This is a special message to all my clients who have recently had their babies and are breastfeeding.
While decluttering a bookcase this week I came across this Baby Journal which I kept after the birth of my first child more than 25 years ago. Near the beginning is an account of the night we thought my milk had “dried up” when he was just ten days old. I was so frightened by the way my breasts suddenly seemed empty and soft, and by the way the baby was screaming and screaming (he did a huge burp an hour later and went straight to sleep) so I made my husband make up a bottle of formula milk in the middle of the night, something neither of us had ever done before. How well I remember that fear: “I don’t have enough milk”. It’s a worry so many mums experience especially when there is a change in the way the baby feeds or the way their boobs feel.
I called an NCT breastfeeding counsellor the next day and learned that my breastmilk cannot just “dry up”. But a few weeks later I became convinced that I didn’t have “enough milk” for my baby and I began supplementing with formula. In those days, we were told to start feeding a sort of wallpaper paste called “baby rice” to our babies at – wait for it – three months old! So that’s what I did. Because everyone did it.
How I wish I had looked for better informed support again, or had the opportunity to read things such as this blog post by London breastfeeding counsellor and IBLC Emma Pickett . I think it is one of the best summaries I have ever read of how we THINK our breastmilk is “drying up” or “insufficient”.
Please read Emma’s post even if you are not worried about your milk supply yet. I had better add: I don’t know her personally, and she hasn’t asked me to share it – I am just doing so because I think it is a good article. And I wish I had read it 25 years ago.