Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

When Breastfeeding Fails

I had never, ever thought about breastfeeding and really wanted no part of it.  I was okay with formula feeding since I had seen my niece and nephew thrive just fine on formula feeds.

As I learned that I was having twins and that they were probably going to be arriving earlier than 40 weeks, I was told that breastfeeding would be the best option.  I remember my brain going in a million different directions.  I remember being worried that there was no way I was going to be able to breastfeed two babies at once. I mean how in the world did that work?  I remember thinking, Well, if it is best for the baby, then I should do it. But I still didn’t want to.

Then week 26 hit and I was on my way to the hospital to get a steroid shot when all the craziness started to happen.  I was getting sick and having contractions without feeling them (still not sure if this was a lucky break or a huge part of childbirth that I missed).  I wound up getting sick in the hospital that night and had to stay for observation and decided that night that if these babies were going to come early and they really needed my breast milk that I would do it. I would try for the health and wellness of my baby girls.

Little did I know that I would be delivering two days later and I wouldn’t get the chance to actually breastfeed my babes, but I was going to be spending lots of hours with a pump attached to my breast.  I remember trying and thinking this is so hard, and I continually wanted to give up.  After seeing my little babies, all one and two pounds of them, I knew I couldn’t give up and that no matter how many times a day I had to pump I was going to pump and provide breast milk for my babies to help them in their growth.

I pumped and pumped and pumped and soon discovered that it wasn’t going to happen.  There was no way that I was going to be able to continue pumping and provide enough milk for both babies, really not even enough for one baby.  I pumped continuously for a month and a half when I finally threw in the towel.  I think for the whole month and a half that I pumped I maybe scored 3 ounces of milk. In the beginning it was okay because of how tiny they were. They weren’t getting fed much anyway. Once they started growing and needing more it just couldn’t happen.

I remember feeling like a failure and crying myself to sleep at night because I 1) didn’t have my babies home with me and 2) couldn’t provide what they needed.  I would cry and cry to Matt because I felt like the worst mom in the world.  I wanted to give my babies everything they needed and I just physically couldn’t.  It took a long time for me to realize that it was okay.  Although breast milk was better for them it was okay to formula feed as well.  I realized that it was nothing I did wrong, that I just physically didn’t get any milk from delivering my baby girls so early.

I’m glad that I tried, I’m glad that I didn’t give up, and I am glad that my girls had the option to still formula feed.  My girls thrived on formula just like they would have breast milk. They are seven this year and in normal percentile for checkups. Formula isn’t all that bad.

So mommas, don’t give up, try your hardest, but know that no matter what, those babies love you and they don’t care what they are getting fed as long as they are getting something to fill those itty bitty bellies!

Melissa McMurchy About Melissa McMurchy

Melissa McMurchy (OH) is the mother of twin daughters, Brooklynn and Kendall, born three months early, weighing 1.4 and 2.7 pounds. Brooklynn coasted through all milestones and is currently only behind in speech. Kendall, with an eleven-month hospital stay, is a bit spunkier with three broken bones, multiple blood transfusions and six surgeries under her belt. The journey has been long, but the lessons many. Melissa is a lover of sports, the smell of rain and miracles. You can follow her on Twitter or on her personal blog, Two Miracles.


  1. Thank you for this. My son was born 8 weeks ago at 26 week and weighed 15 oz. I’ve been desperately trying to continue to pump for him, but it’s fading fast and I know I’ll never be able to get enough to feed him JUST breast milk. This made me feel like I’m still a success as a mom.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • YES!! You are still successful. As long as you get your baby what he needs you are a success. We as moms, I believe, take on way more than we can chew. It is in our nature and we ultimately always think when things don’t work out it is our fault and that is not the case. We need to relax more, enjoy our moments, and know that our courses change all the time and its going to be okay!

      I wish your little guy all the luck in the world and hope he continues to progress and thrive :).

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