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got milk?

At 15 weeks, I thought I was going to have to call it quits.

I had always played it out in my mind that I would continue to nurse until Coen was ready to hang it up. I never thought that I would be the mom that would think about her son asking to nurse, but in all honestly, if he's still going strong at 2 years of nursing, I'm going to let it keep on going. Unless of course, my body stops or we have another baby and I'm forced to hang it up.

But at 15 weeks, when my cycle returned, I thought it was my body telling me that I should already plan on stopping. I don't know why I had always thought that if you cycle returns you're body will cut you off. Well, luckily that wasn't completely the case.

Prior to 15 weeks, I could tell something was going on. My milk supply was dipping and at the time I couldn't explain why. Then just 6 days later, my cycle showed up. To be honest. It really upset me because I thought that I was winding down and being forced to quit nursing. Luckily, I got in touch with my lactation consultant that day and she confirmed that I'm not losing my mind. The hormones from my cycle will mess with my supply, but it won't force it to stop.

In order to keep my supply up while my cycle was around, I was told to continue to take the Fenugreek that I started the week prior and then to also add Calcium Magnesium Zinc as well. So for now, I'm continuing this regimen until forever. How does my day play out and what do I take?

In the morning, I take 4 Fenugreek pills. In the afternoon, I take 4 more Fenugreek pills and 2 Calcium Magnesium Zinc pills (roughly 300mg/500mg of Cal/Mag). In the evening, I take 4 more Fenugreek (can you smell MAPLE SYRUP?), my Prenatal, and 2,000mg of Flaxseed Oil. If you're good with math, that's 17 pills a day that I take just to keep healthy and to keep my supply up.

After all the suggestions to eat oatmeal (which I was already doing by accident) I've upped that to eating about 2 servings a day of oatmeal and (thanks to Leah) I'm also not really doing any exercise running for fear that it would effect my supply too.

Boy, the things that you have to think about now that you have to worry about being the sole provider to your baby's food.

I'm also so proud to say that my baby has nothing but breast milk. Not a drop of formula in this house. In fact, I gave all my formula away because I didn't want to be tempted. To be honest, though, I'm not. I haven't once thought, "I'm going to hang this up." It's just something that I've really enjoyed and I couldn't be happier about it.

Plus, to be honest. The fact that it's FREE. That plays and enormous role in why I would love to continue for as long as it works.

I wanted to note this. Once I started to take those supplements above, I had to wait about a week to really see the results. Now, I feel like I'm back to normal.

How did I know it was dipping? Well, before the 9/13, I could pump about 16 to 18 ounces a day when I was away from Coen. As it was starting to dip, I was barely able to pump 12 ounces. This was bad because I didn't really want to dip into my frozen stock, but would if I needed it. I knew something wasn't right.

Now, I'm pumping the "normal" amount that I had been pumping. This allows for me to fill 3 4oz bottles for the sitter and still have some left for my frozen stock.

Which by the way... I have so much frozen, it's wild. I have about 400 to 500 ounces saved and I had so much in my freezer that I had to send some to a friend's deep freeze to keep it longer because I was running out of space. I'm not kidding. I have about 4, almost 5, of those gift bags full of 4oz bags.

As for pumping though, I hate it. I absolutely hate bringing my pump to work every day, I hate bagging it, I hate cleaning the parts, I hate it. If I could nurse all day, I would, but I cannot, so I have to do this.

I mean, look at what I have to bring to work with my each day....

What's up there?

My pump, my purse, my cooler pack with two ice packs, a bag of food/snacks for the office, my work bag with my planner and things...

Every day, I feel like I pack everything up and move out of my house and into my office and then at 4:30pm that same day, I pack it all up from my office and move back home.  It's crazy how many things are required for me to function at work and I cannot wait until this phase is over.  Today, I decided that I didn't need my big bottles to pump into, nor did I need my cooler.  Awesome.  I'm making do, but still really annoying.

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On a related note, did you know that nipples for bottles gradually go up in size to help with flow?  I knew this, but had totally forgotten about it until I had this conversation with my sitter.  She was talking about how it takes about 30 minutes to feed Coen and how it's just a long process and sometimes he just gets so tired of eating that he stops and she has to toss some of his bottle because he won't finish it.  I thought it was strange and after coming home and thinking about it.  I remembered... switch the nipple size!  So we did and now he GULPs the bottles down and isn't fussy when he eats.  It's a miracle.

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And lastly, I have to share my love for these breast milk bags.  They are by far the best bags around.  They are a softer plastic, they have room to let the air out or keep it in if you can't get it out, They freeze laying flat, perfectly and they've never had a leaking problem. 

When I first started pumping, I knew I needed bags to save milk into and I had my husband run out to the store to buy some.  I figure, I have a medela pump, I should use medela bags.  So I had him buy these pump & save bags that I thought would work great.  They have an adapter to pump right into the bags.  Genius. 

Or so I thought.

To my dismay, I ended up hating them.  Sounded great to pump right into a bag, and at first when I was still on maternity leave, it wasn't a bad idea.  I was freezing all of those bags anyway.  But when I returned to work, it was a joke.
The bags leaked in my cooler, there were more parts to wash and it just wasn't the most time saving method.

Now, I pump right into these types of bottles because they fit onto my shields and allows for 9 oz in each bottle and they have lids and not nipples that I can store them in.  I only have to use two a day and I usually fill them both by the time I'm done and don't have to worry about bags.  It's been so much less stressful than those bags.  My only problem is I wish I had more bottles that I could have 2 for every day of the week and about 2 more sets of shields.  I haven't broken to buy them just yet, but I could see in the future making this purchase as to cut down on washing during the day.
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So that's my update on breastfeeding.  All in all, it's going great and has been a great experience.
My only piece of advise that I have to remind myself of from time to time is...
When every you make a change, whether it be in the supplements that you're taking or diet or with the amount of nursing/pumping... give it 24 to 72 hours to really take place and see the change happen.  Don't give up after a few hours or a day.  It takes time for you body to adjust.  It will, just be patient.

Happy Wednesday!


Allison said…
You're doing great!!! I loved those storage bags, too--I tried a bunch and couldn't find a match.

I found that my supply always dipped around my cycle starting, but was able to power pump and boost it a bit. Luckily, I got to wait a bit longer than you for it to return.

And I totally agree about the pumping versus nursing. I told myself that I pumped during the week so I could nurse on the weekends. Yes, I wanted her to have nothing but breastmilk (which she did!) but I also REALLY enjoyed the experience when I was able to nurse her. I still miss it :)

I was really glad that Elizabeth weaned when she did. She was 21 months (I never thought I'd be one to go past a year before I started nursing) and one night she just said "no milk" and that she wanted to go on up to bed. And that was that. She asked for it one other time and I told her my milk was gone and it was over. No tears (from her...) or anything. I was happy with the way it ended.
Very nice! How wonderful you have so much frozen milk.

I have had issues with breastfeeding since day one. It has been truly frustrating. And even now i have to pump to feed him as when he does BF he just falls asleep. So i pump but my supply started to get low. I am working now to get it back up. I am worried I won't have enough milk when I go back to work in a week. It is so frustrating, but I am trying. I never realized how hard breastfeeding was and how frustrating (for me) it has been.

My husband kissed me on the forehead yesterday and told me I smelled like maple syrup because I take that Fenugreek too! I only take 6 a day...they are 610 mg. How much are yours?
P.S. Coen is ADORABLE!!!
Kristen said…
I feel like I could have written most of this post - I breastfed until just a month ago when my little guy turned 14 months - so I had to pump at work too and absolutely hated carting the pump and cooler bad every day. I also love the Lansinoh bags and tried the pump and save and hated them too. Keep up the good work - I know it's hard but it's so worth it! Plus the bond with baby is just amazing - when Coen gets a bit older you will see what I mean :)

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