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Celebrity Baby Blog

Marla Sokoloff’s Blog: Meet Elliotte Anne!

03/14/2012 at 06:00 PM ET

Our celebrity blogger Marla Sokoloff is a new mama!

Since audiences first got to know her at age 12 as Gia on Full House, Sokoloff has had many memorable TV roles — Jody on Party of Five, Lucy on The Practice, Claire on Desperate Housewives – as well as turns on the big screen in Whatever It TakesDude, Where’s My Car? and Sugar & Spice.

Sokoloff, 31, also sings and plays guitar and released an album, Grateful, in 2005.

She wed her husband, music composer Alec Puro, in November 2009 and the couple — plus pup Coco Puro — make their home in Los Angeles.

You can find Marla, now mom to 5-week-old daughter Elliotte Anneon Twitter.

At the hospital – Courtesy Cydney Puro


Greetings from baby land!

Sorry for the delay in updating you all — apparently, finding the time to write a pregnancy blog is way easier than finding the time to write a blog about your newborn!

As some of you may or may not know, my daughter Elliotte Anne Puro was born (after a brief 30 hours of labor) on February 8th at 8:05 p.m. weighing in at 7 pounds on the nose.

Words cannot express my complete and utter love for her. I know every parent says this, but she’s absolutely perfect!

For nine months, I feared labor and delivery. The unknown of it all literally kept me up at night. Much like pregnancy, I was faced with another event that I had zero control over.

The worst part for me was waking up every morning wondering if today was the day. Towards the end, I felt like I was sitting around (because I was too uncomfortable to really go anywhere!) waiting for my entire life to change.

I’m happy to report that now that I’m on the other side — it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, it was long and sometimes crazy painful — but once they placed my baby girl on my chest … it was all a distant(ish) memory.

To be honest, the whole experience felt like a fun adventure. Everything from watching the contractions rise and fall on the monitor to staring at my sweet husband asleep on a cot while I ate a cherry popsicle at four in the morning to curb my hunger.

I will never forget that surreal feeling of arriving to the hospital as a twosome and leaving a family. I will also never forget the “Holy moly!” feeling of arriving home with this new little person that wholeheartedly trusts you and assumes you know what the heck you are doing!

I’m slowly adjusting to the exhaustion that being a new parent brings. For the first two weeks I was running on adrenaline and hormones, and now my body is starting to catch on to the fact that sleep is no longer a part of our daily regimen.

I’ve tried to sleep when she sleeps, but that’s easier said than done. I always feel like there’s so much emailing/phone call returning/cleaning up to do. (For example: I’m able to write this blog because she’s napping as I type this!) Although I must say, one of my favorite things in the universe is when we nap together and she falls asleep on my chest. Heaven!

Naptime! – Courtesy Marla Sokoloff

The only part of mothering that has truly been difficult for me (so far) is breastfeeding. I know this topic is something that many of you may find controversial but I want to talk about this because I know that I’m not the only mom out there who has wrestled with this issue.

We are now five weeks into Elliotte’s life and it’s something that I’m still really struggling with.

My milk production came in quite low and after weeks of trying to find our groove, most feedings end with both of us in tears. I’ve been taking milk-producing herbs, drinking special tea and saying lots of prayers to will this to happen, but each day I simply do the best I can.

With the help of an amazing lactation consultant, we have designed a plan that combines breastfeeding with breast pumping as well as supplementing. This way I know exactly how much food she is getting. At the end of the day, she needs to eat and that’s what’s most important.

I had no idea that something as simple as feeding my daughter would cause both of us so much stress and heartache. I keep setting little goals for myself and Elliotte. I know that since we made it to one month we can make it to three months and then to six … and so on!

The next goal I’m setting is to lose those pregnancy pounds I had oh so much fun putting on! (Rest in peace, late night trips to Baskin-Robbins.)

I just signed up to receive delivered meals from Freshology so I don’t even have to think about eating healthy. It’s been so convenient having delicious healthy food in my fridge that I can quickly grab while Elliotte is napping.

Hopefully this will stop people from asking me how far along I am. (Yes I’m looking at you, lady at the mall. Not nice!)

Thank you for letting me share my mommy journey thus far! As usual, I would love to hear from you so leave a comment or send me a Tweet @marlasok.

– Marla Sokoloff

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Showing 135 comments

MollyF on

Those are really nice pictures. What a beautiful baby. I love the name. :)

Tee on

Aw, your daughter is beautiful! Congratulations!

In regards to the trouble nursing, you might ask your LC about adding oatmeal into your diet. It helps milk production. Good for you for continuing even though you’re struggling a bit! A lot of people would have simply stopped and given formula at this point.

I look forward to hearing more about little Elliotte Anne!

ruby on

Must be nice to have the $$$ to order fresh meals!

There are medications you can take to increase milk supply. Women who adopt take them to lactate for adopted babies. Ask your OB.

Tainabelle on

Actually, many doctors in Europe actually recommend a mixture of breastfeeding and formula so that whatever nutrients aren’t recieved via breastmilk (perhaps, mommy indulging in fast food or something), the baby will get it through the formula. It works for many here, so hope it helps her as well. =)

Julie on

Congratulations Marla and family!

Miriam on

Yay! Congrats! Absolutely beautiful. How ’bout pondering that you will now for the rest of your life be a mom. Yikes!

Becc on

Congrats on the birth of your lovely daughter.

I too had problems feeding my baby girl at first and just wanted to stick with it for a couple of months even though it brought a lot of pain and anxiety. Fortunately I got the hang of it at 6 weeks and was able to nurse through to 8 months!

Once we got over the hurdles it was a wonderful experience. You should be proud that you have persisted this far…you’ll get there.

All the best, xB

Lynne on

Congrats on your beautiful little girl! It’s so strange how our minds quickly realize that sleep is an option for the time being.

As for your breastfeeding dilemma; I couldn’t produce milk very much either. My breasts did fine if we were out and about and my daughter got fussy, but for actual feeding, she would take the breast, and still at least 4 oz. of formula.

All of my kids were like that (I also have 13 year old twins who I pumped for for the first 2 weeks while they were in the NICU). I could not allow my body’s inability to make the most simple thing to feed my children to make me feel guilty.

I’m sure you will always do the best you can by Elliotte, so long as you do that, that’s all that matters! Enjoy every moment, take lots of photos (they grow so fast!), and remember to take time for you and your hubby once in a while.

Much love!

Ainsley on

Hi Marla,

Your lactation consultant might have told you, but you can also try quince fruit. It really helps milk production.

Justme;) on

Marla,

I read ALL your blogs! You seem like one of the nicest celebrities! You are so down to earth (At least you sound like it) and you have a way to put in humor! I know you will be an awesome mom! Little Eliotte looks absolutely ADORABLE!! Can’t wait to see more pictures! Update when you can and get some sleep! Your life has changed forever! (Hopefully) You will love it!! Enjoy your time with little Elliotte Anne!

-JustMe :)

PS: What will you call her? Elliotte? Anne? A nickname? And where did you come up with the name? Does it have a spiritual/special meaning? Is it a family name?

Shannon on

Thank you for talking about your real experiences with breastfeeding. I’m a mom of 2, and I think breastfeeding was the most stressful experience. Far more than labor! Everything I had read prior didn’t prepare me for the problems, and in fact made it much worse on me because I felt like I was a failure.

I know more people who have struggled with breastfeeding than I know that had it go as easily as the books explain. Stay strong!

Sara on

Congratulations on little Elliotte!

I completely sympathize with you on the breastfeeding struggles. My baby girl is 4 months old and she didn’t start latching on to my left side until she was 10 weeks old. Needless to say, my left side has never caught up.

For the first couple of weeks after she was born, we used an SNS tube. It’s a little bottle filled with formula and has a long skinny tube attached. You hold the end of tube on your nipple so that when your baby latches on, she’s getting formula and some milk but is still learning how to latch on while getting more nutrients.

I agree with the other comments that oatmeal and fenugreek can be helpful. I wish you the best of luck and keep your head up!

Kelly on

Congrats in the birth of your beautiful baby girl!

Regarding the breastfeeding, it is often quite eye opening and discouraging how something regarded as “natural” doesn’t come easy to many of people, congrats to you for not giving up when things got a bit challenging! I had the same happen with my second child…funny thing is I nursed my first born for a year issue free! I kept at it though and just had to do some things a bit differently, put a bit more effort and thought into it, but it is SO worth it!

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get back to “pre-baby” so soon..enjoy your newborn, they grow so fast! It took you 9 months to gain that baby weight so don’t stress that things aren’t quite where they used to be after a couple months..they’ll get there! :)

Bree on

It is so awesome to hear a celebrity talk so openly about struggles with breastfeeding.

My daughter and I have been having a lot of struggles, I am not producing enough to keep up with her and she is a little worm and is NEVER still, we can move the bottle with her but not the boob!! And she was in the NICU for a few days with a hole in her lung and they had to bottle feed her (Because of the stress of it all it took a little longer for my milk to come in).

I have been struggling for weeks with this, and have finally come to the same solution, I pump and put her on the boob and supplement with formula, it is not what we had planned but ultimatly we want what is best for Elly and just because we have to give her formula does not make me any less of a good mom, something that I have struggled to realize.

Struggles and mommy-guilt aside I have to admit it is nice knowing my husband can feed her and it was so amazing watching my Grandparents feed her and have that bonding time with her. :)

Elliotte is beautiful!! Loving all that hair!!

Thanks for your blog and beautiful pictures. :)

Eliza J on

Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl. I look forward to reading more of your new mommy blog.

Maria on

Your baby is adorable. Hope it gets easier for you. I know some people have a strong opinion on this and are most against formula. But if your child needs to eat then your child needs to eat no matter if its formula or breastfed. Alot of us grew up on formula and are just fine. So dont feel bad if you have to give her formula. Do what you need to do to feed your child. Thats whats important at the end of the day.

Joanne on

Such a cutie-pie!

Really Helpfull on

Marla,

First off congrats on that little angel you have. Yes, it’s such a piece of heaven to have them fall asleep on you. Enjoy it all, crying non sleeping, they will soon be a distant memory and missed. I know when you’re in the midst of it you don’t think so but it will happen, trust me.

My baby is almost 8 months, and like you we had problems with the feeding. He stopped latching at around 6 weeks. I pump and let me tell you , at 8 months we’re still going strong with the breast milk. I have built quite a supply in the freezer too.

Here are a few tips. PUMP PUMP PUMP! The more your body is going to be solicited for milk, the more it’ll make. Once you pump, don’t stop at 15 minutes (even if you feel that your breasts are empty). This will let your body know it needs to make more as there is a big demand.

The lactin hormone, the one responsible for you producing the milk is made between 1-6 am. I know, not new mommy hour friendly. However, if you pump in between those hours, i used to pump at 1 and then at 5 and my milk production shot up. NO JOKE!

Hope you find some time to rest, and enjoy those sweet moments with your baby. They go by far too quick!

Best wishes.

Amanda on

Congratulations to you and your husband on your new little one! She is so adorable. Your pictures bring me back 5.5 months ago to the birth of my little girl. It flies by, let me tell you!

I sympathize with you on the breastfeeding issues. My daughter and I seemed not to mesh in that department from the beginning. She never could latch on properly and that resulted in her not getting much milk and me ending up in great pain at the end of every feeding. I had to supplement from the very beginning and it broke my heart. I pumped religiously for a long time, then my milk started waning.

Finally I remembered something a doctor told me in the hospital. She said that I should only continue breastfeeding as long as it is feeling good for me and baby. I was not feeling good at all by this time, and neither was my daughter. I would feed her, then have to give her a bottle 10 minutes later because she didn’t get enough from the breast. Even though it was hard and I cried a lot about it, I decided just to switch to formula after two and a half months of hard work.

I felt like a failure (again because I’d already had an emergency c-section…nothing went as planned), but I knew it was best for both my daughter and myself. I still have my moments of “If only I had…”, but I know I gave breast feeding my best shot (lots of lactation consultant visits, home visits, phone calls, internet searches, nipple shields, etc).

My daughter is thriving, still. She is perfectly on track and has just started solid foods! I sometimes crave that intimacy that breastfeeding mothers have with their babies, but I find it in other places. My daughter and I have a very strong bond and I know switching to formula didn’t harm it. :)

I wish you the best of luck and know Elliotte has the best mommy in the world because you’re willing to do whatever it takes to do right by her. I just wanted to share my story so you’d know that you’re still a good mother, even if breastfeeding doesn’t work out.

Jennifer on

Breastfeeding is a great gift to give, yet not always perfect for many.

I discovered with my second baby, a 10 lb boy, that waiting 2-3 hours between feedings like many doctor’s suggest wasn’t reasonable to help increase production and feed this large boy. I started offering a lot more often, never used a pacifier but would offer to nurse if he was fussy since you don’t really know how much they’re getting and they can be hungry even after an hour.

Not sure how that “2-3 hours between feedings” philosophy began, but I know offering more often really helped my body to prepare better. This of course was just at the beginning — you won’t be stuck nursing every hour for 6 months–and he slept better too having more feedings during the day.

Good luck!

shannon on

What I absolutely LOVE is that she has a picture posted in the hospital with her hospital gown on, no makeup and hair up. So many celebrities dress up and do hair, makeup and nails before pictures are taken and/or printed. She looks great and her daughter is beautiful. Congrats!

Hannah on

Congratulations!

My baby (#3) is 7 weeks old tomorrow – time FLIES. Good for you w breastfeeding! I had the hardest time with my first baby…nightmare time. Every day I wanted to stop, and every day my amazing husband would cheer us on, “This feeding, you can do this one! You’re doing great!” and he would take our girlie and walk her when I just needed to cry or breathe.

It took 10 weeks and some thing just clicked, it was suddenly easier to latch on the first time! She seemed happier and calmer…a couple more weeks and everything just smoothed out. It was so worth it. It was seriously the hardest thing I have ever done (even child birth was easier!!) But for me, it was important, and I think I feel the most sense of accomplishment of that of anything (so far) as a Mother to her.

Have I said it felt impossible? She went on to nurse well past her first birthday. You can do it!

Lauren on

CUTE! Anyone else feel like she might be a fan of Jane Austen’s Persuasion? lol

Doreen on

Freshology charges nearly $50 a day….$840 for 14 days?! You have to be freaking kidding me!! :) I mean seriously. She has the money to feed herself. Why doesn’t she think OUTSIDE of the box :) and GIVE that $$$ to the hungry children and babies who are starving in third world countries?!! FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

Courtney Given on

Your baby is super adorable!! I love the name, too.

I just wanted to write and say to you, you go girl for working through your breastfeeding issues. I have a two year old and a six month old and neither of them were easy to nurse. I can remember days of frustration, tears, lactation consultation… etc. I couldn’t believe how frustrating something so natural could be.

Sticking it out with the support of my husband, family, and friends was very helpful. In the end, it turned out to be a very enjoyable experience.

Thank you for sharing your life with the outside world. Enjoy your baby girl… I am sure people have told you time moves so fast!

Mel on

I for one LOVE that name!

LOVE IT!

Abby on

Oh Ruby, let it go. This is, after all, a Celebrity Baby Blog. There are similarities to non-celeb motherhood, but the two worlds will never be identical.

Personally, there is nothing in-your-face about Marla’s tone so there is simply no need for your animosity or jealousy. She is clearly a young mom working off little to no experience and is here for help and sharing experiences, not flack.

Marla, I can’t help reading your blog knowing that you sound just like I believe I will when I one day face the mountain that is motherhood! Please don’t curb your honesty at the mercy of Internet Witches, you’re not at all in the wrong!

Suzy on

You ate ice cream all the while you were literally creating a human life, and now you are “eating healthy” for vanity reasons? If you could afford it, why didn’t you order that “delicious healthy food” while you were pregnant?!

Kandyce on

Ruby AND Doreen – give it a rest – please. Can’t you stop nitpicking another mother – who you know is sleep deprived and has challenges and feeling down as a lot of new mothers do a few weeks in – and try to uplift her? She’s always been humble and never in your face. Offer some words of support. You don’t know what charities she already supports – don’t assume she doesn’t simply so you can lecture her.

Marla – if you ever read these. Breastfeeding is supposed to be natural but always isn’t. It was a challenge for me – same thing, low milk production. I beat myself up over it and finally realized what matters is I tried my all, my child was nourished, and most of all LOVED. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog all along and really wish you the best.

Kandyce on

and Suzy – add yourself to that list. Why do you assume she didn’t eat healthy? Maybe she indulged herself to a craving here and there. I think part of it was meant for humor and in jest.

Good Lord – when did people get so judgmental and rude. I guess its easy to post rude comments on People and other forums when you are hiding behind some screen name. I hope for people in your lives that you aren’t this rude in reality.

Carrie on

2 things that will help with your milk.

1) A wheat beer. Do 2 a day (2 hours before you pump or nurse) for 3 or 4 days…I swear it works! I did this after my daughter’s pediatrician recommended it!

2) Pumping or nursing every two hours for a few days. It is difficult, but it will work. Everytime my supply decreased, I did this, and I always ended up being able to produce 3 times as much!

Good luck!

Melissa on

Marla,

Congratulations on a beautiful baby girl! My second daughter was born January 20, 2012, and we, too, have experienced breastfeeding nightmares. I pump, every time I feed her, but it’s a TON of work. She’s worth it though, and I do it for her.

My first born was a preemie, who was fed by bottle even before I had met her. She never learned to latch on, due to being in NICU. I pumped for 6 months (with a few months of reserves in the freezer). I was a cow; pumping 8 oz. per pumping from each breast.

I always assumed that I would not have a problem with my next child, as long as she was full term. I couldn’t have been more wrong. :(

With this one, I had the experience I longed for in the delivery room and was able to have the baby put on my chest right after delivery and she was put to the breast within 10 minutes of being born. She started sucking right away.

I felt like I had accomplished something; but she never really latched on…after nearly three days in the hospital, I had received nearly 12 hours of instruction for lactation consultants and nurses and she still wouldn’t latch on.

We realized that my breasts were too big (she couldn’t breathe while at the breast), which was a struggle, my nipples are “flat” and her mouth is small.

In the end, even the lactation consultant said that it would never happen with my flat nipples. So, here I am pumping away, every 3 hours, doing my best to what’s best.

In the end, she is thriving, happy and healthy so I can’t beat myself up about not having the perfect experience. I long for the closeness breastfeeding brings, but I don’t mind that when she’s hungry, we’re not both left in tears.

I wish you the best of luck! …and we’re all in this together! :)

Jen on

It is so nice to see a celebrity who isn’t all about being a celebrity. Marla, your daughter is precious and congrats to you and your family.

Also, thank you for addressing that although breastfeeding is supposed to be the most natural thing in the world, it is extremely difficult for some moms.

I really hope that nursing works out for you but if it doesn’t, your beautiful little girl will be just as perfect!

Rebecca on

I love that you’re so honest about breastfeeding NOT being easy!

I had a really difficult time in the beginning, and ended up pumping for a LONG 5 weeks until we finally got the hang of it. I thought I was prepared before she was born, but no one had really told me that for some people, breastfeeding can be a big struggle that can take weeks to go smoothly, and sometimes just doesn’t work.

I was fortunate that my daughter eventually figured it out and nursed for over a year, but I know people for whom it just never worked out, no matter how hard they tried.

Now, whenever a new mom-to-be asks me for advice, I always say, “Remember that while breastfeeding is totally worth it, it can be difficult, so ask for help if you need it!” ;)

Laura on

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! I’m glad that everything went well and that you’re both healthy.

My first child was a difficult nurser — he just didn’t want to latch. It was very frustrating. We worked it out eventually, but I remember almost literally wrestling with him, and a very aggressive lactation consultant.

I wish that women would be more open about how difficult it can be to breastfeed. I’m sure that for some, “It’s just natural and magical!” but almost everyone of my friends has had some issue with at least one of our children. It’s a skill, and learning it can be really stressful.

Thanks for sharing, especially since you’re in the public eye. I’m sure you’re doing your best by your baby AND yourself. =)

Jacqueline on

If I hadn’t read this on People.com and been told ahead of time who it was written by, I wouldn’t have recognized this (by the pictures or writing) as a “celebrity” – loved it. :-)

Bugsmum on

Huge congrats Marla!!!!! Elliotte is so beautiful, thank you for sharing such intimate photos with us. I have been so looking forward to your blog.

I know exactly how you feel about the napping when they nap and how the reality is much harder to achieve. I used to lay on the couch and let Bug sleep one of her afternoon naps on my chest because it meant that I had to sit and rest for 1-2hrs. Good for me and good for her.

Good on you for persevering with breastfeeding, it is definitely a learned skill that can be so difficult especially if your body isn’t playing the game. I totally agree that Elliotte being fed is the main thing and doing what works for you and your family is the primary goal.

The delivered meals sound like such a great idea, I’m sure any mother of a newborn would get the same thing if they could. I know when Bug was tiny (and even some days now that she’s 8mths old!) I totally would have. I made and froze a bunch of healthy, reheatable meals right at the end of my pregnancy so I had a fall back on those days when getting dreesed wasn’t happening so cooking wasn’t even a thought.

Best wishes for the weeks ahead,
Hugs

Tally on

Congratulations on such a cute little girl! Elliotte is a cute name. I hope you all are enjoying your little one!

April R. on

Thank you so much for sharing your breastfeeding journey with us! The first weeks are so hard but once you find your groove, it just becomes second nature.

My baby girl will be 1 in less than 3 weeks and we are still nursing. I too have struggled with a low supply for months, and can definitely empathize with all of the herbs and supplements, the nursing and the pumping and supplementing.

I want to commend you on deciding to stick with it as so many throw in the towel. You are giving your baby a wonderful gift with your milk, and I love that you have set your sights on the future in terms of nursing.

Keep up the good work mama, your baby girl is beautiful!

krissa on

Congrats on the birth of beautiful Elliotte!

And thank you for taking time out of your day to share your story with us.

And who am I kidding? If I had the means to have fresh, healthy (PREPARED!) food on hand while caring for a newborn you bet your ass I’d do it! Good for you!

Heck I’d do it now and my kids are 10, 9 and 5!!

Kristi on

Congratulations! Such a beautiful name!

Regarding nursing…I was in the exact same place. My son is now 9 months old. I started out exclusively breastfeeding but my milk supply always seemed low to me. By 2 months, it was clear as my son was not gaining weight and his “curve” seemed to flatten out a bit on the charts. Although I had been seeing a lactation specialist to help with my supply, it was recommended I supplement with formula and so I did. I didn’t so much care what percentile he was in as much as I didn’t want malnutrition to affect his brain development.

At 9 months, I continue to both nurse and formula feed. I gave up on trying to get back to exclusively breastfeeding, but I am hoping to continue to part-nurse until after 1 year. And just for the record, part-time nursing and part-time formula feeding is the most difficult, time-consuming method, but I LOVE my nursing time with my son and so it is SO worth it!

Good Luck! Enjoy each day even through your sleeplessness!

lisa on

Breastfeeding was one of the toughest things. I was pumping the day we got home b/c my baby was latching improperly. One of my nipples actually bled. I would cry from pain each time he started feeding. After seeing a lactation consultant, we (kind of) got the hang of it. Still it was rough. And just when I thought we found our groove 5 months later, my son just refused to nurse one day.

I was devastated and I missed those moments when he would be so close to me and I could just stare at him the whole time. So I started pumping again, getting up at all hours of the night so my milk supply would stay up. This went on for a couple of weeks, then I tried nursing and he was fine.

I weaned him at 13 & 1/2 months. I miss it every time I think about it. It is such a wonderful thing to do as a mother and the bonding is indescribable. I know some people cannot do it so I’m not against using formula. But don’t give up. It is so worth it and you will be happy that you did it.

Christina on

Please know you are not alone! My baby girl is only 2 weeks older than your daughter and we have had a very similar experience with breastfeeding.

I cried so many tears in the first two weeks, before finally resorting to exclusively pumping and giving her bottled breastmilk. I also have to supplement with formula since I’m not producing enough milk.

To be honest, the pumping is wearing on me and I think we’ll be switching to all formula shortly. I’ve struggled with a lot of guilt and had my share of moments where I feel like a bad mom….but in the end we’re making the choice that is best for her and I and that is all you can ask of yourself!

Enjoy your beautiful baby.

Holiday on

Congrats on your sweet girl! Do not feel bad about pumping, the baby is eating and thats what is important. I only nursed my son for 6 months and supplemented with formula during that time too. With my daughter she was in the NICU and I was in the ICU for a week without her so I pumped when I was allowed too and also took fenugreek. That stuff works wonders and helped me to build up my milk supply. She is now 22 months and STILL nursing!

Tara on

Congratulations!

I too struggled with breastfeeding. My son was born 7 weeks early and spent a month in the NICU. I was so desperate to get him home and I didn’t care how they got food into him…bottle…boob…i didn’t care (they have to be able to take all feedings by mouth before they can come home). He also had a very tight tounge tie (which has since been fixed).

I tried to breast feed and like you it usually ended with everyone in tears. I decided that pumping was the road I was going to take. He gets what he needs and thats all that matters.

Good luck to you!

disneywithchildren on

I completely get where you are coming from. It took a week for my milk to come in and I cried everyday. I was lucky-I got in touch with an amazing lc who immediately had me start on nettle tea, raspberry leaf tea and brewers yeast. She also met with me and gave me exercises to do with my dd to improve her latch.

By two weeks I had a sufficient supply. I went on to nurse for 27 months. If you had told me that first week I was going to make it to 27 months I would have been in disbelief. That 2nd week my goal was just to make it 1 month!

Good luck!

AG on

In regards to your issues with BF, you are not alone. I, along with many women have had this challenge. Don’t feel defeated; you need to do what is right for your baby!

Try taking fenugreek supplements or eating the fenugreek seeds – they are supposed to help boost your supply!

Good luck! Welcome to motherhood – it’s a roller coaster but the best ride of your life!

Amanda K on

I gave birth Feb 13th and have been going through the same thing with breastfeeding – after my daughter lost over 10 oz in her first week, I had to go to pumping exclusively to make sure she was getting enough food.

It is a hard road and takes a lot of time and dedication – I felt like such a failure the first night I couldn’t produce enough and had to mix up formula. After investing a lot of time and money in a good pump, I have been able to succeed at pumping and bottle feeding…despite everyone’s insistance that I keep putting my miserable and starving daughter to the breast.

Mothers have to do what is best for our children, and it takes heart and dedication to do this.

Monica on

Everyone says that breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world. I took a breastfeeding class and the nurse even said that after you give birth if you lay the baby on your chest they will naturally find the breast and start nursing.

Well that went out the window when I had a c-section. And breastfeeding did NOT come naturally for me or my daughter.

My supply was low and she would rather sleep than eat- not a good combo. I finally had to supplement with formula to make sure she was getting enough to eat. I started pumping to help my production, took herbs,and cried many many tears those first months. I already felt like a failure for having a c-section and then I couldn’t feed my daughter- talk about stress- which doesn’t help!

My daughter was 10 weeks old before she was strictly breastfed. I never quite felt like I had a full supply so I took the herbs and pumped the entire year I nursed. I had quite an impressive supply in my freezer!

So my advice would be- keep trying and try not to beat yourself up about. Good luck!

Renee on

@Doreen – Why don’t you follow your own advice the next time you go out to eat, or buy a non-essential item at the grocery store, or – heaven forbid – buy a $4 coffee at Starbucks. Must be nice to be so perfect and not waste a single penny on things you don’t truly need. However, I have a feeling that if you actually practiced what you preached, there would be a lot less “hungry children and babies.” Just some food for thought!!!

holly on

Thank you for sharing your difficulty with breastfeeding.

I had the exact same issue and it is heartbreaking and exhausting at the same time – easy for people to comment that “there must be something more you can do” if you haven’t lived through it – I had a very low milk supply. I pumped 6 times a day, took fenugreek religiously, even ordered some oatmeal cookies that were touted to increase milk supply.

I was able to breast feed my son for 3 months and he got a little breast milk and a lot of formula supplement. He is a super happy and healthy 2 year old now and I feel good that I did the best I could!

Don’t let anyone tell you that there is anything wrong with supplementing, and ultimately switching to formula if you decide to do that! Your baby girl will be just fine and she will enjoy a happy and stress-free mama!

Good luck!

Diane D on

Congrats on becoming a parents! She is precious.

It sounds like you are finding your groove as a mommy and loving every tired minute of it. Glad to hear you are hanging in with breastfeeding, it was very difficult for me with my second child and I had to pump also. The bonding and cuddle time was worth the tears for me and believe it or not the dark lager beer that my mother swore would help with my milk production actually worked and I didn’t mind the “Mommy buzz” either haha!

Enjoy every day as she develops and changes, you will look back a month from now and be in awe at how quickly this phase of infancy passes.

Looking forward to another entry in your blog. :)

Cat on

Marla,

I am super glad you are bringing up trouble with breastfeeding! While I was pregnant I thought formula was not even an option “I am breastfeeding because that is what is best for my baby”. Well, after lots of tears and frustration, I am all for formula supplementation.

I think that women should definitely try breastfeeding and make it as long as they can but after looking back on it, my little guy was HUNGRY! He wasn’t getting enough from me and if I pumped he would immediately want it. I made it to 3 months exclusively breastfeeding then supplemented until 5 months and by then I was completely dry :( He seemed so much more content.

I liked breastfeeding when it was going well but I never loved it. I hear about all these woman that loved their nursing experience and I think its definitely okay if you don’t feel the same way, it doesn’t make you less of a mom.

Congrats! Enjoy every minute of it, especially the 4/5 month sweet spot where they are sleeping through the night and are interactive but not yet moving, I long for those days now that I am chasing around my 1 year old.

OMG reading the responses is A) making me want to scream at all the people with bad things to say and B) make me want to have another baby from all the sweet stories…I better stop reading!

PS: Have a beer every night and oats in the morning, both are supposed to help with your let down and the beer also really helped with the stress ;)

Whitney on

My daughter is 7-months-old and after trying for 2 months to breastfeed I finally switched to exclusive pumping. At night, I would pump and give her a bottle at the same time. It was challenging at first, but now I have it down to a science. Take it one month at a time and don’t feel bad when it is time to stop. I have twins and stopped pumping at 5 months with them. I felt guilty at first, but it quickly turned to relief.

Don’t stress! Congrats on your adorable little one.

Jessi on

First of all, congratulations! Welcome to the “other side” :)

I didn’t read what everyone else wrote, but I wanted to say that for many people, breastfeeding gets noticeably easier around the two-month mark. Do some googling; I found plenty of testimonials saying as such recently when I was trying to support a friend who was struggling with her newborn. Baby is more alert and able to be more of a partner in the process, and Mom has already been through the worst of the baptism-by-fire of new parenthood. You’ll have learned plenty through trial-and-error and hopefully have more confidence than you did that first day.

I wanted to throw in the towel with my first child pretty much every time I had to feed her – I actively disliked breastfeeding. But we stuck it out through sheer determination (or maybe just stubbornness on my part) and made it through her reflux and crazy fussiness of the first few months…and went on to breastfeed for nine months. I’m now on my third baby, and breastfeeding is actually one of my favorite things to do…never in a million years did I think I’d say that. I had almost as much trouble breastfeeding with him as I did with my first (my second was a champ), but this time I had the gift of perspective and knew things would sort themself out eventually.

If you can have patience with the process (and yourself) and overcome the initial challenges, it’s a really rewarding thing to look back on and feel proud of. Sounds like you’re trying all you can and turning to people who can help and support, which is great. I have very little pumping experience, but I know someone who recently had success with “power pumping.” If you haven’t heard of it, hit the Google (again). Good luck to you and your baby girl as you team up to figure it all out :)

Melissa S. on

Amanda K. and Christina–you’re right; it takes MORE time, energy and perseverence to pump and bottle feed than pure breastfeeding. We are doing what it takes to give our babies the best…that’s something to be proud of! Well done girls!

mary on

thank you for pointing out how difficult it is to ‘sleep when the baby sleeps’! it drives me crazy when people say it as if you’re otherwise just laying around watching tv waiting for the baby to wake up! i can’t get anything done when the baby is awake, so when she sleeps, it’s when i do everything! my fourth child, a girl, was born january 20th… it gets easier! but there is certainly nothing like the first :) congratulations and good luck!

(Heather) on

first, congrats on your new little bundle of joy. ah, children are truly a blessing and a gift from God. and they can also be a LOT of work. any mom who’s ever tried BF knows this.

now, aside from all of the negative comments (haters)…i would like to offer encouragement to you. BF IS hard but the reward is worth it. the bond is like no other. i’m nursing baby #2 right now. i nursed my first baby for 14 months. my 2nd baby is now 12 months. and i never thought in my wildest dream i’d ever nurse for more than 12 days.

yes, it is true that around 8 weeks it gets easier. the payoff will be huge. you will not have to warm bottles in the middle of the nights, it’s always the right temp, the right amount, the right everything.

however…getting started can be a bear. with both of my babies i saw the LC. and she was a huge help. surround yourself with ladies like yourself. who nurse. who want to nurse. against all odds. bc honestly if you have already made up your mind to quit, then i guarantee you will. and that’s okay too. but if you want to continue no matter what…then find others like you.

i used to get all kinds of comments like, “are you going to wean him yet?” “how long do you plan to do this?” “you are crazy for nursing.” etc. however, i pressed on and am proud of the fact that i nursed my babies. it was hard. hell, yes. but most things in life worth doing are hard. many moms give up way too early bc BF doesn’t fit their “lifestyle.” and that makes me sad. i sacrificed and have never once regretted it.

try (most) of the tips given here in the comments section. i can attest that feeding on demand is probably the best tip. never try a schedule until BF is well established. make sure you are drinking lots of water. take your vitamins. rest when you can. eat a balanced diet and throw in a few yeast rolls also! take fenugreek. pump after your first feeding of the day when supply is highest.

pumping sucks. there’s no way around that. BF is so much easier, but at least you are doing what you need to do. and you are TRYING. hang in there. i promise that one day this will be nothing more than a faint memory.

blessings to you and yours. enjoy this precious sweet time with your little one. it goes by WAY too fast.

(btw, i really enjoyed you in the gift of the magi!)

Betsy on

Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous! :)

Thank you for being brave enough to address the breast feeding issue. I struggled so much with not being able to breast feed no matter how hard I tried. My milk just never came in enough to keep my daughter well fed. I felt like I failed as a mother having to supplement but I know I did the right thing for my baby by switching to formula.

Marlene K on

Trouble with breastfeeding is one of those things that we assume will be easy, and it is so not.

With my first child, he and I had a huge struggle with feeding. We were exclusive bf (with many struggles) till he was 4 months, when we supplemented with formula and solids.

With my 2nd child, we again struggled, although it was easier. We were exclusive bf till 3 months, when I recognized the symptoms of struggle and decided to supplement with solids.

I later learned that my mother had struggles with feeding all 4 children that she had. She bf me the longest, up to the 3 month mark.

So try your best, and remember that the most important thing is that she is fed and healthy. Although you are disappointed by your body’s struggle, it also allows time for baby and daddy to have some bonding time. My husband cherished every bottle feed that he got to do with both of our little ones.

Congrats, and she is beautiful! Enjoy.

Aly on

I have a 7 week old, and I was having the same problems! :) Nice to know someone out there is dealing with it too! Sometimes it feels like you are the only one!

emd1111 on

Marla,

Congrats on your beautiful new baby! I don’t normally post comments, but I felt I could relate to your breastfeeding issues. With my first born (who is 2 today!), it was a rough start. After several emotional breakdowns in the first few weeks of his life, I told my husband I would only continue to 6 weeks because it was so difficult.

Being the positive supporter he is, he encouraged me to try to go a little further, but was ok with what I decided to do. Well, 6 weeks came and went, and baby and I were synced up and it was getting easier everyday. I continued to make short term goals a few weeks at at time. I am proud to say 15 months later, my son just decided it was time to stop!

My goal while I was pregnant was to make it to a year, but when that time comes, you just don’t want to stop! Remember you and your baby are new at this and it will take time for you both to get it right, but the bond and health benefits for you both are so worth it. Hang in there and take it one day at a time! I do promise you it will get better!

Oh, and by the way, I am now nursing our new beautiful baby girl, 5 months in and it has been a piece of cake this time around! Best of luck to you and your beautiful new addition!

Erin :)

Jules on

1st, congrats on your daughter! She is beautiful!

2nd, don’t stress over breastfeeding! I NEVER breastfed my son for a variety of reasons and he’s grown up to be a very healthy, and incredibly smart young man. Don’t under any circumstance feel stressed that you weren’t able to produce enough milk! Thank goodness I had a wonderful doctor who didn’t tell me I was making a mistake by not breastfeeding (which I could say the same about the rest of the people at the hospital). Do what you feel is right for you and your daughter, to heck with everyone else!

Enjoy every second because before you know it, your daughter will be a teenager and you’ll wonder where the time went!

Anonymous on

I struggled with this also due to low supply. I beat myself up for a long time. Then, he was screaming in agony also and we did not know why and had to try different things to find out. After a month, we figured out that he was allergic to lactose. It was a long, hard month before that. After I finally gave up breastfeeding due to both of those reasons, as hard as it was it was better for both of us.

I am 35 weeks pregnant with our second and I will try hard to do breastfeeding again, but I am not beating myself up again. If you can even supplement, that is doing good. Do the best you can and if you have to go formula, it is OK!!!

I did hear that oatmeal and lots of water help.

lori on

I think it is great that you haven’t given up. I nursed my girls, no problem. Then my baby boy just wasn’t doing what he was suppose to and lost over a pound. I too had a wonderful lc and did the beef up program. I only had to supplement with formula for two weeks then pumping for a month. Now he is a healthy 21 month old pro who is still nursing.

Best of luck with your beautiful little girl.

Mommyof1 on

Moms can be the most judgmental people (at least in the U.S.). Whatever you do for your baby, whether it’s breastfeeding or using formula, or working or staying home, is not anything that is going to harm your baby, and the most important thing is making sure both you and your baby are healthy.

It’s so ridiculous that some women feel guilty for not nursing their children; there’s nothing wrong with formula! My daughter is 2 1/2, healthy, very intelligent, energetic-I can’t say enough good things about her. I have no guilt for not breastfeeding.

I also have no guilt over getting an epidural, which some women also have strong opinions about. Do whatever works for you and your baby and leave it at that. Being a loving, caring parent is the most important thing. Will there ever be a day when mothers will stop judging each other so much?

Sara on

I had exactly the same attitude with breast feeding my now 8 month old daughter. Its more important that she eats than it is what she eats.

I also made small goals too (6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months…) so I didn’t overwhelm myself with the goal of 1 full year of breast feeding. About week 3 when I was ready to throw in the proverbial towel one of my best friends told me that “it gets easier everyday” so I made that my mantra. Now we’re 8.5 months in and haven’t looked back.

Good luck! She’s beautiful and all those phone calls, emails, cleaning etc will still be there later cuddle with that sweet baby as much as you can. She won’t stay little forever.

Oh and oatmeal worked for me too.

Terri on

What a beautiful baby! I struggled with breast feeding for 2 months. My lactaction doctor was anti anything in a bottle. I tried pumping and then had Mastitis; my daughter and I were both crying constantly.

A wonderful nurse who made a home visit to check up on me told me, “Honey, the stress is worse for you then formula would be for your baby…do what’s right for both of you”. Bless her because I started my daughter on formula and we were both much happier. Today she’s very healthy and in a gifted program at school so everything turned out fine. Everyone should do what’s right for their family…we’re all different.

I’ve really enjoyed your blog Marla..Best wishes to you and your family.

michelle on

It sounds like you’re going through exactly what I went through. No matter WHAT I did, I just couldn’t make enough. I honestly tried everything. I ended up resorting to nursing, pumping, and supplement (in that order…my husband would feed while I pumped to get production up).

It worked for us and we did it for 6 months. I never really increased production and as a working mom, it was important to store milk for the baby, but I could only pump like 2 oz after 20 minutes!

I’m glad you put it out there for everyone, because nursing isn’t easy for everyone, no matter how hard you try and no matter how much you wanted to exclusively breastfeed.

In the end, it ended up being great because our son was able to take a bottle or the breast whenever, there was no difficulty getting him to do one or the other when I went back to work!

Good luck and, I know everyone says it…but enjoy every second. It’s surreal at times.

boohoobytch on

oh, that was Jennifer Garner’s twin in “Dude Where’s My Car?” – congrats on a healthy baby :)

Chris on

Marla, one day I came across your blog and I have became a huge fan of yours and your blog! lol! I love that how through your words, I get the feeling that you are a down to earth person.

Congrats on your beautiful baby girl! God will get you through your first time mommy struggles and then you’ll be a pro!! Please keep us updated on how everything is coming along and of course with photos of your beautiful family.

Again, Congrats on your bundle of joy!!!

kristy on

Marla,

reading your blog was very useful. though i’m done with having kids, i too struggle with milk production. glad to know there is meds to take to produce some. information like can come in handy for other family members.

congrats to you and your family on a healthy beautiful child. keep posting and we’ll keep reading (when you have the time of course).

auntieali1 on

Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl! I have an 8 month old, and remember the hormonal high of the first few weeks, thinking “This is easy! Who needs sleep!” Then remembering that I did. ;)

I also struggled with BF. It was really, really hard to cope with. You think your body is just supposed to know what to do – that it’s the most natural thing in the world to nourish your child. What I came to realize (after my baby lost weight, was very jaundiced and had to be put back in the hospital to help with these things) was it IS natural to nourish your child. That instinct is there. What matters less is HOW they are nourished.

My milk never really came in, and I pumped for a few weeks to give him what I could, but it became too difficult to do anything else. I was disappointed, I never thought I wouldn’t be able to breast feed, I thought I’d choose when to stop, not have that choice made for me (thanks mother nature!).

My baby has been healthy, happy and right on target for weight, and in the 98% for height. He isn’t sick more often than his BF friends, he hasn’t suffered one bit. I have gotten really good at responding to people who judge me when I pull out the bottle, or mix formula up. Sometimes I’m nice, other times I’m sarcastic and short. It’s nobody’s business how you feed your child, yet everyone seems to think it is.

What is important is that your sweet little love gets what she needs. If that comes from your body or a can, it just does not matter. Breast fed or formula fed, we all grow up to be productive adults!! And try to not let other people’s opinions get to you – you and your husband are going to do what is best for your baby, that’s your job, and nobody else gets a vote. You owe no one an explanation.

Enjoy this special time with your new family of 3!! It just keeps getting better (if you can even believe that in your current bliss!)

Misty on

I love her – she’s so down-to-earth. Very happy for her. :)

Brandi on

Marla,

Reading your blog reminds me so much of myself when I had my first. Even though I had more than enough milk to feed our neighborhood with my first son, it wasn’t quite as easy with my second.

From the beginning with both of them we supplemented at the last feeding of the night before heading to bed. It worked for us, but please, please, please, if you don’t take anything else I say away from this ‘conversation’, please take this away. Don’t let anyone try to tell you that what you are doing is wrong in any way, if it works for you and your family. That is/was the hardest thing for me to understand and for me to remember today.

I wish you all the best with this new chapter in your life. Best wishes to you and your beautiful family!

blessedwithboys on

It is posible that your BFing struggles are related to what was obviously a highly medicalized birth. Try a more natural approach next time and see if it isn’t way easier. :)

J on

Congrats Marla! I love reading Marla’s posts. She tells it like it is and is positive. She never has a dumpy negative, paranoid attitude, especially with readers like another celeb blogger here who has to go.

Heather D on

Just wanted to let you know that you are NOT the only one with low supply and breastfeeding issues. Dont let anyone get you down about it. I had issues with both older kids and am praying I don’t have feeding issues with my third, due in 3 weeks.

You need to do what you need to do to feed your daughter and make her happy. Do not stress out over how you feed her, it will only make the supply issues worse. You are doing a great job!!!

Emily on

Your beautiful girl shares a birthday with my daughter!

Regarding breastfeeding, my advice is hang in there. All 3 of my kids required about 7 visits with a lactation consultant before they figured it out. And your first child is the most difficult because you are new to nursing, too. It will get easier. And if you have to supplement with formula, or end up using formula exclusively, that is okay. Your baby is getting nourished. And a happy baby is an easy baby!

AL on

When my daughter was born 5 months ago I had the same issues. Low supply and the most difficult time. Latching was a daunting task and without my husband helping me every feeding I would not have made it through a week. Our pediatrician advised us to supplement and I was devistated b/c I didn’t produce as much as I had expected even after taking the herbs and drinking water.

I cried all the time and felt like a failure. I eventually decided to just use formula b/c I was so stressed. And although that wasn’t my intention, I had to tell meyself that as long as her belly is full, she will be fine. Now that she is eating baby food, I have decided to make it for her. I’m definitely in control of that and at the end of the day just happy that she is happy.

Isabelle on

Congratulations Maria!

Hang in there with the breastfeeding! I had a hard time too at first (@ 6 weeks) with both my two children. I almost gave up often, but it started to get easier and easier until it was finally a breeze. I wound up breastfeeding both my kids a long time and was so grateful for it: No sterilizing, no milk to heat up, always available and such a great way to feed them when they get sick and can’t hold anything else. It’s hard but it’s worth it.

All the best!

JLG on

You are definitely not alone in the ‘breastfeeding struggle’.

With my first son, we had a heck of a time getting in sync, I guess you can say. I was cracked, bleeding, in pain, and HATING every second of it for a while. While I think society puts way too much pressure on us moms to feel the need to absolutely have to breastfeed, I still was determined to get it to work for myself and my son.

After 9 grueling weeks, we finally clicked. It was one of those things that all the sudden I realized that I hadn’t been in pain at any feeding one day. And from there on out, it was easy and I was so glad I stuck with it.

To you, I say, keep at it if it is very important to you, but only with the mindset that you are doing the best you can. If you give your baby formula every feeding one day to give yourself a break, so what! Or if , for your sanity, you need to stop nursing altogether, that is absolutely OK too.

No one tells you the mental struggle you go through if breastfeeding happens to not come as easily as expected. It’s just one more hurdle we must conquer. I must tell you though, now with my second son, nursing is so much easier. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel. :)

Best wishes to you and your growing family.

Andrea on

Thank you for sharing that you are struggling. I had the same issues and it seemed that all anyone wanted to do was tell me how much milk they were making and how they breastfed forever. It was not what a hormonal, sleep deprived woman needed to hear to feel like less of a failure! I am glad that women like yourself are not afraid to admit that it’s a struggle and it’s ok to have to supplement. Thank you!

lil on

Don’t give up on breastfeeding. Replacing one meal with formula just reduces the production of milk. It is hard to thing ypur baby is hungry but drink a lot of fluid(water) and try to pump frequently because this will improve milk flow. the more your baby needs milk, the more your body will produce it.

Our bodies are a great product of mother nature and we need to rely on this and not on farmaceutical industry.
all the best! xo

Mbok on

Congrats on a beautiful baby girl. I had very similar breastfeeding issues in the beginning with my son. It was a lot of pain, stress, tears to overcome them, but with hard work it became easier day by day. Now he is almost 8 months and I am still breastfeeding without any issues. BFing is more challenging that I ever imagined it would be, but I am very glad I stuck it out. Hang in there, it does get better. Sounds like you are doing all the right things to get through the beginning challenges that come with BFing. Best of luck to you and your new little family.

Laura on

Check out this article: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/the-case-against-breast-feeding/7311/3/?single_page=true

My breastfeeding story sounds a lot like yours and I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to stop. This article in the atlantic was really reassuring. Good luck!

Valerie on

Congrats on your little bundle of joy!

I know how you feel (sort of) with the whole breastfeeding thing. I am mommy to an almost 1 year old now. She latched on perfectly in the hospital and my milk came in no problems there. It was when we got home and away from the “nipple nazis” as I liked to call them that my baby decided to become a non-latcher.

I was heart broken! I wanted so bad to breastfeed my baby and have that wonderful bond with her. I quickly realized that I would have to pump and feed her from a bottle instead. My routine consisted of waking up when she got hungry, grab the previously pumped bottle from the fridge and warm it, hand her and bottle to daddy while I sat there watching them pumping so I would have the next lined up for her feeding next.

I wasn’t getting quite enough out pumping as you would just breastfeeding so I began pumping in between her feedings as well to build up my supply. I felt like a dairy cow! If I wasn’t hooked up to the pump, I was grazing on anything I could get my hands on!

The silver lining? My daughter woke up one day at around 4 weeks old and never wanted that bottle again! I am still happily breastfeeding to this day! Don’t give up if it is what you want to do, you can accomplish it!

Good luck! And sleeping doesn’t get any better as time goes on, you just learn that your little one needs you and you go on with life!

Kiff on

I don’t blame you at all for supplementing and things. Breastfeeding doesn’t always come as naturally for some babies as it does for others.

With my firstborn, he as 8 weeks early so we had a really rough start to the whole breastfeeding thing, I had to pump from the onset as he was in the NICU and then Special Care units at hospital, I really struggled I’d never had a baby before and here I was having to be initiated into the world of breastfeeding by a handheld machine! It didn’t feel right but I did it for my son who needed all the breastmilk goodness I could provide, he started trying to feed himself a few days in but it was slow going and I had lactation issues, took medication for it, pumped like crazy but not a lot came out and it was frustrating especially when we got home and I had to go back to work so supply issues became even worse and I struggled and cried and indured the ups and downs of 7 months of weight gain issues and my husband’s family telling me no do not stop breastfeeding, do not comp feed and my son suffered, he was a weedy little baby and I eneded up giving in and putting him straight to formula and he then thrived and became chubby for the first time ever and the first time he got leg rolls I was so excited lol.

With my second, my daughter, I was armed with better knowledge of what was to come, she was early but was healthy and took to bf-ing straight away, nothing hurt, she was natural and became a fatty but I only went for about 8 weeks as I returned to work and did not want the same issues again second time round. I am glad I did and I felt it was the right thing to do, I gave both a start in bf-ing but my own wellbeign had to be factored in there so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Happy mummy=happy baby.

Good luck with it your baby girl is beautiful!

lyn on

Congrats! Breastfeeding is so much harder than you imagine it would be. I guess some babies just take to it naturally and others have to work at it. I breastfed my son for 6 months. By then it started to feel more like a burden than a bonding time so I knew it was time to stop wearing myself out. One great side effect of breastfeeing was that it was a great way to lose all the baby weight and then some without really trying.

Miguelina on

What may work is attending a La Leche League International, meeting. They are a support group created to help Mother’s who breastfeed find help, and of course assist while doing this. Their website is http://www.llli.org

They were a great help to me while breastfeeding my twin daughters. I also have an older daughter and just expected breastfeeding to be this natural process when she was born. Frankly it wasn’t, and no one in my family had any experience in doing it eithor. My grandmother did, but it was not a positive experience for her so she wasn’t much help.

Needless to say that breastfeeding my eldest daughter, was a poor experience that barely lasted 3 months. With the pregnancy of the twins’, I just knew things had to be different. The benefits to breastfeeding far outweigh any reasons to give up. It became something to research and study; this led me to finding La Leche League, and other avenues that assisted in learning to get breatfeeding done right.

There is nothing natural about breastfeeding because you have to learn how to do it properly. In that sense it is truly a science experiment that has to be studied and put into practice. The rewards are amazing, it was one of the most precious times in rearing my daughters. Magical, is the best word to see how a body helps create a child, and then continue to nourish a it after birth.

It even helps postpartum by helping the body return to their pre-pregnancy state. This is done by helping the uterus via contractions, move back to the place it was in before pregnancy. Its truly is amazing, that a woman’s body would know how to do that!

Wish you the best in nursing your little angel; learn as much as you can because there truly is tons of information to learn about!

Angela on

Congratulations!

I had similar issues but we found out it was the mini-pill messing with my milk production. Good luck with your baby and feeding.

Emily on

I struggled with breastfeeding as well. I never produced enough and after two weeks we had to supplement despite working with a LC, taking herbs that made me smell like pancakes and lots and lots of tea.

I was heartbroken and I felt like a complete failure. If I couldn’t even feed my child, what kind of mother was I?

I had to pump so I could determine exactly how much I was feeding my daughter, so I rarely got to bond with her during the act of breastfeeding. I felt like a cow strapped to that awful pump. This went on for 4 solid months. Pumping, bottle feeding, feeling miserable even though my daughter was an amazing baby who slept through the night at nine weeks old!

Quitting breastfeeding/pumping after four months and forgiving myself for not being physically capable was one of the hardest and BEST things I ever did as parent. Good luck.

Cyn on

Wow really?

Doreen – get OVER yourself, you jealous cow. Yes, she has the money to spend on food delivery service. So what? Deprive herself of things she wants so she can send money to feed hungry children?

Firstly, enough already. People – we DO NOT need to deprive ourselves of things we want, nor should others go out of their way to guilt you into it.

Secondly, Doreen – mind your own damn business. Who are YOU to question how someone else spends their hard earned money?

Thirdly – how much are you sending over every week?

Fourth – do you have any idea how much money they may be sending already?

No? Then shut up. So sick of you do-gooding, ‘guilt everyone out of enjoying life’ whiners, who probably do nothing for anyone else themselves.

Lisa on

Breastfeeding is damn hard! Don’t beat yourself up.

I just had my first baby, a little girl, four months ago. She had zero inclination to breastfeed and I ended up pumping and supplementing with formula as well. Around 10 weeks, I finally got her to latch on and nurse and now she won’t take a bottle. So your girl might just need a little while longer too. However, don’t make yourself crazy in the process. Your baby will benefit more from a happy, sane Mommy than she will from breastmilk.

Hang in there girl! It’ll be ok either way.

Jessie on

Congrats! I’ve successfully nursed two boys, and it is a struggle, especially at first! Oatmeal is a great supply booster, and there is at least one prescription drug (Reglan) that can help. Trust in your LC though, they are great!

Try not to stress about it too much (easier said than done), ’cause stress will affect your supply as well. :-)

jenniphd on

Congratulations! We also have a daughter named Elliott – fantastic name :)

kim on

Congratulations Marla! You picked the greatest name ever. I have a beautiful four-year old Elliotte A. (Alma) of my own!

All the best to you and your family.
Kim

Alison on

Marla – don’t feel any guilt whatsoever about the way you choose to feed your child. Regardless of where the milk comes from, the baby will be getting nutrition. So many moms get beat over the head with being told they MUST breastfeed and they are poisoning their child if they formula-feed. I tried to BF my older son, who is now 11, and had to quit at 10 weeks because I was spending every free moment pumping to try to get more and he wasn’t latching on well. We switched to formula at 10 weeks and we became much more healthy, happen and rested. He is now a straight A GATE student who reads two novels a week. Nope. Formula did not poison this one.

liz on

I’ve never commented on one of these blogs before, but I think you read these comments, so I wanted to commend you on your honesty regarding breastfeeding.

I have a 5mo daughter, so I can sympathize with how tough it can be. I’m glad you’ve gotten help from a LC and hope you’ll stay optimistic about your ability to eventually produce enough milk– most women can! And even if you have to continue supplementing, or someday switch over to formula, you’re giving your baby a beautiful gift by providing her with as much breastmilk as you can.

As a mama on the other side, I mostly wanted to say hang in there!! A positive attitude can go a long way toward breastfeeding success!

ecl on

No one ever said that formula was evil. All I’ve ever heard is that there are health benefits that come with breast feeding that aren’t obtained from formula. This is on average. Not every kid will suffer as a result, just as not every kid will thrive on breast milk. But, ON AVERAGE, they do better with breast milk. That said, I also don’t think anyone ever said that, if there is some complication with breastfeeding, it wouldn’t be good to use formula. I’m starting to think that it’s the moms who use formula who are making moms guilty over the whole issue since they act as though pro-breastfeeding people would rather have your baby die than feed it formula. I say, choose the one that works best for you, know the pros and cons of each, and then be done with it. Who cares what other people think?

Marky on

ecl, I think you need to read all these posts again and see if it’s the moms who weren’t able to breastfeed who make BF moms “feel guilty”, or the other way round.

I’ve lived long enough to see this whole swing to BF, which I heartily approve of as a LC, and as a former BF mom. The issue is, BF has become such an issue of being the only way to properly feed your baby, it is just miserable for the mother who may not be able to ever really successfully BF. I had no problems; baby never took a bottle and BF until she weaned herself to the cup. Today, she owns her own successful business and excels in a male-dominated field. My experience was amazing and the reason I became a LC.

My sister, who desperately wanted to nurse her only child, had so many issues, her attempts to BF basically became a “pacifier substitute”, but her child was not thriving, or healthy after several months. She switched to formula after finally acknowledging she wasn’t producing more than minimal ounces/day, and he thrived and today is a published author at 28, in a highly competitive field and has almost finished his PhD.

I absolutely think BF is best, but when it is unsuccessful, mom should not be made to feel as if she has failed her child, is less than a good mother and her child will miss out on the hope of being intelligent, healthy, and a contributing member of society. It is important to remember that cuddling, loving, talking to your baby, and reassuring them by your presence all are going to help them be their best, just as breast milk does. We lay way too much of a guilt trip on moms who aren’t able, for whatever reason, to BF, when the goal should be healthy baby, not just the personal experience of the mom.

JWU on

Marla, thank you for bringing to light the fact that breastfeeding isn’t always easy. I too struggled with it. There were months of feedings that ended in tears and frustration. I pumped and pumped and PUMPED and just kept persisting b/c I am very stubborn. My baby also just had a hard time latching for a month so that made matters worse.

However, I am so happy to say that slowly but surely it got better, and finally by 4 months it was easy! If you stick with it you’ll reap the benefits. My son is now 7 months old and we have a wonderful nursing relationship. However, do not beat yourself up if you choose to go the formula route. Every Mama has to decide what is best for her.

Laura on

YAY! Congrats Marla! What a beautiful baby girl. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to read more and see more pictures.

Elizabeth on

Hi Marla-

Breastfeeding is hard work. I breastfed both of my kids, the first for a year and the second for 9 months and it was never easy. It was convenient, once I got used to it, because I didn’t have to carry quite so much stuff, but it was never easy.

You’ll figure it out. There are a lot of judgemental people out there, and part of writing your blog is reading it, I imagine. Treat yourself and your daughter well (as it appears that you are doing =) and just get on with your life.

My mom was convinced that I was going to kill my kids by breastfeeding them in bed. They’re 12 and 10 now, and have never had anything worse than a cold. Be patient and kind with yourself and your baby and you will both be fine.

Karah on

I think every new mom who wants to breastfeeding thinks it’s going to be easy and it rarely is. There is definitely a learning curve.

My oldest was born at 34 weeks and he could not latch correctly for the life of him. I also had oversupply issues (which doesn’t seem to bad when you have supply issues but it comes with it’s own challenges like screaming babies and reflux) so when he did latch correctly out of chance he would be screaming after a few minutes and pull off. He wanted to nurse all the time though so I felt like it was a constant struggle without a break inbetween. I was cracked, bleeding and sore from breastfeeding and I spent my days crying from the pain. It was terrible.

Then a friend told me just try and make it to twelve weeks. It’s like something clicks and it becomes so much easier. And you know what she was right 12 weeks to the day it just came naturally. I nursed him until he was 18 months.

As far as supply issues there are a lot of foods and teas you can use. Also whenever you can nurse laying down with your baby and try to hold her close to you as much as possible (either holding her or in a baby carrier). If youre not against it try sleeping with her (safely of course read up on how to do it). Physical closeness and nursing in a sleeping position with your baby helps your supply in a huge way.

Debi on

I just loved reading your blogs, and can’t wait to read about how motherhood is for you and little Elliotte. The pictues are so cute! Congrats, you will be a great MOM :)

Sam on

Congratulations! Don’t let any of the judgmental comments regarding breastfeeding get you down. It doesn’t come easy to everyone and you are already showing off those new mom skills by going with your gut and putting your daughter’s well-being first by supplementing.

People have to realize that even with fruit, herbs, oatmeal, medication, etc., everyone’s bodies are different and some people just don’t have the milk production that others are blessed with.

I tried everything, but just didn’t have enough milk and finally deciding to supplement after it was suggested by my MD and lactation specialist, was a tough decision. I felt like a failure and even more with negative comments. They don’t help anyone. After seeing the results with both of my children after I started supplementing, it was worth it.

You do what’s best for your daughter and for you. You’re the mom, you get to make the call. Hang in there!

IVETTE on

GOOD LUCK BEST WISHES AND CONGRATULATIONS

Mikesgirl on

Congratulations! Please don’t let your nursing issues get you down (& don’t let anyone make you feel guilty).

My milk never really came in – the first baby, I pumped & pumped until I was only getting about an ounce/day, the second was even less. I always thought it would be so easy and I’ll admit I get sad every time I see my very lucky cousin who has a freezer full of milk but my babies are healthy and that is all that matters.

I’m glad to hear all these other stories about women having trouble – we as women can be so judgmental about this issue. Take care and enjoy every single second with your daughter!

Annie on

I don’t know where the stigma of talking about breastfeeding comes from, but I think it’s awesome and perfect and the way it’s meant to be! I just had my 4th baby a week ago and if it helps at all, the breastfeeding (and pretty much everything else) gets easier! With my first, breastfeeding didn’t go great either, but by now, with my 4th, I’m able to exclusively breastfeed :) You sound like a good little Mommy so don’t worry as much as you can… like you said, as long as she’s eating and healthy, you’ll make it through :)

Liza on

This sounds exactly like my experience with breastfeeding-both in tears at the end. No one ever told me breastfeeding would be a task I might never accomplish. I have 2 kids & wasn’t successful with either. We managed-pumping-for almost 4 weeks but it was devastating to me. I felt like I had failed with my first child. The 2nd was not as devastating because I went into it with the thought that it probably wouldn’t happen.

AR on

What lovely pictures! Nursing does get easier. Your body will establish a regular milk supply (based on what Elliotte takes in — supply and demand) around 3-months time ~~> so no need to feel stressed out. The milk ‘let down’ reflex works best when you’re relaxed.

Everyone has their opinion about nursing vs bottle, sahm vs working, and the list goes on. Ignore the naysayers. Whatever you do for Elliotte is because it’s works for you, and best for your family.

AR on

Re: those pregnancy pounds.

Breastfeeding is Mother Nature’s way of shrinking the uterus and shedding the pregnancy weight, constantly burning extra 500 calories. It just works. Something wonderful happens around 8-month mark of nursing (at least for me it was), I was surprised to fit into my skinny jeans. It was like that with my first child. So I wasn’t worried about losing the pregnancy weight with my second child.

Give or take 8mos to a year. Keep on nursing, eating healthy, and whatever exercise routine you might have.

Susan on

Congrats on your beautiful baby girl!

As for the breastfeeding, someone else said it and it really works, PUMP, PUMP, PUMP. Our son was born 10 weeks, spent a month in the NICU and all I could do was pump. Every 3 hours religiously and kept it up for about 20 minutes each time.

It helped that I used an electric hospital grade pump rented from the hospital. It worked like a charm. He Never learned to latch on but I was able to pump for a long time and store milk for when I did eventually stop.

All that matters is that your baby gets nourishment, in whatever form, love and affection. Some people are just too judgmental about other mom’s choices. How or what a mom decides to feed her baby is her decision and hers alone.

More moms need to learn to support each other no matter what.

But I digress, Congrats again and good luck with the nursing

Angela on

I struggled *like crazy* with breastfeeding too! The good news is, like labour, you *can* come out on the other side. I’ve had 3 kids now and nursed them collectively, so far, for 5+ years…take that o/b who doubted me. ;)

A few things that *really* worked for me:
– using a *manual* breast pump…you use a handle and control the pressure vs using an automatic (which can be painful). And, pumping when I had just gotten out of the shower; warm water brings let-down which produces way more milk, and *especially* hind milk (the good stuff at the very end of the feeding) which is what ends up satisfying your baby
– breast compressions…ask your l/c about these…she has hopefully shown them to you by now. They *saved my bacon!*
– nursing in bath water…this relaxed both of us so she latched better and my milk came in better. My l/c suggested this to us and it worked wonders.
– the mix of blessed thistle & fenugreek helped keep my supply up.

Good luck…hang in there! :)
Angela

Been There on

Congrats on your new baby! I also had a really hard time with breastfeeding and just wanted to let you know it gets easier! Every day I wanted to quit doing it but held on one more day. We made it 15 months :) Someone told me once that just when you think you can’t do it one more feeding, it gets easier. And it did. So hang in there. And if it doesn’t work out, then switch to formula with no guilt. You know you tried your best and your baby will be just fine. You will be more rested and have more energy to be a better mom!

rahmadclark on

I have struggled with breastfeeding my 2nd child so I know how hard it can be. Back in the early aughts there just wasn’t as plentiful of information on the interweb about such things like combo nursing and exactly how to increase breast milk production yet I stuck through it and dug through the internet and found a way that worked for us.

I ended up combo nursing him for a whopping 17 months!

Making the commitment to breastfeeding through the hardship is the first step. I still consider the trial of nursing one of the most difficult problems I have ever encountered but it has helped make me the mother that I am today.

Amanda on

Way to go on Breastfeeding mama!! You are all over FB with this post :) It does get easier eventually but I hope whatever option you choose makes you happy :)

Kristine on

My son was born in February 2012, too. Breastfeeding is SO much hard work – harder than non-breastfeeding people can even imagine. Good for you for working with a lactation consultant. I’ve called our local La Leche League numerous times with issues and questions.

Each week I do a little celebration that my baby is another week older, another week closer to (hopefully) sleeping more at night than in the day and so on.

Stay strong. It WILL get easier! At least, that’s what they tell me. And, I’m holding on to that.

Teakitty on

Good for you for sticking with it! I’m glad you have faith in yourself, and also that you had the good sense to get with a professional lactation consultant. After all, it’s what they are there for! Thanks for sharing your experience, and best of wishes to you and your family!

Martina on

I struggled trying to nurse my two sons. The first nursed successfully for 4.5 months at which point he went to daycare and once he got used to bottles (drinking my milk) he never really wanted to go back to the breast other than to snuggle. However, he never had a drop of formula in his life and I managed to give him my milk through pumping for 2 years.

My other baby boy is now 8.5 months and we went through the exact same process with him. Loved nursing at home, then went to daycare, got to the bottle (with my milk) and never wanted to nurse again. But he loves snuggling with me and that’s how he falls asleep. Again, never had a single drop of formula but I plan to give him my milk for two years again. The boys are very healthy. I am proud I am able to produce milk and have much more with the second one (ducts are more open) and have a lot frozen when I need to travel for work. When traveling, I pump and dump. I produce about 65 oz/day. I had to take fenugreek with the first baby and it helped.

What I want to say with this message is that not all moms are blessed with problem-free nursing, But there is a way to give your baby your milk even if you have to pump it. It is a lot more work (pump, then feed) but it can be done. That way I know he is getting enough. Some lactation consultants don’t understand this struggle and if you cannot do it at the breast, they want you to go to the bottle with formula. That’s wby I dumped all lactation consultants and stuck with my plan to pump and still give the best nutrition. Good luck!

Jenna on

I felt like I was reading my own journal when I read about your difficulties with breastfeeding. My son was a preemie, and despite trying every trick in the book, my milk production never met the demands of a hungry boy. So much guilt, angst, frustration, tears, helplessness… all surrounding something that I didn’t anticipate even being an issue. Not once had it ever occurred to me that breastfeeding isn’t always just about choosing yes or no… sometimes it simply doesn’t work!

Coming to terms with breastfeeding not being the only indicator of whether or not you are a good mother was so difficult, but as soon as I stopped beating myself up about it, I actually allowed myself to be a good mom in other ways. There’s a baby to love in all of this, and that baby feels your love for him/her through other means besides how many ounces you pump! :)

Keep up the good work, and thanks for sharing!

jmm823 on

Congratulations on your beautiful baby girl!

I have 2 boys – one who I didn’t breastfeed at all (I was 21, he had reflux and multiple food intolerances, etc) and I just didn’t even think to try. I did things differently with my 2nd child and while there were a few hiccups along the way (early on, I couldn’t have dairy or anything with caffeine) we went on to have a beautiful nursing relationship for 2.5years – FAR LONGER than I had originally anticipated! I miss the days when he’d come running to me with his special pillow and ask to “nurtch” while doing the sign for “more milk”.

All this to say ……. you’re doing a fantastic job! You have a beautiful, happy and healthy baby girl and you’re doing everything just right, for YOU and your beautiful family! Good luck!

Janie on

I struggled with breastfeed my daughter too, my milk came in late and I also had low supply. It really made me feel awful the first few weeks (and later) to need to supplement – especially with all the public pressure to breastfeed now. I felt like I was failing at the first test of motherhood – even though it was out of my hands.

At the end of the day I made it through the tears and feed my baby! I never really could pump enough so she was breastfeed mostly, sometimes topped up with formula and if I ever went out she got formula. She’s 21 months now, I still breastfeed happily – although we couldn’t go exclusive till 6 months, we’re making it to 2 years. Once I let go of the stress, pressure and fenugreek it got better. It gets better, but do what works for you!

veronicageorge7 on

Check out “The Leaky B@@B” on Facebook. Great site for breastfeeding help!

Kate on

Congrats on Elliotte!! She shares my birthday!

You have always been one of my favorite actresses, ever since Full House. I’m excited to see you blogging here!

AP on

Hi, I breastfed my first daughter until she was 13 mos, and I’m breastfeeding my second daughter right now (she’s 4 mos). I think breastfeeding is so hard in the beginning, but it gets easier over time.

I’d recommend feeding more often and/or pumping to stimulate milk production. The more often you feed, the more milk you’ll make. I also found it helpful to drink a glass of water before I sat down to feed. I always try to relax too. A good lactation consultant can help.

Also, there is a website called KellyMom.com that’s good. Best of luck and hang in there.

Michelle on

Great blog entry – it will help alot of women because it’s important to know as a new mom you aren’t alone out there. Your experience with breastfeeding was similar to mine, it was so hard. Knowing that others are sharing what is happening is important.

Enjoy mommyhood – it’s amazing and crazy and fantastic all rolled into one.

AJ on

beautiful story, women need to know that it is OK if they can’t exclusively breastfeed, or breastfeed at all for that matter. you have to do what’s best for your baby, and if they’re practically starving because milk production is low, then supplementation is necessary. a lot of women beat themselves up over not being able to make enough breastmilk for their little growing ones, so its good to hear a story about one who is coming to terms with her situation. motherhood isn’t easy, but it sure is worth it!

Katie on

Congrats to her and her lovely daughter. I can totally relate to Marla and her happiness at having a wonderful new baby and the frustration that breastfeeding can bring. I am a new mama to a three month old baby boy.

Breastfeeding, in the first four or so weeks, was by far the hardest part of the experience for me. It took a long time for my milk to come in, it hurt, we had latching issues…the list went on. I cried often. It’s much better now, but it is difficult, and women SHOULD have support if they decide to do it.

Kudos to Marla for discussing the issue with honestly and a positive view.

julie on

You’ve gotten so much advice here… just one more idea… It sounds stupid and simple, but when I’d nurse and my baby wasn’t sated – I started back on the first breast as opposed to giving something else or passing her to hubby crying. (If this hadn’t worked I’d of course have given supplement.)

Nursing every 2 hours, from start of last feeding to the next worked better than 3, for upping milk production. Baby is way better than a pump at stimulating milk let down, so this worked better for me than pumping. Good luck. You’re both beautiful! :)

miasavage on

Awwwww… Don’t cry Mama! It DOES get easier! It is nerve wracking for anyone not to know how much nutrition is going into that tiny little person, who you want to take care of so perfectly! Probably 99% of women feel just as anxious as you– but forget about it later (kinda like we “forget” the extent of labor pain).

The main word of importance is RELAX… If you need to be in a darkened room, completely alone, everytime you nurse– FINE. What YOU need for your milk to ‘let down’ (so it’s Feast, instead of Famine!) is important.

I wish you good luck. And to keep things in perspective, none of my 22, 24, & 29 year-old “Children” really care that I breast-fed them– hah! Especially my son who wouldn’t wean ’til he was 3!!! Smile.

Danielle on

It took me nearly 4 months to comfortably get the hang of nursing…and this was with my second child! My midwife continued to encourage me and tell me that it would all be worth the struggle. I’m talking bleeding, cracked nipples! So bad that I had a few days of strictly bottle feeding him, but I was determined to nurse and kept at it.

Here we are now at 18 months and still going strong! Hang in there mama. It gets easier as they get bigger because their latch improves so much.

Kelly on

My daughter is wearing the same sleep and play right now that your daughter is wearing in the picture :) congratulations and I’m glad to hear surgery went great!!

Amy on

I know exactly how you feel. I have a 5 month old daughter who was born 6 weeks early. I really wanted to breast feed her. However, when we finally left the NICU, she just wasn’t gaining weight. She wasn’t losing–she was staying the same.

Anyway, her pediatrician basically told me to stop nursing her and to give her preemie formula mixed with pumped breast milk. With that combination she finally began to gain weight. However I felt like a huge failure as a mom and as a woman because I could not nurse my baby. I was already having feelings of failure as a woman because her arrival in this world was via emergency c-section. 5 months later I still feel incredibly emotional at times over both of those things. I feel very uncomfortable in social situations when people ask me (rudely in my opinion) if I’m nursing my daughter. I agree with you, when did it become ok to ask a person such things? Even strangers ask me about it…how awkward!!!

I’m feeling better as time goes on, perhaps someday I’ll be completely over the whole thing. Thanks for sharing your story, it’s comforting to know there are other mommies out there having similar feelings! Best of luck with your little girl and I hope she’s doing great.

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