Please don't give up. I'm guessing because you came here that deep down inside you don't want to.

Let me share with you my experience, in the hope that it will inspire you, too.

My daughter was born c-section because she was breach. I tried nursing her every way I could, but the fact was that having her on my belly at all HURT and she was too long to do the football without being bent in half. She screamed every time I tried to breast feed her in the hospital. She was jaundiced and they told me I had to give her formula or else she wouldn't pass the bilirubin. They told me I had one flat and one inverted nipple. I started pumping the day she was born, and would give her what I pumped.

She got a little bit of formula after we went home from the hospital -- they also gave me a nipple shield and we tried that. But the feedings would go for an hour+ and she never seemed completely content afterwards. Or if she was it lasted all of five minutes. I was worried she wasn't getting enough with the shield (my breasts were still heavy afterwards).

I had huge engorgement issues at first. I pumped and pumped. My nipples even bled once which freaked me out. I barely had enough milk for her with the pumping, but I had enough and just a little and before long I started working up a bit of a "backup" supply in the fridge. I felt good.

Her first checkup and she hadn't completely regained her birth weight. Her doc told me to bring her in in two weeks for another weight check and to supplement her with formula. I was in tears, and worried we wouldn't be able to afford the formula. He sent me home with a sample. I vowed she wouldn't get a drop of it until I ran out of my supply in the fridge (he also told me to up how much I got her which put me back in the "barely making enough" category) was exhausted and I was making less than she needed.

Guess what? I still have those formula samples in a closet, "just in case". She hasn't gotten a drop of formula since her first week of life. And it's all been pumped. Every single drop. Because try as I might she never wanted to nurse. If she even got NEAR a bare breast she would freak and cry and wail. And it broke my heart, even though I wanted so badly for her to nurse. I still do, but now she has teeth and I'm afraid that even if she did latch she'd bite. (I have sort of tried, and now she licks the nipple rather than scream, but that's it).

It's coming up on 8 months of exclusive pumping. And in the beginning it was hell. I had clogged ducts like crazy, near constant. I was put on antibiotics three times just to stave off mastitis (I took them the first time, said screw it the last two because I didn't want a yeast infection). It was hard. I was pumping every 3 hours, which meant if I was lucky by the time I was done I got 2 hours of sleep at a stretch. Which usually didn't happen because my schedule was out of sync with hers. And I went back to work at 6 weeks. I was such a zombie then....

I'm sorry if this is long but I just want you to know that if you really want to do it, you can. It's so hard in the beginning. I know, I've been there. But eventually it evens out. And you get into such a routine with the pumping that even though I'll be exhausted, it's not as bad as it used to be.

You're doing a great job, mama. If you want to rant or ask questions, feel free to pm me. I've been kinda absent these last few weeks, but I will check it at least once a day for you if you need someone to talk to.