Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Just a Little More...

Warning: This will be a rambling post... thanks in advance for your patience!

Many thanks to everyone who responded to the last post with advice on how to increase breast milk production! Sadly, nothing seems to be working and I'm sitting here fuming over it. Not at you lovely people, dear Internets, but my lactiferous ducts. Stupid ducts! I'm taking 5 capsules of Fenugreek 3 times a day. I'm eating. I'm drinking. I'm meditating, doing relaxation and visualization techniques. I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle. I'm saving all the milk to use in his rice cereal (yes, Bee has started solids! Well, very runny rice mush), because once I tried mixing it with formula and gave me a look that I read as: Woman, what do you think you are doing?! Do you realize you are putting that in my mouth? He loves it mixed with breat milk, so that's what we do.

Here's my milking diary: I get up at 6 am and pump. The Bee gets up about 8 am; I nurse him, then feed him rice cereal. After he gets cleaned up, he gets some formula and/or diluted pear juice. I go to work, then pump every 2.5 to 3 hours. I nurse him again in the evening, feed him some more cereal, then nurse him/give him some formula/and maybe some more juice before putting him to bed between 8 - 9:30 pm.

Problems arrise when I'm working and I'm furiously trying to meet a deadline - pumping gets put off, 30 minutes here, 45 minutes there. We're short an illustrator, so I'm doing a lot more work. Our new illustrator starts Monday (also my 36th birthday - yay me), so I'm happy to have some one to pick up more of the work - this is also a busy time for us. As you can tell since I haven't updated in a MONTH.

Speaking of months, I also got my period yesterday. HAPPY JOY! Wow, I haven't missed this. And I haven't had my period since July 5th of 2005. I'm not on the pill, so I'm bloated and crampy. And I have no idea how long this will last. And, I understand milk supply drops during your period. So that's a big help.

Frankly, I blame Boston. Everything was great with my supply until I left for Boston. I was getting 8 to 12 oz. at my 6 am pumping session, now I'm incredibly lucky if I get 6 oz. This morning I got just shy of 5 oz. At the Boston seminar, I was running upstairs in the hotel to nurse Ben in between the sessions. So I wasn't pumping at all - this was for 5 days. It was a busy meeting; our 5th wedding anniversary came and went. Mr. R was working on a presentation he was giving at one of the sessions so we postponed celebrating. We haven't designated a date to celebrate it, but we figure it will be sometime... before our 6th anniversary.

So. Just wigging about my milk production. It just seems to be getting worse, and I'm not ready to give it up. I'm not sure what els I can do, but thanks for reading me vent and ramble.

My brother seems to be in the home stretch. My mother called in the morning on September 1st to tell me that the doctors didn't expect him to last the weekend. I drove out 2.5 hours to visit with him at his nursing home, and was just shocked when I got there. He had aspriation pneumonia and the rattling in his chest was so pronounced. I didn't think he'd last the night. I said what I wanted to say to him (another post for another day), told him not to be afraid. I told him I was happy for him to be going home. It was so sad to see him that way. He's still plugging along; he's lost his sight, but he's on mophine and resting comfortably. I just hope he goes soon; I can't imagine many things worse than being trapped in a body that doesn't work. I'll update as the situation evolves.

One of the worst things was being around my mother. For the first time in only God knows how long, my mother, father, brother & I were in the same room. It wasn't good. My mother just seems to bring out the worst in everyone. My parents argued, and my mother was so angry and bitter towards my dad. It was sooooooo uncomfortable. I actually forgot how miserable I used to be living at home. I forgot how unhappy life was. I've been so happy, living on my own, and sharing my life with Mr. Right and now with the Bee that I just forgot. I tell Mr. R all the time that I never dreamt I could ever be this happy, but I forgot how much I truly mean that.

My mother is still insisting that I've said things I never did, and I realize that no matter what I say or do to try to convince her otherwise, her edited reality it firmly entrenched in her mind. So that relationship is another losing battle. All I want is to be civil. I'll take that.

I hear the Bee on the monitor crying awake from his nap, so now is the time to feed my sticky little wicket more rice cereal and have a little playtime before bedtime.


At 9/14/2006 9:52 AM, Blogger lonna said...

Warning, this will be a rambling comment:) I don't know all of the specifics of what is going on, but I will give a broad range of suggestions. First, join pumpmoms over at yahoo groups. Those women are amazing. They know all of the tricks of the trade. It's where I learned most of my stuff. Second, it sounds like you are not having any kind of supply problems at all, but your body is pump resistant. It also sounds like your body is slowing down your milk supply because it's more regulated to match what Ben actually eats. Also, before you period starts you can lose half of your pump output. Ouch.

As far as work goes, do you have a handless pump set up? If not look around for them. I got one at baby center a while back. That way I could pump while I worked since I had my own office. It's also less stressful because you're not watching the milk flow into the bottle. That helps some people produce more.

Some people would also tell you to stop the formula all together. By giving Ben formula at home, you are telling your body not to make as much milk. That's a very personal decision, though.

Is your pump working at top performance? I know that I had to change the white membranes in my Medela pumps about once a month. They eventually get stretched out. My lactation consultant didn't even know that.

Also, you will never pump as much as Ben eats. That's true for most women. We all just need to accept that. To make up for that some women pump on the weekends, before bed, and some even wake up in the middle of night to pump. Prolactin is highest between 1 and 3 AM so that's the best shot to get lots of milk. It's also the best way to tell your body to ramp up production during the day. All I ever cared about was filling my 3 five ounce bottles everyday. There were times when I would nurse Dermot at 8,9, and 10 and then I would wait until 11 to pump and then go to bed. There were other times where I would nurse him before daycare and then pump right afterwards to get the last 1/2 ounce to fill one of his bottles right before we were out the door. It was awful.

Also, we just gave Dermot cereal with water. I wasn't about to waste my precious milk on cereal that he might or might not eat. He didn't care, but Ben might have already made his choice:) Finally, you might want to save the cereal for daycare. That may mean that you will get to send a little less milk. Also, hopefully your daycare provider is only feeding Ben what he requests. So many places try to feed on a schedule or they force babies to finish bottles instead of letting the baby choose for themselves. I found out they were feeding Dermot every 2 hours and he would eat it if it was offered. Once I told them to stop that, things got better. Good luck.

If you have any other questions feel free to e-mail me at lonnamurphy at gmail dot com

At 9/14/2006 10:01 AM, Anonymous tessy said...

There's always domperidone or reglan if you really want to go that route, but I think Lonna may be right in that you sound "pump resistant." Unfortunatley I am too. My Owen is about Ben's age (tunred 5 months on the 4th) and I nurse when I'm home, go home at lunch to nurse and he gets a bottle of formula and a cereal snack in the afternoons. I stopped pumping in the afternoons becuase it was stressing me out and I wasn't getting enough anyway.

At 9/14/2006 10:03 AM, Anonymous tessy said...

Oh, and fenugreek had the opposite effect on me. Once I started taking it I produced less milk. When I stopped I went back to my 3-4 oz again. (That's 3-4 oz total for both breasts after 20 minutes...see why I stopped? *rolls eyes*)

At 9/15/2006 2:49 PM, Blogger NME said...

What a stunning little man!

It sounds like you are doing all you can for little Ben and that is impressive. I'm sure he will adapt to supplementation.

I hope your brother goes soon and peacefully. And if your mother thinks holding on to her anger is more important than being a part of the life of her grandson then there is nothing you can do about it.

Thinking of you.

At 9/16/2006 2:32 PM, Blogger fisher queen said...

I don't have any advice for anything, but wanted to let you know I am thinking of you.

At 9/21/2006 10:13 AM, Blogger Moxie said...

Bingo! Your milk supply went down because your cycle returned. Try taking a bunch of extra calcium supplements and see if that helps. Some women have this problem before adn during every cycle while nursing.

At 9/23/2006 11:34 AM, Blogger Thalia said...

sorry to hear you're having breastmilk volume issues. Not much advice from me I'm afraid, but it sounds like you're doing all the right things.

At 10/06/2006 3:37 PM, Anonymous pixi said...

Boston is very sorry! We didn't mean to wreak such havoc!

Please know that I'm thinking of you, as you are dealing with such a difficult family situation. It's got to be hard on so many levels.

Hope you're hanging in there OK, though.

At 10/15/2006 9:48 PM, Blogger Jo said...

If you don't have a double pump, get one. When you are nursing, switch from side to side every few minutes. Nurse as MUCH as the boy will be willing to. It takes about 48 hours for your milk supply to catch up. Drink non alcoholic beer, (O'Douls), mother's milk tea, (health food store) call the La Leche League leader in your area. Email me if you need/want any more help. I was a LLL leader and midwife for 20 years. You CAN do this.

At 10/15/2006 10:45 PM, Blogger Amelia's Mom said...

I don't respond well to my pump either - like 2 oz IF I'm lucky. I tried fenugreek, mother's tea, oatmeal, massage, visualization, etc. and none of it worked. My dr. suggested I pump while nursing since my body will still make enough to satisfy my daughter. It works - she gets the let down (which is so hard for me to get with the pump) and that helps me add to the little I get at work so she has enough while I'm at work. So I pump every time I nurse her except right before bed, including weekends. Good luck!


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