Friday, January 15, 2016

Making Milk (sort of)

I would like you to meet my new best friend, the medela pump in style double electric breast pump.  It feels like my best friend in the fact that we spend so much time together - 4 hours if I get all 8 scheduled pumps in.  We are together in thick and thin, even in the middle of the night.  My entire day revolves around trying to get together for 30 minutes, every 2-3 hours, 'round the clock.


This sound more like a metaphorical albatross than my best friend.

Oh the joys of pumping.

I started pumping right after Christmas.  It already feels like all I do is pump.....and I have a long ways to go until Baby S. arrives.

The goal is that by starting to pump (and taking a handful of herbs and other supplements twice a day) 8 weeks before our expected due date, that I would be able to breastfeed  Baby S when he arrives.  It is important to note that most women do not reach full supply when inducing lactation and will need to supplement, but more important is that we are able to breastfeed at all.

When I started my inducing lactation journey back in August I was very hopeful.  I had read success stories of some who were able to exclusively breastfeed from inducing lactation.  I was so sure that I would be one of those women....that everything would just work perfectly.

Ha, ha!  Reality just laughed in my face and stomped all over my hopes and dreams. (yet again)

I have no idea why I totally thought that for once my body would work exactly like I wanted it to....especially in something "female" related.  My uterus is less that 1/2 there, my ovaries don't like to produce eggs (and especially not good quality eggs) even with high amounts of hormones, why did I think that my boobs would work?

So if you haven't guessed by now, the process of inducing lactation is not going exactly as I had hoped.  Granted it is still pretty early - I am only 3 weeks in - but the production is LOW.  By low I mean drops.

Not bags or bottles full.....just drops.

Mark has been really great and keeps trying to reassure me that even though it is only drops, it is more and more drops every day.

Too bad babies eat around 25 ounces of milk a day and drops are not going to cut it.

I keep reminding myself that this was never about trying to breastfeed exclusively, that this was always about the experience of breastfeeding.  The experience of being able to nourish my child.  The bonding that breastfeeding helps to create.  The ability to feel a little "normal" in a less than normal pregnancy and birth.

Mark finds it fascinating that me who is a perpetual pessimist was quite the optimist when it came to inducing lactation.  I think that I just wanted it to work so badly, I found a way to convince myself that it would.

And, technically it is working.  I am producing milk.  Maybe not a lot of milk, but milk all the same.

PS - I have been pumping while writing this post :)

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