My Breastfeeding Journey

breastfeeding experience, combo feeding, formula, enfamil neuropro, nursing

One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in life is breastfeed – yes, even harder than birth, and I had to actively push for 3 straight hours! During pregnancy, I always expected breastfeeding to be this natural, effortless thing, but it’s totally not! At least it wasn’t effortless for me. Before I had Keldon, I had the mindset of “fed is best” and if I had to give him formula, that was totally okay – and it totally is! I just didn’t expect the emotional roller coaster of it or the pressure I put on myself to make breastfeeding work. It’s a mental game, and as a result of it not working, you might feel “mom guilt”.

The struggles of breastfeeding are not widely talked about since it’s a bit of a controversial topic, and I’ve seen a lot of mom shaming on the internet, which just isn’t cool. Not to me specifically, but to others, which is why it took a little bit of time for me to open up about my journey with it. Not every woman is blessed to produce enough for their baby, even when you try every darn supplement, drink, or lactation snack under the sun. And even if you are producing enough, sometimes your babe has a road block like tongue tie (Keldon had), which makes it difficult to sufficiently get enough milk in a appropriate amount of time, which causes frustration for both baby and mama. AND maybe your breast pump doesn’t do the best job of removing enough milk to keep up with your little one’s appetite (in fact, it’s a known thing that babies do the best job of getting the milk they need, not the pump). I have literally been through the ringer of all of these struggles in the first couple of months, making breastfeeding a dreaded and upsetting task – which is not healthy for mama OR baby.

During the first days of welcoming Keldon in the world, I waited and waited for my milk to come in. It finally came in after 5 days, but Keldon was not getting a ton of colostrum prior to it coming in (due to his tongue tie), so he was losing weight too quickly. Because of this, our doctor recommended to supplement formula until my supply came in. That being said, the first week of Keldon’s life was when we first introduced a bottle and formula. Part of me felt sad, but I just wanted my baby to get enough nutrients and stop losing weight! And it was completely out of my hands, so we were just fine with doing so.

Once my milk did finally come in (um, ouch!), it was a big learning curve for both Keldon and I. It hurt so bad! We worked with a lactation consultant, but even with her help, we just weren’t getting a great latch, which resulted in cracked nipples and holy cannoli, that HURT! I remember curling my toes and fighting tears because of the pain it caused. I literally dreaded and got anxiety leading up to the next time to nurse. If you are already a mom, you’ll know as a newborn, that’s every 1.5-2 hours!

The lactation nurse advised us to “triple feed” to try and boost my supply and give Keldon enough, so for about 2.5-3 weeks at every feed, I nursed, pumped immediately after, and then gave Keldon that freshly pumped milk in a bottle. Boy was that exhausting, and it got old fast. Especially during those middle of the night feedings… I felt like a zombie and not myself anymore. My sweet husband would even help me with washing pump parts and giving Keldon the bottle afterwards which helped, but It was taking way too much time to triple feed; I would literally have maybe 30 minutes to myself in between feedings until it was time to start the cycle over again. It was really starting to wear on me, and I was in so much pain from nursing that it actually started to hurt my relationship with Keldon since it was such a frustrating task for both him and I. That being said, I then decided to try pumping exclusively instead.

The start of pumping wasn’t really fun, and while it was still pretty uncomfortable, it hurt less than nursing and I was bonding with Keldon more with bottle feeding (we would make eye contact with each other vs. him falling asleep on me nursing!), so I was fine with it for a while. The only problem was that I was only pumping 1.5-2 oz total each time for weeks. At first it was actually even less than that, because I realized I was using the pump wrong (this little guide helped – I have a Spectra S2 pump). Even when triple feeding, we started noticing Keldon was losing weight again, and what we thought was him being “fussy” was likely just hunger, since he was just basically snacking on breastmilk rather than getting what he needed (makes me so sad to think about). That’s when I went crazy ordering all the lactation boosters. While they helped a little, they still weren’t enough! I started getting really sad, mad and just defeated that my body couldn’t provide enough for him. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself and felt like I was failing. I remember reading What To Expect’s forums just searching for other women that are going through the same thing and what they were doing. I truly wanted to those also struggling to just say that they were giving up on breastfeeding and start formula feeding so I had more validation to make it okay if I did the same. But even then, I still just couldn’t give it up completely because of that stinkin’ mom guilt.

Once we realized we needed to take action yet again in order for Keldon to go up in weight, we started supplementing again. This time, we would supplement after his pumped breastmilk bottles, meaning we would give him a 1.5-2oz bottle of formula (we’ve used Enfamil NeuroPro since the beginning) a couple of times a day after the breastmilk. Fortunately, this helped a lot. Though I still felt guilty for a while that Keldon wasn’t exclusively getting breastmilk, it was more important that he was healthy and happy, and I became more relaxed and happier too. My mental state was suffering from all the pressure I was putting on myself and on Keldon to get what he needed from me only, and so supplementing was one of the best choices we made for him.

That routine lasted a good few weeks and I was so much happier… but then I started loathing pumping, lol. Like, pumping sucks! And cleaning all the parts and all the bottles… blah. At that point, I was pretty much healed after all the agony of those first weeks of nursing, and so I decided to try nursing again. I became more comfortable and relaxed with it this time around since we were supplementing and I knew that he would be getting enough, so it was a little less pressure on myself. But, we began to consider getting his tongue tie clipped to see if that would help him even more. Our pediatrician initially told us that he could outgrow it and that’s what we were banking on, but wanted to take care of it just in case since it was a really quick and easy process. So his 2 month check up, we had them clip his tongue tie too. It lasted just a few seconds and Keldon cried until he nursed, so it really wasn’t too bad at all!

The tongue tie clipping seemed to help, and we slowly were realizing that Keldon wasn’t needing to supplement as much, so we were down to nursing every 2 hours and then just supplementing a bottle or two as needed. The only problem now, was that Keldon would still take FOREVER to nurse! I know, one thing after another, right?! It just wasn’t ideal for my lifestyle and running my own business to nurse Keldon for 35-60 minutes every 2 hours, since I would be back again to nurse him like one hour later. After speaking with other mamas, I realized the norm is more like 10-20 minutes per feeding and that their babies would pull off when they were finished. For us, Keldon would either fall asleep on me or I would pull him off and he would typically be upset since we still wanted to eat, and that’s when we would supplement.

It was like that for a good month or so, and at 3 months, we started replacing some nursing sessions with formula. At first I would pump during those missed feeds, but the spring was a super busy time for work for me, so I didn’t always get the chance to for a missed daytime feed as I bounced from meetings and knocking things out on my to do list while I had some help with Keldon from my mother in law (which would be about 1-2 days a week). The night feed was also one that we replaced with formula in hopes for Keldon to sleep longer stretches during the night (this was was the sleep regression started to hit), so I would pump while Tom fed Keldon a bottle of formula before bed.

I did deal with some engorgement during those initial missed pumps, but we slowly weaned off and my body eventually got used to the new norm and eventually didn’t need to pump anymore. When Keldon started sleeping through the night I had some engorgement too, but that didn’t last long either.

Now as you may have already read, we are following this schedule that I blogged a couple of weeks ago, and just nursing 1-3x a day for a bit before formula bottles. My supply of course hasn’t been able to keep up with my growing boy, so we are just coasting with the combo feeding, majority being formula feeding. Our nursing is now more of an appetizer than a meal for Keldon, and I’m okay with that. I have a lot more freedom (and sanity) that is so important for my mental health and running my business. Plus, Tom and our family has the opportunity to bond with Keldon by feeding him, which I think is pretty amazing!

Our breastfeeding days are numbered, but I am content knowing that I’ve given it a solid effort and that I’m happy and Keldon’s happy. If you are a mama and going through some hurdles with breastfeeding, take it one day at a time. I found less pressure doing so that way than putting pressure on myself to make it to 6 months to a year like I initially had a goal of. If you aren’t happy, your negative energy will rub off on you and onto your baby and spouse/family. Also, please know you aren’t alone!! I received literally hundreds of DMs from other moms that went through a similar experience or are in the same stage of struggle. It’s more common than you think! Something a follower shared with me that rang so true: “If it’s stressing you out so much that you aren’t able to enjoy other moments during this season of life, it’s not worth it.” Happy mama = happy baby. 🙂

Leave a Comment


  1. Lisa wrote:

    I really appreciate you being open and honest with your breastfeeding journey. My little boy is only a few months older than yours, but my breastfeeding journey was very similar to yours so it is nice to hear how other mothers deal with the decision to introduce formula – I completely understand the mom guilt you are talking about! It’s now been about 4 months since we started formula and my son is so happy when we give him a bottle! Feeding sessions are a lot less stressful now and I finally feel content that FED IS BEST!!!

    Posted 6.18.19 Reply
  2. Maureen Shiflet wrote:

    I have 4 kids ages 7-15 and I had a very similar experience with some of them. But I am happy to report that although at the time it was devastating and I felt all of those same emotions and guilt you described, as they get older you gain a lot of perspective and realize that was a bump in the road and happy mom = happy baby is best! You did the best you could and that is ENOUGH!! Think of how much breast milk he did get and be proud!! ❤️

    Posted 6.18.19 Reply
  3. Jill wrote:

    Thank you for this!! The timing could not be better. I have a 5 day old and already know where this is heading with breast feeding. I feel frustrated and do not enjoy it at all. But man the guilt is real. Thanks for opening up and allowing moms like me to have a place to go and not feel alone!

    Posted 6.18.19 Reply
    • Laura wrote:

      Jill- I have a Two week old and am going through the same thing. We started supplementing at the hospital and she and I just aren’t jiving with breastfeeding, despite lots of help we have gotten. I’m with you in this struggle, mama.

      Posted 6.18.19 Reply
    • Sam wrote:

      I have a 3 month old and we struggled terribly with exclusive breast feeding for the first 6 weeks (shallow latch, terrible pain, severe nipple breakdown requiring prescription ointments that took weeks to resolve even when I stoped nursing and pumped with bottle feeding). I met with several lactation consultants in clinic and in my home and while it was somewhat helpful it didn’t solve everything and we still struggled. For my baby and me, we found going to our local lactation support group helpful. Our problems significantly improved at 6 weeks but up till that point it was reassuring to go once a week (on top of the other lactation consultation appointments). To be with a group of other women with their babies and hear their stories and share advise. I didn’t know this was a thing (lactation support groups) and before going i would have never thought they were for me (at all). But it’s a very hard and isolating time and I actually think it’s a great thing to try – whatever your path ends up being. It gets you out of the house and interacting with people who have made it past problems and also with people who are going through hard times as well. Congrats on you babies and I wish you well on your journeys.

      Posted 6.19.19 Reply
  4. Julia wrote:

    Thanks so much for being honest Taylor! My baby is 3.5 months and a few weeks ago I started to introduce formula because ever since he was born, I dreaded Breastfeeding – it is so time consuming, exhausting, frustrating, etc. Due to the hormones, I have not felt like myself. Ever since I have been weaning off, I’ve felt a million times better – I have so much more free time, I am happier, I know exactly how much milk my baby is getting with formula, etc. I have come across some moms who are very vocal about the importance of breastfeeding, and i get it, but we know what is best for our baby and as long as the baby is thriving, we should be able to do what we think is best without judgement.

    Posted 6.18.19 Reply
  5. Ilona wrote:

    With my first baby, I had an oversupply – which you’d think is good, unless you have a spitty baby who is getting a stomach ache and acid reflux from all the air she’s swallowing because of this fast flow! She would nurse a little bit and I would try burping her and she would start crying inconsolably. Plus there’s always the question of whether she’s getting enough, and the huge adjustment in daily activities that you need to make to be able to just sit with the baby for hours on end… Now looking back – no one told me that there are various positions you can nurse in, that I shouldn’t pump because it only signals my body to produce even more, that it’s ok to give her as often as she wants to and it might better if she eats a little but often because it might help with the spit up. But in general there’s so much to learn about breastfeeding that I might have read that but got overwhelmed with all the things to watch out for. So at 2.5 mo I switched to fully pumping and yes it SUCKS! I didn’t work though so stuck through it till she was one but gosh is it hard work.

    I’ve just had my third baby two weeks ago and this time I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of it. Maybe, hopefully. So, all the encouragement and praise to you for trying your best and not beating yourself up for the choices you needed to make.

    Posted 6.19.19 Reply
  6. Courtney wrote:

    This resonates with me so much! Before my daughter was born I always thought “fed is best” and never understood the mom shaming. Then when we started having issues with her gaining weight and started considering formula… the mom guilt is real! I’m so lucky to have a supportive husband and so many mama friends who helped me along the way. It’s crazy the amount of pressure we put on ourselves when really a fed baby = a happy baby and a happy mama. Thanks for sharing!!

    Posted 6.19.19 Reply
  7. Elle wrote:

    My daughter is two months and I have the reverse issue. Breastfeeding is relatively easy for me – no pain, good supply, baby latches. But I have my husband, mom, and MIL encouraging me to switch to formula! I am not happy being so tethered bc of breastfeeding, and currently our baby eats EVERY HOUR so it makes it difficult to get anything done! But I feel guilt with adding in formula bc there’s no reason to, other than perhaps my own personal sanity and hoping formula makes her need to eat less often. But however I frame it in my head I feel selfish! Moms are really good about feeling guilty over ANYTHING and we want to do the very best we can. I don’t know what I plan to do, but just wanted to share my story. It helps to know that other mamas are dealing with similar issues!

    Posted 6.19.19 Reply
  8. Danielle wrote:

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Posted 6.19.19 Reply
  9. Shelby wrote:

    Thanks so much for sharing! i have a 6th month old and my breastfeeding journey is so similar to yours. The mom guilt is so real and the pressure we put on ourselves sucks! As soon as we stopped breastfeeding I became 100% a better, happier mother who enjoyed her child instead of dreading the next feeding. Enjoy your little man and fed is really best.

    Posted 6.20.19 Reply

stay up to date

Enter your email to subscribe to my Weekly Recap Newsletter! I share the weekly best sellers, blog & IG post recap, and weekend sales every Sunday.