Due to lack of both professional and public awareness of this condition, IGT families' claims are met with disbelief and criticism.
All of the IGT mothers that I have met
have felt compelled to share their story, to "prove" that they did in fact try their best to feed their child. Here is our story.
Our first child was born in 2006. We felt prepared for exclusive breastfeeding after reading La Leche League's
'Womanly Art of Breastfeeding' and attendeding a breastfeeding class at our birth centre.
I now know that
I experienced warning signs of Insufficent Glandular Tissue prior to the birth.
1. No change in breast appearance/size during pregnancy.
2. No noticeable breast change during puberty.
Our daughter was born in Indiana, after a glorious, unmedicated, uncomplicated birth in the
birth centre area of our local hospital. Here are the symptoms of Insufficient Glandular Tissue that we experienced after the birth:
1. No evidence of “milk coming in” besides a change in the colour of the milk.
No engorgement, no increase in flow, no feelings of a letdown reflex
during any feedings.
2. An Insatiable Baby. Beginning the first night after the birth, our daughter wanted to nurse almost non-stop,
sleeping for only 15 minutes at a time.
Until we increased
the formula supplementation when she was a few weeks old, she was getting only 4 hours of sleep over
a 24-hour period.
3. Only 1 wet diaper a day. Her wet diapers contained “brick dust” which is
an indication of dehydration.
4. No dirty diapers for the first week.
5. No swallowing sounds when she nursed.
I did not hear a swallowing sound until I began supplementation.
Four days after her birth the
home visit nurse came over and we found that our 7 lb 2 oz baby had dropped to 6 lbs, 3 oz. (she would later drop to 6 lbs).
We started to supplement her with formula, 2 oz (60 mL) at a time a few times a day.
Here are some of the things we did in an attempt to increase my milk supply.
1. I always breastfed prior to supplementing.
2. Supplementation though a cup or syringe (to prevent nipple confusion), or later,
SNS (tube formula feeding via sucking on the nipple so as to stimulate milk production).
3. I took Fenugreek tablets, and a
few weeks later started Domperidone as well.
4. I used Jack Newman's Breast Compression method. I also had an e-mail exchange with Mr. Newman which was unhelpful.
5. I pumped between feedings with a rented
hospital grade electric pump but would barely get enough milk to cover the bottom of the bottle. I was told by the many lactation consultants
I saw that pumping was not a good indicator of milk supply so I did not see this as a
I had many, many sessions with lactation consulants at my local hospital.
The true wake up call for me was
when our daughter was 2.5 weeks old.
I rented a baby scale so that I could weigh the baby before and after a feeding and determine exactly how much milk she was receiving.
The very first time I used the scale, I nursed for 45 minutes. When I put her on the scale after the feeding, it did not register even a 0.1 oz change in weight. Her weight DID NOT CHANGE, meaning she had less than 0.1 oz (3 ml) of breastmilk in that feeding. I was heartbroken and felt extremely guilty that all this time I was starving my child (she was later labelled “Failure To Thrive”). I repeated the weighings after many, many feedings over the next 2 weeks, with the maximum change of all being 0.3 oz at a time when she probably needed about 3 oz per feeding.
I immediately began to increase the supplementation we gave her. I continued to breastfeed prior to each supplementation for the next 5 months, holding out some small hope that my milk supply would increase (I had heard that domperidone takes some time to kick in). After ramping up the supplementation she weighed 7 lbs by the time she was 1 month old, almost back up to her birth weight.
Our son was born at home in Canada when our daughter was 18 months old. I began formula supplementation immediately
and had an entirely different experience mothering him in the early weeks of his life. It was a much more blissful experience and I did not have
any guilt regarding the formula supplementation. I found with him as with my daughter that after 5 months I no longer breastfed prior to every
formula feeding as it became a frustrating experience for the babies, and I then limited breastfeedings to when my child was sleepy but not hungry.
UPDATE 2012: After reading Making More Milk I decided to try breastfeeding our third child at the END of each formula feeding,
against the advice of my midwives and other experts. I found this to be the best decision for me, with more peaceful feedings. There were times when I miscalculated how much of the bottle to give him, and then he was too full to breastfeed, but those
lessened as time went on and I understood his signals. I switched from the SNS to the bottle at only 2.5 days as I found it too hard (especially overnight) with 2 other small children to take care of,
with night wakings of their own. This probably had some effect on my supply, but I chose sanity. Although our other 2 children refused to breastfeed at about 5 months old, this child breastfed after most feedings
until age 1, and continued to have many breastfeeding sessions until age 2.