There's a Reason it Sells For More Than $3.00 an Ounce.

My nipples are killing me. I won’t go into too much detail because my entire family reads this Web site. Let’s just say, I can’t even tolerate a hug at the moment without the feeling of a million heated daggers shooting into each nipple. It’s terrible. And I’m working on trying to figure out what is wrong and what I can do to help myself. Because of the pain, each drop of breast milk is handled as though it’s angel piss, really expensive, cancer-curing angel piss.

Last night Tobyjoe and I were dizzily wandering around the apartment mentally preparing ourselves for sleep. It was 8 PM. I had just finished pumping and was getting ready to fix a 2.5 ounce bottle for Emory. I put the bottle next to the sink and began washing out some breast pump paraphenalia. That was mistake number one. Mistake number two was thinking that Tobyjoe and I were of sound mind enough to multitask.

He washed his hands, and as he shook them off and I watched my freshly pumped bottle of breast milk topple over. Its contents sprayed all over the clean dishes, my pant leg and the rug below.

“OH MY GOD.” He began, his face contorting into a guilty mess. “I am SO SORRY.”

“It’s really ok. It’s not a big deal.” And I meant it. It was an accident. Sure, it sucked but embracing any extraneous emotion seems far worse an option these days. I can only handle so much emotion. (For example, earlier, when the bottom drawer to my dresser accidentally slid open, the same dresser drawer where we keep Schmitty’s ashes since we have yet to get a proper urn to keep him in, and Tucker came over to check things out, that scenario warranted a proper cry. But crying over spilt breast milk? I may be emotional, but I’m not quite a walking cliché.)

I looked around at all the white drops. They slid down the glasses before me and along the metal sink edge. They dripped down the counter and toward the floor. I knew this would happen sooner or later. There had been several times I fumbled an entire bottle of freshly pumped breast milk only to catch it right before it toppled over. But the first thing that crossed my mind were all my failures and insecurities. If I could just breast feed my son, this wouldn’t have happened. If I could just avoid using all of these bottles, this wouldn’t have happened. If I could just formula feed my child guilt-free, this wouldn’t have mattered.

If I could just…


  1. …If you could just realize you’re doing the very best you can and stop beating yourself up…


  2. Yeah, there’s that too. I’m telling you, when I feel normal again, I’m going to look back on this and think about how absurdly unfair I was being to myself and some of those around me.

    Maybe I am a walking cliché!


  3. What about mixing it up a little- a little breastmilk, a little formula? Then he’s getting all the nutrition he needs, and you have more time and energy to spare.


  4. You know, i have contemplated doing that especially when he eats more than I can supply, which isn’t happening too much anymore now that my milk seems to be coming in.

    Also, for some reason, he’s a very gassy little boy so I am currently trying to figure out what I’m eating that might be doing this to him. We’ve had him on solely breast milk for three days now (until this afternoon when we gave him two ounces of breast milk after he decided that the 2.5 ounce bottle of breast milk wasn’t enough for him) and he’s been gassy. I thought it was the formula before now. But now I realize he’s just a gassy little feller.

    I’ve read all sorts of different articles. Some folks say what a woman eats has nothing to do with how gassy a baby is. Other sites and books claim the opposite. I’m not sure what to do. Should I cut out all dairy and cheese? Or is that crap?

    I hate seeing him so gassy. I’d do whatever I can to make it easier on him. But I’m not sure where to even begin!


  5. I think the gassiness is just something babies grow out of. My son was always full of gas, and it seemed to hurt him, but by about 3 months, it was all gone. And I didn’t change my diet at all.

    My OB told me in the hospital that mothers should have a guilt button on their chest. They always find something to feel guilty about not doing properly. And it’s so true. If it’s not breastfeeding, it would be something else, Michele.


  6. There is Ovol for baby gas, I think that is what it is called. We thought Charlotte was colicky after a few days of constant malcontent writhing, after a couple of doses she farted like a frat boy after a kegger. so loud I shrieked! It was like an anal explosion, like seriously loud. TMI? sorry. Ask a pharmacist. :-)


  7. My niece seemed to fart a lot when she was a newborn. I thought it was pretty cool, then again, I’m a guy. So yeah, just enjoy it, she grew out of it.


  8. TJ cracks up. I just need to chill the he double hockey sticks out already. loosen up, michele!


  9. seriously. you need to chill. the gas-thing is pretty normal and you probably have to deal with it for a while. usually it should be done and over with after three months.

    of course breastmilk is the best for your baby in the first six months. BUT if you’re in pain and stressed because of the pumping / breastfeeding i think emory will do just fine with formular [or a mix of the two options] AND a happy, painfree mommy. although all my friends had problems in the first couple of months and pain every time they would breastfeed but that got better eventually.

    basically, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well as the little one. emory will grow up just fine and you will be a great mom! :)


  10. To be honest, pumping is going pretty well. I can get enough milk for him and it’s better after yesterday when TJ bought me larger horns. (the things that attach to your boobs). Now, I just have to heal enough so that all is good again. :] I’m absolutely set on giving him breast milk until he’s at least three months, I’m shooting for six but one day at a time.


  11. I totally empathize with you on the sore nipples. I was ready to give up because I really was in pain and did not enjoy nursing like I imagined I would. Everytime my daughter latched on, I would curl up my toes and scream. My friend suggested that I give it an entire month. My daughter was already 3 weeks old, so I continued on and it really got much better after the first month. It was entirely pain free! I am so glad that I didn’t quit! Give it a couple more weeks and if you have to supplement, then do so.


  12. Michele, Dont worry about what the books say or what anyone else says for that matter. It is your call on BM vs. formula. Hopefully that will give you peace of mind enough to keep on keepin on.

    I spilled more than my share of breast milk trying to get it into those f-ing freezer bags. What a joke.

    you are kicking butt. YOu can not see it right now but you will!


  13. Stop beating yourself up!!

    You are doing awesome, seriously. Emory is getting fed; it really doesn’t matter how as long as he is eating right?

    The more stressed you get over this, the harder it all will seem. And I promise you that things will get easier regardless…please be patient with yourself and allow yourself to figure things out. Nobody knows what they are doing as a new parent.

    Hang in there, sweets.


  14. Oh Mihow -you’re just breaking my heart! I hope and pray each day gets easier for you!


  15. i give you my permission to go get formula right now! :)


  16. I would say cut out the things that might upset your stomach- a lot of dairy, onions, etc., for a few days and see if it works. Then you have your answer.

    I agree with those above that said that little babies are just gassy. Every baby has tummy issues, because their little systems just aren’t developed yet. There are some homeopathic cures you can try, like gripe water, that seem to work for some babies. Also, try doing the bicycle pedaling motion with his legs, or the I Love You massage to his belly (email me if you can’t find it on google).

    Do NOT feel bad if you can’t make it work. I don’t know a woman who could exclusively pump for any sustained amount of time. It’s just too much to ask from someone.

    Have you read Ask Moxie? She is a lifesaver for these sorts of things (and check the comments as well).


  17. Have you met at all with a lactation consultant? You might want to consider that as a option. Aubrey had some latching-on issues that left me in so much pain like you would not believe. I used to hide in my room when I would feed her so I would be alone with my pain. My nipples were cracked and bleeding and it was not a pretty sight at all. Not a good thing to do when you have another child wanting your attention at the same time! At any rate the consultant helped tons, that and using a bunch of Lansinoh (sp?). You might be able to use your insurance for a consultant. If not try contacting your local Le Leche League. Sometimes they have a hotline you can call.
    It is crazy that breastfeeding is to be the best thing in the world for your child yet it can be the hardest.
    Despite all the frustration you are feeling, you are doing the best job ever. I know it is hard but keep telling your self that every day Emory is growing and changing and that each day will be better. I promise! :o)


  18. Definitely meet with a lactation consultant before you call it quits. Dex is a little vampire and I’ve met with 2 people with shallow latch issues. In my case, they gave me nipple shields which just helps him get more nipple in his mouth to avoid the painful pinching and friction. I was only supposed to use them for a week, but I’ve used them until the past couple days. I have been able to exclusively BF, but that’s not to say that I haven’t been in tears many times because he bites me or won’t latch on properly no matter what I do. It’s not you at all, just something that takes time to get the hang of. The things I recommend is to let the girls air dry after nursing, wash with a little vinegar (helps the friction pain), rinse with plain water, follow up with a little Lansinoh. There are also cooling gel pads that work wonders when you’re really sore. It will always hurt until you get the positioning and latch down though, so get a lactation consultant. Your boobs are worth a couple hundred bucks!


  19. I am going to most likely stick with exclusively pumping. It’s going well, he’s getting the nutrients he needs and I’m pretty Ok with the decision. Plus, I found an online forum willing to help me out 24/7. They are incredible for all those who wish to exclusively pump.

    I have an appt with a LC on Monday but will most likely cancel and continue to pump. Occasionally I still get him to latch on, but as long as he’s getting mothers’ milk, I’m ok with it.

    So, thanks for the advice. We’ll see what happens. I’m pretty OK with pumping these days. I just have moments where I get too tired and start to doubt myself entirely. The milk spilling incident was one of those moments.


  20. could you have thrush? i did, and that was causing pain. they told me breastfeeding (or pumping even) should not be painful. which whatever i don’t know about that – but since treating the thrush it’s much much better. also don’t hate me but i gave up dairy, soy, corn, and wheat. and her gas is sooooo much better. but i’m hungry. sigh


  21. You know, funny you should mention thrush. We just purchased some gentian violet (sp?) I currently have that purple shit smeared all over my nips. :] It won’t hurt. And if it is thrush, I’ll be in the clear.

    I think it might be actually. I have done a little research and asked the ladies over on the EP board, and it seems that might be what’s ailing me. The bummer news is if I get him to feed on the breast before it’s cleared up, his lips will turn purple!

    How did you treat yours?


  22. Update: OK, so the gentian violet may have been a hasty and bad idea. I read something after putting it on that in large doses (in animals) it can cause cancer.

    666 (Murray typed that. Really)

    So, I dumped the milk and scrubbed my already sore nipples with Dr. Broners.

    I need to stop reading shit on the Internet and self-diagnosing myself.


  23. Hi Mihow, I am sure that you have tried everything to make your breastfeeding easier, but just in case, I have found Soothies to be very helpful

    I used them with both my boys. I am due any day with my 3rd and have put a fresh pack in my suitcase for the hospital.

    If you haven’t tried it, I would highly recommend.



  24. keep the appt with the lactation consult. it can’t hurt. i had to do a lot of pumping too and for me, lots of lanolin helped. it makes the pump action less friction-filled. i too obsessed about thrush in the early weeks and turned out that wasn’t it. i turned the corner at about 4-6 weeks where it didn’t hurt as much. i also used the nipple shield because of latch issues, which they said only to use for a few days. i used it for 3 months. once it was off, i re-experienced some soreness but not bad at all. and we all survived. also, keep in mind after the lac consult visits, you won’t get him to latch perfectly the first several times you try. it takes a few days for him to figure it out. just keep pulling him off and trying again until he gets it right. he’ll pick it up quicker than you can imagine. rock on – stay the course – persevere!


  25. Well, the LC costs 250 bucks. So even if I did keep it I can’t very well pay for more than one. That’s an absurdly high amount of cash to spend right now, imo. We’ll see, however.

    I’ve been using olive oil instead of lanolin and it’s amazing. (Thanks, Rachel!)

    We’ll see. I’m pretty pleased with how things are going right now to be honest. Really quite pleased. :]

    Thanks for all the help, everyone!


  26. Two words for you: nipple shield. It saved my boobies while we worked on getting it together. If it weren’t for that little piece of silicone we wouldn’t have nursed longer than a few weeks.


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