feeling sad

July 3, 2014

I’m feeling kind of low today.  I just cannot stop the stupid preoccupation with Cameron’s milk / breastfeeding, and it’s really weighing on me*.  I am now in a frustrating phase where I am definitely not making enough for him.  (Today I pumped ~10 oz.  He drank . . . 19.)  But I’m also not totally ready to be done with pumping.  And I’m not even getting any of the nice parts of breastfeeding anymore: every time I go to feed him, I have anxiety about it**, and every time I pump I feel really lame and down on myself for not being able to provide for him.  Since that is 3x/day currently, that’s a lot of negativity.

It sucks.

I may just need to STOP pumping and go to twice daily feeding and let things settle out naturally, because the number of hours that this is on my mind is just — too many.  I wish I didn’t feel so sad about it.  I really do cherish the breastfeeding relationship because it’s the one thing that only I can do for Cameron.  (And yet really — I can’t do it.  Not quite enough, anyway.)

BAH.  I might go in the opposite direction and try domperidone for a little while.  Well, maybe.

* As I read this, I realize how crazy it sounds.  WHY is this such a stressor?  I spend hours thinking about it and still can’t even figure that out.  It’s not peer pressure, though that doesn’t help.  It’s like a deep-seated primal thing, I think.  ALSO: dropping prolactin –> increased gonadotropins –> hormone roller coaster.  I have a zit on my chin to prove it.
** Because if there is not ‘enough’ milk there for it to flow nicely, he freaks out and basically rejects the breast in a frantic showdown – a horrible feeling.
edited to add: I just want to clarify this isn’t an issue where I am worried about him getting some formula.  This actually doesn’t bother me, and a routine bottle/day or something isn’t a big deal.  It’s just that I want to be able to breastfeed him on demand — in the morning, overnight, and on weekends.  I don’t want to have to stress out every feed about whether there is ‘enough’.  I want that bond with him to be a positive one like it was with Annabel.


  • Reply SharonDC March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    From someone with a different perspective- my daughter (now 3) stopped breast feeding at around 3 months because of severe acid reflux. I had tons of milk, she just would scream and arch her back whenever I tried to breast feed her. Lactation consultants and the pediatrician were no help. I was desperate to breast feed her. We bottle fed, I pumped exclusively for an additional 3 months, then did formula + breast milk from 6 months to a year. Pumping consumed my life, and I am convinced it was for no one’s benefit.

    I am sad that you are sad, and I know how you feel. Looking back, I deeply regret the time I spent pumping. There is this crazy pressure to breast feed, I was so worried about the silent judgement of those who consider moms who formula feed to be somehow "less" than moms who do. Less committed, less loving, less sensitive to their baby’s needs. And I am a professional working mom with a doctoral degree.

    I call BS on the whole thing. If I could go back in time and give a pep talk to my postpartum self, I would have her throw away the pump. There is so much loveliness and joy in my daughter that I often overlooked in her early months obsessing about milk and beating myself up about why I wasn’t a "good" enough mother to breast feed her.

    You are a stellar mom! This too shall pass.

  • Reply Melanie March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Oh Sarah, I can so understand your stress about all of this. I have a 6 mo old son and there’s no way I’d be able to keep up with what he drinks at daycare if I were working full time (I’m part time for now). How did you feel when you went to just am/pm/night feedings with Annabel? That seems like a nice way to continue breastfeeding but ditch the blasted pump! I know that means breastfeeding completely on demand on the weekends may not be possible then, but you’d still get the daily snuggles/closeness. You are such a great mom, and you will continue to be the center of baby C’s world regardless of how he gets the majority of his calories.

  • Reply Brittnie March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Agree with the above commenters. You’re not wrong to feel this way. I hate that you are so sad & anxious though. Regardless of how it all plays out, or how C gets fed, YOU will always be his mommy & a darn good one at that! Just try to remember that (just like actual childbirth) there are no prizes or medals or trophies at the end of this life phase. In the end it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that you love him & care for him always!!

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Being a working breastfeeding mom is SO incredibley difficult! I have a 3.5 month old and am also spending too much time worrying about my milk supply. Last week, her "teacher" at day care asked if they could start increasing one of her bottles from 5oz to 6oz because she seemed to need a little more, and I almost cried because I have been struggling to pump enough for the 15oz she’s already eating while I’m at work! Just wanted you to know you’re not alone.

  • Reply Stacy March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Sucks! Totally understand the emotional down in the dumps feeling because it’s not supposed to be this hard! I kept feeling like breastfeeding was this natural thing – why was it not going perfectly? And then you start hearing from real moms and learn that everybody struggles with something (especially when it comes to nursing!) and that raising a baby is really, really hard. I worried that I wouldn’t feel a connection once I stopped, but my kiddo still wraps his little hand around mine, whether I’m nursing or bottle feeding. Again, much like lots of things about parenting, I felt the anticipation of stopping pumping was a lot worse than actually doing it. Once I stopped, I felt so much less anxiety, it was wonderful. I also had so much anxiety about daycare but once I actually did it and saw that he was fine, I love it. I think you might be struggling with anticipation anxiety, but once you make a decision, the actual day to day actions will be fine.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Why is exposing an infant to reglan or domperidone acceptable (taking into account there are no long term studies evaluating the potential side effects of these medications on newborns and these are off-label uses), but formula is the devil? That is crazy to me. No way in hell would I give these medications to my infant unless absolutely necessary, and for me to provide enough milk and feel better about myself does not constitute absolutely necessary.

    I am a veterinarian who regularly prescribes domperidone for equine horses, and you couldn’t pay me enough to take it myself. That is just nuts.

  • Reply Elizabeth March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Ugh, sorry, I meant equine patients.

  • Reply Emily March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    Hugs to you. This is SUCH a tough issue to deal with. I have definitely been there. I kw you have probably already thought about this, but just a suggestion: do you think he’s being overfed while away from you? Generally I’ve heard the rule of thumb is 1-1.25oz/hour the baby is away from you, and that’s held true for my kids (or for my older one, anyway. My younger is only 3ish months and we haven’t been apart for long enough yet to say definitively). 19 oz seems like a lot and he probably wouldn’t be getting that much from you in 9 or 10 hours if you were home all day. Is the nanny using paced feeding? Of course, every kid is different so C may just need more milk, and you’ve probably already thought of this anyway! I also just want to echo what others have said that I can tell you are an awesome mom and you will definitely maintain that bond with C no matter how you feed him. But I also totally understand the tendency to get completely obsessed with milk supply. I am currently also completely obsessed with my freezer stash (I’m not back at work yet) and have way too much self-worth wrapped up in breastfeeding! But it also seems worth it in a way. I’ve often felt like when our babies are so little there are really very few important choices we make for them so the ones that we do have to make like bf v. bottle seem so momentous. When they’re older and we have to give them much more emotional support, discipline, intellectual guidance, etc., this one decision will seem so small by comparison.

    • Reply Kristin March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

      Agreed! I have dealt with low supply (domperidone has been a tremendous help) and have seen a couple of different lactation consultants who both told me about paced bottle feeding (search paced bottle feeding on kellymom.com). I was also told that in general, 1 ounce per hour away from you is sufficient. I pump at least 3 times a day at work and I average about 10 ounces total per day (and my babe consumes three 3 ounce bottles while at daycare for 8-9 hours).

      Also, I just want to say good job, mama! Breastfeeding/pumping is such hard work. I went back to work about 6 weeks ago and it is incredibly tough. You are doing a great job! You should absolutely be proud of your 10 ounces.

  • Reply Colleen March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    I’ve commented on all your posts about this but I just wanted to add again – you aren’t alone in this! What you’re going through and feeling are exactly what I’m facing with my 3.5 month old daughter and my return to full-time work. Except she also seems to have sensitivity to the formula we’ve tried, adding to my overall guilt and angst. It sucks and feels very not fair 🙁 I don’t have any wisdom – just wanted to say you aren’t along – others struggle with this too. Oh and I wanted to thank you so much for being willing to put yourself out here b/c it helps me immensely to know I’m not alone either and this isn’t anything I’m doing wrong!

    To the previous commenter Emily – I think this is very kid dependent. I’ve never heard that rule of thumb – instead I’ve read 25-30oz/day, so it really depends on how often your child eats and if they eat over night. My daughter drinks anywhere from 12-16 oz in 8 hours at daycare, depending on how her other feeds are spaced, but she only eats 3 or 4 other times when she’s with me (~ 3-4 oz/feed) so that works out to somewhere between 25-30 oz/day. Just a thought because believe me I know I’ve agonized over this!

  • Reply MissJennyPenny March 10, 2019 at 7:15 pm

    Just a thought, but since he is a big boy he might need something solid to keep him full. Have you started him on any solids? Baby oatmeal might fill him up a bit better, so that he is not so desperate when trying to breast feed.
    I also think it is quite common for bottle fed babies to get impatient and frustrated at the breast. They are not used to having to wait for a let down, since with the bottle they get an immediate flow. I know this was the case with mine if they got a couple of pumped bottles in a row.
    I hope you can find peace in whatever you decide to do. A year from now this pain will be very distant, and you probably won’t even understand why it caused so much sadness. Enjoy your lovely little boy, he is gorgeous!

  • Reply gn0mel0ver March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    I am so sorry you are feeling this way. You are definitely not alone. Emily Henderson posted this about a month ago recanting her pumping saga. She has now officially weaned him, but I thought it might help. http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/happy-6-mon

    I hope today is better!


  • Reply Life in Vet School March 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm

    I totally agree with several of the PPs, especially Erika – I catch myself being so stingy with my freezer stash, and having to remind myself that it’s FOR E, whether she uses it now or later. And that I’m wasting valuable time and energy, that could be spent enjoying my adorable baby, stressing out over my stupid milk supply. There are already things I wish I hadn’t wasted time worrying about, and she’s only 8 months old! I’m sure milk supply will be one of them eventually.

    For me, I think that part of it honestly is that I’m an achievement-oriented person, and in real life, especially parenthood, there are very few concrete markers of success. How do you know if you’re a good parent? There are thousands of things that go into that assessment! But milk supply – ah, there is something that can be counted, measured, quantified. I can put a big solid check mark in the pumping box for the day if I hit [x] ounces, or if supply exceeds demand, and that is so very satisfying. To ME, though – E could get those ounces from me, from a pumped bottle, or from formula, and be just as happy. I try to remind myself of that when I’m getting anxious.

    Also, C is absolutely adorable!!!

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