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Milk Nazis

After nearly 11 months of successful breastfeeding, it seems that my supply is not quite keeping up with Trixie's demand anymore. I'm not able to get enough pumped at work to sustain her during the day and our backup supply is down to one measly bag. So while I'm not giving up nursing entirely, I am certainly exploring other options.

My first stop for advice was a quick email to the API-Twin Cities listserv. I got a lot of great advice from the moms on that list, ranging from a recipe for "Lactation Cookies" (I kid you not!) to herbal supplements (fenugreek) to simple encouragement:

"I completely encouage you to try everything that is offered here...but also give yourself credit for all you are doing. Working outside the home and pumping and nursing is a lot...your body may be just cutting back a bit.

When my kids were a year I started using a bit of soy milk during the day at daycare and it made my life a whole lot easier. I nursed a great deal before and after work and at night to make up for it but giving up pumping really improved my mental health and stress level."

God BLESS the woman that sent me that, because it made me feel so much better. We moms tend to beat ourselves (and each other) up for a million things, so hearing that was just what I needed.

My second stop was a call to my pediatrician who said it would be fine to give her a bit of formula during the day (and even to do bottles that are a mix of breastmilk and formula) and still nurse at night. Great! More reasonable advice. And while my goal has always been to nurse exclusively, I'm at a point where I'm willing to give the supplementation a try.

My third stop (because I am nothing if not THOROUGH) was a local La Leche League meeting. Let me just say right here that I like LLL. They helped me a TON when I first started nursing and was going through a lot of pain, and an LLL meeting was the first place I ever nursed publicly. And God bless them for that because now I'll whip it out just about anywhere (including Bar Mitvahs and holiday gatherings -- call me for booking info!).

With that disclaimer out of the way, let me now say that after tonight I know how LLL has gotten a reputation for being...overzealous? Is that the word I'm looking for? I don't know. All I know is that when I asked what LLL would recommend, all they would give me was advice on getting my supply back up. The leader's best advice (aside from fenugreek, drinking lots of water, etc.) was to wait for the holidays where I'd be able to spend lots of time with my baby and get my supply back up. What I couldn't seem to get into this lady's head was that THAT'S TWO WEEKS AWAY. I have NO SUPPLY IN MY FREEZER. I am OUT, lady! So, I get that breastmilk is best, but what the fuck am I supposed to do for the next two weeks while my kid is at daycare? What do you have to say to those of us who need a middle-ground alternative to 100% breastfeeding?

Look around! Not everyone is able to nurse their kid until Kindergarten so what do you have to offer us? If it's only to look down your nose at us, then you will continue to have a limited audience willing to listen to your agenda. Yes, breastmilk is best. I totally get that. Hell, I've already lasted 5 months longer than the average American woman. As a working mom, it is a HASSLE AND A HALF to pump twice daily. Thankfully I have a very understanding employer, but for those who don't I can understand why making it to even 6 months is a challenge.

So, listen up La Leche League: if you expect to move the needle on the amount of American women who breastfeed, and the length of time they breastfeed, you better start coming up with some realistic suggestions for people who simply cannot exclusively breastfeed for 24 months. I'm stressed out, exhausted and sad and you had an opportunity to reach out to me with an encouraging message to keep me at least partially nursing. Instead, you offered an all-or-nothing approach that left me feeling worse. And the sad thing is, I was on your side.

Posted December 12, 2006 11:50 PM | On This Day: 2002

 

10 Comments

I think you are doing great, and while nursing is a rewarding experience (for you and the baby) it can also be very difficult. It was really hard for me too when my supply started to dwindle and I had to start supplementing with formula (I did half and half, then went to all formula at daycare and nursing at home, finally all formula).

I know that babies do just fine on formula, but after such a long period of dedication to nursing had a hard time with the transition. I think part of it was making a mental switch in doing what I felt was best (and necessary). And this was the thing that no one told me about... that weaning the baby would make me feel really sad. I don't know if it was feeling like I was losing this special time with the baby, feeling like I was somehow doing less for them than I could, or a shift in hormones...but it was all very emotional for me.

You are doing great and I think all of the ideas that other moms have mentioned are good ideas to try. Like everything else, you'll find the balance that feels right to you.

I don't know how anyone manages to nurse for 24 months. Whatever you do at this point is fine -- you've already done the most important part. You can start using formula, cow's milk or soy milk and hold your head up high.

If it were up to me I'd say start her on vindaloo.

(now get back to work)

what a bunch of hosers!

i agree with the encouragement that you got, 11 months is AWESOME! we're only at 6 months and i'm SO sick of pumping at work (but i plan to do it as long as i can...). 11 months is great!!!

one thing though, is that i have heard not to mix bottles, give the breast milk one first and then the formula bottle. then if trixie doesn't finish the formula bottle you aren't wasting awesome mommy milk!

I can't really comment on the breastfeeding, but I *can* say that you're doing an awesome job being a mom and an employee. I dare anyone who says otherwise (LLL or no) to switch places with you and try workin' and pumpin' for one busy week, and we'll see who's well is dry /then/. Yeah.

I suppose this could have been compressed into: "You go, girl!"

Any chance I can score some of that vindaloo?

I've been supplementing the entire time with formula due to my own health condition and it's worked out great for us, especially for night feedings. I think it's actually helped A-M bond with her dad more because he's bottle guy. It will be sad to wean her when the time comes, but it will be the first of many bittersweet moments to come. I'm already sad about her going away to college!

I've been supplementing formula since the hospital because my milk didn't come in fast enough for my hungry baby. I'm also hoping to continue pumping at least until L Mack is 1 year and I'm happy I've made it 6 months!
I'll be sad when I stop nursing but I'll also be happy to have my body back and free to eat and drink whatever I want!

Good Lord. All this talk about breast feeding makes me *tingle* - you girls know what I am talking about.

Do you think I can I be a wet-nurse?

Oatmeal works great too. For some reason about 2 hours after I had some my boobs were full! Great job on making it to 11 months, that in itself is a milestone! I only bf my 1st & 2nd for the first few weeks but the 3rd we made it to a year. Then we just switched to 2% (or whole milk) and she is just fine.

I'm assuming you are using OTHER forms of "food" to suppliment. I.E. Rice cereal, Oatmeal, veggies and fruit (jarred or fresh)?
I know I could never produce enough breastmilk and always used soy formula and/or water as a back up plan.

Michelle Nursed Logan for 1 year, we had to supliment formula for the latter 6 months, which was alright, we stuck with the soy as well, we used the powder and mixed it ourselves which was great for going out, didn't have to worry about spoilage and we could just package some water and formula seperate and mix when needed. After a year Logan was able to shift to whole milk. There is nothing wrong with finding the right mix for your life..well as long as giving your infant mountain dew isn't your plan