Monday, 30 June 2014

Mamatography 26: Me and Mine - June

dear beautiful
This post is part of a blog link up hosted by Lucy at Dear Beautiful Boy.

M's Baptism

An Evening at the Beach

B's Drawing of our Family

This month:

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Low Supply

As you might have gathered if you've read some of my blog posts, I have IGT (insufficient glandular tissue), also known as mammary hypoplasia, which means I don't have enough breast tissue and so can't make enough milk for my babies. This puts me in the minority of women. However, the number of times I've heard people say they had to give up breastfeeding because they didn't make enough milk, you'd think that it was much more common.

Low supply isn't a myth, but true low supply is pretty rare. And low supply is no reason to give up breastfeeding either. 

First of all, let's discuss what low supply isn't. Frequent feeding is not a sign of low supply. Nor is frequent waking. Both of these are normal behaviours for newborns - frequent feeds are baby's way of building up your supply. And frequent wakings help to protect baby against SIDS. Babies' tummies are tiny and breastmilk is quickly digested, hence the need for frequent meals. And during growth spurts babies feed much more often to put in their orders for more milk. The 4 month sleep regression is often a time when women believe that their milk supply has dwindled, but it's just a huge growth spurt and totally normal. Feed feed feed. 

Check out this Kellymom link to find out a bit more about what isn't a sign of low supply.

Now, there are behaviours that can cause low supply:

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Book Review - How you were born & You, me and the breast These books were gifted to me, free of charge, by Pinter & Martin, to be reviewed for the Keep Britain Breastfeeding Internet Scavenger Hunt. However, this review is my unbiased and honest opinion of the books.

How you were born and You, me and the breast are by Monica Calaf and Mikel Fuentes. They are part of a series of 4 books, which also contains Your daddy and me and When you were in my tummy.

How you were born recounts the birth process, as the mother speaking to her child, gently but vividly. The illustrations are beautiful, if a touch too realistic at times. You probably wouldn't want to let your toddler ask her great nan to read it, as there's a rather large illustration of the baby's head crowning! It's not graphic as such, but it's certainly obvious that you're looking at lady bits - not suitable for everyone's sensibilities. The birth story presented is what I would call the ideal - gentle, peaceful, calm, with the mother and baby being respected throughout. So, while it may not resemble the birth stories of many, it is perfect for telling a child how labour and birth happen without scaring them in any way. I love how contractions are referred to as waves, avoiding any suggestion that the mother is in pain. The father is involved in the story too, which B really likes, particularly seeing the tears of joy on the daddy's face after the baby is born. She also enjoys the inclusion of the midwife, because she remembers my midwife from when I was pregnant with M. That's the beauty of this book - it is relevant to her, because it tells her story, but also because it tells her the story of what we have been through recently with M.

B (2y10m) absolutely loves You, me and the breast. She has asked for it to be read to her several times a day since we received it, and is happy to sit and look through it by herself. Again, the illustrations are beautiful. The mum and baby the same as in How you were born, and it begins part way through that one, with the baby looking for mum's breast. As toddlers tend to do, she has fixated on one particular page - the child is being comforted by nursing after getting hurt. B obviously relates to this situation in particular, having had a few tumbles and scrapes recently, though the illustration has caused some confusion: she is convinced that the child fell off their bike because it got tangled up in the mum's hair!

Breastfeeding Through Pregnancy and Beyond

I've been breastfeeding for 2 years and almost 10 months now. For 7 of those months I've been a tandem feeder, and for the 9 months before that I was nursing through pregnancy, dealing with nursing aversion for about 5 of those.

Breastfeeding a newborn second time around has been so much easier. Getting M to latch properly was straightforward, and I was able to tell straight away that she must have tongue tie, as her latch was perfect but it still hurt. Breastfeeding through pregnancy was much more challenging. I'd worked so hard for our breastfeeding relationship and I had always wanted B to self wean. Friends with older children had told me about how being able to nurse the older child when the baby arrived had been really helpful in dealing with jealousy, so I really wanted B to continue to feed for as long as she needed. I was prepared for my milk to dry up during pregnancy - it never having been plentiful in the first place - and so I was also prepared for the possibility that B might wean. Ruth at Mixed Bag of All Sorts has had a similar breastfeeding journey to mine, but she was several months ahead of me. I drew great comfort and encouragement from her blog and her friendship, seeing that it was possible to maintain the breastfeeding relationship through pregnancy and into tandem nursing even with chronic low supply.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Breastmilk Donation, Use & Storage

I don't pump anymore, and I don't have any advice that I didn't already write about here, but I do have a little experience with breastmilk use and storage. We used formula to supplement B, but I was more prepared and clued up this time around, and I had also made a number of friends who were breastfeeding their babies, and so we were in the fortunate position to be able to source donor milk for M. We started to supplement her on day three and so for the first 11 days of her life she was exclusively breastmilk fed. After that we had to introduce some formula as our donors weren't able to keep up with M's growing needs. However, about 2.5 months ago we found a long term donor on HM4HB and since then every supplement feed M has had has been with expressed donor milk. It's had an amazing effect on her digestive system. She used to have trouble pooing and her wind was stinky!! But now she is so much happier - and her death pumps don't wake me up in the night!

So, here is my advice:

Monday, 23 June 2014

Nursing In Public: It's Not All Bad

I'll feed anytime, anywhere!
It seems that every week or so there is another story of a breastfeeding mother told to cover up or feed in a toilet, or asked to leave or called a slut or worse for breastfeeding in public. We can be forgiven for trepidation at feeding our babies/toddlers when out and about. But, in all honesty, I haven't had a single negative experience of breastfeeding in public. I haven't had any super positive, applause-all-around type experiences either. It has always been a very ordinary activity. No one seems to be bothered or even aware. No funny looks, no snide comments, no disgusted muttering. And isn't that how it's meant to be? Normal, ordinary, a fact of life.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Importance of Breastfeeding Support

If it wasn't for the support I received from my mum, the hubby, my best friend, and the Infant Feeding Coordinator at the hospital, my breastfeeding journey with B would have been very different. But I also firmly believe that it is down to the official complaint that we made regarding our treatment by nurses and paediatricians at the hospital then, that our experience with M was quite different. The changes we said needed to be made had been put into place, and so we discovered that there was now an On-Call Infant Feeding Team; several people trained to identify and separate tongue-ties; and the Infant Feeding Coordinator was now responsible for providing breastfeeding training for paediatricians. 

The experience wasn't perfect. There were some new paediatricians who had managed to slip through the training net, informing me that I had to feed M for 10 minutes every 3 hours! I had the knowledge and confidence this time around to challenge them and point out that this went against their own infant feeding policy. But we were able to get the Infant Feeding Coordinator to see us very quickly, and she was brilliant. Overall, despite having to be in the hospital to deal with M's jaundice, we had a much more positive time than with B, and we were out much quicker too. 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Top Tips for Breastfeeding with a Supplemental Nursing System

Beware! If you read to the end, you will see my nipple!

A small percentage of mums find themselves unable to exclusively breastfeed their babies. I found myself in that small percentage almost three years ago now, when B was born. I have insufficient glandular tissue and so am unable to make enough milk to keep a baby alive. It was distressing to discover, but with support I was able to breastfeed alongside supplementing. After buying a Medela supplemental nursing system and failing to get on with it, due to lack of instructions in the box and none on the internet either, I was slightly relieved when the hubby accidentally melted it whilst sterilising. We ended up using bottles with B and I would pump after every top up feed. 

This time around, I was prepared for the perils of chronic low supply. There was a supply of donor milk in the freezer and two SNSes in the cupboard. I was determined to make it work this time, knowing that with a two year old to look after, I would have very little time for the pumping required after every bottle feed. 

Our first SNS feed
An SNS is basically a bottle with thin feeding tubes attached, one of which goes in the baby's mouth along with the breast, allowing whatever supplement you are using to be drunk whilst nursing. This ensures your breasts are being stimulated to produce and enables baby to get as much of your milk as possible whilst being supplemented. SNSes can be used to induce lactation, for relactation and for supplementing a low supply. 

It is a bit tricky at first, but because I was an experienced breastfeeder this time round, I found it much easier than with B. And we're still using it 7 months later. 

So now you've got past the lengthy intro, here are my top tips for breastfeeding with an SNS - tips I wish I'd found when B was a baby:

Friday, 20 June 2014

Why Breastfeeding is Good for Dads

As has become our tradition, here is the guest post from the Hubby. He is my biggest supporter, and a real breastfeeding advocate, always ready to spring to the defence of any woman given grief over breastfeeding. It can often be useful to have a dad's perspective, so this year he is writing about why having mum breastfeed the baby is a great choice for dads. 
You can find his previous Scavenger Hunt posts here: 

Hi all!
It's dad of two girls and husband to an amazing, breastfeeding lady, here.
This year my topic is benefits for dads during breastfeeding.
"How?" I maybe hear you say. How can there be benefits to dads during the mother breastfeeding the baby?
But there are!
Not all selfish benefits, like getting time to watch the rugby, but useful benefits in the new role as a dad.

So here we go, what are the benefits? Why IS breastfeeding good for dads?

Time to get brownie points by doing all those new jobs you have to do
Shopping, cleaning, hoovering, taking out the rubbish, a back rub? Even DIY?
When mum is feeding the baby, it may be a good idea for the dad to get up and do things.
No bloke likes to be sitting down being lazy (right, guys?). And just think of how happy you'll make your lady!
If mum is feeding your second baby, then you can.........

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Mamatography 24 - Baptism

M was baptised on Sunday. It was a very special day and we were so moved by the number of friends and family who came to celebrate with us. After the baptism service we had afternoon tea at my parents-in-law's. I had been baking and preparing for weeks beforehand, and I was absolutely amazed at the fact that we had just the right amount of food. Everyone had plenty to eat and there was only a little leftover - about the amount that would have been eaten by the people who couldn't come due to illness! 

The priest read the following at the baptism service: 

Sunday, 15 June 2014

A Father's Love

Today was Father's Day. But, more importantly, M was baptised today. She's very blessed to have such a great dad here on Earth. The hubby is fantastic with both of the girls, but no matter how hard he tries, he will never be perfect. He'll make mistakes, break promises, fail at times. But at the heart of our faith

Friday, 13 June 2014

Keep Britain Breastfeeding
 Internet Scavenger Hunt: 20th-26th June 2014

It's nearly that time again - The Keep Britain Breastfeeding Scavenger Hunt begins on 20th June.

There is still a lot of ignorance about breastfeeding, and in order for parents to make informed choices about how to feed their babies, they need accurate information. Each day of the week of the Scavenger Hunt will have a different theme upon which various bloggers will write. All the posts will be related to breastfeeding in some way, as the aim of the Hunt is to share knowledge and experiences with pregnant and breastfeeding women and their families.

There will also be loads of great prizes up for grabs - not all breastfeeding related, but still useful for parenting - and discounts for various companies too.

Check out for more information and to register to enter the competition.

Click here to read my previous Keep Britain Breastfeeding posts.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Mamatography 23 - Siblings: June

dear beautiful

The relationship between these two just gets stronger and stronger. B told me the other day that M is her favourite sister. I love hearing them giggling together. Since M has started babbling - lots of 'gaga' and 'dada' now - B has begun to speak gobbledegook to her. It's so funny to hear these nonsense conversations. B also seems to know what M wants, or she's making some lucky guesses! Long may this lovely friendship continue.


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