky?? TWO OF THEM!!)
    (oh and just so you know I’m still at http://www.doadw.blogspot.com I just switched for some crazy reason known as torture myself for a month by posting some sort of crap every day.)
    Okay I’ll stop rambling. I might be a bit tipsy!

  • Mad Woman says:

    Ok. To the first letter? Tell them all to go fuck themselves. For real! I breastfed my daughter no problem. When it came to my son, I had an emergency c-section, managed to breastfeed him for a blissful two and a half days, then got an infection in my incision. It was so bad that I was in and out of consciousness for 2 days while he was passed around to all and sundry. For obvious reasons, he was fed formula. When I was better, I tried desperately to breastfeed and couldn’t. But I had a pushy ass midwife bitch that hounded my DAILY. She pushed and pressured and bitched and made me feel like the worst mother in the world. So I had her banned from the hospital for the duration of my stay.
    So I really mean it when I say tell them to fuck off. They don’t know what they’re talking about. You are clearly a fine mother otherwise you wouldn’t care what they thought. Take care of yourself and your baby.

  • Jayme says:

    Ugh the nursing guilt. It sucks. I nursed all of my kids for various amounts of time ranging from 2 months to 2 years, and I even pumped for my 25 week preemie for 9 weeks before she died- making way more milk than she could ever take, and then I had the twins.

    I went in all cocky, assuming since I’d nursed the others I’d have no issues. Well, they came 7 weeks early via c-section. I still figured no biggie, my now 5 yr old spent almost 2 weeks in the NICU and I was able to get her to nurse once we got her home.

    So I was pumping, round the clock like I had in the past, yet I wasn’t making enough for one baby let alone two. I still was pretty cocky, figuring once I’d get them to latch they’d stimulate my milk and we’d be good to go when we got home.

    But they wouldn’t latch. And their ped prescribed high calorie formula, for every other feeding. I spent all day and night pumping, trying to establish enough to feed them for the other feedings, and always came up short. And, while I was holding my stupid pump, everyone else was enjoying my babies- the babies I’d dreamed of taking home for years. The babies that came after two dead ones. So I finally said fuck this shit, I want to be the one holding them, comforting them.

    I still feel a little bad, but when all was said and done, I needed to be the one that could settle them down when they are upset, because the help all packed up and went home, and the husband deployed. It was the right decision, even though it was difficult. And I know I’d have never been able to get my supply up to what it needed to be to feed one baby, let alone two.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I never could feed the pump and get very much. Ever. And you’re right, why feed the pump when you can love your babies? It’s hard. The guilt makes it worse. I’m always sad for anyone who gets beaten for their choice.

  • It doesn’t matter how you chose to feed your baby, sweet first reader. Someone somewhere is always going to tell you how wrong you are and how much “harm” you are causing your baby either way. Anyone who feels that they can comment on YOUR parenting choices had better damn well have never made any parenting “mistakes” of their own.

    As long as your baby is eating and growing and happy and loved, THAT is all that matters. You can send the assholes to me too. I’m happy to yell at people I don’t know.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      People tend to forget that what’s best for one person isn’t always best for the other. You and me, Sara, we’ll take care of anyone bugging Reader #1. I felt so sorry for her when this question came in.

  • Fran says:

    Wow oh wow! I want to know where the first write lives so I can go there and the kick the shit out of people! Honestly! Do they have nothing better to do that berate someone doing the absofuckinglutely hardest thing in the world? I remember the agony I suffered for 11 whole days with my first child trying to breastfeed him. It took losing some of my nipple (!!!!!) before I would fianlly give in and give him some formula. I was able to pump and so he was about half and half. With my second one I managed to make it home from the hospital with him before losing my mind and the first thing I did when we got home was start pumping. With #3 I brought my pump to the hospital and when she had the same latching on issues as her brothers, I just pupmed away. Ultimately, what works for you and your baby is ALWAYS the right thing to do. My Dad gave me some great advice when I was a new mom. I kept saying, “But the book says ____________.” and driving myself nuts trying to do it perfectly according to someone who wasn’t me or my kid. My Dad said, “Sweetie, you can find a book that says THIS is the way it must be done! and then walk down the shelf and pick up another book that says the exact opposite.” Point being, do what works for you and to hell with anyone who judges you for it. Okay, I’m done….EXCEPT!…Aunt Becky WTF? You totally have to get a DVR!

  • Shell says:

    It annoys me so much when people criticize moms for formula feeding. I did nurse my kids- but only because I had no problems with it and then I was too lazy to make a bottle. But, a dear friend of mine had her baby a week after I had my first and I saw the horror she went through trying to nurse and how devastated she was when she couldn’t. It just isn’t always possible.

    I’ve had experience with crazy breastfeeding nazis, who think that breast is best, that you should nurse until your child goes to middle school, and that breastmilk cures all- including dripping some in your child’s eye if they had pinkeye to cure it. Freaks.

    I did once make a comment about at least it’s not feeding your baby soda…only to have the mom pull out a baby bottle full of coke and explain that her baby likes it. Yikes.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I’ve done the same thing with the Coke Mom. Like, WHOOPS! Foot in mouth, much? I make it a habit not to be too judgey if I can help it.

      • statia says:

        But man, is it hard not to openly cringe when you see stuff like that!

        • Dawn says:

          I’m sorry. Formula I have problem with whatsoever. But Coca-Cola in a bottle? There’s no excuse for that EVER. Although even as I type that I realize that Coke can be cheaper than formula or milk or juice and I realize that some moms are forced to use it and some just don’t know better. But COKE IN A BABY BOTTLE? Makes my skin crawl.

  • Kim says:

    Ah, nothing like a heaping dose of guilt to really help a mother and child bond, eh? When my son was born, there were no real complications. Yes, it was an emergency C-section but it went very smoothly. Yes, I had been in the hospital on strict bed-rest since 22 weeks gestation, but that had nothing to do with breast-feeding.

    And yet, I still couldn’t get it done. It was horribly painful, my nipples resembled ground beef (sorry for the visual), and I began to dread feeding time. Fortunately for me, after about 10 days of this, my lactation nurse very gently helped me come to a decision that I will NEVER regret. From the moment I decided to use formula, I relaxed and was able to enjoy my baby. Do I wish I could have breast-fed? Absolutely. Do I feel guilt? No way.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      I remember being BERATED by my asshole ex (Ben’s dad) because I wasn’t “trying hard enough” to nurse the kid and I remember hearing opinions about it from everyone. It drove me up a wall! Until I told everyone to shove it. Much, much later.

      The ground beef nips were the worst. Oh, how I remember those.

  • Beth says:

    Great answers to some great questions!

    You brought back some deep emotions for me in remembering breast feeding. I was a total failure with my first son when trying to breast feed him. After putting him on formula, he became a much more content baby. This was not the same story with my second baby.

    Like you said, no one should judge. Breast feeding is often NOT easy.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Breast feeding is a HUGE commitment. It was a WAY bigger commitment than ANYONE let on to me and when I did it? I was proud of myself. And then I was happy to be done.

  • anonymous says:

    Hey aunt becky, that last question is strickingly similar to one that was answered on slate.com’s Dear Prudence column. http://www.slate.com/id/2240260/ It just struck me as odd. I guess you can see how your answer went against prudence’s :)

  • Mary Jo says:

    I am not a mom (see: my blog) but the whole breastfeeding debate makes me hot. My mom had 3 kids, and formula fed them all. My sister had two kids, my brother 2 kids, and all were formula fed. So far I think that the 7 of us (fomula fed) have turned out pretty damn great. Breastfeeding seems to have become the end all of mommyhood, if you don’t do it your scum. I call BS. Do what is best for you #1!

  • inannasstar says:

    I CAN NOT STAND NIPPLE NAZI’S!! I have a 6 year old son who I bottle fed from birth. I had no intention of breastfeeding even when I was pregnant. After he was born, I had a change of heart and tried breastfeeding him in the hospital. After hours of him screaming, me crying and snotting all over the place I gave him a bottle and he sucked away. I was relieved that he was eating and I was also relieved when I saw these breastfeeding mothers with bags under their eyes because they were awake every 2 hours feeding. Hubby and I would take shifts with OUR child.

    Back in the 50’s NO ONE breastfed, so does that mean that entire generation is a bunch of drooling idiots? NO. I say, get your fucking hands off my body and go worry about your own shit.

  • I’ll respond to number one – YOU do whatever is good for YOU. If that means bottle SO BE IT. I didn’t breastfeed. I too had surgery after my son was born landing me in ICU for days. So we never made it to the bf stage. I hadn’t planned to anyway. Do I wish I had? Sometimes. But has he suffered at all because of it? No, in fact he’s only almost 8 and his teacher said he’s off the charts smart. I doubt formula had a bad effect on him :)

    Some people just don’t want to bf or can’t but that’s between you and you alone. Never let anyone make you feel badly for YOUR choice. And like Aunt Becky said, just tell them it’s none of thier business. Because it’s not. Enjoy that new baby and I hope everything else turns out all right.

  • Vinomom says:

    I don’t understand for the life of me why people get so fucking crazy about breastfeeding. What about adopted children? Does anyone go postal on adopted parents for not breastfeeding? My aunt adopted three children and they’re all healthy.

    I breastfed for a little while with my daughter. I think everyone should at least try it. If it doesn’t work out, no big deal. I quit breast feeding exclusively the first time I tried to do it in public. I couldn’t do it without exposing myself and, yes, I cared. Next time we went out I popped a bottle in her mouth and that was that.

    For the DVR lady – get TWO DVR’s !! We did and it’s awesome. It’s probably another $10/month. I know we are all trying to cut back, but 10 bucks a month is worth saving your marriage. :)

  • I can’t stand how pregnant women and moms suddenly become public property, how strangers touch their bellies and come up to the table at restaurants to criticize their food choices and most of all how the lactation cabal warbles on incessantly about “breast is best” no matter if your baby is allergic to your breast milk or won’t latch on or if nursing feels like thrusting a thousand needles of fire into your breasts. Can’t people just mind their own goddamn business and give women a break every century or so?

    First writer, you are not a bad mommy. My dear friend’s 4-year-old was almost exclusively formula-fed after her mom’s breast milk dried up for no reason the doctors could figure out. Fortunately, my friend is the youngest of eight children, and her nieces and nephews have been breast-fed, bottle-fed, and every combination of the two under the sun, so she went to the bottle with no guilt. Her daughter turned out great, and so will your son.

  • Kyddryn says:

    To your first reader – I couldn’t breast feed because of equipment failure. I seems my boobs didn’t know they are supposed o actually DO something.

    I took rations of shit from complete strangers who assumed I was evil and intent on raising a sickly moron and felt free to say so. They piled on the guilt and made an already horribe-feeling situation worse…driving me to the brink because I thought I was a horrible person who didn’t deserve to be a mother.

    Piss on ‘em.

    The Evil Genius is as smart as a whip, healthy aside from the asthma that he got from me (genetics suck, sometimes), and happy. He isn’t maladjusted because he didn’t have a tit in his mouth. Truth be told, because I let other people hold and bottle feed him, he’s better adjusted than many other kids.

    If you are doing what you need to to feed your child, and loving him all the while…if you are keeping him warm and safe and sound…then you are doing all that a mother can do, and more than some can or will. You ARE a good mother.

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K

  • Collette says:

    When my daughter was born 16 years ago, I also tried to breastfeed. For some reason, she just wouldn’t take. I tried formula & no problem. It’s better to just do what is the most comfortable for the baby. Stresing out & trying to brastfeed is not good for the baby anyway. Screw everyone & do what makes you & your baby happy! (((HUGS)))

  • Kori says:

    I breast fed my kids for as long as I could-I have four, and my nursing time ranged anywhere from 9 months to 15 months-and really, while I loved it and had few problems, I know others do. So-as long as baby is fed and happy, who gives a rat’s ass about how such food is given? I HATE that, I really do. So you just go on feeding that formula and loving on that baby and the rest of the world can go suck it. Really. Because last I heard, once you push a squalling, squirming little human out of your lady parts, that makes it yours. And also? Just know that people who breastfeed are also given hell, just hell of a different kind (“how long are you going to nurse? I can see nursing for a few months but really, once they start walking, that’s just perverted!”), so you aren’t alone. Criticizing moms is a tradition that just isn’t going to go away no matter what you do!

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Very, VERY good point. We’re all given hell. I mean, we’re expected to breastfeed IN THE BATHROOM so as not to offend someone with our boobies? COME THE FUCK ON.

  • Cyndi says:

    People go way too far with this whole “breast is best” thing. When we were TTC, people would ask if we were going to breastfeed and my answer was NO. If they asked why, I’d tell them that I needed my psych drugs. LOL

    Really, it’s because I’m so allergic to milk (I don’t get tummy problems – my throat and sinuses swell up) that I couldn’t provide enough calcium for a kid. It ended up being a moot point, but when my sister had her son she couldn’t breastfeed because her milk glands never grew together in her breast. Also, my nephew had a severe hematoma on his head and there was no way she could hold him properly. Similac forever has my love!

    There are so many reasons that a baby would be bottle fed and none of them are anyone’s fault. My (adopted) kids were fed straight milk with karo syrup in it by their crackhead first parents and they’re all fine. You aren’t going to screw up a child by giving him a bottle!

  • Love says:

    Dear Aunt Becky,

    You are full of the Awesome at giving advice. Mostly because I agree with it. Well done.

    And I’m glad to see so many of your readers do not want to stone the woman who didn’t breastfeed. I wrote a post on my decision in August when nobody read my blog, but still I was shocked people weren’t more offended, so I think that women are becoming cooler to each other. This is the only logical explanation.

    Perhaps instead of competing for blog awards you should set your sights higher and go for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. I will lead the nomination committee.

  • Coleen says:

    I just want to add my voice to the chorus of people who are supporting Reader #1. The first three weeks of my daughter’s life were the hardest I have ever lived through. She wouldn’t latch correctly and it HURT SO BAD. After weeks of crying and sleeping maybe 40 minutes at a time (so maybe 3 hours a day), my husband read a breastfeeding book and said “Are you lining up her nose with your nipple?” It was like magic. NO ONE HAD EVER CHECKED THAT (even the lactation consultation that we paid big money out of pocket). The one good thing that I said to about the LC is that she said to me “It doesn’t matter WHAT she eats, just as long as she EATS.” I needed that; formula isn’t failure, it’s just another option. If my next kid has feeding issues, I’m quitting a lot sooner than I did with my daughter…

    • Dawn says:

      Coleen, I heart your husband. He actually read a breastfeeding book and tried to help you solve the problem? When I was having breastfeeding problems, my idiot ex just kept saying, “If it hurts that bad, why don’t you give it up?” Yeah, thanks for that support.

      I hereby nominate your husband for Dad-(and Husband)of-the-Year.

  • Stacey says:

    You know I really get sick of people laying the nursing guilt on a mother. I had my son 1 year ago on NYE via c-section and planned to EBF. This kid was a champion nurser. He latched like no ones business. In the hospital and after we came home we couldn’t figure out why he kept crying all the time, losing weight not pooping and barely wetting a diaper. Not to mention he began to turn yellow with jaundice. I was up around the clock, nursing him every hour to hour and a half AND pumping (and only getting about a 1/2 ounce TOTAL).

    I took him into the hospital where they diagnosed him with high bilirubin due to insufficient breastfeeding. At the hospital they continued to hound me into BFing. My son just kept screaming while under those lights and I finally said the hell with everyone else and demanded formula.

    Gee….let’s see…you lactation peeps are SO sure I am giving him enough milk…yet he his high bilirubin because A. He is not getting enough to eat. B. He is losing weight because he is not getting enough to eat. C. He isn’t pooping because he isn’t getting enough to eat. D. He isn’t peeing because he isn’t getting enough to eat. DO YOU SEE AN EFFIN PATTERN HERE PROFESSIONALS? Because I certainly do! I even went on to take medication to boost milk production with no improvement.

    The guilt I felt was overwhelming. I wanted desperately to BF my son. I wanted to nourish him the way nature intended. I wanted to give him the most basic necessity…and hard as I tried, I couldn’t. Hard as he tried, he couldn’t. I continued to pump for 6 weeks, adding the drops of BM I managed to his formula…I figured something was better than nothing, plus I spent the money on the damn pump I should get *some* use out of it. He lost over 10% of his birthweight because of dicking around for so long. The more I think about it, the more pissed off at those people I become. My son STARVED for the first 8 days of his life. I’m 28 weeks pg with my second baby and unless my tits are streaming milk uncontrollably…I’m going straight to formula. I will NOT put my second child through what my first one had to endure. And who ever doesn’t like it…can EFF OFF.

    P.S. I apologize in advance for massive typos…when I get passionate about something and start typing, they fly and I’m just too damn lazy atm to go back and correct them. ;)

  • Sasha says:

    Just going to add to the chorus of support for letter #1 – I fought like hell to get my baby back to the breast. And I did it. Took a couple weeks but once he figured it out we were rockin’.

    And then the depression hit so hard and so fast I had ZERO time to risk something untested in my system. I went back on the anti-psychotics. And he went back to formula. Because being able to continue to nurse was moot if I’d had to commit myself.

    During this first year of his life I have been told I might as well be feeding him poison, I should have tried harder, couldn’t I just have taken something else?

    And I have *never* let it get to me. Because we are mothers, and that means our every decision will be judged and found lacking by someone, we will be blamed if they become criminals, their fathers praised if they become president.

    What I do with my boobs is the least of the crap I’m gonna have to take. Also? MY boobs. No one else’s business.

    I’m expecting my second any day now, I have taken massive steps to support my mental health without the hateful drugs, and I know that we’re gonna be fine this time.

    And my one year old (yeah, I got pregnant 4 1/2 months post partum…not on purpose, I swear.) is still enough of a baby that since the colostrum has come in his instincts have noticed and thinks he needs to nurse again. And you know what? Once #2 is here, if he’s still interested? I’ll let him. Cause formula is gross, and smells.

    And as I finish this he’s just handed me his empty bottle, a big grin on his face because his belly is full, he’s allowed to be all independent and *hold his own bottle omg* and handing it back when he’s done is just the best game EVAR.

    I don’t regret my decision at all.

  • statia says:

    My first child, I did not even attempt to breastfeed. I knew that it wouldn’t work out from the start and I got total shit for that. I rarely let the guilt get to me, because I KNEW it would not work. I have major anxiety, and we were in the process of moving cross country at the time and it was just easier for us to choose formula. Perhaps a cop out, but we had to do what worked for us at the time.

    My daughter, I was hell bent on making breastfeeding work and it was a NIGHTMARE (see above re: anxiety) and I beat myself up when she was supplemented. We went on to nurse/formula feed for 6 months and you know what? She quit on her own and while it was harder for ME when she did, if anyone gave me the disapproving look, I just let it go. And that’s what you need to do (after telling them off, because hi, that’s FUN), is just let it GO. People are always going to be full of disapproval for WHATEVER you do in life. You stay at home? Disapproval. Sticking your kid in daycare? DISAPPROVE! In the end, you’re doing what works for you. It sucks that it wasn’t the beautiful hazy glowing picturesque scene that you hoped for, but he’s loved, warm, and happy. In the end, that’s what really matters. Because being a mom is hard without the guilt.

  • Nancy C says:

    The best advice I heard about breastfeeding? “It’s just food.” Amen.

  • Ms. Anne says:

    Regarding the DVR question – do you have to watch tv together every single night? In our house the tv shows are divided into groupings of “my crap”, “his crap”, and “our crap”. Some nights we watch our crap together, some nights I watch my crap, and some nights he watches his (horrible) crap. It depends on what we have in the DVR backlog, but a typical week comes out to 4 nights of watching stuff together, one night of me watching alone, one night of him watching alone, and Saturday night we always watch (free) rented movies from the library. As far as what to do when the other person is watching tv, in our house the computer is in a separate room from the tv, so I can rent chick flicks from the library and watch them on the smaller computer monitor on the nights he is watching the bikers kill each other, or I read, or goof off on the computer, or go to bed early, or whatever. It all works out.

  • 38traci says:

    You rock, Aunt Becky!!!!

    While my children breastfed with no difficulties, I had a friend who could not breastfeed her second daughter. She would try for hours and only to then have to supplement. She would pump until she bled for an ounce or two. She beat herself up because she was told that all women with the right tools can breastfeed. And she couldn’t. Finally her daughter convinced her to stop. It was so painful to watch. Thanks for saying what I thought.

  • Allison says:

    To the bottle- feeding mom:
    Your son is getting adequate nutrition (and if anyone cites a study otherwise, ask if the study took into account the socioeconomic position of the mothers) and that’s what’s important, but not nearly as important as the part where he’s learning IF I AM HUNGRY MOM WILL FEED ME instead of OH GOD WHY ISN’T MOM JUST FEEDING ME?* Whatever benefits breastfeeding may have, your son is learning that he is loved and taken care of. And if people continue to give you grief, there’s an episode of Law and Order where a baby dies because an insane breastfeeding coach pressures the mom to not give the child formula (I misremember if the kid was allergic or if he wasn’t getting enough or what.) Anyone who can watch that and *still* thinks Every Kid Gets A Boob has issues.

    *yes, babies think in capslock

  • Melissa says:

    I havent carried a baby to term, but I CAN weigh in on this one too. My sister had twins. Originally she was pregnant with TRIPLETS *faints at the notion*. Anyway, she knew even before they were born that it would be exhausting and take away from quality time from the kids. Plus her boobs are like the size of beach balls and she was afraid of suffocating them. So I was all like GOOD CALL. Especially since she got really sick right after they were born and the majority of baby care was in the hands of my brother in law and I. (yeah, I lost a job that year, but totally worth it).

    And as for pulling a Melissa…. HEY!!!! :P

  • Melissa says:

    Oh, also, you made me laugh with the diet coke thing. My baby brother (who is 28 now) was given strawberry Quik baba night night time bottles until he was 3 1/2. And yes, his front teeth (thankfully baby teeth) had to be pulled because they rotted out.

    He #1 – Harbors no resentment towards my Mom (that I know of)

    and #2 – Gags at the thought of strawberry Quik to this day.

  • Brianna says:

    #1: Repeat this to yourself as needed, “He’s healthy, he’s happy, fuck you. He’s healthy, he’s happy, fuck you.” And if you’re comfortable with it, say it to them. The fact that you care at all means you’re a good mommy. That’s what matters. His mommy loves him, feeds him, takes care of him. End of fucking story.

    #2: Tell your husband that either you start dividing your DVR time, or he agrees to shell out for another one. If he gets pissy over either, tell him he can sleep on the couch while he thinks about it further.

    #3: Your friend is a being a bitch. Sorry, but she is. If she’s normally a cool chick, and this is one rare thing she’s being bitchy about, try to get past it if you can. If she’s like this a lot, say good riddance.

    P.S. Aunt Becky, your advice is always full of The Awesome. You go girl.

  • Cathy says:

    I’ll join the “wtf” chorus of people who can’t stand people judging others on whether or not they breastfeed.

    I pumped for 10 days, and walked away from it, no regrets. Neither would latch. Fuck, my 2 year old is exclusively formula fed STILL. He’d have DIED if I had insisted on breastfeeding him. Sure, sure, extreme medical conditions, blah blah, but still.

    There is NOTHING WRONG with formula. Zero. For some kids it’s better – and I have living proof of THAT statement to wave at people. (He loves to wave at people.) For some moms (and dads!) it’s better too. So long as everyone is healthy and happy, the rest is details. No one will know in 5 years what the kid ate as an infant.

    Anyone who dared criticize me got an earful. I vote for yelling, followed by crying, and then yelling through the tears. Make them feel like real big shits for daring to criticize a new mother who is doing the best she can. Bonus points if you can teach the baby to give them the finger while happily sucking on a lovely bottle.

  • Thank you Aunt Becky!!! I wish I’d had you to talk to when I quit nursing my son at 3 months due to postpartum depression and low milk supply. Two years later I was able to nurse my daughter for much longer without issue. But with my son, I totally felt guilty about not sticking with it – people can be such judgemental jerks about this issue when it’s none of their freakin’ business. Something I realized though is that for some people (like me), deciding to do the formula thing actually makes them a BETTER mother b/c it reduces stress over breastfeeding and in some cases allows them to get some much needed sleep. I am so glad you posted about this. Kudos!

  • flutter says:

    I am so stunned that people would have the nerve to criticize a new mom about breastfeeding. I am just flabbergasted

  • Rebecca says:

    About formula…..both my kids basically got formula from day one….sure I tried very hard to breastfeed but it just didn’t work out. Know what??!! My kids are basically healthy and don’t really get too sick very often. My kids have had THREE ear infections collectively. My son had one at two weeks when I was giving him breast milk first then formula to supplement…..and he had another at about 9 months old………My daughter had her FIRST and ONLY ear infection at 2 1/2 years old. I know of three families (5 kids collectively) who did breast milk ONLY and of the five kids three have had tubes put in because they get ear infections all the time. The other two grew out of ear infections somewhere near 2 years old. All were breastfed until they were about 12 months to 18 months and one child was 2 1/2.

  • Angie says:

    yes nursing guilt…. it was so strong with my first that whe I had my second and there were problems I pumped exclusively on a 2 hour schedule that with a baby who didn’t enjoy sleep and a toddler to entertain during the day can you say recipe for disaster. When I had my last I actually didn’t have the troubles that I had the first 2 times but he was a big baby(11 lbs at birth) and he ate constantly and so sleep again was no where to be found. Since I had PPD with my second and depression from losing our 3rd child mid way through the pregnancy, I was not going to let a little thing like guilt bring me to the brink and he is a healthy bugger now even though I made that choice. Do what is best for you not the others.
    Love the DVR but yes must watch my things when hubs is doing something else and thankfully he does the same.

  • birdpress says:

    I kinda suspect the writer of the first letter asked this question with a pretty good idea of what you might respond and really only needed someone to reassure her that it is okay. You always do such a good job of that! And of COURSE she needs to go easy on herself after all she’s been through. Plenty of women don’t even bother to try to breastfeed for all sorts of reasons, including “my boobs might look bad afterward” and nobody makes a big deal about it. Just depends on who you have around you, I guess. Congrats on having a healthy baby and taking care of it. I can’t even manage to get pregnant, so you are are already way ahead of some of us.

  • Jen says:

    Amen to Aunt Becky for the breast-feeding advice. Yeah, breast-feeding is great (I struggled but was ultimately successful with my daughter). But it’s only one way to feed your baby, and only one way to develop closeness. The whole person (YOU!) and the whole family are equally important in making the decision regarding breast or bottle. And in case you need some scientific support that formula-feeding is just as good, and has other not-to-be-dismissed advantages, here’s an interesting article from the Atlantic Monthly last April:
    http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200904/case-against-breastfeeding

    And congratulations on your first baby!

    Jenny

  • Stone Fox says:

    i didn’t read the other comments about letter writer #1, but here are my two cents: they are YOUR breasts. he is YOUR baby. do what YOU feel. people will judge you. let them. even if your breasts worked perfectly fine and your baby had a great latch and you had lots of free time, if you still didn’t want to breastfeed, THAT IS PERFECTLY FINE. PERFECTLY. FINE. a friend of mine recently had a baby and was also pushed and pushed to breastfeed. she didn’t want to and she was MADE TO FEEL LIKE A BAD MOM. i felt like calling the hospital on her behalf and ripping off some heads.

    this, more than any other “mom” issue, makes my blood boil. remember this: never, EVER substitute ANYONE’S judgment for your own, NO MATTER HOW MANY FUCKING LETTERS THEY HAVE AFTER THEIR NAMES. YOU know your baby, YOU will make the right decisions, whether it is formula or breast. if people don’t like it, ask them if THEY would like to breastfeed your baby. if you get the whole, “breast is best” beginning of the argument, you can always shut it down by saying, “i’m his mother, *I* know what is best for him.”

    sometimes people are so fucking rude. i’m sorry this sucks for you, letter writer #1, i well remember what it was like when i had to give up breastfeeding with my first one.

  • Tr8ce says:

    Letter no 1 – big hugs. I know it’s hard right now because you’re in the thick of it, but you have no reason to feel guilty. My first (and only, so far) is now 2 and I couldn’t produce enough milk for him from about week 2 – and I was not running my dad’s business and holding down my own job too! We supplemented with formula until he knocked back my boobs at 7 months in favour of the bottle. I remember how sad and guilty I felt at the time, but now, I just know we did the best we could and that is all that matters. But like my Breastfeeding Association (is it La Leche League over there in the US?) group leader says – you look at all the kids starting school and you cannot tell who was breast fed or bottle fed. Being a first time mum is the hardest job in the world and you are doing a great job. Big hugs.

  • Dot says:

    LOVED the way you handled the first question. And as for the second, you’re right, they need to take turns. Or get a divorce. What a, um, ah, inconsiderate person.

  • Shin Ae says:

    I breastfed my sons, the first for 22 months and the second for 16 months. I feel really strongly about breastfeeding, and I love to talk about it and help people who are having issues with it. HOWEVER, all that said, something I feel even more strongly about than breastfeeding is doing right by kids, whatever that means to the child. I will say to the first guest that I think you are doing fine. You have a TON on your plate, and it sounds like circumstances were against breastfeeding from the outset. That happens sometimes; you just can’t control life. So, you are doing the best you can with the circumstances you have been given, and that is being a good mom. Moms all have to do that on different occasions. You have a nutritious, available option for the baby that is definitely going to take care of the child’s needs. I think your attitude of giving your best is way more important than breastfeeding, especially since it sounds like breastfeeding wasn’t a realistic option for you guys anyway. So yes, send the people to Aunt Becky with any “questions.” :)

  • Shin Ae says:

    I just read through the comments and remembered a point I meant to make which is, guess what? Even if you managed to breastfeed, you still wouldn’t be “doing it right.” And believe me, I received look upon look, criticism upon criticism, even though I breastfed…the schedule wasn’t right, the sleeping arrangement wasn’t right, I wasn’t doing this right, or that right…some people just love to criticize. Anyway, you just go ahead and love that baby, that’s what matters. And I can tell you do.

  • Dawn says:

    Re the breastfeeding situation. WHAT AUNT BECKY SAID. Do NOT let the breastfeeding Nazis grind you down. Yes, it is the better of the two choices, but the key word is ‘choice’ and your current circumstances dictate you choose formula for the sake of everyone involved. And you do not owe any explanations to anyone regarding your choice, for it is a safe one.

    These are the same kind of people who harrassed me 20-plus years ago when I chose breastfeeding. It wasn’t any of their business then; it isn’t any of their business now.

    When anyone harangues you about this choice, raise your hand in the classic talk-to-the-hand style and bellow, “BACK!!! JUDGEMENTAL ASSHAT!!! THE POWER OF THE INTERWEBS COMPELS YOU!!!”

    No one will look at you funny, I promise. Okay. They will, but it will take the focus off the breastfeeding issue.

  • Siera says:

    I breastfeed my son until he was 17 months but it was hard in the beginning. I had thrush for the 1st 2 months he was alive! When he finally decided to take a bottle of formula at 2 months old I could’ve done a leap for joy. I wasn’t able to pump during this as it hurt so damn much due to the thrush. To get my son to drink from a bottle I had to hand express milk out of necessity when I had to leave him for a few hours at 7 weeks. I made sure he drank every drop of that hand expressed milk. I am a to each their own kinda gal. I once went to a LLL meeting and saw a mom breast feeding her 2.5 and 4.5 YO kids I was little grossed out BUT they’re her kids and it’s her decision and I kept my opinions to myself as should people about bottle feeding.

  • laura says:

    Yay for babies being fed – it matters diddly squat how (you know, unless it’s brown drink – what we call coke in our house…no Toby, you’re not allowed brown drink). I have the dubious honour of breaking a hospital booby Nazi. My son latched well, I wasn’t sore, it was great! Apart from the fact I didn’t make enough milk. At all. I was stimulated, took extra hormones, when finally the booby Nazi gave in and said “I think we need to supplement him with some formula”. Other nurses came from their station to watch her make the formula because they couldn’t believe it – she’d never done it before! I broke the booby Nazi! I supplemented my son for 5 weeks with formula until one day my breasts said “bugger this – I give up”. He’s 18 months old, happy, healthy, and has been sick a grand total of twice in his life (colds, so they don’t really count). Breastfeeding…an damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Gotta love society. And that’s my rant for today, Aunt Becky.

  • Nyx says:

    I can’t believe that people would judge you based off of you feeding your kid formula! Ugh! Like Aunt Becky said, it’s none of their business. People will point fingers no matter what you do, because apparently they like to be all up in your business. Just change the subject, or tell them to go to hell. Either one works.

    Also, letter writer #2 (or ‘not hailing to my hitler’), I totally feel you. I’m so sick of watching star trek. I mean, ok. It’s kind of interesting.

    But it keeps going. And going. And going. And there’s so many sequels. And don’t get me started on the West Wing (a show that, had I discovered it myself, I may have enjoyed. Maybe). Totally feeling ya. Good luck, I’d recommend doing what Aunt Becky said – grab a timezone for yourself!!

  • excavator says:

    I was fortunate enough to have a good breastfeeding experience with both my children. It was a source of such joy for me that I want that for other mothers. That said, I want to support a new mom’s desire to nurse, but I always want to be careful that my support doesn’t become a source of pain. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out, and it’s not up to me to decide whether they “tried hard enough”. I would never want to add one speck to the pain that another woman feels.

    We mothers need to support each other. I’m always astounded at how free some people feel to comment on someone’s parenting choices.

  • Lippy says:

    My best friend had a lot of trouble with the breastfeeding. If she starts talking about it, she will cry, and her son is 8 years old. There shouldn’t be this kind of guilt, I feel so sad that her memories of his early weeks are filled with breastfeeding “failure” than the joy of having her baby. For the first reader, I really want you to take Dawn suggestion. The power of the interwebs compels you almost made me spit cheerios on my computer. I would pay money to see that shit.

    Also, DVRs are the best thing ever. It makes me love TV even more. Everyone should have one.

  • Amy says:

    The first letter’s response was legendary and awesome and great and perfect. I love you Aunt Becky!

  • April says:

    First of all, I have been lurking for a few months and I must say I totally love you Aunt Becky! In a totally stalkerish way, but I have to be good b/c I have these 3 kids to take care of and I really don’t have time to go to jail and all. So I will be the “non scary” stalker.
    For the first question-

    Here is what you do (well maybe not you b/c you are prolly really nice and all. I am a total bitch that thinks idiots should be told to STFU in very creative ways. You know, kinda like slapping the shit outta them with words.) The next time you get the stink eye from someone just start shouting “It is not poison mother fuckers”. That ought to get their attention! If it is family just tell them to go find a boob suck on and leave you the fuck alone.
    The fact is, this is just the first thing in a long line of things that mothers get judged about. It starts with breast feeding and then moves on to things like where does your kid sleep, do you let your kid watch TV, do you use organic products, OMFG you mean you let your kid eat a fucking happy meal??? Yeah, motherhood opens a hole judgment can of worms. The best thing to do is 1. Perfect the stink eye (people will fear you).
    2. Take that huge ball of after baby hormones and throw it at people. It feels really good! Right now, you have an excuse to act like a total bitch. Embrace it! Use it! Love it!
    3. Teach people how to treat you. This was/is the hardest. If family starts shit, just walk away or hang up the phone. When you do this tell yourself that they are the fuckers with the issues and you are totally awesome!

    Hugs!

    DVR question-

    Cut his ass! LOL. We have 2 DVRs. The one in the living room is his and the bedroom is mine. My hubby is a sports fanatic. He will watch (IMO) the stupidest shit they put on TV. If I am not into anything, I just sit there and zone out. If I want to watch something, we watch what the hell I want to watch.
    Here is what I would do-
    Tell hubby that since he does not want to watch what you want to watch, he must take kiddos for a while so you can catch up on your shows. You having “you” time and him having “kid” time is a great alternative! LOL
    Seriously, I would just tell him equal TV time. If he says no dice. Fuck him over and erase his shit. (Note: this will cause a hum dinger of a fight, and should only be done if he continues to be a total dick.) He has to realize give and take. My FIL is a huge TV watching prick. We just got back from a week long visit with them. All I have to say is bless my MILs heart. I would have to kill that fool!

    Ok Aunt Becky-
    This is my very first comment! I just busted my comment cherry! It felt gooooood. So is this a good time to totally pimp out my own bloggy?

    Yepisaidthat.blogspot.com

    I am a total bloggin newbie, so if ya come over…keep that in mind! (OMG! I just invited the great Aunt Becky to my lowly little blog! I think I am going to shit in my pants and faint!).

  • Anna says:

    I couldn’t feed my son and yes, to this day it stings when some “you’ll kill your baby by giving it formula” mommy rants on and on about it.

    And it always will. The trick is to not let it live with you… Let it sting and get over it.

    My son didn’t have the suck reflex – he had more of a ‘clench your teeth until 4 (I’m not kidding, 4) nurses run in to pry him off of your boob’ reflex. Sorry, pal, this ain’t working. I tried pumping – never got more than a combined ounce each day. Needless to say, by 1 week he was on formula. And – shocker – HE’S JUST FINE.

    Stay strong. Mommies are the most judgemental bitches you’ll ever meet.

  • Brianna says:

    Yeah, exactly what IS it with some mothers? And worse — non-parents! You haven’t even parented a PERFECT child (bwuahahaha, perfect child, I crack myself up) much less all our mere mortal children. You have no idea WTF you’re talking about. So shut. The Fuck. Up. You bitch. Before I rearrange your face.

    And y’all are soooo right. It doesn’t end. With ours, first it was “Do you breastfeed? EXCLUSIVELY?!” (And with my first, I DIDN’T. My supply couldn’t keep up with her metabolism. I didn’t feel like starving my kid, so you know, we supplemented. Boo the fuck hoo.) Then it was “Co-sleeping is Of The Devil!” That’s nice. Fuck you. THEN it was “You know that schedule you have them on (read: they sleep when they’re tired) won’t work when it comes to school time, right? You should fix it NOW.” Um, excuse me? Am I asking you to get my kids up every day? And at the time, they wouldn’t even be going to school for 4 years! I think I have time, people. And what if I choose to homeschool? I can teach them when it’s dark as pitch as easily as when it’s daytime, thank you. Now it’s “Aren’t they potty trained yet? They’ll go to kindergarten in diapers!” So? Either they will go in diapers, and be in the minority, and either be driven to potty train because they want to be like their peers or they won’t give two shits and will STILL do it on their own time… or they’ll figure it out before. Do I care? Not really. Other than having to buy diapers… dang them things are expensive.

    So you know what? Unless you’re endangering or neglecting your kids, it really doesn’t matter. You’re gonna catch all sorts of hell for all sorts of things, because inevitably SOME asshat will decide you’re not doing it right. Learn to give them the finger early on, and you’ll be golden.

  • Theta Mom says:

    Oh Aunt Becky,this is why I feel blessed to have found your blog. I will admit that I did not even try to breastfeed. It just wasn’t in my blood to do so. It is such a PERSONAL choice, one that should NEVER be judged. Thanks for pointing out that we are NOT bad mothers for not breastfeeding!

  • Lisa says:

    To the formula feeding mother: welcome to your first rodeo. This is breast vs. formula. Soon you will work up to tv vs. no tv, how fast your child reads, where to send them to school, how athletic they are (or not), etc… The thing about the mommy-go-round is that there is ALWAYS judgment. Lots of people only feel validated if they find others who make them feel superior.

    This is not just about breast feeding. Think of this as a test to see how well you see negative, insecure people for who they are, and how well you block them from stealing your joy.

    Buckle up sister, it is an endurance race, but also the ride of your life!

    P.S. take out the breast part and this applies to the Melissa situation too… Then again, what do I know?

  • moonspun says:

    There is nothing wrong with admitting that breastfeeding didn’t work out…especially if you tried and shit happens. It just does. The important thing is to take care of the baby, boobs or not.

  • Trista says:

    I totally empathize with the author of your first question. It mad me totally nuts that people (even strangers!) felt they had the right to comment about how I fed my baby, when we put her on formula at 5 months. I tried, oh lord how I tried, to breastfeed, and it went pretty well for a little while after doing all the things you mentioned you did with Ben (lactation consultants, pumping, nipple shields – I had forgotten about the nipple shields, THANKS FOR THE REMINDER, AUNT BECKY). But when my sweet baby started freaking out while trying to feed, and eventually started losing weight, we made the decision (with our doctor’s blessing) that having a happy baby with a full tummy was better than having a screaming, starving baby and a stressed, crying mother. So formula it was, and I guess I missed the skull and crossbones POISON symbol on the outside of the can.
    Bottom line, I think that a woman has the right to choose how to feed her baby, as long as the food of choice is appropriate and nutritious. I chose to breastfeed for as long as I could, and would try it again, but when we put our daughter on formula I really resented being put on the defensive when I would hear those snide “Oh, you bottlefeed?” remarks. My BOOBS, my BABY. End of story. I’ll stop yelling now :)

  • My milk never came in…I mean – it just never did. I was literally starving that poor kid b/c my boobs wouldn’t work. Which is funny when you think about it given their size. I had the freakin’ Leche people calling and harassing me and telling me how sickly she would be when she great up – THAT makes a new mom feel GREAT! Assholes.

  • Ellen M says:

    I wanted to breastfeed, and did (and still do), but was still horrified by the lactation consultant I encountered in the hospital. If she had been the only advice I’d gotten on the subject, I might well not have pursued it. She basically came into my room and started fiddling with my nipple and my son’s mouth without my permission, while the baby was doing a decent job of trying to latch on his own. She also kept applying hand sanitizer because she had a cold, and I’m like, “so why are you within ten feet of me lady?

    What I did, that I would recommend to anyone who thinks she wants to breastfeed, is to talk to friends who have done it and get as many specifics as you can, as well as read (like the book the commenter above’s DH found about proper latch), and maybe watch a YouTube video on latching, before you deliver, so you know what you’re aiming for. Because while there are plenty of lactation consultants who have reasonable people skills, there seem to be a high percentage of them who don’t! And post-partum is a hard enough time as it is.

    Also, ditto to everyone who has said that breastfeeding is just one in a long list of things people will try to make you feel bad about. If it’s not that, it’s how well/badly your baby is sleeping. Or whether you’ve got enough hats on him. Or whether he’s eating too much/too little solid food. It seemingly never ends and my guy doesn’t even walk or talk yet.

    • Your Aunt Becky
      Twitter: mommywantsvodka
      says:

      Nothing like parenthood to make you toughen up. After I had Ben, I learned really quickly to perfect my FUCK YOU face. I put that on whenever anyone wants to say something nasty to me about what I’m doing with my kids. For the most part…people leave me alone. MOSTLY.

      But the boob battle, well, that one can be brutal.

  • pasc says:

    hi peeps…I’m the OP for the first letter. I’ll be happy to report to you all that I threw the fucking breastpump back to the assholes at the lactation center at the hospital, and bought my little muffin some new tasty formula and all is well in the world. Becky, I wrote to you in a fit of tears brought on by an hour (YES. AN HOUR) fruitless pumping that resulted in the sorest nipples known to mankind. And yes, people ARE assholes and I’ll spare you the gory details. I really, REALLY want to say THANK YOU for telling me what I already knew, and thank you to everyone else here who has been in the same boat and offered their kind words!

  • amber says:

    I didn’t even read the rest of the questions, just had to put in my two cents about the formula feeding. I too wanted, wanted, wanted to breastfeed. But my baby wasn’t having it, and I was tired of sobbing all the time, so I switched to formula feeding. And the nazis, oh they made me pay. Even some of my nearest and dearest beat me up about it.

    Nine months later and she’s hitting all her milestones early…I don’t think she’s suffering from the lack of breast milk.

    So just say F YOU to all the breastfeeding nazis. You’re doing the best you can (sounds like you already know that though).

  • Ellen M says:

    Can we not refer to anyone who is not an actual Nazi as a Nazi? I know there are a lot of rigid pro-bfeeding people out there, but as far as I know, none of them advocate the mass extinction of the Jews.

  • Tania says:

    I nursed my first child for four weeks. I stopped because we both hated it. She was formula fed from then on. She crawled,walked and talked extremely early. She’s now an honor roll student in middle school.

    My son was born 4 years later. I nursed him for nine months. he was never satisfied with breast milk. He has been sick almost since birth. He had RSV, croup, pnemonia, ear infection after ear infection and was diagnosed with asthma at 14 months old.

    So the breast feeding nazis can kiss my ass. The breast milk does not affect the babies health or development like it’s promoted to.

    Every mother must do what feels correct for her family. Every family is different. As women we need to support each other and stop finding reasons to tear each other down!

  • amanda says:

    Before you judge someone, be sure to walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do judge them, you’re a mile away AND you have their shoes!

  • Mama Cas says:

    Oh my. To the Momma in the first question….

    Stop. Take a very deep breath. You are providing nourishment to your child so that he may live, grow, and thrive. How anyone can criticize you for that is beyond me.

    Try to remember this: If you are enormously lucky, you will live to be 102 and you will watch your child grow to be a happy, healthy adult. Between now and then, you will find 29 bajillion reasons to feel guilty and beat yourself up. And other people? Will find another 32 bajillion reasons to criticize you.

    Stand in front of a mirror and practice saying this as sweetly as you can, with a big, fat smile on your face:
    “I don’t think that’s any of your business.”

    Good luck to you. Enjoy that baby…savor every minute.

  • …An interesting Post I want to reply to later on over at …

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