The Booby Battle

It’s been my goal since before I even got pregnant to breastfeed for the first year. What started out as entirely financial reasons (Consumer Reports say that the average baby goes through $125 worth of formula a month) has become so much more than that. I never expected to feel the amount of pride and accomplishment over being able to single-handledly feed my son through just my body, which has failed me so many times before. I also was not expecting the amount of commitment and time that breastfeeding would take. So many people say it’s so much easier to breastfeed than formula feed, but I’ve never found that to be the case. I spend more time with my breastpump than my dogs or my husband it seems. But, breastfeeding has become so very important to me.

A few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to cut my middle of the night pumping out. Mason has slept through the night (usually) for a long time, but I’ve continued to get up and pump because it’s one of the more fruitful pumpings of the day. I decided that extra bottle of milk could be sacrificed for the joy of being able to sleep all night long for the first time in 16 months (because let’s face it, getting up to pee 23 times a night while pregnant wasn’t exactly good sleep either). That would drop me down to 4 pumpings a day, which seems to be the norm for someone 9 months in to this whole working and pumping thing.

Now, I’ve been sick before – days where I could barely pick Mason up to feed him, days where I felt so toxic I was sure that any milk I made was probably deadly (I know it wasn’t, it just felt like it should be) But I kept nursing and kept pumping through it and a few days later, I felt fine again and everything was back to normal. But apparently, this time was different. Because my milk went away. Seemingly overnight.

On Friday, I pumped my usual 20 ounces. On Monday, I pumped less than 5. Tuesday? Much of the same. For the first time ever, I had to give Mason a bottle for bedtime because he wasn’t even close to satisfied after I got done breastfeeding him. I ran screaming to my lactation consultant and she told me to settle down. That my body was so weak and so trying to fight off the pneumonia that it had stopped thinking about making milk and was focusing on trying to get better. Makes sense but oh my god oh my god oh my god. Again, she told me to settle down. Asked me if I wanted to come to yoga with her. Told me to just keep plugging along.

Well, it’s now been nearly two weeks. When I used to pump 5 ounces without thinking twice, I’m now pumping two ounces. I celebrate when I get three ounces. I immediately stopped trying to cut out my middle of the night pumping. And I’ve added two more pumpings in the evenings. The pump and I? It’s like we’re back on our honeymoon, except for all the lovey dovey feelings that come with a honeymoon.

I’m popping fenugreek like they’re Skittles. I’m eating “booby cookies” that I found recommended online. I’m taking a calcium supplement since my period decided to show up for the first time since Mason was a twinkle in our eyes. I’m attempted to choke down Mother’s Milk Tea and just couldn’t do it. I’m massaging and power pumping. I’m eating bowls of oatmeal that make me gag. And I’m pumping and pumping and pumping.  And pumping.

I’m waiting this out. I’m going to win this. We’re going to make this last 13 weeks of breastfeeding. We can do this. I can do this…..

11 thoughts on “The Booby Battle

  1. Amie Post author

    Oh my gosh, GO YOU!! It’s one thing to BF for a year when you’re a “SAHM”, but a whole nother to do what you are doing!! You are just supermom. Good luck, I hope the milk flows in abundance again really soon. : )

  2. Sara Post author

    You can do it! I know it’s a big commitment but you’ll feel SO awesome when it pays off! (Also, try not to be too hard on yourself. I know easier said than done, but I think one of my downfalls was letting “it” and other people get me down and at the end of my relationship with my pump my heart wasn’t even in it anymore.)

  3. Brandy Post author

    YOU GO GIRL! I admire your committment to keeping Mason on your milk! I wish I would have had half the will-power of you. I only made it 6 weeks, and I was barely making it that long. I hope your milk returns quickly!

  4. Delora Post author

    It could be related to your period coming back. When I went back to work at 12wks, I was pumping 7-8oz a session. Colin started sleeping through the night, my period came back, and a month later I was getting 4oz a session. I’d been pretty steady on the 4oz except when my period would come; the day before I’d drop to 3oz/session that would last 4-5 days.

    (I’m down to 3oz session permanently now, living on supplements, and when my period came last week, dropped to 2oz. Argh! I really can’t keep up anymore.)

  5. amy Post author

    EXACT same thing happened to me. I would tell you about my bout w/ it but it’s much too long to tell here. If you want to hear more, you can email me. But I feel your pain- and the person who commented that a year was long for a SAHM is right….in fact I only know one other working Mom who made it as long as you/I have. YOu will prevail!

  6. lauren Post author

    good luck mama! you rock. and dont worry about not getting milk like you used to. If he is eating other foods during the day he doesnt need as much!

  7. jackie Post author

    oh i feel your pain!

    back in september i got really stressed out and was overtired. my supply literally disappeared in a week.

    since then i’ve tried the oatmeal, chugging down that tea like crazy, all the herbs, power pumping. i even have been paying the $60 a month for a hospital grade pump.

    nothing has worked. it’s brought me to sobbing tears so many times.

    he’s getting only two breast bottles a day, the rest are formula. i suppose it’s better then nothing.

    i truly do feel your frustration and i am so sorry you’re going through this too. it’s fantastic you went as long as you did though!

  8. Tabitha Blue Post author

    YES YOU CAN!! I admire you girl, that’s some commitment… and it’s awesome. Most mamas wouldn’t try and go through all that trouble, but it’s so great seeing the effort and I believe you’ll see the fruits of it soon 🙂 Keep pumping away.

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