Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thankful Thursday - October 25, 2012

This week I'm thankful for milk - or more specifically, the ability to make milk.  I know that for whatever reason, a lot of women aren't able to breastfeed.  I also know that a lot of women aren't able to get enough milk to feed their baby when they pump.  I'm lucky that I'm able to pump and get good volume for my baby, because my skin is simply too sensitive for her to get it from the source.  Where many would have just given up, I decided to pump my milk.

Honestly, it was mostly because I hate the way formula smells and also because I am cheap.  Formula costs a FORTUNE!  The fact that breast milk is the most awesome thing for babies is just a happy bonus.  :)

I'm thankful that not only am I able to make milk, and able to get a good amount with my pump, but that I get ample amounts.  Let me describe to you how my "breast fed" child gets fed, shall I?

First I pump the milk.  Next, I pour it into these little 2 oz plastic containers and put it in the fridge.  When the milk gets cold, the fat separates in the bottle.  It's kind of like when you refrigerate soup; the fat rises to the top and thickens. The more fat in my diet, the thicker the layer of fat on the top of my bottles. When it's time to feed the baby, we take a teeny spoon and carefully scoop the fat from the top of the plastic container and into the baby's bottle.  (Yes, it's totally as gross as it sounds.  The fat is the consistency of yogurt.)  We then use a medicine syringe to take only the top, fattiest part of the milk from the plastic container and add that to the bottle as well. The thinnest part of the milk at the bottom half gets poured down the drain.

That's right - to make a five ounce bottle for the baby to drink, I need to pour about five ounces of pumped milk down the drain.  This is at every feeding.  I'll let that sink in for a moment.  If you've ever pumped milk, you'll know how hard that is to do!

So not only am I able to pump enough milk for the baby to drink, I'm able to pump an equal amount that gets poured down the drain, and I have enough.  If I didn't, she wouldn't be getting those extra calories that she needs since she's STILL not gaining weight as fast as the pediatrician would like.

Also, in addition to the milk she drinks and the milk down the drain, this is what the stash in my freezer looks like:

There are ten 7oz bags of milk in each gallon Ziplock, and they're piled two deep in there.  That's approximately 1050 ounces of milk you're looking at here.  This is not counting the bags in the house freezer.  I keep them there until I have ten then they're moved into the deep freeze in the garage.  I've only been pumping for four months.

Even more amazing?  I've donated 980 ounces of milk so far this month alone.  Since the baby's been born, I've donated almost 1700 ounces total.  I'm thankful that I am able to share this gift with others who have adopted but still want to feed their child breast milk, or who are unable to make enough milk on their own for whatever reason.  I love knowing that I'm able to do something good for these babies, even if I don't know them personally.

Wanna see something crazy?

The Monday morning I set a new personal best - 20 and 3/4 ounces in one sitting!  I don't get up at night to pump so the first one of the day is usually the biggest in terms of volume, but usually it's only about 15 or 16 ounces total.  We had pediatrician visits for both kids that morning and my pediatrician was shocked when I told her.  The expression on her face was priceless.

So yeah, while it does kinda stink to have to hook myself up to a machine four times a day, and to have to wear absorbent pads in my tops, and to not be able to wear a real bra with an actual supportive underwire, in the end?  Totally worth it.  After all, this is only for a season. 


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Blogger Katy said...

Holy c'moly! And I was a crazy producer, and NOWHERE close to that. My best pump overflowed my 7-oz bottles on both sides, so...15-16 oz? Sheesh! And I never got to donate any b/c my piggie managed to Well, I have 3 bags in my freezer that need to be pitched.

6:27 AM  
Blogger Old Fashioned Gal said...

All I can say is, WOW! I never knew breast feeding was that intricate! That is very useful knowledge though...seeing as I just tested yesterday morning. (It was positive) :)
What a honorable thing for you to donate your milk! I strongly admire you for that!
I've known a lot of women who can't produce milk. God has given you something very special; to provide for your family and others...simply wonderful!
Have a great weekend! :)

8:46 AM  

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