Friday, July 6, 2012

Pain At The Pump

Not that pump....but hilarious.  This pump:

I wrote before about how pumping wasn't my favorite way to spend 15 minutes and it seemed like only a few days later my pump said "you WILL learn to like me."  I wasn't really pumping that often - twice a day and not even every day.  I would pump in the morning after Tripp finished eating to make a bottle for that evening and then I would pump while he was taking the bottle.  I had a small freezer stash going, but didn't really need to build it up a lot.

The day after I started working out again, I immediately noticed a difference.  Normally, Tripp would fall back asleep before completely draining both sides during his early morning feeding, so I'd put him back down and get the rest into a bottle.  One day I went to pump...and nothing.  He hadn't eaten any longer than he normally does, but I thought maybe my supply was just regulating to his appetite.  I knew something was wrong when I went to pump that evening and nothing came out - and he hadn't nursed in about 3 hours.  Obviously, I had a minor panic attack.  I had heard of working out affecting breast milk supply in some women, but why worry about something before it even happens?  Tripp hadn't been fussy or seemed hungry that day, so he was getting what he needed apparently...but what if next time he wanted to nurse there was nothing for him?! 

I got pretty upset that night.  Breastfeeding has been so important to me and something that I really enjoy being able to do for our son.  I felt like my body was failing me and I wanted to fix it.  I did my research that night and maaaay have gone a little overboard the next day haha.  Things that can increase milk supply:

-concentrating on healthy fats in your diet (nuts, eggs, avocados, etc)
-staying well-hydrated & making sure you take in enough calories
-herbal supplements (Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle)
-pumping after each nursing session (even if nothing comes out, production is a supply & demand thing)

Obviously feeding Tripp was priority #1, so I absolutely would have stopped working out if I needed to.  That wasn't my first choice, but I did take a break for 2 days while I tried all of the above.  I went to the store and stocked up:

I take 2 Fenugreek capsules 3x a day and 1 mL of the Motherlove (Blessed Thistle) drops 4x a day.  I could have guessed from drinking Mother's Milk tea (a combination of the two herbs) that I wouldn't love the taste of the drops, but yikes.  Not delicious.  I also stocked up on about 275 avocados (not really...but close), raw walnuts for my oatmeal, and coconut water (in addition to the ridiculous amount of water I already drink).  I have either eggs or oatmeal every morning for breakfast and try to eat an avocado every day.  (try?  who am I kidding?  I have to try and not eat 4 haha.)  When you're breastfeeding is definitely not the time to cut calories, so I'm more focused on getting in snacks between meals.  Even if I'm not hungry, I'll have something small like a spoonful of almond butter for the healthy fats and calorie boost. 

I also got really friendly with my pump.  Best $300 I've spent in a long time.

Verdict:  two days after this regimen started, I woke up in the morning looking like I had just been in a wet t-shirt contest.  I guess it worked. :-)  I felt comfortable going back to working out, but ramped up slowly to try and monitor what would happen with my milk.  Everything seems to be going just fine.  I've backed off on pumping after every time Tripp eats, but am continuing with the rest - probably for however long he breastfeeds. 

Crisis averted...for now.  As much as I already loved breastfeeding him, I've learned to not take it for granted.  So many women have problems and can't breastfeed at all or have to supplement with formula, so I feel very lucky that I can give him all the nutrition he needs right now from my body.

Was it a combination of all the changes I made that actually worked?  Or was I subconciously stressing about working out affecting my supply and the placebo affect took over after I started making those changes?  I'll probably never know - and as long as my baby keeps growing, I honestly don't care.

*the opinions in this post are my own and I was in no way compensated for product reviews*

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