Inducing lactation: week 1 in review

I have officially made it 1 week on the breast pump! I am following the Newman Goldfarb protocol to induce lactation, in hope of being able to breastfeed our little one.

By my calculations that’s 56 pumping sessions, or around 18 hours attached to the pump. I pump every 2-3 hours, including overnight (where I sometimes stretch it out to more than 3 hours because let’s face it, sleep is important).

Here’s the highlights!

Day 1: Time to pump for the first time! Let’s do this. I am feeling motivated – it is very lovely to think that I can do something to help grow our little one once they meet us on the outside. It takes me around 10 minutes just to figure out how to get the flanges in the right position to gain good suction. After a few minutes, beads of breastmilk start to form. Nothing makes its way in to the flange. Nothing happens for most sessions today. I pump every 3 hours and then hand express until I get sick of it. I remain motivated until the alarm goes off for my 3am pump, when I feel tired, grumpy, and severely question my choice to induce. Where did all that motivation go? I decide that I’ll give myself 48h to decide if I really want to do this, so finish my session, set my alarm for 3h later, and go back to sleep.

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The pump suction is a purring-like noise. The cat is in love.

3am pumps without a supply feel like you’re all nice and relaxed and then wake up to a nipple cripple. You do gain tolerance though 🙂

Day 2: I am awake! Plenty of energy – maybe I can do this whole broken sleep thing after all? Motivation is back! Today some breastmilk makes it all the way in to the bottle!! I heard this takes weeks for some women, so I feel very fortunate. I’m not so attached to it, so I wash it down the sink (it’s not much anyway). Today I am high spirited (in part due to the outcome) and try to remember how this feels so I can tell my 3am self that I can do this.

Day 3: I am exhausted. I decide to stay up until midnight, and sleep through my 3am pump session today in hope of getting a little more continuous sleep. It feels like I’ve made less milk today. I investigate the use of herbs (fenugreek and blessed thistle) to increase my supply. I find that fenugreek is reportedly a blood thinner, so need to seek medical advice before adding this to my regime. I email my specialist and talk to my pharmacist. There is an unknown risk, therefore I decide to sleep on it for a few days.

Day 4: Skipping a session last night worked! I have way more energy today. I need to remember to not sacrifice my health too much for this experiment, as it could make my Lupus flare. Gotta be realistic 🙂

Day 5: I think I’ll start measuring what I’m expressing, just to keep me motivated. It varies from session to session – anywhere from nothing to 0.3ml to 1.5ml! I start syringing and then freezing my output. I know it’s not much at all, but there’s something satisfying about having something tangible to look at for all the hard work, rather than just expressing it in to a towel.

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Liquid gold!

I also go to visit a breastfeeding friend and am totes jealous of her tap-like boobies! Squad goals.

Day 6: My mind is still not decided as to whether this will be a sustainable activity. I decide that tomorrow will be the day I start herbs. I am satisfied with taking the risk to my health, and decide that if my supply does not increase then it may not be worth the additional physical exhaustion (which in my case can lead to a Lupus flare if severe enough). I remind myself that I can breastfeed even without a supply (using a feed line).

I feel positive and high-spirited about my ability to continue this experiment for the next while 🙂

Here’s my frozen stash so far – it might not be much (each is in a 1ml syringe), but it feels as though I have accomplished something 🙂

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13 thoughts on “Inducing lactation: week 1 in review

  1. Having been a low supply mum even having given birth, this is an incredible effort and an impressive output, Marian… Definitely nothing to sneeze at!

  2. Marian, I admire you for having the strength and motivation.. I looked into it and decided that it was going to be to difficult, I’m terrible when I don’t get enough sleep. I did try to breastfed with Charlie, our number two, who I carried and I had loads of issues, very little supply and got mastitis..
    Keep us updated on how you go!

    • Thank you so much for your words of encouragement Chatarina. It is not an easy thing to do, but I wanted to give it my best shot 🙂 Good on you for giving breastfeeding a go with Charlie – even giving it a go in itself is a success, as is changing your plans to best suit your circumstances 🙂

  3. Marian you are a very special lady and I think you have so much motivation and should be very proud of your accomplishment. Definitely your health is a huge factor to consider but you seem to be in good control of your decisions. Well done.
    Julie xxx

  4. Awww you know how much I love this!!!
    It mightn’t look like much, but remember bear’s belly is going to be a size of an apricot!! A couple of mls is all it takes to fill it!
    You’ve totally got this!
    And when you have had enough then there are plenty more ways for Bear to get fed.
    xx mwah

  5. I’m really freaking impressed that you got all that so quickly! Had you been taking dom or something prior to the pumping or was that the very beginning of it?
    With that progress already I don’t think you’ll have a long time to wait before you have your own leaky taps 🙂

  6. You’re doing a magnificent job Marianne. Everything worthwhile takes effort, and most of the time becomes easier and better with persistence. I have the utmost faith in you. 🍼😘

  7. You have totally got this Marian!! Your resolve will wax and wane….it’s only natural when you don’t have the beautiful hungry baby there to entice you awake in the middle of the night! Following your journey is making me reflect on my own, and recognise what a bloody superhuman effort it is to produce milk for a baby you haven’t carried! It is love alone that drives you to do this and you will never ever regret your effort. You may only have regretted not trying. Xxx

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