When people learn about what I do most assume that I breastfed both my children. This would be the most common and logical thought, right? Well, this was not the case in my situation. My life was pretty hectic a few months before I had my first child (almost 12 years ago). We were moving. My husband and I drove from the Midwest to California, pulling a U-Haul and I tried my best to take many rest breaks along the way to get the blood moving in my legs and body. A few weeks after settling in I went for a routine ultrasound and after some long pauses from the ultrasound technician and then a stint in the waiting room I was told I had to go immediately to the hospital. A blood clot (DVT) was found in my upper thigh. Fast forward a few days and I was thankfully sent home and instructed to give myself an injection of medication (blood thinner) in the abdomen every day for the remaining 6 weeks of pregnancy and be on strict bed rest. No fun!
A week or so later I went in for a check-up and to see a specialist. It was during this time that my obstetrician and the specialist told me that once I gave birth I would have to continue to take an oral blood thinning medication for 6 weeks AND I could not breastfeed my child. They informed me that the medication I was to take was harmful to newborns because it passed through breastmilk. I was devastated. Crushed actually. I don't really know why I wanted to breastfeed my first baby so badly, but it was just something that I wanted to do. I wanted to experience it. I wanted to see if the breastfeeding horror stories were valid. I wanted to be the one to have that intimate connection with my baby. I wanted to be the one to decide if I could or could not handle it. I wanted to feed my baby. When that decision was taken away from me, I was deeply saddened. I shed some tears, but kept my dismay largely to myself and tried to move on.
Today marks the first post to our breastfeeding blog, Milk Matters. Milk matters to us all and there are definitely matters concerning milk nationwide and globally. To the breastfeeding mom, milk matters could pertain to so many different aspects of her day. Maybe it is the scheduling aspect of breastfeeding or pumping. It could be a question of "Why is my baby spitting up so much these days", or "Why can't I seem to make enough milk for my baby?" Then, there is the social aspect of breastfeeding. Maybe your family or friends don't feel comfortable with you breastfeeding in front of them or you feel embarrassed doing it in front of them. Whatever issues, thoughts, ideas, strategies, conflicts or successes a breastfeeding mother has, most of the time it has to do with the matter of milk.
Milk Matters is here to give you breastfeeding support, resources, advice, and tips, along with a little humor. Life is too short to be so serious and laughter is a proven strategy to reduce stress and disease. So, why not use it!
Please check back often as we hope to learn from you as much as we hope you learn or take something useful from us!
Heather Shabestari, BS, IBCLC, CEIM, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM). Her lactation training was completed through University of California, San Diego and an 8 month internship at Kaiser Permanente's outpatient lactation department.