Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Increasing Breast Milk Supply

I had to stop nursing S when he was about 10 months old because I was pregnant again. I didn't want to go to formula, but I didn't have much of a choice, my supply was drying up, pumping wasn't yielding much and my flow was really low. So I gave in when he quit and just didn't look back.

But this time, J is my last kid. There will be no unexpected pregnancy that causes my milk to dry up. I will make it to a year and never give formula. At least, that's the plan. So when I started having an uneven supply of milk I got very concerned. I did a bunch of reading and decided to try various things to increase my supply.

First I drank Mother's Milk tea. I don't know how people manage 4-5 cups of something that takes 10 minutes to brew a day. So I drank it inconsistently, never more than 2x a day. I didn't see any change. So then I moved on to Fengreek. I'm taking 4 pills twice a day. I didn't really see much of an increase in my supply, but it stopped dropping SUPER low like it had been.*

*All talk of my milk supply only refers to my output when I pump at work. I work 3 days a week and pump twice on the days I work. I send 12-14oz of milk to daycare with J, so I need to get at least 12oz to consider it a good day and not dip into frozen milk. I had been pumping 15-16oz a day the first month I was back at work, so that's my baseline of what's possible. When I say "SUPER low" I mean, only pumping 9-10oz total over 2 sessions.

So, back to my experimenting. Next, I went on to chinese herbs (I have a great acupuncturist and herbalist that I work with). I started taking that and didn't see that much of an increase either. Keep in mind, I'm still drinking the tea sometimes and still taking the fengreek daily. I'm trippling up!

Then two weeks ago I gave up on finding something new recommended on one of the various reputable sites I'd been looking at and I thought to myself "Self, you can fix this." No, actually I did come up with an idea that was worth trying.

And hey, it worked! What's the idea? WATER. Breast Milk is something like 98% water, so it follows that if I can get my body totally saturated in water, I would be able to output more milk.

Now I drink 30-40oz before I pump at 10am and I get 10-11 oz in that pumping alone. I drink another 30-40oz before the 3pm pumping and I get an additional 5-6oz. This isn't totally reliable, but I haven't had a single day below 13oz since I started doing this. And I've gone as high as 17oz. Water intake is VERY important to breast milk, at least for me. Now, I'm still taking fengreek, and the herbs, and drinking the tea sometimes, but the water was the big factor.

One of those "duh" things, but I figured I'd share, incase anyone else is having the same issues I was.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Why does teething disrupt life SO much?

I think I got sleep in 90 minute increments or less last night. There were at least 5 middle of the night feedings where usually there are 1-2.

I'm tired.

Jeremy still has no teeth, but I think cutting is happening and that 2 teeth will break through in the next week, I hope in the next 48 hours.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Can't put two words together

Scott is a smart little boy... mostly.

He's a little stunted when it comes to language. I do not believe he has anything like a learning disorder, I think he's just behind in language because he's choosing to focus on other things. He knows stuff, and every so often he busts out with some concept that surprises the heck out of me, but he's still saying single words.

Now, to be fair, he's got some great words. He says please if he wants something, will sign thank you when given things, and is generally only into talking when he wants something or he's excited about something. He's certainly not a chatterbox. I'm thankful for all of these things. But I'd REALLY like two words put together. I'd like to hear "Hi mama!" or "More milk please". He can say all of these things, but if you ask him to say "More milk" he'll either say more, or milk, but not both. He usually repeats the last word said.

Then again, yesterday I was home from work and the kids and I were hanging out in the master bedroom watching TV and reading (I was reading, Jeremy was playing with my arm and Scott was watching TV). We resumed an episode of Little Bear that he had started earlier, and when that was over I started the next one. A few minutes into the episode Scott turned around and very clearly said "Scarecrow". I asked him to repeate it and he said it again clearly. I looked at the TV and realized that I had started the same episode over again and we had just reached the part where it was repeating itself. Scott let me know by telling me the scarecrow was on the TV again. Smart kid who really can pick up new words when it's important and not just because I want him to.

He is also good with the concept of "One". If he wants something, like cashews, and I tell him no, not right now, he'll look at me and say "One"... and if I consent, he's then ok with only receiving one! It's amazing. He's also gotten the idea of "Do this, and then you can have/do that". Like, "Eat this last bite of food and you can be done with dinner and go play". It's awesome.

So, not really talking yet, but learning!

A Mommy Update

Today Jeremy is 5 months old. This is pretty much what every parent says at every stage, but "It's hard to believe so much time has passed already." Scott is very nearly 22 months old.

But this post isn't about them! It's about me. (I know, that's nothing new, they mostly all are).

I'm 5 months post-partum and I have lost all but 5 lbs of my pregnancy weight. I am the same weight and size I was when I got pregnant with Scott (I got pregnant with Jeremy at a lower weight). My body is a little different. I'm carrying much more weight in my mid-section, and my limbs are much more toned. I dare say I have nice legs for the first time in my adult life and my arms are fabulous just like Michelle Obama.

How you ask? I do kettlebells. Not super often, just once a week (going on 8ish weeks of it). I also walk/hike a 5K once a week or so. But mostly it's kettlebells. I've lost 10 lbs in the last 2 months!

I did something stupid and I cut my hair last November. It was short (you know, chin length) and chic, and super fun! If I did it. If I didn't, oh gosh, it looked like an unevenly wavy fuzz ball. I'm growing my hair out, and struggling regularly with "I have kids, no time to do my hair, little hands that pull it out of however I've put it up, and I look gross". My hair is wavy/curly which was much easier to deal with when it was long and I could just braid it and go if I had no time. Live and learn I guess.

I'm starting to be able to wear some of my pre-pregnancy clothes again (mostly the pants). It feels great! I still have another 3-4 lbs to lose before they are really comfortable again, and if I can lose another 10-12 lbs, then they'll be too big and I can move into the next smaller size (the smallest I have really).

I'm loving my boys a lot, but I struggle with how hard it is to do anything substantial with them. I really want to do activities with my older son, but I have to tend to the younger one often too. Also, 22 months old isn't really old enough to use glue, or scissors, or anything breakable, and he throws stuff and draws on everything... so I'm just biding my time until he can play with things. This weekend I'm going to play with felt and see if I can do something like make him faces to play with. At least if he throws felt at me/the baby it won't hurt.

Um, life goes on I guess.