Babies, Feeding, and Support


bottle of formula with mom and baby in background

When my daughter was born in 2014, I was a first-time mom, and so naïve. I planned to breastfeed her for the first year. After she was born and put on my chest, my husband cut her cord, and the nurse asked if I wanted to try to nurse her. I said, “sure.” My daughter latched on with no problem; I remember saying to my husband, “wow, this isn’t hard, why do women complain about this?” Ha! That was my first mistake, yes, she latched. But, nothing was coming out, no colostrum, no milk,  nothing. She looked so sad after attempting to nurse for 20 minutes, so the nurse suggested I supplement with formula until my milk came in. Great! The lactation consultant came in and said, “Let her find the nipple.” I thought that was a little strange: here was this baby, not even 24 hours old and she’s supposed to find my nipple? But ok, I put my trust in her and her experience. Well, Julia found it and again, nothing happened. I self-expressed and I tried pumping, but still, nothing, not even a drop. So formula feeding it was.  The nurses were great, sent us home with some samples and coupons, and we were on our way!

Fast forward two weeks and my milk had still not come in. I did feel full, but Julia never got an ounce of breast milk from me, not because I didn’t try or didn’t want to breastfeed. Remember my plan? It went out the window with most things new moms plan because we are new and figuring this out! My milk never came in because after I had Julia, I bled.  I bled a lot, to the point where my OB was elbow deep in me, pulling out clots when she was a few hours old. Everyone said my milk would come in and to try to increase my milk supply. I should drink beer, check. Have fennel, check. Eat greens, check. Oatmeal, check! Whatever someone suggested I tried, but no matter how hard I tried, it wasn’t going to happen. Some were supportive, but some told me I didn’t try hard enough.  Some were against formula and said I should have been purchasing donor milk. The thing was; my kid was fed and happy! She is 4 and thriving and I didn’t let other opinions bother me. Was it expensive? Yes, but she was fed.

Sometimes the milk comes in right away, other times it takes a few days, so you do supplement for those few days. Moms go through enough during delivery, the last thing they want is a battle to get their kid fed. They just want to hear, “you’re doing the best for your baby, and that’s all that matters.” I have a friend who just had her third baby. She’s been around the block, and she’s brilliant and knows to trust her mama gut above all else. When the baby was born, her milk didn’t come in right away, and she supplemented. Her milk is in now, and the baby is thriving. When new moms or moms of their 4th or 10th kid are struggling, don’t be rude and say “blank is best.” Feeding the baby, whichever way works for mom, is best. There is no right or wrong way. I have plenty of friends who felt their milk come in before the baby arrived and the baby latched perfectly no issue, I have friends who preferred to pump, and the baby was fed.  I have friends who did have milk come in but just didn’t like it and wanted to use formula. There is no right or wrong way, as long as mom and baby are happy and healthy that’s all that matters. So next time you see a mom, don’t push what worked for you, push what works for her. 


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience, Emily.

    Nothing went according to plan when I had Eli. We aimed for a natural birth at term, I ended up with a cesarean 3 weeks early. I could not wait to take him home, but he was in the NICU for 10 days. I wanted to breast feed, but he had some other maturity issues, we never quite got it to work. Ultimately, he didn’t have the strength to work at breast feeding and he needed to eat. Fed is best, however they get it.
    This is such a personal is hard when you feel judged for what ever it is you end up deciding. It ended up working out for us and our family in the end, I could make better use of my helpers because everyone could help feed him.
    Again..thank you for sharing your experience and helping other Moms know that it doesnt always work out how we want it to.. But the child we are blessed with is so worth it all!

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