Ohmigosh, so excited! We at Milkeaze have been eagerly awaiting this day.
We are thrilled to bring you our first episode of Your Stories, where our real life Mama’s tell their real life and raw stories from their early motherhood journeys.
Birth stories are great aren’t they? They are fascinating, empowering and help to normalise what can be a truly overwhelming experience. But what can be even more overwhelming than that, being a new mum! Can someone talk to me about that please?! Having a new little human is amazing but some days you sit there and wonder what the heck just happened. We want to open the floor to you and talk about what it’s really like to have a tiny new person.
Our first story comes from Donna, a strength and conditioning coach from Newcastle NSW. She talks about surprise baby Bennie (we cannot get enough of her photos😍), difficulties falling pregnant, the struggle of early breast feeding and the importance of postpartum nutrition.
Let’s jump right in..
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family?
I'm a first time mum of Bennie who was born in July. She was a total surprise but my partner and I are infatuated with her. I grew up in Newy, moved to Sydney for 10 years, came back to Newy and everything fell into place. I have been working as a strength and conditioning coach for over 10 years, currently working with high school athletes
Tell us a bit about your pregnancy. What number pregnancy was this for you? Did you have it easy or was there anything different or complex about it?
This was my first pregnancy. With my ex partner we tried for over 3 years to fall pregnant to no avail (luckily, thank you universe!). That was after correcting PCOS, endometriosis stage 2 (surgery) and lining thickness through Chinese medicine. My pregnancy was pretty easy, I only threw up once, the sickness subsided after T1, and it was smooth sailing from there. The labour was a 3-day marathon but!
Tell us about your birth experience. Was it what you planned? Who was there?
I don't think anyone's birth goes to plan, do they? I planned for natural but easy to go with whatever was needed. I used Juju Sundins skills for the first couple of days of labour (at home) but then once things escalated I was on the epidural & hormones for over 8 hours, but ended up having a C-section to get her out safely. Also physically they didn't think I would be able to keep going after such a long haul.
Let’s talk about being a new mum. Tell us about the most difficult part?
Nobody tells you how hard the newborn stage is. Or maybe they do and you're like "oh it'll be fine they just eat sleep and poo". Newborn wind, witching hours, and they are really hard to connect with those early weeks. It's not until you get to about 6-8 weeks when they start really looking at you and having facial expressions you actually feel appreciated by them. I'd do it again, and I know that stage will be ok for round 2, I just didn't know how hard it could be. There'd be days I'd just walk around the house crying continuously just thinking "this is so hard, this is so hard". After our 6 week appointment all of a sudden we found our groove, the hormone rush probably helped, and I've loved every day since. She is the chillest baby & we are really blessed.
What was the best or most memorable part of those early days? What made you the proudest of yourself?
I remember looking at her ears and being like...I created those. And you realise they love being in your belly when they sleep on you in koala position. I'm most proud that I hung in there and was determined to be there for my child instead of calling in other people and bailing for a bit. I'm not saying don't do that, I think it's important to get help if you need it. It's more that I didn't give up no matter how SH#% it was!
How much did you know about how you would feed your baby? What had you planned before bub was born?
I thought BF would be easy. And it was for the first 6 weeks, then she just started refusing the boob. She was starving, and I couldn't keep up. After a couple weeks of being really stressed we topped her up with EBM from the freezer and she gulped it down and was calm. We thought "oh.... she was just hungry!". That helped but even with pumping 2/day and BF my supply dropped, to when I completely stopped at about 3.5 months. A nurse told me "it's a two-way street and if she isn't willing to cooperate, then it's up to you". In the end it was such an ordeal every feed and so stressful. I don't mind she's on formula, and she started solids just before 4 months anyways.
Did you breast feed? If so, how did you rate it in the early days? What was the best and what was the worst part?
It's convenient and free and really good for bubbas. You can't beat it. But it doesn't mean that formula is bad for bubs either. The worst part are sore nipples and unexpected leakages!
Did you pump? What did you love and what did you hate about it?
Yes. 1-2 / day, depending on if I have time when looking after her on my own. Always once at night when she went to bed. I didn't like doing it at all but knew I wanted to for our bub. When I was only getting 50ml combined after 20-25mins I was defeated, and felt humiliated doing it at home so I stopped for my own mental sanity.
Did you decide to bottle feed? Did you choose EBM, or formula or a combination? What was best and worst part?
Combo to start, full formula by almost 4 months. It's less stressful for everyone, anyone can feed her. I mean you have to pay for it and heat it up but I don't mind at all.
To end with, what piece of advice would you give other mums about new motherhood and feeding?
Make sure you get enough nutrition post birth. You need at least an additional 300cal when breastfeeding and it's important so you don't drop weight too quickly either. I know it can be hard when you're BF, probably walking hours on end to get bubs to sleep, you're sleep deprived & trapped under a bus when feeding but it's not a nice feeling to shrink down that fast, feel weak and exhausted. I experienced head spins and low iron from it, plus unwanted comments of "oh you look like you never were pregnant". That's not something I want to forget, I'm proud to be a mum and to be told that it looked like it never happened isn't actually something you want to hear!
We hear you Donna! Thank you for being so real and sharing your and Bennie’s story.
Would you like to share your pregnancy and postpartum journey? Email us at info@milkeaze and we’ll send you the details.