Category

motherhood

reasons to breastfeed from a mom of 5

Why should I breastfeed?

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Classes, motherhood | No Comments

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Hi  mamas! I’m Kristin, a Lactation Link IBCLC and mom of 5. I’m here today to share with you my top 5 reasons to breastfeed. Enjoy!

We’ve all heard that “breast is best” and you’ve probably heard a few things scattered in with that to explain why—breastfed babies are healthier, or less fussy, or more attached to their parents and more.  But why is breast really best?  Why is mom’s breast literally home for babies? Why do women even want to breastfeed?

Top 5 reasons to breastfeed from a lactation consultant and mom of 5.

The following are my top five reasons why women choose to breastfeed:

  1. Nutrition: This is the food part.  Baby must be fed, of course!  Breastmilk has balanced nutrition tailored just right for your baby.  You could call it 100% organic!  
  2. Immunities: You’ve probably heard that breastmilk has lots of probiotics in it, which is true, and so important for a developing tummy!  It also has a ton of disease-fighters that can’t be found anywhere but breastmilk!  (1)
  3. Emotional: This is the emotional component that breastfeeding fulfills for both mom and baby.  We know this is true because oxytocin, the “love hormone” (the same one that is vital in labor and present during sex), is released during breastfeeding. Research also tells us that breastfeeding can be protective against postpartum depression (2). This emotional aspect is also why women who thought they’d wean at six months or one year continue to breastfeed because it brings joy to their babies and themselves.
  4. Convenience: You never leave home without your breasts, so there’s so much less “equipment” required!  Some women are worried that leaving baby may be inconvenient as they’ll have to pump, but the milk is always there and can be expressed on your timetable, though it needs to be regularly removed.  You’ll never need to run to the store in the middle of the night because you ran out of formula!  You’ll also save hours per week (shopping for formula, disposing of the cans, mixing the bottles, washing the bottles, etc)
  5. Cost savings: Did you know that formula for a year can cost $3000 or more, and even more if a special formula is necessary?  If you need a breast pump for some mother/baby separation time, click here to see how to get a free pump through your insurance.  You may also save money on healthcare because studies show that breastfed babies are generally have less sick-visits to the pediatrician, less infections, and recover from normal childhood illnesses more quickly than their formula-fed peers. (3)

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Breastfeeding is important to different women for different reasons, all of which are completely valid.  What’s important is that you are supported in the choices you make for you and your baby.  That’s our whole mission — Creating Confident Moms!  Why did you choose to breastfeed? Share in the comments.

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Now that you know why you should breastfeed, learn a few quick things on how to get started with our top ten tips.

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You can learn more about the benefits of breastfeeding, how to help get a good latch, providing breastmilk during mother/baby separations and more with our breastfeeding video classes!  Many moms have told us how our breastfeeding classes was the best thing they bought for their baby. They are available on-demand to fit into your busy life.  If you need personal help to overcome an issue, we can meet you for an in-person or e-consult to troubleshoot!

Thanks for coming by,

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Kristin Gourley, IBCLC

Sources

(1) Vorbach, Capecchi, Penninger (2006) BioEssays. “Evolution of the mammary gland from the innate immune system?” <https://ai2-s2-pdfs.s3.amazonaws.com/767f/676444e333a47fbb7a6b9e7442c942944023.pdf>

(2) Pope, C.J., Mazmanian, D. (2016) Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: An Overview and Methodological Recommendations for Future Research. Depression Research and Treatment. doi:  10.1155/2016/4765310. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4842365/ 

(3) Bartick, M.C., Schwarz, E.B., Green, B.D., Jegier, B.J., Reinhold, A.G., Colaizy, T.T., Bogen, D.L., Schaefer, A.J., and Steube, A.M. (2016). Suboptimal Breastfeeding in the United States: Maternal and Pediatric Health Outcomes and Costs. Maternal and Child Nutrition, doi: 10.1111/mcn.12366. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mcn.12366/full

Riordan J and Wambach K. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, 4th ed. Boston, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2010, p. 628.

Lactation Link & Big City Moms + GIVEAWAY

By | Breastfeeding, Features, motherhood | No Comments

bcg-imageCalling all Boston mamas! I’m so excited to announce that Lactation Link will be attending the Big City Moms – Biggest Baby Shower Ever event in Boston on Thursday, December 8th! The event is at The Westin Boston Waterfront from 6:00-9:30pm. 

I will be a featured speaker on the panel! I’m excited to talk about how preparing to breastfeed can help create confident moms. You can buy your tickets to the event on their website.

Be sure to stop by our booth, you won’t want to miss it! We will have a giveaway valued over $1000 and growing! 

If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, we have a ticket to give away today! Enter here. Or by clicking on the image below.

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Be sure to follow along that week on our snapchat (username: lactationlink) and Instagram stories! Hope to see you there! Can’t wait to meet my Boston mamas!

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

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How to pump breastmilk as a college student

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, Features, motherhood | No Comments

Hi mamas! I think you are going to love today’s interview with a student mom about her experience expressing milk and being a mom on a college campus. Gabrielle Lysenko is a student at the University of Utah pursuing a degree in nursing. She is a mother of two: a 3 year old daughter and a 6 month old son. She and her husband Adam live with their two children in Utah.

Learn how one mom received the support she needed to breastfeed as a student. Read tips on how to get the support you need to pump…

How has your university supported breastfeeding and caring for your baby while you are a student?

On-campus childcare

First, they offer on-campus childcare at a highly subsidized rate. Your monthly payment is based on your income but never exceeds $9/hour which is very competitive. The children are cared for by people with childhood education degrees and the environment is very comfortable. They care for my baby the way I would by accommodating cloth diapers, feeding breast milk by bottle or breast depending on my preference, formula feeding, or offering solids. They also baby wear. These people are pros. I’ve seen them soothing three babies at a time while each one sleeps happily on their lap, chest, or snuggled into their side.

They always welcome me into the classroom for feedings or just to play with my baby in between classes.  I’ve heard them talking about how much they miss the babies over weekends and breaks as well. They truly love our children.

Lactation Rooms + Family Area
Then there’s the multiple lactation rooms on campus. They have computers, printers, private feeding cubicles with closing doors and outlets to plug in breast pumps as well as comfortable rocking chairs and tables to place homework or pumps on. There is a freezer to store pumped milk in as well. There are toys, books, and a tv with children’s shows to entertain older kids while their parents work. There are even private group study rooms in this family area should you need a more peaceful environment.

Supportive staff
But you don’t always have to go out of your way to find an environment compatible with family life. I take my son to all my anatomy TA and supplementary instruction hours. He cries sometimes and coos as babies do. Everyone giggles a bit because he usually strikes a complaint right after the TA asks a particularly difficult question, seemingly voicing all of our complaints. The TA’s and other students have told me they don’t mind at all having him in class.

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But perhaps the most surprising thing has been breastfeeding uncovered during TA hours. My son usually gets cranky and has to eat around that time, but no one has ever batted an eye. The TA’s and other students still talk to me and work out problems while my son is latched. If it ever made them uncomfortable, I never knew.  I’ve felt more comfortable having my baby with me on campus than I have in other public areas. The University of Utah as well as their students and employees are very understanding, welcoming, and accommodating.

What inspired you to go back to school?

I read an article that showed, scientifically speaking, children are more inclined to go on to get a college level degree if their mothers have one. It had always been important to me, but I was really happy being a mom. Then, as I re-embarked on my educational journey, I realized how much more there was for me. I saw what it was to be a person outside of my family. For the first time in my life, I had something that was just mine that I could be proud of. It was at that point I decided I wanted a degree I could actually use after I graduated. I wanted it all: to be a career woman and a mother. I wanted my children to see how hard I was working to accomplish something so they knew they could do it too. I also realized that having something to fulfill myself would make me a better mother. So far, that’s been absolutely true and I am beyond glad I made this decision.

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What tips do you have for other mothers of young children that are considering more education?

Make absolutely certain you have a good support system. Your whole family has to be on the same page. After that, let all other fears fall away and enjoy the journey. Learning is invigorating. Don’t deny yourself that pleasure by worrying about how much TV your kids are watching or how badly you’re eating (guilty). Your college career is a small blip in the span of your life and your children’s’ lives. They’ll be better for it and so will you.

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For more information on how to get support for expressing milk as a student, visit The Pregnant Scholar. And to find out what resources your university has for parents, visit Pregnant On Campus.

It seems that Gabrielle has found such an incredible support system that has helped her be confident in her choices. I wish you all the same! If you have been a student as a mother, what helped you the most? Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Thanks for coming by,

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Lacey Parr, CLEC

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How to pump breastmilk as a teacher

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, motherhood | One Comment

Hi mamas! I’m Lacey Parr, a certified lactation educator and mom of three. I am super excited to interview a mom today who worked full-time as a high school teacher and pumped while at work for all four of her children. We’ve heard from our support forum and clients that being a teacher can be one of the more challenging professions when it comes to pumping at work – the kids are always depending on you!   Mandi Boyd has done it successfully through 4 babies – sharing her tips and experiences below.

Learn from a mom of 4 how she fit breastfeeding and pumping into her life as a teacher. Get tips on breastfeeding success as a teacher.
What influenced your decision to express your milk?

I chose to pump because I wanted to continue breastfeeding. I fell in love with the bonds formed and convenience of breastfeeding while on maternity leave. I knew it would be difficult if not impossible, to continue if I didn’t pump. Another major reason was due to the fact that we would be able to save a substantial amount of money if I expressed my milk. Pumping just made more sense for our family financially. Another motivating factor was guilt. I, like many mothers, harbor guilt for all sorts of things (i.e. not having a perfectly clean home, lack of made-from-scratch meals, kids watching too much t.v., etc. ). I felt guilty that I wasn’t staying home with my children all day! However, one thing I could provide was breastmilk. So pumping was an easy choice.

How did you prepare to express milk at your job before the baby arrived?

Before each of my babies were born, I informed my supervisor that I would be pumping when I returned from maternity leave. I share an office with another teacher and I also told her about it. I already had a small refrigerator in my office and a sink that had hot water, so I was lucky to have those so close.  I also made sure I had my breastpump ready to go before returning to work.  

How did your workplace support your decision to express milk at work?

My supervisors when my oldest and youngest were born were very supportive. When I informed them I would be doing it they both told me if I needed anything to let them know.  The single most important and supportive person at work was my office mate, Amy. Pumping would have been much more difficult had she not been so supportive. Anytime my pumping ran late, she would let my students in the classroom and see that they started their assignments. She graciously gave up her office whenever I was pumping for my privacy.  

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{Petunia Pickle Bottom Parkway Tote}

What tips and advice do you have for other teacher moms who plan to express milk at work? 

If you don’t have your own refrigerator, buy one. I bought a small one for about $60. It’s worth it not to have to share with anyone and risk getting your liquid gold thrown out! Plus you’ll have something close by to keep your lunch/drinks cold too.

If you don’t have a sink in the area you are pumping, buy extra milk containers and a simple  plastic dishpan to throw them in the fridge until you wash. That way you can have enough to pump all day with out having to wash everything until the end of the day.

Set up procedures in your class to allow for when your pumping may run over into classtime. I always had a bellringer (a short assignment) on the the board when the students arrived to class. They knew to begin the assignment as soon as they arrived.

If you receive kindness, reciprocate it. People will always do more when they feel appreciated. For Amy, my office mate, I offered and  covered her classes often. I thanked her everyday, wrote her notes, gave her simple gifts, brought her lunch, and became her friend. She has since told me that those kindnesses meant a great deal to her.

Use your pumping experience as a teaching opportunity. Whenever I returned from maternity leave or began the new school year, I would explain to each of my classes about my choice to breastfeed and that I would be pumping in my office throughout the day.  Whenever they asked questions, I was honest. I shared the joys and convenience of breastfeeding with them. I saw my secondary students as future parents. It was my hope that my commitment and sacrifice would make an impression on them. I have encountered several former students the past few years who’ve reported that they are breastfeeding!

And most of all, it’s worth it. To be able to instantly reconnect with my babies everyday, provide them with the best nutrition, nurse on-demand when I was with them, and save a ton of money by FAR outweighed any inconvenience I encountered while pumping. 

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I hoped you loved this interview as much as me! I know personally that her example has inspired others to create goals for breastfeeding and see them as attainable! I also appreciated her emphasis on the savings that breastfeeding can bring. By expressing her milk for her 4 kids, she saved her family close to $10,000! We have a whole class on Pumping and Storing Breastmilk that can help you with all the information you need to safely express, store, thaw, and deliver breastmilk to your infant successfully. If you need a breast pump, you can get a free one through your insurance here.

Any experiences expressing milk in the workplace?  Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lacey Parr, CLEC

5 ways grandparents can support breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Classes, community breastfeeding support, motherhood | No Comments

Hi mamas! I’m Lacey, a certified lactation educator and mom of three. I’m here today to talk about how grandparents and family members can support a new or seasoned mom while she is breastfeeding her new baby.

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I am grateful I had family that supported my decision to breastfeed. Mothers and grandmothers can be very influential to a new mother. By driving me to breastfeeding consultations and sometimes latching the baby herself, my mother gave me the strength and courage to keep going.  When I was struggling, she recalled what helped her through breastfeeding struggles. She encouraged and supported me and when she didn’t have the answers, she helped me find them. 

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How grandparents can help support breastfeeding

  1. Buy a breastfeeding class off mom’s registry. Our breastfeeding video classes are available to be added to a Babylist registry! Our classes cover everything from positioning, latch and common problems with breastfeeding.
  2. Encourage and uplift. Support her decision to breastfeed by encouraging and complimenting her on the gift she is giving her baby.
  3. Help around the house. Help with meals and housework. If mom has other children, take them for a fun outing.
  4. Be the door bouncer. Well-meaning family and friends might want to stop by the hospital or home to see new mom and baby. If the new mom isn’t comfortable with visitors yet, be the “bouncer” so mom doesn’t have to turn away them away herself.
  5. Cuddle and swaddle baby. Sometimes grandparents want to help by feeding baby for mom. In the early days, it’s usually best that baby be at the breast to help encourage a healthy milk supply. Support the new mom by bonding with baby after a feed when mom needs a break.

Learn 5 ways grandmas can support a new breastfeeding mother. Learn how grandmas can be the bouncer. Send this to your mom, thank us later!

How did your mother or grandmother help you breastfeed? Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Photos by Cate Johnson.

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Lacey Parr, CLEC

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Sources

Mueffelmann, Rebecca E. , Racine, Elizabeth F., Warren-Findlow, Jan, & Coffmann, Maren J.,  (2015). Perceived infant feeding preferences of significant family members and mothers’ intentions to exclusively breastfeed. Journal of Human Lactation, vol. 31 (no. 3), 479-489. 

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5 ways partners can support breastfeeding

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, community breastfeeding support, Lactation Link team, motherhood | No Comments

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Hi mamas! I’m Lacey, a certified lactation educator and mother of 3. I am here today to talk about how partners can support a mother in her breastfeeding experience. First I want to share a little of my own experience.

Read the top 5 way partners can support a breastfeeding mother from a mom of 3 and lactation educator. Start with a breastfeeding class…

My support system starts with my partner and I am grateful he gives me the support I need to breastfeed. I was lucky that my mother-in-law breastfed all her babies and being the 2nd oldest of 6 kids, my husband was no stranger to breastfeeding. We knew that breastfeeding was what we wanted to do, even though we weren’t prepared. (Our hospital breastfeeding class was cancelled a couple weeks before my due date, they gave us movie tickets instead — yikes). The first few days were a struggle and he stood by me and encouraged me. He made sure food was made and took care of the household. He brought me books and snacks while I was helping our baby boy through those newborn marathon feeding sessions. He encouraged me to get more breastfeeding support when I had questions and concerns. I am grateful for his support, because in my vulnerable postpartum position, I needed reassurance more than anything.

5 ways partners can support breastfeeding

  1. Attend a breastfeeding class with her. The more you know, the more you can help! You can watch our video classes anytime.  Partners love our classes because they are so convenient and can be watched in the comfort of your own home.  dsc_1535
  2. Take on extra responsibilities.  Mom and baby will be spending lots of time breastfeeding.  Now plan for it. What gives her the most stress? Dishes? Cooking? Laundry? Plan to do more to help out and get creative with additional sources of help.  Consider a bi-monthly housekeeper for a few months.  Consider a meal delivery service.  Think about a diaper delivery service. 
  3. Be a cheerleader. When she is second-guessing herself and her abilities, encourage her. Help her find more resources if needed. We can help with online and in-person consultations.
  4. Baby care. Diapers/burping/babywearing/swaddling are all great things for partners to do! When baby is done feeding, you can help baby burp by holding him/her chest to chest and applying some firm upward pressure with your fingers. You can also be a diaper changing superhero! Babies thrive when being held. When baby doesn’t want to be put down and mom needs a shower, you can wear the baby in a carrier. When my baby was ready for sleep, my husband became the champion swaddler.dsc_1870dsc_1815
    {Ergobaby adapt carrier}

    {Ergobaby Adapt Carrier}

  5. Be there, whenever you can. Many Moms find it supportive when their partner will bring the baby from the bassinet to the mom each time baby wakes to feed during the night. Others really enjoy when their partner can give them a break as needed by babywearing or rocking baby.

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We couldn’t do what we do as moms if it weren’t for great support from our partners! I like to remind partners that the more they are a part of preparation and plans prior to birth, the easier it will be to help after! How did your partner support you? If you are a single mom, how did you find the help and support you needed? Share in the comments.

I’ve created a free e-mail course to help you get breastfeeding started on the right foot! Click the image below for more info.

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Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

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How one soldier got the breastfeeding support she needed

By | Breastfeeding, Breastfeeding support, breastfeeding tips, Features, motherhood, Uncategorized | One Comment

Today in honor of Veteran’s Day, we wanted to show our respect and gratitude for all active and retired military, especially the many mothers who are in the military. We are so grateful for your sacrifice and send our love to you!

Today we are highlighting Leslie Felder SSG, USAR. She is an Army Staff Sergeant and is sharing her experience breastfeeding and pumping as a soldier. Enjoy!

With my first child in 2012, the Army did not have a specific regulation addressing female soldiers’ needs for pumping.  I found that what it did have written most likely hurt more than it helped. Pumping logistics were left up to the soldier, their supervisor, and command team.  They were to come up with a specific plan that could meet the needs of the army, unit, mission, and soldier.  Most often, in that order. After my second baby, the Army created a new breastfeeding policy.

Learn how one soldier got the breastfeeding support she needed. Learn how she was able to pump and store milk while away for training.

Some of the negativity I received came from lack of understanding of how breastfeeding worked and the needs of a lactating mother. A few things that worked in my favor to get me and other females in the unit support were: I am a Staff Sergeant and Platoon Sergeant and could advocate for my subordinates, I became a certified lactation educator counselor (CLEC), and the Army later published the Army Directive 2015-43, the Revised Breastfeeding and Lactation Support Policy. These things coupled with being in a Combat Support Hospital made breastfeeding in uniform more doable. That’s not to say we did not have challenges.

Click through to learn how Leslie and another soldier pumped while away for several days at a training.

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Infant Loss Awareness + Support

By | motherhood | No Comments

dsc_6615After last week’s post on Infant Loss Awarenss month, we got a lot of questions, so we want to follow up with some more about this senstive topic. Joining us today is Dr. Cassidy Freitas, Ph.D. Dr. Cassidy is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She holds a regular mothers support group at her private practice in San Diego and can be found on Instagram @drcassidy

Pregnancy and infant loss is undoubtedly one of the hardest journeys a parent will ever experience. There is a very strong chance that you know someone who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss.  About 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. While stillbirth occurs in less than 1 percent of pregnancies, this is still approximately 24,000 babies who are stillborn in the United States each year. Infant deaths within the first 24 hours of birth and SIDS are experienced annually by thousands of families. As with many parts of motherhood, we don’t all walk the same journey or face the same challenges. Even in loss, we can each experience it differently. It is all too common for these mothers to grieve in isolation.

Pregnancy and infant loss is undoubtedly one of the hardest journeys a parent will ever experience. Great tips on how to deal with it and how to support...To the mama who never got to meet her baby, bring her baby home, or watch her child grow, here is what I want you to know:

  1. You are not alone. While every experience is unique, there are others who know this type of loss and pain. Find a community or support system to literally or metaphorically hold your hand and walk this journey with you.
  2. Loss and grief is not something you “get over.” You move through grief as it evolves. It is common for triggers to elicit new grief reactions. Seeing other mothers, becoming pregnant again, important dates, all of these things can bring a new layer of the grieving experience. This is normal. If you find yourself having a difficult time functioning for a prolonged amount of time, it is possible that grief has shifted to depression and/or anxiety. These are different experiences, and in addition to natural support require professional care as well.
  3. Talk openly with your partner about both your experience and theirs, acknowledging that partners often experience this type of loss differently.

For the person who is trying to support someone through this loss, you don’t need to fix it. Often times, especially in this case, words can’t actually change anything. What can be healing is being there, continuously. Honor the child who was lost; speak their name if they were given one. Honor important dates like birthdays and due dates and loss dates. We often want to make the pain going away, but looking for the silver lining is rarely helpful. If you do think you maybe said the wrong thing, don’t let it shame you into withdrawing. It’s ok. Just keep showing up.

The following are some possible resources if you’ve experienced pregnancy or infant loss:

https://pregnancyafterlosssupport.com

http://www.stillmothers.com

http://www.postpartum.net 

Thanks for joining us today Dr. Cassidy. I especially appreciated her tips on how to help friends who are struggling through loss. If you have experienced loss, what did friends say or do that helped you the most? Share in the comments. 

Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC

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ABC Kids Re-cap and Favorite Products

By | Breastfeeding support, Features, Media, motherhood, Uncategorized | No Comments

Hi mamas! I had such a great time at the ABC Kids Expo last week! I got a behind-the-scenes look at some of the newest and best baby products out there. I shared lots on Instagram stories of the people and products I met. Don’t worry if you missed those, you can view the highlights in my video below.


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Ergobaby has new prints in their Original carrier. Loving the black twill and denim prints especially.

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I love their new nursing pillow covers and swaddle prints. Check out the video for a peek at their new diaper bags! These will be available spring 2017.

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I am really excited about Bamboobies pumping lubricant. Many of my clients love their nursing pads and nipple cream too. You can use code ‘LLINK20’ for 20% off on their site.

Click through for more new and fabulous baby gear! Read More

Infant Loss Awareness Month

By | Breastfeeding, motherhood | No Comments

This month during Infant Loss Awareness month, we wish to show love and compassion for the women and families who have had the heart-wrenching experience of infant loss.  We send our love and light to all of you who have experienced this – in all of its forms. We see you, we love you. With the personal stories that are shared today, we hope you feel some solidarity and support in your experience.


Emily’s Story

14812900_10154735455613274_1764331127_oMiscarriage is hard. For me, miscarrying the first time vs the fourth time was just as hard. I question over and over again if I did something wrong that caused it, or if there was something I could go back and change to keep it from happening. To help me cope with miscarrying, I found myself reading blog posts and forums about other women’s experiences with miscarriage. I also found that journaling about my experience and feelings was really therapeutic and it also helped for when someone wanted to talk about it, I had already tried to make sense of my over-abundance of emotions on paper.
After I miscarried my first, a family friend who was an OBGYN said to me, “Oh don’t worry about it, 1 in 4 women miscarry.” His words were far from helpful and they brought me to tears as I stood in front of him. What I’ve learned from what he said is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Seek out others who have had similar experiences and connect over this very raw and fragile event. There is strength in numbers and I have made many beautiful friendships as I’ve been willing to open up and reach out to others who have miscarried.
~Emily Manning

Roman’s story

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Last year I gave birth to a baby boy named Roman with a very rare and terminal lung disease. For the first 2 weeks of his life he was so fragile the doctors wouldn’t let us hold him. Even too much physical touch could send him into distress. So for two weeks we sat and watched and waited and prayed for a miracle. And I pumped. I pumped and I pumped and I pumped.  I pumped so much the nurses nicknamed me “Bessy”. Almost every other motherly duty had been taken from me, and the one thing I could still do for my child was to provide him with the nourishment of my breastmilk, even if the only way he could receive it was through a feeding tube. Roman eventually did grow stronger and soon we were able to hold and snuggle with him, even though he could never tolerate nursing.  At 3 months of age Roman took a turn for the worse. The stress of seeing him decline definitely affected my milk supply. I was only pumping 1/10 of what I used to. There were days the doctor would have “the talk” with us and I didn’t want to pump at all. Soon my milk was almost completely dried up, but by this time Roman’s disease had progressed enough that we knew it would soon be time to let him go. The best advice I received while in the NICU was, “If you want to be there for your child, then you first must take care of yourself.” As mothers we often put everyone else’s needs before our own and we simply forget how important our own physical, emotional, and mental well- being is. During the last few days of Roman’s life I was so grateful that I could spend that precious time with him without the stress of pumping and feeling engorged. Roman passed away in my arms just 1 day shy of turning 4 months old.  Losing a child is awful, but trials do make you stronger and I’m proud to be able to look back at the strength I’ve gained through this experience. ~Kelley Airapetov

Nathan’s story 

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My Nathan was 3 days shy of six months and exclusively breastfed when we lost him to SIDS. His big appetite had created an abundant milk supply so it was only a matter of hours when aching breasts joined my aching heart over the sudden loss of my sweet baby. So what do you do when your milk is suddenly not necessary? The frequent feeling of breast fullness is a constant reminder of your loss. I did become uncomfortably engorged pretty quickly, but my milk supply dwindled with time.  I did hand express in the shower just enough to make the pressure bearable and avoid mastitis. Within 10 days my milk was pretty much gone.  If you are dealing with an established milk supply, I suggest to not bind your chest, because it will be painful and can trap milk and cause mastitis. Just wearing a supportive bra and leaving your breasts alone as much as possibly might be all you need. 

A few weeks into my grief and healing I looked for something to do with the 400 ounces of liquid gold in my freezer. At that point the only mother’s milk bank I found that was taking donations was in Colorado. I did talk to them, but the screening process and procedure were more than my broken heart could handle at the time, so all my hard work and sacrifice to feed my baby got old in my freezer and went down the drain. Fortunately, Mother’s Milk banks are on the rise, and it has become easier to donate milk since then. ~Amy Mitton


Thank you all for sharing your stories and your heart with us. We wish any parent with loss, seen and unseen, true peace.  You can view more stories and connect with other parents that have experienced loss at Still Standing Magazine and The Compassionate Friends. You can also join support groups about infant loss at Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss.  If you would like more information on donating expressed milk visit Human Milk Banking Association of North America.

Thanks for stopping by,

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Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC