Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Milky. Cereal, Baby.

I'm hungry, mama!
Later this afternoon, after my discount eye exam at a box store retailer, I am going to drive down a country road near where I grew up to pick up (breathe) a hospital-grade, dual-expression, electric, breast pump from a durable medical equipment rental company.

That is way too many words. They all terrify me.

I made the decision to attempt induced lactation well before we chose our gestational surrogate. Another one of those, well if I can't do that, maybe I could do this....kind of things. She, and our health care providers (hers and mine) have been fully supportive. Curious, kind of new to the idea themselves, but total cheerleaders. For the past two months, I've been dutifully taking my pills, eating my oatmeal, stocking up on herbs for later, watching my boobs expand and grow along with my husband's eyes. Whoa.

But this week, this week right here is where the rubber hits the road, or rather, the suction cup hits the tit. And I confess, I'm nervous.

What if it doesn't work? What if it hurts? What if I just can't manage the schedule. Every three hours? Before the baby even gets here? For real?

I've already told myself all I can do is try. Stick with it. Have at it. All that. I'm not going to beat myself up if my nipples don't secrete the nectar of the gods. I've already resigned myself to that fact that most books on breastfeeding suck (ha). No, really. Save your money. They really do. It took me several attempts at various libraries to find one that didn't spend 100+ pages on why breast milk is essential to your child's health and manufacturers of formula are the devil.

Spare me, eye-rolls the imitation similac-eating, survived-just-fine grown up over here.

In the end, the only one I've liked so far is one I found nestled in my pile of boxes. This one. The edition I have is old. It still talks about car seats as an option. (can you imagine?) But it spends 2 pages, not 100, on the value of breast milk and then gets into the nitty gritty. Like, pictures. And charts, And troubleshooting tips, and best of all, it doesn't use the cooing, soothing, you just had a baby so your brain must be mush language that so much of this shit does. It doesn't assume your baby will be ok or that you will manage this just fine. There is a robust chapter on Special Moms, Special Babies. I confess, I haven't read this cover to cover yet, but I think its one I will actually use as a reference. Phew.

Because I can't do the support group thing, guys. I just can't. Not yet. Not now. Maybe never. We were at a local hospital the other day visiting M's mom who had a minor procedure and just in case all of my triggers and synapses weren't afire already, we ran into an elevator full of full-on pregnant women coming back from a tour. My knees buckled. I didn't cry (then) and I can't explain the emotion. It wasn't sadness, it wasn't anger. It was more like, aversion? At any rate, the idea of spending any amount of time in a space of new moms....I'm just not there yet (ever, maybe).


Melissa said...

You got this!! I induced lactation to be a wet nurse for a dear friend, and my youngest was 12 at the time. Even a little milk is a big victory! Every bit counts!

m said...

Whoa, @Melissa! That is very cool! and thanks for the shout. I really appreciate it.

My boobs are seriously extra sore today in anticipation. How do they know? I'm not even starting today, just bringing the apparatus home. Interesting...

Monique said...

Right on - you're giving it your best and that's all you can do. I think you are amazing.

And I can't do mommy and me groups either. Just not my thing and that's okay.

Two Shorten the Road said...

It's definitely gonna hurt. Pumps are no picnic. But I know if it's remotely possible then you'll get the job done.

And please don't beat yourself up if it doesn't go well, or if you can't do it for a full year, or whatever.

I've only recently been able to be around pregnant women without feeling a desire to flee, by the way. Like within the last year or so. And on the grand scheme of fertility/loss, what we went through was not that terrible. So I understand your aversion.

Two Shorten the Road said...
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Carla said...

Oh, this is exciting. I SO hope things work out for this! Good for you for trying this route! I am thrilled for you that things are going along smoothly.

Smiling said...

wishing you luck and smart books/people with useful knowledge if you need it.

and FYI I have met lots of speech therapists that specialize in feeding/swallowing -- sometimes they are a more useful resource than lactation consultants (many of whom are awesome in their own right) -- I might be biased cuz I am an SLP (who knows nothing about this subspecialization) because the good ones were great and got that there are multiple journeys women take to the question of "can you help me understand what is going on here?"

ugg those books sound dreadful, thanks for passing on your best bet selection!

and as for the car seats, what memoir is it where they talk about taking out a DRAWER form the chest of drawers, putting blankets and baby in it and then putting the lot in the back of the car for a European roadtrip... :) how quickly things change.

m said...

Hey shortie, thank you for affirming I'm not the only one that still gets weird around the bumps. And hey, dint diminish your own travels. Last i checked, months of hospital bedrest want really seen as smooth sailing, easy, any of that. So you say it is going to hurt? Shit.

Smiling, you are the bomb. I'm hoping you already know that. Excellent thoughts on speech therapists. Lets hope bbb just sucks like a pro. But if he doesn't, this is a nice resource to remember. About the drawer, not sure who it was, but i actually had a family member that recommended renting a van for extra room to stretch on our trip, totally forgetting that a baby outside of a car seat is a no no. Oh the days....

Heather said...

Oh nursing. I was a compliant nurser, doing it because I did think it was probably better than formula, yet I know dozens and dozens of healthy and intelligent formula eaters so I was hardly militant about it. If I'm completely honest, I liked it but didn't love it. My girls weren't the bonding type during nursing, they just closed their eyes and ate and could have cared less where the food came from. No staring into each other's eyes with love for us. It was more like them chowing down and me getting a neck cramp from looking at my laptop off to the side. Our bonding sessions seemed to center more on giggles and games of chase and story time. And I hated the fucking pump, hated it. So, basically, I nursed for a year with each kid because: 1 - it was slightly better than formula, maybe, hard to tell when socio-economic factors are eliminated, and 2 - it was cheaper, and I'm goddamn frugal.

Anyway, what I'm saying is I think it is awesome that you are giving this a shot. The only things you regret are those you don't try. If it works it will be amazing; hell you may be one of those bonding during nursing gals after all! And if it doesn't work, no worries, you and your kid will get on just fine.

Love to you and that baby boy.

(Oh, and get yo-self some of that lanolin. Forget the whole 'if it hurts you are doing it wrong' logic. Unless you are into serious nipple play your areolas have never had this much constant use before and they need help toughening up. It won't take long, but the transition is a killer.)

m said...

dear Heather - you make me laugh. Yes to this:

The only things you regret are those you don't try.

and this:

it was cheaper, and I'm goddamn frugal.

You are in my head.

C said...

Breastfeeding was super tough for me. And pumping just didnt work out. But funnily it is one of the things I miss the most about those early days...

luna said...

ah you know where I'm at on this. it's a LOT of work. you are committed and you got a way better head start than I did. any bit you can get is great. it's all in how you define success.

have you started the herbs too? did you find tinctures? did I send you the names of the ones I liked? I think so. fenugreek was the only one that didn't taste like ass.

I'm so cheering for you from the sidelines. but you knew that, right? xo <3

m said...

C!!!! What a joy to "see" you here. How are you?!?

Luna - herbs start soon. No tinctures, but I found some veg-friendly capsules I'm eager to try. I dig fenungreek anyway and use it a lot in our cooking, so I wasn't too worried about the taste. Blessed thistle...somehow thinking of thistles makes me think of Eeyore. He never looked too happy when he ate them.

Dear all - thanks to so many of you who pointed me to the Kellymoms website. Straightforward, to the point, evidence-based. Much appreciated. Thanks!

nicoleciomek said...

good luck!!! give it your best go! My best friend pumps and she says it isn't fun at first but you get used to it.

Just do it for as long as you can, if it is a month, 3, or 6. It will all be good either way. There is a huge pressure to breast feed these days, but I think women just have to do their best :)

Rachel said...

Hooray for trying to induce lactation! I just looked at some of the comments, and as someone who has now pumped for a full 3 years, I can assure you that it does not have to hurt at all. If it hurts, get help. The standard size phlange (the piece which touches your breast) is often not the right size, you can use olive oil or many other things on your breasts to prevent rubbing, and my #1 advice to make pumping more pleasant is to finding something relaxing to do while you pump. I read blogs. And tabloids. And never, ever work. I think it helps quite a bit. Happy to answer any pumping questions you might have.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. Since we could get a call any day, and even though it might take another two years (God forbid) before we join the parenting club, I decided to give induced lactation a bash. Not with much commitment mind you, just a manual breast pump from my sister and some curiosity. Was pretty amazed at how I produced something instantly, the first time, even though it was only one clear drop! Not in such a great space at the moment, so I've ditched it but it most certainly is a freaking awesome feeling to have some tiny aspect of the reproductive bits in a bit of working order. Hope it works for you! Let me know if you need any resources because of course I have researched it to death. Ditto on the pregnant women allergy. Sigh. Very difficult since one of them is a very dear friend.

Nadine said...

So lady, just in case I didn't say before, you know where in the world I am and if you ever want to chat/moan/scream about inducing lactation, well I'm your bitch.

Pumping at work was the worst for me, as you may recall my bosses are assholes and canada doesn't have "lactation rooms" as most women stop pumping when they return to work after a year. Save everything you can, all that early milk is great (I remember mine being very very yellow looking).
One twin latched the other had issues and only latched every now and then when he was in the perfect mood (I did see a lactation consultant, the leading "expert" in inducing lactation and he was such an ASS, not helpful, complete total jerk).

Sorry, feeling a little ranty today. They both got milk and formula, and financially if you can avoid formula do so, it's expensive, but if you can't don't feel guilty, all the "best is breast. formula is the F word "people were most likely formula fed theirselves, and for my personal experience my kid who got more formula is very healthy, the one who got moslty breast milk has asthma and is almost always sick (which is odd as she was the healthy one at birth).