Finding Grace in Low Milk Supply

***Are you a mama who struggled to maintain a milk supply?  Or maybe you were never able to breastfeed your baby and desperately wanted to?  Are you in the trenches with nursing as you read this?  Let me offer you my story, an older post from when my now three year old was 8 months old. ***

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She wasn’t even 48 hours old yet.  It was snowy and icy outside, this new parenthood crash course threw me under the bus.  Our first evening home and all she did was cry.  Cry like she was dying.  

“Ben, I don’t know what to do?  I’m trying to feed her, but I don’t know what I’m doing.  What if she’s starving?  She won’t latch!,” I sobbed.

He took our brand new, first born baby girl into his arms and watched both ladies in his life cry.  I only imagine how defenseless he felt as well.

There were no lactation specialists at the hospital the day she was born.  One was snowed in and the other sick.  Now, we were at home, by ourselves without any clue as to what to do.  I imagined nursing to be “natural” and “instinctive.”  It was awkward, confusing and frustrating.  My little girl would open her mouth wide enough to suck.  She was hungry and we needed to do something.  That free formula they sent home from the hospital was possibly the saving grace, but my guilt and shame.  

The next day as I continued to try to nurse, I sought hope in the lactation specialists coming to our home.  What I found was more discouragement.  Words like, “You probably won’t produce enough,” and “You should be pumping more.”  Those words haunted me throughout my whole nursing relationship.  

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Two months later, my girl was gaining and still I had those words swimming around, thinking I could do more.  I cringed about using formula, because wasn’t I suppose to be able to feed my own child.  It had nothing to do with other mamas choosing formula for their baby; rather, it was an idol I had built “good mother” upon.  

It wouldn’t be until six months that I would find my girl had only gained a couple ounces in two months.  My heart broke.  Had I been starving my child without knowing it?  My poor girl.  Those lactation specialists were right.  Working with a nutritionist, we quickly got Veronica back on track and luckily she was a voracious eater as well.  Years later, I would find out she had oral motor problems, which generate a poor suck.  

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Now, over five years later, and I’m facing the same thing with my third baby.  She hasn’t gained much between four and six months.  I’m at a loss.  Did I fail?  Is my past coming back to haunt me?  I ask God, “Why do some mothers have an oversupply and others dripping dry?”  And what’s worse, she won’t take formula.  Had I known at four months that we would be where we are at now, I would have introduced it.  Her sense of taste is quite discernable.  I can pump and add ⅛ amount of formula to the breastmilk, and she won’t take it.  Pure breastmilk, drink it down.

Still, I come to God each night, “Jesus, you know your girl.  You love her more than I do and you’re not going to let her starve.  I am doing everything, and I need your help.”  

Some mamas make so much they have enough to donate as well.  Is it the mamas doing?  No.  Some mamas eat all the right foods to produce, take the herbs, drink water, cut back on caffeine and nurse, nurse, pump, nurse...still, not much.  Is it the mamas doing?  No.

What I’ve learned along this rather strenuous journey of breastfeeding is how reliant I am on Jesus.  I’m reminded of Paul,

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Is it possible that this is God’s grace?  Is it possible that God is strengthening himself in me?  Is it possible that he’s breaking down the idols of what being a “good mama” means?  Is it possible he is showing me his grace, in order to extend that same grace to another mama who has felt less than?  
 

I am still walking this road, praying my girl gains weight and being sensitive to listen to doctors & the Spirit.  It’s not over, and I imagine He has something more for me.  But, what I do know is he’s reminding me that he really is a good Father and won’t abandon me or my girl in this journey.  His grace is sufficient.  

Can you relate to my story?  I would be encouraged to hear your story.  Or maybe, your story is different and you are finding God’s grace in the midst of it?   

 

Kamille Scellick

Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind & soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening & sharing life with her husband, Ben & three girls.

Meals as Enacted Community: A Meal with Jesus

This month over at Grace Table we are doing an online book club of one of my favorite books.  A Meal with Jesus by Tim Chester.  

In Tim Chester’s book, A Meal with Jesus, from chapter two “Meals as Enacted Community,” we are brought to Luke 7:40-50.  Simon the Pharisee invites Jesus into his home for a meal to find a woman of immoral character coming into his home taking on the role as host as she bathes Jesus’ feet with her tears and expensive perfume.  Her words are found in her sobbing, in her grief, as she is fully aware of what she’s done; and, there is a loving Jesus to embrace her without regard to what others will think of him.  Meanwhile, Simon despises this woman, enraged with what appears as a seductive scandalous meal.

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As the church in our online lives we lean more towards being graceless. 

We are living in a space where some Christians are building up their pristine glass houses trying to ensure none of the evil in their heart could come out into view of the public eye.  We are living in a space where some Christians are building up their social justice walls to ensure none of the culture will view their Jesus as a constructed wall too easily to crumble.  

We as the church in these Twitter or Facebook feeds are shouting at one another from our fixed positions.  It is easy to spout our need for grace, while regularly not extend it to our neighbor; because, our neighbor holds different views than us.  This goes beyond the online world as well into our physical lives.  Chester writes,

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Kamille Scellick

Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind & soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening & sharing life with her husband, Ben & three girls.

My Reflections for My Brother's Memorial

I wanted to share with you what I wrote, and spoke at my older brother's Memorial in September.  I think of him often with some days being harder than others.  I didn't expect to get choked up on Mother's Day in church; but, I did and that's how grief rolls in.  Thank you for journeying with me.

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Welcome everyone.  I’m Kamille, Willy’s sister.  I wanted to thank you on behalf of my family for coming today to honor and celebrate Willy’s life.  Today we come here with a mix of emotions and reflection on Willy’s life and death.  Please know tears of sadness and joy are welcome here.  Each and everyone of you have your own “Willy” stories.  These memories & moments of him are unique and pockets of promise we often see in a rainbow.  I personally feel honored to know Willy played a part in your story, and you in his.  We would love to hear how Willy uniquely touched your life after the service.  

 

In the meantime, I want to share with you some of my memories with my older brother Willy to get us started.  All of my first memories include Willy.  He was both my hero and my biggest nuisance.  I mean, really, he wasn’t all glitz and glamour; because, I AM the little sister--perfect breeding ground for an older brother to pick on (smile).  He was the master at knowing how to push just the right button to make me yell, “MOOOOMMM! Willy’s bothering me!!”  

 

Growing up in Yuma, we had plenty of dry evenings calling out for us to play soccer in the front yard.  Willy was often heard asking, “Kamille, you wanna go and play soccer in the front yard with me?”  “No,” I would reply.  “C’mon. It’ll be fun,” he’d say.  “You always cheat!  It’s no fun, because you end up slide tackling me and then pushing me out of the way to score the goal,” I would protest.  

 

Willy was smart, so he convincingly said, “I promise I won’t do that. I’ll even let you and Andrew be on a team together. You’ll probably beat me. C’mon!”  So what did I do?  I obliged with a glimmer of hope.  We would set up the orange cones and begin play to be ended with Willy side tackling and pulling Andrew and myself out of the way to score a goal.  

Because let’s face it, a competitive spirit is not easily broken.

 

This transferred over in playing cards with him or board games.  It’s why I liked playing War, because it was more on luck of the draw than actual strategy, so my chances of beating him were a bit higher.

 

And still, even though he was competitive and I longed for the day to beat my older brother at something, there was a comfort I took in it.  It was knowing he was stronger and smarter than me, and would be able to look out for me.  I still remember the day we were at the Yuma Territorial Prison with our church, and we got our parents to let us ride the trolley down to the historical building, which was right next to our family friend’s the Boeck’s house.  We rode with Gerritt & Joe Boeck, Amber Doerr and us.  We promised our parents to not get off the trolley.  We would break that promise, because Willy assured me it was going to be okay.   After what was only 30 minutes I was freaking out feeling like it was 5 hours and we would soon need to take up residence down by the bank of the Colorado River creating our very own Swiss Family Robinson.  Not to mention the Boeck’s house was at the trolley drop off site or the trolley ran every 30 minutes.  oh the life and imagination of a kid. We would board and come safely home.  

But it was having Willy there, knowing he wouldn’t let any harm come to me.  He would go to bat for me, take a punch in the face (quite literally) and always be present for me through life’s momentous events.  He was the big brother who could somehow be what tales like Paul Bunyan are spun; because, somehow in my mind Willy could run faster than anyone, memorize and recite Scripture with ease and was the smartest person I knew--it just came so naturally to him.  

 

And, it wasn’t just his “superhuman” feats.  It was his heart.  I would witness in youth group how there would be other guys who were less “cool” or the outcast, and Willy never used his status as a ticket for superiority.  There was a socially awkward and clumsy kid we grew up with at Valley Baptist and all the youth guys would play basketball; but, not this guy.  Willy would go out of his way to include him in game and sit with him.  That’s just who Willy was--he was caring, loving, and compassionate.  I’ll miss him something fierce, and wish we were here today celebrating his birthday with him present.  

 

In the midst of his beautiful heart, he struggled with the broken song we often find in our daily steps in this world.  Sometimes I think of how hard it was for him.  It reminds me of JRR Tolkien’s Return of the King when Frodo with his innocence was battered by the evil of the ring.  I’d like to read the dialogue between Frodo and his faithful friend Sam.

 

And so, we are left with Willy’s memory, and today we get to celebrate him through this humble offering of words and songs. 

Kamille Scellick

Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind & soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening & sharing life with her husband, Ben & three girls.