teets of fury

"mommy, you aren't thinking about supplementing, are you?"

you always hear about the pressure on new moms to breastfeed. but as a boob-feeder, i kinda think the opposite is true.

the formula industry is not given enough credit for regularly manipulating our maternal self-doubt.

sure, in breastfeeding literature they make it sound like one drop of formula will give your dumb, obese baby another reason to hate you when he or she grows up — assuming they don’t die in infancy from some immune deficiency. but in the real world, it’s a very different story.

as soon as my baby came out of the womb, the nurses were pushing formula supplements on her. the first night we were together as a family, i apparently agreed to send her away and to give her Similac out of the bottle. this is a big no-no in the world of breastfeeding sticklers, for the male audience, who quit reading this blog several months ago.

i do not remember any of this, mind you. i had just lost most of my blood and i would’ve agreed to a tattoo of Similac on Molly’s forehead at that point. i just remember the nurses wheeling in a tiny baby who was spitting up formula. whhhaaaa? who authorized this?!

this is not to mention that since then, every time i move around my house, i trip on some sort of promotional formula bag or bottle or powder or gadget.

anyway, the point is that i couldn’t get eight hours of colostrum in my infant before they were telling me that my supply (ugh! that word!) was inadequate. she hadn’t even lost weight at that point. it was just a routine service? but i am suspicious.

even before my milk came in, each nurse at the hospital said it with their eyes when they weighed Molly in her first few days: O.M.G. YOUR BABY IS STARVING! AND YOU ARE DOING IT TO HER!! MUST SUPPLEMENT!

some were more direct.

“you might want to think about supplementing.”

this kind of start puts a lot of pressure on a girl, especially because breastfeeding is hard work — and if you’re not completely anxiety-free, it’s twice as much work. basically, if you don’t believe you’re making enough food, you won’t. it’s a pseudo science. except it’s 100 percent real. i guess it’s mad science?

today was Molly’s big weigh-in, and all week i’ve been a mama on a mission. i’ve felt like something is chasing me. what a rush!

if i don’t get that feeding in, i’ll have to supplement with formula, and if you supplement, (SUPPLEMENT!) you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot with this supply and demand game of breast milk. EDIT: I recently have heard some encouraging stories from women who have supplemented and it did NOT, contrary to breastfeeding books, bring INSTANT DEATH to her baby OR her breast milk supply.


formula manufacturers! stop trying to get after me with your mind games! leave us be!

in fact, you know what?! I don’t think YOU are making enough food for your baby. how does that feel? way to go. you are STARVING BABIES. perhaps you should consider supplementing. have you received my promotional gift bag full of 100 percent natural boobs?

ok, so back to Molly’s weigh-in.

Molly gained six ounces this week — ON THE BAD SCALE!

baby earthlings need to gain between 4 and 7 ounces each week to be considered within the normal, non-panic range. Molly was a little hog this week. mommy is happy. the B-Cups are vindicated!

and it’s a good thing, too, because i was going to ignore the doctor’s request if he told me to add formula. i decided last night that Molly was fine, regardless of what the doctor’s scale said at that particular moment. how’s that for dangerous defiance? i’ve matured from holding my breath until i pass out.

some of you may be wondering: What’s the big deal? it’s just a little formula.

the answer is: Oh, nothing really. i just don’t like people telling me what i can’t do. it was 90 percent of my motivation for not getting an epidural. seth gets credit for the remaining 10 percent. it has nothing to do with my baby’s health. just stubbornness and pride. and also, i am pretty thrifty, and formula seems slightly more expensive than free. so.


the kicker of this month-long boob drama is this: My doctor threw out the 7-1 reading from a couple weeks ago as a botched weigh-in job by the nurse. when he crunched the remaining numbers, he found that since she started visiting him, Molly is well within the normal range, if not gaining a little more than average this week.


he lamented the fact that his office did not have one digital scale for all to share, but he was relieved that we apparently had addressed the problem.

we both sat there for a second trying to figure out why i was there and why he had invited me.

then he told me how proud of me he was for breastfeeding.

“have you supplemented with formula?” he asked.

“not yet,” i said.

“reeeally,” he said. “way to go. you’re doing it the right way.”


doode needs to get some new scales, though. srrrsly.

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  • http://blach.tumblr.com Ben Lachman

    Awesome. So I’ve heard-tell that as long as your nipple doesn’t wear off in the first 8 weeks it gets easier. And kiddo deuce was a comparative walk in the proverbial nipple park, but you don’t even want to think about that yet.

  • theteet

    nipple park! yay!!!

  • joy

    Glad that the weight thing is “solved”. More glad that you are ok with your choices and not going to let anyone push you around.
    And this is the story I more expected to hear — there is definitely a large push for formula usage even with the overwhelming amount of information out there on the benefits of breastfeeding.
    Way to go for you and Molly — it benefits you too you know … not just the little one. :) (not trying to be a campaign poster … ) Just remember that it’s your family, your(and Seth’s) baby, and you guys get to decide what’s best for you — and that can change. Keep it up … and I love hearing about you all!

  • Jaydubs

    Yay! Glad to hear that your sticktoitiveness is paying off! Anyway, I don’t know about you, but I find it less funny and more maddening that the doc’s scales (or the nurse’s ability to weigh things accurately) could be so wildly off, given the importance placed on the measurements. Sounds like they need to make an investment in some modernized equipment.

    Aaaaanyway, keep fighting the good fight! My mom (who I daresay is less endowed than you) breastfed both my sister and I successfully (and we both started out at 5 lbs 10 oz.). Beyond any health/financial benefits she found in that, she’s been able to use it for the last 30-some years as a way to guilt us into doing what she wants (i.e. “But I breastfed you!”). So, you have that to look forward to!

  • owen

    And where would I find this gift bag of boobs? Would they have them at nipple park?

    What if the nurse gave molly formula without your consent, and you found out she was allergic to dairy on her first night of life, and she turned orange with jaundice for a day? Been there and done that.

  • JMc

    Yes, breastfeeding is great for the baby, no arguing that, and that’s enough reason to do it as long as possible. But here’s another anyway, from a dad who pulled a lot of diaper duty: Breastmilk poop and formula poop have, shall we say, vastly different smells. Those cartoons that show a dad changing a diaper whilst wearing a clothespin on his nose and holding the infant at arm’s reach? You know right away that’s a formula-fed baby. Breastmilk poop’s smell actually is not entirely unpleasant.

  • mandy

    Good for you! It sounds like you are doing a great job and you ought to be proud of that.

    But oh the guilt…still almost three months after I stopped BFing, I still feel bad for quitting. Even though I never got more than an ounce total (usually more like mere drops) and yet still stuck with it for three months, and tried every trick I could think of, including prescriptions, I still find myself thinking, “Maybe I should have done more.” But some bodies just don’t make enough.

    Sorry for that tangent. I meant to just say how much I admire you for sticking with it!

  • theteet

    Jaydubs, you’re right. Doode needs to invest in a scale. He’s a flippin’ pediatrician. In his defense, however, they didn’t put as much “weight” (ha!) in the scale readings as I did. I interpreted, “Let’s not worry and check her next week,” into, “You and your tiny boobs are killing your baby.”


    Also, I’m happy about the men here who don’t run away screaming “gross! boobie cheeeeese!” when the issue of breastfeeding comes up. I’m hoping you guys might have a chat with Seth? :)

    Mandy, there will be a special place in heaven for ladies who tried as hard as you to breastfeed.

    Don’t you dare feel anything but proud of yourself for that. Wait. That sounded very momish. How about I say that I will always be super-proud of you? I’m not sure that worked any better.

  • Rogue Agent

    Nice Dylan Thomas reference. “Do Not Go Gentle – To That Supplemental” was another poem by him against baby food maker barons.
    I think the county weights & measures people should visit your doctor and seize his scales. Calling in anonymous tip now. . .

  • mom of three

    We’ve never met, but I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I’m a fan. I read this post and wanted to let you know that I’ve been there with the breastfeeding.

    With my first, I desperately wanted to breastfeed. My first born (we’ll call him Uno) wasn’t a big eater. No matter what I ate or tried, he just wasn’t gaining weight like we had hoped. The guilt was terrible and eventually I caved and started supplementing. Still, Uno wasn’t gaining much weight. So, being the new mom and not confident with my abilities, I stopped breastfeeding all together and relied on formula.

    Guess what happened?! NOTHING. There was no difference. He didn’t gain incredible amounts of weight on formula. He just wasn’t a big eater. He was a small baby. Some babies are big, some are small. In fact, at 4 years old, Uno is still small for his age but he is a perfect kid.

    My point is this: listen your instincts as a mom. If you want to breastfeed, do it and don’t listen to the nipple haters.