A client’s story of separation… and connection

This separation story is one of the saddest I have heard. The parents were unable to have any contact with their baby for five days – other than watching over a video. The mother has given me permission to share their journey.

I tell this story because the outcome is that mum and baby are now bonded and happy and its a story of healing. I was really impressed with how thorough the mum was in encouraging healing in her baby. She sought help immediately with an IBCLC, chiro and she completed a course of treatment with me: three baby cranio sessions including one session for mum (who, herself spent a long time in NICU when she was a baby). She was highly conscious of the fact that bubs are conscious beings and compassionate as to how difficult that separation would have been for her baby. Not to mention herself! She would say daily affirmations to her baby, once they were home: eg. “you are loved, you are safe, you are strong…” and bub would light up and connect with her in these moments. I was blessed to receive a video of it. After seeing the video it reminded me of how healing is always possible, even through the most difficult of circumstances.

Photo from unsplash – not my client’s baby.

My client presented to hospital in labour with her partner where they get tested for COVID: both test positive but are asymptomatic. The partner is not allowed to be at the birth. Labour is augmented with Pitocin to speed things up, resulting in mum having a strong reaction to it – shaking and bub showing signs of distress. Emergency c-section is performed. Bub had swallowed meconium and needed CPAP after birth and a 5-day NICU stay. Parents were not allowed contact the whole time and had to watch her on a video. The baby was in her own room and every one that came in was full PPE, even though bub tested negative to COVID.

Any amount of separation is difficult for mum and baby. Many health professionals will argue with me on this: that mum needs to rest . But I know it to be true, I can feel it in my treatments on a nervous system and emotional level. BUT… to not be able to visit at all; or that bub couldn’t see a naked human face for the first 5 days of life or receive any skin contact. Its heartbreaking! While I understand the rationale behind hospital procedures and protocols, I cannot see how it is the right thing to deny a person the right to see his child born OR deny a parent the right to be with their child. This is a case of head over heart.

The cranio treatments showed baby had jaw and neck issues and it took some time until her system felt safe and able to express the healthy biorhythms that I look for in a session. Mum was also processing shock in her treatment and it took some time for her nervous system to find safety. Mum had done a lot of work to prepare for a physiological birth and was angry and traumatised by the events of the birth nevermind what happened afterwards. She was highly motivated to breastfeed but struggling with low supply.

As I mentioned above, my client did a lot of work with bub in between sessions. While there was much difficulty and trauma here, it was wonderful to see this mum and bub heal together. It does help that mum was on to it immediately after the experience which means within a few weeks both were feeling connected and bub was very clearly a happy baby.

Get in touch if you would like support in healing you and your baby’s perinatal difficulties.

Insufficient Glandular Tissue as a cause of low supply

This week I worked with two mothers who were struggling with low supply due to insuffient glandular tissue (IGT). They didn’t feel their milk come in, they had minimal breast growth during pregnancy and they were needing to top up with almost full feeds of formula. Noone had mentioned to them the possiblity of IGT.

IGT is not well known among health professionals working with mothers and babies, or other mums. They are often given well meaning advice that does not work and may feel as though they are doing something wrong or failing their baby. They are not! Unfortunately there is not a lot of research behind this heartbreaking condition. Diana Cassar-Uhl (IBCLC) has contributed to the field of knowledge through research and written a fantastic book. We do know that the glandular tissue, where milk is made and stored, is underdeveloped, but not necessarily why. It can be hormonal or due to circumstances surrounding periods of breast development (inutero and during the teenage years). Mums may make as little as a few drops of milk or up to 3/4 of the milk, but despite their best efforts to increase supply need to supplement with formula (or donor milk).

It is often not until they consult with an IBCLC that they understand the reasons behind their milk supply struggles and then get to set realistic expectations around increasing supply or to make peace with their breastfeeding journey. Understanding their body and its limitations clears any doubt or confusion. IBCLC’s do have tools up their sleeve to support mums to work out exactly how much milk they make and tools to support supplementing at the breast. Ultimately the diagnosis can be healing in and of itself.

If this resonates please seek the emotional support and knowledge of an IBCLC. Contact me if you are in Perth or would like an online consult.

For a more detailed discussion of IGT see this resource.