Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Breastmilk Blues

This last month was a little difficult feeding wise. My milk started to dry up and with it so did my sanity. It apparently doesn't take a lot for my sanity to pack its bags and head out on a weekend adventure. If you ask me I think that my sanity keeps a "go kit" packed by the door, ready for deployment at the slightest hint of what we will refer to as "uncomfortable feelings." I like to have a plan and when life doesn't stick to the freakin script I flip out.

So, where were we? Ah! The milk. I guess around eight and a half months or so our huge container of milk bags in the freezer was low and I also noticed that Howie's appetite was increasing. His daily reports from daycare showed that he was drinking more and more and I was pumping less and less at work. Some days there are just too many meetings for me to catch time to pump and some days I just don't have enough milk to fill up four bottles in eight hours. There were some days that my little cooler only had one lonely bottle of milk. A sad day indeed.

I began to panic thinking that I would have to stop breast-feeding sooner than I would have liked if I couldn't provide enough milk to match his appetite. I've already expressed (get it??) how much I truly love breast-feeding and the thought of having to stop before we both were ready was quite excruciating. I imagined his little face when he is comforted by a midnight nursing and our snuggles under the covers for out afternoon nap knowing that his body recieves all . I wasn't ready to give that up yet. I'm still not ready.

So, when our milk box got down to about three or four bags I knew we were really in trouble. I typically like to keep about a weeks worth of milk in the freezer (I am a self confessed food hoarder) and four bags is barely enough for one day at daycare. So I did what everyone does in situations of sheer panic. I googled that shit.

Google told me stuff I already knew. Google told me to start supplementing his diet with formula. Did I also mention that at the height of milkgate 2013 Howie wasn't interested in food??? Yeah. I panicked the fuck out. Most of the websites out there had information for women who had just delivered and were working on building their initial supply. So I read back over all tips and realized that I had been straying away from the basics.

The Basics

  • Eat food
  • Drink water
  • Empty regularly

I know there are more difficult situations out there for other mothers but once I simplified it out those three things really were the root of the issue for me. I had recently bumped up my activity level at the gym. I went for a bout three workouts a week to five to six intense workouts.

WARNING: objects in photo may appear awesomer than me

I also started cutting carbs from my diet in my attempt to eat healthier again. Third factor: I had gotten away from pumping regularly. It doesn't matter whether or not there are valid reasons for not being able to pump, the body will read it as "milk not needed, cut down supply." Truth.

So, I wasn't eating enough to adequately produce milk and the food I ate was being burned off immediately with my pumped up ass workouts. I mean, the gym is addicting once you start to see results and lets be honest here post preg body is not hot. I had to make a decision between my vanity and breast feeding. I chose breastfeeding.

i love you carbs! we had such good times
I have since added more carbs back into my diet, but I have eliminated the whites. The white potatoes and the pastas and the rices are persona non grata. The rice for a whole separate reason but that's for another day. I just replaced them with healthier carbs that calorie count tells me are okay to eat. All carbs aren't bad, I just don't want to eat a shit ton of empty carbs. I am probably going to follow this post with a recipe for mint chocolate chip cookies so don't judge me, you hooker. I also cut out like ONE workout. Big deal. Not really. I cut out multiple super cardio workouts though. I only do one of those a week now and mainly stick to strength building classes and yoga. So no more multiple boxing classes and cycling and high intensity interval training. Just one of those a week. And lastly, but most importantly I got back to drinking more water. I pretty much only drink water (coffee doesn't count) but I got away from drinking the amounts I needed to keep up production.

I struggled with writing this post for fear of "the jinx" so I am crossing my fingers and hoping the universe doesn't do a "just kidding." But for now I can say that my milk supply is back. The freezer is filling back up and so are my chichi's. I don't know how much longer I will breast feed. I initially planned for a year and some days I still feel that way. I do know that I will try to stick with it as long as Howie needs to until he begins to eat enough food to sustain himself. And when we are ready - both of us, we will stop. I'll probably cry. Until then we still get to tangle up together with my fingers wrapped in his curly hair and his fingers twisting my own curls. I still get to sing him to sleep while he drinks up his mothers love. I live for those moments. I live for him.

**Note: literally the day after I typed this up Howie decided to stop nursing. I don't know if it's because of his ear infection or what but he doesn't want it. I hope that this shit wears off soon because I can't keep up production levels by pumping alone. I also need him to nurse.**


Taylor Hart said...

I hope you get your boob juices a flowin again.