Dude, Where's My Supply?
Posted By: Mona Hickey
I went back to work at eight weeks. The biggest fear I have is that my milk is going to dry up. I can't stress out because it zaps milk supply! How do I keep zen about something I have become obsessed with?
I will admit: I have milk envy. I envy women in moms groups who gloat over their bountiful breastmilk storages or how they fill eight ounces during pumping sessions. These women have fat-cheeked babies who enter into a milk coma after their mothers feed them. Maybe these women hold their breasts, aim and use the tables at their playdates to spell out their names in breastmilk because they just have so gosh darned much of it! Or they visit drought-stricken areas in California to douse fires with their oversupply!
I am not one of those women. I have a breast pump-related supply issue and it is not so much an issue as it is an all-consuming, brain-draining force. When I gave birth to my son, who is two and a half months old now, I was determined to breastfeed. I overcame difficulties like latch issues and nipple trauma and thought that was the end of it. I thought my body would just heal itself and transform from a little lactating duckling to a gushing swan.
It's not so much a problem when I'm home breastfeeding because I allow my baby free access and feed him on demand. However, when I'm at work with my breast pump whirring away, I am made very aware of the little dribbles collecting in the bottles, these small pools of liquid gold that I keep in the cooler until I get home.
I have taken the herbal supplements, the costly supply of teas, fenugreek, goat's rue, blessed thistle. I think the only supplement I did not pick up was eye of newt. I don't think it would taste very good and I'm already experiencing the oh-so-lovely fenugreek-induced maple syrup smell that is emanating from my pores.I eat oatmeal. I drink water. I pump and think about waterfalls and spilled milk trucks. I imagine doing the polar bear paddle through a glacial pool.
I have always been an overachiever, so why can't my breasts do the same? My breasts went to college. My breasts are Phi Beta Kappa certified. And yet, when it comes to producing milk, they are way behind. I have remedial breasts. My breasts mean well when they show up to class, but then they just get caught up in fart jokes and don't apply themselves.
I am doing everything I can increase my milk supply and at least keep up the trickle I have now. Soon, I will be looking at my breasts in the mirror each morning, giving them a firm pep talk: "I believe in you. Both of you."3:55pm on Tuesday September 7
So happy to see you here now! I'm due in January and I'll be pumping too. The last time I pumped I didn't have too much trouble but now that I have low thyroid issues I'm not sure what to expect. I'm looking forward to reading you here.
i've been pumping at work for a month now and the biggest things that have helped so far are eating, if I forget a meal my supply dips - so I make sure to eat and snack alot - it's actually more important to my supply than drinking tons of water. And getting out of the bathroom. I did that for a couple of weeks and ended up almost crying over 2 oz and my son drinks 8. I switched to a dark conference room that I blockade or the nurses office and wala better supply. That and i get more reading done :) Good luck
I've been kind of surprised by how much other moms say they get when they pump. I'd have to say I get at most 5 ounces per pumping session, so I pump more often to make up for it. But I've always produced a lot of milk for my son and have leaked a lot, too. It's just something about the pump being so artificial that I think makes the difference.