Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On milk supply

I'll be the first to admit that we've been very lucky regarding breastfeeding.  Cupcake always had a good latch, and though it might have been painful at first, she always got the milk she needed.  And when you're told your baby can't go into fasting, that latter point is very important.  I also had a ridiculous amount of milk.  My letdown was forceful, and would spray people a couple of feet away, and I just has milk.  Oodles of it.

Ahhh, the early days.  I would pump just to relieve the engorgement, and we ended up with 15 extra bottles of milk in the fridge.  Things didn't settle down until about 2 1/2 months, when I still had tons of milk, but it was a lot more under control.

Luck.  Just luck.  Sure, we did our part, having Cupcake feed within an hour of her birth and feeding around the clock on demand those first couple of weeks.  But we also gave her a pacifier within a week (baby loooooooves to suck suck suck) and put her on a feeding schedule once we got her MCAD diagnosis.  I'm also bad at remembering to drink water and eat.

And maybe it's all catching up with me now?   I seem to be having some milk supply issues.  I don't know if I have a "problem" per se.  All I know is that Sunday night, at Cupcake's 10pm feed, I had no milk.  Nothing.  No let down.  Nothing was coming out.  And Cupcake is frustrated, crying, and refuses to keep sucking on an empty boob.  I freaked out, and Cupcake was crying, and it was horrible.  We ended up giving her the last bottle of expressed milk we had in the fridge.

I had all these fears of my body failing me.  Similar, in many ways, to how I felt my body let me down after the C-section.  I imagined all my fears of Cupcake going hungry, of having to switch permanently to formula, to having her reject my boob.  In reality, none of these are tragic, and 7 months is not a crazy time for a baby to wean to formula.  I just wanted to be more in control of that process.

 By the time I dream-fed her at midnight, after two hours of feeling very upset and down, I had milk again.  And the next morning my milk seemed to be back to normal.  Or normal enough to satisfy my baby.  So... I make milk again?  The what....?

I'm not sure what happened, but I have theories on the culprit.  On Saturday Nate and I had some wine, I forgot to stay properly hydrated the whole weekend, I'd worked out earlier that day (which, once again, hydration), my time of the months had just started that afternoon (blegh), and Cupcake is now eating solids, which is supposed to affect milk production.  This was probably a perfect storm of milk problems.

I know the weaning process starts with the first bite of solid food.  I know that as time goes by she'll need less and less milk.  It was just so scary to have no-thing come out.  I've been drinking water like crazy, so hopefully this won't happen again quite so dramatically.

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