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.
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.
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.