Category Archives: Milk Story

Jennifer’s Milk Story- Going with the (MILK) Flow

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Jennifer’s Milk Story- Going with the (MILK) Flow

Going With The (Milk) Flow

By Jennifer Martel

Back in January of 1989, I gave birth to my first child, daughter Toni Michelle. Although I initially tried to breastfeed her at the hospital, I ended up giving up too soon which I credit to being so young at the time. In hind sight, I wished I had stuck with it.

Fast forward about twenty-four years. I felt called on a spiritual level to bring another precious life into this world. My current husband Andy and I decided we would in fact like children. This time around, I was wiser, healthier, and living holistically. I knew about GMOs and processed foods and knew that my breast milk was the perfect food for this baby that was entering the world. So I had every intention of solely breastfeeding our baby.

After our sweet Emma Rose was born in July 2014, I had to learn to go with the flow and learn to accept that despite our best efforts, sometimes things just don’t go as planned- and that everything will still work out okay.

When Emma was born, we initiated breastfeeding in the delivery room at the hospital. It would ebb & flow. We weren’t able to get her to latch consistently to get enough milk overall. Emma had dropped some weight initially so the hospital staff was monitoring her weight each night. At one point a staff member mentioned the possibility of formula at some point and I said no. When asked why I didn’t want to use formula, my reply was “the ingredients.” They did not understand my concerns about processed baby formula, nor my vow to NOT give up this time on breastfeeding.

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Fortunately we had attended a breastfeeding class by a remarkable woman Beth prior to giving birth. And it just so happened that she did private consultations. So the day after we arrived home from the hospital, we had this lactation specialist come to our home.

She helped with breastfeeding techniques, as well as setting me up to pump breast milk to increase milk supply (including fitting me for correct shield size, etc.). Additionally, she weighed Emma at each visit and expressed the importance of our main objective, which was to get Emma fed- regardless of the type of milk. Although it was devastating to me, we went out on day 4 and bought the best organic baby formula we could find after researching online.

Beth also suspected that Emma may have a lip or tongue tie (neither of which I had ever heard of). She referred us to a pediatric dentist that specializes in this. So at not quite a week old, we took Emma to this dentist, and it turned out that she had both a lip and tongue tie which was interfering with her ability to latch and breastfeed. Emma had the laser procedure that day and we continued our breastfeeding as best we could, in addition to supplementing with organic formula.

Due to delayed latching, my milk supply, once very abundant, had dwindled, so I worked to increase production by pumping. It added even more stress trying to find time to pump in between breastfeeding attempts. I pressured myself to make this work, vowing that I would not give up.

We rented a commercial breast pump, had several lactation consults, I tried acupuncture, frequent breast-pumping, and amidst all of this, I was realizing that the time I was spending trying to increase my milk supply was not only very stressful but also insanely time-consuming. I was ultimate losing time with my precious daughter because I could not pump and hold Emma at the same time. It deeply saddened me to be missing time holding my baby in an effort to give her the best most natural food- my breast milk. When I came to this realization, I had to decide what my priority was going to be.

I chose loving contact. I had to let go of feelings of failure and guilt and instead allow myself to be more relaxed and flexible with the process. I decided to pump less to reduce my stress level and get to cuddle my sweet Emma Rose more. Eventually I stopped pumping all together and let things flow as they would, knowing I had tried so many things and that this was not giving up- I was simply surrendering. Even the lactation specialist was impressed with my efforts, commenting on my devotion to making breast feeding a success.

10940609_10205908699182420_1238015613816792688_nEmma and I still breastfed each day (no matter how much or how little the milk output) for the remainder of my 12 week maternity leave. And although she did not receive enough breast milk to sustain her on that alone, we had the loving skin-to-skin time that was so very precious- and supplemented each feeding with organic formula.

I had to learn to go with the (milk) flow. Even with the best intentions, unforeseen circumstances can occur which derail our original plans. Our loving, healthy intentions for Emma are surely infused in her organic formula (just as the water crystal experiments demonstrated the effect of our thoughts and intentions on water).

Most importantly, our sweet Emma Rose is happy, healthy, strong and thriving. The love we nourish her with every day feeds her body and soul beautifully. My husband Andy and I are very blessed.

Photo credit: Stefanie Lynn Photography

Katrice’s Milk Story

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Sacred Milk Katrice's Milk Story

My Milk Story
Katrice Ross

“The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding” was placed in my hands when I was pregnant with my son back in 2004. I read the entire book and was confident in my decision to breastfeed. I thought to myself, “How hard can it be?” I would soon find out that it would be the hardest and at the same time, most rewarding aspect of motherhood.

Katie has been a family friend for a very long time. She is a former La Leche League leader and is the first person to notice my son wasn’t doing well. She decided to give the local La Leche League leader a call and that’s how I met Gini, Sara, and Austin of Sacred Milk. I remember my first visit with Gini and Austin. Gini realized right away that my son was severely tongue tied. It was so tied that he couldn’t lift his tongue at all. By this time, my son was about a month old and was severely dehydrated. Austin had some frozen colostrum and offered to give it to Ethan. I am so thankful for that precious liquid gold! Even after doctor visits and a hospital stay he struggled with feeding. All I can say is I thank God every day that Gini made the call that saved his life. I can’t even begin to imagine what would have become of my son if it wasn’t for her.

His tongue tie was released very quickly after that first meeting. Gini did call and set up his surgery for me. After it was over, he nursed like a champ. Gini and the other leaders helped me build my milk supply by renting a pump for me. I would nurse, then he was given a bottle of formula, and then I would pump. It didn’t take long for me to get a full milk supply. I discontinued my pumping and formula regimen. I did have to use a nipple shield the entire duration of our breastfeeding journey but that didn’t bother me. How I loved my bond with my little nursling! There is no greater feeling than knowing your child is comforted and nourished with your warm milk. I am thoroughly convinced that our bond is so powerful because of breastfeeding. It’s hard to put into words how much breastfeeding has transformed our relationship.

I was a single parent at the time and thought it would be best if I went back to college. I did it to secure our future. I would have done anything for my precious baby. We continued to nurse while I was in school. I am a firm believer in attachment parenting and it helped me tremendously during that time. I could still bond with my child even though we had to be apart sometimes. We stopped nursing just after he turned two years old. That was also when I met the love of my life. Eric and I have been together for 7 years and married for 5 years. Eric told me that he loved Ethan as his own the minute he laid eyes on him. It melted my heart to watch them bond. We were meant to be a family.

We welcomed our daughter Rebecca into the world last April. I contacted Gini as soon as I noticed that nursing was becoming quite painful. Gini came to see me and knew right away that my daughter had both a lip tie and a posterior tongue tie. My baby basically chomped on my nipples. I had to start pumping to heal my very damaged nipples. We took Rebecca to get her ties snipped 4 days after she was born. The healing process was very long and painful for both Rebecca and me. After she healed I noticed that she still wasn’t feeding any better. I continued to work with Gini and used skin-to skin, nipple shields, and Supplementary Nursing Systems. (SNS) She wasn’t gaining any weight. I continued to pump after every nursing session and would also feed her a bottle of my pumped milk. When she wasn’t gaining weight I would add extra breastmilk fat to bottles.

I stopped nursing at every feeding. I would nurse her a few times a day and would feed her bottles the rest of the time. Rebecca is 16 months old and I’m happy to say that she still nurses in the morning before we get out of bed. I couldn’t give it up even though it varies how long she will nurse for me. Those few precious minutes of blissful connection mean the world to me.
I tried everything I could to improve our nursing relationship. We enrolled her in Early Intervention, she went to feeding and occupational therapy, we had a swallow study done, we had a developmental specialist evaluate her, I started taking her to see a chiropractor when she was 3 months old, and I worked with my lactation consultant/developmental expert friends. Ultimately, we concluded that Rebecca was born with low muscle tone that has caused a few developmental delays. Pumping has never been easy. I have overcome many challenges. I am so thankful to have the support of my milky mama friends. My goal is to continue bottle nursing with love until my daughter turns two. My milk experiences have taught me that I can accomplish anything that my heart desires. All it takes is a little determination and a lot of love.

http://www.sacred-milk.com

Chyanne’s Milk Story

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Milk Story, Sacred Milk

Chyanne & her son just after birth.

The moment I found out about being pregnant I was a cluster of emotions. I was a nursing student and working in a hospital, I was a grieving daughter, I didn’t have time for a baby. But a baby, was something I never thought I would have. And I love babies: their smell, chubby cheeks, coos even their cute little poops. We are keeping this little miracle.

At the time I wasn’t married and in my religion that was a big NoNo. Once I started showing I got glares, eye rolls, heads shook disapprovingly. I once had a lady look at me and say, “You’re not a good Christian for getting pregnant before getting married. You and your child are going to hell.” I really think Men have it so easy especially when words and looks like this are exchanged.

20 weeks comes and I am told by my doctor that we are having a girl. Yay!? Wait. What a girl? That doesn’t feel right I thought for sure we were having a boy. My gut said boy. Turns out my doctor was wrong about a lot of things, not just the sex of my baby.

I felt something was wrong, not to mention that doctor was as unpleasant as rubbing salt on an open wound and then spraying lemon juice all over it. My new doctor was and still is everything I wanted in an OB. She listened to my concerns and sent me for an ultrasound.

Not only was I NOT having a girl…that’s right it’s a boy! But I had a complete placenta previa…how did they miss that? We discussed options and if my placenta didn’t budge I’d have to have a c-section.

I remained positive. But my natural birth went flying out the window. Fast forward to 33 weeks, placenta still had not moved. Not only had it not moved but my uterus was hostile and contracted any time I moved so I was on bedrest from week 25 to week 36. I kissed my career and schooling goodbye. We schedule a c-section, my worst nightmare! All I could do was blame myself. This is what you get for not being married.

At 36 weeks exactly, with my wonderful boyfriend we were getting prepped for surgery. I was so scared I started crying and my doctor held and soothed me while I got my spinal. Can I just say that she’s amazing! We get started 3 minutes later I hear my son’s cries. Boyfriend crying, I’m crying, OR is crying it was amazing. They put him on my chest and my world forever changed. In the recovery room we nursed and I cried. My son was a month premature but he was perfect nothing was wrong, no NICU, and we both lived.

I loved breastfeeding him, but he fell asleep so easily, I told myself he had a rough day and we would try later. Later comes he wants to sleep, but the nurse urges us to wake him and feed him. I stripped him naked, rubbed his feet, tickled his hands, under his nose, took his diaper off. He slept, the nurse came in did the same. He slept on. She put a wet washcloth on him…that woke him up. We got him on the breast, he latched took two sucks and fell asleep. Because he was premature he didn’t want to nurse..it was too hard. That’s ok, we will prevail. Breastfeeding for my son and I was never easy but we never stopped.

Fast forward to 4 months at his weigh in…yeah we had to have weigh ins. Our doctor sat us down and suggested that because of Parker’s lack of weight gain and projectile vomiting that we try formula. He said that Parker was probably that 1% that had an allergy. Until this point I had tried everything from completely over hauling my diet to sitting him up for 30 minutes after a feeding. My baby was vomiting, colicky and had explosive poop every 15 minutes. And as much as I wanted to breastfeed his health was more important. I still pumped with hope that one day I could breastfeed.

All I could think was I couldn’t have a baby the natural way and now I can’t breastfeed. I’m such a horrible mom and it’s all because I was pregnant before I got married. A month later and I have a completely different baby. He’s happy, he sleeps, he eats, there’s hardly any vomiting, and normal poops!

Until it all rewinds on us. My milk had dried and Parker went back to his old ways. We try formula after formula until finally we find something that works. But my milk was gone. My milk was gone. My milk…I was heartbroken. I still am.

When I say I am envious. I really am because I made it through bleeding, cracked and sore nipples, endless nights of sitting up with him, just for my sons body to be on formula and my milk to dry up. I grieved, I cried, I begged and pleaded with God. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Now I’m here in present time, the biggest advocate for breastfeeding, and I myself can’t breastfeed. Talk about an oxymoron. But I will support women who can and who do.

This is my Sacred milk story.
Chyanne Brogni

http://www.sacred-milk.com