Then my baby came and I did it wrong. Or something was wrong because he wouldn’t latch on. The nurses in the hospital all had different opinions on the best way to nurse – the way that was guaranteed to work. It didn’t work.

“You’re starving him”

After weeks of struggling, a lactation consultant came to our house. She said I needed to pump and breastfeed every other hour. So every hour, 24 hours a day, I pumped or nursed. It didn’t work. My baby was losing too much weight.

“You’re starving him,” the pediatrician said. I was failing and the most basic thing a mother can do and it was killing us. That’s how I felt, that I was killing us. I hadn’t slept, I was alone.

After four weeks, I gave in and gave my baby a little bit of formula, but I felt so bad about it I stopped. By that point the lactation consultant that came to the house had given him a cold and at 5 weeks old he ended up the in hospital with bronchiolitis. For days, he lay in a tiny hospital crib with breathing tubes in his nose. For some reason, being in the hospital with him helped us and the nursing finally started to work and I could breast feed exclusively.

Is Formula So Bad?

Looking back, I have to wonder if all of that was worth it. There was so much pressure to nurse him. The message I got from books, the doctor, and the nurses was that I had to nurse or I was failing my son. I felt so alone but after talking to other moms I know I wasn’t. I’ve heard story after story of women who don’t produce enough milk and have to switch to formula.

Would it have been so bad to give him formula so I could get some sleep? Would my son have Type 1 Diabetes if I had given him a bottle? I don’t think so. My son is a wonderful, smart, and funny boy and I think he would have turned out that way even if I had given him formula.

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Yvonne Condes contributor

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