good times

Breastfeeding symbol

I don't think I've showered in a few days.  I've been picking my scalp, then smelling my hands, then eating whatever I find under my nails.  I'm pretty nasty when it comes down to it.  I get into these grooves of writing, very rarely, where it's almost all I can focus on.  I haven't left the house, or these same clothes in days.  And I'm loving it.  Sitting Indian-style on my office floor, going through boxes and reading old letters, going back to such comforting times, hearing their voices and laughs in their midnight letters to me.  Apparently on a camp field trip to NYC, I walked the streets of South Street Seaport "Flamboyantly eating a frozen banana.  Oh, Klein!"  And it makes me miss Adam Lis, and his exclamations and sighs and the way he'd kick the ground and snap his fingers and promise to do it all better next time.  "Be patient with me in this young love, Stephanie Tara.  You are the one for Adam!"  My scalp and I are having so much fun with it.  I'm surprised my leg hair isn't long enough to braid yet.  At least my breasts are still leaking, which makes up for it.

Despite my decision to stop breastfeeding about a week ago, I still sit here dribbling.  I stopped for selfish reasons.  Because I'm lazy, certainly, and not just the idea but the actual act of having to feed or pump every few hours, no matter where I was eventually drove me mad, or at least to the refrigerator seeking comfort.  People have sworn by breastfeeding for their weight loss, and truth be told, it's the reason I was so determined to do it.  Yes of course for the beans too, but even before I was pregnant, I was certain I'd breastfeed them until they could all but unbutton my shirt and get it themselves.  Because I heard it burned three hundred calories, that you could eat whatever you want.  And I'm sure that's true with some people.  Not for me.  Of COURSE not for me. 

I wasn't producing enough milk for two babies.  And I'm not sure I even had enough for one, but the upkeep, the constant pumping… three months plus was enough.  And enough with my excuses.  Bottom line: I went to buy a cabbage at the market and I felt like the unibomber.   Talk about guilt, my God.  Sunglasses, hood pulled up.  The whole look.  Me.  Bad mother.  Fat mother who cares more about fitting into her clothes than the health of her children.  But really, that's not true.  Not with their doctor telling me he can't tell the difference between breatfed babbies and the formula-fed kids.  And they were breastfed. But it is fucked up that I wanted to stop because I wanted to lose weight.  Oh welcome to the complicated life of MOOSE.  And I tried walking, tried the gym when I could.  It wasn't working.  For whatever reason my 156 lb. body wouldn't let go of the extra 30 lbs. it lobbed on.  And now, I'm working on it, again, as I write a book about working on it.  Good times. 



  1. It's called being human!….enjoy your state of being now!
    (On a personal note…I have MISSED your blog…it used to come to me daily a few years ago & somehow stopped. I am thrilled to see how dramatically your life has changed….many congrats from a twin also!
    Austin is awesome! I too am making the great escape from stinky ole' NJ to a sweet new 'life' in New Mexico this June on my birthday at 59 years old.
    Rock on, girl!

  2. I remember nursing my twins. It was pure hell. The frequency was especially tedious. One of them ALWAYS wanted to nurse…or so it seemed. I never lost any weight either.

    It's a personal decision. You have to do what's best for yourself and your sanity.

    So…do you really eat whatever you find under your nails? That was certainly an interesting statement to find the first time I stumbled upon your blog. LOL

  3. Good for you, the babies will be absolutely fine with formula. THere is way too much pressure to breastfeed and in the nd it really doesn't make much difference. You don't see people comparing 4 year olds in class saying "Oh, well he doens't draw so well must have been the formula!"
    I've been meaning to comment for ages now, I discovered your site way back in September when my life was calm. Reading your blog helped me forget about what was happening in my life.
    And, you single handedly have unknowingly convinced me to stop straightening my hair and let the red grow back without hiding it with blonde! Thanks Stephanie, xx

  4. Stephanie,

    Up until this, I had been SO impressed with your commitment to breastfeeding. My son had trouble latching on, so I pumped and bottled fed. It's brutal enough to do it for one baby, but for twins? I was in awe.

    But then to find out that the primary reason you were doing it was in the name of weight loss? Christ. Says a lot about your priorities…

  5. Oh the joy of lactating breasts…
    I think it's sad that some women just seem to find it harder to lose the weight, despite the rigours of breast feeding. There are no rules and it doesn't always work…
    Frightfully, I lost so much weight after the birth of my first child I thought I was dying of cancer.
    No, just lack of sleep, copious suckling (for a disturbingly long time) and post natal depression.
    On the other hand, my friend just couldn't get it going on, despite the same lack of sleep and the same copious suckling.
    My second child could only squeeze three months out of me, but opening my business when he was two months old had a lot to do with that.
    All children were loved enormously because of, or in spite of, the breast, and all situations were entirely appropriate.
    Your breasts too will change.
    I spent most of 1990 sporting two deflated balloons with a marble in each end.
    It's all part of the journey, darling Stephanie.
    Just please keep writing about it x

  6. Congrats for breastfeeding for three months and on your decision to stop. As a fellow twin mother I can confidently say that it is extremely difficult, bordering insanity, and it is nothing compared to breastfeeding one baby. I also did not lose any weight from breastfeeding. I still look pregnant and I feel gross. The gym is the answer not more breastfeeding.

  7. so a week later your breasts are still dribbling but you didn't produce enough milk for one?


  8. Do what makes you happy! The babies will be fine. You held out a lot longer than I did. It's very hard to do. The nurse that helped me said you can either do it and it comes natural or it's a chore.

    I can't believe people will come on here and criticize you. Blows my mind. Just don't read it, OK?

  9. You're not a bad momma Steph, you're honest. You're human. Hell, I've heard all the hype about breastfeeding and weight loss and I would be EXACTLY where you are if I were breastfeeding. Yeah, I would tell myself, "But it's good for the baby," but deep down inside I'd have other motives too. It's o.k.; you did good and I'm not going to lie: it's going to be a bitch to lose the weight. It always is.

  10. Puleeze…do not sweat it. I did not breastfeed either one of my kids. They are now in middle school and are bright, athletic and healthy as horses. I said is was because I had to go back to work in 8 weeks so why get them use to it only to quit? The truth was, I have always been a little grossed out by it. I know, I know, it's perfectly natural and the best thing for baby, and weight loss for mom, antibodies for kids,blahblahblah. Sorry, it's just not me. My sister, on the other hand, had her kids literally hanging off her tits till they were well over a year old. 2 of her 3 kids were sicker, smaller and had more food allergies than mine ever had. I agree, nutritionally – it is natures perfect food for baby but kids CAN thrive without it – don't beat yourself up.
    Also, as for the weight loss, most people I know who breastfeed lose the same amount of weight as us non-breastfeeders, only they may lose it 6 weeks or so faster -but they still have to work on that last 15 pounds or so like the rest of us. That is just my experience. Breastfeeding is not the end all, be all. I have to go take cover from the la leche league now. Go have a cocktail and enjoy it.

  11. I love your honesty. Who among us doesn't go to the gym to lose weight or look good. The health benefits of it all don't even occur to most of us.

  12. Parsley. Fresh parsley.

    It has a has an oddly nutty taste. It also dries up your milk pretty quickly. There's even a tea made from it to dry you up:

    Also leave your breasts alone. If you mess with them, you stimulate them. Stand facing away from the spray of the shower, too.

    And no more snarfing scalp pickings. It's not "refreshingly honest", it's beyond repulsive.

  13. Don't beat yourself up! I formula fed the first one and nursed the second. There is NO difference in them whatsoever! They are both happy, healthy babies. I'm impressed you stuck it out with twins. I was exhuasted just handling one!
    You did great…don't listen to the negative people.

  14. I'm proud that you did it as long as you did. Don't be so hard on yourself, either. I know people will give you shit about the weight-loss motivation, but don't worry about it. BFing is hard, and with twins, I can't imagine. And some people have a harder time than others with the fact that being pregnant and then breastfeeding literally takes over your ENTIRE life (so it feels, anyway). It's hard, and you did good.

  15. I admire your honesty, but this post makes me feel a little ill, for a variety of reasons.

  16. okay, the under-the-nail dining is a bit gross…

    But I don't think you have to feel bad for not breastfeeding, or for having weight-loss-related intentions for wanting to breast feed in the first place. I mean, it's not like you're saying "oh, I'm just not going to feed my kids now." They will be fine. Plenty of children don't get breastmilk and are PERFECTLY FINE.

    And whoever wrote the self-rightious comment above about priorities… um, it's not like she decided to put her kids in the middle of a busy intersection because it would help her lose weight, so just chill out. If you've ever had a weight problem (I have) you know that it colors almost every thought / action in your life. I'm not married and have no intention of having kids anytime soon, and for about 5 years since my friends started having babies, I've always had in the back of my head, "Breastfeeding, sweet."

    Stephanie, I cannot WAIT to read MOOSE.

  17. The hormones will even out and your body will slowly recover. It's amazing, in a few short years you are going to look at your toddlers and feel a 'pang' for another one. It's an angel of mercy that puts a veil of forgetting over our heads. That's how the species has continued for so long :)
    As a fellow mom of twins, I formula fed. My one twin though was born w/ a bilateral cleft lip palate so if I had to rely on nursing, he would have died. Sure, I could have pumped. I guess in between going to NYU for his treatment every week, taking care of his twin sister, and also running my three year old toddler to and from all the things he had to do. I have enough to feel guilty about without adding breastfeeding on top of the 'failure' list. You did it for three months… bravo, I say, bravo!!!

  18. please don't feel bad about wanting to make yourself feel good — a happy woman translates to a happy mother, no?

  19. Don't feel bad! I'm sure a lot of women are comforted and supported in their breastfeeding by the idea of losing weight – that's only natural. I've heard it helps most people lose the weight initially, but the last of the weight won't go until you stop – that's been the experience of some of my friends and acquaintances, anyway.

    My stepmother was unable to breastfeed, although she tried. Last year, her children, my youngest siblings, each won the academic award as the smartest kids in their respective grades. They are charming, healthy, friendly, incredibly bright little people, and my little brother, though only 10, has probably had more girlfriends than I've had boyfriends. (I'm in my mid-twenties.)

    People who guilt trip you (particularly those who seem to feel that bottle feeding is akin to child abuse) are often people insecure about their own parenting. They need to label parents who make different choices "bad parents" in order to be sure that they are "good parents." Pity them – don't take them seriously.

  20. you make me chuckle with normalcy.

    i too found myself smelling my scalp scrapings in the car the other day.

    i must admit when i first read that you quit breastfeeding a week ago i did a double take and re-read the first part of your blog. i thought to myself oh what will the bottle-haters say? then as i read on about how you boldly stated that in fact you were mostly doing it for weight loss i said AHA FUCKERS! now you have TWICE as much to hate about. i'm surpised there haven't been more hater posts yet…i think they may have all died of shock!!

    the point is that the ends justify the means—who cares why you breastfed, they still got breastmilk for 3 months and that is important! intentions don't change the content of your milk. silly people.

    it says alot that you stopped DESPITE wanting to lose weight so bad. it means you REALLY couldn't handle it and you were at your wit's end. now they can't call you selfish because if you were you would have stuck to it for your "selfish weight loss" reasons.

    good for you. i'm sure you made a few similac investors happy today–and yourself.

    i'm pretty much dirty and lazy like you all the time.

    i recently discovered (by her own admittance) that my sister, the perfect, beautiful, skinny, tan, couldn't gain a pound if she tried, perfect hair and skin and makeup, rich, have everything sister—-RARELY EVER SHOWERS OR SHAVES HER LEGS. she says she gets it from our mom….(me too!) –you see we BATHE if we MUST but showers are only for hair washing–every 3 to 4 days is good enough-besides over washing dries out your skin and hair! you give them that excuse stephanie!!

    when your book is done–and AMAZING– you can laugh at the clean freaks and the nursing nazis all the way to the bank!


  21. Loved this one. Raw.
    You're back!

    Dont beat yourself up about the breastfeeding thing. Can you imagine a man enduring that for their babies? Yeah right!
    And with twins! Frankly, I admire that you lasted this long. I surely wouldnt have. I lasted one week with my baby on the tit but I was in the hospital that whole time and when I left, I left with an rx for zoloft and tons of formula.
    You're a good mama and you're honest with yourself.

    The weight- It will start to come off but it might not be as fast as you want. Baby weight is sooooo hard to get off and I hate to say it but it does take exercise. That's probably the only way you're going to get it off.

    Look at it this way- would you rather be breastfeeding or exercising (this means even a simple walk, doesnt have to be an entire workout at the gym)?
    Tell yourself that.

    Make your time to workout YOUR time. I know you hate to workout but I think you're going to see how much of a stress reliever it is. And besides you can do a lot of thinking while working out. Ive even been guilty of carrying a little notebook with me to jot down ideas for writing that come to me while Im lifting.

    And girl you dont even have that much to lose!

    Good blog entry. I still remember a line from one of your blogs, something to the effect of:

    I pick at my scalp then I smear the sludge in my books. This is why I won't loan out my books.

    So honest and raw. Love it.

    And if this posts a zillion times, sorry. Typepad is acting wacky.

  22. Don't feel bad! When I had my first, I too fell prey to the guilt of breastfeeding and ended up pumping for 6 months. Pure hell, which I'm sure contributed to my PPD. With my 2nd, I went straight to formula and couldn't have been happier with my decision. I'm now pregnant with twins and will they will be formula fed as well. Don't let the peer pressure get to you. Lucas and Abigail will be fine.

  23. I am impressed you nursed them as long as you did. I couldn't have done it that long!
    Good Luck with MOOSE and the beans!!!

  24. I know I shouldnt go there but Im gonna anyway.

    Kate, you must be blind, or your gfs arent being completely honest with you.
    I'd be willing to bet my own tits that a shitload of women breastfeed to lose weight. Why do you think women talk about it all the time?

    It's helping the babies and that's definitely a plus, but formula is just as good (if not better b/c the mom isnt losing her fucking mind due to sleep deprivation, sore nipples and leaks) but when it comes down to it, the commitment is probably there more for weightloss than anything else because formula is just as good. And there isnt anything wrong with that.

    *hopes the whole formula vs. titmilk battle doesnt ensue*

  25. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty about your decision. I stopped because I was tired of smelling like sour milk, spraying it during sex, and feeling less like a woman and more like a milk machine. I stopped nursing my first son at 4 months, and he ended up going to Vassar. Go figure.

  26. Go wash your hair. You did a great job breastfeeding. It's jut fine that you decided to stop. Eat some cabbage. Get on the tread. Oh, and, go wash your hair.

  27. I consider your 3 months of BF'ing a big success! Congrats, you should be celebrating that you made it that far. I am contemplating switching to the bottle, and my little guy is only 6 weeks old today.

  28. Stephanie, you probably get all sorts of weight-loss tips so feel free to tune this out but I felt compelled to share. I have never had a weight problem, but over this past winter I seem to have put on a few extra pounds (I think it is age-related, I just turned 38 and it is not as easy to maintain weight as it used to be). Anyway, I take two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with a cup of water and half a teaspoon of baking soda every morning and every night. That's all I have done differently and over the past month I have lost 10 pounds. The excess weight just fell off. Something to do with cleaning out your liver so it can work more efficiently, apparently. Anyway, it sounds kind of yucky, but it has worked for me. Probably tastes a little better than scalp flakes :).

  29. Just a note on the weight. We always seem to think of ourselves at our "thinnest" or best weight. I had to go back in your posts but back in June you were signing up for WW because you weighed in the 140s — just 13lbs more than you do now. So you really don't have 30 lbs to claim as twin-weight, just 13.

  30. Ugh so many people that comment are such bitches. Who cares?! It´s your life, your kids, your breasts, your weight. You kept it up for a long time for the sake of your kids even though you hated it; you gave them any possible medical benefits breastfeeding can have for their development; I don´t think it really matters one iota what your intentions were or if they were "pure". Best of luck getting back to a body you feel comfortable with, a lifestyle and pace you can manage, and completing your second book! xx

  31. By looking at those darling pictures – those babies are well fed, nurtured and adored. Having a happy, well-rested mom is vitally important to the health and well being of babies. You are doing great.

  32. You shouldn't feel bad about not breastfeeding. You should however feel bad that even in motherhood you are still thinking about yourself first and foremost. Ex: breastfeeding for YOUR benefit? Whats that all about?

  33. You are so funny! I had a great visual of you eating your hair crusties. We all have our gross things we do, but I especially love the fact at you are so forthcoming with yours. I wouldn’t sweat the whole breast feeding thing. The truth is you are who you are and I think being happy makes you a better mother and wife.

    I do have a question for you… How tall are you? I think I’d be happy at 156lbs, but I’m also 5’10”. Everyone has their own weight issues, but try not to be too hard on yourself. You did just give birth to 2 people! You always look beautiful in the pictures you post and it sounds as though your husband loves every inch of you. If it helps–I like this web site; you can track all of the calories you eat and burn to see where your problems are and it’s free.

  34. Oy… can we all not be so judgemental about other people's decisions – or their INTENTIONS? Stephanie did what is widely considered a good thing for her babies, who cares why she did it? AND why shouldn't she gain some benefit – what, you become a mother and can't do anything for yourself anymore – even if it benefits your kids?

  35. While I'm sick in bed and reading your blog to get my mind off feeling like crap, those first 2 lines weren't too "appetizing". Other than that, I have to say, good for you for lasting 3 mos. The pix of the beans is proof that they're thriving, and I'm sure they'll continue to. What kind of formula are you using?

    As far as the weight loss, I breastfed my kids for a little over a yr each, and BFing made me hungrier, so I didn't really start to lose all my baby weight until I weaned them. Suddenly, I just wasn't so hungry. Then the rest of my weight came off pretty quickly. With my last baby, it came off the fastest. Probably b/c I was just so busy running after my kids, and my life was just non-stop crazy. I'd be curious to know if you also feel less hungry now. Hopefully, you're happier. Just think how much your dad will love feeding those delicious babies during his visit!

  36. Congratualtions on getting your life back! You are the mother of these sweet little babies and damn it you can do what you want! If you wanted to breastfeed to lose weight what is the selfishness in that? I don't have babies but plan on trying this year..the main reason I want to breastfeed is to help with the weight loss…will I be a selfish parent? No way! One of my friends decided to stop early so she could get laser eye surgery…Selfish? Another friend stopped but kept pumping and dumping to keep her boobs more full…Selfish? Another friend had a little girl who at six months decided she no longer wanted to breastfeed because she wanted to see what was going on around her…is the baby selfish? Personally I find the women that feed their babies longer than a year selfish…what is the point other then some more "bonding" with your baby oops, I mean child. When they can ask for it ladies it is time to put that breast to bed!

  37. Drink sage tea, it will help. The leaky breasts, not the weight loss.

    If it helped with weight loss, I'd drink it by the gallon.

  38. I quit nursing my son at 3 1/2 months for similar reasons to you. I have been so much happier since the day I quit and Aiden is thriving at 6 months. Honestly, I think it's healthier for him to have a happy mama and formula then a little boob and one miserable mom. P.S. I lost 10 lbs. immediately after quitting and have finally started to feel like a normal person again and not some milk-making machine.

  39. After reading this post (which is laugh out loud funny btw) I know I'd enjoy MOOSE. And all you who write about being sickened by her unappetizing descriptions, get over yourself already. Like your shit doesn't stink…

  40. Megan,

    I agree that most people go to the gym to lose weight and look good, but I also think of the health benefits. I started working out religiously over 2 yrs ago, and I really love it. I'm a total gym rat. It's great therapy for me. When I'm totally stressed out, I head to the gym, and I feel so much better afterwards. It also doesn't hurt to have a great personal trainer who has taught me so much that I'm actually thinking of becoming one myself. Another way to get motivated is to workout w/ a friend. I have a whole new group of gym friends, so it makes it a social thing for me too.

    My kids and I have been home sick all wk, and it's the first time in over 2 yrs that I haven't worked out all wk. I can't wait to get back to it. You probably think I'm crazy, right? :o)

  41. Three months. Wow. I barely made it the "at least" six weeks with mine. And I only had one at a time.

    Good for you.

  42. Tara, you consider women who breastfeed their children for over a year selfish??? The ones who put everything on hold (EVERYTHING else stops) to pop out their breast and actually and literally FEED their children. That's selfish to you? Wanting more of a bond with your chld, that's selfish to you?

    Another, you compare a mother giving up breastfeeding to an infant,(which has no judgment or rational thought) that naturally stops breastfeeding. They are apples and oranges.

    Stephanie admitted she is too lazy to supply for her children. That's just fucked up. If she is too lazy to do it now, whats to say it will get any better in the future? Will she just stop driving them to school? Stop going to soccer games or ballet recitals? Stop making dinner? If she can't do it now, maybe she should have reconsidered motherhood to begin with.

  43. After reading Kate's response,

    But then to find out that the primary reason you were doing it was in the name of weight loss? Christ. Says a lot about your priorities…

    I had to post. I knew a woman who breastfed because she knew it burned the extra calories, and when it came time to ween, she went nuts trying to figure out a way to burn off those calories used by breastfeeding. So it goes both ways, Kate.

    Besides, people have a right to their own personal choices–for whatever the reason may be. Breastfeeding doesn't qualify someone for sainthood, and feeding them formula doesn't fall under the rubric of neglect. So lighten up already.

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