Lactation

I was inspired to write this post as sat here, attached to my breast pump. It’s like being a cow, truly. Attaching my poor boobs to a sucking, pinching, noisy machine and hoping to collect a few ounces of milk is not at all glamorous. I really didn’t know my nipple could stretch so far. It, like so many other parts of my post-pregnancy, post-birth, and post-breastfeeding body, will never be the same. :-))

When I was pregnant my greatest hope behind a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby was the ability to breastfeed. I really wanted to nurse my baby. I also wanted a vaginal birth, which I had, but would have opted for C-section if I had to choose between that and not nursing.

Within her first hour of life outside the womb, she initiated feeding. The moment she latched was as amazing as the moment she was placed in my arms for the first time. I was so grateful that she knew exactly what to do and that she latched perfectly. I was nourishing my baby and it was an awesome feeling. And that feeling and the ease of breastfeeding has continued. My sister couldn’t believe that I did not suffer with sore, cracked, or chapped nipples. Miss Connie was a god latcher. Never any pain, it was easy.

My goal is to nurse through her first year, providing her with valuable vitamins, building her immunity, and strengthening her mind and body. We are nearly half way through that first year.

During my conference in July, I pumped and fed as I was able, but work commitments limited the amount of time I had for both. I was away from her in August for three days and had to pump exclusively during that time. I collected 70 ounces during those three days and since I have felt as though she may not be getting enough from me.

We started introducing solid foods over the past month consistently. She usually has organic baby cereal, banana and/or avocado for lunch and sometimes again at dinner time. We also supplement with a bottle at night before bed to ensure she has a satisfied tummy. She’s putting on weight and is pretty content, so I know she is getting enough.

She continues to sleep well for us and I feel that in large part my supply may feel “less” due to the fact that overnight she may sleep for 4-7 hours and during that time, there is no demand for milk, thus reducing production.

I haven’t pumped consistently since July and other than my trip to Chicago, haven’t been able to add to our frozen milk supply (the supply that I had built up was nearly wiped out to cover my days away from her). I currently sit with a frozen milk account balance of approximately 68 ounces. I want more!

I have been taking a Fenugreek supplement and drinking Mother’s Milk tea to help with production—also enjoying a beer or two here and there as that is another lactation helper. I’ve decided however, if I am going to build my stash, or at least just keep up with my daughter I need to focus on lactation!

  • I found a recipe for lactation cookies and went out and bought brewer’s yeast. I read various reviews about the benefits and successes of lactation cookies and found an article that said they are more potent in the raw dough form than when baked. So with the supportive help of my husband, we whipped up a batch of lactation dough!
  • I’m going to be more on-purpose about the Fenugreek supplements. One per day won’t make much of an impact, I need up to 4 per day.
  • While at the co-op, I found another herbal aid and will be trying that too.
  • I need more water. Hydration is so important. After I finish my 2-4 cups of tea per day, I am weak at getting water in my system. Drink up, Lori!
  • I need to pump! Even if I just nursed her, even if I don’t think there is anything in there…pump! The more I demand, the more I produce…. at least that is the logic of breastfeeding. Pumping in the middle of the night, too. That one will be tough…. I’ll have to give up sleep, sleep my sweet daughter spoils me with.

Any current or former nursing mamas out there have any tips for me?

I am already familiar with the “lactation-friendly” foods such as oatmeal, salmon, brown rice, seeds, almonds, etc. I have a list of these foods and try to incorporate them into meal planning. I also get good fat intake with avocados and coconut oil.

In the time it took my to write this, I managed to collect one ounce of milk. Now I did just nurse not too long ago, and I do feel that this pump is nowhere as effective as my daughter at expelling… but still…ugh. Put this cow back to pasture, she’s been milked!

Here’s to a healthy flow!

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Photo credit: Rachel Manzke Photography.  Nursing my babe during our family photo shoot.

4 thoughts on “Lactation

  1. Sounds like you have done your homework. All i can say is very helpful the mothers milk tea, drinking alot of water although you pee more lol but it helps. I also nurse then wait about 1 hour then will pump then an hour after nurse again. Thats when you truly know how a poor cow feels but that helped me produce more and fill alot of bags for the freezer! What ever you do if you dont build more of a supply just give her what your able to. Any breast milk is more benifical then none at all. Good luck as you continue your journey. Its the most rewarding thing to watch your baby grow smart and healthy from something you produce…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ohhhh, pumping… Because the boys are primarily bottle fed, I pump around the clock. Every 3-4 hours (except overnight), every damn day. That middle of the night pump session was brutal, and I eventually stopped forcing it when I became so sleep deprived that I failed to wake to my “Time to Pump!” alarm on more than one occasion. I feared I was also sleeping through the boys’ cries so I stopped setting the alarm. Now, if i wake up on my own, I pump. But otherwise it’s just when they eat. Nonetheless, I’m always looking for ways to increase my flow. A few things that have worked for me:
    Fenugreek – 4-6 capsules per day. I saw zero change when I was only taking 2/day. I do 2 capsules; morning, noon and night, and I definitely notice an increase compared to before, or even when I miss a dose.
    Hydration – I “chase” all of my fenugreek with at least 16oz of water, and have a 32oz glass that I refill all day. My goal is at least 4 of them, which sometimes means I’m playing catch up just before bed but at least I’m getting it in.
    Hand expression – I know some people are weirded out by it, but it really works for me. Since the pump doesn’t empty things out quite like nursing, hand expressing makes sure you get every last drop of that liquid gold and signals the body to make more!
    I also add oats and brewers yeast to just about everything smoothie or baked good that I make.
    And beer. Thank goodness for the person that filled beer with milk producing goodness, even if it is just in my head. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: 6 Months | Bear Vale

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