14 days: When you find your Community

I was always told that Breastfeeding was hard. It was long nights, it was sleepless days, it was attached feeling of 24/7/365. I was SOOO looking forward to breastfeeding. I always thought that it would be hard, but I was committed to it. I was committed  to the sore nipples, the lanolin creamed nursing bras, the breast pads, the first week of painful first latch of a feed.

I wanted to breastfeed for a year. I wanted to be THAT mom who could successfully do it. She has a beautiful latch, that I thought was gonna be the biggest hurdle.

Then Ainslie’s wasn’t gaining weight at Day 12, she was stagnant over the previous 4 day and 105grams below where she needed to be.

How on earth could she be stagnant…this kid was feeding all the dang time?

The midwife asked me to express and low and behold, my supply was only about 40mls after expressing. (I know some women aren’t good at expressing, but it was obvious something was wrong). Midwife put the fear of God into me and said that I had two days to put weight on her or we’d have to supplement. She was only 12 days old and I really didn’t want to start formula that early and I didn’t even want to do bottles.

I got some expressed milk from a friend to get us through the night. Ainslie gulped down 85mls the first feed. All of the wind/colic pain I thought that she had, was really due to the fact that she was hungry. I decided to have a lactation consultant come to our house on Saturday. I pounded herbs, gulped tea, doubled my placenta encapsulations, expressed every three hours, breast fed…I tried everything.

10362833_827742415694_4528499547753716580_nfinally seeing my child ‘milk drunk’

Lactation consultant came out. Listened. Weighed her before and after feeding (no gain), watched her feed. Then took one look at my boobs

….Honey, I’m sorry but you have IGT (Insufficient Glandular Tissue)

Called primary lactation failure, this condition occurs when a mother’s body does not make an adequate amount of milk for her baby, even when everything else (including but not limited to: latch and positioning, breastfeeding frequency and exclusivity, mother and baby are kept together, baby’s oral anatomy is fine – no tongue tie, cleft palate) is in order.

Then I reached out. I reached out to groups on Facebook (the ‘baby wearing group’, the mamas wellness group and HumanMilk4HumanBabies (there are chapters all over the world and can be found on Facebook)

THEN I WAS BLOWN AWAY.

I’ve got milk. I have more more. I can give you milk. I’ll express for you. I have a sister who has milk, I’ll bring it over. Oh, and I’ll make you lactation cookies.

I sobbed form grief. My birth was nuts, long and not the home birth I wanted. I had been so damn educated, I read and studied and knew what I wanted. The curve ball of IGT was so not expected I had no idea that I would be dealing with this. I have a friend on FB who talked about her journey with it, and in my moment of grief I’m grateful that she had said something.

So I have a list of FIFTEEN women who are supplying. Yes, Ive vetted them all, they’re all legit people. I have women who are getting pumps to express for me. Just for me, to hold off formula for my goal of six weeks..and my pie in the sky goal of 12 weeks. Then we will take it from there. I have milk gophers (husband and mother in law) driving around picking up milk….because this IS important to me.

10174788_826169228374_9176230030920299054_n

Then you step back. You step way back and soak it all in. The immense community of women who are answering a call from a mama who needs support. From a mama who needs to do the best for her child..and you’re humbled to the core.

I’ve found my community in the most unexpected way.

Mish xo

25 thoughts on “14 days: When you find your Community

  1. Ilana says:

    Lovely! I’m so happy you have worked out a solution. I’m bfeeding my guy born May 17 and it is hard work even when you produce. Best of luck.

  2. Sash says:

    So beautiful Michelle. We are all very lucky to be surrounded by strong, powerful, generous women – an urban village quite unlike any other… I wrote a little post on this story today over on my blog.

    Rest. Feed. Enjoy these precious moments with your baby girl! xx You are never alone.

  3. Susan says:

    This is so beautiful. I’m sorry for the angst and stress you’ve experienced, and so happy you’ve received this outpouring of support. Way to go mamas!

  4. Sara Kerrigan says:

    I hear you. I, too, have IGT. I have struggled to feed all four of my babies, and through some miracle managed it with the third 26 months. But this time around we had tongue-tie as well and also a C-section, and it just couldn’t happen. I think my baby has had milk from at least 15 people, and though it didn’t last long because he had food in tolerances, I am so grateful for the breast-feeding community and for milk sharing. We made it to 2 1/2 months without any formula, and he is still breast-feeding some at eight months though he gets most of his nutrition from Alimentum.

  5. Sara says:

    This was absolutely beautiful. Took the words right out of my mouth as I too have struggled with IGT due to a breast reduction. Human milk 4 human babies has saved my sanity and my little girls tummy. Thank you for sharing. Makes me feel a little more “normal”

    • Mish says:

      YES! The grief and the desperation…and the absolute gratitude for it all is so paramount and so hard to explain to people who haven’t struggled. I’m so glad that you’ve found milky donors. And yes, it is so much easier on our daughters tummy as well 🙂

  6. Gina Davis says:

    As a milk donor I can tell you, that what you are feeling, is also what milk donors feel. I sent 490 oz home to my milky baby today and the feeling is indescribable. My body is supporting two lives at this moment in time. I have a real purpose, I am not “just a stay-at-home mom” I am giving a sweet baby I’ve never met the blessing of liquid gold. It is very humbling and beautiful ❤

  7. lesley says:

    My journey was very much the same. My tears of grief have turned to tears of joy and my goal of 4 weeks has been blown out of the water! My baby is 5 months and she is fed by my little supply of about 12 oz a day and the generosity of donors. My new goal is 12 months! Great job momma! The best is yet to come!

  8. Jaime says:

    Right there with you mama. I was pumping 10 times a day and killing myself to get more milk until I found out what the problem was. Baby girls is almost a yet now though, and 100% on donor milk 🙂

    • Mish says:

      Good on you! There’s a lot of pressure that everyone CAN BF. I’m glad you found out what was the issue and the you found enough donors :))) lucky kiddo! Having donor milk helped ease the grief, that is what the donors don’t see. The absolute ease internally when giving a donor mill bottle! Even though we don’t have 100% donor milk! I know each bottle is better than nothing.

      • Jaime says:

        We never had 100% until she turned 8 months old. I practically lived on the Eats on Feets and HM4HB facebook pages and was meeting new people a couple times a week and was only coming up with 30-50%. But then we were blessed enough to find a woman who had just been a surrogate and had 100% of her supply to give away. So, what I would tell moms who have trouble finding milk is to just never give up. There would be times I would get zero replies to my call for milk, and there would be times I would get several. People have babies every day, which means new potential donors every day. I also got a lot of milk donated from my local breastfeeding support page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s