Human Milk Machine
Now I know how the cows feel!
It’s been a “milky” few months! My first time milking a cow at a pumpkin patch, (shown above), and my first time milking myself!
When my son was born, he was a healthy 8.8 pounds. It took some time for my milk to come in and those few days were some of the most stressful I’ve experienced. I was producing some colostrum and he was getting some of that, but because I had difficulty with his latch, he was constantly crying, and starving! He wasn’t getting enough to eat, and this left me feeling so defeated and helpless. I could tell he had lost weight, and although some weight loss after birth is normal, the doctors were concerned with his weight and recommended a formula supplement. The formula really upset his digestion, but I felt my hands were tied. He needed some nutrition.
Thankfully, my milk came in on day three. I was still having difficulty with his latch though but I persevered, gritting my teeth through the pain in order for him to eat and thrive. We met with several lactation consultants, but I had such high anxiety around breastfeeding, it was almost impossible for me to relax into it. I felt so guilty! Wasn’t I supposed to be enjoying these bonding moments? I kept waiting for the oxytocin “rush” that other mommies had told me about. All that I was feeling was dread and pain. Not fun!
Luckily, my insurance provided me with a breast pump at no cost (thank you Obama!) and I started using it to extract my milk and bottle feed. This has been working really well for us, and now 10 weeks later, my son weighs a healthy 14 pounds! It is one of the strangest things I’ve ever done though, and every time I pump, which is about every 4 hours around the clock, I can’t help but feel like a human milk machine!
There are a few things I’ve been doing to maintain a healthy milk supply: I’ve been drinking Traditional Medicinals Mother’s Milk tea every day, at least 3 bags, and I’ve also been using the Milk Rich herbal tincture by Wish Garden Herbs a couple times per day. Every time I go to pump, I start by drinking a glass of water and then I’ll have another when I’m done.
I noticed that some days I seemed to make more milk than others. My friend Amy mentioned that oats help to increase the milk supply and I realized that indeed, on the days that I had oatmeal for breakfast, I made more milk!
Such a strange , beautiful, and wonderful thing our female body is! Another friend advised me to at least hold my son to my breast once per day. Even if he doesn’t latch, his saliva on my nipple will help my body to produce the kind of milk he needs. Amazing!
So while it’s been a somewhat bumpy ride, I am so grateful to be able to feed my son. And in return, I am getting so many healthy benefits too: breast cancer and diabetes prevention, not to mention that extra 500 calorie burn per day! Just in time for Turkey Day!! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!