Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beginning of the End

Well, you knew we couldn't hold off forever, so, yes, we are back with another installment of our lactation-induction saga. You can read about our decision, how it's been working, and some pros and cons. Now I'm going to tell you about what is probably the beginning of the end.

Lately I've been very tired of the work it takes to keep up my supply. In an ideal world, I'm taking 2 domperidone pills 4 times a day and 3 fenugreek and 3 blessed thistle pills 3 times a day. Lately I'm lucky if I do half of that. I'm very tired of taking pills and have had an increasingly hard time making myself do it.

So I've decided to stop. I'll be tapering off all of the medication and herbs over the next couple of weeks. We're not sure if my supply will dwindle to nothing, or continue at roughly the same rate (these days probably about 6 ounces, though I've been as high as 10, or maybe 12 on a good day). Either way, I will continue to nurse Ira, probably almost as often as I do right now. I'll continue to take every other night with Ira, and, if necessary, I'll feed him a bottle of breastmilk at night.* I'll continue to nurse him from time-to-time during the day, even if at times it is just comfort nursing. Honestly, it is often largely comfort nursing now; for a daytime feed I usually nurse him and then either give him to Lyn for more milk or give him a bottle.

We are hoping that my cutting back won't put too much more pumping pressure on Lyn. She currently pumps once in the morning every night that I am on Ira-duty, once before bed on nights that I do the "dream feed" (and on those nights she has Ira-duty), and once at work on days her three office work days (pumping more times at work for Lyn seems to generate the same amount as just pumping once). I will continue to pump on mornings that I go to work (since I don't feed him overnight on those mornings). We currently have a large freezer stash and are hopeful that Lyn won't have to add more pumping (particularly more pumping at the office) to keep Ira in breastmilk.

I am glad that I induced lactation. It helped us share nighttime care more easily, reduced the feeding pressure on Lyn, and gave me a wonderful experience with my son. It also gave Lyn more opportunities for uninterrupted time with Leigh, which may have helped smooth her transition to big-sisterhood. But right now I feel like if my nursing becomes just a close and cosy pacifier, I really don't mind. It's served it's purpose and I can let the milk go if my supply doesn't stay up without the drugs.

* Nights are a sore subject around here right now. Ira's sleep has been going south and lately he wakes up around midnight and then every hour or two after that. We all need more sleep! We learned our lesson with our older daughter have a consultation with a sleep consultant scheduled for next week (with Leigh, they were far more helpful than a giant library full of contradictory "sleep books"). Hopefully we'll get some good ideas and there will be more restful nights in our future; right now it's an absolute lifeline to get a solid night of sleep every other night. (And note, we're not really interested in receiving sleep advice here on the blog -- though empathy is welcome!)