Fitness and wellness guru, Lauren Vickers, found an incredible way to turn a breastfeeding challenge into a win when at eight months old her son Maverick decided the bottle just wasn’t for him.
“It happened almost overnight. At about eight months old my baby boy Maverick just refused to take a bottle.
I’d been back at work for four months and had been pumping a few times a day on the three days I was in the office. It was a lot of work, but totally worth it. Maverick had always been a great feeder and being able to continue breastfeeding by expressing meant he was getting what he needed when I wasn’t around, and I was keeping my supply up.
When he stopped taking the bottle, I still needed to pump at work so I could breastfeed when I was home. The big question was – what should I do with all the milk I’d expressed? Any breastfeeding mama will tell you that throwing breastmilk away feels like throwing liquid gold away! I knew there had to be a better solution so started doing my research.
The good, bad and challenging part of breastfeeding.
Rewind almost a year to when I was pregnant with Maverick, and I was very keen to try breastfeeding. While I’d seen and heard about the good, bad, and challenging parts of breastfeeding, and knew it didn’t always work for every mama, I really wanted to try.
I was pregnant during a COVID lockdown period and at about 38 weeks I had a Zoom session with a lactation consultant at the hospital who gave me some tips on breastfeeding. I also did a lot of reading and decided to hand express colostrum. I was worried I would get sick with COVID and be separated from my baby, so I put the colostrum in the freezer just in case.
I shouldn’t have worried. Despite a challenging birth with Maverick, he was a super sucker from the first few minutes and latched and fed well. We were very lucky.
When mastitis hit me, I was shocked at how bad it got
Despite Maverick being an excellent ‘breastfeeder’ I still had some challenges. When I got mastitis it started with a bit of pain in my breast, then quickly the area became very hot. Soon after I got a fever and went downhill so fast. I was shocked at how bad it got in such a short space of time.
Luckily, I knew the signs and spoke to the Australian Breastfeeding Association who gave me some advice. They also said to visit my GP if things got worse, but I was able to sort things out myself. I used gentle massage in the shower and used my warmed Lactamo to help ease out the clogged ducts.
Using my milk to help other families
When Maverick said no to bottles at eight months, I did some research and discovered milk banks. I could actually donate my breast milk to families who needed it.
Some of the families I helped included one mama who had low supply, and a same sex family who had their bub through surrogate.
It was a wonderful feeling to be able to help other families on their breastfeeding journey, while continuing mine.
Google milk banks or click here for Australian government guidelines
Listen to your intuition and go with the flow
Maverick is now 18 months old and we’re starting the weaning journey. He still feeds at night and in the morning, which is enough. He’s so big now, it’s a bit like trying to feed an octopus!
If I wanted to pass any learnings on to new mamas, I’d say do whatever works for you. Little ones can be so fickle and what they need, want, and don't want can change weekly. Sometimes it's best to listen to your intuition and go with the flow.
If you're struggling, there are so many resources available, so don't be shy to reach out about your concerns and seek help and support from the professionals when you need it.