My name is Mckenzie Kennedy, I’m a 26-year-old mother of three, and married to their daddy for 5 years now. I’ve breastfed all my children and had ups and downs with all of them. I struggled quite badly with postpartum depression (PPD) after having my first daughter at 19 years old, so when it came to having my second child I wanted to do all I could to help avoid it again. I’d read that placenta encapsulation could help with PPD so I thought I’d give it a go. I want to share my story (the successes and the failures) in the hopes it will help others.
As a young mum I struggled with PPD
I had my first daughter at 19, and struggled to feed her. Between not having much support, struggling with Postpartum Depression (PPD), and her having colic, I felt there was a lot going against us. In the end I managed to breastfeed her for six months, before I then got pregnant with my second child.
I had my first daughter at 19, and struggled to feed her.Mckenzie
I researched placenta encapsulation for baby no.2
While pregnant with my second daughter I did a ton of research to better prepare for breastfeeding second time around. I ended up encapsulating my placenta, which is when you turn your placenta into pills and consume them postpartum for the additional health benefits they are supposed to bring. I’d read it was supposed to help with PPD, something I was really scared of suffering from again.
In all honesty, I’m not sure if placenta encapsulation was of any benefit to me. Whilst I didn’t suffer from PPD with my second daughter, I did struggle with milk supply. I worried that the encapsulation may have had something to do with it, or whether it was down to her having a severe lip and tongue-tie. Once we got those taken care of, she was able to nurse 100% better, and thankfully breastfeeding became easier for both of us. She ended up weaning herself at 9 months old.
Breastfeeding for two years was my big goal
I had my son three years later and was DETERMINED to exclusively breastfeed until he was two years old. At first it was a struggle. He was losing weight and had bad jaundice which resulted in an NICU stay during his first week of life. It was during this time that I ended up with a really sore blocked milk duct, but thankfully I was able to get this out quickly and get back to nursing right away.
We had a pretty easy journey besides that first week, until October 2020 when I ended up being hospitalized for four days. I’d developed mastitis which nearly turned to sepsis. It all happened so quickly – I felt a lump Saturday and was almost deadly sick by Monday night. In hospital I was so unwell and struggled with headaches and vomiting, making pumping milk for my son so difficult. What made matters worse is that I was put on several antibiotics before finding one that worked. At one point they thought I had MRSA because my mastitis seemed antibiotic-resistant but, third time was a charm, and we found something that worked.
I really thought my prolonged hospital stay would end our breastfeeding journey but somehow we made it through. I am so proud that we have been breastfeeding for two years! He’s only had 1 ounce of formula in his entire life and he is 27 months old now!
I really thought my prolonged hospital stay would end our breastfeeding journey but somehow we made it through.Mckenzie
I’m now training to be a lactation consultant
Due to my three very different experiences and how important breastfeeding is to me, I’ve become a huge advocate for breastfeeding. My goal is to now become a mobile on-call lactation consultant. I already know a ton about breastfeeding, I just need to become certified now! I’m working hard to make this happen.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, or need any breastfeeding help! You can follow me on Instagram @thekennedykids_
What is placentophagy and placenta encapsulation?
Placentophagy is the practice of ingesting the placenta after birth. Placenta encapsulation is a form of placentophagy and involves cleaning the placenta, dehydrating it, and then grinding it up to put in a pill to then swallow. It is a practice that has grown in popularity in recent years, in part down to the endorsement by celebrity mothers such as Chrissy Tiegan and Kourtney Kardashian. Anecdotally placenta encapsulation has been said to improve mood, enhance recovery, and increase milk production after giving birth. There is little scientific evidence to back any of this up. To date, there have been a small number of studies that have looked at placentophagy and the impact on women. You can discover research studies on the consumption of maternal placenta here.