Medical Condition - IGT
Inability to breastfeed is a very real medical condition called insufficient glandular tissue.
It simply means that at some point, either during puberty or during pregnancy, the majority of the tissue that formed in the breast was not the type that produces milk.
There are several possible causes for this condition, often hormonal and/or hereditary. In my case, my great-grandmother and grandmother seem to have suffered from the same condition. However, it took years of struggle and shame for me to find the real answer to the problems.
My first child was born with a cleft lip and palate. He could only feed using a special bottle. Even under these circumstances, I was made to feel like a terrible person because I was unable to pump enough milk to support him.
Three years later when my second child was born, I spent six weeks agonizing, trying to feed her, with her gaining very little weight and suffering from jaundice due to malnutrition. We made daily trips to the hospital for blood tests and had to hold her on a special light for hours every day. Nobody ever told me all I needed to do was formula feed to fix all of the problems and that nothing was wrong with this decision.
To this day, now that my children are ages 6 and 3, friends post articles and have conversations about the importance of breastfeeding, right for women to breastfeed in public, tragedy of women who give up on the "right choice" for their babies, and I still feel slightly depressed and like less of a woman and mother. I have to keep reminding myself that the "right choice" for my children was nutrition rather than starvation!
We need to join together with resources like this website and get the word out. Having a baby and watching your child feed should be a joyous experience rather than months of torture. I feel like I was robbed of beautiful experiences during the first few weeks of my children's lives due to depression over this issue.
Lactation consultants should be trained to help women with this condition accept what is happening and enjoy the experience of being a mother rather than contributing to their negative self-image at a time when depression is already more likely to occur for a woman with or without this problem.
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