Friday, 1 August 2014

6 Months of Breastfeeding with IGT

Today is the 27th July 2014, which marks the half birthday of my daughter Bryony. 

Like all parents of a little one, the past 6 months of my life has consisted of sleepless nights, smiles, poop explosions, and lots and lots of snuggles... But probably the most poignant of all milestones for me - six months of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding did not come naturally to me and my baby girl. I have a condition called IGT, or insufficient glandular tissue of the breast - a result of a horse riding accident when I was 13. This means that I don't have enough of the milk making glands to ever have a full supply of breast milk, but thankfully I do make at least some of our daughters milky needs. 

I think back to the trauma of the first few weeks of Bryony's life, where she lost 10%, then 11 and eventually 12% of her body weight due to my lack of milk. I was devastated, sobbing into John's chest on a daily basis, traumatised that my body would not do as it should to sustain my baby. I made a promise to Bryony on the day that she was diagnosed 'failure to thrive', that I would get as much of my breast milk into her fragile little body as I could. I breast fed, I pumped, I drank litre after litre of water, bowl after bowl of porridge. I used an SNS to supplement Bryony at the breast to avoid nipple confusion. I tried fenugreek, goats rue, blessed thistle, alfalfa, red clover. I avoided peppermint and did hourly breast massage. Endless amounts of skin to skin. I was clawing by, day to day, praying for just one more drop of milk for my angel, just one more feed. I took a photo of every single nursing session, terrified it would be our last. I never in my wildest dreams considered I would achieve one month of breastfeeding, let alone reach the six month milestone. 

Alas, here we are. Bryony has a few bottles a day, to keep her from starving. But she is still getting all the milk I can give her, and so many of the benefits of breastfeeding. Finally, I'm at peace with the breastfeeding relationship I have with my daughter. I don't cry anymore when I leak those precious drops into my bra. Or when I spill my half oz of milk onto the kitchen side. I breastfeed with pride in public, and marvel in telling people 'yes' when they ask if I am feeding her. They don't need to know how much, because in fact I AM still a breastfeeding mum!

Bryony has been feeding less of late, and I suspect she is gradually self weaning. I'm happy to let her lead the way and will let her feed as long as she wants to, but I would be at peace if she did decide to stop. I have enjoyed every moment of breastfeeding her and I am so lucky to have had this experience. I'm so proud of her for persevering with my broken body and loving it anyway. I'm proud of my son for being patient and understanding of us and I'm proud of my John for the support he has given us; my rock. But most of all I am proud of myself. Breastfeeding has been the hardest journey of my life and here I am, six months later,  laughing in the face of IGT. Go me! 

Happy six months to my little Sweetheart, Bryony May Cole.



  1. This was such a beautifully written post, almost had me in tears! She's gorgeous, happy half birthday bryony! Xx

    1. Aww, thank you sweet. I was almost in tears writing it!

  2. I echo what Emily said. This is so beautifully written. You have a real gift for writing and I am soooo happy you've decided to do a blog too. I can now enjoy your blog as well as your videos. Well done on reaching 6 months of breastfeeding and happy half birthday to beautiful Bryony x x

  3. Lovely post Milly! It's so nice to see you feeling so positive about ND after how sad we saw you were in the beginning! Congrats on 6 months xxx

  4. Hello Milly, first of all, sorry for my terrible english...I'm spanish living in Belgium and my husband is italian so...too much languages! :)
    I just wanted to say you that I understand you veeeeery well. I was also very upset with myself and very frustrated because I couldn't give enough milk to my little baby, I only breastfeeding 4 months and I think I've given up too early. But I've promised to myself that with my next baby I'll be more patient, relaxed and positive.
    keep writing!! hugs from Liège. :)
    Patricia and litte Pablo



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