National Breast Feeding Week
I’ve loved reading about everyone’s breast feeding experiences this week, so many different stories and view points for National Breast Feeding Week. I believe that mums should feel supported whatever there stance is on feeding: whether it’s breast, or formula, or both. But what has been great is seeing a conversation around this very emotive topic.
I shared on insta-stories a little bit about my own experience of breast feeding and got so many messages from mums who’d been through similar problems, or just to share what it had been like for them. As a result, I wanted to write a new blog post about my journey. I have an inherited thyroid condition, from my mum. This means (for me) a really low milk supply. With my first daughter I tried everything to improve it: this included diet, supplements, routine, breast pumps, lactation consultants, my GP and thyroid specialist. Sadly, despite my best efforts I never managed to increase my supply. I was diagnosed with low milk supply and my baby (in both cases) was diagnosed as very hungry: their weight gain needed to be monitored as it was over the recommended amount, on a weekly basis. After months of feeling guilty I didn’t have enough milk to exclusively breast feed my daughter I was able to accept my situation.
For me breast feeding was a very emotional experience and one where I didn’t feel “enough”. It was especially tough during some of the visits I had from midwives and health visitors, who stressed the importance of breast milk. When I explained this wasn’t an option for me exclusively, they would come up with a hundred suggestions to increase my supply, all of which I’d already tried. I felt as if they didn’t believe me, this made me feel 100% worse. I believe support means listening to mums and understanding how they feel. I didn't always experience this.
(I do also want to add I did have some fantastic and supportive midwives too! So this is by no means a criticism of midwives. They have such an important job and can be a crucial support for so many mums).
With my second child I have again experienced really low milk supply. Just like my daughter he has been a hungry baby from the starting gate. After consultation with my GP and paediatrician both my babies were combine fed: formula plus the little milk I have/ had. I am trying not to worry so much second time round and enjoy the experience for what it is. I am giving him all the breast milk I can produce. I think we need to remember that everyone’s journey is different. Let’s all support one another and talk about breast feeding to increase awareness that it doesn't always just "click" and can often be something that needs to be worked at.