Low milk supply is a common concern among breastfeeding mothers, and it can lead to a range of emotions and feelings. For many mothers, breastfeeding is an important part of bonding with their baby, and not being able to provide enough milk can be a source of frustration, guilt, and anxiety. As a chronic low supplier, I feel this so much in my heart and soul.
Mothers who experience low milk supply may feel a sense of disappointment or failure, as if they are not meeting their baby’s needs. They may worry that their baby is not getting enough nutrition, or that they are not doing everything they can to promote their baby’s health and well-being. For many mothers, there is an “easy fix” to the low supply that can be addressed, whether at home with supply and demand nursing, extra pumping, supplements or medications, or visiting a medical professional. For many others, there is no “fix”.
Ultimately, the most important thing for a mother is to take care of herself and her baby, and to seek support and advice when needed. In addition to that, the baby must be fed. Although I was set in breastfeeding my children, I wasn’t able to provide all of their nourishment. In the future, I will write about my experiences. I had to make the decision to supplement my children with formula or donor milk if it was available.
Here is a well written article that talks about the advantages and disadvantages of both: breastmilk and formula. It does also touch on needing to supplement with formula. It is written by Michelle Llamas, who is a Board Certified Patient Advocate, and can be found here: Breastmilk vs Formula. The website is great because their information is fact checked, so more trustworthy than other places to get your information.
Some moms condemn formula. I feel like it has a place. In my life, it was to help sustain my babies when I wasn’t able to with my breastmilk alone. I know, as many of you all know, the great many benefits of breastmilk. The immunities alone are worth it to get me through another pumping session; baby won’t get that from formula. The point I am trying to make is: I am 100% for breastfeeding but I am also glad that formula is there and available.
One of my (very many) hobbies is working my my family tree. I’ve been working on it when the mood strikes for about 15 years now. I “interviewed” my maternal grandparents as well as my mother. Since we are native Polish, my grandparents had a lot of stories of their lives during World War II, but we can leave that for another time. My mother, unfortunately, did not remember my paternal grandmother’s maiden name, so that has become my brick wall covered in cement and rebar.
Making a family tree is an exciting project that can help you learn about your family’s history and heritage. A family tree is essentially a diagram that traces your family lineage, going back as far as you can go. It starts with you and branches out downwards to your children and upwards to your parents, and their parents, and so on.
If you’re interested in tracing your family roots in Poland (since this is what my main experience is in), there are several resources you can use. Here are some steps to get you started:
Start with what you know: Begin by creating a chart that includes yourself, your parents, and your grandparents. Try to include as much information as possible, such as their full names, birth dates, and birthplaces, but only if you know them as facts.
Talk to relatives: Reach out to family members who may have information about your ancestors. They may be able to provide you with stories, photos, or documents that can help you piece together your family history. This is why I am so grateful to have gotten the information that I did when they were still alive!
Check online resources: There are several online resources that can help you search for your ancestors in Poland. One such website is the Polish State Archives (http://szukajwarchiwach.pl/), which allows you to search for vital records such as birth, marriage, and death certificates. My most favorite one to use is Genetka (https://geneteka.genealodzy.pl/), which allows you to search many parish records online.
Hire a professional researcher: If you’re having difficulty finding information on your own, consider hiring a professional researcher who specializes in Polish genealogy. They may have access to resources and databases that aren’t available to the general public.
Visit Poland: If you have the time and resources, consider traveling to Poland to visit the places where your ancestors lived. You may be able to find additional information by visiting local archives, cemeteries, or churches. I am hoping to go back one day to visit Poland. I would love to see how my town has changed as well as to look for information that I cannot get now.
Once you have gathered as much information as possible, you can start creating your family tree. There are many tools available to help you create a visually appealing chart, including software programs, websites, and even printable templates. I use MyHeritage (www.myheritage.com) as my primary family tree. I use this one the most since there are a lot of Polish people that use it.
When creating your family tree, it’s important to include as much information as possible, such as full names, birth and death dates, and relationships between family members. You may also want to include photos or other mementos to help bring your family history to life. I have recently started adding old photos to my tree. MyHeritage has many fun photo things, like animating the photographs or fixing damage.
Making a family tree can be a rewarding and enlightening experience, especially if you have roots in other countries like Poland. Any new find is extra special because it’s a bit of a harder search and I feel like it brings me closer to my roots. I hope that you can uncover fascinating information about your family’s history and create a lasting tribute to your ancestors while working on your family tree. And if you have any ideas on how to find on my paternal grandmother and her maiden name, please let me know!
There is a lot of information out there in books, videos, the internet, well intentioned older family members, etc., about breastfeeding. The problem isn’t the lack of information; it is finding the proper support. However many moms you ask on their experience with feeding a new baby and breastfeeding, you will get as many different answers, ideas and opinions. But, in that critical, tiring, amazing, time as a new mom, you don’t have time to sort through it all. You need help and you need it now.
I do suggest finding and lining up that support ahead of time, while still pregnant. It is known that if you plant to breastfeed, you will have a higher chance of being successful if you have the proper support. It could be a friend or relative that has similar views as you. It could be lining up a Lactation Consultant that you can see after baby is born. It could be attending some breastfeeding support groups.
I myself have gone through a lot with the chronic low milk supply. With each baby, I had more information that I was able to use. I made sure I had a lactation consultant I can talk with and see. But, I feel like a big part of it was attending my local LLL meetings. It is a no- to low- cost resource that should be utilized by all moms who plan to breastfeed. Not only are there support meetings, but you can also contact a leader any time for help if you have any issues.
La Leche League (LLL) is an international non-profit organization that provides information, education, and support to mothers who want to breastfeed their babies. Here are some facts about LLL:
Breastfeeding advocacy: LLL is dedicated to promoting and supporting breastfeeding as a natural and healthy way to feed babies. The organization advocates for policies that protect and support breastfeeding mothers, such as laws that protect a mother’s right to breastfeed in public.
Mother-to-mother support: LLL offers mother-to-mother support through local groups and trained leaders who have experience with breastfeeding. This support can be especially important for new mothers who may be struggling with breastfeeding or who have questions or concerns about breastfeeding.
Evidence-based information: LLL provides evidence-based information on breastfeeding and related topics, such as nutrition, child development, and parenting. The organization’s resources are based on the latest research and are reviewed by experts in the field.
Community building: LLL provides a sense of community for breastfeeding mothers who may feel isolated or unsupported. Local groups offer opportunities for mothers to connect with one another, share experiences, and learn from each other.
Cultural awareness: LLL is committed to cultural awareness and sensitivity, recognizing that breastfeeding practices and beliefs may differ across cultures. The organization seeks to provide support and information that is respectful of diverse cultural backgrounds.
As a mother with multiple kids, managing multiple tasks at once can be challenging. Cannot say how many times I have been approached and asked: “How do you do it?” With four little ones at home (and school, and activities, and life), there is always something going on. Wanted to share some of my tips and tricks:
Plan ahead: Take some time each evening or at the beginning of each week to plan out your schedule for the upcoming days. This can help you stay organized and ensure that you don’t forget any important tasks.
Prioritize tasks: Identify the most important tasks that need to be done each day and focus on completing those first. This can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and ensure that the most critical tasks get done.
Set realistic expectations: Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to do too much.
Get help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family, friends, or even hired help. Delegating tasks can help you free up some time and reduce your workload.
Take breaks: It’s important to take breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. This can help you avoid burnout and increase your productivity.
Make time for self-care: Don’t neglect your own self-care. Make time for activities that you enjoy, such as reading, exercising, or spending time with friends.
Be flexible: Remember that things don’t always go as planned, and that’s okay. Be willing to adjust your schedule and priorities as needed to accommodate unexpected events or changes in your family’s needs.
As we all navigate our children’s world with them as they’re growing and learning, I hope these tips are able to provide some type of relief to your routine. Sometimes, there is a lot going on and to take care of and plan, but lets also remember our children are only this age once. It’s ok if things aren’t always tidy and perfect. It’s ok to make the frozen pizza for dinner tonight so that you can play lego bricks with your child. They can eat some vegetables tomorrow!
As with my children before, this time wasn’t different. And I didn’t really expect it to be. I just didn’t look forward to dealing with the chronic low milk supply that I have. But, at the least, I knew what it was going to be and mentally prepared myself for that.
Breastfeeding is a natural process that provides numerous benefits for both the baby and mother. However, for some mothers, producing enough milk to sustain their newborn can be a significant challenge. Low milk supply, also known as lactation insufficiency, is a common struggle among breastfeeding mothers.
One of the primary challenges of low milk supply is the inability to meet the nutritional needs of the baby. Babies require a certain amount of milk to grow and develop properly, and when the mother is unable to produce enough milk, the baby may experience slow weight gain or even malnourishment. This can lead to health complications for the baby, but most of the time can be remedied by supplementing with donor milk or formula.
In addition to the physical challenges, low milk supply can also take a toll on a mother’s mental health. The stress and pressure of trying to produce enough milk can cause feelings of guilt, anxiety, and inadequacy. Mothers may also feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and even hopeless, especially when they’ve tried all the recommended strategies to increase milk supply, such as increasing frequency of nursing or using breast pumps. It can also lead to post partum depression or anxiety.
Low milk supply can also interfere with bonding between the mother and baby. Breastfeeding is a special and intimate experience that allows for skin-to-skin contact and promotes the release of bonding hormones. When low milk supply prevents successful breastfeeding, mothers may feel like they are missing out on this essential connection with their baby. This is especially true if the mother is pumping frequently, as it takes time being away from hands on with baby.
Finally, low milk supply can also impact the mother’s decision to continue breastfeeding. If the struggles continue for an extended period, some mothers may feel discouraged and choose to switch to formula feeding. This decision can also trigger feelings of guilt or shame, which can further worsen the mother’s mental health. Even though there is help out there for mothers, sometimes it is not easy to reach out for it.
Low milk supply can be a significant challenge for new mothers, affecting not only their baby’s health but also their mental and emotional well-being. Mothers should seek support from lactation consultants, peer groups, and healthcare providers to navigate this challenge and find the best solution for their unique circumstances. There are local branches of the LLL internationally, and can be a great resource to mothers. A wonderful and knowledgeable lactation consultant can do wonders for the mother and baby.
There have been many changes in the past few years. Not just the pandemic and the craziness that came with that; but also here in our little world. My (Alice) grandmother passed away in December of 2018 and my mother passed away in January of 2019. That was a really hard year.
But, as life kept going, kids went to school, pandemic started. That was a time to reflect, time to place boundaries in life, time to put myself and my mental health first. Kids couldn’t go to school, Bob worked 70-80 hours a week regularly, it was tough. That was a really hard year too.
In 2021, we tried to get life back up and going, went up north with the kids, swam in Lake Huron, fished, kayaked, camp fires, all the fun summer things. And a positive pregnancy test.
Pregnancy flew by, kids were excited to meet their new sibling. He was born on January 25th, 2022. My mom passed away January 24th, 2019. Coincidence? Or a beautiful gift from my mom that I miss more than I could ever put into words?
Having a child with special needs, I am not a novice when it comes to public temper tantrums. With Dex having Down Syndrome, Autism, and Sensory Processing Disorder (and more), I have witnessed it all. I have been through blocks of weeks or months during which I stopped going out unless I could do so alone. And, I have to say, there is something of a very specific experience a parent that has a child with special needs has, that most with typical children do not.
How many classmate birthday parties did we go to last school year? None. Not even for my daughter’s classmates’ parties. It is nearly impossible to get a babysitter for us and it is out of the question to take all of my children with me. There would likely be negative behaviors or messes or elopement, things we have already experienced in the past and do not wish to again. It is easier to just stay home. It’s not worth the stress and the struggle. There is less sensory overload at home and it is a safe and calm environment for a child sensory wise.
Of course, shopping usually has its own challenges. Things being thrown out of the cart… repeatedly. Hitting siblings. Screaming. Crying. Kicking. Running away. All these things make you ready to pull your hair out. We do not go unless I really need to pick something up or it’s just me alone.
Luckily, we are thankful for some pretty awesome social therapies we have been consistently working with and hope to continue to see amazing progress. Dexter has been received his regular services at school, including OT, PT, and Speech. At home and in a clinical setting, he has been involved in ABA. Although we see progress, sometimes it seems slow. Sometimes, we regress. But we will keep on doing everything we can.
My Nifty Tricks
have a bag of things in the car, ready to go for whatever. It has extra
clothes, a container of wipes, paper cups, several types of individual bags of
snacks, water bottles and juice boxes, sometimes a bag of candy or fruit snacks
for emergencies. This bag has saved us more than once.
If your child is about to tantrum because we are too close to missing a meal, I’ve got it. Need to clean sticky and uncomfortable hands? Got it. Someone spilled something on their pants? I have got this. Another accident? No worries, I have undies. You can never go wrong with extra snacks and extra clothes!
Notepad – If we are on the way out the door, I grab a small notepad and a few crayons or colored pencils. My daughter loves markers and she uses them correctly (read: Not on her skin), so she gets those. These are sure to keep a child busy while I have to pick up a few things at the store. Just plop them into the cart and hand them the stuff. Ask them to write or draw specific things or they can do free form. Or have them write you a ticket for a silly thing.
Fidget – Fidget type items will help keep your child busy and less stressed. This is especially helpful in new environments or where there may be triggers. The Busy Bracelet will help keep your child’s hands, and therefore mind, busy so that he can be calm. It will help keep their anxiety down and allow you to finish up the shopping or the appointment.
Tablet – Yes, sometimes and sometimes more than sometimes, we will use electronics. Dex is very involved in technology and loves all manner of electronics. He likes to explore to see how they work and what they can do, and has taught us a few things already that he’s learned. It is also helpful that I have a Hotspot on my cell phone so we can get internet connection on the go. These I especially use when Dexter has a long appointment and he needs several activities to make it through.
Singing – Yes, I said singing. If you keep your kiddos involved in singing, you can buy yourself some time. We love to make up silly songs. Just start singing with what you see near you, and ask the kids to throw in words when you stop, kind of like fill in the blank!
Word Games – I know, boring, right? But, hear me out. These keep kids’ brains busy while you’re driving or you guys are walking and kids are getting antsy. It is sort of a tradition when we drive to school drop off to play I spy. Our favorites include: I spy, say a word that begins with the letter…, name ten items per assigned category.
Remember, if you keep your child busy, with whatever it is, the chances of getting to a tantrum are low. Some things that can help with the sensory overload of the environment that can lead to tantrums is to keep your kiddo busy. Wrist fidgets such as the sensory bracelets and marble maze busy bracelet can help.
-Bag of Things
-Notepad & Writing Utensils
-Fidget of Fidget Toy (like a wrist fidget)
-Tablet or Other Electronics
Do you have any tips that have worked for you to add? I would love to add them to our list and our life! Please comment them below!
You know how life just goes on, it doesn’t wait if you’re falling behind? Yea? Ok, that’s been my life for the past few months. But, we’re not here to talk about parental fatigue, ‘too much to do and not enough time’ syndrome, or just plain tiredness. What I did want to talk about is part of what brought us here and now.
I remember when Dexter was born. My husband was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY, we wanted him to be born in a civilian hospital, so Gateway it was in a nearby town. They took him for a newborn screening and didn’t bring him back for a while. I was getting antsy. I wanted my baby I just birthed. The doctor came in. Looked me in the eyes and said they believe he has Down Syndrome.
Many moves across the country, specialists, procedures, tests, therapists and therapies, we fast forward to a year ago. We are told that they suspect autism. More tests, specialists later, we have a diagnosis. So, among other acronyms, our little (big!) guy has a dual diagnosis. All the sensory seeking behaviors really make sense now.
This brings us to us deciding to make sensory and teething jewelry. Dexter is my number one reason for making the sensory and fidget jewelry. He is my first tester and he and his younger brother test the durability (shall we say, quality control?).
Right now, our biggest thing we are working on is with dexter chewing on fingers. We are using the sensory chewing necklace to help with sensory input and chewing on more appropriate items. Since we just recently had these tested at an independent lab, we know for sure they are 100% safe and non toxic. What is great is that we keep on at school and one at home, so he always has one handy.
Having a necklace at the ready that he can chew on when he needs the extra input is better and safer than Dexter chewing on a pen or his fingers. It hangs on his neck and is less likely to touch germy floors or desks or doors or shoes. The break away clasp adds another safety feature: It will break open when it’s pulled. The necklace has also been incorporated in the classroom by the teacher and in our ABA therapy at home.