I’ve blogged about this before, about my struggles with my breastfeeding journey. The first two days of agony, post-birth, when I would latch Huru and he suckled away relentlessly but not a drop of milk came out. By day 3, I was frustrated and in tears. My husband tried asking if there was medication to increase milk supply as the nurses tried to encourage me, telling me it wasn’t unusual for breastfeeding to take some time for some mothers, to no avail. I finally balled my eyes out and asked for a moment before Huru could be brought to me. I wasn’t ready to fail him again. When I was finally more composed, he was put in my arms and alas! After a few suckles, we had milk! I remember grinning so widely at him and enjoying the moment.
But when we got home a few days later, I felt like my supply was just dwindling and it further added to my feeling discouraged. I couldn’t seem to win! After 3 days of soup, porridge, water and yes, even pills meant to enhance lactation, I called on a Lactation Expert and the first thing she told me was to relax. We went through the basics of latching and how best to hold the baby. I tried and tried until I got it right and when I went back on the breast-pump to express again, I improved over the next few days and weeks! All was well again until I went back to work. My supply would dwindle again until it gradually disappeared. I was devastated. This isn’t the case with all mothers but going back to work certainly affected my supply more than I had anticipated it would! By month 5, I was all out…
I still feel like there is so much more I could have done but I’m also aware that as a first time mum, we criticise ourselves relentlessly while trying to take in all the advice around us. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t. But that’s what makes this a journey. What I find unacceptable is the amount of mum-shaming that so many amazing new mothers have to endure, because they don’t amount to someones opinion of what’s right. If you’re struggling to breastfeed, seek medical advice and accept that you may have to resort to other options and that’s okay, as long as baby is happy and healthy.
I am SO VERY pro-breastfeeding; I’m sure you may have noticed from my social media timeline, projects and forums that I have moderated. I believe its possible that most mothers CAN and SHOULD breastfeed, if possible for 6 months exclusively. However, we need to support ALL mothers, even those struggling to get it right or for whatever reason, who need to supplement their baby’s feed.
I want to thank all the partners, relatives, friends, lactation experts, nurses, experts and organisations working to support breastfeeding mothers everywhere. I hope that someday, the progress made by Hon. Sabina Chege on the breastfeeding bill will be implemented by organisations, that we will have more open and honest conversations about what is keeping close to 40% of mothers from breastfeeding in Kenya and how we can empower communities and support systems, particularly men, to better support breastfeeding mothers. It takes all of us. ❤️
August 5, 2017 at 8:23 am
Being a first time mum, my baby had to start on formula for the first week. It was a struggle mentally and emotionally. I felt like I was a bad mum because I wasn’t providing for my baby. Someone told me, “breastfeeding is all in the mind. Ni wewe hujatune your mind to it. Otherwise maziwa ingekuwa inatoka by now”. That was the worst statement for me as a first tike mum to hear.I didn’t know how to hold her when breastfeeding despite having a feeding pillow.I thank God for my husband as he was so encouraging and helpful. Through YouTube and lots of practice I learnt the different breastfeeding positions. It’s now 2months 1week and I am now confident and comfortable with breastfeeding.
September 24, 2017 at 12:02 pm
Thank you for your honesty Wanjiku. It’s true, a lot of us who either struggled to breastfeed or had to start on formula are made to feel like we’re not trying hard enough, but as long as mummy and baby are happy and healthy, as we have the support of our partners or families plus doctors, it is well!
October 22, 2017 at 2:41 pm
Hey Janet…am Juliana Komu a second year student at Kenyatta university undertaking my bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and dietetics.Its true that exclusive breastfeeding can be a challenge and more so on the first few days after delivery…Most mother’s get so frustrated and are forced to use alternatives such as baby formula…latching and attachment is key during the first hours of life and a partner is also very key in this process…Am interested in going through the process especially with new moms…I would like to work with you on this to make motherhood much more fulfilling.
October 22, 2017 at 4:30 pm
Hi and thank you for your comment! Yes it’s definitely true and the reasons vary. I usually say it’s best to walk with your doctor or a Lactation Expert so that you make the best decision for you and your baby. Thank you for showing concern in such a key issue!
August 13, 2017 at 5:17 am
What are some of the reasons why mother’s milk supply decrease after going to work? Is there a way to maintain milk supply?
September 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm
Hi Rahab! Sorry I’m coming back to you so late on this one! There are many reasons. I would hate to pretend to be an expert, perhaps I can advise that you check with a medical practitioner or online? Let me know how it goes?
September 1, 2017 at 3:08 pm
hi Janet, i have gone through your blog and honestly am impressed with your courage and agility of motherhood . I have just started writing and like your blog its more of encouraging and inspirational purposes. i would like someday to guest blog in your blog someday.
Keep up the good works.
September 24, 2017 at 11:43 am
Thank you dear! Keep blogging! You may help someone out there ??
September 21, 2017 at 9:26 am
I also didnt have much milk; I was also out on the fifth month partly cus i was going through something and i had already gone back to work. I hope to breastfeed more on my next baby.. Great article!
September 24, 2017 at 7:25 pm
Hi Janet, I love your blogs that addresses the beauty, struggles and solutions for mums. Kindly share your Cs healing process. I just welcomed my 2nd born via Cs and it hasn’t been easy . Thank you and may God bless you.
September 24, 2017 at 7:41 pm
Hi dear! Thank you so much for saying that! Regarding my CS healing, I took it easy, didn’t bend or strain myself too much. Doctor’s orders. May I suggest you seek medical advice if it persists? Pole. But congrats on your bundle of joy all the same! ?❤
September 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm
I love how candid you are with the struggles you faced in your motherhood journey. It resonates with so many other moms I believe.
also, I am that one binge reading on your blog today 🙂
September 30, 2017 at 7:43 pm
Yay! Thank you! What’s your favourite post so far? ?