This week is National Breastfeeding week and I’ve been meaning to do a post on my experience with breastfeeding this time around with Everett. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you are familiar with the struggles I had with Ellery, if not, feel free to read my story here.
I learned so much through my time breastfeeding Ellery that it was a completely different experience from the moment I found out I was pregnant the second time. I knew I wanted to be as prepared as possible for any issue that might arise once Everett was born. I already knew I was going to struggle with my milk supply as I suffer from a condition called IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue)/Hypoplasia so I did something slightly outside the box. I asked my Sister, Jess if she would be willing to share any extra milk that she might have/make/pump so that I might be able to supplement with breast milk instead of formula for those first few days after Everett was born. (Jess was also pregnant and due with her daughter roughly 4 months before me.) Being the amazing Sister that she is, she barely took a breath before answering yes. It was beyond comforting.
The next step in my preparation was making the decision to nurse Everett and supplement with an SNS or Supplemental Nursing System. If you’ve been around me while I feed Everett, you’ve likely been curious as to what the white ribbon with a bag of milk hanging around my neck-maybe you asked, maybe you didn’t. It is a tool that is often used with premature babies who don’t have the strength to suck and gives them extra milk at a quicker pace while also stimulating the supply for the Mother’s breast. In my case, I use the SNS so that I increase my milk supply to the greatest degree and ALSO don’t have to supplement with a bottle after nursing on each breast, which can be incredibly time-consuming. I did my research and with the tremendous support of my husband (helping me learn how to use it, clean it, fill them, etc…) we embarked on this crazy new way to feed our baby.
Thanks to the generosity of my Sister, Everett (and myself) received one of the greatest gifts a person can get. Jess dedicated time to pump twice a day for us for almost an entire year. For those of you that aren’t familiar with pumping-it is painful, time-consuming and overall a tremendous pain in the butt! Because of Jess’s dedication, Everett has had nutrients from not only my breast milk but from hers as well for months!
I am a true believer than breast milk IS best for baby; however, not everyone (me being one of them) can feed their babies exclusively with breast milk (we now supplement exclusively with formula). There are circumstances that arise when a baby is born that might make it impossible or extremely difficult for a Mother to breastfeed or for a baby to nurse (tongue ties, born prematurely, medical issues, etc…) So, in the light of this being breastfeeding week, I ask each person reading this to take a moment when they see a baby being fed with a bottle, an SNS or with formula to refrain from judging. You don’t know that Mother’s experience, whether they struggled or if they’re still struggling to find the best way to feed their baby. Above all, the most important thing is the health and happiness of both the Mother and Baby.
Here are two links that might give anyone feeling sad/frustrated/alone in their own feeding struggles:
I was lucky enough to receive milk donated by my Sister, but if you are in need of milk here are two places to look:
I am more than happy to talk through my experience using an SNS, having low milk supply or even just the basic struggles with feeding a baby. You aren’t alone!