A mother has shared her heartbreaking story to help promote safe breastfeeding.
Fed Is Best shared mum Alex Morey's story on their Facebook page to help prevent "unintended, accidental starvation from exclusive breastfeeding."
Feeding her son every 45 minutes, Ralph was shocked at her son Ralph’s two-month checkup, where she was told he was below the first percentile in weight.
“He was starving,” the mum writes, but "I had no idea”.
Morey began "supplementing within the hour” but the breastfeeding message she received wasn't clear.
“Breast is best,” she was told.
“I didn't want to 'ruin' him or my milk supply with formula. All the breastfeeding advice had been that everything was normal. Even the doctors, nurses, and lactation consultants I'd seen in Ralph's early days and at his first checkups said he was gaining just enough weight that any problems could probably be chalked up to just needing more time for my supply to regulate. Then those checkups (and weigh-ins) got fewer and farther between..."
The information she received said everything was normal.
“Crying and exhaustion for both of us was normal. Formula was full of [insert scary things x, y and z] which can be bad for baby.
"And most frightening of all, once you start supplementing, you can pretty much kiss breastfeeding goodbye forever; your supply is going to tank. I was determined to make this work. I thought the challenges I had been having were just part of the difficult motherhood journey. I was not going to fail my baby!”
Now a “thriving” four-year-old, the Morey says she won’t ever get over her experience. "For someone who's not a big crier, I still cannot even look at pictures of Ralph from the age of 1 to 2 months without crying uncontrollably," she said.
However, she was “heartened” to see a foundation such as Fed Is Best sharing similar stories and educating women.
While Morey says she still "vigorously” supports breastfeeding, sometimes it doesn’t work out - and that's okay.
"Breastmilk is amazing! Except when it's not," she writes. "Or there's not enough. Or it's just not working for you, your baby, or your family."
"Every mum deserves to have the knowledge and support she needs to do what's best for her baby. No stigma about the 'perfect' way to feed your child should end up causing them harm."
This article was first published on Practical Parenting.