Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Becoming a Milk Cow

By Natalie

Breastfeeding is tough. I'm amazed at my friends who have stuck with it an entire year. These early days are especially hard. I'm feeding him every 2-3 hours, and it feels like I do nothing else. I'm not sure how you do it when you have 2 children. It takes me about 40 minutes to breastfeed. It takes about 5 minutes for me to give him a bottle (of breast milk!).

The past month I've been pretty chained to Jack. If I do leave the house I can't leave for longer than 2 hours, and the entire time I'm afraid that he's hungry. Or I'm stressed that I'll get called back to the house. Micah does a really good job of not bothering me when I'm out. He wants me to get some time away.

It's hard to work in any extra pumping time to get a supply going. I've been trying to pump everyday at 10 to build up extra supply. This didn't work out too well last week because of appointments at 10 and his schedule was very bizarre this weekend. Then I had an unfortunate incident where the freezer broke with my extra milk. It wasn't that much, but it was my FREEDOM.

How do you build up your extra supply? I don't want to get engorged. He really doesn't nap in the afternoon, my only shot is in the morning.  He wants to nurse continuously in the evenings. I barely have time to make more milk. Evenings are not Jack's strong suit.

I'm seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  He has slept for 5 hours straight the past 2 nights. So I've been able to pump over night and then give him a bottle. I'm lucky because he has no problem taking a bottle from me. I'm determined to stick with it. It's just rough! I've been told it will get better.

Milk drunk!


  1. it is SO HARD to fit in pumping when nursing an infant. it's like, there is no more time! HOW? I always chose sleeping over pumping.

    I would sometimes pump if/when I felt like it throughout the day, after a feed. By the end of the day I'd usually have a few extra ounces to freeze. Trying to fit a whole extra feed into the day just for pumping was too much coordination/effort for me to pull off. I was suuuuper lazy about it though and didn't really care or get Vigilant! about it. If there was extra milk, woo, if was never really a problem. If Charlotte would have taken a bottle, (Props to you for introducing it so early! I made a HUGE MISTAKE on that one with Charlotte) we would have been alllll about formula when I needed to be gone.

    It gets better, time-wise. Longer stretches in between feeds, and sleeping longer at night. And, Jack will get a lot more efficient with his feeds. Charlotte and Claire both got to the point where they'd finish in about 10 minutes.

  2. Also, Charlotte would sometimes nurse for an hour at first and it was HORRIBLY SLOW and my butt started to hurt because SERIOUSLY? EAT FASTER, BABY.

  3. First of all, when Margaret was about 9 months I lost about 200 ounces of frozen milk because our freezer couldn't handle being so full. It was horrible. I'm sorry.

    Breastfeeding is haaaaaard. The only way I ever had luck building up an extra supply was when I went back to work or otherwise left the baby (even just for a date. A lame date where I pumped in the car partway through). When each of them were little (before solid foods) I'd pump more at work than they ate while I was gone.

    Also, this may not be what you and Jack need, but I really wish I'd introduced Paul to formula when he was little. Maybe just a bottle of it every few days (or whenever you need to leave the house). My breastmilk supply is pretty much gone now and Paul won't touch formula with a ten foot pole. It's very stressful. He doesn't drink enough (just goes through impressive quantities of solid food). This doesn't necessarily mean Jack will be the same (Margaret saw no difference between formula and breastmilk, even though she didn't have any until she was 9 months old), I'm just trying to say using the occasional bottle of formula wouldn't mean you're failing - it means you're giving yourself more options, both now AND in the future.

  4. Breastfeeding IS hard. In the beginning it takes FOREVER and it feels like you will always be sitting on the couch with this baby forever and ever amen. And then, one day, he's quicker. And then he'll start going a longer time between feedings. We got down to five to ten minute feedings every three - four hours. Also, A'Dell's idea of pumping after a feed is a good one. That way you're not trying to figure out how to squeeze an extra feeding in at this point because that's near impossible.

  5. I had to pump after every feed because I had so much freaking milk...I mean, it was in my armpits I had so much milk. It wasn't a just had to happen. And if my freezer had broken, I would have throttled someone. So, nice job on letting everyone live. :) But in reality, pump when you can, when you have time, when you feel like it...if you want to leave the house and don't have any milk, give him a bottle of formula. Don't put too much pressure on it...things get too hard when they are associated with too much pressure. Just do what you're doing an amazing job!!