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As we’re in the midst of World Breastfeeding Week, we thought that this was the perfect opportunity to sit down and chat with Sprout Organic Co-Founder (and amazingly talented Graphic Designer!), Jenna Berdie, to talk about her own experience with breastfeeding her two boys, Ellis and Kingston.


Q: What were your thoughts or expectations about breastfeeding in the lead-up to having kids?


A: Thankfully, I had a great breastfeeding journey and in the lead up I wasn’t fully aware of the extent of how it doesn’t come easily for some mothers, which looking back was likely a good thing for me because I was confident within myself. I also had great support from my mum. Her knowledge and experience made everything that much easier, which I’m so thankful to her for.


Q: What was your breastfeeding experience like?


A: I have two boys, now seven years old and 4 years old. They breastfed quite differently at different stages, so everything that happened with my first, Ellis, was almost the exact opposite with Kingston, my second. 


While feeding itself was relatively easy with Ellis, within his first few months he had colic and we couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause. It only lasted for a few months but the added stress it caused for him, not to mention myself and my husband - on top of the newfound sleep deprivation - was quite taxing! But after this phase, we were able to enjoy the process a lot more and it became much easier.


For Kingston, it was like second nature and it was so easy from day one. I think the second time around I was a lot more relaxed and was able to enjoy the process a lot more. The only hiccup we had was when I became ill with food poisoning at around the 1-year mark. My milk completely dried up and I became very stressed with the task of trying to get it back. I was trying as many different ways as I could to get it back - pumping, all the teas and lactation cookies I could get my hands on all while trying to supplement with formula, which King was not interested in after being exclusively breastfed for his life up to that point. I was becoming miserable on top of it all because I knew both of us weren’t ready to end our breastfeeding journey just yet. And being my second (and last) child, I was well aware it was the last time it would happen! I’m a huge believer in the mind-body connection though and made a conscious effort to help my body recover properly first. I tried to remain as calm and at ease with the situation as I could be, and just when I was at the point of being ok with the possibility that it wasn’t coming back, it did. And we were able to keep feeding again for some time after.

 


Q: Was there anything about breastfeeding that surprised you?


A: That it’s a learned skill. Even though for some like myself where it does come quite easily and naturally, it is still a huge learning curve. Especially being a first-time mother when you are wondering if you are feeding bub the right amount and at the right time, whether your baby is gaining enough weight, and so on. When I gave birth for the first time, all of the nurses at the hospital were so helpful and quite literally hands-on to help figure out the best technique for feeding. But any reservations go out the window once you realise you do need all the help you can get, especially in that initial phase that can be tough for so many mothers. 


It also surprised me just how quickly a mother’s body can respond to breastfeeding the second their baby is born. The human body, in particular a woman’s body, never ceases to amaze me at how it can provide all a baby needs in their initial years of life to survive. And it also surprised me just how much and how frequently a baby feeds in those first months!


Q: When did you transition to formula feeding and why?


A: For both boys, it was a mutual decision once they became too fussy and when feeding time became drawn-out and more like a wrestling match than a time to actually feed. They were also enjoying solids more than their feeds so then I knew it was time. It’s a very emotional process to come to that decision, and it’s a personal one. I feel too many people have an opinion on when someone should stop or keep feeding and there isn’t enough respect for everyone’s personal journey as no one knows your journey to that point other than you and your child.

 


Q: Did you face any stigma or expectations about the ‘right’ way to feed your kids?


A: Not personally, but I’m well aware of how women can feel pressured into doing things a certain way, particularly when unwanted opinions are given from people you know or even online from those you don’t. But there is no one right way - it really is such a personal journey based on your own morals and values.


Q: What advice would you give to mothers or parents who are expecting in regards to breastfeeding?


A: Stay true to yourself and trust that you are everything your baby needs - whether you end up breastfeeding or not.


Q: What advice would you give to parents who are struggling with breastfeeding?


A: Find all the support you can from the people that you love and respect and most of all a lactation or feeding specialist. There are so many amazing resources online, mothers’ groups and Facebook pages, and so on. Don’t be discouraged if it’s hard at different stages - sometimes It may be one small thing that changes everything. And, if it is the case that you have tried everything but it’s still not working, that’s ok too!


At Sprout Organic, we’re wholeheartedly supportive of all parents who are following their own journey to providing a happy and healthy life for their families. Whether this involves breastfeeding, formula feeding, eating plant-based or not, we champion all mums and dads as they navigate this wild and wonderful time!


Now, we would love to hear about your journey. Clickhere to share your experience through parenthood so far - whether it’s to do with feeding, expectations, surprises, the highs, the lows, or anything in between!


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