The Day I Lost My Milk

by admin on March 20, 2015

Baby at BreastI never knew the magical powers of breastfeeding, until I lost them…

 Guest Posting by: Luciana E. Rubiera

 

I had some trouble in the beginning of my breastfeeding experience with my daughter, but it all worked out and I ended up having an over supply. I thought it was annoying, having to pump a few times per day just so I wouldn’t feel engorged. I donated my milk twice to mothers nearby, while their own supply was becoming established. I pumped in the morning before my daughter would feed, and once right before bed. It was a hassle, but I thought if I could, I should because so many Moms cannot.

Well fast forward to 5 months post partum when I got a nasty stomach bug that was running rampant around our city…I couldn’t hold anything down, not even water, for 4 days. As a result of my, ahem, stomach problems, I became dehydrated and almost completely lost my milk. I went from pumping/nursing 8 ounces every 2-3 hours to pumping maybe 1 ounce every 4 hours if that.

I cried. A lot.

I told my sweet Lili how sorry I was for not being able to provide her with what she so simply needed to grow and flourish. I finally went to the store and purchased, with great shame, a container of formula.

The first time I made up a bottle of formula for Lili, the rush of sorrow and gut wrenching defeat that came over me was unfathomable. I had never felt so useless…what was I even around for? My husband, mother, or any other person could now sustain her life…I was useless. I failed at the one thing I was supposed to be able to do…the one thing I am specializing in career wise…It was a low point for me, no doubt.

Once I finally fully recovered from my stomach issues (about 2 weeks in total), and I was well into formula and doing all I knew to get my supply back, I contacted my mentor/boss. She is an expert in lactation, so much so, that she did her doctorate work in inducing lactation! I figured, if anyone could help me, she could. I sent her an email in desperation, and her words were so encouraging and calm…it got me through the to the next day. I started taking a few herbs known to increase milk supply, snuggling Lili more, pumping like a mad woman, and most importantly, relaxing. Once I realized that formula would not kill my child, and I was doing my part by trying everything I could possibly do to get my precious milk back, I was able to relax a bit.

Fast forward to this morning, when I joyously pumped 14 ounces in the morning and 8 ounces in my first q.3 hour pumping session. Not only that, but Lili started some solid foods, and loves them!

I feel somewhat silly, how much I let breastmilk dictate my emotions, but in my mind, it is as vital as blood or water. Without either, we will die. There is no artificial blood or water (that I know of)! Yes, infants have been receiving formula since the very early 1900s if not sooner, but it is not the best form of nutrition and I know it. Of course, I want the very best for my child, and if I cannot produce the very best, I am failing.

Regardless, I appreciate the human body that much more after my experiences with the entire child bearing process, from conception all the way to nursing. It is astounding what our bodies can create, endure, and bounce back from in order to sustain not only our lives, but also the life of another human being.

I have a beautiful, healthy baby whose morning smiles bring enough joy to last a lifetime. While we shouldn’t dwell on the things we cannot control, we also need to realize how precious life is, and never stop fighting for what we want.

 

I would like to credit Dr. Kathleen McCue, owner of Bethesda Breastfeeding, for her endless support and guidance through my entire breastfeeding experience.

For more candid posts about Motherhood, please visit my blog!

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