When Breast Isn’t Best

As a new mom, or a new mom to be, you are told quite frequently that breast milk is the best milk…..and that exclusive breast feeding is the absolute best for your child. I am definitely a member of the breast milk is best milk club. We all know how beneficial breast milk is to the health and development of babies. As a whole, the U.S. Is moving away from formula, and adopting the breast is best mentality. Mothers are put down and made to feel guilty if they can’t breastfeed. 

There are so many reasons that women choose not to breast feed from low/no supply, food allergies, personal choice……the list goes on. There is a group of women who want so desperately to breastfeed that they will do anything, and yet can’t for whatever reason. 

For me, breast feeding, like trying to conceive and pregnancy, has been an uphill battle. I am fighting a battle that I don’t know if I can win. My milk supply took a long time, requiring supplementation to sustain my son. We struggled with poor latch, lip and tongue ties, milk allergies, and now low supply. We worked through the latch problems and come to terms with supplementing with formula. We changed formulas, which seems to have helped with the vomiting and whatnot, and have decided to hold off on clipping the ties. Now we are just struggling with supply issues.

I went to a lactation clinic today and it didn’t go very well. The nurse weighed Luke before I fed him. He was 4414 grams. I then fed him for about an hour (30 minutes on each side) and took him back to the scale to see how much milk was transferred in that time frame. Luke was up to 4434 grams, which I thought was pretty good…..until they did the conversion. Luke gained 20.6 grams, which equates to .73 ounces. Essentially in an hour, Luke ate a little less than three quarters of an ounce. I knew my supply wasn’t highl but I didn’t know it was as low as it is. No wonder my son is so hungry on breast milk alone! 

I am now looking at a couple of options. 1) I can continue to do what I have been as far as drinking as much as I can, taking fenugreek and flax and Brewers yeast and oats. Try and pump as much as I can using my new pump. And essentially feed Luke as much as I can from the breast, and then top him off with formula. 2) I can attempt to take medication to increase my supply. The doctor recommended domperidone, which can drastically increase milk supply, but is banned in the USA. 3) I can give up completely on breast feeding and switch to only formula. 

I don’t know which way to go. Ultimately, it’s a decision that no one can make but me. 

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17 thoughts on “When Breast Isn’t Best

  1. I was on Domperidone. If you decide to go that route, PM me on facebook and I can tell you where I ordered from. Its very reputable. It also increased my supply by about 10 ounces a day, and it probably would have increased it more if I remembered to take it all the time/on time.

    Just know momma- no matter what- you are doing a good job. Breastfed or formula fed, your baby will be happy and healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That all sounds so stressful! I have low supply and just pump what I can and supplement the rest. My son decided to wean himself at 3 mo so I exclusively pump. He gets about half formula half breast milk. Only been sick once in 5 months, more than doubled his birth weight and dr says he is thriving. Even if you can only give your baby a little breast milk, be proud of that. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Even a little bit is worth it.
    As a side note, I did spend the first 2 weeks of his life googling “it’s ok to stop breastfeeding” lol. So I understand stressing over it.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m sorry you’re still struggling so much with this. Whatever you decide to do, just know that you’re doing the very best job that you can, and you’re doing what’s best for little Luke. *hugs*

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  4. No matter what. It’s ok. My little guy has to have some formula because he’s a preemie and needs higher calorie than breast milk will provide. That’s what best for him. So yes, he gets breastmilk…then additional higher calorie formula to help him grow. Of course this messes with my supply, but I simply give him the boob literally whenever he wants it (even if I just pumped), and I pump probably around 6x/day. I take Mothers Milk
    plus supplements and drink lactation smoothies for my own extra calories. We all just do the best we can, and know…it’s enough.

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  5. You know I struggled so hard with breastfeeding so I get it. All of it. Once you make a decision, it gets easier. Do what’s easiest on you and makes you happy.

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  6. Okay I am going to sound heretical here and people are probably going to throw used breasts pads at me but, I say go with # 2 with a plan to move to # 3.

    As you say breast is best. But human beings have supplemented or substituted since the dawn of time. My concern is how much emotional pressure you’re putting on yourself to try and how much frustration you must be feeling as a new mother. I wonder if this is keeping you from enjoying this time with Luke and you feel guilty and ‘lacking’. Which you shouldn’t! I feel like I just want to let you off the hook a bit and you’ll find that you enjoy it all more.

    Of course my stance is easier said than done and coming from someone who does not have a child just yet, so of course take it with a giant grain of sand. But just know if you did decide to use formula exclusively I for one would applaud you for taking that stressor out of the equation. Happy momma, happy baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! Right now I am going with feeding him what I can, when I can and supplementing the rest. He really loves being on the breast, and in a weird way I love it too. He seems happy enough to get dessert before the meal so to speak. Eventually it may come down to bottle only, but I am more at peace with that decision now.

      Liked by 1 person

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