Guest post: No family should have to suffer to conform to breastfeeding ideology

Mother and her crying little son

Blogger Emilie Bishop generously shares her story of breastfeeding pressure and how it harmed her son and herself. She hopes it will bring comfort to the many other women who find themselves in similar situations.

I am the stay at home mother of a seventeen-month-old son, Jonathan, and I wish I’d found your blog when I was expecting him. It would have saved me so much anguish in his first few months. I know you hear some version of this story from countless women, but I feel compelled to add mine.

I felt like my baby I’d longed for would die of starvation and dehydration because my milk was only a fraction of the volume it should have been.

My husband and I were married just after college in 2006 and delayed having children until 2010 in order to finish grad school, buy a house, and enjoy some time together. I got pregnant the first month we timed sex (after being more lax about birth control for a few months before that), but I miscarried early on. We were sad, but I was 26 and healthy, so we figured it was just bad luck. Six months later, I had pelvic pain mid-cycle for the first time. Long story short, I was soon diagnosed with endometriosis and began a crazy roller coaster of hormonal, surgical, and crackpot naturopath treatments to control my pain. We tried to adopt a newborn through a private agency for two years, figuring my body was never going to cooperate in that way, but we were never chosen by a birth family. All this time, I heard from my obgyn and many other doctors that if I could just get pregnant and then exclusively breastfeed, I’d be period-free for over a year and my body would heal. So not only did I not have the family I longed for, the only sure-fire cure for my crazy disease was also being withheld from me. It felt like a cosmic joke.

Two days after Mother’s Day 2014, I got the shock of my life: I was pregnant. No fertility treatments of any kind, just what I believe to be a miraculous gift from God. Every test and ultrasound showed a healthy, growing boy, though of course I was worried the whole time. I had a lot of pelvic pain as he stretched out my body, but I figured that was from things like scar tissue that wouldn’t be hormonally-dependent anyway. I had no desire for a “natural” childbirth and I knew all the “trust your body” rhetoric was crap. My body was a mess—I knew better than to trust it! Knowing myself, I planned on an epidural as soon as I could. Being the breech child responsible for my mom’s first c-section, I knew that was a possibility and one I would make use of if needed. But I fell for the lactivism. I fell hard. I live in greater Seattle, where breastfeeding and obsessing over perfect nutrition are practically competitive sports. Plus, remember my doctor telling me breastfeeding would delay my period, so more healing time. In fact, we wanted to start trying for another baby as soon as my period came back, to spread out this miraculous healing I was promised (even though I knew by the end of pregnancy that near-constant nausea and fatigue are their own brand of illness, even if for a good cause).

My son was born January 20, 2015, weighing 6lbs 12oz, so smallish but full-term and healthy. We were in a “baby-friendly” hospital with mandatory rooming-in and mandatory visits from lactation consultants. But I was okay with that. I knew from friends that breastfeeding would be difficult at first, but if I just kept at it, we’d get the hang of it. Jonathan was placed on my chest and nursed quickly after a drama-free vaginal delivery (lots of back labor and an epidural, but no complications for him or me).

Poor guy got his nose covered and forgot to breathe, though, so my husband alerted our L&D nurse that he was turning blue. She dropped her charts and rushed to us, pulled him off my chest and held him under a warmer while smacking his back until he breathed again. I don’t blame our nurse for this (she was amazing and sings in our church choir with my husband), but my nipple bruised when she took him. He then promptly scratched the other nipple with his fingernail. So I had bruised nipple on the left and bleeding nipple on the right, plus a baby with a latch like a vice-clamp.

Our lovely L&D nurse was soon off her shift and replaced by first one and then a second nurse who got annoyed when I needed help latching him, but he just wouldn’t open his mouth wide enough, especially once I had a shield (see injuries). Lactation consultants thought he latched like a baby with a severe tongue-tie, but couldn’t find one. Our overnight nurse had me stay awake from 1-3 am with him skin-to-skin because he seemed cold, which left me even more exhausted and out of it. And every nursing session was painful and hard.

The next afternoon, we were sent home, 25 hours almost to the minute after Jonathan was born. We had yet to have a successful breastfeeding session without a nurse helping him latch, and he’d already lost 7% of his body weight. But I was told once we were home, we would relax and get the hang of it. I was exhausted and wanted to get away from the woman my husband dubbed “tiger nurse,” so I swallowed the Kool-Aid and we went home.

We spent the next night on the phone with his pediatrician on-call because he only had one wet diaper but several meconium poopy ones. The pediatrician couldn’t believe we were sent home with known feeding issues. I sobbed at feeding time, knowing it would hurt and wanting desperately to let my husband give him a bottle so I could finally rest, but I “knew” that would ruin it all, so we kept at it. He wasn’t a fussy baby—quite the opposite. We now know that wasn’t contentment, but lethargy.

On his third day of life, as my mom and stepdad were flying across the country to see us, we had a regularly scheduled appointment at the hospital’s breastfeeding center. We told our lactation consultant about the lack of wet diapers and painful feeds. Jonathan was down to 5lbs 9oz, having lost 11% of his body weight. He’d gone nearly 24 hours between each wet diaper, not adding one more for each day of life like he “should have.”

The lactation consultant weighed him after feeding and found he was only getting an ounce after twenty minutes and was probably burning more calories than he was taking in by nursing. To her credit, she got out a bottle of ready-to-feed formula, but he choked on the fast flow from the nipple. Alarmed, she had us readmitted to the hospital overnight.

My heart was breaking. Even after the nurses determined he didn’t need a feeding tube or IV, just supplementation, I felt like my baby I’d longed for would die of starvation and dehydration, or at the very least be compromised because my milk was only a fraction of the volume it should have been. We started a nurse/bottle/pump regimen that night (he finally took formula from a preemie bottle, the last step before resorting to an eye-dropper) that took nearly an hour each time. One nurse took him out to the nurse’s station with her between feedings so we could sleep, but I spent half that time crying. I had failed my son. I failed to recognize a serious problem, and I failed to make it better without formula.

Another long story short, by 2 months, I couldn’t take the nurse/bottle/pump regimen. My milk supply never increased, we never latched consistently well, and nursing took so much time and space and emotional and physical effort that I couldn’t just pull out my cute shower-gift cover and nurse him in public. We didn’t go to the mommy-baby group at the hospital or a lactation support group, though both were recommended many times. We rarely left the house around feeding time because I felt so ashamed and overwhelmed.

By 2.5 months, he was weaned and only taking the bottle. He went from a 5th percentile baby to a 50th – 75th percentile baby in just a couple months (height and weight). He was happy, I stressed less, but I still felt like a failure. What if I’d been more diligent about pumping after every single feeding (sometimes I just wanted to go back to sleep at 2am, so I did)? What if I’d taken the medications the lactation consultants recommended, despite being concerned about the possible emotional side effects in my already-fragile state? What if… He was probably nine months before I accepted that this was our story, that he was thriving and the method mattered far less than the outcome.

Oh, and my period came back, along with painful spotting in various places throughout my cycle. Interventions cause more problems than they solve. Nothing has been “healed” by pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding except the presence of my son healing the hole in our family. And he has brought us immeasurable joy. But could our joy have been undiluted if our hospital stay had been more focused on our health than on breastfeeding? Hell yes. He deserved a better start to life and we deserved a better start to parenthood. I’ve signed petitions aimed at changing the literature given to new moms, but it feels so small when I think that other new moms go through similar ordeals. My son has shown no sign of delay or abnormality, but that now feels like luck, not the care we initially received.

Thank you for advocating for a return to sanity in hospital standards and infant feeding protocols. No family should have to suffer like this just to conform to an ideology.

  • RMY

    OT, anyone else bleed for a week after getting a SIS? I think I’ve bleed more after this test than I did during my last period.

  • Daleth

    Well, better an OB than a home birth 🙂
    Wishing you the best of luck for the rest of pregnancy and birth!

  • Sue

    Thank you for a frank and insightful post. Glad your little one is thriving.

  • Rihanna

    I found robinson.buckler@yahoo.com on the net that he can restore broken relationship and i gave it a try, after using his love spell, my boyfriend came back and since then I definitely believe Robinson is real, I must admit, the result was perfect, wonderful..

  • Gene
    • BeatriceC

      I saw this yesterday and laughed my ass off. Then I got distracted by this one, as given my recent escapades, it was unusually relevant which made it even funnier.

      http://gomerblog.com/2015/09/icd-10-primer/

  • Clorinda

    For all the times I have seen “Our bodies were designed for this.” etc., I would say “Just because the design is “perfect” doesn’t mean implementation will be.” My body failed at childbirthing so I had c-sections. My body may have failed more than I realized at production and/or delivery of breast milk but I was also caught up in the “breast is best” attitudes. Fortunately for my kids, I had at least adequate supply. Now looking back, I should have at least supplemented with my first and my last, if not gone full formula.

    • Emilie Bishop

      I hear ya! Just because humans were designed to reproduce doesn’t mean everyone will do it perfectly all the time. And why should it matter? The advent of safe c-sections and formula should be praised for saving lives, not demonized.

  • Jules B

    Your story mirrors my breastfeeding experience quite closely. I live north of you, in Vancouver BC, where there is a similar emphasis on exclusive breastfeeding at all costs. So I get the pressure! I remember thinking, “I wonder how far they expect me to take this? What is the limit to my physical and psychological suffering in service of EBF, in their view? At what point does MY health and sanity matter?” Because it really feels like they (the medical community and the lactation folks) think there is no limit to how much new mothers should suffer and sacrifice. Even if it causes mom to go into severe PPD, potentially putting her own life/the baby’s life at risk. It’s just grossly inhumane, in my view.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing – I think the more women like us who speak up (despite the real shaming that happens), the more people may be able to understand the harm the lactivist agenda is causing women and babies.

    • Emilie Bishop

      I’m sorry you also experienced this. I grew up in the Midwest and plenty of friends and relatives there nursed their babies, but the cultural attitude is totally different. They feel like they chose something instead of being pressured, and the ones who decided to supplement or exclusively formula feed didn’t get crap from doctors, nurses, random strangers, etc. I, on the other hand, had to explain at nearly every well-check of my son’s first year when and why I wasn’t nursing and the lengths we went to try to make it work. Ahh, Pacific Northwest life…

  • Amazed

    OT: Yesterday was the first time I saw Amazing Niece go hungry. Her mom no longer produces enough to feed the city, just her. And yesterday, it malfunctioned. They brought her over thinking that she was fed and since they’be back in less than three hours, the fact that for the first time, there was no expressed bottle didn’t matter. Right?

    NO. Big fat no. For a while, she was the easiest baby on earth, all smiles and slobbers over us. Till the moment hunger stroke. A bout of colics didn’t help either. It wasn’t anything this bad. She IS a well-fed baby. But she damned suffered until we managed to get her to sleep (obnoxiously proud of that, am I!) And when they came back (a little late), she had so much that she threw up over all of us once and twice over her mum. Her hungry cries were terrible. What the hell is wrong with people who should know better telling families that they should listen to THIS in days and weeks to establish and maintain something that freaking isn’t there because if it were, it wouldn’t have taken days and weeks of starving a baby to perhaps grasp it (like attaining it, not understanding it?) That should be treated like a crime against both baby and family. I felt so terrible for Amazing Niece yesterday, although I knew what the problem was and that it would be solved in an hour, tops.

    I can see why new mothers somethimes won’t understand that their babies are getting next to nothing. My SIL isn’t this new but she didn’t understand that she left us with a barely sated baby, not a well-fed one. Even when her breasts started hurting like those first days of endless Milk, Cow, Milk, Goat, and why she won’t eat as much as ten newborns should because that’s how many her mom’s body thought it had to sustain – she didn’t make the connection. It simply hadn’t happened to her to not nurse the little one to content before.

  • Bombshellrisa

    Hey neighbor ; ) Seattle area here too. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Emilie Bishop

      Thanks, neighbor!

  • sdsures

    Great post!

  • MB

    Really appreciate your sharing. You never have to feel guilty about doing what was right for your baby and yourself too.

  • Tori

    Thank you for sharing your story, and sorry that you had to experience this. Where I live there is something like a 95% breastfeeding initiation rate. Those breastfeeding exclusively talk about it a lot, leaving mixed or formula feeding mums in the quiet I think, almost like it is something to be ashamed of. I longed to breastfeed so much and went to lengths to achieve it. The only way I can do so long term is long term use of a SNS, or supplements from bottles with expressing post feeds and I don’t think I want either of those options. I’m talking to people about my low supply because I don’t want to be ashamed of getting out a bottle – it’s not like I haven’t tried, and it shouldn’t matter to them if I hadn’t. Nobody loves my baby more than me – if I’m happy to feed him formula that must count for something.

  • Mac Sherbert

    “I could just get pregnant and then exclusively breastfeed, I’d be period-free for over a year and my body would heal.”

    If only that were true. I had infertility and part of my problem was endo. After I had surgery for it I felt better than I had in years (no more back pain, no spotting before or after my period, etc.) Then with a little help I was prego. I went full-term and BF for 18 months. Anyway, I got my first period when my baby was 10 months old and it was painful. So, yeah whatever. Now four years out it’s so bad I know I’ll be begging my doc for another surgery next appointment.

    • CNP76

      Yeah I don’t get who would’ve told her that pregnancy was going to “heal” anything. It may help by giving a woman a hopefully pain free year but it doesn’t get rid of existing lesions or adhesions and once cycling resumes it can all come back with a vengeance. I both suffer from endo and actually council women with it. My recommendation has always been: unless you are actively trying to conceive, stay on birth control (preferably a form that prevents any kind of menstrual bleeding) until you reach menopause. This will give you the best chance at avoiding debilitating pain and a hysterectomy. And even if you do this, you may still wind up in pain and in need of a hysterectomy.

      • Mac Sherbert

        With a vengeance is correct. Birth control does not mesh with me and was ok getting pregnant again (didn’t happen and not going to happen without further fertility treatments). My mom had a hysterectomy for it before she was thirty. She says it’s the best thing she ever did and is glad she sort of forced her doctor to do it. I’ve tired progesterone and so far it seems to do nothing. Now the progesterone they gave me to stay Prego works wonders, but the fake stuff to stop periods is the devil. At almost 40. I’m completely fine with saying bye bye to my uterus.

    • Emilie Bishop

      I’m sorry you’ve also been down that road. I was very disappointed by how little relief pregnancy and nursing brought from endo pain. (Plus if you’re vomiting and exhausted, how much “relief” are we really talking about?) I wish the medical community would let go of this rhetoric of “pregnancy cures endo” because it’s just not true for most of us. Endo is hard enough to live with without constantly combatting all the misinformation out there.

  • CSN0116

    I wish part-time breastfeeding was talked about and advocated for – both for women who will never be able to breastfeed full-time, due to being “1% ers,” as well as for the women who are not interested in the 100% commitment. I mean, what’s so wrong with that?

    A popular practice within my friends circle is formula feeding at night from birth. So I have friends who have important jobs to return to right away; lots of toddlers; and medical conditions that are exacerbated by lack of sleep. For these reasons, and more, they only put their newborns to breast during the day (from day one). None have had a supply issue as their bodies are trained from the get-go to only produce for 12-14 hours per day. Then they have their husbands, or night nurses, or they themselves feed during the night. The formula helps the babies sleep longer and/or they sleep right through the feeds and have someone else do that work.

    I also wish that routine prelacteal feeding would become embraced for those who need it, who are most. It does not ruin breastfeeding but instead helps mom physically and mentally, and helps keep baby healthy until nature can take over.

    To quote the geniuses at International Breastfeeding Journal:

    “Prelacteal feeding is a major barrier to exclusive breastfeeding. It is a prevalent practice in Nepal. Little is known about the factors associated with providing prelacteal feeds to the Nepalese newborn.”

    TRANSLATION: We’re going to tell you that prelacteal feeding ruins breastfeeding, and we’re going to reference Nepal to prove it. But… we have no idea what happens to Nepalese newborns who are fed prelacteal.

    Who the fuck writes and publishes this stuff?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Gahhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Emilie Bishop

      One of our lactation consultants did talk to us about that. She called it “eliminate the part you dislike most” when I said the hour-long nurse/bottle/pump routine was too much. She said if we just wanted to “comfort nurse” until my supply ran out, that was an option too. I totally agree that breastfeeding doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and I have many friends who have chosen to do various combinations to suit the needs of their families. If I’d had a good supply but he latched as poorly as he did, maybe I would have pumped more. If he’d had a good latch, maybe we could have just nursed at night as part of a bedtime routine or something. For us, though, so many things were wrong that I just needed to walk away to get my sanity back:)

    • Cartman36

      I’ll be giving birth at a BFHI hospital (only hospital for several hundred miles). I told my OB and pedi that I would be doing a combination of breastmilk and formula from day one. Pedi said, that’s totally reasonable, my OB said my decision would be respected and then proceeded to lecture me on the benefits of EBF and suggest maybe I could get breastmilk from a friend to use instead of formula. Several hours later, I realized I should have asked my OB if I should share needles with my friends since apparently it’s totally cool to give my newborn a bodily fluid from someone else as long as I “trust” them.

      • Daleth

        Your OB is a moron. I hope you ask about sharing needles the next time you see him or her. Would love to know the response!

    • Amy M

      I completely agree. I was planning to combo feed from Day 1 as well—I have twins, and I was going back to work after 12wks, so I wanted to be sure they would take bottles. I wasn’t sure I could produce enough for 2 either. They needed supplementation right away because they were a bit early and pretty small, and I didn’t have any milk for 4 days. I figured I’d pump what I could and formula the rest. I couldn’t pump very much and that was wasting time when I could have been sleeping, so I stopped after a month and went to full formula. No regrets. I was lucky though—the hospital wasn’t BFHI and no one gave me crap about it.

      I don’t see what’s wrong with combo feeding, however the mom works it out. I know a number of women who did that, some with more nursing, some with more formula. It shouldn’t be a big deal.

    • Fleur

      I really enjoyed combo feeding – it made me feel that there was always a Plan B if my daughter temporarily refused to take either the breast or the bottle (both of which happened at one point or another, for various reasons). After about four months, however, she developed an aversion to the breast so, at the end of a fortnight in which she screamed whenever I offered it to her, we had to cut it out. I know that the received wisdom is that that “nursing strikes” need to be broken (the phrase I kept reading was “a baby won’t starve itself to death”), but I didn’t feel that going all Margaret Thatcher with the miners on a four-month-old baby would particularly help our growing bond. I was a little sorry but not devastated – as I explained to my mother, breastfeeding felt nice in the same way that it feels nice to pee when you have an overly full bladder, but it wasn’t a profound bonding experience in the way that reading my little girl a bedtime story is. (I’m aware that this is basically sacrilege in some quarters!)

      • BeatriceC

        To be honest I bonded in a whole host of ways with my kids, but I cannot say that breastfeeding was very high on the list of things that helped create a bond. Watching my oldest collapse into fits of giggles when he was 6 months old and watching me peel potatoes and seeing the peels drop into the trash* was a greater bonding experience than 13 months of breastfeeding.

        *He thought this was the funniest thing in the world. I spent weeks dropping things and watching him laugh hysterically as they fell. This was the cutest full belly laugh anybody has ever seen out of a baby. I still laugh thinking about it and that kid is 17 years old now.

        • Fleur

          Baby laughter is the best thing ever. One of the most intense moments of heart-stopping love that I’ve ever felt for my daughter was the first time I heard her chortling to herself in her sleep. I wish I knew what she was dreaming about.

      • Inmara

        I had somewhat similar experience; my baby had a nursing strike around 3 months and we switched to nursing only during the night and pumping during the day as he preferred bottle while awake. As for bonding, it happened gradually during first months and breastfeeding was not the crucial thing to ensure it, rather contrary – how could a process that confines me to a couch for several hours every day and disrupts sleep every night be something that is necessary to love my baby?

        • Fleur

          I tried cutting back to just nursing at night, thinking that my daughter might be more receptive when she was sleepy and relaxed. It worked the first night but, the second night, she almost immediately came off the breast with an outraged expression that said “are you trying to bloody poison me, woman?!”

          I’m glad I combo fed for a while though. If I hadn’t tried breastfeeding, I might now be thinking that I’d missed out on The Most Beautiful Experience of a Woman’s Life, whereas I’m actually thinking “heh, that was nice. On to the next thing!”

  • BeatriceC

    My mother is generally horrible, but she got one thing really right, and for that I’m incredibly grateful. I’d fallen for the lactivist stuff, but not hugely as many women have, but still it was there. When my oldest was born we had issues. He was physically smaller than my breast (I’m huge, and got even more so while lactating), and I had a massive oversupply with an incredibly strong let down. The poor kid struggled mightily to latch on and not drown. He was hungry and frantic. My mother insisted I give him a bottle to calm him down a little before latching again. I cried, but I did it (she can be a force of nature when she wants to be). It worked. He ate a little and wasn’t so frantic, and I had the initial gush from my let down in a cloth diaper that had been shoved into my bra. after half an ounce or so, everybody was calmer and we both learned to do this breastfeeding thing. It took about a week, but we eventually ditched the bottles all together and he self-weaned around 13 months. Because I had such a realistic person in my life (with this issue, anyway), I was able to not only breastfeed OK, but MK and YK as well (though YK never learned to nurse from the tap, he had expressed milk in a bottle once he transitioned to oral feeds). I’m lucky though. I had plenty of milk, too much, actually. Not every woman has enough. Not every baby can transfer milk effectively. Not every woman can afford to stay home, or, like me, worked a job that made breastfeeding easier (I was a teacher and had the summers off…makes a difference).

    OP, I’m glad you shared your story, though I am sad that you had to live through it. Hopefully more women will find your courage and begin to talk about the real issues and we can put this baby friendly nonsense to rest, as it never should have existed in the first place.

    • Emilie Bishop

      I’m glad your mom got it right! One thing I’ve learned from listening to friends and near-strangers tell their stories, breastfeeding is definitely a learning curve for mom and baby.

      • BeatriceC

        And even the same mom will have different experiences with different kids. Above was my oldest kid. My middle kid latched on perfectly the first time he was put the to breast and never looked back. Middle kid never got the hang of nursing from the tap at all and ate expressed breast milk from a bottle. I had three very different experiences with three different babies.

  • Madtowngirl

    Thank you for sharing your story. Your story is quite similar to so many of us here. Despite the rhetoric we keep hearing about “only 1% of women *really* can’t exclusively breastfeed,” it is appearing to be quite a common occurrence.

    I’m grateful that Dr. Amy isn’t intimidated by lactivists, and that this community exists. New motherhood is hard enough without the added unneccessary pressure of lactivism.

    • Emilie Bishop

      I’m grateful to have found Dr. Amy’s site too. I only wish I’d found it while I was pregnant–it would have saved a lot of agony and guilt for our whole family!

  • lawyer jane

    I had one that went from 5th to 75th after a month of formula too! Crazy feeling, right? like wtf was I doing …

    • Daleth

      Ours (twins) went from, respectively, 5th and 10th percentile for weight at birth (they were 3 weeks premature) to 40th after 2 months of eating like 90% formula/10% milk, and they just kept going up the more formula they got (they self-weaned at 4 months from like 95%/5% to 100% formula).

      By 6 months they were at the 70th percentile for weight. Now, at 22 months, they’re at the 75th and 85th… and apparently they’re also among the tallest 22-month-olds in America, judging by the CDC percentile charts: 95th-98th for height (so they’re skinny, like their daddy).

      It’s almost like formula is good for babies! 😉

      • Roadstergal

        Eating is good for babies. 🙂 They grow a lot. And formula is a great way for them to eat.

    • Emilie Bishop

      I know. It was amazing how much he grew. And his height and weight were always pretty well-proportioned, so I wasn’t over-feeding him. My mom said over and over that my brother and I were both the same way. We were born small and then took off after the first month or two. I’m taller than average and my brother is a giant at 6’4”. So my little guy may very well keep on going!

  • fjoy

    I’m someone who had a relatively easy time with breastfeeding initially. However, I went back to work at 3 months and around 8 months my supply wasn’t keeping up. I ended pumping up 3 times at work (for 25 minutes) plus I stayed up for a couple hours after my daughter went to bed to pump a 4th time. I hated every minute of it and I was miserable by the time she turned 1 and planned to wean immediately. However, when I stopped pumping, I went back to enjoying breastfeeding.
    For my second kid, I resolved to avoid stressing myself about it. I started having daycare supplement with formula around 6 months. And it has been so much less stressful and I have not regrets.

    Also, about the breastfeeding/period relationship — it doesn’t work that way for everyone. With both my kids, I didn’t introduce any formula or solids until 6 months and both times I got my period at 8 weeks. I’m still a little bitter about that…

    • Emilie Bishop

      I’m sorry about your period!!! That’s awful! My postpartum bleeding went on forever, but it stopped and started, so I wonder if it was my period trying to come back early, even though I was still nursing then. I’m glad you found a way to save your sanity the second time around too:)

  • Marie

    Thank you for sharing Emilie. I’m so sorry for your struggles and the way you were treated. Fellow Seattle-area resident here. I think I *might* know which hospital you delivered at. I delivered at a nearby hospital to the one I am thinking of. The hospital I delivered at is not part of the BFHI but does follow a lot of “baby-friendly” practices. We had a similar experience and my son lost 12% of his body weight. Fortunately his ped gave us bottles of formula when he was 4 days old. Mothers and babies deserve to be treated better.

    • Emilie Bishop

      You probably do, neighbor:) I’m sorry you had a similar experience. I had several local friends deliver at my hospital and all but one raved about it. The one was unable to breastfeed her son due to previous breast reduction surgery. The others were all champion breastfeeders (not in a sanctimonious way, it just came easily for them and their babies). Coincidence? I don’t think so. Wishing you a better experience if you have a next time!