Breastfeeding Nazis can make a new mom cry

Being a good parent is hard. Before I became one, I knew everything about parenting. I knew exactly how I was going to raise my children. I saw other parents around me, struggling with their kids, and thought, “my kid will never act like that.” Five months ago, I had the discipline, schooling and feeding all worked out. I was ready. Then, my son was born. At four months, he hasn’t had a chance to be a discipline problem yet. Nor have any school related issues surfaced. However, at the tender age of four days old, my feeding philosophy took a major hit.

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had it drilled into my head that breastfeeding is what good mothers do. Breastfed babies are smarter and better behaved than formula fed babies. That’s what the books say. Bottle feeding is offered as an option if a mother has to be separated from her child, but even then, a good mother pumps her breast milk, freezes it and saves it for these special occasions. Formula gets brief mentions in baby books, but for every page there is about formula feeding, there are five about breastfeeding and how it really is the best way to go.

 

When I heard women talk about how their babies didn’t like breastfeeding or that they couldn’t breastfeed, I thought they were lazy. Even when those people were close family members who I love and generally think well of. I figured they hadn’t tried very hard. After all, breastfeeding is natural and everyone can do it. Then, my son was born.

 

I took the breastfeeding class and knew the positions. Right after he was born, I started and thought I was doing pretty well. The first day he didn’t eat much. He was all tuckered out from being born and since he was having the required number of dirty diapers and feedings, I thought nothing of it. The next day he was still rather sleepy, but started eating like crazy. Every hour or so he wanted to eat. I’d finish a feeding and sometimes no more than 30 minutes later he’d be crying again, hungry for more. The third day he had a circumcision and was worn out, especially with the baby Tylenol. He still wanted to eat a lot, but he didn’t cry much. By Saturday, the day we left, he was still eating like crazy, but seemed ok. All the nurses kept telling me he was cluster feeding and that this was normal. He wasn’t quite dirtying all the diapers he needed to, but no one seemed worried. The lactation consultant even came in to make sure everything was ok. My breasts were poked, prodded, pulled and pushed by every nurse in the place and by the time I went home, I knew I was doing it right.

 

By seven o’clock on Saturday though, we were ready to take Duncan back. The sweet baby we’d had at the hospital was replaced by a demon crier. He could not be satisfied. He cried and cried and then cried some more. He was eating constantly. As soon as I stopped feeding him, he’d start crying for more. I was exhausted and out of ideas. By Sunday we realized he wasn’t having even half as many dirty diapers as he should be and since the constant eating and crying continued, we got worried. The on-call doctor told use he was probably dehydrated. We had to give him some formula. Luckily, my aunt had signed up on Enfamil’s website and had brought us some formula samples she’d received. I mixed up a one ounce bottle as suggested and suddenly my baby was happy again. Or at least not screaming.

 

We went to his pediatrician the next day and found out he’d lost nearly a pound. When she heard the problems he’d had, she agreed he sounded dehydrated. I was told to keep supplementing him with formula, but encouraged to continue breastfeeding him. I had to bring him back before the week was over. At his next visit, four days later, he’d only gained one ounce, which wasn’t much of a gain. She started asking more questions and that’s when I told her my breasts had not grown at all during my pregnancy. I had mentioned this to my OBGYN, but he didn’t seem concerned at all. She, however, painted a different picture for me. She told me that I probably didn’t have sufficient mammory tissue and that there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed him. I’d have to supplement with formula.

 

I started going to a breastfeeding support group. I rented a hospital grade pump. I hooked myself up to it after every feeding, just like the doctor suggested, and although I felt like a jersey cow, only got about ¼ of an ounce each time. I tried herbal supplements. I tried medicines. Nothing worked.

 

At my support group, the lactation consultant was nice, but really insistent that I keep up the breastfeeding. She even tried to get me to wear a strange harness with tubes on it. The bottle of formula would be suspended from the harness and flows through tubes attached to my nipples. That way my son would think all the milk he was getting was coming from my breasts. I drew the line there. I did not, however, stop the dual feedings. He was eating every 2-3 hours, and my feedings were lasting 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes. Some days I only got a 45 minute break before doing it all over again. At night, I’d get about two hours sleep at a time. I was miserable, but every time I thought of giving up and just giving him a bottle, I was made to feel like a bad mother.

 

As the weeks progressed, I realized I was not supplementing him with formula; I was supplementing him with breast milk. He was eating four ounces at a time, and if it was a good day, he was getting one of those from me. I went to the support group again and got a different consultant. I explained my story, and she looked at me as if I was lying. She questioned me brusquely about what I tried, naming off all the things I’d already done. I could tell just by looking at her that she didn’t believe I’d tried it all. She also suggested the strange harness and when I said I wasn’t interested in it, she looked at me as if I was neglecting my baby. I never went back.

 

My son is a healthy, happy baby. He is height and weight proportional. He hardly ever cries unless he’s hungry or tired. He smiles constantly and loves to laugh. He’s doing everything he should be doing at four months, and while I know this sounds like bragging, he’s actually ahead of the curve on several developmental issues. My pediatrician was amazed at how strong he is. In other words, despite the fact that I only breastfed my son for eight miserable weeks, my formula fed baby is great. For many people this may not be a surprise, but for me it was. There is such a strong breastfeeding movement in this country, that anyone who chooses not to, or simply can’t do it, is made to feel as if they are harming their children by giving them formula. I can’t count the number of times I broke down in tears of shame because I couldn’t give my son what everyone told me he needed. Giving it up was one of the hardest decisions I had to make, but in the end, I figured it was better he had a happy, healthy, well-rested mommy who could play with him than one who was constantly feeling inadequate and miserable. I knew he didn’t need to see me breaking down in tears when someone looked at me as if I was a loathsome insect when I pulled out a bottle to feed my son.

 

Parenting trends are constantly changing. Thirty years ago, bottle feeding was in and breastfeeding was looked down upon. Before I have my next baby, the trend might reverse itself. However, I really wish I hadn’t been made to feel less than human for the choice I had to make.

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37 Comments

Filed under motherhood, my son, pet peeves, problems with society, ramblings, what makes me me

37 responses to “Breastfeeding Nazis can make a new mom cry

  1. People are jerks everywhere and about anything. You’re doing great and your baby is lovely. The next time somebody acts like you’re a bad mother for bottle feeding point to their face and say, “Raise your own baby. I was bottlefed and I’m twice as smart as you and four times as well-balanced.”

  2. La

    How many of us born in the ’70s were actually breast fed? I know of one, my husband. I breast fed Morgan for a month. She cried constantly, wanted fed constantly, and my poor nips were so red, chapped, and bloody I almost made the nurse at my ob/gyn cry when I showed them to her – desperate for help so I could feed my Morgan. Now she’s four, and healthy as an ox. Chloe I was able to feed without the severe chapping, but when I came down with a severe ear infection and had to be put on antibiotics, she refused to nurse – she was four months at the time. I kept pumping to keep the flow up but didn’t get much out (2 oz. tops at a time both sides) – and it was one of those hospital grade pumps. Now when I got healthy, she nursed again. When I went back to school, I’d run to my office every two hours to pump and again, at the end of the day I was lucky if I got one 5 oz. bottle out of the ordeal. She wasn’t gaining sufficient weight and we decided to start the formula. Now she’s very very tiny for her age (22.8 lbs. at 2 years and about 34 in. tall). I believe deep down, that I should have put her on formula earlier. Maybe then she’d be bigger. Maybe it’s genetic. I was always thin, so was Rodney (until we got old and lazy). But don’t ever let any of those milk nazi’s let you think you’re doing wrong by your son. I know what it’s like to try and try and have nothing come of it besides severe nipple pain and a screaming colicky baby.

  3. Susan

    Got here doing a Google search for breastfeeding nazis. My daughter, born July 4, is probably going through a growth spurt. Or at least let’s hope. She dropped from 6 lbs 1 oz at birth to 5 lbs 9 oz before we left the hospital, then dropped another ounce when I got her home. I’ve been supplementing with formula. I hate pumping. It’s so unnatural — about as much as having a harness with tubes your baby can eat from. I haven’t been able to pump more than twice per day. At three weeks of age, she weighed in at 6 lbs 6 oz, so at least she’s gaining now. But I’m not sleeping any better, and neither is she. Granted, supplmenting with formula is about the only way I get any sleep at all…

  4. Pingback: The breastfeeding nazis descend on NY « beetqueen

  5. Tracy

    I feel like i”m in the twilight zone. No joke, you just wrote my story, word for word with my first son. WORD for WORD! However, we did “suffer” for 5 months. You put it so well that I was “supplmenting with breast milk”. too true.

    WEll, I just had my second son 4 weeks ago, and although I knew what to expect, I tried it all and tried it harder and I have to say, it’s going better. I think I have about 2X as much milk as last time. We actually have some feeds that he doesn’t need formula and today I pumped 1 1/4 oz (last time never more than a 1/4 oz). So, although he’s still getting both, I feel more encouraged to continue this time.

    Although it REALLY still sucks to BF for 45 minutes and then have to bottle feed as well.

    In any case, there’s nothing like that moment when you give your baby formula for the first time (when they are screaming and dehydrated) and you see the look of peace and satisfaction come across their face and you realize that the nazis were making you starve your baby!

    This time, I”m focussing on the BF as a great cuddle and bonding time and hey, if he gets a drop of milk from me, he gets it!

    THanks for posting your story.

  6. beetqueen

    I do plan to try it again with the next one in a few years. This time I’ll know what to do though if the baby isn’t getting enough and I won’t beat myself up with guilt. I now know my son is healthy and just amazing. He’s suffered no damage from formula and in fact he’s the happiest baby I’ve ever seen. He sleeps 12-13 hours at night, he smiles all the time and he’s just generally fun to be around. I liked the cuddling and closeness that breastfeeding gave us, but I can cuddle with him still, so I’m ok with it. It took awhile though.

  7. Alex

    I came across your site after entering a search for constantly eating/crying babies. We have little girl who is one week and one day old. In the past two days, she is constantly eating/sleeping. If she isn’t doing one of those, then she’s crying to be fed. At times, she’ll start sucking on the nipple and fall asleep. We are having to change her diaper after every time she eats. She just seems to be eating so much. From your experience, does this sound normal? I just I also needed to vent because I’ve just been worrying about our baby. I’ll check this site for any replies, if not, an email will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  8. beetqueen

    I have another blog about my experience bringing my son home. It was pretty darn awful. I don’t know if I can speak to “normal,” but I can tell you that even at the hospital, my son wanted to eat constantly. I would breast feed him for 45 minutes and then 30 minutes later he’d be crying as if he was hungry again. The most rest I got was 3 hours when I told the nurses to take him to the station and I almost wonder if they didn’t give him some formula because he was an eating machine.

    That was before we knew what was wrong. When we brought him home, he was miserable and after I tried to pump, I realized why. I was only producing less than half an ounce. Now, that was with a pump and everyone kept assuring me human babies are better at getting milk out, but still, it was such a low production, that he’d suckle for 45 minutes, I’d have to give him a bottle, which took another 20 or so and then about 45 minutes later he’d be ready to start the cycle all over again. It was absolute misery.

    I know they say babies cluster feed, but I think if a baby is eating and crying with that type of frequency, something must be wrong. Have you tried any pumping at all? One thing I also did was go to a breastfeeding support group. What they had me do there was weigh my son naked before he ate, feed him (only breast milk) and then weigh him again afterwards to see how much he’d “gained.” It was never more than 1.5 ounces and even a newborn needs 3-4 ounces at each feeding. You might try that as well.

    One difference I can see is that my son wasn’t having lots of wet diapers (or dirty ones), which is one of the ways we found out he was partially dehydrated. He just wasn’t getting enough food and that was why he was grumpy. When we gave him that first bottle, it was miraculous!

  9. Ben

    Breast feeding is not the only way to feed. This generation of technological advancement has been the contribution of babies borns decades ago when formula milk was the in thing. The world has progressed this far on babies fed on formula milk and NOT BREAST FEEDING! This whole issue of forced breast feeding especially in hospitals must be in balance with the health of the mother as well as the baby. In 99.99 percent of cases health providers have gone over board with the issue of “must breast feed at all cost”. Depression is not only the result of hormonal changes but rather the lack of sleep and an increase in the level of anxiety due to the severe BRAINWASHING of what a new mother is expected to do from the very second the child is born. My wife get more than enough sleep and every morning she is as fresh as the times before our baby arrived. Regardless of how much you read for information, the unknown nature of not being able to clearly determine at all times as to what the baby is thinking of will never go away. Husbands play a very big part in seeing through that new mothers only responsibility for the next 9 months from the time of delivery is looking after the baby. Husbands should be cooking, cleaning etc. Health providers and HUSBANDS must remember that mothers dont have IRON Nipplies!
    I am happy to tell the world that my lovely wife is stress free as we have our own set of strategies in place. Do everything in balance is the key!

  10. Wow. I can’t even say how good it was to read this. My breastfeeding experience with my first baby was exactly this way. The only difference is that I was willing to try the harness thingy, but nobody could tell me where to get one for under a hundred dollars! It was ridiculous. I never had enough milk for my baby, and I felt so terrible about it all. He hated nursing. I only made it about 8 weeks total. 8 weeks of CONSTANT nursing or pumping. It was so miserably awful.

    I gave birth to my second baby about 3 months ago, and it’s such an incredible difference. I asked about the harness thingy at the hospital this time during labor, and they just GAVE me one! I was so grateful. (But this time, I never even had to try it!) Things went so well from the very beginning. I think it had something to do with this entire pregnancy being easier. I was so so sick during my entire first pregnancy, and I was constantly violently ill after giving birth to my first. Eventually I had to go to the E.R. because I was dehydrated and convulsing. That’s when I lost my milk altogether.

    This last pregnancy was easier, labor was easier, and I’ve healed much easier. The baby is easier, nursing is easier, and living is so much easier.

    I hope you have an experience like mine where the second time around goes so much better!

  11. Lill

    I came across this googling for breastfeeding nazis

    I had no problem feeding my eldest and fed for 19 months, but I had problems with my youngest but everyone thought “oh she fed till 19 months, she’s a pro, she’s ok” but could have done with help. but now it’s fine and still breastfeeding after 2 years old.

    I was googling cos I got so annoyed on a blogging community… they’re such bloody nazis and one said “how many babies in britain die each year from not breastfeeding?” I’m like “errrm…. not many if any at all” and was treated like a naive idiot and that formula kills babies.. yes we all know breast is best but if you can’t feed then you can’t feed and alot of these councellers are making it so awful for mothers that even those that are capable are put off by their rough, hands on approach.

  12. beetqueen

    Well, my son is formula fed and darn healthy! In 15 month he’s only been sick once and that was just a little virus that EVERYONE had. He is happy. He is well-adjusted. He’s awesome. I don’t know where this rhetoric came from but I am so sick of people acting as if I am in some way harming him by feeding him.

    Sure, breastfeeding is great, but babies have thrived just as well without it. I don’t think there is a single case of formula killing a baby unless it was a negligent parent who ignored an allergy (and the same thing could have happened once they started regular foods) or who didn’t feed properly and that would have no doubt been true of breastfeeding as well.

    People are just so mean on this issue. I want to scream, “let me do what is right for my baby and you can do what is right for yours.”

  13. Johnny 5

    Great to read some of the comments on here. Our little baby is now 4 days old, and has been able to properly breastfeed just 4 times in those 4 days. She cries because she is hungry, but only rarely manages to latch on and feed. Most often she falls asleep on the breast once she’s latched on, but the four times it has been succesful have shown that it is not a technique problem, just that the baby doesn’t seem to be able to suck properly all the time. 6 midwives and a breastfeeding specialist have been unable to get her to feed properly, and we have been told that she will have to return to hospital soon if she doesn’t feed. We’ve had no alternative but to abandon plans to breastfeed exclusively, and to give her a bottle of formula this afternoon. She is now content for the first time in a day after a proper feed.

    Breast might be best, but malnutrition because baby can’t breastfeed properly is surely worse than giving a bottle? It’s sickening the way that people are made to feel like failures because, for whatever good reason, breastfeeding does not work for them. We’ll keep trying to breastfeed, but sometimes it’s just not to be.

  14. beetqueen

    The idea of making your family go back to the hospital when a simple bottle of formula can fix the problem is ridiculous and yet another example of how things have gotten too far! I have talked to a number of women who have had trouble breastfeeding, and they’ve all been treated the same. They’ve been made to feel ashamed they cannot breastfeed properly and the implication has been that they are hurting their child by offering a bottle.

    GRRRR!!! Every time I hear a story, it just fills me with indignation.

    At 16 months, my bottle fed son is AMAZING! He’s healthy (one cold and one stomach bug, each of which lasted about two days). He’s happy. He’s not overweight or under. He’s in the 90th percentile for height. He isn’t at all picky about his food and eats whatever we eat. He loves to be around people and has no fear of new introductions. He sleeps 11-12 hours a night and takes a 2-3 hour nap each day. He has not suffered one iota from getting a bottle at four days old.

  15. Chris

    I found this after googling breastfeeding nazis as well. When my son was less than a week old he became severely dehydrated because my milk didn’t come in. He didn’t cry, either, so everything seemed fine at first. Everyone (except my husband) kept telling me that if I just kept trying to breastfeed, everything would be okay. It was okay – once he got formula!

  16. Liz

    I also found this site by googling breast feeding nazis.
    I had almost an identical experience to this.
    My baby was settled and resting for the first two days. Then he would feed for fifty minutes at a time, fall asleep on the boob and be hungry 5 minutes later. I told the midwive this and she said “its okay, thats normal”. Was it really?
    They told me “get your partner to help out with housework, sleep when baby sleeps etc”. Didn’t they hear a word I said? BABY ONLY SLEPT ON MY BOOB!
    I took bubb to hospital a week later because his breathing seemed abit funny.
    They hooked him up to a machine which monitored him for two hours out of the whole ten hours we were there. He was fine, yet we were told we couldn’t leave. We spent an entire sleepless night in amongst a ward of crying, sick children. But when it came time to be discharged in the morning, the doctor came and explained that bubbs breathing was fine, and instead focused on my difficulties with breastfeeding, and asked why I’d suddenly started supplementing with formula. It was then she decided she was going to try to keep us both in the same ward for yet another night so we could see a peadotrician for lactation issues. That was where I drew the line and said, “If there isn’t a medical issue that we need to be here, I’d like to leave. The reason I’m so upset right now is because I got no sleep last night, little sleep the night before and you’re attempting to keep us both here for yet another sleepless night for nothing”. I think she finally concluded that she was flogging a dead horse (or in my case, a cow).
    Breastfeeding was stressful for both me and bubb. We both cried at the same time. I had four different appointments with two different lactation consultants, the last of which ended with the consultant saying, “there are multiple issues…I’d understand if at this point you decided to resort to bottle feeding”. (Babies tongue was very short, he wasn’t attaching well, I was nervous, my milk wasn’t fully in and he was a bigger than average baby). Breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone, despite what we’re lead to believe. Baby is now six weeks old, and quite healthy.
    He’s successfully fought off both a bought of the flu and gastro. I also had both, and he faired better than I did! I was breastfeed exclusively, by the way. I have multiple allergies and asthma, so that throws alot of the pro breastfeeding propoganda out the window.

  17. Christy

    This blog puts a humorous spin on it.

    http://bestparentever.com

  18. Turtleposer

    I’m sorry to hear about your breastfeeding troubles. I truly wanted to breast feed, partly because we were living only on 19k salary and paying for 200 worth of formula was a real hardship. I felt it was unfair that wealthier women somehow didn’t have this expense because they always seemed to have their babies laying perfectly against their breasts.

    It just didn’t work. Tissue size wasn’t an issue, flat nipples were. I was actually yelled by the lactation consultation at after I gave birth for having flat nipples. My girl just couldn’t latch on. So we tried all sorts of formulas.

    Eventually, my daughter grew up to be the well-behaved, straight A (except 1 C in Language Arts probably due to bottle-feeding–oh, well) student who doesn’t resent me at all for not breastfeeding her.

    If you have a child and are unable to breastfeed within a short amount of time, use formula. Dry the tears from your eyes. You are the only one responsible for your child. The judgmental onlookers will not be there to help when your child becomes ill, so what they say doesn’t count. Feed your baby and enjoy the time you have with your little one. That’s what’s important. I can’t get back the three weeks I struggled to breast feed, fretting and not enjoying being a mother. However, it was made up by relief as my daughter grew into a terrific young lady.

  19. Angela

    This was pretty much my story too. My son was almost exclusively formula fed because I could not produce enough milk. I was so depressed the first few months of his life and so envious of my friends who seemed to have no problems breastfeeding.
    While I still do believe that breastfeeding is optimal, it’s really unfair that mom’s who must formula feed are made to feel like terrible parents. I was constantly anxious and guilty that my child was receiving poor nutrition and would be damaged in many ways by formula- and that it was somehow my fault.
    I did not receive adequate information from our pediatrician about how to safely feed my baby with formula (i.e. what water to use, baby bottles (bpa), etc) and when I asked him about it later he replied that because most women “choose” to breastfeed he doesn’t typically offer much information for re: safe formula feeding.

  20. Karen

    This happened to me 21 years ago and was more or less repeated through two more kids. Like you , I never felt my breasts enlarge or experienced milk “coming in’ in any way. I now believe that I genuinely lacking the necessary underlying structure of mammary tissue/ducts. All these years later and this is still an isue … I was at the park recently with my 10 year dd and had to listen to a group of younger mothers all very active in La Leche opine that women who didn’t breastfeed were neglectful and their children always turned out abnormal. There is an odd mathematical element to this problem . Women who have no or minimal lactation problems join groups like La Leche and spread the word that this is the way it should be for all women through all time. They ignore the fact that through much of human history infant mortality rates were as high as 50% — obviously some of this was due to lactation failure. These women associate only with each other and assume that anyone whose experience is different is emotionally lacking. This current barrage of breastfeeding propaganda reminds me of the autism diagnoses of the 1950’s — the mother was supposedly unconsciously rejecting her child — Such cruelty ! — and with no scientific basis . Thanks , even after all these years , for your site and your story , but bottle-feeding mothers gird your loins and thicken your skin as the dismissive attitudes and outright insulting comments — I’ve been compared to a Nazi for having bottle-fed — continue for many years.

  21. As a breastfeeding supporter I have to say some of the comments made above are unfair. Many women find they have difficulties breastfeeding in the early weeks but MOST can be overcome with help and support. There are only a small percentage of women who don’t produce any or enough milk to sustain their babies.

    It is sad to read that the support some of you got was not good enough to realise that you were having lactation problems. To be honest if someone came to me with similar problems I would give them all the information I could and ask what they wanted to do. Unfortunately it is support like you’ve had that give breastfeeding people a bad name. I hope that anyone going on to have future babies gets more support in the righ place rather than the supporter having blinkers on. Good luck x

  22. beetqueen

    I know breast eeding is natural, but the more I read and share stories with people, the more I find that it’s not something every woman can do. In fact, several pieces I’ve read have looked at high infant mortality rates throughout the ages and the connection many of those probably had to failed breastfeeding attempts. I think we have such a push by very vocal groups to breastfeed, that those who can’t are marginalized, made to feel inferior and treated like pariahs. I use nazi as hyperbole, of course, but the shear number of responses I’ve had to this and my other breastfeeding post show that those of us who have had real troubles (and reached out for “support”) are not that small of a minority. I doubt the “most” is true.

    • Erin

      I gave birth to my son almost 10 months ago and my time in hospital I will not forget. Instead of being happy and loving my little baby boy I was in tears and stressed. I was also frightened of the midwives and their intensity to make you BREASTFEED! While pregnant all I wanted to do was breastfeed. I had books and videos and my bestfriends’ support. Once my son was born we began the breastfeeding journey. First I had the midwives squeezing my nipples then had them almost shoving my son onto my breast. When he wouldn’t feed the excuse was “he’s only been born give him some time”. So I did. 3 Hours later the midwife came back and began the process again. This time the excuse was “maybe he’s too tired…”. This continued the entire day and well into the night. When he began to scream I decided to nurse him. Approximatly 2 hours later the midwife found me still “feeding”. “He’s a comfort sucker” is what she said. Anyway said midwife then continued to tell me the problem was me and I was too controlling and didn’t let nature take it’s course and proceeded to bring out a breastfeeding dummy to show me how I was doing it wrong and what to do. She gave up 45mins into her lecture when my son decided to continue screaming as she was poking and shoving him into place on my breast. Not something you want at 3am in the morning after no sleep the day before. Finally I was discharged after another 2 nights of continuous torture (as it felt at the time) and was free to go home. I walked through the door of my house, my husband went to the shops came back with some formula and I gave my baby a bottle. The relief on his face was indescribable. My relief was indescribable. He now sleeps 12-13 hours a night, has never been sick (as opposed to my bestfriends children who were exclusively breastfed and are always sick) and he’s very intelligent. If only the midwives noticed his severe tongue-tie and my lack of milk things may have been better….. Next time around I don’t think i’ll even contemplate breastfeeding if this is the treatment i’ll expect.

  23. Thank you for this blog post and all the comments! I have had a similar experience recently with my newborn daughter. The lactation consultants truly made me feel inferior for being unable to successfully breastfeed. Everyone sharing their similar experiences has helped me to see that I am not a “bad” mother after all. I really just want what is best for my child and, to me, that is providing her with nutrition however is necessary.

  24. beetqueen

    Get over yourself. It is obviously hyperbole. Writers use it to prove a point.

  25. Nnihia

    My chidren’s pediatrician gave me the 3rd degree and made me feel like a terrible mom (before I even gave birth) because of my expressed discomfort with the thought of breastfeeding. I’ve always had very sensitive breasts, and I knew it just wasn’t going to be for me. I would end up being a bad mom if I HAD breastfed, because I was so nervous and apprehensive about it! So, anyway, both of my children have been exceptionally healthy (may the Lord get all the credit)– healthier than all of my friends who breastfed (their kids were always sick and underweight!). My first child didn’t even get a cold until she was 7 mos. old and my second child has only been sick ONE TIME in his life, and he’s almost three. Yes, they were both bottle-fed, with much love and care, and I know that I am a darn-good mom. No one can tell me otherwise. Each mom has to make the decision that she feels is best for her and her family.

  26. Kristen

    Thank you for this. I have cried so many times over not breastfeeding. I suffered and agonized for eight miserable weeks and finally stopped. I still feel horrible. It makes me crazy to think that the pro- breastfeeding mothers think that we do not know this is best for our babies. Sometimes it just does not work out no matter how hard we try!

  27. DV

    Thank you so much for this post! My story is about 99% similar to yours and I almost cried as I was reading this. My baby is now 3 months old and is exclusively formula-fed from day 2. It helped me get some closure. I will definitely visit your blog again and write about my experience in detail (if you don’t mind).
    D

  28. DV

    Hi again,
    As I said earlier, my experience is almost completely similar to yours, except the fact that I had a planned homebirth. So you can imagine who the breastfeeding n*z*s were in my case- the midwives!! To cut a long story short, they made my life miserable for about a week after the birth. Naive as I was, I listened to their advice and ended up starving my poor little baby for the first 2 days (I’ll never get over this guilt). My milk didn’t come in until about 4-5 days later, and that too I’m not sure how much. My baby would just scream everytime I put her to the breast (partly because my nipples are way too small) and also because I suspect there wasn’t enough milk coming out. If I pumped, I could get about 1 teaspoon, that too not everytime. It was frustrating and saddening for me to see my baby’s misery. I also have extremely sensitive skin, including that on my nipples. I had just one session of breastfeeding with one of those nipple shields and my nipple started bleeding.
    The midwives were very judgemental and aggressive and they made me feel guilty of complaining about nipple bleeding and pain. They shoved my baby’s face into my breast in order to get her to latch. One of the midwives even suggested that I use Lidocaine cream on my nipples to numb the pain and then wash it off before feeding. I was not willing to take the risk of my baby ingesting Lidocaine (there it is- breastfeeding for the sake of breastfeeding attitude!).
    So in short, I felt humiliated, judged and inadequate and I repented hiring those midwives. I couldn’t wait to get my 6 week postpartum checkup done so I could just get rid of them once and forever!
    Thanks for letting me post 🙂
    D

    • beetqueen

      Happy to! I know I’ve gotten some negatives from people over my title (they don’t appreciate the hyperbole). However, I feel it’s really important to share our stories so that new moms don’t have to go through what we did. There is just so much pressure to breastfeed these days and to those who can’t (for any reason), it is so hard. Alternatives aren’t offered. We are poked, prodded and guilted at a time where we are barely emotionally stable. It is just awful.

      My second baby has been nearly 100% formula fed and she is healthy as can be (aside from the cold she caught from her older brother who kept giving her kisses). She is in the 98th percentile for height, exceeding all of her developmental check points and to be honest, the happiest baby I’ve ever met (even my sitter who has been in the business for over 20 years says this about her).

  29. Danielle

    I found this post after Googling “Breastfeeding nazis” too. Funny, catchy, and true! I’m currently pregnant with my first and getting sick of all the RANDOM STRANGERS who feel it’s appropriate to ask whether I’m going to breastfeed. I’m planning on it at this point but if I can’t, I can’t! And that’s none of their business! Thanks for sharing your story, and thanks to everyone else who commented and shared theirs. They’ve made me feel a little more equipped against the judgments that will probably come if for some reason I can’t.

  30. Rebecca H. Johnson

    I also found this post by looking up breastfeeding nazis. Funny. Anyway, I just wanted to see if other women were subjected to overzealous invasive lactation consultants who grabbed boobs without asking, judgemental observation with lots of commenting on small nipples, incorrect positioning etc and no privacy. I did not want or need help. I had already breastfed 3 babies and this was #4. We were doing just fine. The hospital we delivered at requires that you be observed feeding your baby before you are allowed to go home. I just can’t letdown while being watched and judged. Only if I’m relaxed. I can successfully breastfeed just not in front of women who are judging my performance or forcing me to use nipple shields or grabbing my boobs or nipples or shoving my boobs into my baby’s mouth. very discouraging indeed being told your not doing it right. Well if that’s the case, how did I breast feed my first boy for 2 years, my daughter for 1 year and 3 months and my last baby for 1 year. I’m sure #4 will do just fine. So far he is still fed by a feeding tube with my breastmilk from pumping because he’s a preemie born at 31 weeks. We are trying some feeds at the breast now, but he is little so he gets tired out and we finish up on the feeding tube. Unfortunately I am required to meet with a consultant before and while doing so. Needless to say I’d rather establish this on my own without a audience. Life in the nicu is stressful enough.

  31. beetqueen

    So sorry to hear about your ordeal! I’m all for asking for help, but when it is not only not requested, but forced upon women…I’m sorry, it is just wrong. I understand hospital workers want to do what is best for the baby, however, as women we should still expect some privacy, some dignity and some amount of choice over what happens to our bodies. We are not just milk machines.

  32. becca

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am having a very similar problem with breastfeeding. My milk came in almost 2 weeks after giving birth, and since then I’ve tried everything to increase my supply – fenugreek, tea, pumping, etc. I’ll never forget that moment in the hospital on day 2 when my daughter wouldn’t stop screaming, she was so miserable. I had her on my breast frequently and my nipples were absolutely burning and raw at that point. One of the nurses finally, FINALLY gave her some formula and she was so happy.

    I’ve always planned to exclusively breastfeed, but some women just have low milk supplies and no matter what you do, it won’t increase enough to sustain a baby. I’ve met with lactation consultants and followed their routine, but it left me miserable, exhausted, and hating being a mother. I didn’t even really get to enjoy my daughter for the first month of her life because I was so committed to pumping every 2-3 hours, using nipple shields, dealing with severe nipple pain and damage. I felt like a failure, and groups like La Lache League refuse to acknowledge that there are women out there that cannot breastfeed exclusively because of milk supply problems or other issues. I think it’s disgusting how this can mess with a new mother’s head. My depression and anxiety over this have caused me incredible stress, which probably also didn’t help my milk supply.

    Thanks for bringing this to light. I know some people dislike the term “nazi” used in this situation, but obviously it’s hyperbole and when one is in the situation where she desperately wants to breastfeed but physically can’t, the pressure put upon us by lactation consultants is incredibly cruel and unnecessary.

    • beetqueen

      How miserable! I’m glad you were able to find a way to make both of you happy. I can honestly say that once I accepted my situation, quit stressing over it and stopped blaming myself, I enjoyed being a new mom (maybe not the lack of sleep part). I have two beautiful and happy kids now. My kids are both bright, funny, stubborn, amazing little beings. They never cease to amaze me.

  33. Jaye

    Best thing I’ve read in ages. Many many thanks. My little one has just happily drunk 160ml of formula which her dad has given her because after trying to breastfeed for 1.5 hours with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I am too weak to get off the sofa to fetch a bottle. When I express milk I am lucky if I can get 50ml total from both breasts and that’s after leaning forward with excruciating back pain in order to collect milk. Doing the maths, it’s hardly rocket science is it? I would rather have a happy, social, formula fed baby who I can bond with during all that freed up “non-feeding” time in a loving way doing other things, than an undernourished baby who’s mother is too tired and has no “free time” to be anything other than a “cow” to her. I have tried and tried everything I can with countless feeding consultants in the mistaken belief that “Breast is Best” at all costs. I think if you can do it then that’s great – I’d have loved to have been able to supply her every need myself but if I persevere with breastfeeding I am only struiggling to fulfil one of her needs (and that quite inadequately) and she has so many more needs to be fulfilled than simply feeding. Noone should be made to feel guilty about their ability or inability to breastfeed. Noone knows the hidden depths of anyone’s situation and breastfeeeding should not be looked upon as the only solution with all other options being inferior – in some instances, particuularly when the mother suffers with chronic fatigue, for the sake of the child’s happiness it is simply not worth persevering with at all costs.

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