Posted on

Breastfeeding A Baby With Kidney Failure – Amanda’s Story

When Lucy was nearly 11 months old, she was diagnosed with kidney failure, and her mum Amanda had to stop breastfeeding cold turkey.  Lucy is now 18 months old.  Amanda has been exclusively pumping since the diagnosis, because not only are the majority of formulas on the market unsuitable for a baby with kidney failure, but Lucy also has CMPI (Cow’s Milk Protein Intolerance).

Lucy is in kidney failure from end-stage kidney disease.  It’s suspected she has a condition called infantile nephronopthisis, which will be confirmed by results from genetic testing.  At only 18mo, Lucy is waiting on a kidney transplant, and has to undergo peritoneal dialysis until she gets one.  The dialysis involves a catheter running into her belly and to her periotoneum.  The catheter recently moved out of it’s intended position, causing great discomfort for Lucy during dialysis, and requiring surgery to move the catheter back to where it belongs.  This photo was taken while Lucy was recovering from that operation, with Amanda needing to comfort Lucy while pumping.

“How breastfeeding looks for us!! This little girl turned 18 months on the 27/08. She was exclusively nursed until a couple of days shy of 11 months, when she was diagnosed with kidney failure and we had to stop nursing cold turkey. She has CMPI and is unable to have the majority of formulas on thr market either because of cows milk protein, or because they are not suitable for use in kidney failure. I have been exclusively pumping for her since her diagnosis. Her 18 month milestone marked 7 months of exclusively pumping for us. She is listed for a kidney donation and I am hoping to provide EBM for her until her transplant. Breastfeeding comes in all shapes! Today, post minor surgery, she needed snuggles while I pumped. #gottadowhatyagottado Boob on Mummas!! ♡”

“We not only had to suddenly stop nursing, but we suddenly had to severely restrict my daughter’s fluid intake until her dialysis started working”

Lucy wasn’t passing any urine at all, and was overloaded with fluids, so Amanda was told to stop breastfeeding immediately, with no opportunity given to gradually wean.  As if that wasn’t enough, Lucy essentially had to starve or risk making her situation worse.  Like many breastfeeders, Amanda had mothered Lucy with breastfeeding, and was distraught and felt unable to offer comfort to her daughter when she needed it most.

“I just wanted to know where we stood so I could get my head around it”

Initially, Amanda had some hope that she and Lucy might be able to return to direct breastfeeding, but she kept getting mixed messages from the variety of health care professionals she had to see.  Some were very optimistic and encouraging of Amanda continuing to express, and others were not.

Thankfully there was a Dietician, Lactation Consultant and one particular Doctor who recognised the importance of breastfeeding in this situation.  They helped Amanda devise a system that involved placing a carefully measured, fortified feed into an SNS (Supplemental Nursing System) and using it to feed from a thoroughly drained breast.  Lucy and Amanda were able to breastfeed this way for a week, which allowed them to enjoy their remaining breastfeeds together, and gave Amanda a degree of closure.

Amanda and Lucy’s very last SNS feed

“The staff in the Renal Treatment Centre were great at helping me find volunteers to sit with my daughter when I needed to express at first, because I didn’t want to upset her by pumping next to her.  When she was a bit older and her fluid restriction was lessened, she was ok with me pumping next to her and they organised us to be trained in dialysis in a separate room so that I could express when needed without leaving.”

Amanda said she feels comfortable pumping in front of the doctors and nurses that come and in out of the dialysis room, and they also seem very comfortable being around her too.  The nurses have been very encouraging too.  Amanda also feels the Lactation Consultant has gone above and beyond her duty, from checking in to see how she is going, to finding her a pump to use at hospital that was the same as her one at home, right down to finding vegan recipes for Amanda to use (as Lucy has CMPI and a possible egg allergy).

“Originally I was expressing every 3 hrs, with a 6-8 hr break overnight”

Now, 7 months later, Amanda finds she can pump 3-4 times a day while maintaining the same output as when she was initially pumping much more frequently.  She is able to express enough for Lucy to have 3-4 bottles of her 6 daily bottles as fortified breastmilk.  About 8 weeks into her exclusive expressing journey, Amanda started taking motilium to help her express, which can be very difficult without being able to put baby to breast.  She also takes sunflower lecithin to avoid blocked ducts.  Amanda says it’s very important for her to eat and drink well, which can be hard when you have a sick baby.  She uses a Milk Genie double electric pump, which she chose because it’s small and portable.  “I bought it to use in the car to and from the hospital, and liked it so much I use it all the time now. It’s quiet, small and portable – I love it!”

Lucy celebrating her 1st birthday with her mum, dad and older sister

“Encourage readers to speak with their families about their wishes for organ donation – registration is important, but our families make the final decision about our organs and tissue. We don’t need our organs in heaven, but heaven knows we need them here!”

The Australian Government’s Organ and Tissue Authority maintain a national donor registry at Donate Life.  You can register your intention to donate your organs and tissue to people like Lucy.  But as Amanda says, you also need to discuss your decision with your family, for they need to give permission for this to happen once you’ve passed.  You can get yourself onto the organ and tissue registry by filling out this online form.

*This post contains an affiliate link*

 

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Breastfeeding & Returning To Work (Guest Post)

Fiona Morrison blogs over at the Mumma Morrison website.  She is a first time mum to “Starfish”.  She is a teacher, writer and (her words!) an oversharer.  She loves writing to help other mums in their motherhood journey, and she has recently returned to work.  Fi kindly wrote a guest post for us, to offer her unique perspective on returning to work while breastfeeding.

“In just over two weeks time, my son will be turning one. His first birthday. A time for celebrating so many triumphs and milestones – a whole year of life, a whole year of surviving motherhood (who knew that was possible?!), and a whole year of breastfeeding my son. In two weeks time, those memories will be pleasantly remembered and celebrated. But this time will also be bittersweet.

It will be bittersweet because next week I will be returning to work after being on leave for just over a year. Just as we come to a time to get excited and party about surviving parenthood (and the complete overhaul of our lives that it has been), I succumb to another massive shift in routine. I will now need to adapt to life as a (part-time) working mother, and the affect that that will have on my relationship with my son. It was change how we spend our time together on the days that I’m not working; it will change our routine of when he wakes up in the morning for breastfeeds; it will change how he spends his days when he is looked after. Just as we finally got used to life together, we now have to adapt to a new life where time is spent apart.

The Challenges of Returning to Work as a Breastfeeding Mum

One of the biggest challenges that this is presenting at the current time (besides massive separation anxiety on my behalf), is working out the time of his morning feed. Currently my son is on two big breastfeeds – one in the morning and one at night. While I thought that this would work perfectly in time for my return to work – and in a way it does – the timing of the morning feed conflicts with the time I need to leave for work. This means I will need to be waking him up earlier than usual to feed him before I go, or have expressed milk in place ready to go for his babysitter to feed him when he wakes up.

The next challenge this presents is the need to find time to express while at work in order to build up enough supply for the morning feeds. As a primary school teacher, this task will be even more difficult as there isn’t much time or space for me to duck out to express (away from the eyes of colleagues or students). If I do decide to express so my son has a bottle for his morning feed, I will either need to express on my days off, or try and find a storeroom to sneak into during my 20-minute recess break. An interesting dilemma that I will have to decide upon within the next week.

Lastly, I know that I am going to miss that extra time snuggling with my son in bed first thing in the morning while he feeds. While breastfeeding can sometimes be a challenge in itself (for example, when my son bites!), it is a bond that I treasure as it is something only we can do together. While I’m not a morning person, I do love this time that we get to spend just the two of us. This will be far be the hardest adjustment I will have to make in returning to work, and is at the foundation of my separation anxiety.

The Benefits of Returning to Work as a Breastfeeding Mum

 To help my transition back into the workforce, I have been trying to think positively about the whole experience and what I have to look forward to. For me, there is one huge benefit of going back to work for our breastfeeding journey. I know that returning to work will make our feeding times much more special as I won’t be taking them for granted. It means that in the morning I will be eager to get up a little bit earlier to feed him and see him before I go. It also means that just before bedtime, we get some special one-to-one bonding time as he feeds before bed. This for me is a particular benefit, as I know it will make our bond even stronger.

I know that another benefit of returning to work breastfeeding, if I required it, would be some space and time to pump at work. While this may not sound like a big benefit, I know that if I needed to pump while I was at work (which won’t be the case this time around), it would give me time to stop and relax a bit during the busy day that is teaching. Normally I am running around throughout the day, not stopping until it is well after home time. This would have been a huge benefit to me, but unfortunately I might have to wait until the next time for that one!

Ultimately…

Returning to work will have its challenges, and also its benefits. What I do know is that I’m looking forward to the opportunity to deepen my relationship with my son and to really appreciate the wonderful blessing it has been to breastfeed him this far. My hope is to continue to do so over the coming months, and I know that we’ll both be stronger for it.”

Thanks so much Fi, for sharing your story with us.  If you like what Fi has to say, you can follow via her Mumma Morrison website, Facebook page or Instagram account.  If you have a story you would like to share with us, please email us at breastfeedersinaustralia@hotmail.com

Have you returned to work since breastfeeding?  How did it go?

 

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Milk Production – What All Breastfeeders Need To Know by Maureen Minchin

Maureen Minchin BA(Hons), MA (Melb), TSTC is a medical historian and health educator, and author of Milk Matters.  She is all that, AND she is an active contributor in our Breastfeeders in Australia community on Facebook.  Maureen recently sent me this post and asked me to share it far and wide, so I’m uploading it onto our website to facilitate that. 

Maureen is a very educated person, and some of the language used in her post may feel overwhelming.  I can not stress this enough – if you have questions, please ask, as we are all learning, and we are all here to help each other.  You can comment with questions, you can email us at breastfeedersinaustralia@hotmail.com or you can join our Facebook group and post there.

“The basics: hormonal stimulation + emptying of milk from breast
Obviously you need to allow baby to feed as needed.
And feeding must be effective and no obstacles put in the way of milk drainage.

Stimulation creates and maintains a basal level of prolactin, essential to getting increases in supply from birth, and later if supply has dropped . (But by three months a happily breastfeeding mum’s basal prolactin levels are comparable to a non –lactating mum – it is the repeated bouts of sucking-stimulated prolactin level rises that does the job of enabling lactose and so milk production, with prolactin returning to baseline in between if intervals allow).

Initially breasts overproduce, and then supply drops down to the level of milk taken on a daily basis. Lactation is energetically expensive, and thoughout human history women have never been able to afford to waste energy. So volume is regulated by need, and responds rapidly to change in demand. How?

Regulatory controls are within the breast itself. If a feedback chemical (FIL) reaches a certain level in the breast, it signals that milk is not needed and secretion is inhibited, and eventually stops.

The second internal down-regulator is high pressure. If enough pressure flattens the rectangular-ish secreting cells, then they stop work; over time they regress and disappear. That can be a local or a whole breast pressure. So habitual finger pressure that prevents drainage from one area, or an underwire bra that sticks into a particular spot, or surgical scarring, or a tight crop top, can have an effect. As can over-distension because of too long a gap between feeds from a breast. Or from sleeping/lying on one’s stomach, OK for some mums, hopeless for others (check out massage, might be best not to be too long facedown, and much massage can be done seated). If pressure gets high enough, it not only squashes the secretory cells, it can cause milk from the ducts and cells to leak into surrounding tissues and trigger inflammation. (mastitis) (SO feed before massage, time appt for the afternoon preferably; be prepared for some leakage. Towels and large absorbent pads in bed can be useful, save bed changes..)

Milk is made continuously, and is mostly water based, with about 7% cream. (The most variable component of milk, and babies drink less by volume of a high fat milk.) The watery part of the milk flows out of cells rapidly, the fat has to be extruded, sort of squeezed out by the cell into that aqueous fluid. The oxytocin contracts tiny muscles around those cells and pushes milk out into the ducts (the let down). A vacuum in the baby’s mouth is created when the baby’s jaw drops, and baby sucks. The seal needed for vacuum is created by tongue, cheek pads, and upper gum ridge etc. The vacuum – lower pressure area – allows milk to flow out from the breast – higher pressure area with letdown pushing milk out.

The relative amount of cream in milk varies over a feed, between feeds, between breasts, over the day, over time, following the general rule that the emptier the breast and the more letdowns it has been exposed to, the higher the fat levels. So after an interfeed interval, milk from the start of the first breast is ‘waterier’ than the milk at the start of the second breast will be, because the second breast has had oxytocin squeezes while the first is being fed from. And swapping back to the first breast after the second can mean an even richer milk again. Babies can be trusted to know when they are satisfied, and it sometimes takes the extra cream of a ‘third’ breast to do so.

Once lactation is established, the interfeed intervals are heavily influenced by the interaction between breast storage volume, and infant stomach volume. Over a day a baby takes about 750mL. A breast with storage capacity of 800mL could theoretically mean one feed a day, except that a baby’s stomach capacity won’t allow that! SO: a breast with very small storage volume will mean more frequent feeds at shorter intervals. So too does a small tummy. A baby with a big tummy capacity means fewer feeds per day if the mum’s storage capacity allows that tummy to be filled up (it can even get down to 3-4 feeds in 24 hours in some thriving babies under 6 months old.) They say the size of the baby’s stomach is roughly the size of its fist, but it can be distended comfortably. (If over-distended the baby will blurt back the extra – sometimes too much comes up, so yet another feed is indicated to settle things.) Being creamy, sometimes only a few extra mouthfuls are needed to get bub to drop off drunk.

Rates of milk synthesis vary over the day, and are governed by the degree of breast fullness. When the breast is close to its residual baseline (it’s never truly empty), synthesis rates are faster. When breasts are fuller, synthesis rates are slower. The small breast that empties quickly also refills quickly.

During the night sleep, longer intervals and higher-at-night prolactin levels combine to produce a full breast by morning. Take out a single feed then, and refilling will be slow: the 600mL capacity breast might have dropped to 500mL, but there’s still plenty there, so no rush to refill. By the next feed volume might be back to 540mL, and drop down to 450 after that feed. Over the day, by evening you can come close to running on empty, with baby staying at breast and drinking pretty much as you produce it. That milk may move from the stomach on into the small intestine at much the same rate, so baby doesn’t get that satisfactory FULL STOMACH feedback signal and fall off looking drunk, or else will sleep for a short time but wake up and want more. [There’s stuff that could be said here about gastric hormones and signalling, but no need.]

But take out a lot of milk in the am, by feeding on one side and pumping the other breast, then letting baby have the second side for as long as wanted, and milk synthesis rates speed up to replace milk in both breasts. SO this is the ideal time to express milk for storage or as a reserve. (Don’t be persuaded to think about expressing after every feed unless it’s for a medical reason: it creates too much work, keeps breasts cold, and is a pain.) And while you would freeze that extra expressed morning milk, it can be stored in the fridge during the day till it’s clear there’s enough been made to keep baby full that day; if not, you can pour off some and feed it to baby bu spoon, cup, syringe, whatever.

I developed this strategy to deal with what I called six o’colck starvation, when I just could not satisfy baby wioth a full feed. Before I tried this, I had to keep baby at breast for hours, contentedly getting small dribs of milk but refusing to leave or drop off to sleep. Topping baby up in the evening with some of the morning milk meant she went off to sleep, my empty breasts refilled before she woke again a few hours later, and in between I got my other two kids to bed and cleaned up. This was where the Kaneson pump came in handy, as it’s a simple silent no-strain one-handed pump: draw back the outer cylinder a tiny bit to create the slight suction needed to relax the ring of muscle around the nipple and milk pours out of the second breast when oxytocin hits both breasts and triggers letdown). But not until mums are comfortably feeding and can multi-task should they think about trying this. Getting position and attachement right and baby feeding well and breasts producing well is the first priority. When mums can feed and drink a cuppa they can do this no trouble. If they want to get milk to store. Or to give an older child a glass, or make breastmilk ice blocks. Or whatever it’s needed for.

Breasts being peripheries, they are colder than other parts of the body. They need to be warm for blood circulation to bring in nutrients for milk making. Simple things like hotpacks or having a small patch of wool, silk or fleece to tuck into the bra around the breast not in use can make a difference to refilling rates. So can an afternoon nap. I never ran dry on days when I snuggled down with a baby and had a full-body after-lunch rest. I always did if I worked through the day and only sat down for feeds. Some mums can cope with strenuous exercise and still lactate successfully; others can’t. (Babies don’t like the taste in milk of lactic acid created by exercise, but it disappears after about 30 minutes.)

So increasing milk production means increasing sucking stimulus, and frequency, increasing synthesis rates by breast emptying, and decreasing any competing activities. In short, go to bed with baby and sleep and feed feed feed, and (optional) express first thing in the am. After 2 days of more frequent feeding, basal prolactin levels rise – they may have fallen too far – and milk-making increases. A babymoon it’s sometimes called. Not possible for many mums with children and dogs and household tasks. Using drugs to increase prolactin has its risks and in any case will not work if the problem is insufficent breast emptying and natural feedback down-regulation of supply.

Decreasing milk production is equally simple. Increase intervals between feeds, for example by one-breast feeding with only short times on the second breast, back to the emptier first breast for a couple of hours, monitoring the unsuckled breast and expressing only to comfort and to avoid mastitis. Within 24-48 hours of one-breast feeding supply will drop, sometimes catastrophically. It’s disaster to suggest this to new mums with oversupply, as many hospital-based midwives have done. The mums go on for more than 24-48 hours and then wonder why their milk has gone. Lying face down compressing boobs, wearing a tight crop top or bra, creating pressure feedback, and you may achieve the same outcome via mastitis. (In a breast with no skin damage, most mastitis starts with milk leaking into breast tissue where it shouldn’t be, under pressure.)

Mums need to know what an efficient working breast feels like: soft and flexible even when heavy with milk, filling up, softening again after a feed; maybe tight and tense to touch if the interval is too long but immediately relieved by milk removal. Warm but not heated, not reddened skin. Not lumpy, even up in the armpits where there is some glandular tissue in many women. There’s always a reason for any change and thinking though exactly what’s happened can find it, and prevent recurrences.

There is a lot more in Breastfeeding Matters 1998 edition that would be of interest and relevance, in chapters on milk supply, nipple problems and mastitis. Breastfeeding is a skill that has to be learned, and without early practical support and understanding of how supply is regulated, women struggle.”

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Member Story – The Boob Job Risk That People Forget About

Elective breast surgery is risky.  Actually, any surgery is risky.  But weighing up the risks versus benefits for an elective surgery is not as straightforward as when the surgery is essential for your survival.  Many women, particularly those who are planning to start or grow their family after the surgery, feel that they negate the risk of  breast surgery by seeking reassurance they will be able to breastfeed when their children are born – by having implants inserted under muscle, with the incision made at the crease of the base of each breast.

As elective breast surgery, including elective breast surgery performed overseas, becomes more common, many seem to have become completely accepting or even dismissive of the other risks involved.  It would appear that many women consider the risk of infection so low that it’s barely worth considering.  Courtney O’Keefe never thought her breast surgery could result in an infection that could prematurely end her breastfeeding journey, let alone her life.

Early in 2011 I lost 35kg after a lap band surgery.  The weight loss affected my breasts, so I decided to get implants and a lift.  The lowest quote I got in Perth was $22,500, but I could get it done for $7,500 in Thailand at Pattaya Hospital, Bangkok.

The plan was to get 350cc implants and I was expecting a small anchor scar (as I was having old breast tissue removed as a part of the lift).  Instead, I woke up with cuts straight across my breasts, plus the incisions under my armpits where the surgeon had inserted 550cc implants, not 350cc as we had agreed.  I felt like I’d been completely butchered.

But the biggest shock was yet to come.  I had been feeling unwell since the surgery, but 2 days later I felt extremely sick and I started hallucinating.  When the surgeon removed my bandages to remove my stitches, my wounds immediately split open.  Please click on this link if you would like to see Courtney’s infected wounds.

I came back to Australia and was admitted straight into a local hospital, fighting for my life.  Whatever was wrong with me was shutting down my liver, kidneys, brain and heart.  The hospital immediately began treating me for golden staph and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), until swab results came back and we learned I had contracted some kind of super bug from Thailand.  The infection resisted treatment and my whole body went into some kind of meltdown.  I had repeated seizures and losses of consciousness.

I spent 4 months in the care of Infections Disease Control, then I was transferred to another hospital to be cared for by Plastics, to treat some of the damage inflicted on my body.  I thought I had recovered but the infection came back in November 2015.  I was rushed back into hospital.  My implants were removed this time, and I was given a partial mastectomy after the implants infected some surrounding tissue and muscle.

Again I recovered and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl early in 2017.  Miraculously I was able to breastfeed her, and I was so happy!

Sadly the infection struck me again when she was only 5 months old and I had to give up breastfeeding while I was being treated.  I was, and am completely devastated.

As Courtney’s treatment made it unsafe for her to breastfeed, or even use the undrinkable breastmilk in a bath, she was forced to pump and dump a huge amount.

Thanks so much Courtney, for bravely sharing your story with us.  It’s unfair that her breastfeeding journey ended prematurely, but I hope she takes comfort in the knowledge that every breastfeed that she was able to give her baby was a win and the benefits her daughter will reap from those feeds will last a lifetime.

If your breastfeeding journey has ended prematurely, the Australian Breastfeeding Association offer debriefing by their trained breastfeeding counsellors.  You can access this free service by calling the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 MUM 2 Mum

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram

Posted on

Member Story – Breastfeeding With A Bilateral Cleft Lip, Gum and Palate

This is Jacinta, she was born with a bilateral cleft lip, gum and palate.  Jacinta’s mum Sandy was told it would be impossible to breastfeed.  Sandy expected Jacinta to be taken straight to special care after her birth, but instead she was left with her mum.  After hearing her baby cry and cry, Sandy did exactly what she had done with her four previous babies – she put Jacinta to her breast.  And what do you know?  Jacinta breastfed!  Although Sandy needed to express-feed Jacinta, she put her to the breast every time she expressed for the next 13 weeks of her life.  Please see below a video of Jacinta’s very first breastfeed.

Jacinta is now 9 months old, and is due to have lip repair surgery this week.  Although Jacinta is no longer breastfed, every breastfeed that she had matters.  Every breastfeed ANY baby receives is important, but especially for a cleft-affected baby, who may require surgery down the track.  Surgery means exposure to extra nasty nasties, and the immunological boost received from breastfeeds, particularly her first breastfeeds, will help protect Jacinta.  Even if exclusive breastfeeding is not an option, and even if breastfeeding isn’t going to work out longterm, every breastfeed that any baby receives is an investment into their future health.

Jacinta was born with a bilateral cleft lip, gum and palate

If you would like more information about breastfeeding a cleft baby, Sandy recommends Cleft Connect Australia and Cleftpals (there are several state chapters, this link is for the NSW one).  The Australian Breastfeeding Association can also provide information and support.

The team at Breastfeeders in Australia wish Jacinta the very best with her surgery.  Thanks so much to Sandy Scholz for sharing your story with us.

Jacinta is now 9 months old and is about to have her first lip surgery repair

Please leave a positive and encouraging message for Jacinta and Sandy below, as they tackle lip repair surgery.

 

 

 

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Member Story – Unsure About Breastfeeding

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea of breastfeeding.  Pressure from friends and family can make the thought of breastfeeding quite daunting.  But once their baby is born and breastfeeding begins, many mums find that breastfeeding is not at all what they expected.  This is Courtney Pollock’s story and a photo of her baby, originally shared in Breastfeeders in Australia and shared with her permission.

“No one is more surprised than me at our journey.

Falling pregnant was a surprise, but hey, I’m 27 and was more than ready to be a mum even if that meant going solo. The most common question I was asked whilst pregnant shocked me, “do you plan to breastfeed?” I was asked on a daily basis multiple times (I’m a hairdresser and my clients would ask constantly). I thought many things, like why do they want to know? How is it any of their business? So what if I don’t? Why are we discussing this? It’s not a particularly offensive question but as a first time mum I was slightly taken back by the fact people wanted to discuss my boobs and what I was planning to do with them.

My answer to this repeatedly asked question was always the same “I plan to give it a go, but I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t work out that way”. Before my son was born I didn’t know my feelings on breastfeeding and whether or not I would feel comfortable doing it myself.  I watched my sisters breastfeed all eight of their children and it was never not completely natural – always welcomed and accepted but all of a sudden I was in the spotlight. I’d have to have my boobs out in front of my dad! My brothers! My friends’ husbands who didn’t have kids yet….could I really sit there comfortably and do that? Before he was born the answer was hell no!

My mother is an avid supporter of breastfeeding and breastfed me until I was just over a year old but still I felt something was off about it.  Just within myself I didn’t think I could ever fully be comfortable doing that. I kept telling myself ‘Mum’s never going to let you formula feed in peace, your going to HAVE to do this, even if you are uncomfortable, for at least six months to keep her happy and off your back.” When my mum has an opinion….she makes sure you know it! I look back on this time now and the thoughts that used to whiz around my head and think Jesus Courtney, how selfish were you! But that’s the way it was when it was just me!

When my little munchkin was born I pretty much demanded I feed completely alone for about the first week. There was an incident with a midwife at the hospital on our second day that left me inconsolable, in tears, feeling vulnerable and emotional. After that I demanded no one watch me feed. But with my mum’s encouragement (we lived with her for our first 12 weeks) and the exposure to groups like Breastfeeders in Australia on Facebook, I’m happy and extremely proud to say that breastfeeding has created my healthy, strong and thriving little boy. I’m still not completely comfortable feeding in public but my first thought these days isn’t how do I feel, it’s that my bubba needs to be fed and I’m the only one that can do that!”

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Member Story – Gentle Toddler Night Weaning Experience

Over the last week I have been weaning my 2.5 yr old off night feeds and it has been the most loving, beautiful experience.

I was really worried that it would be filled with screaming, tears and tantrums, but she has done such an amazing job at accepting and allowing the process to unfold.

I am patting myself on the back for being the parent that I am that has also played a role in this being such a loving experience.

It started with me saying that Beeboo (her word for boobies) were really tired after being awake every night for 2.5 yrs and they really needed to start sleeping at night, when it was dark.

I asked her how she would feel if Beeboo slept at night when she slept and woke in the morning, when the sun came up, and then she could feed.

“Would that be ok?”

In the tiniest little voice she said “Yup”

So I knew that it was possible and now I knew I had to allow her to make the decision.

I explained that when she went to sleep Beeboo would go to sleep as well and when the sun came up she could have some.

She jumped up, excited, and said, “I can wake her up with a big good morning and get on.”

Then at night, when we talk about our day, I mentioned that Beeboo was going to go to sleep after she did and then not be available until the sun was up.

She went to sleep, woke up asking at around 11.30pm and I reminded her that they were asleep, but she could cuddle in and hold them if she wanted too.

So she did and every night since, when she wakes up, she gets up has some water, has a wee, then hopes into bed and cuddles in.

The only real show that she was struggling was a 10 minute meltdown on day 2, when i said no they were sleeping, but i think that was more because of the day we had, then no boob.

It has been 4 days and so far it has been bliss full and if anything I think it has bought us closer because she cuddles me now, and I no longer feel like pushing her away and feeling touched out from too much sucking.

This post was originally shared in the support group Breastfeeders in Australia, and has been shared anonymously with the mum’s permission.  The accompanying photo is a stock image, and is not of the child in the story.  Do you have a breastfeeding story you’d like to share with us?  Send us an email to breastfeedersinaustralia@hotmail.com

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Sia’s Story – Breastfeeding A Baby In ICU

This post is an excerpt from Sia’s Place, and is being reposted here with permission.  Sia is a passionate Thermomix Consultant, a professional blogger and a mum of two.  You can read Sia’s original post here.

I’ve been feeding my toddler for a total of 20 months now. So you could say that I have some experience with breastfeeding.

However when I gave birth to Nia breastfeeding was the most challenging and most stressful experience I have ever had.

Nia was a premi baby. Straight after my emergency caesarean she was taken down to ICU because she could not breathe on her own. I didn’t get to cuddle her or breastfeed her for days. With my first baby, they placed him directly on my chest for skin on skin contact time he found his was down to my boobs and had his first feed/suck seconds after birth. These moments are so important for mother and child bonding and to establish good breastfeeding with your baby. It is a magical experience.

NICU Equipment For Newborns

For Nia, breathing was more important than any type of bonding experience. Instead of the warmth from my chest and skin on skin contact, my little girl was warmed in a special heating bed. She had an IV needle in her arm feeding her glucose and I wasn’t allowed to touch her.

That was hard.

Once she could breathe, the next stage of her recovery was to establish feeding. She needed my milk – it was extremely important for her survival and recovery. I had to express colostrum into small syringes and it was fed to her through a feeding tube.

There was extreme amounts of pressure to produce Nia’s milk.

At first I though I’d be fine. I’ve been feeding my toddler for ages… I considered myself a pretty good breastfeeder so surely it would easy to express a few small syringes.

I was wrong.

This was the hardest thing Ive ever had to do.

My body reset itself.

Apparently after the placenta is detached, your body starts to produce the milk required for the newborn.

So my body automatically changed from making fast flowing milk for my toddler to making small amounts of colostrum for my baby. It’s so amazing!

Breastfeeding A Baby In ICU

The difference was, this time I needed to build my supply while sitting in an empty hospital room connected to a big yellow machine that made me feel like a cow, whilst my baby was down in ICU waiting for it so that she could live.

Talk about pressure. Wow.

It took me hours to hand express one little drop of colostrum. Nia’s first feed was just 0.3ml and it was given to her through a feeding tube.

I was so proud of those 0.3mls. I worked really hard to get that. I guess that’s why they call it liquid gold!

Then I continued to express 8 times a day to build my supply and to keep up with the doctors schedule. It was either my milk or a formula top up.

Nia needed her milk every 3 hours and I was determined to give her what she needed.

The doctor increased the quantities each day and so I had to keep increasing my supply too.

It was not easy.

But we did it. In fact, Nia impressed everyone with her amazing fast recovery. We were told that she would need to stay in special care for at least two weeks to establish her feeding etc.

However, together Nia & I kicked all the goals that the doctors set for us and we were home on day 6.

The milk was a huge part of her recovery.

I believe that the reason I was able to get through it all was because I had the confidence to do it. My baby needed this milk and nothing was going to stop me from trying to make it for her. I needed to stay positive and it took a lot of patience and persistence but in the end we got there.

It was friken hard. It still is.

But we are doing it. One day at a time, one feed at a time, one boob at a time.

My Breastfeeding Mantra

This is my new breastfeeding mantra:

“One day at a time, one feed at a time, one boob at a time…”

Inspired by the movie Creed – one step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time.

Feel free to make it your bf mantra too!

This information is general, and does not replace the advice of a medical professional.  If you have concerns about the health of your breastfed child I would encourage you to seek the support of an IBCLC.  You can also call the National Breastfeeding Helpline on 1800 MUM 2 MUM

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

My Experience With A Menstrual Cup (Guest Post)

 

Bree Miller has been an admin of Breastfeeders in Australia since it’s creation, over four years ago.  Here she tells us about her positive experience with a menstrual cup

Menstrual management was never really high on my list of priorities. Before I had kids I was on the pill almost non-stop so I rarely ever let myself get a period.

I was never a huge fan of tampons because they were uncomfortable and made me feel dry inside, and pads left me feeling dirty and damp. I didn’t realise there were any other options so I used them out of necessity. After I had my kids hormonal birth control sent me a bit bonkers so I could no longer use it, meaning I had to contend with my monthly mess again.

With the change in the shape of my body tampons now felt incredibly uncomfortable and sometimes painful so they were impossible to use. I was desperate to find an alternative that suited me. I tried cloth pads. While they met my needs in terms of reducing wastage and cost they still made me feel damp and it meant that certain activities, like swimming, were off the agenda while I had my period.

The only other option on the market was a menstrual cup. Honestly, the thought of putting a (seemingly large) plastic cup in my vagina freaked me out a bit. So I put it off for ages. About 2 years ago I finally gave in and built up the courage to order one. It arrived within a few days and thankfully it wasn’t as big as I had imagined and very soft and flexible.

I don’t think I have ever been so excited for my period to come, I just wanted to test it out. It took me two or three cycles to get my groove and fall in love with it. I eventually worked out that I must have a shorter vagina than normal and the stalk (the part that you grasp to remove it) irritated me a bit, but this problem was easily solved by turning the cup inside out. Alternatively it could be cut shorter or off completely.

Once I worked out which folding method suited me it was a breeze. It is the most comfortable form of menstrual management I’ve ever used. I never find myself too damp nor too dry. I could wear it for up to 12 hours so I rarely needed to empty or change it outside of my own home, even at night or on heavy flow days. And I was saving a bucket load of money on disposable products not to mention that my conscious was clearer because I was no longer contributing so much to landfill. I became more aware of my bodies cycles. And my menstrual pain decreased significantly.

Yes menstrual cups do take some time to get used to (usually 3-4 cycles). They are not for everyone. But the benefits of giving it a try well and truly outweigh the bother of learning a new technique for managing our bodies.

Bree Miller

Mentrual-Cup-Pros

Green your cycle and get 20% off all JuJu products including JuJu Menstrual Cups and JuJu Cloth Pads.  Use the coupon code BreastfeedersAus at the checkout at www.juju.com.au.  Limit of 1 use per customer.  JuJu is the only Australian made and owned brand of menstrual cups.

 

There is no affiliate relationship between Breastfeeders in Australia or the Peaceful Lactivist and JuJu – the discount code is just a discount code, no commissions are being earned.

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram
Posted on

Guest Blog – What’s a Postpartum Doula & How Can She Help?

14022342_10209093928159831_861745312555816785_nHave you ever heard of a Postpartum Doula?  We welcome Alisha Bourke, who is here to blog about being a Postpartum Doula for us.  You can follow Alisha on her website, Facebook or Instagram

Becoming a mother is the most amazing and significant event in a woman’s life. As she births her baby, she is also reborn – no longer is she the woman she was before. The emotional adjustment in this transition is incomparable. She is strong, powerful and courageous but also vulnerable.

We have been brought up in a world where we are told we can be anything we want to be. Where we are encouraged to follow our dreams and have amazing careers because anything is possible. This is great for equality, but as new mums in this modern world, being everything to everyone can be hard.

It’s said that it takes a village to raise a child but we have lost our villages. We don’t have the support there once was to care for a new baby, a new family dynamic and ourselves too. We are so proud of being able to achieve everything – why should raising our children be any different? Why should we need help when we have been taught to be independent and do everything for ourselves.

Bringing a baby into the world is such a huge adjustment for everyone involved. Why do we overlook planning for after baby arrives, when this is our most vulnerable time? When we are more tired than we have ever been in our lives, when we are healing from our births and learning to breastfeed – our emotions and hormones are in overdrive and we are faced with this overwhelming reality of what it looks like to be a mother and a parent.

We live in a society where we are proud to be up walking the same day as giving birth or going to the shop. We don’t allow ourselves the time needed to rest and recuperate, to really drink in all the deliciousness of a new baby. We know all the usual chores still need to be done so we just do them… That is where a Postpartum Doula can help.

A “Doula” meaning to mother the mother, is a support person, someone that is there to help you with your transition to motherhood. A person who will encourage, empower and support you. As a Postpartum Doula I want to be there for you! For whatever you need, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Having birthed four babies myself, I have lived in a world where I have been too proud to ask for or accept help. Attempting so many things whilst adjusting to this new family dynamic. Taking on so much, with so little sleep and so many hormones and emotions in running wild. This is not the way it has to be. We need to go back to the old days, build our villages, surround ourselves with people that want to help and make this transition easier and more beautiful.

It’s an honour to do that for my clients – to relieve some of their burden by giving an extra set of hands to help with light housework, cooking or entertaining other children. To be able to help with her new baby so she can rest or have a shower. To usher visitors in, and back out again if so desired. To help process the events of her birth and offer emotional support in her role as a mother. To help her establish breastfeeding and demonstrate some basic baby wearing and yoga stretches (to help the body recover) and to give her time until she is ready – she doesn’t need to rush. I want her to believe in herself and her ability to be an amazing mother.

When you hire a Postpartum Doula during your pregnancy, you can look forward to enjoying your newborn baby, instead of worrying about how you will manage everything else.

“You’ve got this Mumma. If you need an extra set of hands, mine are here waiting to help you”

FacebooktwitterinstagramFacebooktwitterinstagram