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Monday, November 5, 2012

A Struggle For Milk

I’ve been pregnant for three months now, if you’ve been keeping up with, My Induced Lactation, then you are already aware of everything that has happened thus far. Now begins a whole new process. I have “given birth”, meaning I have stopped taking the yasmin birth control and provera pregnancy hormones. There is a lot of evident changes in my breasts now. My breasts are much bigger and heavier now, infact, it hurts them to run or jump and sometimes even hurts them when I have on a bra and am in the car. My areolas (the area around the nipple) have gotten a lot bigger as well. Maybe almost double in size and have darkened. This is normal from what I have read. Besides being darker and bigger, my areolas are extremely “puffy” which is interesting. My areolas are actually protruding from my breasts, which makes it easier to express milk (I hope). My nipples have also gotten bigger. They don’t stay “perky” and are usually flat now, unless they are touched or otherwise stimulated. So, now I have these extremely puffy nipples that are ready for pumping, but I am dreading it because the insides of my breasts and nipples hurt so bad. I hope I can make it through this.

Playtex Double Electric Breast Pump
Playtex Pump
In anticipation and because I plan ahead, I have already purchased a double electric breast pump from Playtex (about 75$ USA dollars). The flanges have soft cups on them that make the pumping action feel more like a mouth and more comfortable on your areolas and nipples. It actually tries to simulate a mouth because it has these “flower” looking grooves that somewhat squeeze and stimulate the areolas. This Playtex pump only has three suction settings, low, medium, and high. It doesn’t use bottles, it uses “liners”. I have also purchased a (very cheap) manual breast pump to use at night so that I don’t wake up my fiancé. So, let’s get started!

Manual Breast Pump From WalMart
Manual Breast Pump
Since my pump is a double electric breast pump (recommended) it is supposed to be better for stimulation and let down. It took some practice to get used to holding both pumps against my breasts; so the first day of pumping was very uncomfortable but also very interesting. I was constantly fighting with one arm to hold two pumps so that the other arm/hand is free to change the suction settings on the pump. I have been waiting for over three months for this moment. The pump is turned on, the suction is on low, my nipples are moving back and forth inside the flange tunnel. I can feel that “flower” design on the soft cups squeezing against my areolas. Now it’s time to sit back and let this breast pump squeeze my areolas and suck my nipples for fifteen minutes.

Playtex Double Electric Breast Pump
Playtex Double Electric Breast Pump
The pumping session has ended. Is there milk? No milk. Why is there no milk? I’m still taking the domperidone as directed in the Protocols for Induced Lactation. So, besides stimulating my nipples and having a fun experience with it, I have no milk my first time at pumping. I hope I am doing all the protocols correctly. Pump for seven minutes, massage the breasts working your way down to the nipples, then leaning over and giving them a gentle shake, then pumping for another seven or eight minutes. Rinse, repeat, and do it again in about two hours. That doesn’t seem so hard…

I’ve had a few pumping sessions my first day. My nipples are already tired of the pump. The glands inside my breasts were already sore and now they are even more sore. Now I am about to start the night and early morning cycles. Prolactin is supposed to be naturally higher during 1 AM and 5 AM. Now it’s time to use my manual pump, stumbling around in the dark I find my manual pump. I have to squeeze the handle over and over again, fifteen minutes per breast since, well, the manual pump is only capable of pumping one breast at a time. Already I can tell that this manual pump is junk. The handle is crap, It’s so uncomfortable, the suction is very bad, and the flange is way too big. Thirty minutes later, still no sign of milk, just a really sore hand from pumping so much. Now I just need to try and get some sleep. I’ll really learn to dread the night time pumps. The Playtex pump is extremely loud, I really want to use it though since my manual pump isn’t that great.

Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle Herbs
Herbal Supplements
It’s been six days. I’m so tired. Hardly any sleep. All I do is pump my breasts. There’s almost no time to do anything else. All I want to do is sleep. I’m still so exhausted all the time, like I was when I was pregnant. Will I ever get my breast milk? I’m taking the domperidone, the herbs to increase milk supply, eating my stupid oatmeal, and pumping every two hours day and night. I haven’t missed a single time. The fact that I can actually wake up and perform my duties on Independence Fleet is a miracle. The pain from my breasts and nipples are insane, I really think the Playtex pump is rubbing my nipples raw.

Breast Pump With Drops of Milk
Milk Slightly Sprayed On Back
The seventh day has arrived. Pumping as usual. I slowly take the pumps off my breasts, I see something inside the flange tunnel! Oh my God! Oh my God! I leaked milk! It’s here! It’s finally here! Even it’s only a couple of drops, it’s here! I’m so excited that I’m crying. I did it. Will it fully come in? Will I get a large supply of milk? These were the questions going through m head. So much hard work for only two drops of milk, and it’s not even milk, it’s clear and thick. Colostrum maybe? The “first milk” that is supposed to be very healthy for your baby. Who knows how things will go, I’m on my way slowly but surely with tons of patience and the desire. The desire to breast feed my baby, she’s not here yet, but if I can lactate and bring in my milk I’ll be able to breast feed my baby in the future. How exciting!

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