Lactation Struggles

I was inspired to write this post as sat here, attached to my breast pump. It’s like being a cow, truly. Attaching my poor boobs to a sucking, pinching, noisy machine and hoping to collect a few ounces of milk is not at all glamorous. I really didn’t know my nipple could stretch so far. It, like so many other parts of my post-pregnancy, post-birth, and post-breastfeeding body, will never be the same. :-))

When I was pregnant my greatest hope behind a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby was the ability to breastfeed. I really wanted to nurse. Within her first hour of life outside the womb, she initiated feeding. The moment she latched was as amazing as the moment she was placed in my arms for the first time. I was so grateful that she knew exactly what to do and that she latched perfectly. I was nourishing my baby and it was an awesome feeling. And that feeling and the ease of breastfeeding has continued. My sister couldn’t believe that I did not suffer from sore, cracked, or chapped nipples. Miss Connie was a good latcher. Never any pain, it was easy.

My goal is to nurse through her first year, providing her with valuable vitamins, building her immunity, and strengthening her mind and body. We are nearly half way through that first year.

During my conference in July, I pumped and fed as I was able, but work commitments limited the amount of time I had for both. I was away from her in August for three days and had to pump exclusively during that time. I collected 70 ounces during those three days. Since then, I have felt as though she may not be getting enough from me.

We started introducing solid foods over the past month consistently. She usually has banana and/or avocado for lunch and sometimes again at dinner time. We also supplement with a bottle at night before bed. She continues to sleep well for us and I feel that in large part my supply may feel “less” due to the fact that overnight she may sleep for 4-7 hours and during that time, there is no demand for milk, thus reducing production.

I haven’t pumped consistently since July and other than my trip to Chicago, haven’t been able to add to our frozen milk supply (the supply that I had built up was nearly wiped out to cover my days away from her). I currently sit with a frozen milk account balance of approximately 68 ounces. I want more!

I have been taking a Fenugreek supplement and drinking Mother’s Milk tea to help with production—also enjoying a beer or two here and there as that is another lactation helper. I’ve decided, however, if I am going to build my stash, or at least just keep up with my daughter I need to focus on lactation!

  • I found a recipe for lactation cookies and went out and bought brewer’s yeast. I read various reviews about the benefits and successes of lactation cookies and found an article that said they are more potent in the raw dough form than when baked. So with the supportive help of my husband, we whipped up a batch of lactation dough!
  • I’m going to be more on-purpose about the Fenugreek supplements. One per day won’t make much of an impact, I need up to 4 per day.
  • While at the co-op, I found another herbal aid and will be trying that too.
  • I need more water. Hydration is so important. After I finish my 2-4 cups of tea per day, I am weak at getting water into my system. Drink up, Lori!
  • I need to pump! Even if I just nursed her, even if I don’t think there is anything in there…pump! The more I demand, the more I produce…. at least that is the logic of breastfeeding. Pumping in the middle of the night, too. That one will be tough…. I’ll have to give up sleep, sleep my sweet daughter spoils me with.

Any current or former nursing mamas out there have any tips for me?

I am already familiar with the “lactation-friendly” foods such as oatmeal, salmon, brown rice, seeds, almonds, etc. I have a list of these foods and try to incorporate them into meal planning. I also get a good fat intake with avocados and coconut oil.

In the time it took me to write this, I managed to collect one ounce of milk. Now I did just nurse not too long ago, and I do feel that this pump is nowhere as effective as my daughter at expelling… but still…ugh. Put this cow back to pasture, she’s been milked!

Here’s to a healthy flow!


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