Ages & Stages

My early breastfeeding journey, in food & supplements

Jessie Day, in partnership with Wild Nutrition  |   7 Jul 2023


Wild Nutrition Breastfeeding Complex Review

Breastfeeding vitamins, minerals & botanicals – do they pack a punch?

Our editor Jessie Day came at motherhood from a fertility struggle. Her first baby, Jude, was born five weeks early, and Coren arrived two years later, on time but with an undetected kidney defect. Here’s their breastfeeding story, from tricky starts to extended breastfeeding, and the tips, supplements and support Jessie relies on.

Skip straight to Jessie’s breastfeeding vitamins and complex of choice, plus the bestseller multi – Food-Grown® Pregnancy + New Mother Support – Food-Grown® Vitamin D and Pregnancy + New Mother Biotic. TRB readers get £10 off first orders with code TRB10*.

For a few quick pointers on breastfeeding nutrient support, and how to pick and choose your supplements, book a chat with a Wild Nutrition nutritionist. Find a slot that works around you – whether it’s a free 15-minute check-in or detailed 45-minute consult. And remember to use code TRB10* on any products you pop in your basket. 

Now working in partnership with Wild Nutrition, Jessie purchased and used everything mentioned below years before their work together began. This is her personal story.

From the Wild Nutrition breastfeeding complex to anything else you’re planning to use, always check with your doctor before you start taking any supplements or medications while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Wild Nutrition breastfeeding complex review

PROM & being blissfully clueless

It was around 7AM, and I was eight months pregnant, tired and grumpy. I rolled out of bed, ready to head to our first NCT meeting and – pop – I’d finally done it. I’d wet myself. 

Or had I? 

That sudden, uncontrollable, movie-style, gush of liquid (so different to the steady trickle and final burst during labour I experienced with Coren two years later) was to change my life, forever. 

Knowing our baby wasn’t due for another five to six weeks, and somewhat in denial, my husband Maurice and I got calmly into the car, me sitting on a towel, and drove to hospital. Just in case

I didn’t leave the hospital for another eight days after that. 

This isn’t a birth story. But I’ve learned from experience the birth and start you and your baby have can infuse your early days, weeks and fourth trimester – and whatever feeding journey you have – with its own uniqueness. 

Thinking I’d be coming back, I’d packed my laptop for hospital, some water and chocolate, and that was about it. Clueless doesn’t do it justice, but I’m kind to myself about that. As a freelance copywriter (and not yet immersed personally or professionally in the birth, baby and parenting scene), I just didn’t appreciate the reality of the situation. Or, apparently, the art of a well-packed day bag. 

What had actually happened was PROM (premature rupture of membranes), and even with a couple of tests after our birth, we’ll never know why.

Birth is our breastfeeding back-story

Fast-forward 36 hours, and I was showering on the labour ward, stunned into a kind of euphoric clarity about my new role – as mum to Jude. 

I’d had repeat miscarriages before getting pregnant with this tiny ball of fight, energy and softness (everything, all at once – that’s Judy) and yet here she was. We’d done it. 

Again, the back-story is important. My waters broke early with Jude (known as ‘PROM’) and after waiting a little while in hospital to see if labour might start naturally, I was induced due to risk of infection. After a 12-ish hour labour, gas and air fun and an episiotomy, she was snuggled in my arms. 

It had been harder than I’d thought – at times, impossible – but indescribably empowering. Just like breastfeeding would turn out to be.  

Episiotomy aside, we’d had a natural birth and I was able to move and do as I liked pretty quickly. A midwife noted she’d ‘latched’ (actually, I don’t think she had) and we were trotted off to the recovery ward. 

Jude looked tiny to everyone – she was 5 lb 2oz – but I didn’t know any different – she was also tinged with a little yellow (an early sign of her jaundice), but I didn’t notice. She just looked perfect, to me.

Week one, jaundice and oxytocin flow

Our baby was with us, on the regular ward, but slightly premature, jaundiced and very hungry.

Well-meaning nurses kept popping in and exclaiming about how tiny Jude was, and her now-obvious yellow skintone. She’d had a feeding tube fitted through her nose, and we were exhaustedly measuring out formula to pump through this every couple of hours.

One of the side effects of jaundice is sleepiness. And Jude, by this point, was too tired to latch and feed. Nurses and midwives kept encouraging me to ‘try her on the boob’ (this was all new terminology to me), to stimulate let-down (also new to me) and start seeing some colostrum (again, clueless). But nothing seemed to work.

Jessies Breastfeeding Journey Wild Nutrition

I’d had one session in a school friend’s kitchen, on breastfeeding, during pregnancy. Her sister was a student midwife and testing out a quick intro with me and two pregnant friends. I had no idea, at the time, how pivotal that chance session would be. It meant I knew just about enough to keep trying, keep asking for help and taking care of myself enough to support my body in producing that very early breast milk. 

On around day four after birth, and feeling very little in terms of engorgement, let-down or – really – anything, hooked up to a double pump and crying with frustration, I got the help I needed from an amazing student baby nurse. She gave me a cuddle, weighed Jude and showed me her progress already, on formula, and – in hindsight – probably got the oxytocin going. 

She also fully corrected my latch, and there it was. That first, effective, feed, and all the feelings that come with it. 

Baseline nutrition, self care and hydration

‘Please could you bring water (loads), carby snacks, and all of her supplements. Yes, all of them, scoop everything into a bag!’

That was Maurice, on the phone to his amazing mum, who lived just down the road from the hospital. Pat showed up an hour later with everything requested and more – from an amazing chicken and vegetable soup in a flask to takeaway curry and homemade cake.

Foods to avoid when breastfeeding

That’s my first tip, mamas. People will offer to help, and when they do – ask for all of the food. Snacks, drinks, meals, cake – whatever they can manage. Once we’d established a latch and feeding, and the colostrum was done with, Jude and I needed as much nourishment as possible to keep in the very early swing of breastfeeding. 

Tip two. Get started, right away, with effective supplement support. A baseline multivitamin is, for me, essential, just to get all bases covered and start keeping up with you and your baby’s new requirements. It’s so easy to slip into depletion of key micronutrients, when you’re breastfeeding. I do love this one for its really comprehensive blend of essential vitamins and minerals – it’s a bestseller (and award-winning!) for a reason.

I also got straight into a tip-top breastfeeding-specific supplement, knowing certain blends of botanicals and vitamins can have a dynamic impact on lactation, energy levels, immune health and my baby’s development. My choice, long-before Jude’s birth, had been Wild Nutrition’s Food-Grown® Breastfeeding Support – I’d researched it and added it to my post-birth stash, for when the time came. 

Snap up £10 off when you order from Wild Nutrition right now, mamas, with code TRB10*.

Finding our stride

Milk in (another new one on me), jaundice on the downward trend and Jude putting on weight nicely, we were out of hospital and discharged to community care.

Those early weeks (and, I’ll be authentic here, months) were really tough. I’d longed for this rainbow baby so much, and yet, I was struggling. Struggling to adjust, relax and just be in the moment with her. I love my independence, and it was gone. I’d prepared for an element of this, but having gone into labour without any mat leave, or time to really prepare, I found the adjustment difficult.

Breastfeeding story Wild Nutrition

I also struggled to balance the combination of formula feeding and breastfeeding – we’d brought Jude home without the nose tube, but with lots of formula from the hospital, and instructions to carry on topping her up with bottles, in and around the boob. 

I felt pressure to ensure Jude never lost that game-changing weight she put on in hospital. And incredibly, considering her early start, her weight was never a concern. At every appointment, she was thriving. But I was overwhelmed by the insistence of (almost) everyone around me, to combi feed, keep pumping and – it felt like – just survive. 

Knowing this was about more than just survival – we’d passed that point, thankfully – I tentatively started reducing the bottles, and feeding directly rather than pumping. I never had much success with expressing milk, to be honest, and I was enjoying each feed more and more. Later on, with our second baby, I’d know the abject pain of breastfeeding through fissures and thrush. And the exhaustion of cluster feeding, sleep associations, and more. But for now, we were finding our stride. 

I was trusting the process, relaxing into things, being rewarded with smiles from my baby and seeing her tiny, bird-like frame filling out into 1-3 month baby vests and size one nappies. I knew our nutrition – both Jude’s and mine – was in the best place possible, and by around week six postpartum was prioritising a rotation of key support to keep us on the right path.

My early-days breastfeeding support list

Here’s my baseline support list (still pinned to my Pinterest board actually, for future reference!) 

As time went by, feeding just slotted into everyday life, and I didn’t need to think about it all quite so much. But having a plan helped anchor me in those early days, building the foundations for an amazing breastfeeding journey. 

  1. hydration (water, of course, plus electrolyte-supporting options like coconut water, for repletion during breastfeeding and hot weather).
  2. targeted support (and by this, I mean a supplement to pair nicely with my baseline multi, specifically formulated for breastfeeding. Look for one which blends essential micronutrients like vitamin B12 for energy and calcium to top up your levels (babies love to steal our calcium stores, which are mega-important for maintaining bone density as we get older), with well-known botanicals for lactation support, like fenugreek and stinging nettle. My go-to is the Food-Grown® Breastfeeding Support, to tick it all off in an easy, daily dose.
  3. folate (I got this from my diet and a good multi – it’s still really important post-birth for healthy development while breastfeeding – Wild Nutrition do this one which gives you 400ug of folic acid in the form of naturally methylated folate, for better absorbability).
  4. probiotics – again, I got these microbiome-supporting superstars from my diet with lots of live yogurt and kombucha – plus a good supplement – it wasn’t around at the time, but I’m a big fan of this one for an impressive 30 billion shot of live bacteria in just one capsule.
  5. vitamin D – both my babies were born in heat waves and my vitamin D levels have never been low (I’ve tested them a couple of times). But I know how important a back-up vitamin D supplement is when breastfeeding, because breast milk alone doesn’t usually provide enough of this vital nutrient. Bundle a couple of things in together with Wild Nutrition, including vitamin D, to make things super-simple.
  6. comfort food, and lots of it – whatever you fancy. For me, this was hearty meals like fish pie, beans on toast with lots of cheese, chunky sandwiches, buttery scrambled eggs, warming curries, stews and pasta dishes, plus grabable snacks and lovely fresh fruit with berries. Yum is the focus, when you’re feeding two at once. 
  7. protein. It’s mega for breastfeeding support, and can be tricky to get enough of when you’re craving carbs and juggling so many other things. My tip is to find a really good protein powder, and get closer to your requirements with a yummy smoothie. Pack in the berries, coconut milk and flax too for an extra antioxidant, healthy fat-rich boost. The Organic Protein + Superfood Powder by Wild Nutrition is super-gorgeous and goes far beyond just protein, adding in seven different mushrooms, super greens and vitamin B12 for energy, immune support and focus. Perfect as a quick shake when you’ve got your hands full – I blend mine with almond milk, banana, peanut butter and a few drops of vanilla.
  8. expert support, either in-person or from content that resonates, and you can trust. I did actually book a lactation consultant after having Coren, my second baby, but cancelled when we hit our stride and got his tongue-tie sorted. 

Support can be absolutely game-changing, though, and the best often comes from referral, so ask around in your whatsapp groups, on social media or look out for local, informal clinics and drop-in sessions. Shout out to Imogen Unger for her London-based support and fantastic Insta content.

Breastfeeding Wild Nutrition postnatal

Stopping, baby number two, hospital stays and Covid

I could (as you can see) go on for hours, and hours. There’s so much to say about the granular aspects of a breastfeeding journey, and the macro of how I feel about it all in general. 

Breastfeeding became an integral part of my life. I don’t think it would have, without that support from the student nurse in hospital, and I’m conscious it is not everyone’s journey. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that every. single. aspect of fertility, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and feeding – however you feed – is completely unique. It’s as unique as our fingerprints, and a tapestry which becomes our overall parenthood experience. 

Jude self-weaned from her final morning feeds at 16 months old. Two months later, I was expecting Coren, our second baby, and the rest was another history, entirely. His story saw us tackle a precipitous birth, newborn hospital stays for a kidney defect (known as vesicoureteral reflux, or VCR), thrush, feeding through lockdown during Covid – those freezing park benches, hey mamas?! – and his sudden self-weaning at 11 months old. 

Breastfeeding was never guaranteed, as part of my journey. I found it easier than I’d anticipated, when I’d got the hang of it, with Jude, and so much harder than I’d expected, with Coren. Every month brought a new learning, and a reminder to take nothing for granted. And, to stay well-fed, nourished and hydrated. It’s a mantra for life, really, far beyond the blurry-eyed newborn days. 

Speaking of support, I’d absolutely recommend booking a quick chat with a Wild Nutrition nutritionist, just to ensure you’re getting the baseline nourishment you need. Find a slot that works around you and your baby – whether it’s a free 15-minute check-in or detailed 45-minute consult.

Plus, enjoy £10 off your first order with code TRB10*

New customers only. Cannot be used with other offers or discounts. Valid until 31.08.23

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