My Emotional Breakdown

This morning, I took Gage in for his 4 month well visit. I haven’t been looking forward to it for weeks now. I knew he was going to get shots, but I also knew that I was going to have to admit defeat on breastfeeding.

A few weeks ago, I posted that I was looking for Low Iron Infant Formula. Since that post, much has happened.

Gage will nurse for 30 – 45 minutes at each feeding. As soon as he’s “done,” he starts screaming. I’m not talking about just crying, either. These are ear-piercing-gimme-more-food type screams. Every time he nurses, I follow up with a bottle. He drinks 6 – 8 ounces every.single.time. If I go all day without nursing him, I can only pump 1 – 2 ounces total. I’m just not producing anything at all this time around.

It’s apparent to me that I am just not producing enough breastmilk to give him what he needs. And that breaks my heart. Breastfeeding is so important to me.

The nurse weighed Gage, and he tagged in at 14 pounds, 3 ounces. He’s 25.5 inches long, so that puts him on the chunkier side of the growth chart. (Even though he’s in the 50th percentile for weight and 78th percentile for length. Not sure how that works.) Anyway, apparently all the formula he’s been getting is working.

(By the way, he’s doing just fine on regular formula now. It just took a few days for his system to get used to it. All is well, and no low iron infant formula is needed!)

I told the doctor exactly what I mentioned above about him not getting enough. She knows how important breastfeeding is to me, so she was very kind. She said this may just be God’s way of telling me I need to take a break. She reminded me that I can still nurse him at night and in the morning if I want, and any breastmilk he gets is a “bonus.” Everything she said I already knew, but it doesn’t make it hurt any less to hear that I’m failing at breastfeeding this time around.

I discussed all the ways to increase my milk production with her – and everything that I’ve tried. Absolutely nothing has worked, so maybe it’s time for me to admit defeat and just give him bottles during the day. I’m still going to continue nursing him at night and first thing in the morning. That way, I’ve got hours and hours in between to build up my supply of milk. It just tears me apart that I can’t just nurse him any time I want to and actually do him any good.

Have you had experiences with low milk supply? Did it effect you emotionally? Any advice or tips you can give me?

It’s funny. I’ve nursed 5 of my 6 kids, but this flabbergasts me… I just don’t get why I’m not producing anything this time around.

Angie Vinez (2893 Posts)

Angie is a wife and mother to 8. Her life revolves around cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. She is passionate about her life in Christ and wants to encourage other mothers in their own walk of faith. Angie is active on many social media networks, loves technology, photography, and graphic design, and loves creating blog designs for other mom bloggers.



Comments

  1. 1

    Dear Angie! (((hugs)))
    I so feel with you, as breastfeeding has always been important to me, too, but not always everything went, as I’d have loved.
    I wouldn’t suggest to stop breastfeeding the little guy every time before the bottle. According to my experience, breast milk is produced more, when the breasts are milked as frequently as possible. You could even try to give both of them each time your baby wants to eat.

  2. 2

    Wow… I’m so sorry! I’m wondering now about my supply though. Isaac has been a screamer and has sometimes seemed frustrated while nursing. I didn’t know if it was colic or not getting enough or what. He is eating solids now and seems really hungry. Maybe I should try formula after just to see if he’ll take it.. not sure. He has an appointment coming up so I’ll talk to the doctor about it. He was a little underweight at his last appointment but not worrisome. Thanks for sharing your experience, Angie. I know our plans don’t always work out but… well, God is in control! It’s always good when situations drive us straight to God and we are reminded of who is really in control. 🙂

  3. 3

    I wish I could offer advice 🙁

    I do know the feeling though. I only had one successful attempt at breastfeeding and that was with my 2nd child who nursed for 14 months. I just couldn’t keep enough milk going to feed my 1st and 3rd children. It tore me up quite a bit for a few weeks, even sometimes today I feel cheated missing that special bond with my last child.

  4. 4
    kathleen says:

    I was able to breastfeed my first child without problems– he was always 25th percentile for weight but his weight stayed consistent on his growth chart at checkups. With my second, she wasn’t gaining any weight after bringing her home for the hospital. For the first two to three months I assumed it was a supply problem and went on fenugreek supplements and pumped round the clock to increase my supply. Long story short, it turned out that my breastmilk just didn’t have enough fat in it and I had to supplement with formula. I started giving her at least three bottles of formula a day and still do at 10 months old and she has maintained a weight that keeps her at the 50th percentile. In retrospect I think I had this problem with my first but not to the same severity– my first would never stop breastfeeding, he would scream when I took him off so we just breastfed constantly. Initially, emotionally it was very stressful to supplement because I thought that if I supplemented as much as I needed to supplement that my breastmilk supply would dry up. I also feared that she would prefer the bottle over the breast. That has not turned out to be the case. My 10 month old still loves breastfeeding and prefers it over the bottle. So much so that I have no idea how I am going to wean her when the time comes. I have learned to just be grateful that formula is readily available for those who need it.

  5. 5

    I’m so sorry. I didn’t have milk supply problems, but I had other challenges. My first son was a preemie, so I only had the opportunity to pump for him before he passed away. My second son was adopted, so it was formula from the start. My third son was born with a tongue tie, and he while he took to nursing right away, as soon as my milk came in, he couldn’t latch on. I wound up pumping for him. My fourth son was an eager breastfeeder, be he was born with a low birthweight, so the dr had me supplement with formula. After he found out how easy the bottle was, he rejected the breast.

    I can totally identify with your hurt. Not being able to breastfeed when you really want to is deeply emotional. I felt like something was wrong with me. I’ve since watched my boys grow and flourish though, which gives me a heavy dose of peace of mind. Virtual hugs, mama.

  6. 6
    Natalie says:

    I had a c-section the first time around and had a HORRIBLE time getting my breast milk going sufficiently for my hungry little 9 lb girl. I tried Reglan (not considered safe now maybe?) but what ended up helping was Fenugreek & Milk Thistle in addition to pumping after the baby was done eating. I would feed for 30 minutes, supplement with formula while I was pumping for another 10. After a few days of this my milk supply increased dramatically!
    Also, since I was pumping so much, I noticed a clear correlation between how much protein I would eat and how thick it was (also if it was the thick stuff she seemed to not be hungry for a longer period). So I ate 3 eggs every morning and made sure I ate chicken or something like that every day and I had super thick milk-looked like whole milk instead of skim.
    I know that we all have our own story and the most important part is a happy, healthy baby. But I am personally very glad I stuck it out. And it was at times so painful. Nothing like pumping cracked bleeding nipples (didn’t feed the baby the milk during that time of course.) on dry breasts. But in the end it worked. I have breastfed my two older ones for 18 months each and am on the 8th month w/ my third! It is such a special experience!
    Do you have a lactation consultant at your ped office or where you delivered?
    I wish you and your baby the best!

  7. 7
    Natalie says:

    Omgosh… you have six kids?! I bet stress is playing a big part of it too! Oh, you are one strong woman!

  8. 8

    I had my first two children in my 20s and had a ton of breastmilk. But my twins were born at age 39 and my milk supply was noticeably lower. I don’t know if it was because there was a big gap between pregnancies (11 years) or perhaps just because I was of “advanced maternal age” (as the doctor so unflatteringly called me). Like you, I ended up doing a combination of formula and breastmilk. My twins were very healthy babies and above average in size, so they did fine. I wished I could have breastfed exclusively, but sometimes it’s just not possible, unfortunately.

  9. 9

    I’m so sorry for the hurt and heartbreak you are going through! I have only had one son so far and had very low milk supply with him and it really affected me emotionally. I tried so hard and did whatever I could to get my supply up (short of getting medication that would have cost more than formula). My son was still underweight at 4 weeks and the dr said that I had to start supplementing and in the end I was only able to breastfeed and supplement with a bottle for 6 months. It was a daily struggle with my son and like Gage, my son would gulp a 6-8 oz bottle right after nursing, like he hadn’t gotten anything! I felt like I wasn’t doing enough or trying hard enough. Sometimes I would just hold him and cry…sometimes, I still cry about it and he’s 20 months now! (I’m definitely the emotional sort)

    Overall, I try to remind myself that I tried as hard as I could and that he did breastfeed somewhat for 6 months. I learned a lot from that experience and I know that when baby #2 comes along, I will try again! I still pray that God will continue the healing process in me. I am so thankful though that my little guy is happy and healthy, even if things didn’t go as planned in the breastfeeding department.

    I hope that you feel the support and love of family and friends around you and that God will ease your heartache and replace the pain with peace. I hope that Gage continues to be a happy and healthy baby!

  10. 10

    Don’t stop nursing that baby. Even if he isn’t getting that much milk, every little bit counts. Don’t feel so bad about giving him formula – you are nourishing him. Hope you feel better about your situation!

  11. 11

    I had low supply problems with my son (now age four) starting the first night we came home from the hospital. He woke up screaming at 3:00am and his tongue was dry like a cat’s. We had to start supplementing with formula, and made an appointment with a lactation consultant.

    I had to do ‘triple feeding’ where I would nurse him on each side, then follow up with a bottle of formula while I pumped. I also used the Fenugreek to help increase my supply and we were able to continue like that for 11 months. We had to supplement the entire time, I never was able to exclusively breastfeed as I had planned but he turned out just fine!

    If there is a lactation consultant available to you, I would make an appointment with them. We were released from the hospital one day early, and I could have met with them in the hospital for free, but had to pay $60 for the visit but it was well worth it.

    If you do go to just a couple of nursing times, definitely pump during the day or else your supply will get even lower as the demand goes down.

  12. 12

    I have 4 little ones and have struggled (to some degree) with nursing all of them. I totally and completely understand the heartache of not being able to nurse your baby. 🙁 And I’m so sorry, as it is a hurt like none other.

    Have you read the book “Making More Milk”? I think it is by Diana (or Dana?) West. It is just oodles of information.

    And feed him as often as you can from the breast. You will continue to make less milk if you only nurse him at night due to supply and demand.

    I hope you find a solution soon 🙂

    -Lauren

  13. 13

    🙁 I’m sorry hon, (((HUGS)))

    My son was born at 36 weeks, and spent 1 month in the NICU, I was rarely given the opportunity to have him latch on so I had to pump, the stress made my milk suppy go down. I started taking Fenugreek and Milk Thistle tea, and it helped. I was then pumping about 6 to 8 oz every 3 hours.

    Recently (he’s 7 months now) I was having problems breastfeeding, I was getting fed up because he bites and pulls and other times pushes away, my husband found this link for me and it’s helped.

    http://www.mobimotherhood.org/MM/article-milkflow.aspx

  14. 14

    Out of my four kiddos, this same thing happened once to me too. I think a big part of my problem was stress. I had just spent six weeks in the hospital before my preemie was born, and having trouble adjusting to life back at home with the kids.

    Give yourself a break! You’re a good mom, and you seem like you always try to do what’s best for your kids. The baby will be okay, and with nursing at night still, you’ll be able to get those quiet moments alone with him as well.

    I’ll be praying for you!

  15. 15

    I quit producing milk at approx 5.5 months with my first baby b/c I was preg and didn’t know it :O!!!! I did pump a lot and had a lot in the freezer which was good, and with #2 I just pumped all of my extra to keep the supply going and froze it so when he weened himself I had more that I could use. I completely understand your frustration b/c I could not understand why I was drying up and I didn’t wan to just switch to formula. It was especially frustrating to only be able to pump 1-2 oz in the ams when before I was like an everlasting fountain!

  16. 16

    you need to get at least 1hr break in between nursing in order your milk can be created. 1hr counts from time you stop nursing. if baby is hungry once finished breast, there is nothing wrong give him bottle. keep in mind that some babies are hungrier compared to others. sometimes if they dont burp after feeding they might start crying/screeming and many times babies might be have colic or they dont know hoe to pass gas. during checkup did dr. confirmed that abdominal separation is within norm? because abdominal muscles help baby pass gas, if they are not strong enough baby is screaming after each feeding.
    With my first I was sure I had enough milk, evethought I was able to pump only 1-2oz (amount you pump is not same compared to how much baby takes), but he cried badly after each feeding. i gave him bottle at 6wks and has been on breast and bottle for 9months with average growth and gain.

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