A woman I know has been having breastfeeding troubles with her three month old. She firmly believes in the superiority of breastmilk and nursing, and so has persisted through the discouragement (implicit and from other people, including pediatrician) and is using a lactation supplementer instead of bottles. She used donated breast milk in it until she ran out and now is using formula in it. As we talked this morning, I volunteered to pump some extra so that her baby can have real breastmilk.
She mentioned her friend who was surprised at how hard it was to pump extra after having an established supply (that lady is also nursing a toddler, I believe) so I told her I would at least try.

So try I did, just 10 minutes ago. Forgetting that I preferred expressing by hand to that miserable pump (the memory is so short...) I got out the pump and gave a few go rounds. Jonathan was very interested and helped me pump some, too. Then I remembered that I wanted to hand express and I switched strategies.

I double checked with Jonathan that he does still get milk when he nurses, and he said yes. (He only nurses 2-3 times a 24-hour period now, and hardly ever in the middle of the night.) So I persisted a bit, until I got five or six drops in my bowl. Those drops were very thin, seemingly almost water, though they tasted a bit more substantial (as much as one can taste five drops of anything.)

Fascinating! Jonathan's primary nursing need is now definitely comfort, and he's getting his nutrition from his food. My breastmilk has accomodated, as they say it does - changing all the time to meet the needs of the nursing one. My personal suspicions as to its makeup are: water, antibodies, maybe some vitamins, hardly any fat.

And to think that in 3.5 months, I'll be bursting again with a plenteous supply of high-calorie, high-fat, thick white goodness! Beautiful, the way God made our bodies.
Posted by Heather Daley on March 14, 2006, 4:47 pm | Read 1926 times
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Bursting, and spraying, as I recall. :)
Posted by SursumCorda on March 14, 2006, 6:01 pm

It is really difficult to pump once your supply is "set," so to speak. I find that once the baby is no longer exclusively breastfeeding, pumping becomes much more difficult. Though Ellery still nurses 5-6 times/day and 1-5 times at night, I can't pump much at all. I know she's getting milk--there's let down, and since she's a busy baby-turned-toddler, she unlatches all the time to see what's going on and gets milk in her ear. I wish I could pump for the woman you spoke of in this post. I met her today and was inspired by her use of a supplemental nursing system--so few women even consider such a thing.
Posted by serina on March 14, 2006, 9:52 pm

"so few women even consider such a thing" Her own comment regarding this is the lack of education and support for breastfeeding mothers. At the first sign of difficulty, the general advice is, oh well, better use formula. The socially accepted myth that formula is just as good as breastmilk is very hard to overcome.
Posted by joyful on March 15, 2006, 9:20 am
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