Monday, July 28, 2008

Nine Days Without Baby - Day 4

I think this could be called panic day. As my milk supply remained low, and went even lower, I wondered how I could possibly maintain it for another week. I feared losing the supply, returning home and not being able to breastfeed anymore.

I’d been rather lax about pumping lately. I thought he’d passed the six month mark, he’s healthy, and I need time to be a person too. So he’d been receiving breastmilk when I was around, formula when I wasn’t. I knew that if he grew out of breastfeeding soon that he’d be a healthy and happy baby.

However, being away from him and suddenly faced with the thought of my supply drying up made me realize that I wasn’t ready for the intimacy of breastfeeding him to end. I considered flying home. I spent all evening reading articles online, looking for products that could help me. For the first time, I realized there is a difference between my Medela Pump-In-Style and the pumps women rent from hospitals (hospital grade pumps).

I cringed when I read women writing about their milk “drying up.” It’s such a horrible term, connoting withering, dryness, age and barrenness. Even though I rationally knew there was nothing wrong with starting to focus on my own life and interests now, emotionally I felt that if I returned home “dried up,” I’d be a failure as a mother. I would feel so guilty for denying him any more access to breastmilk, for breaking that bond of intimacy between us, so that I could pursue my own interests for a week.

I upped my fenugreek to three tablets three times a day, I downed water and Nursing Mother tea, I pumped, I tried to get more protein and rest, I researched hospital-grade pumps, I even researched medicine said to increase milk supply. Someone told me I should pump at least eight times a day for 20 minutes each time. That’s not easy when I need to be outside of the house sometimes. So I ended up pumping in the bathroom.

I knew the whirring noise probably freaked people out. And it wasn’t very comfortable for me on the toilet either. Once a woman asked, “What is that noise?” When I called out “a breastpump,” she told me my baby would sure appreciate it, that both her daughters had nursed, and they had never had to use a bathroom stall.

1 comment:

Lainey Wright said...

ha! -what nerve for the woman to ask! -i don't think i would have wanted to know...