“Everyone can breastfeed” we’re constantly told, so when Breastfeeding didn’t come quite so naturally, or how I expected, it was totally heartbreaking.
With my first I didn’t try as hard as I wished. With my second, I made sure I did all in my power at that time to keep at it. Unfortunately it ended up with him dehydrated on day 5 and on came the formula pushing. I tried pumping around the clock with a hospital grade pump but I was lucky if I got 5ml a time. In the end baby started refusing to feed and he was exclusively formula fed.
With my 3rd I was a bit more prepared. I had my suspicions that I have insufficient glandular tissue (IGT) so I got an SNS (supplemental nursing system) ready for if the need to supplement came again, as I knew no matter what, I was going to breastfeed!
After an amazing home water birth my second son Xander was born. Things started going the way they had in the past with feeding. No engorged or full breasts, barely any swallowing at the breast and baby becoming more and more frustrated. A Lactation Consultant diagnosed my suspicions – I do have IGT, a condition which makes it impossible for me to make enough milk for my baby. Finally I had an answer why trying all I could with breastfeeding never worked out.
I was so upset that no matter what, I wouldn’t be able to provide my baby with all the wonderful benefits of breastmilk…or would I? I reached out on a lovely helpful group I’m in and there it was suggested I ask on Human Milk for Human Babies to see if anyone could help. I did and I was instantly offered several batches of breastmilk. I travelled around and met some fantastic women, so selfless and kind, it touched my heart and after a bit I knew I needed to keep trying.
The Medela SNS which I started out with was really tricky to use to begin with; it gets easier the more you use it though but I actually switched to using lact-aids, which is the same principle as the SNS but more user friendly. It only has 1 tube which is attached to a bag where the milk goes. It can be used at night for easy laid down feeding, unlike the SNS which has to remain upright.
Along the way a couple of the lovely donors offered to keep providing as much milk as they could for my baby. Xander is now 3 months old and still exclusively fed at the breast and I feel so privileged that we have a handful of on-going amazing milk donor mummies who supply us with their amazing breastmilk . If it wasn’t for HM4HB he wouldn’t be exclusively breastmilk fed. It’s such an amazing page and it has made me very grateful for donor mums and also very passionate about wanting milk sharing normalized. I have friends that say they had no idea they could donate in such a way and would if they’d known.
I was slightly nervous when I first accepted our first lot of donor milk, but for me, it’s all about informed choice. I researched the risks of anything nasty passing through the milk and felt the risk very small, and now even smaller knowing the mamas selfless and kind enough to donate milk. Seeing my baby thrive off breastmilk and getting to know some of our donors has reaffirmed for me that this was absolutely the right choice for us. My other half is very supportive – he’s got to be – he’s the driver!