Monday, May 16, 2011

a bit fretful

Last night I Googled. And texted my cousin Becca. And called friends. I was a bit fretful trying to figure out how much breastmilk Lydia should be having on any given day. With the advent of my working more than 30 hours a week now in our lives, my pumping has been in the tank and my supply has dropped substantially. As Lydia has grown I've noticed that what was an extra six ounces at a pumping session had dropped to four, but now we're talking close to maybe an ounce or two depending on when I pump. I remember my breasts feeling hard as rocks if I didn't nurse or pump in the early months, but now they're as soft as they were after going an hour without feeding, just a little firm. I'm not sure if that's normal, that my body is getting used to the extra fluids and is getting better at storing more milk with less pain, or if my insecurities are coming true and it's really my breastfeeding relationship with Lydia beginning the end of its long journey.

I need to call an LC, or at least read more about it. I never thought I'd have to do all of this so
suddenly: worry about having time and a place to pump, carefully store ounces, admonish Charlie to keep track of bottles for me while I am away at's hard, and painful, and I can begin to get a glimmer of light into why mothers who pump would give it up. I know that I'm still doing wonderful things for little Lydia by giving her as much milk as I can at this point, but Charlie reminded me last night that Lydia is an active, bright, beautiful baby, with or without my milk still being her primary nutrition source. I don't know how I feel about that; he mentioned that he wouldn't mind giving Lydia a bottle of formula every now and then, but perhaps I haven't accurately conveyed how much of a failure I'd feel like if I stopped nursing before my goal of at least a year.

Right now I have two active jobs: Prairie View, Inc. and Shetek Lutheran Ministries' Environmental Education co-director. Both add up to about 40 hours a week. The job at PVI is well...a job. A very fulfilling, hard job. PVI is home to severely physically and mentally handicapped people who need caregivers 100% of the day; SLM's EE position is more of a career move, and something I really enjoy doing. I'll be building curriculum and teaching environmental ed to counselors and kids alike for one job, wiping butts at the other. Actually, PVI isn't just that. I love the consumers (residents), and my co-workers so far have been friendly and helpful as I try to navigate the murky waters of being essentially a CNA. The shifts get to be long, and I have limited time to pump, maybe once or twice during a shift, which doesn't help keep up the supply.
Today was a good day, though. I nursed Lydia a lot, and pumped diligently as well. Here was our schedule for the day:

  • Pumped at 2:30am. Got 1.5 oz.
  • Nursed at 5:30am
  • Pumped at 7:30am. Got another 1.5 oz.
  • Fed Lydia at 8:30: 2 Tbsp. mixed grains cereal with applesauce, some banana pieces, a sprinkle of ground flax [hey, what's good for the goose is good for the gosling, right?] and a couple blueberries. I myself had oatmeal with flax, bananas, blueberries and my own secret chai spice blend. :)
  • Nursed at 9:30 (although this didn't last too long)
  • Nursed at 10:45 to get her down for a nap.
  • Nursed at 12:00 lunch
  • Nursed at 2:45 for another nap
  • Pumped at 3:30. Got 1.5 oz.
  • Nursed at 4:00. Lydia also had a snack of some green puffs and yogurt.
  • Nursed at 6:00
  • Nursed at 9:00
  • Pumped at 10:00. Got 1.5 oz.
 Now tomorrow should be similar in the morning and afternoon, but I work 2:45-8:30pm at PVI and won't have nearly the time to pump/nurse like I did today. I use free days to nurse as much as I can to bolster my supply and to get some good time in with Lydia (it's the hardest part of losing nursing time with Lydia, I miss the quiet moments with her).

On Thursday I'll be running to Marshall to purchase another set of pump flanges (the things that go on your boobies) and some Medela pump cleaning wipes to make pumping easier. If anyone's got any tips on how to put my days/pumping together better, I'd love to hear it. Can I bring back a healthier milk supply, or should I resign myself to the fact that Lydia's diet's changing and that it will never be what it once was?

1 comment:

  1. I too ran into this problem. I called my LC nearly in tears, because, like you, I wasn't ready to give in and I really felt like a "failure." Her advice to me was to take a breath (and yes, at that point, I needed the reminder) and to nurse as much as I could in the times Lydia and I had together. With that increase in nursing, your supply can increase in two days she told me. It may drop again during the week (mine was lower by Friday, because I was at school all week), and then by Sunday, after nursing her all weekend, the supply increases.