My Milky Way
Let me start by saying that we, as women, have been given the most beautiful gift to be able to bear children. The fact that we can also continue to provide nourishment for them even after womb-life, is just astounding to me as a mother.
When I had my 2nd miscarriage, I was never warned about my milk coming in, and was devastated when I began leaking and didn’t know what to do to make it stop. Because I had so much milk, I had no reservations about breastfeeding and production in general. I was very confident in myself and was excited to begin my breastfeeding journey when my daughter was born this past February.
After my daughter came out, they laid her on my chest and I cried as I held her for the very first time. Within the first 15 mins, she latched on and was happily drinking in the colostrum that I was producing. I was very unfamiliar with having this new human suckling at my breast and had been feeling like my body was no longer my own since pregnancy began. Suddenly, I realized that all responsibility was now on me. I created life, and was solely responsible for nourishing and nurturing it.
The first few days were surreal, as I jumped into breastfeeding and continued recovering from birth. I had always had reservations about becoming a mother and wasn’t sure if I would be a good one or not. When my milk came in, my daughters pediatrician said that since my daughter was 1 month early, she wasn’t drinking as much as she would have, had she been full term. She encouraged me to pump, claiming that if I didn’t, then when my daughter did grow, there wouldn’t be enough milk to support her needs. I pumped the opposite breast after each feed and saved the milk since I felt so bad just throwing it down the drain. After a month, at the rate of 24 ounces a day extra, I filled my freezer, and the extra garage freezer that I had purchased for milk storage.
Since getting pregnant, staying pregnant and everything about the pregnancy in general was super hard for me, I feel like I finally caught a break with breastfeeding. At my next well check appointment, with a different pediatrician, I was told that I didn’t need to keep pumping because my breasts were more like factories then warehouses, and would adjust to the needs of the baby. I felt bad throwing all the milk I had stored away, so I tried to find out how I could donate it to someone in need.
It was then that I consulted my local Le Leche League group, and they told me to reach out to Eats on Feets, and Human Milk 4 Human Babies. Soon, I found 3 people to donate the milk to, and felt so good about helping others. I began pumping harder, trying to increase my supply to 32 ounces per day, so I could continue donating, and found a longer term recipient that was willing to pay for shipping down to Tampa. I proceeded to donate to her for 4-5 months until she found local Momma’s to help. After that, I made a few more 1 time donations until around the 6 month mark when my cycle returned.
I found that I wasn’t able to consistently pump and get very much and so I lost motivation. Since then, I just feed my daughter on demand. My favorite sound in the world, oddly enough, is the sound of her latching onto the breast. So far, there nothing more maternally satisfying then her drinking her fill and falling into her milk comatose. My job is to nourish and nurture, and at 9 months, I am still going strong.