Milky Mama of the Month: Kate Barker
Posted by Krystal Duhaney, RN, BSN, IBCLC on Oct 13th 2022
We want to celebrate Kate Barker as our newest Milky Mama of the Month!!
Kate has been breastfeeding for 11 months and 2 weeks! She is almost at her one year mark, way to go Kate! Kate is a lymphoma survivor (4 years cancer free now, yay!!) and knew she wanted to overcome any challenges to continue to breastfeed.
While Kate has been breastfeeding for almost a year, it hasn’t been all rainbows and butterflies. Keep reading Kate’s breastfeeding journey to learn about oversupply and read her advice to breastfeeding mothers.
Kate’s Rocky Start
Kate’s milk came in instantly and she began breastfeeding in the hospital. She says she immediately had an oversupply of milk. Her son was born jaundice. He was sleepy and feeding him seemed to not go right, at least not right away.
Her nurses at the hospital encouraged her to pump so they would be able to give him a bottle. However, Kate said pumping caused more issues as she already had an oversupply of milk. “I was so engorged for at least 2 months I had multiple clogged ducts daily. Literally it felt like golf balls were in my breasts.” Feeling these lumps worried her as she is a lymphoma survivor (4 years cancer free now!). She knew having lumps was not normal.
Kate also dealt with Raynaud’s syndrome, which is a condition in which some areas of the body feel numb and cold. She said her nipples were very sensitive and would hurt during latching. However, she persisted!
Kate Finds a Solution!
Kate followed up with many public health care nurses and lactation consultants. She ended up having mastitis and dealt with a yeast issue. She discovered she could not feed with any shirt or bra on. Kate also had to apply heat before every feeding and cold after. She massaged her breasts almost every feeding.
At 2 months, her son had his tongue tie clipped, and they had to relearn breastfeeding. Kate also started taking lecithin to thin out her milk and to prevent clogs. Breastfeeding was going much better and at the 5 to 6 month mark, everything started to work out!
Kate’s Journey Continues
Kate went back to work when her son was 10 months old. She has a very relaxed work environment. She says nobody minds that she leaves to go pump.She is able to use an unoccupied conference room to pump in or the washroom with a chair. She pumps about two times a day while at work and is able to get two nursing sessions in at home with her son.
Kate has never had to supplement, thanks to figuring out how to manage her oversupply. She said even when she was struggling with breastfeeding and was encouraged to use formula, she kept with breastfeeding and did not like being encouraged to use formula.
Kate’s Advice to Pregnant and New Moms
We can all learn from each other. Kate gives advice to her fellow Milky Mama Team.
“Take a course before [you begin breastfeeding], and learn as much as you can before [you start]! I thought it would be easy and I was wrong!
It has been incredibly challenging, yet rewarding. I feel so powerful knowing I overcame so many challenges and am still continuing to breastfeed.”
Reading about other mother’s breastfeeding experiences can help us not feel so alone. Keep checking back monthly for our Milky Mama of the month!
Kate, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Please join us in our Facebook group,The Official Milky Mama Lactation Support Group to share encouragement to Kate for sharing her story with us.
And remember, you are not alone. We are here to support each other and remind each other, you’ve got this, Mama!