Tuesday, June 02, 2009

milking the sow

This heifer is growing by leaps and bounds, and since I've been back to work for three weeks and she's been at day care, my milk supply is waning.  I've got a super-duper double barrel pump at work that I use every two hours or so, and by the end of the day I have about enough to make her two bottles.  The problem is that she's taking about 4 bottles during the day at day care.  (And today my porker took five!!)

This past Saturday she wanted to eat about every hour.  She was clustering again, which I imagine means another growth spurt is on the horizon.  But it was frustrating, and even though she was making plenty of wet diapers I was worried that I wasn't producing enough to fill my poor insatiable baby.

Yesterday I called the lactation nurses for advice.  After confirming that I'm drinking plenty of water and following the few rules I could remember from nursing school, they suggested I try fenugreek, an herbal supplement.  The nurse told me it was about a 5o% chance that it would help increase my supply by half.  

The following story is my adventure getting the herb.  It's meant to be amusing because I know I walked out of the store cracking up...

So yesterday after work I went to the hippie health food store in town in search for the herb.  This store had about nine aisles of vitamins and supplements; I walked around scanning bottles for about twenty minutes before I found any of the fenugreek for breast feeding.  (It happened to be in the fourth and fifth aisles.)  Then I caught myself staring blankly at three different brands of this stuff, realizing that I have no clue which brand I should get.  I stood in line to ask the person who works in supplements if they had any brand loyalty.  The assistant manager, seeing the line, came to help and said he could help me instead.  When I asked him my question he first asked to see if they all had the same dose (mg), which they did.  (Mind you, I had already used my astute reading comprehension to figure that one out myself, but I didn't say anything.)  Then he walked me back over to the supplements (at which point I lost my place in line to talk with the guy who I should have been talking to), looked at where I'd gotten them, and told me what their prices were (as if I was somehow literate enough only to find them on teh shelf but not read the price under them).  He read the prices to me and concluded that the most expensive brand must be best.  He said it exactly like that too; "well, that one is the most expensive - it must be best, obviously."  I thanked him for his help and decided that he was an idiot.  I figured that if he didn't know the brands without having to look at the prices, it wouldn't matter which one I bought.  I replaced two of the bottles back to the shelf, and went back to stand in the line of the supplement guy to ask him one last time before I purchased one (incidentally, a brand I'd at least heard of).  Except by the time it was my turn in line, that same damn ass-manager took over the register and wanted to tell me about the fenugreek tea instead.  I kindly told him that I was a tea snob and loyal to my own concoctions.  He persisted, encouraging me to look at the teas anyway.  Going throwback, I explained in my best teacher voice (and facial expression) that if I had wanted tea, I would have looked in the teas, not the supplements.  Gag.

Today at work I looked up fenugreek on the Sloan-Kettering herb database.  If you're not aware of that database and you're into herbal remedies, I'd strongly suggest checking it out.  Anyway, I read that taking fenugreek for lactation hasn't really been proven with research yet.  It's an old school remedy that hasn't been matched with science yet.  (LINK to fenugreek info)

The nurses told me that if it was going to work it'd take about three days.  

I was telling this story to Jane this morning.  Her response was, "Please be sure to document your case study for future reference."  We laughed about that and mused about how this whole year is just a big experiment anyway.  We try one thing after another until we happen to find something that works.

I still want this breast feeding adventure to work, and I'm doing what I can to give this baby the best nutrition she can get for as long as I'm able.  I won't feel like I've failed if this sow's milk dries up, but I know that I would always wonder if this would have worked if I'd not tried it.  Maybe I should also light a candle, say a prayer, or do a rain dance to see if it'll help our odds.

On a last baby-related note, I ran into a nurse with whom I work today.  I've not seen her since I've been off of maternity leave.  She asked me when I was going to have the baby.  That's right.  She thought I was still pregnant.  I pulled out a picture around my neck and asked, "You mean the baby I had 10 weeks ago??"  She tried to back-paddle and say things like how thin I looked, but it was too late.  She'd already had a course of foot in her mouth.  Gag.

1 comment:

JanaKaseyGraceEmilie said...

You know wheat beer also increases your supply, but then Geneva has to be down for tasting some brew...or you'd have to drink at work to metabolize the alcohol before you picked her up, which might be fun...hahahaaha...and no, I haven't started cleaning the floors yet...I'm still loafing around the house!