Boosting your milk supply

Welcome if you are reading this you too are experiencing a possible low milk supply. This could be for a variety of reasons such as deciding not to continue exclusive breastfeeding (EBF), period of illness for either you or baby which has stopped you exclusively breastfeeding or you want to restart after weaning baby to the bottle and they are not taking to the bottle well.

If you were breastfeeding you probably felt like a dairy cow with your baby connected to your breast every 2-3 hours for up to an hour a time and wondering whether they were actually getting what they need from you. The answer was yes especially if baby was producing 6 or more wet nappies a day and roughly 3/4 lovely yellow coloured poo’s a day. Yes it’s true baby will lose some weight in their first couple of weeks but they will regain this. Remember baby was permanently connected to you from the minute the placenta and umbilical cord formed. There is no need to worry as baby’s can lose up to 10% of their birth weight any more and you midwife / health visitor will work with you to monitor babies progress against the percentile chart.

There are many “options” to increase your milk production but let me remind you none of them are 100% guaranteed. The one I’m commenting on is the one that I have decided to use after I had a period of illness and wasn’t able to breastfeed my baby for over a week.

I must admit I’m not in love with the idea of breastfeeding and wasn’t really wanting to do it until I gave birth. I had this sudden pang of guilt that I needed to give my baby the best and what’s more natural than ready made mother’s milk.

Now I’m going to let you in on a secret that not many share. Exclusive expressing is much more tiring and tying than exclusive breastfeeding. Exclusive expressing is when you are purely expressing your milk and giving to your baby. Combination expressing is when you are supplementing either with the breast or bottle and expressing between. I opted for combination between formula and expressing.

One of the methods I tried was to do an hour of expressing split as follows:

  • 15 minutes expressing
  • 5 minute break
  • 10 minutes expressing
  • 10 minutes break
  • 10 minutes expressing
  • 10 minutes break

I did this twice a day for a week and it did help bring back the milk in my left breast which had significantly reduced. I also took the herbal supplement fenugreek which is suppose to help but I found it did nothing other than add another item to my daily to do list.

The best time to do your cluster expressing is after you’ve fed your little one. However, if your not breastfeeding and purely expressing try to do a cluster session in between your regular session. It is recommended to express on the same schedule as a feed on demand baby every 2-3 hours.

If you are having a down spell keep at it it will get better. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

RegarI ds

Katherine xo

Edit: I stopped expressing for a week because Christmas got in the way and I decided to have a couple of bottles of beer. Even though they say the amount of alcohol that passes is minimal I couldn’t face pumping and dumping again. I have slowly returned to expressing and my supply is quite low but considered my boobs still leak when the little one cries is probably s good thing. I’ll keep you posted on whether I regain my supply or not.

Bullying and harassment during pregnancy

Article on bullying and harassment relating to the treatment of pregnant women. Below are some of the comments, statements and feelings that I have either personally experienced during pregnancy or overheard on the train said to other ladies.

Bullying and harassment isn’t about ‘name calling’ it is a lot of things including how you treat someone. If the recipient does not like the statements or treatment this can be classified as bullying. Yes there are times when certain statements need to be made which are unpleasant to hear such as bad news – these aren’t bullying. Statements such as your fat even if you are overweight maybe factually correct but are unnecessary to be continuously mentioned especially if said in a nasty manner (even if the teller thinks their been funny). Remember there’s a time and a place for comments and we all have feelings. Pregnancy exasperates a lot of emotions so us ladies are more prone to feeling upset by things even if before we would laugh off the statement.

1. Been dictated too about what you should eat because you’ll get ‘fat’

There’s two sides to this one being based on medical advice i.e. BMI was high to start with so you should be careful not to put in too much weight on.

The other side is when people won’t let you eat even though you’re hungry because they tell you are fat. Husbands partners who constantly go on about fat instead of praising their glowing beautiful woman who is growing a miracle.

I read an article for partners of pregnant women which said how to make her feel good. On the list was numerous mentions of give her food. Surely that isn’t healthy advice! Yes we are pregnant and there may be days we are starving like our mouths were sewn up but it doesn’t mean you should force feed us. Also there are some ladies that suffer horrendously from sickness all throughout pregnancy and certain foods could make it worse.

2. Not involving pregnant women in activities that are still safe for participation just because she’s pregnant. Believe it or not pregnancy is not an illness and as long as we are physically able we would love to be invited to participate in events. Let us decide whether we can or cannot do something don’t just assume because we’re pregnant we can’t do it. There are some pregnant womenfolk who continue to body build up until they give birth!

3. Social avoidance (similar to the above)

yep a lot of pregnant women regardless of their stage of pregnancy tend to be deliberately excluded from social events. We can go on nights out and still have a good time. Yes we will be drinking virgin cocktails and probably have to get an earlier taxi home but it doesn’t mean we won’t enjoy your drunken company and a boogie on the dance floor. However, don’t use us as designated driver that just makes us to be a convenience factor for your night out.

Some women (and men) just generally avoid pregnant women. The reasons are unknown but it’s like they treat us like someone with a grossly contagious disease. You can’t can’t pregnancy!!

4 constant bump size comments like oh your having twins when your only having one or you look ready to burst and your only 16 weeks gone.

Whatever the reason for the comments why not stop and think before you speak. At the end of the day we are human and have feelings and our hormones make us even more emotionally affected by your comments. We take things to heart quicker after all we’re not made of wood!

5. Been told we shouldn’t expect or receive any special treatment because we’re not ill!

Ok I know I mentioned above pregnancy isn’t an illness but some women do suffer certain pregnancy related illnesses and conditions. All that extra weight you’re carrying eventually hurts your back. You become exhausted quicker, cannot get comfy even sat on the comfiest chair known to man. You’re constantly up and down to the toilet to pass a teaspoons worth of pee. So surely after a few months letting us sit down in the dedicated seats on a train isn’t going to end the world. Let us be able to sit and stand as we choose ie if we operate a till in the supermarket let us have a chair so we can alternate. If we work in an office and sat all day allow us more frequent breaks so we are not sat there 8 solid hours. If we drive for Business don’t expect us to be behind the wheel of the car for the whole pregnancy!

6. Is it a boy or girl, have you picked names – why won’t you share that information

Some women don’t wish to share every detail of their pregnancy with friends and family let alone a total stranger so don’t presume you’ll be told. Also there are some ladies who (like myself) waited a long time to grow a miracle and didn’t want to find out the gender before the birth just to have that extra surprise. Also forgive us if we choose not to tell you the baby names we are deciding on because after all our little miracle might not suit the name and we decide to change it when we meet them for the first time.

7. Unwanted physical contact

Pregnant women are not your personal property! Yes, society in general becomes transfixed on pregnant women, we become the centre of wanted (and unwanted) attention. Strangers walk up to you and congratulate you, some open doors for you and give up their seat whilst others make snide remarks about weight or feel the need to touch your bump. Bump touching has a mixed response in the pregnant lady community some like it but most hate it. How would you like it if we touched your belly and said oh when’s it due when in fact your either a little overweight or have a hernia or something similar. Yes it’s crossing the unseen boundary of personal space yet some just assume that a pregnant woman is no longer entitled to that personal space.

If you are really desperate to touch the bump ASK first don’t just do it. A simple polite enquiry could result in you being able to share a kick from the baby or simply been denied the opportunity in a friendly tone.

8. Announcing the birth or details of the birth before the parents. Ok not directly pregnancy related more about the birth but still important.

The expectant parents have been waiting 9 months to meet their little miracle and have picked names and a going home outfit to dress them in. They may even have booked a newborn photoshoot so they have photos to share when they wish to announce the birth of their son or daughter then a member of the family or a friend announces the birth first. Boom! Magic has left the room, the expectant parents then feel rushed into announcing the birth sooner than they liked. In this modern society a lot of people demand to know every detail of someone’s live via social media the second it happens but a lot of us want to have a specially few days / weeks of privacy before letting the world know. Don’t take the experience away from the new parents even if you’re over the moon with excitement for them. It’s their child let them announce in their own time.

Oh and don’t demand every detail of their child’s birth or even a photo. If the parents want to share that they’ll tell you!

The above isn’t an exhaustive list but just a few items that are pet peeves to most pregnant women. Please feel free to share your pet peeves in the comments below.

Katherine xo

Birth announcement

For those eager eyes amongst you waiting patiently for news of our little miracle baby. Well today you are in luck. Yes it’s a little late (3 weeks late in fact), but we’ve been in such a rollercoaster since.

Our unicorn baby was born Sunday 26th November weighing 9lb 2oz – 2 whole pounds more than his estimate. Delivery was via caesarian section due to failed induction at 41 weeks gestation. Our little man was becoming quite stressed so the consultant wanted him born as soon as possible. The staff at Darlington Memorial Hospital were absolutely wonderful and looked after me and my husband during the whole process. They kept my spirits up and kept me informed of progress.

Our son is doing perfectly well but I’m not 😢 I’ve been quite poorly on and off with my gallbladder since the birth. I cannot thank the NHS enough for their help the last few weeks and I have more care to come in the new year.

Therefore, I shall continue to take a mini break from blogging for a few more weeks whilst I get to grips with been a new mummy (and recovering).

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Christmas is about love, family and friends so treasure each moment and make memories that last a life time.

Katherine xo

BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK 9th – 15th OCTOBER 2017

Each year 9-15 October is Baby Loss Awareness Week. Throughout the week bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite with each other and others across the world to commemorate their babies’ lives.

Baby Loss Awareness Week also provides a chance to raise awareness about the issues surrounding pregnancy and baby loss in the UK. This year we are calling for improved bereavement support for families affected by baby and pregnancy loss.

In the UK, Baby Loss Awareness Week is a collaboration between more than 40 charities.

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Join us for the Global Wave of Light

Baby Loss Awareness Week finishes each year on October 15th with the global ‘Wave of Light’. October 15th is also International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and is recognised across the world.

We would like to invite you to join with other families across the world and take part in the global ‘Wave of Light’. Simply light a candle at 7pm local time and leave it burning for at least 1 hour to join us in remembering all babies that have died too soon. This can be done individually or in a group, at home or in a communal space. Wherever you do this, you will be joining a global ‘Wave of Light’ in memory of all the babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.

This year we’re also inviting you to join a digital Wave of Light at 7pm local time on October 15. To get involved, take a photo of your candle and post it to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #WaveOfLight at 7pm local time.