Week Six

six
I don’t think there is a better feeling than holding a sleeping baby on your chest. I just had to put that out there because Rowan is cuddled up on me right now in the Moby wrap as I write this. It makes me smile from ear to ear. It’s our little routine during the day when she takes a nap. I change her, feed her, then wrap her up and we sit here in this big leather office chair and rock back and forth listening to Nathan McKee (Leanne Marshall’s Project Runway Music) on repeat and she falls asleep and I get some work done. I can feel her heart beat against mine and every so often I stop and take a deep breath, smelling the top of her head. Oh baby’s smell so good. I like these moments.
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We are adjusting good into our new life with her. There are def. still ups and downs but for the most part we are still in a groove movin’ forward. It’s funny how you will think you have conquered something and have it all figured out and then something changes and you start all over again. I guess thats what happens when you have a baby that continues to grow- things change. Things don’t stand still. Its good though it It keeps us on our toes. She is starting to become a little more independent. She will be happy lying down playing by herself for like 15 mins. haha that is huge! She smiles so much now too- it’s so cute! My goal everyday is to make her smile as much as possible.
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I have my 6 week appointment tomorrow. I am ready for the green light to start exercising a little. I hope it will make me take a little better care of myself. I find myself at 4pm thinking have I eaten anything today? It just seems to be the one thing that I push aside during the day because there is so much other stuff to do. I need to get better at having breakfast and lunch. I know it will give me more energy. I am not doing it intentionally I just get busy.

Some people have asked us about our bed time routine because Rowan sleeps so good thru the night. Its not something we stick to every night but we try as consistently as we can. We start around 9:30pm & head into our bedroom (she sleeps in there with us in her Stroller Bassinet). We have dimmer switches on our bedside lamps, so I turn them down to keep the room dim. I turn on some relaxing music and we undress her. Give her a bath (every other night) and then we massage her a little as we put on some lotion. We get her dressed in her jammies and we swaddle her. Then I nurse her and rock her/sing to her until she starts to get really sleepy. Then I put her into her little bassinet. She usually wakes a little but I leave her so she gets use to falling asleep on her own. I turn a fan on for white noise and then I shut the door and say good night. She does fuss and cry some nights but we leave her. If she starts crying I always look at the clock and set a time that if she doesnt stop crying I will go in and get her but I have never had to go in- she always falls asleep before my time limit is up. Usually under 10 mins.

Swaddling is key for us and that her bassinet is a cozy small space- I think she feels safe and secure in there. We have to swaddle her in those straight jacket swaddlers with the velcro. She busts out of any hand wrapped blanket and then will instantly wake up. She has a crazy startle reflex. We are going to start moving up her time for bed to around 8. That will give Kev and I more of an evening together before we go to bed as well.
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I am still nursing. Do I love it? No. I don’t. It’s a daily struggle for me. It has nothing to do with her not feeding well because she does. I just don’t enjoy it and that makes me feel really guilty. I have decided to nurse her up to her 2 month doc. appointment and then I think I might switch to formula. I know I might get lots of slack for that, but unless something changes in the next 2 weeks that is what I think my plan is. We gave her, her first formula bottle last night. She drank it like a champ and then had the longest little happy time yet. There was no crying, no fussing, no grunting or kicking like she usually does in the evenings. We have really tough evenings with her. Our doctor had recommended that we try 1 bottle of Soy formula in the evenings before she gets upset and see if that helps. Well it seemed to really help her. So its hard not to think she will be a happier baby if she is always having formula. I don’t know? It’s something that I do go back and forth on every day. We have been having lots of situations lately where she is being watched by our parents and that means they need bottles. I have been pumping like a mad women, but I only have a hand pump and I can only pump on my left side. Which still takes like 30 mins to get 4 ounces. So I keep nursing her on my right, but that is the side that always hurts the most- so it is getting worse because I keep nursing her on that side so I can have enough on my left to pump. It’s a disaster. There is no winning.

Some of you have asked about what I wear to nurse. If I am going out and I know I will be back in time to nurse I wear whatever. If I am going to be out for a while and know I will have to nurse her somewhere I usually just wear a button down shirt and a cardigan. I am not a good social nurser though. Rowan hates the cape thing so I end up going in another room or sitting in the back of the car so it really doesn’t matter what I have on because I usually just unrobe anyways. Sorry to sound so negative about nursing. I know its so good for her and that is why I am so guilt stricken over it but if it’s making me stressed is that really doing her any good anyways? I don’t think so. Its different for every one. Some nurse for years and some not at all. I am just trying to figure out where I fall.
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On a different note. How cute is Rowans Oneise? It’s my new favorite. There is just something so adorable about a baby in a onesie. I think it is there chubby legs showing. I just want to nibble on them! Her oneise is from a company called Barely & Birch. They are an awesome Organic kids clothing company. I love that on their website it says “Kid’s have dibs on the future. Let’s give them a good one.” Thinking about Rowan growing up of course I want her to live on a planet that isn’t full of pollutants. So providing clothing from a company that is doing so much good is a great place to start. Kev and I love screen printing so I was so excited to look thru all their water based screen printed tees. They have so many cute ones. Make sure you go and check out their site!

haha this is when you know our photo shoot together is done…
merowan

*onesie c/o Barley & Birch

  1. Honey do not beat yourself your up about the nursing. I repeat do no beat yourself up. If you need to quit to stop yourself going crazy and enjoy being a mom, then do it. My best friend and I have daughters the same age. They are best friends. Mine was nursed hers wasn’t – and guess what, they’ve developed at the same rate, they’re both happy, and my friend and I did what we thought was best for us. People will be judgemental jerks no matter what you do. Ignore them. I just finished nursing my little guy at 8mths old, and I STILL had people say to me, “oh well, at least you tried” hehe. seriously. people can be crazy, so just don’t take that into consideration. You do what is best for you and your family. You are a great mommy, and don’t forget it!
    ps. speaking from experience, get rid of that hand pump. Those things are the devil I swear. The electric ones are sooooo much more efficient (read: 5 mins pumping or less), and they don’t hurt at all (read: nice break from nursing when it starts hurting). If they’re too expensive (mine was pretty pricey) You can rent the hospital grade ones for like $20 a month from most hospitals too, which is what a friend of mine did.
    Hang in there friend!!! XOXO

  2. Jen, If you want to keep nursing — not out of guilt, but because you want to — talk to Kimberly Mousseau-Young at Terra. She’s a La Leche League leader and blogs for Dr. Sears. She is a great resource and encouragement. But I understand your feelings… Erika

  3. Hang in there, Jen. Do what you need to do. YOU are her mom, no one else–therefore, you get to make these decisions. Don’t worry about what others might say. Rowan will be fine no matter what. She has two parents who love her and only want the best for her. Sane, happy mommy = good thing for baby.

  4. Have you tried a silicone nipple shield? There’s no way I’d be able to nurse without one. Both of my kids are/were maniacs at the breast – chewing, pulling, constantly unlatching and then lunging back. The lactation consultant took one look at my poor boobs and pulled out the little miracle that is a nipple shield.
    Or just go to formula. There’s lots of us perfectly fine people living life that were formula-fed infants! Breast-feeding is not for everyone. Good luck!

  5. I am so impressed with your honesty. It is great that you have given breastfeeding such a big effort but the bottom line is that if you don’t like it you don’t have to do it. You shouldn’t feel guilty at all! Don’t let anyone make you feel bad if you choose to stop nursing. It is your decision, do what feels best for you and baby Rowan! Happiness is key. Rowan is so cute:) I love these weekly updates!

  6. Jen, you are already such a great mom. I can tell just by your posts. Do what you feel is right, and what works best for your family 🙂 That is the beauty of having so many options: breastfeeding, formula, etc. You have the freedom to choose. Don’t beat yourself up on it 🙂

  7. Juliene •

    I love and appreciate your honesty. I’m going to be in the same boat in 4 months, so I really value this glimpse into what it’s like. All the best, Julie

  8. if there is one thing I would change about the first few month’s of my son’s life, it would be that I wouldn’t have felt so guilty about not breastfeeding. it just didn’t work out for us and I tried so hard, but it wasn’t in the cards. I pumped until 6 weeks and then just let it go. he is now almost 2, happy, healthy, and runs around like crazy. I still feel bad for myself back then, feeling so guilty and horrible about it. It sounds like you have the right attitude though. Do what works for you and try not to worry about it!

  9. I think your honesty is awesome. I just found your blog and was interested because I have a daughter and also love a “”Kev” as well…. I had a similar experience with nursing. I hated it and it hurt and my daughter was super gassy. I ended up getting a nipple shield, which was a last ditch effort before quitting. It was a lifesaver, and I ended up making it ten months (nine more months than I expected!). And the gassy I dealt with using Baby’s Bliss gripe water. But really–it is so important for you to be happy as a mother, so you have to do what is best for you both.

  10. I’m no expert but have been breastfeeding for 6 months. I had issues in the beginning with not having enough milk in the afternoon and my bubs being grizzly and the best advice I received from my midwife was EAT MORE. I needed to eat another breakfast type meal for afternoon tea as well as breakfast, morning tea, lunch and dinner as making milk takes up heaps of energy. So I started eating another bowl of homemade sugar free granola/muesli and a protein shake in the afternoon and it really helped. Electric pumps are easy. My bub wont feed in public either as she is too nosy. I usually can’t even talk to her father usually as she will unlatch to look at him. If you do need to bottle feed go for it.

  11. I’ve had a lot of trouble nursing, and I sometimes struggle even after 4 months. While nursing is stressful and demanding, it can always get better with help and support. I’ve struggled with pain, pumping, a baby that screams for 8 hours a day from either gas or reflux or both, and feeling trapped in my home. But I stuck with it because I felt like it was the only thing that I was doing right when everything else seemed to go wrong. If you haven’t already, see a lactation consultant! I almost gave up by day 4, but I saw a consultant and I swear, she had a book of potions for every problem ever imaginable, from too small nipples to reflux. I’m sure you’ve heard everything about changing your diet, reflux, etc., so I won’t bother with that. Nursing in public does get more bearable, if not easier. The more often you bring your baby with you places, the easier she will be to nurse in public. I didn’t feel completely comfortable or confident with breastfeeding for a long time, my turning point probably didn’t come until month two.
    You know what’s best for your baby, and as long as you’ve made sure you’ve found a routine that is the best for your baby’s health and for your sanity, you’ll be fine. Nursing is never easy for anybody in the beginning, but if you know that you’d be a better mother if you gave her formula, no one can judge you. Just don’t give up too soon!

  12. Rowan has gotten so big! She so cute and these photos of you two together are adorable.

  13. I think you’re doing everything so well! I’m happy to hear about how well things are going. You know I’m not going to give you any grief for not nursing anymore after 2 mos. I know how it went for me and am already stocked up on bottles and formula for this one. I think in this case what’s best for mommy is what’s best for baby. Sorry to anyone who disagrees. And I don’ t think you’re “giving up too soon” or “not giving it a fair shot” – Clearly you’ve given it a really good shot. I can’t stand the guilt that comes with switching over to formula. I remember when I changed over with Anthony I cried the first time I gave him a bottle like I was letting him down. Eventually it felt like such a burden off my shoulders and I enjoyed him and feeding time so much more. And look at him now, he’s almost 4 and the healtiest smartest boy ever. So I don’t wanna hear it. I encourage you to do whatever you need to do for your family. I’m so proud of you – I think you’re such a good mommy. xo

  14. I think it’s awesome that you are committed to sticking it out for 2 months nursing. That start makes such a huge difference. I nursed all of my babies, for different time periods. My first was a premie, and was never 100% nursed (always needed formula supplementation from the beginning), and we only made it 2 1/2 months. My 2nd went 4 months. 3rd was a very fussy baby, either sensitive to everything I ate or my milk wasn’t coming in enough, I don’t know. I quit nursing her cold turkey after 3 weeks (and ended up regretting it – more later). My 4th, 5th and 6th all nursed between 8 and 10 months, all pretty much weaning themselves. Now, as to why I regret quitting with #3 – and I have no proof that the early cessation of nursing caused this – but she has from the time she was just over a year until now (14 yrs old) had terrible skin – really bad eczema. Nothing controls it. Now, maybe she would have had it anyway even if I nursed her for 2 years, but I guess some mommy-guilt has settled in about it and I just can’t shake the thought, even now, that maybe it is because I quit nursing her so young. ANYWAY, not trying to tell you what is right and wrong for you and Rowan, because that is such a personal decision, but I just wanted to tell you my experience and give you something to think about. You might want to consider nursing for only morning and evening sessions, as long as your milk supply will handle that, and using formula during the day for everyone’s convenience and comfort.

  15. Hi Jen,

    I know its a very personal decision, but was wondering why you have decide to let Rowan cry while falling asleep? From what some studies reveal, usually it is recommended that a baby that young is attended to immediately to prevent elevated stress levels and to reassure the baby (they say 3 months is a good time to ferber-ize). Have you been recommended different? Not trying to pry, just curious to hear your thoughts on a controversial topic. I don’t know what I’ll do if I have a baby, but it is good to hear both sides.

  16. Also, don’t feel so bad about breastfeeding. I wasn’t breastfed at all and I am ok (debately), have two masters degrees and rarely get sick. No trying to brag, just want to show that it’s not the end of the world if you don’t.

  17. Just read my above comment and I am worried it might come off snarky! Didn’t mean it that way at all, just trying to reassure that you will be ok no matter what you do! Happy mom=happy baby, which is better than any singular decision you make.

  18. I absolutely love your honesty. Do what is best for you and your family. If I learned anything from the last 6 months, it would be not to feel guilty about not breastfeeding. I spent the first two months feeling guilty that I wasn’t able to give our son a full diet of breast milk. But you know what, he’s perfectly thriving and reaching all his milestones on formula. Sometimes I feel like if I hadn’t been so upset and guilt ridden those first two months, I probably would have enjoyed that time much much more. So do what you need to do to enjoy your baby and family. That’s the most important thing. Plus, she already got the most important and valuable part – the colostrum. Good luck!

  19. Jen,

    I really enjoyed this longer, more personal post. I know it takes a lot to sit down & type something decent when you have a newbie. Also, I appreciate that you sometimes get not-nice comments from people, so you opening up like this is huge. Thank you, because so many read your blog & maybe for every one mean commented their will be a hundred new Mommies struggling like you with nursing who will be blessed by you getting a bit more vulnerable.

    With my first, I had an awful time nursing as well. Like you, I made it to two months & then called it a day on nursing. Like you’ve mentioned, the stress & extra time to pump just did not seem worth it. Even though I also struggle with insane New Mommy Guilt, I finally made the call & was soo glad I did.

    Take heart though, with my second & third babies, nursing was a breeze. I don’t know what changed or how it came about, but I was able to nursing for several months with two of my three kids. Just because you & Rowan aren’t digging it right now doesn’t mean nursing is done & over for forever.

    You are a good Mommy, that much a obvious through your concern alone. You are a good Mommy.

  20. Clearly, you know what’s best for you and your child. Do what you’ve got to do!

    I also appreciate the details on your bedtime routine. My daughter is just two weeks older than yours and we never started a bedtime routine for her because she’s been so colicy at night. We were more concerned about stopping the crying than creating a schedule. However now that she’s improved we have a child that can only fall asleep when being held or nursed. So thank you for the reminder about routines….I’m giving it a shot tonight!

    Lisa

  21. If they could bottle that “new baby smell”. I always feel like a freak when I visit my friends with little babies. The first thing I do is smell their precious little head. haha.

    I don’t understand it when women judge other women for their choices. It’s all about what works for you and your family.

  22. I really wouldn’t worry about breastfeeding. I think it’s one of those new-age crazes. Neither my brother nor I were breastfed. He went to the University of Pennsylvania and is now an MD/PhD student at Columbia University, and I am a sophomore at Penn. It’s about the environment and the way you raise your kids, not what you feed them as infants.

    Rowan is adorable and so is your family!

  23. Courtney •

    I think it’s great that you’ve stuck with it for six weeks while not enjoying it. I know it’s a personal choice, but given what you’ve done so far, nursing does sound very important to you. So, before you quit, absolutely see a lactation consultant (don’t just talk to one, See one – they need to see what’s going on to give you good specific advice. And if you have seen one, maybe try a different one). Nursing did not come as naturally, for me or my baby, as I expected it to. The most important thing I learned from my lactation consultant is that nursing should not hurt. . And once my son and I had it down, I found it to be most enjoyable – the equivalent of a warm hug. I’m expecting my second one now and I’m honestly looking forward to the nursing the most.

  24. Rowen is so gorgeous! Hang in there! I totally relate to what you said about the food thing b/c when my daughter was Rowen’s age, I remember thinking that if I could finish my breakfast before noon, I was totally rockin’ it. But, it really helped me to have healthy and easy food on hand so I didn’t have to think about it and didn’t have to work very hard at the fixing or clean up.

    I think breastfeeding is so hard! Maybe especially hard b/c most women don’t expect it to be. And I really don’t think the bonding part comes until later – my daughter was 6 months old before she looked me in the eye while feeding and started doing things like touching my face and whatnot. Anyway, good for you for setting a goal with this aspect of things. Just by doing that, you are teaching your daughter valuable lessons.

    Sounds like you are doing a great job!

  25. One more thing, here’s a great recipe for granola bars that I HIGHLY recommend. Have someone make them for you! They are a great, healthy snack to eat during the day when you can’t be bothered to do anything else.
    http://summerharms.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-mother-in-law-has-done-it-again.html

    I found them right before I had my baby and have given them to new moms now – I call them breastfeeding bars!

  26. lately i’ve felt overwhelmed at the thought of becoming a parent (still years away for us), because everyone seems so preachy about the wonderful joy of nursing … and i just can’t wrap my head around what my options are if i don’t feel the same. so i find your honesty really refreshing.

    you’re doing an amazing job!

  27. Just think you should know, breast feeding can affect IQ, as well as having some health benefits. This isn’t some “new age hippie nonsense.” I had to do a research paper on this topic for a university course, and have sifted through a good bit of literature on this. While there has been debate among the scientific community on whether or not studies about breast feeding and IQ used optimal methodologies, there was definitely a positive correlation between breast feeding and IQ. Then, in 2007, I believe, there was a paper published that uncovered a key gene in this debate. Children with this gene will develop a measurably higher IQ if breast fed.
    I just think you should know this, and not let anyone tell you to brush it off as “new age hippie nonsense.”
    Here is a link to the scientific article: http://www.pnas.org/content/104/47/18860.short
    Just so you can confirm that this research really does exist. (You don’t have to read it, unless you want to, scientific papers are usually really dry and boring to read. Also, I’m not sure how easy the full article is to access off of a university campus, but hopefully you can at least see the abstract.)
    HOWEVER, I want to make it clear, that if you make the decision not to breast feed, I don’t think it makes you a bad person or anything like that. Lots of people in the comments above make testaments to the fact that breast feeding is not the only factor in a child’s development. A lot of other things are really important too, and I think that as long as you make informed decisions, everything will turn out just fine. Everyone has a unique situation and you have to do what is best for yours. (Please, please, please, don’t let this hurt your feelings or anything, you seem like such a nice person and I would feel really bad if this did that. I just don’t want you to be misled about the issue, as I think it is important to at least be informed about.)

  28. Hey Jen. I agree with many other commenters that you being happy is the most important factor. If you will be disappointed in yourself if you quit or if you will be happier not worrying about it. I also had a lot of pain breastfeeding my first. I second the vote to rent a hospital grade electric pump! And pump first thing in the morning (way more milk to be had).

    Have you ever heard of Reynaud’s Syndrome? It is a common undiagnosed cause of nipple pain/ uncomfortable nursing. The solution is B6 supplements. Or undiagnosed yeast, the cure for that is 1-3 doses of gentian violet. I don’t know your particular situation but maybe something simple can make a world of difference (and quickly).

    If you have a happy healthy babe and a happy healthy mom then you are doing it right! There are lots of right ways to raise your kids so don’t listen to anyone who says different!

  29. I know everyone is giving you there 2 cents, it can get annoying at times. My baby is a little bit older than yours so I am understanding how you feel about the breastfeeding. I tried pumping and it was just sooo hard. It takes so much time and it hurts. I started her on formula at 1 month and have been ever since. I struggled with feeling guilty too because I knew breastmilk was the best thing for her, but you need to be happy too. I am so glad I formula feed. My baby is much happier and satisfied, which makes for a happy mama!

  30. My advice about the nursing is- don’t give up so soon. You are still in the early stages. It took me 4 months of being miserable, bleeding nipples, pain every time, mastitas, OMG all the worst things…It took 4 months for the pain to subside. For me to enjoy it, for me to really FEEL the immense bond it had created between my son and I. The bond is irreplaceable. NOTHING can take it’s place. Life is short. You’ll probably only nurse her a year anyways. What’s ONE year of sacrifice out of your life for this precious little being? Your daughter! Your milk is what is best for her. NOTHING else compares. The benefits are endless. Don’t give up. Your daughter needs this from you. The payoff will come later, I promise. You will love it in the end and it is SOOOOO much easier than dealing with bottles on the go. Trust me. Give it at least 2 more months. If you still hate it, then quit.
    Laura

  31. I say this with love, without judgement and knowing that YOU can do it!!!! Sometimes we don’t truly appreciate or realize the true value of something without the struggle. I feel that breastfeeding is designed this way so that we as mothers truly value it when we have reached the top of the mountain. 🙂

  32. Wow, just reading through your post and the comments I feel like I got a glimpse into motherhood. I don’t have any children yet, but would like to try breastfeeding when I do. Thank you for being so honest about what’s going on with you and Rowan, it’s very interesting to read and helps me think through things relating to babies and being a mom that I might never have thought about! I hope you figure out what works best for you and your family. Also, I hope your doctor’s appointment goes well and that you get the OK to get back to exercise! From your posts it sounds like you miss running, and I don’t blame you, I would too! Please post if you decide to get a jogging stroller and go running with Rowan. I know I would be very interested to hear advice on picking out a stroller, and how things go with running after pregnancy, and running with baby.

    Love the pictures of you two, they are so precious!

    -Hannah

  33. When I was pregnant and talking to a good friend of mine about my desire to a) have a natural birth and b) nurse exclusively, she gave me a good piece of wisdom: Michelle, that’s great, but if you do have to have an epidural, it doesn’t make you a bad mom. And if you have to switch to formula, it doesn’t make you a bad mom. I ended up having to be induced 17 days after my due date and made it to 7 cm before caving and getting the epidural. My daughter is 9 months old and we have made it with just nursing.

    So…sometimes we don’t always get what we want. But doing what is best for YOU is sometimes going to be what is best for Rowan.

    That being said, I third the suggestion to try an electric pump before you give up on that. I haven’t tried a hand pump but remember the days of only being able to get an ounce or two even with an electric pump…it’s a pain in the butt either way, but electric has got to be better. Have you thought about just supplementing with formula if you’re only going to be gone for one feeding? Or giving formula for one feeding a day so there’s more milk for you to pump (and build up your freezer supply)?

    Breast is best, the research is clear. But Rowan will likely never suffer horrible effects if you switch. Don’t continue breastfeeding if you hate it, but don’t switch if you think you’ll regret it! It really does get easier. Good luck!

  34. I’m only a little over 2 weeks into feeding and I really don’t like it either. You are not the only one. I’m hoping it gets easier, but mostly I just want my body back. *sigh* I wish you luck on your formula journey if you go that way 🙂

  35. OK, I wasn’t going to comment, because, although, you get great advice you also get people that may not be as sensitive to having to HAVE to give up breastfeeding, or, with my other son, who I adopted, you really don’t get the choice! I don’t always agree breast is best. My little guy breastfed for 2 months and screamed the first 2 months. Occasionally curling his legs up like his tummy hurt. After switching him to formula (which doc also recommended) , he slept better, no crankiness. I think some babies have a milk sensitive allergy and it sounds like if Rowan does great on soy, than she might have an upset belly also, sometimes.
    And for the person that said the bond is irreplaceable…..oh give me a break! You get what you make out of it. If I sat and sulked about not breastfeeding my baby for a whole year, I would have missed out on all the cuddling opportunities and just being grateful I have this incredible person I get to bond with for a lifetime and make the best out of it, cuz I only get one chance! Sorry to go on a rant, but not being able to breastfeed with one and “giving up” after 2 months with another made them no more sick, no more “un-bond able” to me or any of that other crap.
    You are a super-mom Jen! Do what is best for you! Either way, you rock!

  36. I’ve been a lurker for some time now and really enjoy your blog. I just had to tell you that I totally understand the guilt you feel about switching from nursing to formula. My son (who is now almost 8) didn’t gain weight in the first couple of weeks and in fact lost almost a pound while I was exclusively nursing. The ped recommended formula and nursing/pumping as much as I could. Even with the high-powered electric pump, I would pump for 45 minutes and end up with 3 oz total (my biggest production ever). So for 10 weeks I did everything … pumping, bottle-feeding, nursing. I was miserable, spent a lot of my maternity leave crying about it, and since I was going back to work, I decided to just switch to formula … I got a little grief from nosy people, but in the end, I was able to spend more quality time with my son because I wasn’t trying to do everything.

    It’s a very hard and personal decision, but it’s YOUR decision, not anyone else’s. You’re so clearly a great mom!!

  37. I could have written this post word for word back in February.. Breast Feeding is darn hard.. and it was PAINFUL for me and everyone said it will get better in a week or two.. it took 2 Months.. everyday I was feeding her I kept saying just get through today.. I introduced a bottle for forumula at night just like your doing at the same age.. so for the next 9 months I had no stress because I could leave my baby with grandparents and have enough and I nursed her until Oct 9th.. nobody said you can’t do both so why not.. its wonderful because the pressure is off and you still have that special time together

  38. Sherry S. •

    Hi Jen!! So, I remember sitting @ my pc a few months ago sending you an email that pretty much opened my flood gates (grrr to those hormones!) I have Logan who is now 8 months old (funny I saw a girl named Logan replied to you -I never thought of it as a girls name but I LIKE it!!) ok, back on topic. FIRST, I agree with an above comment of anyone who told you to ditch the hand pump!! DITCH it!!! I think pumping itself is to be ditched but that is only my opinion!! I hear how other moms struggle with it daily. I chose to stop all together because I would pump like a champ in the beginning but then it went down significantly, so I figured if I can’t see how much I’m not getting well then I won’t worry!!! I mean really, look at Logan… the kid is NOT starving!! LOL!! It’s a machine and who really wants to produce anything while being attached to that!!
    I was told that it really takes two months to settle into BFing…So, I told myself in the beginning we would try for 2 mths, then said ok I’ll see how it goes to 4 months (I think the toughest part was the first 4 months. They require SO much!!! Then it tapered off and we made it to 6 months. We are now at 8 months!!! Guess what… didn’t know I would make it that long and still don’t know how much longer it will last! Everyday is different as you’ve already figured out, but why worry about something that CAN be made better?!! I am a very strong supporter of BFing. I DO believe breast is best -IF you are able!!! I can’t stand these moms who get on their freakin’ soap boxes about something that is SO personal and really quite individual! I completely agree with Tina, Rowan will not suffer because you chose to be happy during this VERY PRECIOUS frist year! Some women are not able and that is fact.
    YOU are doing GREAT!! Just like everyone else who commented… It’s just something that shows in the photos of how you look at her and nestle (sp?) her!
    Being a mother does not mean you are *poof* perfect and *poof* flawless!! You are going to build confidence as a mom as each day goes on and hey, if you mess up the first kid you can always have another!!! JUST JOKING!!! no really though, you are doing wonderful we mother’s just have this built in ability to worry too much!! I figure it’s better than not worrying enough!
    Love, Sherry

  39. I think you need to do whatever works for you, your baby, and your family. Don’t let anyone let you feel bad, just because their choices aren’t your choices.

  40. I love these posts so much! Rowan is getting so big so fast. She looks like she’s gonna be tall, but then you and Kev seems tall so that makes sense! I love her onesie! I can’t wait until I have a baby some day and can go back and use all your awesome resources for baby things. Gosh Rowan even looks adorable when she’s crying! 🙂

  41. Krystal •

    Thank you for sharing! Thank you for your honesty! I agree with all the comments that say do what is best for you and your family and that you are a great mom!!! Rowan keeps getting cuter!!

  42. So honest! I have been spending the last 2 weeks with my cousin and her newborn in Norway and having been around mothers for the last 2 weeks, I have really noticed that nursing is such a hot topic; to nurse or not to nurse.

    I hope you find what works for you; don’t worry about anything but yours and your baby’s well being!

    xoxo
    bianca

  43. alainna •

    Like everyone before me has said, do what is best for your family! The only reason my son has breast milk is because the one time investment in an electric pump was less expensive than the cost of formula for a year (roughly $500 for a year of formula vs a $280 pump). My son already has a tooth and he’s not even 6 months, so now he only gets what I can pump mixed 1/2 and 1/2 with formula. I won’t lie, I’ll be happy when I don’t have to pump anymore, but the thrift in me just can’t give it up quite yet because I can still see savings. The other bonus to the electric pump is that it gives me at least 10 minutes to surf the internet as many times as I do it 🙂

  44. i’m not a mama but i do know my mama bottle fed both my sister and i and we are both happy & healthy grown adults with no resonating issues from not being breastfed! i know when my sister had my nephew she had issues breastfeeding as well and had the guilt but when she realized her son was just as happy with formula (and gaining more weight like he needed to) she put all that aside and never looked back. a few weeks after that she not only had a happy & health baby, she had her boobs back too! she said she just felt so much better being able to really workout again without the soreness and all and her feeling better about herself and healthier led to her being a more peaceful mom i think. now he’s a year and a half and smart and strong and funny and no worse for the wear! bottom line, and i’m sure mom’s & non-mom’s agree, you need to do what’s best for the baby AND you and only you know what that is. best of luck! i really enjoy reading your blog and being that i want to start a family soon with my husband, love reading your new mama adventures!

  45. I love the honesty here, Jen. People will say what they want to say and they will show “evidence” that one way is better than another, but the fact of the matter is that I know plenty of people that were breastfed and plenty of people that weren’t. My mom breastfed my older brother, but right after I was born she got into a bad car accident and she couldn’t nurse me. There isn’t anything more wrong with me than the next person. And I saw someone mention in the comments above about people having lower IQ’s that are not breastfed and I, for one, know that it’s not true, from my own families experience.

    You do what you need to do for your family. The last thing you want to do is feel guilty for something that you shouldn’t feel guilty about. You feed her, love her, comfort her and care for her. That is what she needs.

  46. Long time reader here! My daughter, Olive, is 17 weeks. I know your post is primarily about breastfeeding and whether you will continue, but what struck me is your comment that the evenings with Rowan are really difficult. That is SO common! Babies go through what in our part of the country is referred to as the “evening fussies.” It usually starts around 2-3 weeks and can last up to 3 months. In the evidence-based research, these days are referred to as “frequency days” and usually coincide with a physical or mental growth spurt. The fussing at the end of the day is your baby’s way of blowing off steam, ramping down their state and preparing for sleep after being overstimulated all day. You can read about it here: http://www.kellymom.com/bf/concerns/baby/fussy-while-nursing.html (Kelly Mom is a fab resource for BF, by the way). I don’t know what kind of issues you’re having BFing, but frequency days might be to blame! Six weeks is still pretty early in the grand scheme of things. Olive still pulls on my nipples (like taffy — ouch!) and squirms like crazy during a growth spurt. Anyway, just wanted to let you know how commong the evening fussies are. Hang in there. It gets better!

  47. *Of course I spell “family’s” wrong when I’m talking about IQ. Haha!

  48. Oops, wrong link above. Try this one: http://www.kellymom.com/babyconcerns/fussy-evening.html.

  49. too sweet, i love mom & baby photos. <3

  50. Jacqueline •

    I haven’t read all the above comments, but I realize you are getting a lot of advice. But something inside just isn’t going to give up this opportunity to share a few things with you. First, thank you for being so open and honest. It is so important for mothers to have people like you that they can check in with to a get a real perspective. You are saying what so many are feeling and it is so comforting. Second, here is my breastfeeding advice. Whatever you choose is the right decision. You will know what is best for your child, always. Whether you continue to breastfeed or you switch to formula, you are not making a bad choice for your child.

    My experience has taught me these things. One, let Kev in on everything you are feeling. When I struggled with breastfeeding early on, my husband was my biggest supporter. I would not have gotten very far without him knowing exactly what I was going through. Two, eat more. You need to take care of yourself. Don’t let yourself forget meals. You are still eating for two and your body needs those nutrients to produce milk. Three, get an electric pump. They are miracle workers. I am a momma who unfortunately has to work full time. I returned to work after six weeks. I started pumping at five weeks to build my supply. It was a struggle, daily. I kept a picture of my baby in my breast pump bag and put it out so that I could look at it when I pumped twice a day at work. Even though you are home with Rowan, if you get on a regular pumping schedule for atleast a few feedings your supply might stay more steady. I breastfed my babe for fourteen months and I feel so rewarded by the experience. I know that my daughter will probably never care, but I know my sense of pride in this accomplishment is irreplaceable.

    You can’t make a bad decision here, but I hope maybe my words might help. I wish you the very best of luck. You seem like a pretty cool momma!

  51. Jen I don’t have kids yet but I wanted to join those above who have said your honesty and openess is fantastic … Love it! You are a great mom, you know what’s best for your baby. Don’t beat yourself up, do what feels right, everything else will follow. I wish you the best.

  52. Jen,
    I’ve not read any of the comments so I apologize if I’m redundant. Breastfeeding is *incredibly* hard work. It is a full time job! If one does it, it takes an insane amount of dedication and that is not always possible, not to mention physically it is not always possible. With my first I was able to breastfeed exclusively (until he started solids at 6 mos) until 13 months. With my second it was only until 6 months. I think there is a real lack of information going out today that says ‘hey this is HARD work. It takes tremendous determination and even then that is not always enough’.

    Best of luck to you, feel free to email me anytime!

    Ps. I hate hand helds. they are HORRIBLE. If you decide to keep pumping, I highly recommend an electronic one. Also remember any breastfeeding you do is better than none! very very best!

  53. Betsy Ontario2 •

    Hi Jen, Find a supportive breastfeeding group in your area NOW!! You will not only get the information and support you need to nurse your baby, but you will meet a room full of kindred spirits – women like you who want to do the very best for their babies and have hundreds of ideas to make breastfeeding a great thing for your whole family. You need cheerleaders, and that’s what they will do. As a wonderful plus, you will meet women and babies who will become forever friends for you and for Rowan. When you need to remember why breast is best for you and for Rowan, borrow a copy of the La Leche League manual “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” and read pages 5-13 in Chapter One – and then keep reading the manual. I used my Womanly Art like some people use the Bible. When I needed encouragement, I would open the manual and read where my finger landed, then remember why it was wonderful and important that my baby and I were a breastfeeding couple.
    Things are working well for you….so (cheerleading, here) Go, Go, Go….you are off to a good start, and by the holidays, when you snuggle in with Rowan for a feeding by the lights of the Christmas tree, you’ll be so glad you have are giving your daughter the best gift of all….mother’s milk, served up with love!
    XOXO Betsy

  54. Betsy Ontario2 •

    OOh, and if it’s not too late – Womanly Art, newest edition,
    page 306
    How to Store Your Milk
    Your milk will stay fresh for at least four to eight hours at room temperature (77 degrees F.)
    ……and continue reading, or check the web for more info.!!

  55. I wanted to add that I couldn’t agree more with what the Betsy poster said about when you are snuggling under the Xmas lights nursing your little one, if it is something you really want to do, then it is worth any and all trouble to do it. These hard times are very hard, and at 6 weeks it may be time to get outside help. Above all, if one doesn’t pump then yes it is like being on-call nonstop. I remember going out with friends or my husband knowing that as soon as baby was hungry, it was home I would go. That was frustrating at times, but looking back, it is a season that passes *so* quickly (I’m about to send my firstborn to kindergarden!) that tolerating the inconveniences can be worth it. I think noone wants to lay it out there like that – yes, it will be inconvenient. You will likely have very little time truly away from Rowan, or at the most, it will be several hours (while she is this little) but by next summer you will be down to just 3 – 4 feedings a day and you will be able to be away if you need to or want to, for much longer.

    Above all, try to remember it is just a short, short season and it is a very short season that we as women (and only women) have the privilege to be mothers of young children….it passes. I know it doesn’t seem like it but it does, and quickly….very best!

  56. Oh my gosh, your pictures are GORGEOUS. I miss the young baby stage– it passes so quickly!

  57. You don’t need to pump if you want to go out. Take all that stress out of it – it will free up a lot of your time. Two months is a while, but in the grand scheme of your life, it really isn’t any time at all. What about 6 months? 10? Still not long. It gets easier. IT GETS EASIER. Soon, you will do it while eating chips and salsa and listening to music and reading a magazine and blah blah and it will just be so much easier. Take out the dumb pumping that is a major pain in the butt. Take out the feeling like formula is superior to you. Formula will keep her quiet for longer because it can’t be digested as easily as breastmilk. Kind of like when you eat Kraft Dinner. Your tummy fills up with a big lump of…. stuff…. but it doesn’t do much for you. Sorry, but formula isn’t much better.

    I have two kids who were breastfed. One for not very long because I thought I hated it. I waited a bit before having the second, and learned so much about how great breastfeeding was that yea, I felt guilty about weaning him at 4 months. Baby 2 I let him self wean. He weaned at 11 months but I would have gone longer. It gets easier. Did I mention that? IT GETS EASIER. Hang in there. Drink lots of water. Formula might have gone easier one time, but keep in mind it’s because it isn’t as easily digested and what she really needs is her mommy. Kev needs to get in the kitchen to get you some water and snacks. Lots of TLC for YOU is what you need to breastfeed successfully. Technique figures itself out, but mama/baby bonding time will fix breastfeeding and any lurking baby blues.

    Take care.

  58. Jen,
    don’t let people make you feel guilty. Nursing isn’t for everyone! I hated every minute of it!! I did it for 4 months with both of my kids…I only lasted that long because I was worried about what everyone else was saying. we were ALL much happier after I stopped and both kids were as healthy and good as when I was breastfeeding. Everyone has something to say but… you gotta do what is right for you. If mama ain’t happy no one is happy! 🙂 Love your blog and Rowan is beautiful!!

  59. i love how honest and sweet and caring you are. you clearly love your little babe so much! i definitely wouldn’t feel bad about stopping nursing if it’s a struggle for you; she will be just fine with formula. and your bedtime routine sounds so, so sweet! and i adore the photos of you two together. xoxo joanna

  60. ps. also i agree with the advice about trying out an electric pump. it’s WAY WAY faster. i can empty both boobs (at the same time) in less than 10 minutes. i used a manual pump at first and it drove me nuts!

  61. Breastfeeding is nice for the baby if the mother is also happy about it. And I am not just saying it for the interaction but physiologically. If you’re stressed about it more cortisol will go into the milk and into your baby (there are many academic articles on the effects of cortisol in breastmilk on the child, you can google cortisol in breastmilk on scholar for some references if you’re interested). So in the end of the day, if you’re not happy about it, it will not be doing that extra good people like to talk about. You sound like a reasonable person and like a good mom actually so don’t worry if formula will turn out to be best for your baby. After all, you are supposed to provide for your baby. Whether that is your breast milk or formula is a small detail. Really, who can judge you for wanting to give your baby what’s best for her? But by the way, perhaps the fact that you’re less than happy about it and the lack of food are both working against you. For your own health, do try to get some food in…Good luck and happy mothering!

  62. Okay, I admit I am very pro nursing. But I had a HORRIBLE first six weeks. Lots of tears, stress, anger, etc. It really does get easier. And also, when I was nursing my kids (not that long ago), the cape things were the exception rather than the norm. I think a T-shirt or other knit top with a cardi would be easier. And no need to go into the other room … I think we nursing moms always think people are looking more than they are. Good luck with it! And re another post, yes, skinies+trench = great. Oh, and PS — re pumps, rent the hospital-grade kind. Anything less is too time-consuming and difficult.

  63. Bummed that the nursing isn’t going well for you =( I say do what’s right for you! I also have many friends that swear by the big electric pumps. The milk comes out quickly, you can do both sides at once and then freeze extra milk, and supposedly it doesn’t hurt.

    Good luck with whatever decision you make! You’re the mommy so do what works for you =)

    I love her onesie!

  64. don’t feel guilty…do what’s right for you…i nursed for a month before switching to formula (on my midwife’s recommendation)…i can’t tell you how my mood/baby blues changed after that…it was like a weight was lifted. obviously that’s not the case for everyone, but don’t feel guilty about it….she will be fine 🙂

  65. Echoing what one commenter said earlier, you are still in the very early stages of nursing, and it does get better. I’m a La Leche League leader, so if you need some support, feel free to contact me! If there’s an LLL group in your area you may want to get to a meeting, it helps to be around other mothers who are in your shoes. Congratulations, your little girl is absolutely darling!

  66. I just read this and totally understand what you are going through. My daughter is 11 weeks old and we could never get her to breastfeed, both of us just weren’t a good match and it was the most frustrating experience for me, so I have been exclusively pumping for the last 2+ months and its worked great for us. I rented a hospital grade pump for 3 months (Ameda) and have an electric one too. I usually use th hospital one when I’m at home because its gentler and it emulates a babies suction, so you don’t end up producing too much and feel engorged and use the electric one when I’m out and honetly it works just as well for me (but I’ve read using electric one’s exclusively from the begining could dry me up sooner – which I don’t believe – so I use my hospital pump at home). This has worked great for us, I’ve started work and my baby is with my mom and this arrangement is working out great for us! I’ve introduced formula since day 2, and till last week we gave her formula once a day, now I have upped it to twice a day. I haven’t set out a timeline till when I’ll pump and feed her, but will try as long as I can. I understand the feeling that others may judge you and all that, but trust me, you know best! I’m sure your babies dad is very supportive and that’s all that matters. I have set my pumping time as “ME” time in my otherwise crazy day, and that’s the time I get to meditate, read, paint my nails, read blogs…whatever!

    Down the line your baby won’t remember what she was fed, she’ll just know how much you love her and that’s all that matters 🙂 Happy mommy = happiest baby!

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Hi, I'm Jen!

Welcome to my personal lifestyle blog. It features topics such as motherhood, family life, fashion, cooking, and all sorts of adventures. I hope you enjoy what you find!


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