That's the way the Lactation Cookie Crumbles
By Super Boober
Have you ever felt like screaming ‘I’m done!’. Like turning the music up so loud that you can’t hear the misguided comments. Or locking yourself away so you can’t feel the judging stares?
It seems that there is so much pressure on mums nowadays. ’Use cloth nappies, not disposables’. ’Stay home and care for your baby’. ‘Go to work and earn a living for your family’. Keep the house clean, cook healthy meals, brush your hair and look presentable, lose the baby weight, take time for your self-care, nourish yourself, smile more, do it ALL!
It’s no wonder mummy guilt is rife!
Breastfeeding your baby is one of the biggest pressure points of all. Everyone has an opinion on it (and they’re not afraid to voice it). And let’s not kid ourselves, this wonder of nature is bloody hard work!
Those first few weeks of agony — cracked and bleeding nipples, engorgement, cluster feeding till all hours of the night, and of course mum and bub both learning how to latch properly.
Breast feeding can bring a lot of self-doubt. Whether or not you have enough supply, when will your milk come in, does bub have a tie, is bub gaining enough weight, is a supplement feed needed, should you pump. And there is differing advice from ‘professionals’ that adds to your self-doubt, which is then amplified through the physical and mental exhaustion that comes with all of these things combined.
My name is Jennelle McAppion and my story started just like this. When I first tried to breast feed, I felt helpless, stressed, pressured and confused. I doubted my breastfeeding ability from the get go. I had absolutely no faith that my body would produce enough milk for my baby, and for no good reason other than that was what society had me believing.
Where did this stem from? One quick look at any social media platform will show an abundance of stories from mothers with the two breastfeeding extremes — oversupply and undersupply.
Prior to my bub joining me earth side, I was swamped by stories of women that supposedly didn’t have enough milk supply to sustain their little ones and had to switch to formula or the other extreme, where they were pumping enormous amounts of milk each day and joyfully posting pictures of the umpteen expressing bags to show off their bounty.
So, when my milk failed to come in by day five post-c-section, and my bub had been clustering on me for what felt like an eternity, I figured I fell in to the undersupply camp.
So, I stressed. And this, of course, made things worse.
My midwives simply grabbed my boob to ‘help’ to latch bub. Unsuccessfully, and so, I stressed some more.
Bub lost more than the prescribed post birth weight recommendation, and of course my stress level grew.
Hubby thought that suggesting to formula feed would solve the problem, but I so desperately wanted to give bub the best start to life through my milk, so all his suggestion did was made me feel unsupported.
Then I started pumping to try and help increase my supply, but this only increased my workload and I was beginning to feel like a jersey cow with no real benefit or end in sight — so you guessed it — I stressed even harder, ultimately resulting in post-natal depression.
It wasn’t until a lovely home visit nurse came and explained what I should be doing to get back on track with my breastfeeding journey that things all started to fall in to place. She spent time talking with me about how to do it, how often to do it, where to do it, positions, for how long, etc. She told me what to look for to ensure bub was getting enough milk.
She explained that very few women are genuinely unable to breastfeed their children due to undersupply and that stress and self-doubt were the biggest hindering factors. She also told me to ignore the breastfeeding social media groups and just focus on bub and I.
Lastly, she recommended lactation cookies to boost my milk supply — and so I got hooked on making my own cookie creations. Her guidance and advice had me feeling empowered and confident in my body’s ability again and we didn’t look back.
Propelled to help others, I have embarked on a new business venture called Super Boober — which is a reflection of that empowerment and confidence I gained through lactation cookies and through the conversations with my home visit nurse.
I want new mums everywhere to know that they are OK and they’ve got this! And I want to provide them with products that can induce, maintain and increase breastmilk supply. I want them to find their inner Super Boober!
So, it’s time to stop the pressure and start the education and support. We’ve got this!
Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.