Monthly Archives: November 2013

Adventures In Dom

Dom as in Domperidone, before you minxes get any ideas.

I’ve taken Domperidone since the beginning. As soon as I knew breastfeeding wasn’t working and I knew I’d need something to help keep my supply going. I’d been told that a supply can’t be maintained through pumping alone, so my goal was to pump until I inevitably dried up. Then an Internet forum (Pumping Mummies on BabyCentre UK) led me to Dom, which my midwife was happy to ask my doctor to prescribe.

At four months, I was able to give Moo breast milk alone. I hadn’t dried up, my milk supply was in fact increasing. I soon had bags for the freezer. I stopped taking herbal supplement Fenugreek and my supply didn’t dip, confirming that it was the Domperidone truly helping me out.

My lactation consultant advised that I try to wean from the Dom. I dropped the dose slightly, and my supply nose dived. I tried this several times over the following months, with the same results. My supply was Domperidone dependent. I worried that constantly taking a medication would take its toll, so did some research. An article by Dr Jack Newman put my mind at rest (http://www.breastfeedingonline.com/Dom19abcombinedpdf.pdf), so I continued to use the Dom that my milk relied upon.

I have to apply for more Domperidone every few weeks, writing a note to my doctor. Recently I gave the task of dropping off the note and picking up the medication to my husband, I was stuck at home with Moo who was suffering with a stomach bug. Long story short, the note was dropped off late and the Domperidone was picked up late. During the few days in between, I ran out of Dom.

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My supply dwindled away to almost nothing. Even I was surprised at how little I could pump with no Dom at all. The freezer stash was eaten into and I topped up a few bottles with cows milk.

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Eventually, the Domperidone arrived. I’ve never been more pleased to see a bag of drugs. I got stuck right in with my regular dose, 80mg a day. This was a mistake. All was well on the milk front, I was soon back up to my 7-8oz output. But I believe my mental health suffered. I was incredibly low for several days, anxiety attacks, feelings of not wanting to live. I hadn’t felt that mentally unstable in a long time. I can’t know for sure that it was the Domperidone, but it would be awfully coincidental. I’ll most definitely ease my way back in if I go without again.

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I’ll always be thankful for Domperidone. It’s all that has kept my milk supply going and has meant that I haven’t had to pump continuously around the clock for 28 months. How long I’ll be taking it is an unknown. I go through phases of looking for other ways to boost my supply without going back to pumping regime of the beginning. Until I either wean or find the magic herb that’ll give me double my output, the Domperidone is always there.

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Book Review: A Monster Ate My Mum

A Monster Ate My Mum – Jen Faulkner

Illustrated by Helen Braid

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I so looked forward to receiving this book. I’ve often wondered how I’ll explain my depression and anxiety to Moo. She most certainly suffers at the hands of my short temper and has seen me cry. I’m not sure how I’ll deal with the guilt, but at least I now have a way to open up the channels of discussion about mental health issues with her.

The book is beautifully illustrated, capturing Moos attention. There are short bursts of rhyming text, so it’s easy to read (if you can get your voice past the lump in your throat). The first time I read this with my two year old daughter, I struggled to hold back tears towards the end. Perhaps I should have read it on my own first.

It depicts mental illness as ‘monsters’ that take away parts of the mother, but they’re not scary, just hungry. A perfect balance between an unwanted creature and being friendly enough not to spark fear. The idea that the monsters have ‘borrowed’ the mothers attributes (her smile, for example) is wonderful and offers comfort in knowing that the change isn’t a permanent one. The book pinpoints symptoms of post natal depression that readers will find familiar, the lack of smile, sleeping all day and being ‘snappy’ and delivers the message that mum will be back to her old self one day.

The young boy desperately asking the monsters what had happened to his mum was so poignant, “I want her back I want some fun. I want to see her smile my mum”, without being too upsetting for younger readers. The book ends with the boy being comforted with the knowledge that “it won’t be bad like this forever. She can and will one day get better.” This statement is beautifully touching (it had me welled up!) and a reminder to the parents reading that the difficult times will pass. Therapeutic for both the adult and child reader.

I would love to see this book in all settings, children’s centres, schools, nurseries and in homes up and down the country. Whether you’ve suffered with post natal depression or not, this is a great gateway to conversation about mental health issues. Perhaps we can raise a generation filled with understanding and empathy and end the stigma surrounding ill mental health.

The book is available to buy here: http://www.lulu.com/shop/jen-faulkner/a-monster-ate-my-mum/paperback/product-21305413.html;jsessionid=9B02255C55557C1C8B05874E85D6216A

People Don’t Get It

I get comments such as ‘you don’t know how good you’ve got it’, ‘it was your choice to have a child, you wanted her’ and ‘you do a lot of moaning about Moo’.

Those people obviously don’t get it. They don’t get depression. They don’t understand that it’s quite often my mental health issues talking , not me. Reading my blog is obviously not raising as much awareness as I’d hoped. The people making the comments are usually not parents, or parents to children who have grown up and left home. They’re not living in that all consuming parenting bubble that can be suffocating at times.

The way I feel about being a mother, about Moo, isn’t really *about* Moo. It’s not *her* that makes me feel the way I do. Her behaviour isn’t exceptional, no different or worse than any two year old. Its *me* that has the issue, the depression, the anxiety. It skews reality completely, creating a world in which the smallest thing is life’s greatest dilemma and rage builds far too quickly.

I’m not ungrateful for Moo. I know how blessed I am, that she’s healthy, that I conceived easily, that she’s even here. I’m thankful for her existence. Have I regretted having her at times? Yes. Do I feel guilty about it? Always. But I’ve been honest and open and shared, knowing that I can’t be the only mother that’s felt this way.

Commenting that ‘I don’t know how lucky I am’ does nothing but make the guilt worse. It somehow invalidates my feelings. I felt them, they’re real, I can’t help them. Please, walk a mile in my shoes. Read my blog entries about my birth experience and the days that followed. Research a little on post natal depression. Summon up some empathy, and realise that I’m doing the best that I can.

Where Were They?

I’m so sad. It’s just hit me, just then, in the last few minutes. I’ve had a great day until now, and one photo of a baby nursing has set me off.

I needed someone there, pushing me on to keep trying with the breastfeeding. I didn’t need people telling me I’d tried hard enough, or that it was ok to quit or that bottle feeding was good too. I needed someone to slap me across the face, tell me to get it together. I needed someone to tell me that it was ok to stop trying for 24 hours, to compose myself, take some deep breaths and to try again tomorrow.

I needed someone there after Moos tongue tie snip. I needed someone that new a damn thing about exclusively pumping. I needed cool suggestions, like using a bottle teat as a nipple shield. I needed someone to help me with the SNS when it was fucking me off. I needed someone to tell me that it was never too late to keep trying. 

Health visitors? Midwives? Lactation consultants? Doctors? I don’t know who that person should have been, but where the fuck were they?