Friday, February 6, 2009

A soggy saga...

In retrospect, none of this is as terrifying and dramatic as it was at the time. And with my delightful experiment this morning, I must tell the whole story. And now, of course, I can use a bit of humor as I tell the world about something maybe only new moms care about: milk! If that's enough to turn you away, please, stop reading. More bodily fluids and grossness follow. But this is my blog, so I'll tell of all the details.
A little while back, I lost my milk supply. I'm not sure where it went- a vacation to Thailand, perhaps? A little siesta? Who knows. But I was mortified. Oh, I felt like a failure as a woman and mother! Here I had TONS of milk for a couple months, stock piling it in special little BPA-free baggies, (so proud of my frozen stash) and then one morning I woke up after not nursing one side for around 16 hours and I was flat as can be. I freaked. After nursing the baby, I offered him a two ounce bottle of defrosted milk. He loved it. After nursing him a couple hours later, I offered him a four ounce bottle. Oh, the JOY in that little plastic package! Devastated, I sat in the living room with my son in my lap, bawling. "I'm starving my baby!!!" I wailed. What's wrong with me? What happened? I used to pump once or twice a day because I was "full" and when was the last time I did that? Two weeks ago? Three? And when was the last time I full anyway? No leaking here... What has changed? Oh.... January first... the hunt for my old waistline. (I knew it was under there SOMEwhere...) Watching what I was eating, cutting out all junk, exercising every day, taking care of two babies and not myself - I took lactation for granted and didn't even realize poor Rowen was on a diet too. So I offered him a bottle after every feeding and he drank about four ounces each time. That was a Friday. I began the love affair with my hand-held Medela that day. Nurse, bottle, pump, wash, repeat. All weekend long. Monday finally came so I could take him to the doc and have him weighed. Sure enough, all my greatest fears were realized on that little scale- he'd dropped from the 25th percentile in weight down to the 10th. (More bawling.) The nurse helped me set up an appointment with the lactation specialist for later that week. So, being the internet information junkie I am, I looked up everything I could do to increase my milk supply. I ate beets, barley, beer, brown rice, oats, and even milk shakes made out of raw kale, pineapple juice, and bananas. Oh yeah, baby. I started taking copious amounts of fenugreek. After a day of that I started smelling pancakes everywhere I went. Especially when I peed. I shortly realized it was ME that smelled of maple syrup. The smell was wafting off my skin like I couldn't finish my breakfast at IHOP and decided to take the rest home with my in my pocket. Of course, it's not the worst smell in the world so I continued taking the lactation wonder-herb. (Do you smell maple syrup? Oh no, that's just Brianne.) By Friday, I wanted to fill my pump with gasoline and light it on fire. A full week of nurse, bottle, pump, wash, repeat had me at my wits end. Desperately afraid that I'd stunted my baby's growth for life, I made it to my lactation appointment that day feeling like my supply was on it's way back and we were doing okay.
Praise the Lord, it was. The lactation specialist thought Rowen looked great. She weighed him before and after a feeding and he guzzled three ounces in a -very- distracted five minute feeding. She was very sweet in the way she told me that I was being a rather silly first time mom, and gently pointed out all the fat on Rowen's naked little body. She also told me that breastfed babies often drop in weight percentiles around 3 or 4 months- and that's their NORMAL growth curve. The charts are based on formula fed babies, who typically gain weight faster that breastfed babies. (Which, if breasted is what's natural, shouldn't the charts be based on THAT? just my opinion...) So, okay, okay, I'll stop panicking.
It's been a couple weeks and I'm still trying to pump daily to keep my supply up, and still taking one fenugreek capsule with each meal because, well, I'm a freak. (who doesn't like maple syrup, anyway?) Well, feeling a little "flat" on Wednesday made my relaxation about nursing fall to the way-side and I start to panic again, feeling like this may become an ongoing battle with my breasts. Come ON! So, more kale shakes for me and back to two fenugreek capsules with each meal, and of course: more PUMPING! Ahh, love-hate.
This morning, I realized I'm down to my last three capsules of fenugreek. It's just ground up fenugreek seed in there- and freddies sells fenugreek seed in bulk, so I'm thinking I can save money by buying the seed, grinding it, and taking it every day that way. (I'm so cheap.) So, to test my theory (thank heavens I did) I take a capsule apart and pour it into a bowl to measure how much it is, and then try it out. One capsule is 1/4 tsp. I pour it on top of a spoon full of cottage cheese and gulp it down. (My plan was yogurt, but I had a bowl of cottage cheese out for breakfast, I figured it would be about the same.)

and then....

OH MAN!!! IT'S STUCK!!! To my teeth, to the roof of my mouth, STUCK like GLUE. Thick, slimy, horrible tasting glue. And no, it doesn't TASTE like maple syrup at all. I'm running around the kitchen like an idiot while gagging uncontrollably, trying to find something to GET IT OFF!! Cold water, nope. More cottage cheese, nope. Swishing water around, Oh gosh. Gag, gag, gag, ack! I heat up a little water hoping hot water will melt it away, (standing in front of the microwave for 40 seconds gagging with my mouth open and holding my nose- what a sight!) I swish that around, burning my tongue, and nope, that doesn't work either. So I SCRAPE it off with my fingernail, alternatively gagging and swishing around scalding hot water. (Are you laughing yet? Because this is really funny. I was laughing at myself!) Phew- it's mostly gone. So what do I do?
"hm... maybe if I mix it in better instead of sprinkling it on top, it wont stick to my mouth. That was gross." (read: I am SO cheap.) So I mix the contents of another capsule in with a spoonful of cottage cheese. This time it doesn't stick so bad, but I'm gagging so hard I
And who wants to see cottage cheese twice? Really.

So I think I'll be spending the $8.99 on a another bottle of fenugreek in the breakfast-saving capsules.

Hooray for milk!I don't know where I found this, so I cannot give credit where credit is due. But, here you go:

Increase Milk Supply Shake

1. The next time you're at the grocery store, stock up on bananas and kale. The kale should be dark green in color and not wilted. The riper the bananas, the better, and try to buy organic.
2. Wash the kale and tear the leaves from the stems. Toss the leaves into a seal-able freezer bag and push out any excess air before freezing.
3. Peel and chop the bananas in fourths, place into a seal-able freezer bag and push out any excess air before freezing.

This might sound time consuming, but it really doesn't take much time at all, and if you have a baby sling, your baby may enjoy helping you in the kitchen.


1/2 cup pineapple or pineapple-coconut juice
1/2 cup soy, rice, almond, coconut, or any variety of milk (or skip the milk and add more juice)
4 chunks (the equivalent of 1 whole) frozen banana
1 large handful frozen kale leaves

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serves two. This shake is also great during pregnancy and for kids who won't eat their vegetables. It really does taste good!


The Boggs Family said...

You're quite hilarious!! I had the same exact problem with my milk supply, so I know what you are going through. I pumped for 2 hours/day for a few weeks and finally gave up. I HATE pumping now!! I still have some milk, but thank God for formula! Whoever invented it is my hero because otherwise my baby would have starved.

Jacki R. said...

Yes I'm laughing now! Oh you poor thing. I'm glad things seem to back on track for you. Been there, done that, DON'T miss it!!

Patti said...

Okay, you crack me up. You aren't cheap, just thrifty. :) I wish I had pumped a reserve like you. I have been sick and would love to take a anti-histamine but it would dry me up and I am trying with all my heart to not have to supplement.

The next time I have pancakes and syrup, I will inevitably think of you.... :)

BETHANY said...

Glad things are on the upswing!!

I dried up at 5 1/2 months with the boys and nine months with Naomi. I mean bone dry. Nothing left at all.

I took fenugreek with the boys and didn't really notice any improvement.

I started to dry up at 5 1/2 months with Naomi and started fenugreek, alfalfa, and red raspberry leaf tea. It worked miracles!!

I'm not convinced the fenugreek helped with Naomi, as it didn't with the boys. But it wasn't going to hurt anything.

All three of those things can be found in the vitamin area at New Seasons.

ck2m said...

Same thing happen to my sister more around 6 months. Luckily then she was able to give Bailey some solids. Great effort and creativity on your part. Wishing the milk fairies visit you and Rowen.

Candis Berge said...

Oh, I just stumbled upon your blog and got such a great laugh out of your post! And I also had to remark that just today I read that New York City finally solved the on-going mystery of a maple syrup smell that came and went from time to time. It was from a factory in NJ that produced that stuff you were taking! If the wind was just right, a maple syrup smell waifed into NYC. Thanks for the laugh, keep pumping. You are giving your baby the best thing!

Vinae said...

Oh my gosh, Brianne, I almost peed my pants! I had a similar experience, but without actually trying to eat the fenugreek seeds. :)

beauty school drop out said...

Oh your post had me in tears. I have been there and I know the struggle.
You can do fenugeek as a tea or add it too your tea. I have a great recipe for milk cookies. Let me know if you want it.

oh I found power pumping sometimes helped. My pump and I have a love hate relationship.

Kami said...

Oh, yeah. That post had me laughing out loud!! We've all been there with milk supply issues and panicking about it. I am trying to keep up a milk supply with a preemie. Ugh! Nurse, pump, sanitize. Repeat. I can do it in my sleep at this point...

Kami said...

Oh, also. My saving grace for milk production and general postpartum support is Postpartum Omega Mom vitamins by Country Life. I get them at New Seasons.

karen said...

ROFL! Thanks so much...I needed that laugh today! I'm glad you are able to see the funny side of it. Do try to relax a bit. I had to do quite a bit of pumping myself, back in the day, but DD and I made it through 2 years of nursing. :)

The Boggs Family said...

You can also ask your doctor for a prescription for Reglan. It's helped me out and is only like $10/month. Cheaper than formula!

Abby said...

I just read this and wanted to encourage you not to give up. I breastfed our 3 girls for over 15-19 months and at times had less supply but it always came back. I demand fed to keep my supply up and found that frequent feedings helped the most. At 8 months all my girls still nursed every hour and half to maybe 2 and half hours. (Except at night- they slept through the night.) Nursing is a big commitment but so worth it!! By a year they were still nursing 4-5 times a day and I did notice my supply decrease at that time.

Also 2 of our 3 had weight gain issues. I don't think it is as big of a deal as the drs. think it is. I think it is more to do with genetics than anything.

I am Abby if you are wondering who this random person is. I used to go to Athey so I found your blog off someone's and I enjoy it!