The Breastfeeding Battle Part II: My Story

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On Sunday I wrote a post addressing the recent study published that concluded that the public views breastfeeding mothers as less competent than their bottle feeding counterparts.  If you haven’t read the post I think it is worth the read…but then I would think so, I wrote it.  Normally, I would let a trivial and poorly done piece of research like this go, but….
This research study sparked quite a few comments/discussions on various social media pages.  Many of the comments were, rightly, from defensive breastfeeding moms.  Some of those comments, however, were very insensitive, poorly thought out, and potentially very hurtful.  Who was throwing around those hurtful comments?  In this case it was the breastfeeding moms.


I’ve seen this a lot as I’ve delved deeper into the world of mom bloggers.  Occasionally, breastfeeding “advocates” are the worst.  Moms who are trying to spread the word about the amazing benefits that breastfeeding has for both mom and child can come across to those who don’t breastfeed, or who have tried unsuccessfully, as insensitive, presumptuous, and narrow-minded.  Before I explain why I feel that way let me first say that I am an advocate of breastfeeding.  I think that a woman who can breastfeed her child is blessing herself and her baby.

The following is the story of a mother’s struggle to nourish her children…that woman is me.


Baby in black and white

When the topic of breastfeeding is brought up by blogging moms I often feel left out or like I didn’t do enough or do the right things.  I had a very difficult time breastfeeding with both our boys.  Our first baby had latch problems and food allergies–I didn’t know about the food allergies at the time.  As far as the latch problems went the lactation specialists couldn’t seem to find anything wrong/help with my son’s latch (I was blistered and bleeding).  He would suck for about 3 minutes and then pull off, screaming and arching his back.  After similar experiences with my second I realize that this was due to food sensitivities. This would go on for hours and on several occasions it went on for days.  I was constantly in pain from blocked ducts because the baby wouldn’t nurse for very long.  After 10 weeks I couldn’t handle it anymore, the baby was so thin, I hurt all the time, and I was in tears every day.  I started pumping full time…with a single (albeit electric) pump.  It was torture.  

I was more prepared with my second.  I had appointments to see the lactation consultant right after he was born, but to no avail.  Nursing was excruciating, baby was always fussy.  The LC said it sounded like I had thrush but the Ped. said it couldn’t be thrush because the baby didn’t have white spots in his mouth.  (After talking with my sister who had thrush with her recent baby I am now convinced that I did indeed have thrush.)  Baby 2 also had/has a lot of food sensitivities, had reflux that we had to medicate, and was extremely fussy.  When he nursed he did the same back arching and screaming that Big Brother did.  He’d be happy for 5-10 minutes after feeding, then he’d scream until it was naptime.   He went on nursing strikes every few days and wouldn’t eat for 4-6 hours at a time.  When he did eat he only ate a little.  Blocked ducts again…all the time. 

I knew the symptoms of food sensitivities this time around–the eczema spreading on his face was a dead giveaway–so I began eliminating certain foods from my diet. I eliminated dairy, soy, nuts, tomatoes, and citrus.  He was still fussy, though not to the same degree, and now he had eczema all over.  On top of all this, I am a thin person and a picky eater.  Though I tried to find things I could eat, I was losing weight fast.  When Little Brother was 3.5 months old we decided it would be better for his health and my sanity to switch him to a hypoallergenic formula. That said, I did continue pumping full-time for another few weeks so baby could have one breastmilk bottle a day (that was all his tummy could handle) for a little while longer. Our lives–and our baby–did a 180.  Our baby’s reflux was gone!  He was happy and playful!  The Husband and I breathed a great sigh of relief.  We bonded with our child in a way that simply wasn’t possible before. 

baby feet

I am an advocate of breastfeeding, but sometimes the obstacles are nearly insurmountable.  I think this is why some babies just failed to thrive before modern medicine and formula.  I don’t agree with hospitals pushing new moms to give their babies formula, but formula can be a saving grace for babies and mothers who simply can’t breastfeed.  I know that this is a very controversial topic, and some moms may shake their heads as they read this, but those moms have likely not been in the shoes of someone with my experiences.

Sometimes in the written world the things we type can come across as very brash, even when we don’t mean them to be.  I hope we can all just keep in mind that people often have good reason for the choices they make.  It would serve everyone well to be sensitive to and respectful of those decisions.


About Amy @ Oh So Savvy Mom

Amy is mom to three, wife to one, and a sister and aunt to many. Her family is a former military family now settled in Lehi, Utah. Oh So Savvy Mom began as a way for Amy to share parenting and product advice with others. Just as she has evolved, Oh So Savvy Mom has evolved into a resource for Healthy Living for Families, Food, Parenting, and Family Travel.


  1. I couldn't agree've got to do what is right for you and your baby.
  2. In my opinion you have done A LOT more work to give your babies the best you had than most moms out there, including me. Thanks for being such a great roll model. Seriously.
  3. 3 Men and a Lady says
    I can totally relate to what you went through. I had a difficult time with my first born, and felt like a complete failure. However, my son was happy and healthy in the end, which is truly all that matters!

    PS: I don't understand how mothers can be so cruel to each other, what happened to be a supportive community?!
  4. mrsweiss says
    forcing me to wait wa worth it lol

    sorry that you had to go through that, i have thinkfully had no isses with breastfeeding, the most i can complain about is that my son will not take a bottle or paci... and thats not a complaint.

    Its so true that we need to support one another!
  5. JamiLeigh says
    Well put, Amy. You are a good mamma. I hadn't heard of the study you mentioned in part 1 of this series - how ridiculous! Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us all to be a little more sensitive.
  6. So many great points. Thanks for sharing your experience. Like so many things with health, it needs to be catered to the individual. Not everyone can breastfeed and they should not be punished or stigmatized for it. It's amazing to me how quick people are to judge mothers and their parenting. Yes, there are abusive things that happen and should be judged, but whether or not a person is breastfeeding? It's not anyone's place to judge.
  7. Callista says
    I must admit I find it hard to believe a baby could not tolerate it's mother's milk but obviously something was going on with the screaming and back arching. I can't believe you went 10 weeks with latch problems, I was so frustrated after 2. Luckily we got the latch right finally at week 3 and have been much better since although he still doesn't open wide enough most times (he's 5 weeks now.)

    I am a breastfeeding advocate and I truly believe most people who don't breastfeed could if they had the proper support and help, I do recognize there are those who can't.

    The main thing is though that you TRIED. Hard. YOu accepted help from professionals, you struggled for weeks trying to improve and you didn't just give up in 1 or 2 weeks. Formula works better for you and your babies and that's fine. You didn't fail and its wrong for others to say you did.

    I had not heard of that poorly done study. Terrible.
    • Yes, its called Multiple Food Protein Intolerance, and it can happen to both bottle and breast fed babies. The mother can eliminate the top 8 allergens from her diet, and still the baby has health problems. The mother loses weight, becomes unhealthy herself, is exhausted from pumping and worrying, and feeling deficient as a mother and a woman. And that is speaking from experience. Women who have never had significant breastfeeding problems don't realize or care to recognize the emotional and physical hardships it can cause. I agree, enough is enough with women bashing.
      • April, thanks so much for your comment. I didn't realize there was an actual name/diagnosis, whatever for this. I'm going to have to look into it because, chances are, I'll deal with similar difficulties next time around.
  8. screwbdoo says
    Im a daddy and for some reason god gave me nipples that dont work no matter what i do. I feel for you mommas who have tried very hard to do what nature intended. lol sorry I am trying to ad a bit of light hearededness to a sensitive subject. You ladys have a very tough job and all that really matters in the end is the love you provide to your child. This is truly what will make your (shortcomings if you look at it that way) become your strenths. Everything happens for a purpose right down to the nipple. If its meant to be its meant to be. If not then god provided alternatives for which we Humans figured out right down to the Formula. HEY it cant be all that bad if there are formula fed bloggers blogging about the very same thing. I myself know cause i am one of em.
    Gooooooooo formula babies. Were not all that bad.

    Cheers to all you mommas
  9. Thank you so much for this post, Amy! I had many of the same issues you did and was amazed at how judgmental people can be when it comes to breastfeeding. I wish things could've been different, but my 11-month-old is thriving on formula and that's the most important thing. (Several women at church have said, "Now there's a healthy baby! You can tell she's breastfed!" I just smile . . .)
  10. Chasing Rainbow says
    Hello, I am a new follower and I am so happy to read this piece. I am a nursing mom, but my first child was difficult for the same reasons you noted above.

    I would never apologize for giving a true account for MY experience and I don't think you have to either. It's not all beautiful and it's hard. That's the reality.

  11. Thanks for sharing your story Amy! After being super gung-ho with my first, then having all kinds of issues breastfeeding with both my kids, I am a supporter of healthy happy babies and healthy happy moms. However the food situation needs to be worked out...It makes me so sad when Moms give each other such a hard time. We should be giving each other hugs and high-fives. Thanks for your post. You are an incredible mom!