Why Breastfeeding Didn't Work For Me

* I'm writing this in hopes that it will help a mommy in need. This is for you, the mom who is up at
 2 am and 4 am and 6 am racked with guilt and frustration over feeding your baby. You, my friend, are not alone.

First off, let's get one thing straight, I am not anti-breastfeeding and would never encourage or discourage a mother from breastfeeding, pumping, or formula feeding. I am 100% in favor of supporting moms by advising them to do what they feel is best for their baby/family. I am no expert in any of these things and only know what is best for me.

I feel all kinds of emotions writing this because this topic brings me so much anxiety and guilt. I was on Instagram today and saw that it is National Breastfeeding Week. So many pictures of happy mothers breastfeeding their little babies and toddlers alike. Waves of guilt washing over me as I scrolled through these pictures. I know that's not the intention of these posts as they are meant to support struggling breastfeeders and serve to advocate "Breast is Best" but I can't help but feel unsupported in my own personal journey.

Many of these posts were filled with commenters who "didn't understand why women wouldn't want what's best for their babies" and who think "mom's who don't breastfeed are selfish." There are full on comment wars about this. I even saw one war where a mom admitted that breastfeeding felt animalistic to her and how she couldn't bring herself to do it. She was bashed by other mothers who called her a selfish person and a bad mother. Later the mother further admitted that she was sexually abused and she didn't see her breasts as being a source of nourishment for her child but rather a source of mental and physical pain. How horrible!! How horrible that she was made to feel so guilty for her personal decision.

Later on Instagram I saw another hashtag that took me down a rabbit hole of positivity. #stopmomwars #stopmommywars  

All these mothers vowing not to judge other mothers. All these mothers who are proud breastfeeders, pumpers, and formula feeders that vow all their support to all moms, regardless of how they chose to feed their babes. All these mothers who want to be uplifting to other moms instead of slamming them down. What a breath of fresh air. I am not alone after all.

I am sitting her next to my one month old daughter trying to stand firm in my decision to quit pumping and switch entirely to formula, but it just is't that easy. When she was born, I was hopeful that breastfeeding would go so much more smoothly than the first time, but it wasn't. By the second night in the hospital, my nipples were so raw that all the nurses kept questioning my daughter's latch and my hold. They kept a close eye on my feedings and saw that my daughter was latching properly and my hold was fine but they couldn't figure out why I was being torn up so badly. Finally, the lactation consultant came and immediately saw that I had "ultra-sensitive" nipples coupled with a baby that was a powerful sucker. I was writhing in pain before, during, and after every feeding. I cried every time my baby cried because I didn't want to feed her. It was just too painful. The LC said she could see how this was hurting me both mentally and physically and quickly ordered me a pump and recommended that I pump until my nipples healed. I was told to pump every 2 hours, even at night to keep up with the feedings. Although this felt better, I hated being attached to the pump every 2 hours. All I wanted was to hold my baby and enjoy her, something that I didn't do for months with my son because of this same struggle. I was in my head too much and that made me feel so guilty, so selfish, so so guilty. This shouldn't be about ME! It was happening again....the anxiety.... the depression.

When we got home, we were supplementing a little bit but I was mostly pumping. And that's what it felt like... my day was mostly pumping. Visitors came and I excused myself every 2 hours to pump. They all enjoyed my baby while I was sitting with my whirling milk machine. At night I woke up to my silent Fitbit alarm and pumped while everyone slept soundly. Instead of playing with my toddler or holding my daughter, I was pumping and washing parts and pumping. I wished so badly I could cut out the middle man (aka my pump) and just let her latch and hold her and bond with her and believe me, I kept trying to breastfeed, but my damn sensitive nipples just yelled at me to stop so I would pump again and again and again. I just couldn't do it anymore. I gave up. I wanted my sanity back.

Giving up brought me no solace. It only brought me more guilt and more anxiety of being judged. Dammit, Joanna! What the hell do you want to do then? I'm still trying to figure it all out. One thing is for sure, I just want to enjoy my family. This is the only glimmer of confidence I have in my decision to formula feed. I could just make a bottle, hold my little girl in my arms, hold her tightly in hopes she thinks that nipple is mine, and move on with my life and enjoy my family. Formula feeding released me from my physical pain and my pump and allowed me to go out for more than 2 hours at a time and enjoy spending time with my family. It allowed my husband to wake up for nighttime feedings while I catch up on sleep. It allowed a family member to feed her while I played Legos with my son. It allowed me to be a better mom.

Hopefully one day I will feel completely confident with my decision to formula feed. Until then, I hope that no one asks me about it and I will pray that no one will judge me harshly for what I decided and most importantly... I will try my best to stop giving a flying f*ck about what others think about what's best for me and my family.

Going into Labor with a Scheduled C-Section

"Make plans and God laughs."

With pregnancy #1, I had my birth plan ready and printed. I wanted to labor, stay strong, blah blah blah, and ended up with an emergency C-section. With pregnancy #2, I stressed all 9 months about whether or not to have a VBAC (Vaginal birth after cesarean) or go with a planned C-section. A few weeks before the big day, I decided on the planned C-section...nope, not gonna happen, Joanna! I went into labor a week before the scheduled C-section. God Laughed, I laughed, and I live to tell the tale.

Sunday, July 12

I was having braxton hicks all week so I thought nothing of it. They were stronger but I refused to believe they were labor pains and swatted away my husband as he begged for us to go in to be checked. I timed them and even though I was eight minutes apart, then seven, then six, I still didn't want to believe it because this time I was scheduled for a C-section. I'm stubborn like that. 


"Fine, call your parents to watch Joaquin." I threw in the towel and agreed to go get checked. I was sure they'd turn me away. Before we left, we said Good night to our 2 year old Joaquin and oddly enough, Joaquin grew up right before our eyes. It was the sweetest thing to see and feel before we left. While I was writhing in pain, he came over to me and said "It's ok, Mama. Don't Cry. It's ok." He pretended to wipe tears from my eyes and gave me kisses on my hand. He also decided that night was the night to go pee pee on the potty. It was like he knew something big was about to happen.


We got admitted right away, no questions asked. Last time, they turned me away and told me to walk around a bit so I was pleasantly surprised when they whisked me into a room. The doctor came in, checked me and declared "We are having a birthday party tonight! You are 5 cm!" It was a whirlwind of emotions because I was ready, but I wasn't ready ready.  I still had laundry to do and groceries to buy! They did give me one more chance to decide on a VBAC or C-section and I decided to stay with the C-section. The nurse told me it was actually better that I went into labor because the baby was getting the chemical reactions and signs that it was time to get out! Baby wouldn't have gotten that with a scheduled C-section. This calmed my worried head just a tad.


The whole process happened so quickly! I was wheeled off into the OR, the epidural was put in (OUCH!), and the curtain went up. It was bizarre this time because I was completely coherent. Last time I was so hopped up on pain meds that I couldn't think straight. I was happy to be all there but I felt every tug and pull which was extremely uncomfortable. My husband was there with me the whole time and I remember being so scared. I kept begging him to keep close. I could've sworn the doctor cracked a rib or two.

We did the annoying thing again and didn't find out the sex of the baby. It's annoying to everyone else because everyone wants to know!! They can't stand the surprise. Everyone and their mama's mama had strong feelings that this baby was going to be a boy. They said I was pointy, carrying like a basketball, and in my mom's words "if it were girl, you would be pretty during your pregnancy." Thanks mom. We were again, so excited to hear those words from the doctor with the sounds of our baby crying in the background.

1:42 am
It's a GIRL!!! 

I cried, then laughed, then got knocked out by the pain meds. It wasn't even gradual. The pain meds hit me like a train and I was in and out of consciousness as Sergio tried to put our sweet baby next to my face.

"Hi, Olivia. It's mommy!"

I couldn't be happier that it's a girl. She is so sweet and precious and those dresses are too damn cute. I am 1-week post-partum and doing really well both physically and emotionally. Olivia is also doing great, eating and pooping a lot!! Daddy is incredibly helpful and sweet and Joaquin wants very little to do with Olivia. He is intrigued by this new housemate but feels it's best to keep some distance for awhile. More on recovery, adjusting, and daily life to come. Thanks for reading all my ramblings!

My Anxiety About Post-Partum Depression

I cried a bit when I found out I was pregnant again. Not because I was sad but because I was scared. In my eyes, I had such a traumatic experience with my delivery and recovering from Baby #1. I read my Birth story before I wrote this and I'm shocked at how much I actually forgot. What is still fresh in my mind is the C-Section, problems with breastfeeding, my scar ripping open a few days in, and the emotional struggle of the every day life with a newborn. This is what I held on to. Not the beautiful moment they announced we were having a boy or the waves of happy family and friends coming to visit, but my emotional breakdown.

Sleep deprivation is a bitch but I know what I felt was much more than that. I believe it was more than baby blues because it got so bad that it almost ruined my marriage. My hormonal rages and the need to control everything and judge my husband's every move lead to 2 years of hell. I didn't want my family near me and I withdrew from friends because "no one understood." The holidays followed the birth of Joaquin and I hated every moment, every party, every day I had to step out of the house. I said what I felt like I was supposed to say to everyone around me. I'm so in love with my new son. I love every moment. It's so amazing. I am so happy. It was all so confusing.

And then there was breastfeeding. The pain. Oh the PAIN! The struggle. The feeling of having to do it outside of my home. The anxiety of that new lifestyle change. There was no bonding. There was no joy. What the hell was wrong with me? The thought of giving Joaquin formula made me feel like the worst mom in the world. To make matters worse... I was a cow. I could pump 10 ounces in a 15 minute pump session. It was insane. I was able to stock so much but then, I got thrush and the doctor ordered me to throw that golden liquid in the trash. That's when I threw in the towel.

But, I still had this baby. This new life to take care of for the rest of MY life. It took me a very long time to wrap my brain about that. I am just now feeling comfortable as a mom. That's all thanks to my supportive husband and family and all of the moms, new and old, who told me their struggles and didn't lie to me and tell me that motherhood is all french fries and chocolate.

That's my favorite, when moms tell me that they hated breastfeeding too or when they tell me they ate out almost every day this week because they were too tired to cook or that they accidentally dropped their baby from the couch or that they failed at something. Sounds cynical that THAT is my favorite but it helps me see that I'm not alone. I'm not crazy...well...that's still debatable, I guess.

So, what do I do now? I plan. I prep. I get ready for my hormonal battle once again. I'll be talking about what I'm doing now and what I plan to do then on my next post. Have a great rest of the week everyone!

Baby Sunshine #2

I'm pregnant with baby number two! This news is both exciting and utterly terrifying. For awhile there I was content with having just the one. However, there were times I felt so guilty that Joaquin wouldn't have a sibling to grow up with. I am very close to my brother and couldn't imagine my life without him.... if you would've asked me 20 years ago I would've said I hated him but I think that's normal of a sister brother relationship, right? Nonetheless, Hubby convinced me to have another so here I am, 4 months pregnant with an already round and obvious baby bump.

How far along: 19 weeksGender: Don't know and won't be finding out....again
Weight gain: Not sure yet but at the end of my first trimester, doc said I lost one pound. Whoo hoo!
Maternity clothes: Yes and yes! I am all about the Maternity clothes. I LOVE my Jessica Simpson jeans at the moment. 
Sleep: Sleep is finally improving a tad. For weeks, I woke up around 3 in the morning for no reason at all. I didn't have to pee, I didn't feel a kick, nothing! I was just wide away for a while. Annoying. 
Best moment this month: Going to my big ultrasound to see the baby. 
Worst moment this month: Going to my big ultrasound to see the baby but baby wasn't cooperating and they couldn't take the right pictures. ::le sigh:: On the bright side, I might have to go back to try again which means I get to see baby again!
Miss anything: Sushi
Movement: Finally started feeling movement this week and it's been amazing. I love feeling the flutters and little love kicks. 
Cravings: Onion rings, oranges, cheeseburgers. 
Looking forward to: Getting a good picture of baby.

My next post will be about my concerns with Baby #2 on the way. I have a lot of anxiety about postpartum depression and reliving the hard times I had the first time around. See you next time, friends!

August 2014 Favorites

I am a sucker for these types of posts and YouTube videos. I love seeing what other people love and what works for them. Read: I'm nosy. So, consider this an attempt at showing you the sh*t that I love on a monthly basis...that's the point, right? 


1. Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Be still, my coffee lovin' heart. This coffee is top notch and I've been enjoying a cup every morning via the bag of grounds that my good friend Dez brought down from Portland. The blend called "Hair Bender" is sweet enough to tickle your tongue just so and smooth enough to make your body sigh in submission. That's what I literally feel every morning. It's glorious. Good news for all you So Cal readers...there's one in DTLA!

2. Pixie Donuts in Claremont, CA

Gone are the ho hum mornings with this fantastic duo. Stumptown coffee and Pixie donuts.... Breakfast. Is. Ama-zing. I love these donuts because they are better that the regular coffee shop donuts even though they are technically just that. The chocolate is deeper and probably real and their batter is even fluffier and tastier somehow. Oh, and they have cronuts. Cronuts are hybrid donut/croissants and are something to experience in your lifetime. Think glazed croissants. 


3. Origins Mega-Bright Skincare line

This skincare line pops into my brain as my number one beauty product because it blows my mind that something finally works for my acne scars. My skincare type is combo to oily, scars easily, and hormonal breakouts...I sound like a hormonal teenager. Sucks. I've dealt with it all my life and struggled with painfully embarrassing acne and the scars that it left on my face and on my self-esteem. When my pimples heal, they leave dark spots that last for years. This skincare line has erased them almost completely. I will be repurchasing this for sure.

4. Neutrogena Makeup Primer

I'm DONEZO with So Cal's 90 degree weather. That, along with a classroom with crappy air conditioning and with a schedule that has me moving fast and furiously makes for a slick face. No matter what I do, I'm stuck with oily skin and makeup that runs off my face before the first school bell rings. This is a game changer and I'm glad I found it. My makeup lasts a bit longer and I'm not having to blot my t-zone as much. I also love that it doesn't break the bank.

Internet Things

5. Big Block Sing Song. Big Block Sing Song. Big Block Sing Song. 

I don't know if this should make the list because I borderline hate it. Joaquin, on the other hand, oh he is obsessed with this. In his defense, these short clip music videos are colorful, simple, and uber-catchy. I have to admit that I have my favorites but when you hear these on repeat all month you want to sue the creators for harassment. When I say harassment I mean these songs will be annoyingly stuck in your head for the next 10 years. 

Now that I'm back in elementary, I am constantly on the lookout for cute things to motivate my little first graders and to jazz up my room. Teachers Pay Teachers has EVERYTHING you can imagine. If you want a worksheet on verbs, they have millions of files ready for your downloading pleasure. You want a PPT on the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, someone has spent countless hours making that already. It's wonderful. Some files are free and some cost a measly $3.00. Score one for the teacher budget!

I hope you enjoyed my monthly favorites. Please tell me one of your favs of the month! I'd love to know!

Finding Balance

Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in.

It's me, the girl who keeps one toe in the blogging world. I'm here to update and boy, oh boy are there updates.

First off, my move to a new house and new city is complete. I LOVE our new home and I'm trying to keep a smile on my face in the midst of all the unexpected home repairs. Oh, hello Mr. Tree Roots growing into our pipes and pushing the poop back up the toilets. All the matters is that we have furniture to sit on, food to eat, and a clean sewage pipe. We will be here for a very long time so what's the rush right?

Back to School mode is in full effect and I am EXHAUSTED! I love my class and my first grade team, I like my new school, but I loath the workload. I use up every bit of my energy source to power through my day. I forget to pee, I barely eat, and the backs of my feet our rubbed to the bone from being on my feet all day. Yup, sound like a first grade teacher to me. As delusional as it sounds, I am truly enjoying myself and I feel like I made the right decision going back to elementary. Once I get my bladder trained and my paperwork organized, it'll be a breeze. On the bright side, I've lost weight from the moving around so much! YAY, me!

Look! I've already gotten gifts from my little bees. Toothache city! So sweet.

I'll tell you what's not sweet.... the terrible twos. My little man is throwin' tantrums left and right! I try  to ignore him but his screaming is quite the earache. Nonetheless, the good still outweigh the bad and I'm enjoying life with my tantrum king. He is a smarty-pants with a growing vocabulary. He can communicate his wants and needs. He can recite a few numbers and letters, and his face is getting cuter everyday. I am totally smitten.  

He is slowly starting to favor daddy and I'm not complaining one bit. I've been able to get more done and I am grateful for the short breaks!

Lastly, I got myself a new laptop! It's so purdy! I'm hoping I can blog from time to time but we will see. I did a gut check and I re-prioritized my life. To keep myself sane, I've decided that my main goals right now is to be a better wife, a loving and present mother, a hardworking teacher, and a good Christian woman. All of the "stuff" in my day needs to somehow cultivate those goals or it gets the boot. I'm trying hard to let go of Instagram and Pinterest, but those things ease my mind when I need a break. That's what I keep telling myself anyway. I'm not quite sure where blogging fits into that but I hope to work it back into my juggling act. Until then, thanks for reading my update. I'll be back soon. 

Drizzles of Sunshine: Out of My Mind

1. Oh where, oh where has my little blog gone? Oh where, oh where can it be? On the back burner, per usual. I've been considering deleting the whole thing but something keeps pulling me back. Maybe it's the fact that I have so many thoughts that if I don't write it down somewhere, my brain might explode into smithereens.

2. In an attempt to add more time to my schedule, I've deleted my Facebook. Oh Freedom! It feels really good to be out of that  loop. But what about keeping in touch with your family and friends? The friends that are a mainstay text me on the regular. But what about keeping up to date with current gossip news and yadda yadda yadda? I really miss talking to friends and family on the phone or better yet, in person. I miss lunch dates and snail mail. Face to face and pen to paper communication is a dying art form and I for one would like to revive it.

3. So, we are in escrow. We purchased a house. I can't and wont let myself get excited until the keys are in my purse. I know escrow can be sticky and tricky so I'm waiting to pop the cork. In the meantime, I'm sitting fetal position in my living room trying to wrap my brain around packing up 10 years of living in a townhome. Where do I even begin? I'm going to take a nap.

4. During the day, I'm also in said fetal position trying to wrap my brain around packing up my classroom. Moving to a new city, moving to a new school.... I just can't handle. This is the way my brain processes. Instead of relishing the idea of new beginnings, I only see the obstacles. I could never run hurdles. I would be the guy  knocking them over one by one instead of focusing on the finish line. Support from the crowd needed.

5. I am handling all this with snacks. I lost 5 pounds and then I baked brownies to celebrate. I'm ok with that. Snacks are good. Snacks are safe.