We at Breastfeeders in Australia support equal marriage rights, as well as parenting. Bree Miller is one of the original Admins of the Facebook support group Breastfeeders in Australia, helping us support others from the very beginning of the group. She is has birthed four beautiful girls and is training to become a midwife. Bree recently gave birth as a surrogate parent. While laws differ from state to state, surrogacy is legal in Australia, provided the surrogate acts altruistically. Bree would like to share some of her story of becoming a surrogate parent.
“A few days after giving birth…
I tried to feed all three of my daughters (now 9, 7 and 5 years old) but, not through lack of trying, I was never successful enough to exclusively breastfeed any of them. I’ve never been diagnosed with anything definitive wrong with my breasts but they just don’t respond normally. Probably a combination of things.
Anyhow, I gave birth to a surrogate baby 3 weeks ago and have had probably my most successful breastfeeding journey so far. Though it’s been short, I’m happy with what I’ve achieved. I direct fed her for the first 12 hours after birth then left the new little family to go home to my own. I’ve been expressing every 3 hours for her ever since. I still wasn’t able to provide enough for her total needs but I’m happy with what I was able to give her. I have a new appreciation for all of you exclusively expressing mummas out there, it has been tough for me and I didn’t even have a newborn to care for.
Baby Haesel headed back to NSW with her dads yesterday so now I’m weaning down from expressing and will donate any remaining milk.
I envy women that find breastfeeding easy, and those that have adequate supply. I’ve gone through periods of hating my boobs and my body for not doing what it’s supposed to do. But in the end we can only work with what we’ve got and be thankful for that. I’m thankful that I was able to grow and birth 4 healthy babies within my body, even if I wasn’t able to feed them once they were out.
A few weeks later…
I’m now 6 weeks post-birth and have fully weaned off pumping, my milk is gone. One thing that has been really unexpected for me is how much it would affect me psychologically to discontinue pumping. Perhaps it was because this will probably be my last pregnancy and therefore my last chance to breastfeed, perhaps because I had a much better supply this time than I have ever had before. I’m not sure. But I keep having these little mental freak outs wondering what I’m doing and making me feel like I need to rush off and power pump. It’s a difficult thing to suppress your supply when you’ve conditioned yourself, over years, to attempt to increase it. The grief surrounding the end of the child bearing phase of my life has hit me hard and I find it interesting that it came as a result of ending breastfeeding instead of the end of a pregnancy.
Now onwards and upwards to a new phase of my life helping women with their own babies. I pumped a total of 10.4 liters in 70 hours over 4 weeks. Not too bad for someone with low supply. I can be proud of that.”
For more information about surrogacy in Australia, you can download Sarah Jefford’s Australian Surrogacy Handbook for free by clicking on this link. Thanks so much for sharing your story Bree, and for all you do. We wish new dads Paddy and Anthony the very best with raising Haesel.