Have you ever wished you could have lived with the benefit of hindsight?
The old “if only I knew what I know now” scenario.
This is how breastfeeding was for me.
The absence of accessible and easy to follow information was missing in my lead up to breastfeeding.
I attended a 3-hour info session on breastfeeding with a friend at the hospital I was booked into when I was about 32 weeks pregnant and walked away feeling none the wiser.
It felt like a situation of “you’re just gonna have to wing it” when it’s time to breastfeed.
The “winging it” experience in chronological order consisted of:
- Let-down PAIN
- Nipple trauma
- Difficult latching
- Feeding baby from a cup
- Lactation Consultant (baby 5 days old)
- Embarrassed by my “feeding failure”
- Stress & uncertainty
- Panic trying to latch overnight
- Lactation consultant again (baby 2 weeks old)
- Nipple shield use (stress relief)
- Embarrassed by nipple shield needs
- Mastitis – for 7 days (baby 3 weeks old)
- Distress & delirium
- Mastitis 2 days (baby 4 weeks old)
- Out of my depth
- Lactation consultant yet again
- Learning more
- Getting closer (baby 7 weeks old)
- Nipple shield a saviour until 9 weeks
- Breastfeeding without shield ongoing until baby was 15 months and self-weaned due to new pregnancy changes to milk
What a ride hey.
So why "the 3 years too late" title?
3 years after I began breastfeeding I had an eye-opening conversation about the potential of treating mastitis in my osteopathy clinic in Melbourne, Australia. A lactation consultant phoned and asked if I treated mastitis, that ultrasound (which I have) has been useful to help women in the past and she realised I had ultrasound.
WHAT? This was news to me, and I knew from experience how bad mastitis could be. So I was all ears.
I remembered my feelings of helplessness, pain, distress & utter despair when I had mastitis. To be able to potentially help other women in the same boat could be amazing.
Thing is, there is very little information out there about how to treat mastitis.
The solution : Read. Read. Read.
Find the info myself, piece it together with the anatomy & get to work writing a protocol on the subject.
Ultrasound is one handy adjunct but having developed our massage skills of the breast, our practitioners use this strategy the most. It provides the most benefit in our opinion AND you can teach women how to treat themselves! Win win.
Had I known this 3-years earlier, maybe my mastitis experience could have been shortened and less horrendous. My education was massively lacking with regard to the breast. No one teaches you about it during your pregnancy so when that baby finally starts the breast-feeding journey with you, it really can feel like the ultimate “winging-it” situation.
Time to change that.
Author: Katie Willy
Osteopath & Your Two Jugs Co-Founder
Elise Fuller & Katie Willy
Osteopaths & Your Two Jugs Co-Founders
Elise & Katie are Melbourne based osteopaths who have been actively treating breastfeeding women in clinic since 2015. During 2020 lockdown they launched their company Your Two Jugs to educate more women about how to treat their own breastfeeding conditions. Their online video based course, Boobology, is available now with heaps of education and hands on techniques to teach women the do’s & don’ts for mastitis, blocked ducts & engorgement. More recently, Your Two Jugs launched a full health care practitioner course, called The Boob Hero, to educate manual therapists on their contribution to supporting breastfeeding women with hands on care. Empowerment all starts with education, and the more support available for women, the better.