My milk came in after two days. This was a miracle because I had three things working against me.
- Delivering at 29 weeks
- Magnesium Sulfate (a very uncomfortable, but important treatment)
- Pumping every two to three hours
- Pumping at the bedside
- Looking at pictures of Joshua while I pumped
- Drinking a lot of water
- Eating extra calories (happily)
- Taking fenugreek
- Using hot packs
- Power pumping (pumping off and on every ten minutes for an hour)
- Double pumping (a strategy to preserve breast milk, but still get rest)
I have been faithfully feeding the breast pump for nearly nine weeks. I've had a few things working against me.
- You don't get the same hormonal connection feeding a machine as you do a baby. Thus, I am not stimulated to make milk in the same way as a non-NICU mom.
- The NICU is a stressful experience. The hormone released by stress inhibits breast milk production.
- I had a blood clot and about a million different prescriptions. (I quadruple checked to make sure they were safe to take.)
A few days ago, I decided it was time to be done. After discussing it with the occupational therapist, I've cut the number of times a day that I pump in half. I will decrease from there. I feel so relieved.
I want to be clear that I don't consider this giving up. I want to focus my mothering energy in more useful ways. This is a choice that has not been easy to make.
Hopefully, none of my readers out there are feeling the need to be judgmental. I've discovered that women can be downright cruel to each other about the breast/bottle/formula feeding debate. Does it need to be a debate? One women online said that women who formula feed are selfish and ignorant. Shouldn't we all agree that mothers are capable of making the right choices for their children?
I'm fairly certain that what I get back in emotional stability is going to be more helpful to my little man than two ounces of breast milk a day.