"When a child loses a parent they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses their partner they are widowed. When parents lose their child there is no word to describe them...simply that they are still parents" - President Ronald Reagan
October 15th marks a sad day for many parents as it's Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Although the whole month is dedicated to pregnancy and infant loss awareness thanks to President Ronald Reagan. Statistically it is thought that ¼ pregnancies ends in miscarriage. While this may seem like an odd and sobering topic for a lactation blog, for many grieving parents, lactation is still a process they have to go through, even if their pregnancy ended without a living baby.
Loss after 16 weeks may still trigger Lactogenesis - the hormonal process of making milk. This can be shocking for a parent dealing with the unexpected loss of a pregnancy. They don't have their baby. Why should they have milk? We help these parents navigate the confusing and often emotionally painful process, letting them know their options and supporting them in whichever they choose.
My baby has a confirmed allergy to dairy (cow’s milk protein) and not a single one of his pediatricians caught it. Even after cutting out dairy for weeks and noticing an accidental intake of it would cause my son’s symptoms to return 12-24 hours later, one of his doctors said, “Oh, sounds like he might have a dairy allergy or intolerance.” MIGHT! HA!
At first, his symptoms were concerning but repeated trips to his doctor’s office left me with instructions to just keep putting lotion on him because it was normal and he would outgrow it. I believed them, although I often felt like they didn’t care, but what else was I to do? Surely his PEDIATRICIANS should know how to treat my son. I knew these doctors. I knew they were very smart people and well-educated physicians. I was also a first-time mom so who was I to question to their judgement?
Now I’m over 6 months into my dairy free diet, my son is symptom free and happy, and I’ve learned that too many physicians will blame a sneeze on a dairy allergy before they recognize a baby who actually has one.
“I’m losing my milk supply and I don’t know what to do!”
I hear this anguished cry from breastfeeding parents constantly. I hear it in the clinic. I see it in Facebook support groups. I hear it from private clients when we’re doing support sessions. Perceived low milk supply is the biggest reason people give up on breastfeeding. Notice I said perceived, not true low milk supply. A VERY small percentage of mothers are biologically unable to produce enough breastmilk to feed their baby (most studies say less than 5%). Now, that doesn’t mean that low milk supply can’t develop. There are some very real things that can sabotage you and lead to true low supply. So what happens then? I usually cringe as person after person spouts the same ridiculous advice - “Drink more water!” “Try coconut water!” “Body Armour drinks”. “Starbucks Pink Drink!” “Lactation teas and cookies.” “Gatorade, but it has to be blue.” Let’s look at milk production, and then examine the effect some of these fad suggestions might have.
Working with breastfeeding moms, I get asked all the time about new products and gadgets marketed to make their lives easier. I wholeheartedly believe you are all you need for your baby, but I don't mind trying out items to review and share my opinion.
Recently, I tried out TWO new products- the Beaugen Inserts and Lacteck BabyMotion Flanges. Both companies sent me these items to review and give my honest opinion. These products have two very different methods for similar problems pumping mothers experience. *I am not receiving any compensation or endorsement from either of these companies.
Kelly Maher, CLC, CLE
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