Recently I experienced a milk crisis. I don’t know if maybe it was just a coincidence, but it was right after (or maybe already during) our hospital visit, which stressed us out and starved me. So I blame that whole experience.
I didn’t even realise that my milk supply had decreased until I brought my son in for a GP visit where he gets weighed and measured. In three weeks he had gained only about 200 grams. Very disappointing for me to see, yet I right away defended my boobs and blamed the hospital and the large amounts of spitting up, and said that now that I have a dairy free diet, it should normalise soon because I already see improvements – he’s spitting up less, and his bowel movements are not as liquid. A couple of days later, at home I realised that the reason he’s not spitting up much is because he doesn’t have much in him. He’s been starving for a while. The GP was right this time – I didn’t have enough milk.
When I realised that my milk sacks have barely any milk in them, I tried mending my diet, still keeping it dairy-free, but cooked nourishing meals to help it all. That did fuck all. Once, after he had emptied one breast, I offered the other one, which he also emptied. However, that left me with barely anything for his next meal, as it doesn’t produce that quickly. When that next feeding time came, of course, he was hysterical – why are you giving me empty boobies??? I cried with him, and quickly got out one of the frozen milk bags from the back-up supplies in my freezer. I put it in hot water to defrost, which luckily took only about ten minutes, and then bottle-fed him that. Holy silence of satisfaction!
That’s when I had had enough of this dairy free diet, I entrusted the baby to my partner, got myself a nice Napoleon cake all for myself and ran a bath. Spent about 4 hours there destressing, binging on the cake, drinking a lot of water, and most importantly – making good use of my breast pump, almost non-stop. Praying for the milk gods to hear me out. Also, thanking myself that I have frozen breast milk supplies for times like this. If I didn’t start producing enough, it would last a few days before I would reluctantly have to resort to feeding him formula. That is my one principle I don’t want to give up – I don’t want to feed him formula.
Luckily, the milk gods heard me. After power-pumping all day, I managed to get out decent amounts of lactation fluid. 😀 I still mostly pumped the next day as well, to stimulate my milk factories more, and now everything is back to normal and I have a happy, well-fed baby. I eat everything I want, all the dairy that I care for.
I experienced what it means that breasts work by the demand-supply principle. I was pumping for periods of at least 10 minutes, even when nothing was coming out, just to stimulate it. And after a while I would literally feel the milk being “injected” into the breast and the flow would renew, and I would get an extra ounce from each breast. It’s amazing how it works.
Also, I have two manual breast pumps. One is by Nuk, and cost around 30 euros, and the other one is a cheap thing I ordered on E-bay, which came from ping-pong land and cost me 6 euros. The cheap one was what rescued me, it’s better than the expensive one, at least I now prefer it.
Another thing I’ve done, just in case, is taking a lactation supplement, which has herbs stimulating breast milk production, such as cumin, fenugreek, fennel, dandelion root, etc. Don’t know if it actually does anything, or if it’s just a placebo effect, but the fact is – I got milk! 😀
Praise the milk gods!