Yes – this post is all about breastmilk. If you’re not interested, stop reading now. It won’t hurt my feelings, I promise. This isn’t a topic of interest to a lot of people.
Before I get started, I feel I must also write that this isn’t a post about breastmilk vs. formula. I’m not condoning nor condemning anyone for their feeding choices. This is just about me and my out of control breastmilk situation. (Start rant. It is a sad state of affairs when I have to pre-apologize for writing about breastmilk because it is THAT sensitive of a topic to parents. There is a great divide amongst parents for a few hot button topics. When did everyone become so sensitive? Because one parent chooses to do something – it shouldn’t mean that they condemn another parent for choosing to do something else. End rant.)
I’m pretty open about being the president of the itty bitty titty committee. While I’ve not always loved it – I’ve come to terms with it. I have no boobs. There. Lots of women have small boobs.
Despite understanding that milk ducts are different than breast tissue (therefore size shouldn’t matter) – there was that irrational part of me that thought, “What if I can’t breastfeed?” I had a lot of “what if”s during my pregnancy because you always worry about the unknown.
I didn’t actually get an opportunity to try breastfeeding until 12 HOURS after Annmarie was born. I’ve read that it is common practice for hospitals to have moms attempt breastfeeding within the first hour so it was pretty unusual for me to have waited so long. The waiting had more to do with the fact that I couldn’t pee. The nurses spent so much time trying to help me pee on my own that I think it just slipped their minds to get Annmarie to my boobs. And then when I transferred to the post-partum unit, those nurses assumed I had already nursed.
The first nursing attempt wasn’t great. You just never know if your baby is getting enough of what they need. But then you have to keep at it every couple of hours. And when your nipples don’t get that much action – it hurts. A lot. Like so bad that you don’t want anything even rubbing against them (like the hospital gown).
My milk never came in while I was at the hospital so of course I worried that I wasn’t producing enough. And when it did come in a few days later, I thought I was going to die from engorgement (but I did enjoy the look of giant boobs).
But still – I wasn’t sure of how much I was producing. Your baby doesn’t have any sort of indicator that lets you know how much milk they’re getting from you. You just keep feeding and feeding and hope that they’re getting enough.
I still worried. How do I make sure my milk supply stays up?
I took fenugreek. And then I started pumping (about 2 1/2 weeks post-partum). I started pumping partly to relieve some of the engorgement. Someone had told me about how their wife got an infection because she wasn’t draining her breasts. I was really worried about that.
I pumped religiously while on maternity leave. At first I pumped right after I nursed but then I pumped an hour after I nursed.
I worried that once I returned to work, my supply would drop drastically. So I kept up the pumping.
I managed to fill a freezer. (yes, that is ALL breastmilk pictured)
Once I returned to work – my supply never dropped. If anything – I feel like I’m a super producer. I pump nearly 20 ounces while I’m at work.
Annmarie only takes 14 ounces of breastmilk while at daycare. She hasn’t indicated a need for more and yet she’s still gaining weight (she’s already over 20 pounds!).
I’m pumping more than she’s eating. It is taking over our freezers (we have 2). I constantly have to rearrange the supply to make room for all the new stuff. (this is me laying out all the stuff I stack in the upstairs freezer arranged by date so that I can organize the milk and move it)
I think I created a breastmilk monster. I just recently stopped nursing Annmarie in the middle of the night. I used to wake her up so I could get some relief but every breastfeeding mom told me that I should just stop and my body would adjust.
I’ve kept this up for nearly 2 weeks and while the engorgement in the morning isn’t painful – it is still there. How long until my body adjusts?
I’m also still pumping 3 times during the day (partly for relievement). But now I think I need to cut that down to 2.
I feel like at the rate I’m pumping, Annmarie will have enough breastmilk to last her until she’s 5.
Is this normal?
I should note that the pumping and breastfeeding don’t bother me and in fact, I thoroughly enjoy the calorie burn it offers. I just hate the idea of storing up so much breastmilk and having it go to waste because Annmarie will no longer need it. Is 6 months the point where I should look to start cutting this down?