Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The lactation battle rages on

Okay, just a warning...YES, this is another whiny post about my milk production. There. You've been warned.

This time it's serious.

On Thursday, after I woke up, got McKenna off to school, and took my first round of meds being one tablet of amoxicillin and one tablet of Vicodin, I noticed that my one and only pumping session for the day was...uhm, a little light. Usually if I pump once during the day, I can usually produce about 6-7 ounces without breaking a sweat. This time, I got less than an ounce.

To be quite honest, at the time, I was too sick and feeling so crappy that I really didn't care and I didn't think much about it other than to stop taking the antibiotics in case that was the culprit and plan to book some extra pumping time next week, being NOW.

However, it hasn't gotten any better. Not at all. And McKenna has depleted about half of my frozen stash in the freezer.

I'm starting to realize that this could be the beginning of the end of my breast-feeding partnership with McKenna. I'm going to fight it, of course, and I HATE IT that it's happened, but I guess I should be grateful that I was able to keep it going for the first six months. Initially, that's all I was planning on doing anyway.

I called a La Leche consultant today and talked to her about the problem. I think I have a pretty good game plan. For starters, I don't think I've been taking enough fenugreek to make it really work. I've heard a lot of people mention that when they take fenugreek, they smell like maple syrup and so does their milk. I've never noticed that smell, but I never really worried since my milk supply was never an issue before. So I'm going to take more of it. I bought two boxes of mother's milk tea, which is a special herbal blend created just for lactating mothers to help boost milk supply. I'm going to pump as much as possible after feeding McKenna, and encourage her to nurse more at night when I'm with her, even if that means waking her up to nurse. I'm going to try to go down to her school at lunchtime as much as possible the next two weeks so I can get more stimulation from an actual baby and not an electrical appliance pretending to be a baby. I'm going to eat oatmeal every day for breakfast. I'm going to drink as much water as I can. And this week I'm going to have McKenna sleep with me in bed so she can nurse a little bit more during the night. The consultant is thinking that my body is starting to put on the brakes with the milk since it's sensing that I don't need it anymore since McKenna nurses maybe 3-4 times a day during the week.

But if things haven't started to turn back around by the end of the night Friday night, I'm digging my powdered formula out of the pantry and am going to start adding that to her bottles so I can stretch my tiny milk supply out as long as possible.

I guess I should feel really good that I was able to do it this long. The La Leche consultant was very impressed that I was a full-time working mom and had given McKenna nothing but breast milk from the day she was born with the exception of that tiny period the first week where she took a little formula. I know I've given her a wonderful gift and a wonderful start in life. Ten years from now, she won't remember that I wasn't able to nurse her for a full year.

But I'll remember. And I guess that's why I feel so crappy right now.

Keep your fingers crossed that I'm able to fool my body into relactating.


Blogger WhizGidget said...

I found that I had the same issues with A & B when I wasn't feeling well, but I still managed to keep breastfeeding/pumping well into thier 10th months. I stopped right about then because I just couldn't produce enough anymore.

My tips: Keep lots of fluids still going. Especially warm fluids (for some reason that worked for me) - warm apple juice, chicken broth, weak decaf tea... They all helped keep my milk production up. Over hydrate so that your body has enough to stay hydrated, and enough for milk production as well. Add one more feeding round for the baby somewhere in there - even if she doesn't get anything from it other than getting to suckle on mommy, it will help restimulate production (for most people). Keep that going for a few days too as if it's a regular feeding...


2:27 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Hang in there. I have absolutely no words of advice on this matter. My boobs are for ornamentation only. HA HA HA I hope it all works out. It sounds like you have a plan, so I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!!

5:27 AM  
Blogger Shalini said...

You can certainly fool your body into relactating. I pumped for Mehul for 6 months straight. Mehul was not able to bf, so I just pumped. And I was working full-time after he was 3 months old.
Whenever my supply started to reduce, I'd pump more often. I used to set the alarm clock for midnight pumpings, did a lot of pumping on the weekend, and on my lunch break at work. I didn't take any supplements and was able to get my supply back to normal just by increasing the frequency.
After 6 months, I started reducing it and stopped at 8 months.
You can totally do it...you will see a difference in 3-5 days of increasing the frequency.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Stasha said...

Good luck. You've lasted longer than I did with my first and third. I was home with my second so that lasted until about 8 months (I stopped nursing the first day he bit me with teeth).

I'm all for the warm fluids, they help quite a bit.

11:51 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

I BF until the day my Daughter turned one. She looked at me and she looked at my Mum with a bottle and immediately wanted my Mum and the bottle. It was her choice, but I was more than happy to give up at that stage.
I did a fair bit of peer support work with BF Mum's with the midwives from Sure Start (we had La Leche League training) and we just gave the advice to take more water if that was a problem.
It sounds like it's just because you're run down with the cold and soak in a warm bath and try pumping in the bath - that worked for one Mum who couldn't pump sitting up. Or have McKenna on one breast and pump from the other, that helps the stimulation.

I hope you feel much better soon.


4:30 PM  

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