To: The #SkinishMom
Seriously, I’m frustrated. I’m being told that it’s IMPOSSIBLE not to produce enough breast milk for my baby. Every mom has milk, and blah blah blah. But hello? What I’ve been struggling with for the past 3 weeks is not a dream, it’s a nightmare IRL.
Whoa! I hear you and I’m never ever gonna say that U Will Have Enough M-I-L-K. I absolutely certainly understand your frustration, and MarcieMom understands too. See her cartoons on breastmilk production.
Seriously, I have nothing against the lactation consultant in the cartoon (why should I? It’s only a drawing.) But I do have everything against lactation consultants – gosh, I’m being totally undiplomatic but this is my column and I say it as I meant it. I’ve no idea why lactation consultants (or the few I know and heard of) seem to think all mothers will have enough breastmilk. The worse (and worst) part?
It is assumed that it is you (the mom who’s already struggling with caring for a newborn, lack of sleep, totally fatigue in a touchy state of relationships with every other adult human you’re stuck with) who have not done something right.
This is a sad truth – google ‘low breastmilk supply’, instead of getting articles that tell you there’s a medical basis for not producing enough breast milk, you get articles telling you you’ve done something wrong or not done something, that’s why YOU don’t have enough breast milk. Imagine if you google ‘low phone battery’, you’d get articles on what’s wrong with the battery, the technology behind the battery and that’s why it drains juice faster. We’re apparently less sympathetic when it comes to breasts. Low breast milk? It’s the mom, never the breasts.
Here are the common reasons about the mom (for low breast milk supply):
- Not feeding immediately in hospital
- Not feeding enough (variations of this is not feeding baby at each breast long enough, not feeding frequently enough, not pumping enough)
- Not latching-on correctly
- Being a wimp and offering formula milk instead of persisting without it
- Not eating more, not drinking enough, not enough rest
I’m sure above is medically sound BUT what I understand you’re asking is there’s some reason why you’ve done the above and nothing is working. Maybe there are extenuating circumstances that force you to pump less frequently, how about ‘it’s been only 10ml for every 3 hours I pump my breasts, there’s still no improvement after 3 weeks and I’m already at the point when my breasts are already juiced dry’.
So #SkinishMom investigates and finally, for once, I’ve uncovered some reasons that are linked to the breasts, not the mom.
- Milk not expressed within 6 hours of delivery – this one I totally agree. Right after delivery, for whatever reason, your baby may not be taking enough from your breast. The initial delay in stimulating the milk production may really make it much harder to get the milk flowing when you return home. Why didn’t anyone suggest expressing milk when you’re in the hospital? Oh wait, maybe the hospital doesn’t have a facility to store the milk. Next time, get a breast pump and mini fridge and plug into beside your bed.
- Hospital-grade pump. We’re talking about those that cost $500, electric and double-breast. Since breast milk production is so important and the delay caused by a lousy pump can have long and devastating impact, why didn’t hospitals at least lend moms the pump so that we can go and buy it before we get home?
- Not enough milk ducts, clogged nipples, hormones – It’s strange when I think of it. Because it’s assumed that you should have enough breast milk, no one actually diagnosed why you didn’t have enough breast milk. There could really be something wrong with the breasts or the hormones that stimulate the milk production.
Personally, in my totally bias opinion, I think that if there is a higher acceptance for moms who really don’t have enough breast milk, there will be solutions on how to help them. For instance,
- Don’t expect latch-on; just pump and try your best but don’t drain yourself.
- Let me see your breasts, it’s possible there’s something to be done about them rather than your fault.
- Don’t worry about the low breast milk – you’re not less of a mom than the woman beside you with engorged breasts. Don’t worry about your baby taking formula milk – no one will know whether a breast fed baby or bottle fed baby will win the human race.
So there, I hear you, signing off with a cartoon from Mom NeedyZz series