Tuesday, August 31, 2010


It seems like the longer I exclusively pump breast milk for Sam, the more I wish  I could nurse.  At first, when we couldn't nurse and I figured out pumping, I was so relieved to have a solution that I didn't mourn nursing too much, holding out hope Sam and I could eventually try again.  When he was three months old, I did try again, but had so much pain with nursing that I stopped.  When he was six months old, I tried a third time, but my breast was as foreign to him as if I'd just offered him milk in a shoe; that ship had sailed.

There are a lot of moments when I've felt sad about it.  For example, when Sam was just a few weeks old, I went to a breastfeeding support group, and felt like a complete outsider, sitting in that room with all those nursing moms, and me with my baby and his ridiculous bottle.  Other times, I feel sad when I am tied to the pump and someone else is feeding, caring for, playing with my baby.  I also worry about lost nutrients, bottle contamination, and other negative effects of putting a bunch of plastic between my son and his milk. 

But more broadly, I feel increasingly sad about the lost opportunity for bonding and connection as Sam grows more communicative.  While I am sure we made up for it in other ways, there is just no substitute for the nursing experience.  The good news is, I feel it is my loss and not so much my son's.  I know now that the failure to nurse resulted from a bad latch combined with a few other negative factors like edema, and if I had found the right help, it's possible it could have worked.  Maybe, next time?


  1. yes next time ;) sometimes i am thinking "isn't there something else you could be doing right now?" for me and karter...like man i could be sweeping the floor if you took a cup or bottle, or if he plays with my hair or rubs his stuffed doggy on his face instead of having to nurse in the middle of the night i feel relieved. it goes both ways i think. definitely nothing else like it, but without a doubt Sam's bonded perfectly fine and i'm sure you've more than made up for it in many other ways and he's had that contact and love! and he still gets the benefits of his mama's milk!

  2. Hi,

    I understand how you feel. I could not even exclusively pump. Our daughter will be our only child. Then, when I see how well she is doing, growing, laughing when she pulls on my teeth (not sure why this is her new fun thing), I forget that she is formula fed. I find, now that she is starting solids, that it is easier to accept that she is on formula.

    Your son is still getting the best milk ever. He is fine. Bonding happens with or without the breast. Adopted children rarely get a breast and I am sure, they love their parents. I know so many adopted kids (young and old). Give yourself a pat on the back for doing this.

  3. As always, my readers make great points! Thank you for indulging me in a little complaining and, as always, for lending perspective.