I officially feel like a milk cow.

I started pumping three days ago, to get used to the pump, to get Spud on a bottle so he will take one when it is required, so Pea can feed Spud once an evening, for Pea to feel involved and for me to get a break during Spud’s insane cluster feeding evenings.

The first day I pumped about 0.02 of an ounce. Depressing, but it was late afternoon post-feed and my first try.

The second day I pumped 3 ounces, over two sessions. That night Spud slept for five straight hours, possibly because of this added evening bolus?

Yesterday I could only pump 2 ounces. Spud had a rough night, lots of gas grunts and an initial stretch of only two hours instead of his usual four. He’s been fussy and gassy for two days now (wonder week? Dairy allergy? Thrush meds?).

Today I’ve got one ounce pumped but my boobs feel flat and soft earlier in the day than is normal, which bodes badly. I ate some oatmeal for breakfast, which usually does have an effect.

This milk is just to get us into a new routine, and to maybe bump my supply a bit so that I could freeze some for a rainy day (or a night out). It doesn’t matter how much I get right now. But I’m sad it is so little, and I’m sad that now most opportunities I have to be unfettered from Spud, I’m pumping. It will be hard to manage when it is the weekday routine again and I’m on my own.

There is a LOT more going on. More I want to think about and write about. But it feels like my every waking moment is about nursing.

Add to this that I’m on antifungals for thrush and have to wash everything all the time, and time the cream with Spud’s increasingly erratic naps, and this whole thing just got more complicated.

Plus I’m cutting milk and soy out to see if it helps with his late night grunting pain. Fun times.

I’m ok, this too shall pass. My nipples hurt all the time now, and I’m tired, but Spud is thriving and Pea is delighted to have graduated from “No Milk” to “Cold Milk” in Spud’s eyes. I’m glad Spud took a bottle with minimal difficulty. I’m glad my boobs are producing sufficient if not abundant milk. I’m going to fix the thrush and our latch (football-shaped nipple no matter what I do) eventually. I’m going to a lactation cafe tomorrow to ask for help and to maybe meet some other new moms. Baby steps.


10 thoughts on “Moo

  1. Jill

    Oh the pump. How I hated it!!!

    With my first, I cut out milk for about 2 weeks and slowly brought it back in. It seemed to work. I also cut out cabbage and broccoli the whole time I was nursing him because those made him gassy.

    With my second, I kept cutting things out, but it turns out he’s just a grunter…still is.

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      I’m going to start with milk and soy because I was sensitive and so are my nephew and niece. But I am not above a full on elimination diet, as the gas issues are now screaming in pain gas issues. We shall see! Also the pump is improving! So that is good.

  2. Turia

    It is SO NORMAL at this stage to feel like all you do is nurse the baby. And adding pumping into the mix makes it even more complicated. I would try to pump first thing in the morning if you can swing it- that is when you will have the most milk.

    There is also absolutely no reason why you cannot combo feed when you go back to work if pumping doesn’t work out. Some women really have trouble expressing milk but no trouble if the baby is on. You will do what works for you and Pea and Spud.

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      The pumping is getting better. Mainly, giving up on afternoon pumps and accepting that sometimes there will be a bottle every two days helped.
      It makes Pea SO HAPPY. So it is worth it, even though it is really annoying.

  3. Heather

    I found your blog months (years?) ago, but this is my first comment. I’m usually reading blogs via Feedly on my phone, which doesn’t lend well to leaving substantive comments. ANYWAY! I wanted to pop in to leave a quick note to offer a tiny bit of support from a random internet stranger just in case it might be helpful. I hope it’s helpful and not weird! I’ve breastfed three babies and also pumped with all three. (I went back to work at 12 weeks postpartum, so had to pump 2-3x daily there while babies were at daycare. I breastfed them exclusively during the hours I was home with them.) Don’t be discouraged by getting so little milk via the pump! You’re so new at it! I think it will get easier with more practice. It did for me. And I second Turia’s suggestion above about trying to pump in the morning, if at all possible. I did my once daily pump session while I was on maternity leave in the morning anytime between 3-6am (whenever it was most convenient during that stretch after I fed the baby put them back down) and always got 2-3x as much milk at that time versus any other time of day. In my experience, pumping late in the day always produced very little milk–especially after a feeding. Pumping is so annoying and a pain in the rear, so try to make it as easy on yourself as possible. If you choose to do the early morning pumping, get everything set up the night before, so it’s simple. Set out a glass of water and a little snack, so you’ll be all set ahead of time–so you’re not bungling around finding pump parts, etc. when you’re tired.

    As for your thrush and the pain, do you have a nipple cream? I’m in the US, and here, there’s a common prescription nipple ointment we call “all purpose nipple ointment” or APNO. It’s an antibiotic, anti-fungal, and it has ibuprofen powder in it for pain relief. It was so helpful to me in cutting down the nipple pain. I’ve had thrush in the nipple twice, and it was SO unbelievably painful, I thought I’d never recover–but I did. You are right that “this too shall pass”, but boy, do I feel your pain. It’s hard to muddle through when you’re in the thick of it!

    As I read your last few posts, I saw my first-time-mom-self in you. First babies are shocking. There is such drastic change happening, and everything tends to feel out of control and just plain hard. Well, in my experience, it did. I was tired and felt defeated. At the time, I wondered if I’d made a terrible mistake in deciding to have a baby. It seems kind of silly now that I’m years past that, but I thought I’d throw it out there just in case you might feel the same. Time passes, the baby grows, everyone settles into their new roles… and with all of that, there is space for more joy. Hang in there for the joy. It’ll come. :o)

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      Hello! Welcome! Support is never weird and always welcome.
      The morning pumping makes sense. I will try an early morning – I keep prioritizing sleep over pumping and am genuinely ok with that for now. Maybe once his second sleep is a few hours rather than 45-60 min it would work better. As it is, he’s feeding twice or three times between 3:30 and 10:30 am so it is hard to find a good window for pumping.

  4. rainbowgoblin

    Yes! Pump in the morning. I got into a routine where I nursed first thing off one boob then pumped from the other, and felt comfortable… Also, draining your boobs when they’re really full should increase your supply (a bit… It’s hard to drastically increase once it’s established).

    But also: FIX YOUR LATCH. I never put the time into getting it right, and then it just didn’t seem to be worth the effort once we were a few months in, then distracted feeding started when the world became interesting… And I got mastitis 5 times. So don’t be like me! I hope the lactation cafe helps, but if not, keep working at it, get help, and get it right.

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      The cafe is tonight, it turns out, so we shall see! I can’t tell if my latch really sucks or if it is mainly the thrush.. or if I don’t have thrush and just have a shit latch. My one nipple has a stubborn bleb and the other is cracked in a three-way fissure. 😦 they are less painful after five days of thrush meds though.

  5. rainbowgoblin

    Oh: I also pumped at night, because it was more comfortable to sleep empty, but never got nearly as much milk. And make sure the cups (flanges?) on your pump fit your nipples properly, and apparently double pumps are better for getting more milk (and you can get bra things to hold them in place if you find it makes your shoulders impossibly sore to hold them in place, or you just get bored and want to use your hands).

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      I will need Spud to be sleeping longer stretches before night pumping makes sense. He cluster feeds my boobs into pancakes, and then wants more three-four hours later! I have a double pump and am debating the bra. For when I am at work it would be super useful!


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