FFF Friday: “Didn’t I have a right to know that I might not be able to breastfeed and why?”

Welcome to Fearless Formula Feeder Fridays, a weekly guest post feature that strives to build a supportive community of parents united through our common experiences, open minds, and frustration with the breast-vs-bottle bullying and bullcrap.

Please note, these stories are for the most part unedited, and do not necessarily represent the FFF’s opinions. They also are not political statements – this is an arena for people to share their thoughts, and I hope we can all give them the space to do so.


I was in need of a good laugh today, so I thought I’d share this fantastically funny FFF Friday submission by Melissa.  I’m betting you’ll find her writing as witty as I did, but be warned – underneath the humor is a scathing indictment of what often passes for professional breastfeeding help. If you concern yourself with women’s healthcare, this post will likely hit you in the gut: first because you’ll be belly laughing, and second, because you’ll be as angry as Melissa over the sub-par level of care – and lack of honesty – she experienced while trying to breastfeed her daughter.

Happy Friday, fearless ones…

The FFF
***
My daughter was due November 8, 2011, so naturally being her father’s daughter, I arrived at the hospital on November 21st for an induction. I spent the first day (8 hours!) on pitocin (and nothing else) and…. nothing happened.
I’m trying really hard right now to keep this to my boobies and not write about everything else that happened and that still angers me about my birth experience. Let’s just say that the last thing a CNM should say to a lady who has been on pitocin for 8 hours without an epidural is to question whether said lady actually wants to have this baby and tell her she needs to visualize having the baby and think about what is emotionally blocking her from giving birth to the baby, as though one can think POOF! World Peace!
Ahem. Fast forward, the next morning, I was again on pitocin until I called uncle around 1 PM and got an epidural. Then things got exciting.
By 9 PM, I was ready to push.
By 10 PM, pushing had done nothing.
By 11 PM, baby’s heart rate was doing a weird dance with every push.
By 12 PM the drugs were off and I was being prepped for a C-section.
At 2:03 AM, November 23rd, little E finally made her grand entrance into this world.
By 2:15 AM, Mommy had proceeded to completely lose her shit over things the doctor said while putting her back together, and someone was kind enough to drug her up well and good such that she thought she was in New Orleans on Mardi Gras when she woke up in recovery….
E figured out the latch thing immediately, and I thought we were cruising. Sure, it hurt like hell and someone probably should have brought me a nipple shield before she turned the left nipple into a bloody mess, but I was expecting all this. I was okay with all this. I was patiently waiting for the milk to come in, feeding her every 2-3 hours, loving watching her sweet little face and hands at such a close distance… And everyone said that it takes longer for your milk to come in after a c-section, so I wasn’t worried when I had no milk by day 2. I figured I had colostrum, she’d eat that, and the (still the same size as before I was pregnant) boobies would do their thing.
By day 3, the nurses had taken to checking in with us every half hour to see if E had peed yet (she hadn’t). And she was rather orange, even to my untrained eye… By then I’d started pumping between feeds on the lactation consultant’s (number 1!) advice, you know, to speed things along because my milk was totally coming… E was angry, screaming, and sucked away on my breasts like there was no tomorrow. She’s more efficient than a pump, they said, so when she fell asleep on the boob that must have meant she got something to eat first, right?
Then the nurses started in with the jaundice talk and someone said she might just need to stay an extra day after I was discharged, you know, if she was still yellow. And that was a wake-up call, because after two days on pitocin without an epidural and an unexpected c-section, I’ll be damned if I’m leaving the hospital without my trophy-baby to show for it. I think we called up the nurse right then and there and brought in a bottle of formula. E sucked it down like she had been starving. Because, you know, she was. By this point she’d lost a full pound of her 7 pound 12 ounces weight.
We left the hospital the next day with E and a hospital grade pump. I pumped. And pumped. And pumped. I hired a new set of lactation consultants (number 2!) who came to my house, weighed E, put her to boobie (she latched on, perfect), then weighed her after 45 minutes on each boobie (no change in her weight at all). They looked at me. They looked at boobies. They made notes. They discussed. They mentioned words to each other that I’ve never heard of, like “IGT” and “tubular” and “one is significantly larger than the other”… and never once did they mention that this might mean I wouldn’t ever get enough supply to feed my baby.
I kept on with the pumping, because new lactation consultants thought it would increase supply. I bought supplements. I drank massive amounts of water in hopes it would clear up massive c-section swelling (did I mention, I still couldn’t bend my knees?). Finally, on day 6 after the birth of my daughter, I got something resembling milk from one boobie… and on day 7, something resembling milk from the other boobie. Success!
Except, my boobs were still the same size. They never got bigger. And I continued to pump and pump and pump and pump… and nothing changed. New lactation consultants (number 3!) were called. Lactation consultant number 2 texted me questions to see how it was going, and when I told her I was pumping every time after she nursed, and still getting just trickles, she offered things like a clear plastic tube attached to a syringe to supplement with the formula I was already giving E. Or to come let me rent her scale for a weekend. Or to come back and do a weight check. Or double check the latch. Or something.
By week 2, I was a mess and my supply had not increased.
By week 3, E had gone on strike agains the boobies, refusing to latch on at any time other than 4 AM after our longest stretch of sleep (when they were most likely to have gotten enough stored up for her to be happy for a little bit). So I pumped and pumped… By the end of Week 3, I was pumping every three hours and E was eating 90% formula and 10% what I made.
By week 4, that had changed to 95% formula and 5% what I made.
By the end of week 4, I had an allergic reaction to the supplements and stopped them cold turkey. My “supply” tanked – I went from making a total of 3-4 ounces a day to less than 15 ml. a day.
At that point, I’d had it. I was tired, I wasn’t enjoying my daughter, and I found myself on Christmas morning strapped to a pump in our living room while my husband made silly noises over our baby and drank his coffee. I stopped cold turkey a few days before New Years, and dried up almost immediately. No pain, and boobies were still the same size as before I got pregnant. I was sad, but resigned, figured it was the long labor or c-section, or all of those things that had made breast feeding not work.
Then I started researching.. and I figured out what IGT was. What tubular breasts were. What those words the lactation consultants had mentioned to one another meant. That I might never have gotten enough supply in, even had I not had a c-section or been swollen beyond recognition. Even if I had woken up that extra hour early during our one 4-5 hour sleep stretch every day. Even if I hadn’t supplemented with nasty formula in the hospital. And every single one of the warning signs listed for IGT, I had in spades. My boobs have always been different sizes, with the left larger than the right. Yes, they are tubular, not that I knew that but I had always known they weren’t a full as the Barbie-like ones I saw on TV. And they didn’t change size at all during pregnancy. Boy, was that a warning…
And then I was angry. Because these ladies I had hired to help me breast feed, every single one of the three different consultants I hired, they either knew or should have known, and didn’t I have a right to know that I might not be able to breast feed and why?  How dare they not tell me. How dare they assure me that these steps I was taking would increase my supply, just keep trying, keep doing, keep putting her to breast even when she is screaming-hungry.
I look back on those first few weeks with regret; if I had known that my boobs were tubular, that the lack of growth during pregnancy (and after birth!) might mean something regarding supply, that never feeling engorged, or feeling really much of anything, might indicate the milk just wasn’t there and wasn’t going to be there, would I have wasted so much time with the pump instead of spending it sleeping or cuddling my daughter or recovering from major surgery? Would I have spent so much time feeling guilty and debating stopping the crazy pumping schedule? Would I have felt so guilty when I decided enough is enough?
E is almost 5 months old now. She’s hitting every one of her milestones early; she’s been in daycare since mid-February and has had precisely one cold, and she barely noticed it. She’s the happiest, sweetest little girl, and she’s 85th percentile in height and weight. And most importantly, she’s a good eater, a good sleeper, and she’s healthy.

Suzanne Barston is a blogger and author of BOTTLED UP. Fearless Formula Feeder is a blog – and community – dedicated to infant feeding choice, and committed to providing non-judgmental support for all new parents. It exists to protect women from misleading or misrepresented “facts”; essentialist ideals about what mothers should think, feel, or do; government and health authorities who form policy statements based on ambivalent research; and the insidious beast known as Internetus Trolliamus, Mommy Blog Varietal.

Suzanne Barston – who has written posts on Fearless Formula Feeder.


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36 thoughts on “FFF Friday: “Didn’t I have a right to know that I might not be able to breastfeed and why?”

  1. This post is so similar to my experience breastfeeding my child, born a year before Melissa's. And I spent 3.5 months trying to make it work with Reglan, Domperidone and an SNS – until my baby had enough. I am due very soon with my second child and unless by some miracle I can make milk this time around (and all the signs point to that not happening), I will be giving this baby formula from the beginning and enjoying those precious first few weeks instead of spending all my energy trying to produce milk. I, too, wish lactation consultants, midwives and OBs were more educated and honest about possible breastfeeding difficulties so postpartum women were not left on their own to figure much of this out for themselves.

  2. Elise- I hope that you are able to feed your baby in whatever way you want to do so, but I want to give you a virtual high-5 for deciding in advance to focus on your baby and not on a “goal” of exclusively breastfeeding. I may have only breastfed Fearlette (my second) for a few days, but those days rewrote the script I had in my brain for what breastfeeding could/should be. I loved every moment that I nursed her, and I think it was b/c I had decided to do what felt right until it didn't, and to prioritize making our first weeks together as magical and happy as I could. (Well, it was probably also due to the fact that I only breastfed on the breast which wasn't messed up with nerve damage, so I wasn't in excrutiating pain like I was with my son, but you get my point!)

  3. I am so sorry for your experience. When my first would not stay latched, the hospital LC threw her hands in the air and declared I had “short” nipples. The fact that my child's tongue was “tied” all the way to the tip had nothing to do with it..um yeah right. I felt like the message women are given is that if only they had tried harder, or really wanted it, then it would happen. And that is just wrong.

  4. Wow, I had almost the exact same experience with my first two! I also have IGT, and was not given enough support or useful information from the LC's. I just left the hospital a week ago with my third, and I had a very different experience this time. When the LC started telling me all of the herbs I should try, I nodded my head politely and completely tuned her out. I nursed when I could, but when I knew it wasn't enough, I was prepared with my own bottles and formula, which I used unapologetically. For the first time, I didn't shed a tear at the hospital. This was my last child, and I wasn't about to let them take this experience away from me again! Now that we're home, he's eating about 90% formula, 10% bm, and my guess is that I will probably nurse for another week or so, and that will be it. At some point, you have to realize that breastfeeding is such a tiny part of the big picture of parenting. It's just not worth all the stress, pain, and aggravation that some of us put ourselves through.

  5. Such an incredibly, incredibly important post. Diana Cassar-Uhl is an outspoken advocate for IGT moms in the IBCLC community and her main point to us is “There women deserve to know exactly what is going on and exactly what to expect”. She is working very hard on education OBs about IGT (frankly, OBs should be cluing moms in ahead of time!). I will be sharing this post widely about IBCLCs.

  6. I found this through Diana Cassar-Uhl's Facebook page! Like you, I have IGT and had a similar experience. I share your frustration at the medical AND lactation communities' lack of understanding or education about IGT. The 2nd LC I met with mentioned something about “not feeling a lot of glandular tissue” one time but never went on to explain what that meant. It wasn't until later (after becoming even more desperate and researching online), that I learned about IGT. Why didn't she tell me everything? I went to my OB, my RE, and two LCs and I didn't get support anywhere – until I found the IGT support group on Facebook!

    Thank you for sharing this!

  7. Brilliant story! It really bothers me that during all of the invasive exams OBs do during our pregnancies, that there was absolutely nothing at all about breasts or nursing. A simple exam or test could make live easier for a lot of mothers….

  8. And Amber indeed steered me here. I am an IBCLC who is a firm believer that mothers are smart, want to do the best by their babies, and can handle stuff. Even bad stuff. But unless they *know* (whatever it is that needs knowing), that can't happen. I am sorry for your experience, but grateful for your eloquence.

  9. And Amber steered me here too…thank you Amber! I am also an IBCLC and I must say I share the anger and frustration. It hurts me to tell mother's (like I did today) that they may not be able to make enough milk for their babies and why. Mothers ALWAYS have a right to know what is going on with them – how dare any LC, Dr, Midwife, HCP NOT tell the mother what is happening! I break many a proverbial brick wall when moms share with me their stories like yours. I am so sorry you had people who would not tell you what was going on – that was, in my opinion horribly unprofessional of them as well as downright disrespectful to you.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I hope that it teaches all HCP's a lesson about informing their clients. You worked your butt of Mama! Good job!

    Warmly,
    Jaye

  10. Exactly my story! So relieved to know someone else has gone through it. Not happy of course as its very frustrating and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. But glad to know I'm not crazy.

  11. Many healthcare professionals, even IBCLCs, probably aren't well informed enough to counsel moms effectively. I know when I originally trained, I read that IGT was extremely rare, and associated with obvious lack of breast development. Diana Cassar-Uhl's work really opened my eyes about this. I hope that more HCPs will become educated, and will learn how to walk the fine line of preparing mothers without discouraging them.

  12. THank you so much for sharing your incredible story. I am an IBCLC and I have had a handful of clients who have experienced a similar situation to yours. I am always baffled that when I meet these women for the first time that their OBGYNs or midwives never explained that they may not be able to produce a full milk supply, based on their anatomy. These are some of the most difficult conversations I have ever had with a new mother, yet after listening to Diana Cassar-Uhl speak last February, I know that telling these mothers what I notice has always been the right thing to do. After explaining what I see, most of these women share that already knew that there was something 'different' about them, and they are often angry that no one mentioned this to them before their babies were born. Stories like yours will hopefully change the way IBCLCs and PCP practice. Thank you so much for sharing! You are incredibly brave and your baby is so lucky to have you as a mother!!!

    Warmly,
    Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC

  13. It is extremely helpful to read your detailed posting, Melissa, and you can say with absolute honestly that YOU did everything in your power to explore your milk-making potential. If you had had the full picture and precise information early-on, you may have taken a different and less strenuous path, but for your peace of mind,you know you did your best. Can anyone ask more from us?

    As an IBCLC, I have found that I empower my mothers MORE by being honest with them, even tho' that may mean giving them a heads up that they MAY not make a full supply for their little one. If I explain in a respectful, factual yet sensitive way I have helped her accept her reality and to focus on enjoying her baby to the max! Whether breastfeeding or formula feeding, those early days and weeks with our baby are precious moments and creating a positive and enjoyable atmophere around the whole family is one of my main goals as a Lactation Consultant. My job is to walk on the Mother's path with her together, no to get her to walk MY path. If that means taking the decision to formula feed, after exploring the milk-making potential, then so be it!

    Our motto is always “FEED THE BABY” !

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

  14. It has seriously made my weekend to have so many great comments left on here by IBCLC's. There are many reasons why I run this blog, but one of the biggest is my pipe dream that by opening up the discussion, we can actually provoke positive change and help more women feed their babies in the way that feels most right to them. So many of the FFF Friday stories are from women who wanted very badly to breastfeed, and were unable to. The more we LISTEN to these women, rather than dismissing them as victims of vague “booby traps”, the more that we can avoid situations like the one illustrated above. Hearing from such dedicated, open-minded and caring individuals gives me so much hope that this dream isn't just a pipe. 😉

  15. You're experience is so much like mine – except we spend almost a week under bili-lights for jaundice. My torture was a little shorter than yours though, because the public health nurse recognized the IGT at the two week weigh in and let me know that while I could continue to bf that I might never reach a full supply. I continue to bf and supplement for another three weeks – after a reaction to domperidone, I quite the supplements and dried up in two days with no pain.

  16. I just want to point out that is Amber person posts things like this on her twitter:
    “I remind women everyday that they were CREATED for the experience of #breastfeeding. No accident.”

    This just reeks of being judge-y about people who chose not to breastfeed. Just seems hypocritical IMO

  17. I do wonder if a fear of being labeled as not supportive of breastfeeding holds many LC's back from being truthful. I know when I was having a hard time with my first child, the advice I got was to stay away from anyone suggesting forumla as it meant they were not supportive…

  18. Wow.

    Writing my story was personally cathartic but I never expected it to spark a dialog on what LCs should or shouldn’t say, or the prevalence of IGT, considering the times and places I’ve had to defend my “decision” to formula feed after realizing I wasn’t going to be able to breastfeed. (No joke, a lady told me unsolicited in a Starbucks when E was 6 weeks old that I’d have lost that belly fat already if I had “bothered” to breastfeed. Then she had the gall to look as though I’d handed her a sack of dog poop when I politely informed her that I wasn’t able to through no lack of trying.). Though hey, I’m happy to have the dialog, but one thing this experience has taught me is to not judge. And yes, I wasn’t able to breastfeed for physical reasons, but looking back there is no way I could have done my job or taken care of E with daddy’s travel schedule if I was EBFing and all the trappings that go along with that. My point is, I’m happy to have a dialog, but let’s not forget that it someone chooses rather than has the choice made for them, it’s still a valid and wonderful choice.

    I think there’s a lot to be said regarding knowledge behind IGT and why breastfeeding fails in other instances as well. I asked my gynecologist (yes, gyno, because is anyone really surprised I wasn’t going to talk afterwards to the same CNMs who thought Poof! World Peace?) at my 6 month appointment both about IGT, tubular breasts, and some hormone I had read about online somewhere that supposedly would create lactating tissue in boobies if given starting around month 5 of pregnancy. Not only had she never heard of IGT or tubular breasts (!!!) but she was completely and irrevocably against adding hormones to the body during pregnancy. That was a wake up call, I suppose. The moment when I really knew I wasn’t going to worry about what baby ate, as long as baby was eating, because seriously, what was I thinking, more hormones during pregnancy?!?

    Thanks to FFF for running this site. I posted the link on my FB and was pleasantly surprised to have so many of my mom friends and soon to be mom friends suddenly aware that the hype regarding “you can make breastfeeding work if you really really really try hard enough!” was merely hype.

    One last and then I think I’ve had enough of the high horse. My daughter is almost 7 months. She’s been crawling since just before 6 months, and is currently working on getting vertical and taking small steps when holding onto stationary objects (or not so stationary objects, as she has discovered a time or two). Her nursery school teachers tell me that she is the most curious baby they’ve ever seen. Yes, I’m aware, this means we are totally and utterly screwed when she starts walking. The point is that everything I read told me that my kid is supposed to be sickly, supposed to have tons of ear infections, not be as smart, not be as aware, not be as “good” as a baby who was exclusively breastfed to six months, and yet, she’s ahead of the curves…. something to keep in mind next time someone spouts of the usual liners on how breast is best and formula is poison.

  19. *6 WEEK appointment. Gah. Not 6 months. As if anyone would want to see their Gyno that often without a baby to show for it. Yeash.

  20. Very sad story. I too was given dodgy 'care' by so-called 'breastfeeding consultants' when I was bfing number 1. Consequently I refused contact with consultants for number 2.

    It's tough. One one hand, more should be said about tubular breasts in mainstream breastfeeding literature. On the other hand, it's so relatively uncommon that mentioning it could scare other women needlessly. KWIM?

  21. Why would that scare other women? Scare them into wondering if they have it? I was curious as to what IGT looks like, so I went online and found some pictures. It is pretty distinctive. If a woman wonders if she has IGT, she may be able to figure it out simply by looking at pics and comparing to herself. If her breasts do not meet IGT criteria, she may have some other issue, but once ruled out, why would she worry about IGT?

    I think what would accomplish the most would be to make information about IGT available to all OBs, CNMs and LCs. Since the IGT may be spotted before a woman is even pregnant, or during pregnancy, her health care provider should be knowledgeable enough to diagnose it and offer whatever help there is to be had.

    Also, some of the women with IGT had very unusual looking breasts, and many had huge discrepancies in size between the breasts. I am thinking that a woman with those qualities might consider breast augmentation/reconstructive surgery years before she gets pregnant, and I imagine that kind of surgery can add more complications to BFing.

  22. I remember a site about IGT that I can't find anymore that says that somewhere between 2-5% of women have some degree of IGT and about half would never reach a full supply. So 1 in 40-50 is still huge in a population level.

    I am bitter about this issue. Women have the right to know!!

    We're adults and can make the decisions that work for us.

  23. So, you want medical and lactation professionals to provide education about “the risks of not breastfeeding” but you want them to hide the fact that there are medical conditions that interfere with breastfeeding – so, as not to scare women needlessly? But you think it's reasonable to scare them about using formula? Got it. Of course, lactation consultants throw out the stats that only 2-5% of women have medical conditions that interfere with breastfeeding – which is somewhere between 1 in 50 and 1 in 20 women. Would you buy a brand of car with a design flaw that caused between 1 in 50 to 1 in 20 of those cars to explode? Cause that's “relatively uncommon” and we wouldn't want to scare people needlessly.

  24. What a heart rending story! I'm so sorry that you didn't get the support you needed to just be your baby's mom, without having to worry fruitlessly about all the rest 🙁 I will post under a pseudonym to protect my client's privacy, but I'll tell you that I saw a mom for a prenatal IBCLC consult because she hadn't been able to nurse her other babies and wanted to make sure she had covered all the bases. We spent an hour going over every possibility, and then I asked her if she would be willing to take off her shirt. Classic, textbook IGT. She saw my face fall, and knew immediately, since she had suspected. When the baby was born, she nursed as much as she could, since truly no one knows how much that will be, but was ready to supplement as soon as baby wasn't getting enough. She supplemented more and more until after a few weeks she dried up. I know it was a sad time for her, but she didn't have to fuss and worry from day one–she did what she needed to do and enjoyed what nursing was possible.

    I am a really big proponent of prenatal lactation consults. OBs generally don't know what to look for, because it isn't really within their scope.

  25. This is my story, too! Thank you so much for sharing. I strongly believe that if I had known about IGT (and PCOS and tubular breasts) that I would have spent those first few weeks enjoying my baby instead of panicking that I was going to kill her with “the dreaded horrible” formula.

  26. Melissa, thank you for sharing your story. I will carry it around with me. It is never easy telling someone that there may be a reason for a lactation issue, but not saying anything is far worse. As a mother, I would be furious if a health care professional suspected a “problem” and did not share their concerns with me–it is after all-my body.

    I love reading this blog; I am a sucker for the “other perspective” and as a result, I have learned a lot.

    Thank you,

    Casi

  27. I am sorry for the anguish that you suffered. And, as a lactation consultant, I have seen enough miracles, where milk was made despite anatomical variations (in mother and in baby) that I would never suggest to any pregnant mother that she might have issues with making a full milk supply. That would undermine her confidence.

    What I would suggest is immediate skin to skin contact after birth, unrestricted skin to skin care in postpartum, unrestricted breastfeeding (and immediate assessment for painful or damaged nipples) and rooming-in.

    What I recommend is a weight check 2-3 days after hospital discharge and watching out for yellow poops (that should should up between 5 and 7 days postpartum). And staying in contact with the mother every day or two. If the poop or the weight didn't match up with expectations, then it is time to start intervening.

    No one gets a crystal ball in lactation work; and hindsight is always 20/20. Every mother needs loving support to help her figure out what is best for her. Sometimes that means pumping and bottle-feeding. I would never tell a woman, “you're not making enough milk”…I would help her to come to that conclusion herself, then offer options for meeting her own goals. Sometimes a tube feeding device at breast is the solution, as with mothers who adopt babies. Other times quitting the whole breastfeeding thing is the solution, so the mother can have fun with her baby. There are no hard and fast rules.

    Some women with PCOS and tubular breasts breastfeed very well; and others don't. The state of science today does not permit any predictions.

    Not an easy situation. Some women benefit by taking Metformin to make milk, especially if they needed Metformin to get pregnant. Sometimes the only way to learn that the situation isn't working is to try everything and let the results guide the solution.

    There are always the fundamental joys of mothering: skin to skin and massage, available to all mothers regardless of feeding type.

    warmly,
    Nikki Lee

  28. I am almost crying, and this was my experience almost 13 years ago. I didn't stop beating myself up about not being “strong enough to keep trying” to BF my son until my daughter was born 4 years later and the same thing happened. I tried for 5 weeks with my son, and I get furious that nobody ever just looked at me and said, “You don't have to do this, you know.” I will always tell that to a new mom. Try, try, try, but if it is not working, that is OK. YOU are OK. And your baby will be fantastic. Better a bottle-fed baby with a happier mom, than a hungry, barely breast-fed baby with a mom freaking out over 1 hour nursing sessions, followed by 1 hour pumping sessions, followed by a bottle. My son would get 1 bottle of breast milk a day, because that was the most I could pump. It ruined my experience of his first few months because NOBODY told me that some people just did NOT produce milk.

  29. Melissa, I have an 8 month old, FF son who is on the same 'fast track' as your daughter. Crawling up the slide at daycare, eating basically stage three foods (spaghetti last night), using a sippy cup, pulling up on anything and everything he can get a hold off (I wholeheartedly understand about the 'being screwed' part because even before they start to walk, they crawl…faster). His teachers tease me that he's developing so fast that he is making room so he can have a brother or sister (I have politely declined this request for the time being).

    His doctor couldn't believe that we went six months before he had his first sick visit (and he started daycare in January!). Yes, we have had a ear infection (1) and a sinus infection (1). But, honestly, my husband and I have gotten ill more in the last few months than he has (apparently kids are germ factories? who knew.)

    More importantly, he is the happiest baby I have ever been around, just full of smiles! He is precocious and charming. I'm not sure how breastfeeding could really make him a healthier child, unless he would have possessed the ability to levitate, read minds or fly like superman (I'm kidding, of course).

    Good luck with your daughter and thank you for sharing your story!

  30. Thank you for sharing your story Melissa. As an IBCLC, I believe strongly in a woman's right to full disclosure about her body. I found your story through my online group of private practice lactation consultants then turned around and shared your post with the online group of IBCLC's for my metropolitan area. I hope your story will serve as a guidepost for those professionals who may need to re-think their approach to information sharing. I loved hearing your joy in mothering in spite of everything you went through. Best wishes!

  31. What would be wrong with training medical professionals properly on how to spot IGT? Rather than giving mothers another 'potential' breastfeeding issue to worry about. Yes the amount of women who physically can't breastfeed is approx 2% but the amount of women who stop breastfeeding and claim their body has malfunctioned is approx 80%. There's a lot of false worry going on. And you want to add to that? Not helpful.

  32. I can't speak for Jen, but I think if the medical professionals were properly trained AND willing to suggest to the women suspected of IGT that they may have difficulties, that would be fine. There are a lot of stories here where women talked to several doctors, nurses, LCs, etc and were continually told that “almost every woman can breastfeed, you must be doing it wrong.” Of course, some of that is due to current lack of education on behalf of health care providers, but it seems there are also health care providers out there with an agenda, who might hide information from mothers. As long as the care providers ARE fully informed AND willing to disclose ANY information even if it means that some women will choose not to breastfeed, then we could say women are getting proper support from the providers.

    Speaking for myself, I hadn't heard of IGT before coming here and as it turns out, I don't have that. But, I do have PCOS and I did have a moderate pph, both of which are factors for low supply. I'll never know the exact reason why I couldn't produce enough, and frankly, I don't care….but it would have been nice to be better informed. My OB is great, but she didn't mention that PCOS could be an issue. The nurses and LCs at the hospital didn't know about the PCOS, but they did know about the hemorrhage. There was a BFing class in the hospital, they didn't mention anything that could lead to difficulties either. As a first time mother, I didn't know what to ask, if I wanted information about BFing problems. I don't know if they didn't offer any of this info due to lack of it, or if they were afraid of scaring new mothers away from BFing.

    If any of these people had suggested I'd have trouble BFing, first I would have asked if there was anything I could try that might help. I think any woman who wants to BF would ask before turning to formula. She won't just be scared into not trying. If the woman doesn't want to BF or doesn't want to do all the myriad things that women here try so they can BF, then she wasn't scared of BFing, she already knew what she wanted or what her limits were.

  33. So…you favor paternalism. Don't worry your pretty little head, the doctor will tell you what you should and shouldn't worry about. That's feminism, these days, according to folks like you. Got it.

    /rolleyes

  34. 2%? Do you have a citation for that? Because the number I've heard is closer to 5% . . . which is one in twenty and not rare. There are a number of issues that can cause problems with milk supply, and women definitely have a right to know about the potential ahead of time.

  35. I just wanted to say thanks for this story. I wish more lactation consultants would be more open about IGT so that mothers who are dealing with it won’t have to deal with the frustration of not being able to feed their child. I could have almost written this story minus the c section (but I did have a 44 hour labor which ended up with pitocin and an epidural… which probably didn’t help much). Looking back, the LC at the hospital semi indicated that I would have trouble nursing, but was never up front about it. She just sent me home with a manual pump and said to use that. My second LC told me I probably had IGT but that she’d been able to get nearly all of her clients 100% nursing or nearly 100%. I took the herbs, power pumped, Domperidone (was afraid of Reglan because I was already borderline depressed because of the milk issues), used an SNS, skin to skin… I even gained back 10lbs after I lost all my pregnancy weight the first week (boy do I regret doing that… now I can’t lose it!)…. and I never produced more than 4oz a day. And my LC who assured me she’d get my supply up? She disappeared and stopped returning my calls. Once I got to the point that I was only producing 1oz per day and longingly looking at my baby in his swing while I sat and pumped, I realized I had to stop and it was the best decision I could have made for us. I don’t have any regrets other than wishing I’d done it sooner… I feel like I didn’t even get to experience those first few weeks with my baby. I’ll definitely try again next time, but I’ll also give in sooner if it doesn’t work.

    Anyway, thanks for the stories… it makes me feel less bad about my decision. I just wish more people were open to talking about how it doesn’t work for everyone.

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