A Voice For The Community

"I am blessed. I had a wonderful and encouraging support system in my husband, family, and a few nurses who sensed my determination and frustration. I had opportunities to attend support programs and join groups of supportive women who understand. I have formed friendships and am surrounded by great people who share their knowledge. And I have learned. I have learned that every woman not only has a right to choose what is best for her and her child but to make an informed decision and receive support" Jillian, nursing mama to Jack Angelo

This is place to share the stories that come along with being a nursing mama. Wether you breast-fed your baby for 1 day or 3 years, we're not here to judge, simply to listen. Listen to what happened when you tried your best for 3 whole weeks only to be defeated. Listen to how being a mommy changed the way you looked at the world. And all the other stories, insights and moments that fall in between the complex and the truthful lessons you learned from your baby.

Read. Enjoy. Share. This is the voice of the nursing community.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Amy's Story Part 3-Her Final Infancy BF Challenge

And finally, the last challenge of infancy. . .

At 9 months, it came time for Abbey to see the pediatric gastroenterologist to make sure that everything was working smoothly with her digestion, and that there weren’t any continuing effects from the surgery she had at birth. Let’s just cut to the chase here: The GI was a complete numskull when it came to lactation. Basically, the idiot with the M.D. looked over at Abbey for a millisecond, then turned to his computer and stared at her stats on a formula fed growth chart, telling me that my baby girl (who was pulling up on the wall and jabbering constantly while he was in the room) was malnourished and that I was starving her with my milk. He declared that unless I stopped feeding her at the breast and started fortifying my milk with formula and feeding her ONLY by bottle for the rest of her infancy, she would continue to be malnourished. The nutritionist that came in after him to give me my “orders” about her “new feeding schedule” wasn’t much better. When I opened up discussion about the nutritional differences (and superiority) of breastmilk and exclusive breastfeeding, she changed the subject. I approached the topic of how adding formula to breastmilk in a bottle changes the bioavailability of the nutrients and adds un-needed risk of infection and she continued her instructions without so much as a pause. It was awful. And appalling. I tried to offer other suggestions about ways to supplement with mother's milk to add additional calories to her diet, but they simply ignored me.

You can probably guess from my attitude as I write this that I didn’t ever “fortify” my breastmilk. I knew as a mom and being trained in lactation that there was no way on earth that it was healthy for my child to be stripped of the comfort of mommy’s breast, or the nutrition of mommy’s milk. I knew there were other ways to supplement, and so that’s what I did. I kept breastfeeding Abbey, just did it more often (on demand, no matter where I was or what we were doing. At work, at the grocery store, at the mall, at church. . . ) and let her be my guide. If she was hungry at night, I fed her - Even if it was six trips to her crib, or more. If she wanted a snack feeding, I fed her. I never used a pacifier. I also continued supplementing her with my hind milk (skimming it off the top of refrigerated storage bottles of pumped milk), and by my pediatrician’s recommendations, fed her the foods highest in natural fats in order to stimulate her weight gain.

I found another pediatric gastroenterologist, who actually happened to be an IBCLC as well. Though she still didn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling (I guess most M.D.s are just really cold hard facts kind of people), at least she didn’t demonize me for rejecting the “fortifying my milk” idea posed by the other GI specialist. When Abbey was a little over a year old, she declared that she was back on her growth curve and that we didn’t need to come in to see her anymore. Abbey is now 2, and weighs 26 pounds. Yes, she is slight. She is all legs, and not as chubby as her counterparts. But she is vivacious and healthy and smart, and definitely knows how to eat! She still knows how to breastfeed, too. She and her little brother will end up tandem nursing here in a few more months. She tells me that she will help "baby buth-a eat mama" - and I find that extremely adorable. She is perfect just the way she is, and my decision to avoid the hazards of formula and stick to exclusive breastfeeding was a good one for her.

I know that there is a time and a place for the use of formula. But the facts still stand that breastmilk is superior food for infants, formula poses many risks – and that breastfeeding is incredibly emotionally, developmentally, and physiologically beneficial to our babies. The science still shows that formula is inferior in composition to breastmilk, and that no amount of artificial replication can duplicate the complex carbohydrates, special human proteins, and protective elements that are only found in human milk. And breastmilk has none of the risks that artificial milks carry. So, I am immensely proud to have been able to withstand all the pressure to use formula to fatten up my daughter. I look back, and I think about all the times that people told me I was hurting her by feeding her as nature intended me to. And I am so glad to be able to say with confidence that they were all so wrong – and that my breastmilk, and my dedication to my daughter and her well-being – were just right.

If you are struggling with breastfeeding, or trying to decide what is best for your baby or your situation as a mom, I urge you to find the help that you need to make breastfeeding work for you. In our society, it’s not easy to be a mom – period. There is so much conflicting advice, and outspoken camps on both sides of every debate. It can get overwhelming and disconcerting even just in print, in cyberspace. Let alone when you’re struggling with the physical and emotional issues of parenthood at home, with a real live baby that depends on you. La Leche League is a great resource, as are blogs like this one, that bring moms together to share their stories and help one another. It’s a crazy world out there . . . and it’s hard to distinguish what is best – in any situation. What I have learned from my first breastfeeding experience is that educating yourself and mothering from the heart with dedication and love is the way to go, no doubt about it. Advocate for your baby and his or her needs – and that will lead you to find the help that you need and make the best decisions you can.

Amy, Nursing mama of Abbey
Thanks Amy for sharing your BF story!  We loved reading it!!

Amy also has some great posts about gentle parenting over at her blog-Toddler In Tow!!


  1. Thanks for the invite to share! I was surprised that it came out so long. . . but you did a fantastic job splitting it up. Thanks, Jamie!

  2. Thank you so much for the encouragement. My daughter sees a pediatric GI as well who knows nothing about breast feeding and is always pushing the formula. I will keep turning the doc. down on her "recommendations", and keep doing what I have to do to keep nursing my little girl. Thanks for your story.

  3. We also saw a GI Doc when Teddy was 3 months, he also knew nothing about breast feeding-sad! When a baby could be exclusively breast fed for at least 6 months, you'd think these GI specialist would need some kind of knowledge in that area!!!