Friday, February 26, 2010

Lactation Frustration, Part 2: Supply and Demand

The good news: the Barefoot house is still a breast milk-only zone. The not-so-good news: we've been fighting the battle of low supply.

Over the last couple of weeks, three things have happened.

1) I've been feeling under the weather, flirting with a cold.
2) I started Weight Watchers, and have lost somewhere between 5-10 pounds.
3) The Chicklette has been sleeping through the night with increasing regularity.

Some combination of these factors has been wreaking havoc with my supply. The Chicklette was fussy and unsatisfied at the boob, and my pumping output (which I know is not a totally reliable measure of overall supply, but still) went from 3.5-4 oz per session to 2-2.5.

When I first noticed it happening, I tried to make a few tweaks -- drink more water, try to eat more nutritiously (i.e., fruit and protein instead of 1-point Weight Watchers chocolate cake), and try to go to sleep a bit earlier. None of these really seemed to work (although I did feel better overall).

Next I tried Fenugreek. 3 capsules 3 times a day. My pee started to smell like maple syrup, but my supply, while slightly improved, was still less than it had been. We were starting to dip into the freezer stash, which was stressing me out.

Finally, on a recommendation from a lactation consultant and a couple of moms in my group, I tried More Milk Plus. This stuff tastes like the worst aspects of maple syrup and black licorice multiplied by 100 (you can get it in pill form, but it costs twice as much), but I'll be works! I've also started eating oatmeal in the morning, which is supposed to help as well. Between the two of these things, I'm back to pumping 3.5-4 oz a session, sometimes more depending on the time of day. And the Chicklette is back to looking drunk when she comes off the boob, which not only means she's getting enough milk, but also amuses me greatly.

So, we're chugging along. I can't believe how much time I spend thinking about milk and boobs (and how much money I'm spending on foul herbs), and dread whatever shake-up going back to work is going to bring to the whole supply issue. But for now, things are OK. A full baby is a happy baby. A happy baby is a happy mom. Etc. etc.

And speaking of happy, I need to figure out what I'm wearing on my DINNER DATE tonight because some other crazy friend of ours is so excited to spend time with the baby that they've offered to babysit. I don't know what's wrong with these people, but I'll take it.


Amber said...

Have a great time on your dinner date!!!

Glad to hear you've found something that works to increase your supply! I am going to start pumping next week so I may have to come back to this post! :-)

Claire said...

Hope you have a great time. x

Carrie said...

You are rocking it! I have had huge success with oatmeal, Fenugreek, Blessed Thistle and most of all, Goat's Rue. The same brand that makes More Milk Plus makes it- got it on Amazon. WORKS like crazy. It is actually shocking how fast I noticed an increase.

Has anyone recommended the book "The breastfeeding Mother's Guide to Making More Milk"? It is my BIBLE. I have found so much of that info is so valuable and in no other books. Check it out, but it sounds like you are kicking butt!

I love the milk drunk look. Isn't it amazing what our bodies can do to nourish our babies? :)

Michele said...

Have you tried drinking a Guinness? That helped me too, but the MMP and oatmeal were great boosts.

EC said...

my bub refused to take the breast when I was taking fenugreek, I'm not sure if it was the change in my smell or if it changed the taste but he screamed the house down, it was so stressful!

Glad you found something that works, I've also heard great things about the book Carrie mentioned.

How adorable are they when they're milk-drunk, I just love it :) Enjoy your date.