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Let's tell your story! My Breastfeeding and Donor Milk Journey

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Let's tell your story! My Breastfeeding and Donor Milk Journey

My name is Indira Mattia. I am a 27-year-old, Engineering Project Manager, with a beautiful almost 5 month old baby girl.

My name is Indira Mattia. I am a 27-year-old, Engineering Project Manager, with a beautiful almost 5 month old baby girl.

by Indira Mattia

Breastfeeding was something I knew I wanted to do from before I even got pregnant.

From a young age I can recall my aunts breastfeeding my little cousins and knowing that one day when I had children I would breastfeed them. I hoped that being able to breastfeed would strengthen my bond with my little one.

A lot of “motherly” things always came easy to me. I was always the “mom” of my group of friends, so I expected breastfeeding to be easy. When my daughter was born, within the first few minutes we attempted to feed her and she wouldn’t latch. She was a smaller baby, and my nipples were too big for her little mouth. Each session it would take 20+ minutes to get her latched and by the time she was on, she was exhausted from screaming.

I wanted so badly to be able to breastfeed that I cried every time I tried to latch her. I tried to meet with the lactation consultant before I left the hospital, but she wasn’t there at all during our 3 day stay.

In the first week as my milk was coming in, I ended up using a manual pump to relieve the engorgement and was tempted to just give my daughter a bottle. Even if I couldn’t get her to latch, at least I’d still be able to give her breast milk.

But I kept trying.

When we met her pediatrician at the one week checkup, we found out she was also a lactation consultant. She convinced me that we could do this. After struggling with nipple shields and different positions, the day my daughter turned two weeks it was like a switch flipped and she began latching with no issue.

After overcoming the issue of her latching, I then had the issue of an oversupply of milk.

My daughter would eat on one breast at a time and would never really “drain” my breast, so I began pumping the other breast after a feed at the advice of our pediatrician. On a normal day, while I was on maternity leave and breastfeeding on demand, I would pump 20 oz. a day, so I started freezing that milk.

I am a part of a breastfeeding group on Facebook that would be appalled that I created a stash, but I had a wonderful support system that encouraged me to continue. I had a friend whose supply dried up after 3 months and another who had to have emergency surgery and she needed to go into her own stash to be able to feed her baby.

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By the time I was going back to work, I had frozen about 1,300 oz. of milk. We had to go buy a deep freezer because it took up so much space.

Before this, I had never considered supplying or receiving donor milk. I remember watching a show about 7 years ago where a mom was sampling donor milk. That was an insane notion to me. But I was very young, and nowhere close to having a baby or understanding why someone would want donor milk. Now, years later, I understand.

I felt a sense of pride in myself for being able to feed my baby and being able to produce so much, but she didn’t need that frozen milk. I was continuing to breastfeed on demand at home and I was pumping 30oz a day at work and sending 15-20oz to daycare.

I wanted to see what I could do to help other moms.

I had people tell me how they couldn’t breastfeed when they had children and wished they had known about donor milk, instead of giving their babies formula. I reached out to my sister, who is a newborn care specialist, to see if she knew anyone that needed donor milk and she told me she knew an amazing woman that she thought might be interested.

In the meantime, I googled to see what my options were. While I did find several donor sites, I was hoping to be able to expedite things, as every freezer I knew of filled up, and give the milk to a mom I (or my sister knew). I was able to donate the 1,300 oz of milk to the woman my sister told me about and her gratitude and appreciation was overwhelming.

pregnant mom in Alexandria

Knowing that I could help someone feed their baby in the way they wanted, was a true blessing.

Now, I am hoping that throughout the rest of my breastfeeding journey and in any future journeys, I continue to have excess milk so that I can continue to donate to other mothers.



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International Women's Day 2019

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International Women's Day 2019

By Ashley Woolsey, social media manager

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Today is International Women's Day. We know that the transition to becoming a mother can often shift our perspective of what that means about our identity.

It is often hard to remember who you once were before you became a parent and it's equally difficult to separate yourself from that role and discover who you are now. As a woman, as a person, as an individual. For a lot of new parents the return to work postpartum comes with so many emotions. Especially in the US where our family leave is scarce and often non existent. This means a faster return to work for those who are not emotionally, mentally or even physically ready. 

On the other hand there are those of us who thrive at work. Who crave for our brains to be simulated and to grow and nurture our careers. Some of us are ready almost immediately to get back into that environment and reclaim the ideality of the 'who we once were" woman. But whatever the case may be, the transition will still be a challenging one given that you have just given birth and your mental and physical self need to heal and replenish. 

If you are a breastfeeding or pumping parent, no matter your mind set on going back to work, you still have a new challenge of producing and maintaining a supply for your child while apart.

The Breastfeeding Center of Greater Washington  is a wonderful resource for new parents to learn and get advice on how to best do that. They offer classes on breast pump basics  and pumping strategies for retuning to work . You can learn about how to maintain your supply, how to properly store your milk, and how to continue a breast-feeding relationship with your child when you're back together. 

You absolutely don't have to be a breastfeeding or pumping parent to benefit from their class offerings. They also have a prenatal and postnatal rights at work class taught by lawyers in the field to help guide you in planning and executing your new work/family life role. And lastly they offer a return to work support group which is a great way to connect to other parents in your position and to express your feelings and concerns with going back to work by receiving support and advice.

Being a women in and of itself comes with it's own unique sets of challenges that only grow as you become a mother.

At Doulas of Capitol Hill we pride ourselves in helping women find their old identities and discover new ones as we help guide you though this change. Our postpartum doulas are always there to be a shoulder to lean and learn on. Our Lactation Consultants are available to come to your home and support you in your breastfeeding and pumping needs one on one, and our DCH Village is a 24/7 support group on Facebook that creates a safe and non judgmental space for you to ask questions and meet new people who are in the same stages of life and motherhood. We are in the business of women supporting and empowering women and today, like all days, we celebrate you. Happy International Women's day!

Ashley Woolsey is social media manager at Doulas of Capitol Hill and creator of the blog Motherhood Tabutiful. She speaks sarcasm fluently, drinks coffee through an IV, and I has a deep and possibly borderline obsessive love towards all things Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ashley is a self-described advocate for social justice and human rights and if there's a march she’ll probably be there with her sister.

Ashley Woolsey is social media manager at Doulas of Capitol Hill and creator of the blog Motherhood Tabutiful. She speaks sarcasm fluently, drinks coffee through an IV, and I has a deep and possibly borderline obsessive love towards all things Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Ashley is a self-described advocate for social justice and human rights and if there's a march she’ll probably be there with her sister.

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