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Monday, August 19, 2013

Building Your Milk Supply + A Feel Good Moment

When Parker was born, it took almost 2 full weeks for my milk to come in. For those first two weeks, Tuan and I had to use an SNS (supplemental nursing system) to feed him. The SNS is a tiny tube connected to a syringe, filled with formula or breastmilk, and placed on your nipple. Yes, it was as terrible as it sounds! Once my milk did come in, it wasn't enough and I was breastfeeding and pumping (for 15 minutes each time after breastfeeding) around the clock to build up my supply. It wasn't until Parker was almost 4 months old that I felt my milk supply was well established and started storing milk. Now at 6 months, I have over 800 oz stored. If I should dry up right now, I think I have enough for Parker to survive on for about 3 months or longer (since he's eating solids).

A Few Tips for Pumping at Work and Storing Milk
- It may be tempting but DON'T crash diet to lose the baby weight.
- Do eat healthy meals and snacks. I find that I pump more milk after I eat a good meal.
- In the early days, it helped that I breastfed on each breast for at least 10-15 minutes and then pumped for 15 minutes. I had a c section and it took a while for my milk to come in.
- Do join a lactation support group sooner than later if you are having any trouble. They are usually free and a great opportunity to meet other moms and ask questions.
- Do invest in a good pump (I use the medela pump in style) and learn how to use it BEFORE you give birth.
- Don't buy the medela storage bags. They suck! The Target brand milk bags are 1000% better.
- Do freeze your milk bags FLAT to optimize storage space.
- I like to watch a slideshow of pictures of Parker on my phone when I pump at work. It makes the let down come faster.

**I had the great advantage of having a friend who isstudying to become a certified LC. If you have access to someone like this, definitely take advantage of them. Or message me and I can put you in touch with my friend Christina :)

[Now that I am back at work, I average between 12-16 ounces a day. I exclusively breastfeed when I get home and on the weekends.]

I have been through the trials of breastfeeding and it is so stressful. A lot of my mom friends have told me about how stressed they have been and how guilty and inadequate they feel when their supplies have dried up or they can't produce enough. So when my friend Christina texted me and told me she was thinking of pumping again to help a friend out, I thought, "Wow! That is crazy" but I understood why she would do it. Her friend has a 3 month old who has completely rejected formula and her supply has dried up. C has a 19 mo old and hasn't been pumping for a while now. I, on the other hand, have tons of milk stored. That was when I decided to donate my milk to a mom I don't know. Is that weird? The decision was easy to make. My SIL has had issues with her milk supply and we've given my milk to her son too. I have more than Parker will probably ever need so I felt comfortable with donating 50+ounces to baby Cedar. Of course for the next day or so I obsessed about the whole situation. Did she drink it? Did she like it? Did I give enough? Breastmilk is very personal! It turns out, she drank it like a champ and I get to know that I helped someone in need. I'll probably start tracking my milk better so that I can donate more if it starts getting "old". You can store breastmilk for 6 months in deep freeze but your milk is composed of things that your baby needs at that age. For this reason, I wouldn't want Parker drinking anything older than 3 months.

I've always believed that you should give if you can. It's good karma :)

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