At Yummy Mummy Food Company we understand how precious health is, especially at such a crucial time of life for young families, so we’ve hand-picked our products to ensure they contain the highest possible percentage of natural or organic ingredients, are gently processed to retain the nutritional properties.
While we all long for a quick fix when it comes to increasing milk supply, that one magical thing that will just start it all working when it isn't or isn't enough, like most things in life this just isn't a reality! Successful breastfeeding and increasing milk supply often requires a multi-faceted approach and if you are feeling you're struggling with supply a Lactation Consultant should always be your first port of call as they're trained to assess all the various aspects that could be impacting.
What IS Power Pumping?
One of the techniques that's often suggested to try though is 'Power Pumping'. We know all mums are already super mums, but what exactly IS 'Power Pumping' I hear so many of you ask....
The theory behind power pumping (AKA 'cluster pumping') it is to replicate using a breast pump what happens when babies cluster feed, which often do for various reasons - could be they're having a growth spurt, needing some extra antibiotics to fight off sickness or infection and when they do it, it helps create the boost in your milk supply that they're needing.
How Do I Power Pump?
How Long Do I Need to Continue the Power Pumping Regime?
Of course, like everything we are all different and some of us respond quicker than others, however power pumping is commonly continued over a few days to a week or until you're able to notice an increase in supply. Many ladies start by doing one session on the first day and then increasing it to two sessions on the second and subsequent days.
Tips to Remember for Successful Power Pumping
Be extra mindful of keeping your water intake up while power pumping and try to get more than normal in if you can - extra fluids help immensely!
I wanted to write this because in all the antenatal classes we attended and I'm sure all the books I read BEFORE having my baby, nobody seems to mention that there are ways like using a Supplemental Nursing System that can help you mix feed your baby while you're trying to overcome breastmilk supply issues.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association outline the following very valid reasons why when there's medical reasons involved and extra milk is needed that it's better to give it through a breastfeeding supplementer than by bottle:
Milk given in this way rewards the baby's efforts at sucking and he is more likely to be happy to feed from the breast and stay there for a longer time.
Since the amount of milk a mother makes depends on how much her baby sucks and takes milk from her breasts, this extra sucking will increase her milk supply.
Use of the mother's own expressed breastmilk in the supplementer helps a weak or easily tired baby to get more milk with the same amount of sucking.
The sucking action required during breastfeeding differs from that used with a bottle. Some babies find it hard to do both, or reject the breast in favour of the different bottle.
The mother is able to provide milk at the breast and this helps with both the hormonal and physical aspects of breastfeeding.
By the time my baby and I landed ourselves in Torrens House here in SA (this truly amazing place filled with midwives and lactation consultants around the clock to help you get to the bottom of your breastfeeding problems) he was around 6 weeks of age and we were quite honestly just about to give up on breastfeeding.
We'd already spent ALL of our time up until that point trying desperately to get it happening for us and I mean EVERYTHING we knew about at the time - countless trips to the doctor or hospital lactation consultants, home midwives visiting, drugs like Motilium and we were still pretty much feeding for 45mins to an hour at a time with 15 minute breaks in between around the clock. NOTHING was working to bring in my supply and give my son what he was needing and we were both beyond exhausted and distressed. I WISH more than anything I'd known now what I do now about lactation cookies and the links to food and nutrition, but you can only know what you know at the time and things like lactation cookies didn't exist to buy back then, nor was I in any 'place' to be able to research and buy ingredients and bake them myself. It was all consuming to just work out how to feed my baby, let alone anything else!
When we checked into Torrens House, they proceeded with a regime where you weigh your baby before each feed, feed them and then weigh them again afterwards to try and guage whether they are actually receiving enough milk. It was no surprise to me that when we did this with my son hat he was only receiving around 5mls after after a good 45 minute of feeding! It was no wonder he was failing to thrive and was completely inconsolable day and night!
In our case, I desperately wanted to continue breastfeeding because I felt really strongly that it was the best thing for him and loved the closeness, however he needed more than I was producing and it was recommended to start him on some mixed feeds containing whatever tiny amounts I was able to express plus formula.
Because I wanted to continue feeding and didn't want to give up hope that 'it might just come good and start', they introduced me to the Supplemental Nursing System (SNS). The SNS is a special container that you wear on a cord around your neck. It has narrow tubing attached, which you tape to your breast, that carries expressed breastmilk or formula from the container to the nipple. The idea is that you then continue to breastfeed your baby like normal and they will draw down the milk through the tubing and receive this as well as any milk you produce too at the same time. The one we used was a Medela one (pictured left).
It was the perfect solution for us at that point in time because latch wasn't an issue for it, it was purely supply not meeting demand, so I never thought once about not giving it a go and we continued to use this for every feed for the next few weeks. While it did work well for us and was a great option to help give us a few more weeks of trying and being able to breastfeed, the process unfortunately still didn't help increase my own supply and once we returned home I found that I was increasingly needing to feed him while being out and about and couldn't easily find places were I could set us up to feed in this manner - it was a bit time consuming and fiddly to setup even at home.
It was truly heart-breaking to decide to just make the switch to bottles, but for me at least the Supplemental Nursing System did make me feel like I had absolutely given everything possible a go, which as a mother is the very best you can do! Whether its about breastfeeding or some other issue that can arise any time throughout your child's like, you do your best and decide what is best for you both at the time. I hope reading more about this type of feeding system might help others out there who like me had never heard about such a thing!
The words 'nutrient dense' are bandied around a lot lately and often unfortunately are used to promote food products that actually aren't all that healthy for us. So, it begs the question, what does 'nutrient dense' actually mean and how can we ensure the foods we are choosing fit the bill?
What is a nutrient dense food?
In a nutshell, nutrient-dense foods are the ones that will give you the most bang for your buck as they'll contain a high proportion of vitamins and minerals relative to the amount of energy (kilojoules) they contain. However, it's important to look for foods that are naturally nutrient-dense (such as fruits, vegetables, eggs, lean red meat, dairy and wholegrains) rather than relying on those that have been fortified (added to foods), such as breakfast cereals, breads and fruit juices. Basically, to keep it simple, you want to be eating foods that are as much in their natural, unprocessed state as you can, as much as you can!
Is there such a thing as nutrient dense packaged foods?
While it is always a good rule of thumb to predominantly try and consume foods that are as unprocessed and in their natural state as possible, there are times when convenience prevails and we reach for foods that are packaged. This is when it becomes important to read ingredients lists carefully and look past how a product is marketed as this is often quite deceiving with many health claims on boxes these days that are quite simply just words on a box and not relevant to the actual ingredients contained within.
As well as the term nutrient dense, some other commonly used and VERY misleading examples are when companies use the terms natural and organic in their marketing on their packaging or even as part of their logo/tagline to imply that these products are nutrient dense. Here in Australia there is only a voluntary standard for growers and manufacturers wishing to label their products organic. While it's considered good practice to comply with voluntary standards, it's not enforced which means that products could be branded as 'organic' when they might only contain one truly organically certified ingredient! The same can be said for the term natural too with many products mentioning this, but still containing ingredients like highly refined sugars.
If eating 100% naturally and organically is high on your agenda, the only way to ensure this when purchasing packaged food is to learn to read the labels for what they actually mean, research individual ingredients to find out if they contain high quanities of nutrients or not and to look for those that are certified by one of the organic certification bodies and marked with their symbol, logo or trade mark.
What are the best nutrient dense foods to eat during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
Despite how common it is these days for packaged goods to make these claims, there are still reputable companies out there who put a great deal of effort into ensuring each individual ingredient that goes into making a product is as nutrient dense and as natural and organic as possible. Our cookie manufacturer Totally Devoted is one of those who handpick each ingredient after much research to their health benefits for mums, bubs and families and why they've become a trusted brand here in Australia for a long time now.
Chia Seeds contain massive amounts of nutrients along with the ability to help you sustain energy from eating them for longer, which is what's given them their recent superfood status. Just 2 tablespoons of Chia Seeds can contain the following nutrients:
Fiber: 11 grams.
Protein: 4 grams.
Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are omega-3s).
Calcium: 18% of the RDI.
Manganese: 30% of the RDI.
Magnesium: 30% of the RDI.
Phosphorus: 27% of the RDI.
They also contain zinc, vitamin B3 (niacin), potassium, vitamin B1 (thiamine) and vitamin B2.
It's easy to see from this that adding Chia to your diet regularly throughout pregnancy or while breastfeeding can not only ensure you'll reach your daily recommended intake of these nutrients, but they're also loaded with antioxidants, are
Adding Chia Seeds into your diet can be surprisingly easy! It's easy to add them to your morning bowl of porridge or chia puddings are easy to prepare and healthy to eat at any time of the day or night. They're also included in snacks like our Ginger & Chia Cookies too that make a great allergy friendly lunchbox snack for kids or adults alike! a high quality protein, are high fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and may even help lower risk of heart disease, lower blood sugar levels and also help bone health. They're also great for helping to calm unsetlled stomaches or nausea especially morning sickness. They really are a no-brainer when it comes to nutrient dense foods that are only going to do both you and your baby the world of good.
Oats are another of the most nutrient dense foods you'll be able to find too that have benefits to everyone but particularly to pregnant or breastfeeding mums.
Half a cup of oats will give you the following nutrients:
Manganese: 191% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 41% of the RDI
Magnesium: 34% of the RDI
Copper: 24% of the RDI
Iron: 20% of the RDI
Zinc: 20% of the RDI
Folate: 11% of the RDI
Vitamin B1 (thiamin): 39% of the RDI
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 10% of the RDI
Smaller amounts of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and vitamin B3 (niacin)
There's been a huge surge in coconut products becoming available in the past few years and for good reason. Products derived from coconut milk or other parts of the coconut and made into coconut water, coconut oil, yoghurt and even icecream are a great way to receive high quantities of nutrients that are also dairy free!
Coconut water is a great way for pregnant and breastfeeding mums to keep hydration levels up while also receiving the added benefits of the high mineral content it contains.
Also, adding Coconut Oil to foods or using it to cook with is an amazing way for mums or mums-to-be because it contains lauric acid which is a medium chain fatty acid. Mothers’ milk also contains lauric acid. It’s also reputed to be antifungal, antiviral and anti microbial and it’s great for your hair and skin as well. Like oats, there's good reason our entire cookie range includes this nutrient dense superfood!
Don't be fooled by the 'wheat' part of the word Buckwheat - there is nothing grain/wheat about it! Buckwheat is actually a fruit seed, related to rhubarb and sorrel making it great substitute for grains for people who are sensitive to wheat or other grains that contain protein glutens.
One cup of buckwheat contains high amounts of manganese, copper, magnesium, phosphorous, fiber, niacin, zinc iron, vitamin b6, folate and selenium. All essential nutrients for mums and growing babies alike!
The list of nutrient dense foods can go on and on, but hopefully this helps show the importance of reading labels and researching individual ingredients to ensure they really do contain nutrient dense ones. As a mum or mum-to-be your health and the health of your baby is worth spending the time!!
Haven't breast pumps come a long way since this relic we found in small town's local history museum of all place - and thankgoodness for that!!!
Just the other day we had a mum write in because she was about to have baby #2, but has had a big gap between babies and like a lot of things that change over time, the world of breast pumps has too so she wondered which one is the best one to use these days.
And actually, it's a really good question!
It's been 9 years since I last used one too, so feeling out of the loop on the topic as well, I asked our wonderful Facebook & Instagram communities and thought it worthy of compiling some of the information and suggestions here so it can help other mums wondering the same! I wish I'd had access to this kind of first-hand advice when I was in the throws of our breastfeeding journey that's for sure, because do actually remember feeling so completely clueless about this whole part of breastfeeding that I wouldn't have even known I don't think that there was different types or that different brands could work in different ways!! I know right? Clueless! I possibly even thought breast pumps still looked like the one in the museum!!
Firstly, like with everything breastfeeding related the Australian Breastfeeding Association is always a fantastic place to start and regardless of the brand of breast pump you end up deciding on they've published this useful guide to the types, depending on whether your planning on pumping short term or long term:
Of course, while everyone will have a different preference in brand of pump they decide to use for often quite different reasons, when we asked the question over on our social media communities an overwhelming majority commented that they've found the Spectra brand useful because it seemed to have wider shields than others and some models are quite portable with a rechargeable battery option. Medela was also the other popular suggestion followed also by the Haakaa pumps.
Do you know what the best part about being in this Yummy Mummy Food Company business is?
It's hearing and seeing some of the amazing results from mums like Samantha who recently sent this photo in of ALL the breastmilk she's been able to express and freeze since regularly eating our Feeding Cookies!
"6.5 litres in 6 weeks of having your amazing cookies. I'm now freezing off every 3 days. I'm stocking up for when I return to work and never thought in a million years I could be able to produce that!"
Of course, this then leads to one of the most commonly asked questions we hear and that's 'How long can I store expressed breastmilk for?', which is absolutely a great question and worthy of a post here to explain it all....
Freshly expressed into a closed container
6–8 hrs (26ºC or lower). If refrigeration is available store milk there
No more than 72 hours. Store in back, where it is coldest
2 weeks in freezer compartment inside refrigerator (-15°C)
3 months in freezer section of refrigerator with separate door (–18°C)
6–12 months in deep freezer
Previously frozen— thawed in refrigerator but not warmed
4 hours or less
(ie the next feeding)
Store in refrigerator
Do not refreeze
Thawed outside refrigerator in warm water
For completion of feeding
Hold for 4 hours or until next feeding
Do not refreeze
Infant has begun feeding
Only for completion of feeding, then discard
**Chest or upright manual defrost deep freezer that is opened infrequently and maintains ideal temperature
Source: National Health and Medical Research Council 2012,Infant Feeding Guidelines. NHMRC, Canberra p59.
Other Helpful Tips for Using Stored Expressed Breastmilk
Don't forget to always label the bottles or bags with the amount and the date it was pumped, so you can track and manage your stored milk.
Stored breast milk does tend to separate into layers, with the fat (cream) rising to the top. When you make up a bottle, swirl the bottle gently to mix the layers before feeding your baby, but don't shake or stir it vigorously as this can potentially cause damage some of the milk’s nutritional and protective components.
When you feed your babyexpressed milk from a cup or bottle, bacteria from their mouth can naturally end up in the milk. So, it is important to throw away any leftover, partly drunk milk within one to two hours of this feed.
To avoid wasting your precious liquid gold, it’s always a good idea to store it in smaller amounts, and then you're only using what you need.
When I think back to the very first time I breastfed my baby, the first thing I remember is just how uncomfortable it was! No one thought to mention just how much time you spend sitting in one spot and in those early days that was in plastic hospital chairs. Even once we'd come home, I remember trying the rocking chair, the couch, sitting up in bed and ended up sending hubby out to find something like a U pillow which for us helped a bit, but still wasn't quite right.
Benefits of Using a Breastfeeding Pillow
Besides the obvious (and important) one of your own comfort because regardless of whether you breastfeed or bottle feed you WILL be spending A LOT of time sitting, babe in arms, there's also some other very valid benefits to both yourself and your baby in investing in a good breastfeeding pillow.
Can help you feed your baby at the right angle
Because you can use the pillow to help adjust your baby's angle while they're feeding, this can really help to get the right latch and many people find feeding at an angle can help bub's digestion and sometimes reduce reflux.
Can help prevent neck, back & shoulder strain
The right breastfeeding pillow will help you raise your baby to you so you'll be feeding from the right height which takes away any extra strain on your back, neck and shoulders. Nobody needs that kind of extra strain and pain at a time when you're already exhausted and healing!
Protect your belly
Your abdomen is a sensitive area after having a baby, especially if you've had a c-section and a breastfeeding pillow will help no end in placing a comfortable, protective barrier between that sensitive, painful area and your baby, especially if you have a wriggler!!
Breastfeeding pillows are not just for breastfeeding
The other thing I didn't realise until we switched to bottle feeding our baby was just how taxing this can be on a person's body too and in many ways it's not an easier or quicker option by any means! We had a particularly difficult bottle feeding journey because unbeknownst to us at the time our baby had a milk protein intolerance. So just trying to get even 50ml of milk into him at a time was a physical & exhausting struggle that would take FOREVER until we found the type of milk that agreed with him...6 months later!
You can use a breastfeeding pillow for all the same benefits for you both with a bottle fed baby too.
So, you can imagine my excitement recently, when I met the lovely Amanda from
Feeding Friend who told me about her great feeding pillow invention. I immediately wished these had been around 9 years ago when I was so desperately uncomfortable and needing EXACTLY this!!
The Feeding Friend pillow will help you feed your baby in all these position with comfort and ease:
What I love too about the Feeding Friend pillow and it's DEFINITELY something I would have welcomed, is it's portability! This is a self-inflating pillow!! It can be deflated and popped into the neat little drawstring back it comes with and taken with you anywhere you go where it can then just as easily be inflated and used. Now I am a bit 'challenged' usually when it comes to anything claiming to be 'easily self inflatable and deflatable' and the forever inflated spare bed in my son's room can attest to this, but honestly this pillow was SOOO easy. You just turn the nozzle on the opening to open and quite literally watch it inflate before your eyes and deflating is simply turning the nozzle the other way and down it goes and you can pack it away again really quickly!
The other important factor to consider when looking for a breastfeeding pillow is washability - those things get things spilt on them, thrown up on them and they get such a lot of use that you want to be able to easily remove a cover and wash it regularly which you can do with the Feeding Friend. Photos also don't do the cover on this pillow justice - it is the most ahhhh-mazingly soft velour type fabric!
In all honestly had I seen this product back when I was both breastfeeding AND then bottle feeding my baby I would have quite happily made the $59.95 investment in one right on the spot - it was costing me more than that for each chiro and physio visit I was having at the time to try and undo all the drama sitting uncomfortably with bad posture was causing.
You'll find this great product online at at
http://feedingfriend.com.au and delivery is super-fast too!
GIVEAWAY, GIVEAWAY, GIVEAWAY!!
Amanda has also generous sent me one to offer to our customers as a giveaway - so this week only, if you purchase any of our range from
www.yummymummyfood.com.au you'll automatically go in the draw to win this Feeding Cookies plus Feeding Friend bundle pack too!
Hurry we'll draw our lucky winner next Monday 3rd December.
Did you know that hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid causing slow metabolism) is the most common of all thyroid disorders and affects around 6-10% of women? Because the thyroid is responsible for secreting hormones that regulate so many crucial metabolic processes including growth and energy expenditure, there's never a time when ensuring this is in check is as important as it would be during pregnancy and post-natally. However you'll read in this great article written by Kristy Manners (an Accredited Practicing Paediatric and Maternity Dietitian giving breastfeeding counselling support) from Growth Spectrumthat it even took her some time to 'connect the dots' between what living with hypothyroidism and becoming a mum really meant for her and she has some other great learnings that we we hope sharing will help others!
You would think as a health professional
(Dietitian and Paramedic) that I would have been on top of my first pregnancy.
Maybe it’s because I was away from our over informative and news driven society
(working in the field over in Somalia)…maybe it’s because I was an older first
time mum and more relaxed about things….maybe it’s because I thought I knew all
that I needed to know given that I work and specialise in mother and child
health and nutrition. In any case, it wasn’t until I was about 10-13 weeks pregnant,
that I “remembered” that I had hypothyroidism and joined the dots of how it
could affect my unborn child if my hormones were not kept in check!
What happens to the thyroid gland during pregnancy?
For those of you who don’t know much about the
complex thyroid organ, the thyroid hormones increase 50% during pregnancy,
particularly in the first trimester, until the baby is able to produce their
own thyroid hormones. Iodine levels are also increased 50% and can also affect thyroid
function, playing an important role in the metabolism in the body. Lack of
iodine in pregnancy is common and is one of the largest preventable
contributors to cretinism and intellectual disability in children globally.
They say that it is extremely important
during the first trimester….right…well I was nearly approaching the second
trimester when I realised I hadn’t had my levels checked since before my
pregnancy! So that brought on a bit of panic that I had affected the brain
development of my child! As I was in a country where laboratory results were
not so precise, I had to do my own readjustment to compensate for the increased
need for thyroxine by my baby (please don’t follow me though…always monitor it
with your doctor!). Two and half years post partum…I must have done something
alright as we have a perfectly healthy child ;)
However, during my pregnancy, despite being
fit and doing a significant amount of exercise (probably too much!), I managed
to put on 18kg during the pregnancy. Looking back on things now, I wish I had
monitored my thyroxine levels a lot more closely, and if anything, tried to
push them to the upper normal limits, as this could have affected my weight
gain and perhaps the birth weight of my large 4.1kg baby. As a result, I had a
long and complicated labour, resulting in a number of prolapse/incontinence/infection
issues. This probably didn’t help my start to breastfeeding – the stress, the
infection, not having skin to skin in the first hour due to being taken to NICU
for short while, him having jaundice and under UV lights for 5 days – therefore
limiting skin to skin time……but again it wasn’t until I started studying to
become a lactation consultant that the light bulb moment came on again about my
thyroid and the impact it can have on breastmilk supply.
How hypothyriodism can affect breastfeeding
I succumbed to the vicious cycle of formula
top ups with breastfeeding as my child was not gaining weight nor getting over
his jaundice very quickly. I was breastfeeding and expressing up to 1hr -1.5hrs
each feed, started on motilium and taking fenugreek like it was no tomorrow.
Again another light bulb moment in my lactation consulting study was that
fenugreek can actually have the opposite effect in those suffering with
hypothyroidism….but by then my child was nearly 2yrs old and I’d stopped
breastfeeding at around 10 mths post partum, something that I had wanted to
continue for longer. It was definitely a lot of …..”if only I knew moments”. If
we are blessed to have another child, as most mums, I want things to be
different in my breastfeeding journey.
These are some of the things I would
To check I’m getting enough
iodine and selenium as pregnancy and thyroid conditions could affect levels
during pregnancy but also postpartum thyroid levels which may impact
breastfeeding (see a Maternal/Women’s Health Dietitian for this)
Have a full thyroid panel blood
test done regularly ie. monthly (TSH, Total T4, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3,
Start expressing milk in
pregnancy after week 36 to make sure I had some colostrum ready in case my
child had jaundice again or some other issue taking them away from me for
Consider milk banks or donor
milk and store some milk
Do as much skin to skin as
possible…go naked if I have to!
Demand feed and not stick to scheduled
Invest in a double electric
hospital grade pump and a hand pump as some mums express more with different
Consult an IBCLC lactation
consultant for latch and feeding issues
Consider what herbal treatments
may affect my thyroid (see a functional medicine/naturopath)
This would have to be the #1 question we're asked daily here at the Yummy Mummy Food Company!
Whether it's because you had difficultly with your supply last time around or whether there's a medical reason why your newborn bub could benefit from having some expressed antenatal colostrum on hand ready for them the moment they're born, it's such a common question!
There's certainly no harm in starting to eat our Lactation Cookies in the few weeks leading up to your due date. They do only contain a hand-picked selection of 100% natural ingredients to help nourish and provide optimal nutrition to mums-to-be and new mums.
There's also been an extensive study done between 2011-2015 called the DAME (Diabetes and Antenatal Milk Expressing) Study, which aimed to find out whether it was safe to advise women with diabetes in pregnancy to express breastmilk in late pregnancy. The results of this study showed that women with diabetes and a low-risk pregnancy can be advised to safely express breast milk in late pregnancy (from 36 weeks onwards) without causing harm to their babies. It also showed that or some first-time mothers, their babies will be less likely to receive formula in the first 24 hours of life too.
However despite this, if you are considering expressing colostrum beforehand, please do always consult with your doctor or midwife as they are best qualified to advise in your particular unique situation.
We can also highly recommend visiting the Australia Breastfeeding Association's website where they have a lot of helpful information about antenatal expressing of colostrum and other breastfeeding information and support!
I wish I had an amazing success despite
adversity breastfeeding story I could tell, but I’m a huge believer in ‘keeping
it real’ and very real my story is, so I think it’s an important one to tell
during World Breastfeeding Week.
Firstly I need to say straight up, that I was
and still am 200% a supporter and believer in all the researched benefits of
breastfeeding for both babies and mothers, which is why it honestly never even
crossed my mind that it might not always work for some people. Like not once, ever did
I think it wouldn’t just work if you wanted it to enough. So imagine the shock
when I merrily left hospital with my 3 day old who midwives said had the
perfect latch, but who then proceeded to need to feed day and night NON-STOP,
while crying and screaming like he was in pain NON-STOP. No amount of
feeding continuously would satisfy him, nor could I manage to express anything
for anyone else to be able to try and feed him and this was an exhausting,
overwhelming process that dragged on for weeks and weeks before someone
suggested that perhaps he just wasn't getting enough milk!
I felt so unprepared for this and wondered why
no one in prenatal classes, midwives, friends or relatives had talked about
just how hard establishing breastfeeding was! They certainly also failed to
mention anything at all about what to do if it just doesn't seem to be working,
which it clearly wasn’t for us!
This is not the ideal way to be starting out
on the journey of new motherhood and I remember feeling at a loss for what to
Thankfully after a bout of mastitis (and again, WHY does noone pre warn you
about the symptoms of this??!) that two round of antibiotics didn’t seem to
touch and a baby failing to gain weight, we were referred by a CAFHS nurse to Torrens House here in SA.
(Similar services do exist in other states too and GPs or Children’s Health
Services Nurses should be able to best advise on the services available nearest
Torrens House was a truly AMAZING place - imagine a bit like a breastfeeding
bootcamp where you’re given access to midwives and lactation consultants 24x7
around the clock for a 3-4 day stint where ALL you need to do is feed your
baby, rest and turn up for three meals a day they also provide! This IS new
motherhood heaven….in a way, and the staff in these types of services are
incredible. We were given such support, they even kept us there for 2 weeks
(!!) and honestly we tried everything from medication, expressing, to supply line
feeding because it really was apparent by this point that after each feed and
weigh in my baby just wasn’t getting anywhere near what he was needing to
thrive. But what I’m also forever grateful to these staff and this service for
is the attention to my health that seemed to have been missed up to this point.
It wasn’t until one night after attempting to feed and settle my baby again, I
was trying to stand and rock him back to sleep that a midwife told me to try
walking around, which made me cry because I couldn’t. Actually walking very far
at all since the day before I went into labour had been excruciatingly painful
on par with walking on glass or someone sticking sharp needles into my feet.
I’d dismissed this pain up until that point because doctors I’d seen had also
dismissed it during pregnancy as ‘just sore feet, you get that in pregnancy’
and then afterwards as ‘just a tired new mum’, but the staff in this service
didn’t and straight away referred for tests which ultimately several months
later resulted in a diagnosis of ‘post natally triggered Rheumatoid Arthritis’,
a chronic autoimmune disease that not only causes pain, but also means fighting
infections and healing from pretty much anything (especially something like
pregnancy and labour) takes so much longer than other people.
It also helped explain why despite trying
absolutely EVERYTHING possible to breastfeed - expressing, medication,
natural supplements, supply line feeding - my body was too busy fighting
against itself to heal after childbirth let alone for it to be working how it
needed to be for successful breastfeeding.
I still find it quite painful to talk about
this whole experience and while the risk to my own health is too high to ever
be in the position to try again and hope that it would be different the second
time around, IF I ever were to, I AM 200% sure I would still want to
try breastfeeding again, because if it works there’s absolutely no denying the
benefits and especially because I now know a whole lot more about the link between
nutrition and healthier pregnancy and breastfeeding (hence this Yummy Mummy Food Company business
I’ve since created to help others!).
End of the day though, I didn’t know then what
I do now and I’m grateful that we have milk alternatives for situations like
ours when it is needed so my baby could thrive, but that’s another whole story
too, because formula feeding isn’t always the easy option either when your baby
turns out to have allergies or intolerances!
The struggle to find what is ‘best’ for both you and your baby isn’t
necessarily an easy or straightforward road however you choose or need to feed