Monday, February 19, 2007

Got Milk? (Or, "Ode to My Mammary Glands")

Relactate: (v) 1. The process of re-establishing one's milk supply

2. A desperate attempt at becoming a better mother

Well ladies, after 2 months of not nursing Lancelot, I have decided to try and trick my body into producing milk once again. See, after little Lancelot was born, we had a miserable time of it. Due to biological/physical factors on both our parts, recovering from surgery and a nasty case of post-partum depression, it was just a lot easier to switch to formula and forget the whole shabang.

Now, however, after some time has passed and we have settled into somewhat of a routine, I am confident that I would be able to breastfeed the little guy. I learned that women whose babies are under 4 months old and who had established a milk supply before are generally successful at getting the process started again.

It means lots of pumping. Lots. Pumping isn't so much fun to begin with, but when you're sitting at a machine tugging at your boobs for days on end and you're only managing to squeeze out a few drops, it gets kinda depressing! However, this morning I was able to get more than a few drops-- not much more, but they were of sufficient volume to drip down into the bottle! Woohoo! And that telltale breast tenderness of the early days has returned. Hope has been restored!

I have a specific goal, too. In about a month, we are taking a family Disney trip- me, hubby, Lancelot, my parents and sister, and hubby's sister-- and I so don't want to be lugging my Medela Pump-In-Style through the Magic Kingdom. Ducking into the bathrooms every two hours-- there's an attraction not mentioned in the brochure!! I suppose I could bring my Avent Isis hand pump. Imagine this: standing in line for Splash Mountain, pumping away. I've got my own splashing action going on!

So this week, I am taking a "nursing holiday." I will be staying home as much as possible, attaching the girls to their good friend Medela every two hours, and walking around in a nursing bra, trying to get Lancelot to latch on whenever he can/feels like it.

If I haven't seen progress by the end of the week, I may reevaluate my decision. There's only so much "dry pumping" one can take.

(It will be interesting to see the bizarre google searches that will turn up this blog in their results! lol!)


Anne/kq said...

Good for you!

In case you are still pumping while at the Magic Kingdom, you should know it's not all bathrooms-- Disney parks DO have mothers' lounges (although they can be few and far between, and I've never used one.)

As for establishing your supply, some tried-and-true things that you may or may not already be doing:

-Mother's Milk Tea. An herbal infusion of several herbs that help you boost your milk supply.
-Record the baby crying. Preferably his "hungry" cry. Play the recording and look at a picture of him while you pump.
-When he's not "hungry" but wants to suck, put him on the breast instead of giving him a pacifier. Real-baby suck can be much more effective than a pump at encouraging let-down.
-When your milk starts to come in, you might consider a SNS (supplemental nursing system.) Basically it's a tube that's attatched to a bottle, runs down and the baby sucks the nipple but gets formula along with whatever milk comes out when he sucks; both teaches the baby to suck on the breast instead of a bottle nipple (which are different) and allows you to stimulate your milk supply more effectively without feeling like you are depriving your baby of food.

I don't know if you're using any of these tricks already or know about them, but I wish you good luck in any case.

Anne/kq said...

In response to your comment on my blog, I don't think Babies 'R' Us carries the SNS, although it wouldn't hurt to call and ask. Most women I know who have used them either got them through the hospital or online. It looks like Medela makes one that will cost you about $50, so not too expensive to consider, but worth thinking about before buying. They also make a "Starter SNS" that's disposable and may be a cheaper option if you want to try it out for a day or two before going with it (although I don't know if that is cost-effective since I don't know how much they cost.)

Damselfly said...

Aw. You know I can relate. I totally hate pumping even when I'm getting milk. You are so dedicated! Lancelot is so lucky to have you as a mom.

Awesome Mom said...

I am sending positive pumping vibes your way. There is a great Yahoo group called Pumpmoms that can help you make the most of your pumping and give you tons of support. I pumped exclusively for Evan and even though I felt like a dairy cow at times it was totally worth it. I managed to do it for 14 months and only stopped because I got pregnant with Harry.