millie poutama, mama disrupt

[Guest Editor] Millie Poutama: My journey to motherhood

In Features, Guest Editors, Motherhood, Stories by Nicole Fuge

New mama and influencer Millie Poutama shares her emotional journey to motherhood, from trying to conceive, to holding her baby in her arms, to returning to work.

By Nicole Fuge, Mama Disrupt® Managing Editor

Millie Poutama is a fierce woman.

In 2017, Millie and her girlfriend, Jessi, were thrust into the public eye as the ‘face of Australia’s marriage equality YES Campaign’ and then four years later, they married.

Keen to start a family, the pair tried at-home insemination, which was successful. But they sadly miscarried. And then after a string of infertility issues, including endometriosis, they decided it was time to undergo IVF treatment.

In 2021, the stars aligned and Millie fell pregnant with their beautiful bambino, Tide, who was born in November.

“Being able to both feel empowered to feed and comfort Tide is so important to us. Not just to share the load, but to share the love.”

Now, the family of three [with plans to grow to four someday soon] live in their very own love bubble on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Living the low key off-grid dream, complete with animals and veggie patches, they really are in a little slice of heaven.

“We spend our free-time enjoying each other’s company and exploring Darkinjung country,” Millie says. “But on the other hand sometimes free-time is hard to find. We, like most other families, are doing our best to juggle work, trying to be social and Tide’s ever-growing appointments and therapies.”

Millie Poutama, Mama Disrupt

Early motherhood

Motherhood for me so far has been the most beautiful mosaic of pure bliss, love and absolute mayhem.

It’s no secret I suffered PNA and PND but coming out the other side has been like following the rainbow. Every day is different. I’m tired, and my nipples are destroyed, but I am genuinely happier than I thought could be possible [most of the time].

Highlights and hurdles

The highlights have obviously been milestones – which for Tide and myself are the product of hard work, intervention and countless alterations to everyday life. The hurdle for me was the PNA that hit like a storm … that was not on the radar.

Millie Poutama, Mama Disrupt

My breastfeeding journey

My breastfeeding journey is a love story. It’s such a beautiful time spent together, and knowing I could provide for my child felt like such a victory in those early dark days of PND/PNA.

I know fed is best and totally agree, but the breastfeeding helped me to feel successful in our journey.

Because breastfeeding is deeply personal to your relationship with your baby, equipping yourself with the right tools [such as a good breast pump, comfortable and accessible clothing, and advice from professionals] will make your journey easier.

Millie Poutama, Mama Disrupt

Biggest feeding challenges

The biggest challenge with feeding, was that as the feeding parent, I was solely responsible for those moments. If you are breastfeeding and the baby is asking you for that, there isn’t another person on the planet that your child will settle for.

Getting comfortable with pumping has revolutionised this for us though, being able to share the load. Being able to both feel empowered to feed and comfort Tide is so important to us. Not just to share the load, but to share the love.

Millie Poutama, Mama Disrupt
Heading back to work as a breastfeeding mama

In the early days, I tried and failed a few breast pumps and then gave up. Tide had some developmental delays and low muscle tone; at the time we couldn’t encourage him to take a bottle, so it (pumping) seemed fruitless.

Now, Tide still feeds six to eight times a day, and because we have had a slow start to solid foods, being able to continue breastfeeding while returning to work has been crucial.

Since returning to work full time, the Medela Freestyle Hands-free breast pump has become an absolute necessity. It’s unlike any other pump I have tried, even hospital-grade ones. The fact that you can totally use it hands-free makes the whole experience less like a chore and more like an achievement.

Having the freedom to work while pumping, or carry on with any other activity, means I can pump when I want and need to. I don’t have to fit it around my lifestyle and my commitments, I can simply attach the pump and go for it.

Connect with Millie and follow her motherhood journey on Insta @jessi_and_millie