Tag Archives: worldbreastfeedingweek

Guest Post- Breastmilk is the BEST Milk!

Nyssa Jewell’s story had a difficult start but almost two years in and it hasn’t ended yet!

I remember sitting on the couch with my baby in my arms, staring down at my Australian Breastfeeding Association book ‘Breastfeeding…Naturally’ and thinking “Yeah right. Give me some F!@#ing answers!” and wishing that book had a different title because it was all a lie.

My son was born via Caesarean section at 38+5 weeks due to breech presentation. He was born on a very busy day at the hospital and so he could not stay with me in recovery due to a lack of staff, instead he had skin-to-skin time with my husband in my room upstairs.

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Our first successful feeding photo!

Even though he was put to the breast as soon as possible and as often as possible, my milk took about 6 days to come in. The first 5 of those days was spent in hospital. I was encouraged to pump and syringe the colostrum to my son. One day I got 1 or 2 ml and took a photo – it was the most I’d ever had! And what a fab time that was, having strangers come to the bedside and squeeze my boobs like some sort of faulty dairy cow.

Aside from offering him the breast and then giving him whatever tiny amounts of colostrum I had, the midwives gave me formula, either in a little medicine cup or in a bottle (depending on who was working and whether they believed in bottles or not). He had lost more than the 10% that is expected and the pressure was on to get his birth weight back. As a first time mum I knew no better and went along with this plan.

Prior to being discharged, I refused to leave the hospital until the lactation consultant who had been promised to me finally came to visit. Surely something was wrong if I had no milk AND a baby who couldn’t latch at all???? Nope. The verdict was in. Nipples, fine. Baby’s mouth, fine. Bye bye!

Upon being discharged from the hospital on day 6, my husband took me to the pharmacy and we hired a Medela Symphony pump to use at home and bought a tin of formula just in case.

I opened that tin but never had to use it…

All I can say is thank goodness for my husband and my family who were there to support me through the tears, and a baby that just wouldn’t latch. We were sent home on a Saturday and on the Monday I rang the lactation clinic at the hospital out of sheer desperation. My sister had taken me for a walk to get some fresh air and I rang but they had no appointments available. I pleaded for some help over the phone and was finally given a cancellation appointment for the following day.

My mum, husband, baby and I arrived at that appointment to find a lovely lactation consultant who was so very gentle. She saw the gushes of milk I finally had, gave me a nipple shield (and some tissues!) and watched as my son finally latched on and started drinking. Relief!!!!

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From that day on, our breastfeeding journey was so easy. We used the nipple shield for a few months I suppose and then one day I tried him without it and he was fine!

At that lactation clinic visit, the consultant pointed out the posters they had about the milk bank, though she wasn’t supposed to directly advertise it for me, and asked me to think about it. A few weeks later I was back, meeting with the milk bank and signing up to be a donor. I think I donated about 2 litres of milk until my son was 7 months old (they don’t accept milk from mothers with babies any old than this). And that was in addition to feeding him exclusively AND having a stash for him for those brief moments where he had to take a bottle.

I was also the grateful recipient of donor milk when my husband and I went away for a few nights after our wedding when my son was 11 months old. How I wish I had known about donor milk when he was a newborn so I wouldn’t have had to give him formula.

 I do believe that when you know better, you can do better.

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My son is almost 2 now (21 months old in the above picture) and he is still breastfeeding – every morning and sometimes more often if he is sad or unwell. I have unfortunately experienced some breastfeeding aversion but I realised it was worse in the evenings when I was tired so we managed to wean off of those feeds and we are both happy.

I don’t particularly like the phrase ‘breast is best’ but I genuinely believe that ‘breastMILK is the best milk’ and if that comes from mum, great! If it comes from another mum, that’s great too!

There is still time to enter and win a great #WBW2014 prize! Click here for your chance!


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Guest Post- This Cherub Fed Like a Champ

Kerry and Angus had a great breastfeeding experience from the start…

I guess you could say I was one of the lucky ones; the cherub attached easily after being born and fed like a little champ. In fact, he was back to his birth weight in only two days!

I was relieved and pretty excited. I had plenty of support in hubby and friends and online mummies groups. I felt like that if it did get difficult at any stage I had all the right support to try and power through any issues, but there weren’t any, woohoo!

What was difficult, was expressing to have stores for a night out or so hubby could feed him. God that was a chore! As much milk as I had in those boobs it just wanted to come out via natural suction I guess, expressing took me forever and I hated it. I persisted mostly just to give hubby that bonding time and me the occasional break, which is important, I think. Well, important for me.image

Then the questions started….So how long will you breastfeed? From everyone. Hmmmm, I thought, I’m really just taking each day as it comes. I’d answer ‘I’m trying for at least until 1 year old, and then I’ll see how I feel about taking it to 2’. “2?!” They’d say. One or two of those “2?!” people were even very close friends. None of my friends have babies though, so I think that maybe it was just not something they’d thought about, or maybe weren’t comfortable with, because they hadn’t been around babies. “Yep, 2”, I’d say, “It’s world health organisation recommended!” Thought to myself- I’m going to see how I feel.

No mastitis, no biting, I had it easy. I did however start a formula top-up after his night feed at around 5 months I think, when he began fussing on the boob a lot and I was trying to get him to have a 7hr block of sleep. It worked for us, and I felt happy with my decision. Funnily enough it was my own husband who initially balked at the idea of offering the cherub formula. Once I explained why I wanted to try it and that we’d stop if it didn’t work, and that I planned to keep breastfeeding him at all other times, he was soon on board. I loved breastfeeding, it was so convenient! I of course loved the closeness it gave me with the cherub, when he fell asleep or would smile at me and a whole mouthful of milk would spill out because he’d be too busy smiling to remember to swallow first. I encouraged this, because it was super cute!

At about 12 months he was just restless constantly, he’d crawl to the cupboard and seek out his bottles. He loved the independence of holding them and feeding himself (Probably gets his independence from his mummy!). I kept breastfeeding until 13 months, but those formula top ups changed to cows milk, and then I just stopped. I was ready, Angus was ready. He’d never been the kind of baby to ask for boobs, I don’t think he even noticed. We didn’t wean, it was cold turkey. I was prepared for a long wean, but he was happy with cows milk, and deep down in the deepest corner of my sagging boobies, I was glad to have them back and wear a normal bra!

Occasionally I had doubts about whether I should have kept going as many in my online community still did and I didn’t want to not be providing the best for my cherub. Those feelings passed. Mostly though I feel it was all about the right support, people who know breast feeding is amazing but it’s ok to do whatever’s right for you and your bub, I had that, so I guess I continued to be ‘lucky’.

I’ve shared my positive experience in the hopes it will help someone else feel less daunted by breastfeeding.

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Speaking Up for Public Breastfeeding

Around a year and a half ago, a man on Australian television discussed a woman who had been asked to leave her local pool for breastfeeding her daughter. This man felt that breastfeeding should be done with discretion– covered, perhaps, or in a private area. The woman in question, Bribie Island Mum Liana Webster, quite rightly, did not.

This other woman also heard his words. She was coming out on the other side of her own struggles with breastfeeding and after the worry and stress over low supply, dodgy latch, mastitis and general new-baby related exhaustion- she also took offence. She had been struggling from the start to get it right- now someone wanted to shame her for breastfeeding in public- because she didn’t have enough to worry about?! She was supposed to struggle with blankets or covers or sit next to nappy bins in parents rooms and hide away? She was outraged at the idea. She wasn’t the only one. She banded together with another nursing Mama, Ash Zuko, who also took exception to the words of this man and they staged a nurse-in that made headlines all around the country and was even reported internationally.

There were a few reasons I found Koch’s words offensive. The obvious reason was that women have the legal right to breastfeed anywhere and any time they need to. This right has been protected by Australian law for 30 years. 

The other thing that bothered me was that David Koch felt entitled to tell women what they should and should not do with their bodies. He put his discomfort/inhibitions (or the discomfort/inhibitions of others) above the right of mothers to breastfeed and children to be fed. By doing so on national television, he sent out the wrong message entirely.

Our breastfeeding rates here in Australia are not crash hot. By the time they reach 12 months, less than a third of Australian babies are still being breastfed- which is far below the “up to 2 years and beyond” recommended by the World Health Organisation. There are many factors that contribute to these rates- but it can’t be ignored that the way we view breastfeeding is one of them. Having a well known person publicly state that women should be “discreet” implies that those who don’t cover when feeding are somehow indiscreet– therefore shaming them (well, us, I should say!).

It’s just so backwards! The way I see it is that women who breastfeed publicly are doing the public a favour by showing breastfeeding as a normal way to feed a child. It is healthy, it is safe,it is free and it’s good for the environment. The more people see it, the more ordinary and commonplace it becomes in people’s minds. Young women who see mothers breastfeed grow up seeing this as the normal way to feed a child and they don’t begin their own breastfeeding journeys like I did- clueless! In times gone by and still in other cultures, women would and do grow up seeing female relatives and other women breastfeed- it’s how they begin to learn what to do- we are lacking that. So many women are like me- they have a baby and breastfeeding is something completely unfamiliar on so many levels. So those that breastfeed in public are, often unconsciously, doing their communities a service and should not be shamed for it.

This is where my blog began (see my first ever post which explains the origins of “handbagmafia”!)- the experience helped me to find my voice here (even if, at times, it’s a voice only heard by me!). I was lucky enough to meet some inspirational people through all this, both online and in person, who have inspired me to learn more about breastfeeding… and to keep on boobin’!

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In the spirit of this post, today’s giveaway is a fabulous Boobie Bikkies prize pack from baby and breastfeeding guru Pinky McKay!

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Don’t forget to link your Breastfeeding story here.

Linking with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

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Guest Post- Let’s try this again!

Alexandra Lyons is mummy to two beautiful girls and director of Oui Bebe – she makes amazing modern cloth nappies and more! Today happens to mark three months of exclusively breastfeeding her second daughter which is a wonderful, hard-won milestone- one of many to come, I’m sure.

I began my second journey into breastfeeding on the 4th of May 2014 after the very speedy labour and delivery of our second daughter. Throughout her pregnancy I spent hours researching breastfeeding – from techniques to positioning, to getting the perfect latch.

Making more milk was always at the front of my mind after I failed miserably at breast feeding our first daughter. That journey came to an end at 12 weeks after an emotional roller coaster of breastfeeding, expressing and comping with formula.

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Insight into my first foray with breastfeeding is important as it helped to lay the foundations for this relationship. During my first antenatal appointment I met my midwife, I broke down in a river of tears when she asked me of I was going to breastfeed. I spluttered my way through the experience I had with big H. She assumed I would say no, but “Absolutely!” was my response. I was going to make it work this time. I had always assumed that I had very low supply. What I now realise is that I may have a small storage capacity coupled with smaller than average supply. But still adequate to feed my babies.

The real problem was a huge lack of support. I lacked the pep squad who stood behind me telling me what to expect from a newborn, I was an uninformed new mum, struggling to feed my baby. I’d made the decision earlier in my pregnancy to encapsulate my placenta as evidence suggests it supports lactation. I had fenugreek, brewer’s yeast, nursing tea, frozen lactation cookie dough and Domperidone at the ready at home. So on the 4th of May when Mini H came hurtling into the world during a completely natural birth – with not even so much as a paracetamol passing my lips- our journey began.

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I picked her up and placed her on my chest where she lay until she found the breast, rooted and self attached. The first 24 hours were hard. Mini H was attached to the breast for about 23 of those hours. I was exhausted. She was a sleepy feeder. She would suck feverishly for seconds and exhaust herself. Falling asleep on the breast only to come off and wail in desperation if I took it away. I remembered this behaviour from our eldest. I cried. She had a strong suck and her latch looked good.

That was the first point at which I thought why am I putting myself through this again? But I pushed through. I wanted so desperately to succeed. My milk came in about 36 hours after her birth, my breasts were hot and swollen but not painfully engorged. It felt as if I had a good deal more milk than I had experienced previously with Mini H’s big sister. Mini H was a very unsettled newborn. She fed for anywhere between 18-22 hours a day. She didn’t sleep anywhere but short catnaps and only ever at the breast. She couldn’t be put down, I did not have a sleepy newborn. I’d been ripped off. “It’s normal newborn behaviour” was the word from the many different healthcare professionals, so I persevered. My midwife was excellent, visiting every few days, sitting and chatting while I sat in a haze with this tiny pink bundle attached to the breast. Mini H was weighed for the first time since birth at 10 days old. She was only 50g off regaining her birth weight. “My boobs work” was my immediate thought, “I can do this”.

Mini H continued to gain slightly under the ‘ideal’ amount for two weeks – she started falling down the percentile charts. I was getting worried. However, her output was good, and she was alert so there wasn’t cause for alarm. I persevered. She would still fall asleep on the breast, was constantly feeding and I couldn’t put her down. She hated the car and the pram. She was not a happy, settled baby. Doubt started to creep into my mind. Maybe I couldn’t do this? Maybe the boobs didn’t work this time either. I pushed through another two weeks. It felt as if my milk supply was dwindling. I wasn’t engorged anymore, but I did know that as the weeks progressed my body would adjust. Maybe my body had started adjusting already? I put it down as normal. Her weekly weight gains were still decreasing every week. I was trying not to be concerned, but the seed of doubt was growing.

A girlfriend had suggested seeing a chiro to see if they could help as she may have been out of alignment causing her pain or affecting her ability to feed effectively. After the first visit I felt like all my questions had been answered! Our chiropractor was also a midwife with expertise in tongue and lip ties. Mini H had an undiagnosed upper lip and posterior tongue tie affecting her ability to drain the breast effectively. The ties meant she had to work overtime and would tire easily, fall asleep at the breast despite not having a full tummy, thus the constant feeding cycle perpetuated.

The next hurdle was trying to find someone in town who was qualified to release them. Living in a regional centre made this difficult. For obvious reasons I wanted to get the procedure done ASAP to give us the best possible chance at a successful breastfeeding relationship. I opted to see a private dentist as the public pediatric surgeon wasn’t available until the following week. I spent hours researching ties prior to our appointment and decided that if he agreed to release them that I would get them done then and there. The first feed post release was so different to the 5 and a half weeks prior. She had a deeper latch and better suck. I continued with the post revision stretches for 2 weeks, we had twice weekly chiro appointments working on her soft palate, spine and sacral-cranio area.

Then I noticed an increase in feedings and fussiness again. My mummy gut was telling me something still wasn’t right. Breast feeding shouldn’t have to be as much of a struggle as I was still finding it. We were 8 weeks in. My milk was supposed to be established by now – it was supposed to be easier. The posterior tongue tie hadn’t been taken far enough. The tongue was still restricted. Her ability to drain the breast effectively was still being affected, thus the fussiness. At 8 weeks and 3 days I took her back to the dentist to see if he would revise further. When he assessed mini H he admitted he didn’t release the tongue enough. He had taken a portion of the anterior tie that she had. Frustrating for mini H and I, as we had come to him for a posterior release- not an anterior one, but like I said our options being in a regional centre were very limited.

Once home and recovering again from her release we had our first breastfeed where Mini H unlatched herself when she was full. I was optimistic but cautious. It happened again at the next feed, and again. She had never unlatched voluntarily before. The following morning I woke up with what I can only describe as the worlds most natural boob job. I was engorged again. She was draining the breast well and my milk was coming back. Relieved would be an understatement. At the time of writing this post Mini H is 11 weeks old. Her weight gains have increased, her fussiness has lessened, she unlatches herself and she spends less time at the breast.

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Whilst some babies and mothers can nurse successfully through a tongue and lip tie I honestly don’t think we could. I never had the plentiful supply that some women are blessed with, I always had just enough, and the ties were causing us problems. I still continue to take an artillery of herbal supplements and Domperidone but I hope in the near future to wean off them slowly. I have every confidence that we’ll continue on in our breast feeding relationship and I look forward to a day where weaning is a mutually agreed decision; not one I have to make for my sanity or due to a failure to thrive diagnosis.

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Guest Post- Weaning through IVF…or not?

For privacy reasons, this lovely guest poster has elected to remain anonymous.

My son is almost 2 years old. He was conceived through IVF with donor sperm as my partner and I are both women. It has always been our plan to have another child but when we started talking about the realities of beginning IVF again I realised I may have a difficult decision.  Our IVF clinic didn’t want to have a conversation about treatment while breastfeeding a toddler. Their line is that he had to be  weaned.
Six months ago when I had this discussion with a nurse at the clinic I thought that weaning by age 2 was achievable and something I may be ok with. After having a tough time establishing breastfeeding and working damn hard to overcome our issues it isn’t something I treat lightly. And the closer I got to the looming date the more difficult the decision was.  
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At 18 months he was nursing around the clock – more than half of his feeds were overnight in bed (90 mins apart). I made the decision to night wean in the hope I would finally get a few hours of unbroken sleep occasionally and to see if we could start to cut down on feeds. We followed Dr Jay Gordon’s plan when my son was 19 months old and found it surprisingly easy and calm for all of us. He still asks for boobie sometimes when he wakes through the night but will resettle with a cuddle.
A side effect of night weaning was that we fell into a breastfeeding routine of morning feeds in bed, afternoon nap feed in bed and evening feeds in bed. He was too busy and distracted to want milk outside of these times so it was easy to cut down the duration and frequency of feeds by getting out of bed in the morning or having his afternoon nap in the car, carrier or pram. By 22 months we were down to 2 feeds a day (morning and night) and seemed on track to meet the deadline to start IVF.
Around this time I started to enjoy the closeness of breastfeeding again, and realised that emotionally I didn’t feel ready to break that bond between us. So with an IVF cycle booked in for the month before his second birthday and drug regime planned out I took to the internet, chatted to ABA counselors and lactation consultants and consulted with pharmacists who specialise in drugs and breastfeeding. 
I found some interesting information which challenged the views of my IVF clinic. I’m hoping that this information may help another mum facing the same difficult decision that I have been.
When I asked the clinic nurse why I had to stop breastfeeding I was told that:
a) Increased prolactin may reduce success rates, and
b) Risk of treatment drugs transferring through my milk to my toddler.
These are two very different points so I will discuss each separately.
a) I’m not an expert on prolactin levels. The people I have spoken to who do know about these things (ABA and lactation consultants) have all agreed that the level of prolactin in a nursing mother’s blood is very low (almost insignificant in trying to conceive terms) when your nursling is having no more than 3 feeds a day and not nursing overnight. This information may have been misguidedly supplied by the clinic assuming that all breastfed children are under 6 months and relying exclusively on breast milk for their nutrition. My 22 month old son eats a wide variety of food and drinks a lot of water. He nurses twice a day most days. This is unlikely to impact my likelihood of success with IVF.
b) Transfer of drugs through breast milk. This is well outside my professional knowledge so I talked to a few pharmacists who specialise in drugs and breastfeeding. Monash Pharmacy and the Pharmacy at Royal Women’s Hospital both gave me the same information about the specific drugs prescribed to me. I won’t go through these in detail as I believe you should have these discussions yourself if you’re considering going down this path, but I will summarise some of the findings.
Hormones – these are naturally occurring during pregnancy and may decrease milk production. In a similar way to falling pregnant naturally would. Your toddler may choose to wean if there is no milk supply. (This is a risk I am willing to take).
Steroids/other support drugs – the dosage I’ve been prescribed is well below the level at which there could be an impact on my toddler. One of my drugs has a possible side effect of decreasing blood pressure. I will be taking this for 5 days and during that time I need to watch out for crankiness in my toddler, which could be an indication he has a headache from low blood pressure. It is unlikely given the dose, but it’s something I will be watching out for.
Injections – I don’t need any for my treatment cycle, but these are generally safe. The reason they are given as an injection and not orally is that they are not broken down in the stomach. Therefore even if it transfers into your milk, your toddler’s stomach will not process the drug.
The best source of information I found was a paper written by ABA counselor Jeanette Elliot in 2008 titled Breastfeeding through IVF treatment: a case study. I believe this is available for purchase through ABA.  Jeanette did a talk on this topic at the 2007 ABA conference which was recorded and can be listened to here.
For me the most valuable point Jeanette made was to consider all the outcomes and how I’d feel with each, knowing there was no risk to my son.
1. Continue breastfeeding my son and fall pregnant
2. Continue breastfeeding my son and not fall pregnant
3. Cease breastfeeding my son and fall pregnant 
4. Cease breastfeeding my son and not fall pregnant
Of these outcomes the one that would devastate me is the last one. I do not wish to risk ending the breastfeeding bond with my son early for nothing. Other people may see this differently and feel the “what if” from outcome 2 would be harder to deal with, in which case weaning would probably be recommended. It’s a very personal decision that another person cannot make for you.
There’s a lot more I could write but most of my thoughts are covered by Jeanette’s podcast which is well worth your time to listen to. 
The decision I haven’t made yet is whether to tell my clinic that I am still breastfeeding. It hasn’t been discussed recently and I’m contemplating a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach.

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Guest Post- Using Your Village

Breastfeeding was something I was determined to do with Bennie. I won’t pretend for a minute that it was easy and although it was me putting in the hard yards, I was never alone in it. I had my husband and some wonderful friends to support, encourage and advise me. Marissa is a mum of three and breastfeeding has never come easily but this time around, things are different…

I was going to write about my previous struggles with breastfeeding. I was going to write about poor advice, scary nurses and mummy guilt. I was going to write about how, three babies in, I have overcome my struggles and am now breastfeeding my third baby. I was going to explain how proud I am, how great it feels to have finally succeeded at something that has been so difficult for me.

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I was going to write a lot of things, and then I realised one important thing: I could never have made it this far without my village.

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. For me it has taken a village to feed a child. From the obvious people in my village like my husband and my parents, to the less obvious ones like strangers on the internet, this village has been behind me every step of the way.

Before I had Jared, I started thinking about how I was going to breastfeed him. I have two other kids, one of whom is in primary school, and at times the logistics of adding the 24 hour requirement of my mammary glands into the equation just seemed impossible. I considered formula feeding from birth. I considered giving him colostrum and expressing a few times a day for as long as I could. How would I do it all? How would I care for a five year old and a two year old, at the same time as feeding an infant? How would I manage school run? Cleaning? Cooking? Eating?

My village came to my rescue. When I was tired after a night with a constantly feeding my son, my parents picked up the slack and took my daughter to school. My husband took extra time off work, and cooked and cleaned while I sat and fed. My brother and best friends entertained my children.

My village was varied. The ladies I talk to in my Facebook mother’s group supported me through long feeds at 2am and crazy sleep deprivation. They offered loads of practical advice and support, empathised with me in hard times and celebrated the good. One of my best friends is a breastfeeding advocate, and the other is a midwife. Both were on hand with emotional and practical support. When Jared didn’t gain “enough” weight, they encouraged me to keep trying. When he was hospitalised with various health issues, they researched and helped me understand the issues.

I recently read this article. The author laments the loss of the traditional village and yearns for a time when we supported and helped each other through hard times. I don’t think the village is lost, I think it has evolved. We may not be washing clothes together at the riverbank while our children play; however we are still offering laughs and kind words to our fellow mothers through blogs, forums and social media.

If the concept of breastfeeding your child is daunting, prepare you village now. Prepare it even if you are not considering children or breastfeeding. Gather it around you in whatever form it may happen to come. Ask your village for help and receive it gratefully when it inevitably is provided. Breastfeeding is a beautiful, natural and amazing thing to do. We are biologically designed to breastfeed. This I know, I have been told hundreds of times and seen on many information handouts. But we are not designed to do it all alone.

Don’t forget to link up your blog post for #WBW2014 here

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World Breastfeeding Week 2014 – A Celebration in Pictures

This gallery consists of photos kindly shared with us by some proud mamas to kick off our World Breastfeeding Week Blog Carnival, hosted here at HandbagMafia and also at Five Degrees of Chaos! Enjoy!
If you want to submit your photo get in touch via facebook

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Linking with With Some Grace for FYBF

Linking with Dagmar Bleasdale for Wordless Wednesday

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I Almost Got Caught in the Top-Up Trap

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Bennie was a big baby, just over 4.4kgs when she was born (Around 9lb 12 oz in the “old money”) and 58 cm long- I made the midwife triple check because it seemed ludicrous that someone so tiny could be so apparently large.

As soon as she was born, I put her to the breast, but she wasn’t terribly keen on feeding. She had a few drops of colostrum and that was it. It was the middle of the night and we were both pretty exhausted and eventually went back to the maternity ward to sleep. We had a couple more attempts at feeding but she was just so sleepy! The next day, a midwife said that she thought Bennie had probably had swallowed a lot of amniotic fluid and just wasn’t hungry yet. It took a couple of days for her latch to get sorted, then we were home free. The latch pain continued to be an issue for some time, though. 

When she was a week old, we had a home visit from a midwife who weighed her. I’d noticed her nappies weren’t always saturated- she was probably getting 3-4 wet ones per day. A turn on the scales showed her weight had dropped to 3.8 kg so we were instructed to top up with formula and visit the local lactation consultant clinic. Two or three lactation consultants checked and one mentioned a slight tongue tie- but made no mention of revision, so we plodded on, not realising until much later this may well have been a factor in her ability to feed adequately. 

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There was no mention of donor milk or milk banks, no one talked to me about expressing techniques (to this day it’s not my strong point!) and the information on using formula to comp feed was varied depending on who you spoke to. No one spoke to me about a supplemental nursing system except a friend I had made online- someone who gave me more advice and encouragement than any health professional I had seen. 

The one thing the Lactation Consultant clinic did help with was the latch- they showed a few positions and one in particular sat with me until we got it right. This was far more helpful than the hospital approach where they jammed my boob and her head together and hoped for the best (well, this is what it seemed like they were doing!)

My GP had given me motilium (aka domperidone) at my request, to help increase my milk supply, but my other doctor within the same medical practice refused to issue a second script, telling me to switch to formula because “It’s the same as breast milk these days!” and while formula is a fine alternative- it is just NOT the same as breast milk. (Incidentally, the first doctor also told me not to breastfeed my daughter when she had her first and only bout gastro to date as “she shouldn’t have any dairy”- good thing I’m not a cow, then, right?)

The LCs at my local clinic wouldn’t tell me exactly how much formula to offer when trying to comp feed and not one of them actually explained to me that using formula was going to reduce my supply further. Things like nipple confusion were not discussed either.

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I took matters into my own hands and started reducing top ups. I stopped offering the dummy at rest times and consciously began to feed to sleep for every nap. I ate lactation cookies and drank nursing tea. I took herbal supplements and ate foods reputed to boost supply. 

It took until Bennie was about 4 months old until we weren’t topping up at all any more. We’d gone from topping up at most feeds at our worst point (a case of mastitis tanked my supply at one point and I had to work hard to get it back!) down to 1-2 top ups each day when I stopped offering top ups altogether and just kept breastfeeding. We decided to offer 1 bottle of formula at night to give me a break as although my supply was greatly increased, I seemed to have a smallish capacity which meant feeding was very frequent. She also liked to feed for a long time- around an hour per feed until she hit about 5 or 6 months. She didn’t have a bottle every single night but it was handy to know it was there if needed and that she would drink it happily.

I won’t lie- I felt my efforts to breastfeed were not well supported by my health care providers. More than one GP was dismissive and unhelpful with issues relating to breastfeeding. The lactation consultants who I saw were very nice and some helped me with latching- but I felt they did not discuss all options with me and didn’t offer much in the way of information. What saved my breastfeeding relationship with Bennie was determination on my part and the support of some very well read and encouraging friends who were happy to troubleshoot with me. It has cemented my belief that more women would breastfeed and breastfeed longer with more consistent education and support- something that might come around if more family doctors decide to do a bit of study in the area of breastfeeding. They are often our first point of call with any issues and I know in my case, I was definitely let down.

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This is what a breastfeeding toddler looks like…sometimes. Most of the time, it’s more like this:image

Bennie is 22 months old now, and still breastfeeding. She will stop when she’s ready to, I guess. I haven’t really set a time frame. I’m grateful I was able to stick it out and grateful for the knowledgeable ladies who helped me through the hardest parts because it’s so beneficial. I don’t just mean nutritionally- though there is that! For this little girl, it’s a big source of comfort and connection and I’m happy I can give her that.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Bloggers, below you’ll find a linky where you can add your breastfeeding posts. If you don’t have a blog but you have a story to share, get in touch with us and we’ll give your voice a platform.

How to link up

  • If you’re new to linking up, it’s very easy!
  • Scroll down to below the other linked posts and find the blue button that says ‘submit your link’ and click it.
  • Paste in the URL of your post, enter the title of the post (or your blog name) and your email.
  • Click submit.
  • You will be given the option to choose which image will be displayed as a thumbnail for your post.

A few little guidelines:

  • Your post must be breastfeeding related. This blog carnival is a celebration breastfeeding- and that includes the struggles and the hard times as well as the successes, whether you breastfed for a day, a week, a month or several years!
  • We’d love you to read other blog entries, leave comments and share your faves on  Facebook or Twitter- take the opportunity to discover new blogs! Please keep comments positive, respectful and supportive, every breastfeeding experience is important.
  • Let your friends know about the linky – while not mandatory,  a link back would be much appreciated it can be as simple as ‘Linking up with HandbagMafia and Five Degrees of Chaos for their #WBW2014 Blog Carnival’

Link! Blog! And Boob!

”creatingcontentment”

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Breastfeeding- a snapshot (or two…)

In the lead-up to our World Breastfeeding Week blog carnival, I started going through my photos. I took them (or had them taken) for myself firstly- because for me, being able to breastfeed was a hard-won battle and also as just a part of our family photos- candid shots that we will look back on in years to come.

It can’t be ignored that the breastfeeding selfie or photo has a place in normalising breastfeeding- so I thought I’d put a few of mine up ahead of the carnival and breastfeeding image gallery to remind anyone interested to submit their entries!

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Don’t forget, the linky will go live at 6 am here on August 1st!

Don’t have a blog? There’s still time! Submit your blog entry of breastfeeding photo to me via facebook or to Emma at Five Degrees of Chaos to be included and for the chance to win some great prizes!

Linking up for Wordless Wednesday at My Little Drummer Boys

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Brace yourself- It’s Almost World Breastfeeding Week!

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I am teaming up with the lovely Emma from Five Degrees of Chaos to host a Blog Carnival in celebration of  World Breastfeeding Week!

This year’s theme is Breastfeeding: A winning goal for life!

We are looking for contributors to the blog carnival. A linky will go live at 6 am on August 1st and bloggers are invited to share their breastfeeding story. All stories welcome- share your experience! We are also looking to showcase breastfeeding photos and you can get these to me via my facebook page.

If you don’t have a blog but want to get involved, we can happily host your story! You can share it anonymously or not, with a photo or without- whatever you like- it’s YOUR story! Again, hit me up on facebook.

I should also mention that we will be making it worth your while with some great giveaways for blog contributors- both linked and hosted by us- and those that are willing to share their favourite breastfeeding photos.

Feel free to like HandbagMafia and Five Degrees of Chaos on facebook to keep up to date on the Blog Carnival and see what prizes you could win!

Let’s inundate the blogosphere with breastfeeding! It’s often hard work and can be full of hurdles. It can take many forms- full term feeding, exclusive pumping, milk-sharing- all stories are welcome!

Linking with EssentiallyJess For I blog on Tuesdays

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