A Message from Jessica Hickey, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Mom and Fed is Best Advocate and Volunteer
Hello, I just want to say thank you for making this information free and available on the internet. I was made aware of your website by my husband’s aunt, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner, about 6 weeks after I gave birth to my first child in December of 2016. Prior to giving birth my husband and I attended a birthing class that had a breastfeeding component. In hindsight, the class was completely inadequate and a waste of time. My labor was long as my son had flipped posterior at some point during the labor process, but I was able to have a vaginal birth with an epidural. I had decided to breastfeed exclusively and things went alright while in the hospital. The pediatrician who saw us while still in the hospital sent us home with some formula, just in case. I continued to breastfeed once we arrived home and my milk came in on day 4.
I had no idea that supplementing was even something that I could do to prevent jaundice and weight loss during those first few days. Around day six I noticed that I was nursing him on both breasts, but he was crying and inconsolable after eating. Both my husband and I tried walking him around, putting him back on the breast, anything to calm him down. My parents were staying with us to help with the baby and my mother suggested that my son was probably still hungry. At that moment I felt like a failure, but I warmed up a half-ounce of the formula and offered it to my son. He drank it down and was content and went to sleep. At every feeding, after that, I continued to nurse and then offer formula at the end of the feeding, in case he was still hungry. If it hadn’t been for that doctor sending home formula and my mother being there to tell me my baby was hungry I don’t know if I would have supplemented.
I didn’t have the proper information to make that kind of decision. I looked at the pregnancy books that I had bought and been given, I read back through the pamphlet about breastfeeding that I was given at the hospital, I checked websites. Every single resource told me that all women have enough milk to feed their babies and that insufficient milk supply is rare. I beat myself up for the first month and felt terrible every time I made him a bottle. I had no idea how toxic the “breast is best” message that was seared into my mind had become.
The light at the end of the tunnel was being referred to your website by my husband’s aunt. With tears streaming down my face I sat and watched one of your presentations on infant feeding on YouTube and finally found the information I had been seeking. There was nothing wrong with me, I just didn’t have enough milk for my baby like the 20-40% of other first time mothers. I was completely normal! I cried again when I read about what could have happened to my son had I chosen not to supplement so early on, or if I had waited, blindly believing all the incorrect information that I had read that all mothers have enough milk for their babies.
I have continued to nurse and always offer a bottle of expressed breast milk or formula after nursing. Supplementing definitely saved my breastfeeding relationship. My son is now 6 months old and is thriving on a combination feeding of breast milk and formula. I wanted to share my story with you as well as partner with you if possible. I am a board-registered and licensed Occupational Therapist and I work with adults and the geriatric population. The most enjoyable part of my job is patient education. Since having my son and going through what I did with my difficulties with producing enough milk, I want as many women as possible to know how to safely feed their new babies. I feel like this information should be shouted from the rooftops and that every woman should have easy access to the information disseminated by your foundation.
I don’t know if you have any representatives of your foundation who lead classes or a one-time class to share safe feeding practices with soon-to-be and seasoned parents in a group setting? I would love to find out more about possibly offering a recurring class in my area or help with starting the process of the foundation offering classes. The internet is great, but meeting with moms and dads face to face is also a powerful way to educate on this vital information concerning infant feeding.
Thank you for your kind consideration,
Jessica Hickey, Lexington, KY
We hope to get a large network of Fed is Best Advocates and Educators to provide support in the community. We hope to build this from licensed professionals with medical training including nurses, nurse practitioners, physicians, and therapists like yourself. In order to provide the safest level of care, we will need to build a training program in order to make the advice standardized and safe. As with any non-physician feeding advice, we always recommend that parents check with their pediatricians or family practitioners regarding any concerns about the health and safety of their child. If there are any doubts about a child not getting fed enough, we recommend supplementing until the child gets evaluated after nursing sessions to prevent complications. For now, we are hoping to raise enough money to start up an online infant feeding class to provide live Fed is Best support with to goal of developing a large network of live Fed is Best feeding classes and support groups. Anyone who wants to be part of the change, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.