Author, Blogger, Educator

Category: Exclusively Pumping

The Formula Shortage

I can’t imagine being a new mother these days. You are scared to death that you or your baby will die from COVID and now you can’t feed your baby if you use formula. I can only wonder, is this more propaganda to get us to stop having babies?? Look, we are not overpopulated nor are we going to be overpopulated. A simple Google search will show you that. So what are we to do now that we’re scared to bring a baby into this world and now we can’t feed them?

Here are some solutions to the formula shortage.

NOTE: DO NOT WATER DOWN YOUR FORMULA, IT CAN KILL YOUR BABY

RELACTATE!

I love kellymom.com! She has been a resource for me for the past 18 years. She has a whole page dedicated to resources on relactation. First, if you have produced milk at any time in your life, you CAN relactate. Even women who have never been pregnant OR given birth can learn to lactate. We are designed to feed our babies! Doctors should be on board with helping you.

If doctors can help a lesbian partner who has never been pregnant or given birth to lactate, they can help you! If they don’t, why not? There are drugs and there is a protocol. Plus, MANY adoptive mothers will lactate so they can feed their adoptive babies. This is a plausible option and though it is not an INSTANT fix, once you are lactating, you can feed that to your baby and not worry about needing formula ever again.

Yes, this sounds judgmental, some of it is, especially if this offends you but you are NOT the only one to suffer. My breastfeeding journey was not easy for any of my babies and I had to make many sacrifices and suffer. Too many women give up easily and that is because our society tells us that it’s okay to give up and there is not much support to try harder and little options are given over “just switch to formula.” We’re exploited really.

Want to relactate? Get with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

On a personal note, I pumped for ALL my babies. They got the breast until their tongue-ties caused issues and then I switched to pumping. I donated over 300 gallons of milk over the course of my breastfeeding journey. I’m not saying this to be presumptuous and I’m not the only one to experience this so this brings me to the next solution.

MILKSHARE

You have two options for milk sharing. A wetnurse or private milk sharing. Let’s talk about a wetnurse. These have been used for centuries! Moses’ wetnurse was actually his own mother because the Pharoah’s daughter wasn’t breastfeeding when she found Moses. How would a baby eat if there was no formula? Many died if their mothers could not find a wetnurse.

Do you have a breastfeeding sister? Friend? Will they step up to help feed your baby? If you have SOME formula, can you supplement half of it with shared milk?

PRIVATE MILK SHARING

I’ll relactate for you. I will do it in order to help you and save your baby but I ask that you try and try hard. I helped a mother supplement her milk with my milk because she had breast cancer and she could not produce much milk after treatment. I had one mom who truly had been diagnosed with insufficient glandular tissue (little breast tissue) who could not produce enough milk either. So she used what I gave her to supplement what she made. Her breasts were not “small” either so it doesn’t have anything to do with breast size.

Exclusively Pumping Milk

Now that I have made the offer, will you use a milk share?

Milk sharing used to be free but I imagine moms are beginning to charge. Most of us used to just ask for repayment of supplies or asked you to provide your own milk storage bags. Human Milk for Human Babies and Eats on Feets are great places to go for milk sharing. There are other sites, but most are full of perverted men and women who want to nurse from a strangers breast for $200+/20+ min or use your milk for body building. I would stay away from those milk sharing sites.

Milk sharing can be safe…IF you ask. Most don’t ask. I was only asked a dozen times during my private milk sharing journey if I was drug, disease, and alcohol free (including smoking and marijuana). I shared with hundreds of families. It’s sad because they should have. Ask!

If they are legit, they will not be offended and will appreciate you asking. One person wanted me to sign and have a document notarized. I don’t recommend this because the mother is providing a gift but if there is money being exchanged, it’s worth it. Just know, there are never guarantees even with a legal contract in place.

There are human milk banks, but they cost you. 20oz of milk is offered as a “new mom” kit but it’s $100. 40oz can be given without a prescription, after that, you need a prescription and you’ll pay $5 per ounce or more. The mothers are screened extensively (more than for blood donation), and they have to adhere to strict guidelines and can’t take any meds, herbs or supplements outside hormone replacement like thyroid. The milk is tested, pasteurized and tested again. It’s safe but it’s not sustainable. I don’t recommend you use this option just because of a formula shortage. This milk goes to very sick and premature babies as well as cancer patients in recovery. I love the milk bank so I am not putting them down at all.

I donated over 30 gallons of milk to the Mother’s Milk Bank over two of my breastfeeding journey’s but in addition to donating to the milk bank, I privately shared my milk. I actually preferred private donation because I got to know the families and babies in most cases. Again, I will relactate for you but I want you to try yourself not just use me as a “pill” to get you through.

Some of my milk I donated

MAKE YOUR OWN FORMULA

Yes, you CAN make it. Doctors don’t want you to though and will tell you it’s not safe. Why is homemade baby formula such a risk when our grandmothers and mothers did this for decades? Homemade baby formula was perfectly fine for your mother or grandmother (depending on how old you are). What is the option than CDC? Starve the baby, water down the formula?

The US Federal Government provided the proper way to make formula in their publication, Infant Care by the Children’s Bureau Publication (1951) from the Federal Security Agency, Social Security Administration. The same formula can be made these days safely.

Take this to your pediatrician

Got an allergy to cow’s milk protein? Try Goat’s Milk! Look, it’s even in the book!!! Camel’s Milk is another option! There are even more options! I know a local woman who sells goat’s milk. I’ll put you in touch with her.

Are you looking for the easy way out? Most likely. Being a mother isn’t easy. In a world full of, “you shouldn’t have to suffer,” and “You shouldn’t experience hardship,” why WOULD we choose the hard path? We have no support on the hard path.

MEN CAN LACTATE

This post wouldn’t be complete without telling you to have your husband or partner step up. Too far-fetched? Not in this day and age. If women can become men and men can become women, then men can also breastfeed. I wrote about it here too. This is not new to this millennia. Laura Shanley shared her husband’s journey to lactation. I’ll let you Google “Milk Men, Father’s Who Breastfeed.”

Just because men can breastfeed though, doesn’t mean they should. I’m placing this here purely for the secular world where anyone can do anything. So why aren’t you asking your baby’s father to step up? It’s just the continuation of feminizing men. So feminists, have them step up!

I see a much deeper issue though.

I was at Wal-Mart shopping the other day and there was NO shortage of regular infant formula. What does that tell me? Most of your babies are on a specialty formula. They had regular formula on CLEARANCE! The shelves were empty of any specialty formula. Why are your babies on a specialty formula? Are ALL babies allergic to cow’s milk protein?

Local Walmart May 2022

My guess is, we’re so convinced that gas in babies is bad. We don’t want our babies to cry, it’s too stressful. We don’t want to invest in holding the baby longer. We have so many devices to put the baby in that when they don’t work, we look for another device instead of taking off your shirt and bra, undressing the baby, and just sitting skin to skin on the couch. Yes, I suffered from postpartum depression so I get it but what if we had support for these hard times rather than pills and band-aids?

Another issue is, “we (women) don’t have time because we need to work.” Do you REALLY need to work? Maybe but why? Society tells us we need MORE. More things, more vacations, the latest car, etc. If we don’t have those things, we aren’t “happy.” Those “things” won’t make you happy anyway. The unhappiness you feel is because God is on the back-burner or nowhere to be found for you. God will make you happy and God WILL provide you what you need, including your baby in order to survive. You have to ask Him and trust Him. Like, really.

I know many of you will say, “my baby won’t nurse now,” so you want to poo-poo the solutions. Don’t. Your baby CAN be retrained to nurse but if you relactate, you do that through pumping. You don’t have to “breastfeed” you can just pump the milk and feed it in the same bottles you were using for formula. Honestly, I found pumping easier than breastfeeding and consumed less time. Contact me, I’ll help you.

I know many of you will say, “I never responded to the pump,” which could be true. Guess what, now it’s life or death for your baby. Does that mean you won’t try again? Maybe you need a different pump? Maybe you need different flanges? There could be other reasons as well. Don’t poo-poo this solution either. Contact me, I’ll help you.

I know many of you will say, “My baby is allergic to breastmilk.” Even reiterate it with saying, “my doctor told me so,” as if that has some kind of authority behind it. BABIES ARE NOT ALLERGIC TO BREASTMILK. It could be something IN the breastmilk. Ready to give up dairy for your baby? Or soy? Or just eat chicken and rice? I don’t know many who will suffer that much for their child.

I’m not crass, I didn’t have it easy either. My first baby pooped blood for three weeks straight. From about one week old until four weeks old, his poop was blood. Not flecks, pure blood. His pediatrician said, “he’s allergic to breastmilk,” and then followed up with, “remove dairy and soy from your diet.” Oh! So he’s not allergic to breastmilk but dairy and/or soy? The way we say things is important. Not a breastmilk allergy but something IN the breastmilk??

So I changed my diet. I went for three months with no dairy and no soy but he only pooped blood for three weeks. Somehow, removing the dairy and soy didn’t fix it, his body did. When I began eating dairy and soy again, NO CHANGE. Did I suffer with no dairy and no soy? ABSOLUTELY! I should have been smart enough to offer up all that suffering for the souls in purgatory, but I didn’t. Milk protein is in almost everything. Soy is in almost everything. Our government has damaged our food supply. It’s even harder now to eat dairy and soy free than it was 19 years ago.

Bottom-line, think outside the box. You DO have options. Stop freaking out. Pray! Get a pump (they are free from insurance) and start to relactate or find a milk mamma. You are GOING to need to make yourself uncomfortable. You WILL have to make a sacrifice and probably suffer a bit but that’s what happens when you have a child. Your whole life becomes a sacrifice FOR that child. Aren’t they worth it?

Letting Go

Exclusively Pumping Milk

It’s that odd place for me again. The time where I want to be done but it hurts to be done. It’s time to wean. It should come easily right? I mean, she’s almost two. In fact, she will be two in just a few weeks and here I am, crying over the fact that I am weaning.

Here’s the non-typical part. I didn’t get to breastfeed her. Sure, we started out breastfeeding well but then I was hospitalized for postpartum preeclampsia and she was on a bottle with breastmilk for days. I could have tried to get her to latch on again. She was only a week old but she already preferred feeding from the bottle by that point and pumping milk had been so easy for me, we didn’t push it.

Baby Girl would latch on occasionally. I have some pictures and video of her doing so. She wouldn’t completely stop until she was about four months old and I cherished those moments. They were blissful.

I had no idea the challenges we were going to face in regards to her eating solid foods. In reality, I probably would have stopped providing breastmilk for her months ago, perhaps even a year ago, if she hadn’t struggled for so long to eat solid food. She still isn’t eating solid foods well but we are finally at a place where we can wean her from breastmilk to see how she does.

Last fall, I was desperate to stop pumping. I was struggling with PMDD and wanted to try medications and supplements but I couldn’t. Well, I could, but I didn’t want to expose her to any of those medications or supplements. I know that many women take antidepressants and for some it works but there was nothing that proved they would work for me and I did not want to risk exposing her brain to the chemical changes from the medications. She will have enough challenges as it is.

So I suffered. My family suffered. I struggled in ways I won’t share here but they were not good ways. I was angry at people and short-tempered. I remember a time in Biblical School where my table-mate was opening a wrapper so she could have a snack and I just wanted to jump up and start screaming at her. Instead, I quickly left the room but it was infuriating and the sound of the wrapper was like fingers running down a chalkboard (silly that kids these days don’t know what that sounds like).

There was a particular day in December where I had a panic attack and had no one to reach out to. I tried. BELIEVE ME! I had never felt that way before and I was not in a good place at all. I called my therapist but she wasn’t available. She had left town for the holidays. Since I had only seen her once, I didn’t have much of a relationship with her. They couldn’t refer me to another therapist because they don’t manage “crises” and they don’t prescribe medication; which I felt I needed.

They told me to call her personal phone number but I couldn’t find it. I was in panic mode and I couldn’t even remember if she had given it to me. I reached out to a friend but even she couldn’t help me get the therapists number. She was on vacation herself. I even called my doctor.

They couldn’t help. This was a doctor that I was seeing privately for PMDD but alas, they needed me to come in to the clinic, which was an hour away, at 3:30pm and I needed to get my kids from school. It was impossible to ensure I made it before they closed for the holiday. And of course, they said they can’t treat over the phone and there was no one that would talk with me. If I felt it was an emergency, I should go to the hospital.

I didn’t. It was awful and in those moments, I saw exactly the mental health crisis that exists and why people kill themselves AND how easy it is for them to fall through the cracks. No one knows how to manage someone in a mental health crisis.

After some time away, I felt better and as my hormones have begun to regulate postpartum, my PMDD seems to be getting better and more manageable and I am looking forward to trying supplements to keep it at bay; which is why I was looking forward to weaning…until now.

I am ready. At least I feel like I am. Every time I hook myself up to the pump, I dread it and I hate those 15 minutes or so. I am tired of the bottles, the constant clean up, the entire counter space dedicated to cleaning and drying the pump parts and bottles, and replacing the pump parts. I especially can’t stand the noise of the pump, dragging it places with me, and the way it hurts during different times of my cycle.

But, here I am, crying because I am ready, yet not ready. I am not ready to stop giving my daughter something only I can. I am not ready to stop giving her that nourishment, the only nourishment she craves and truly enjoys. The nourishment that has sustained her. I have been that person. I grew her in my womb; nourishing her there and protecting her, and then nourishing her outside the womb through my milk. Sometimes, that was the only thing she could consume.

It’s been a slow process. Last week, I started shortening the length of pumping time and today, well…I haven’t pumped yet. And I feel it. I can feel the aching in my breasts. Breasts that long to have the milk expelled yet won’t find that relief. Breasts that will no longer nourish another child. Not only will I no longer nourish my child with my milk, I won’t be donating the excess to another baby. This is it. This is the last. This is the end.

Maybe that’s what is making this hard? I thought Timmy was last. I pumped for him for 27 months. I don’t remember what weaning was like. I think there was more joy in it then this time. 23 months is enough. I know it is and I am ready to move out of this pumping phase but it’s hard to let go.

Where do I find joy in this? I am having a hard time finding the joy in it today.

Exclusively Pumping Breastmilk – Weaning

Exclusively Pumping MilkYou have sat at my table for almost 27 months. You have been a part of my daily routine since my son was born. There were times I hated you, times I loved you, times I cried over you, times I needed you, times I resented you and I will never forget the time when I wanted to throw you out my window and crush you to pieces. We have been across the United States together, visited some amazing places together, traveled in our camper together, used on highways, in hospitals, other peoples homes, and on the back roads. We have spent over 576 hours together.

But here we are, nearly 27 months later and I am so sad that our relationship is coming to an end. I certainly never thought we would be together this long. 13 months maybe, since that’s how long of a relationship I had last time but 27 months seems like forever. I almost hate to say goodbye, really, even though I hated you for many months. I don’t love you, but I love what you help me provide.

I have provided 265 gallons of milk to my son and at least 25 other babies and 1 man, other than my husband (yeah, we can talk about that some other time if you want). It is magical when I think about it, all we have done together but the end is near and I am struggling.

Over the last week, I have gradually shortened my pumping time. I have only been pumping twice a day for about 15 minutes for around 18 months so I dropped to 10 minutes. I saw a dip in supply the first day but then it seemed my breasts caught on and pushed out the milk fast. I can still hear the spray on the inside of the flanges. Fsshh, fsshh, fsshh.

I became discouraged when the milk wouldn’t stop flowing. So I dropped the pumping time to 5 minutes and was sure I stopped mid flow. I woke this morning with a sore spot in one of my breasts but continued to stick with the short pumping time and then it happened tonight. 4 oz.

That’s all I got, even with the breast massage. No strong flow. Only dribbles. The end of my exclusively pumping journey is near.

My heart hurts. I am screaming inside to get this milk flowing again; to see the sea of golden liquid pouring from my motherly, yet intimate parts. But I know, the end is near.

The end must be near. Logically, it’s been almost 27 months, well past the American recommended age of providing breastmilk for one year. I have endured criticism from medical professionals, family and friends for continuing to provide the milk to my son. “You know, there is no medical benefit,” they say. “If you were breastfeeding, that would be really gross at this age,” they say. “You know, he is only doing that for comfort,” they say when hearing he gets breastmilk and not understanding it’s from a bottle.

Thanks for your opinion, but I know what’s best. I certainly don’t enjoy being tied to the pump. 

More logic, my pump parts will need to be replaced and I can save money by weaning, my hands free bra is so worn it’s no longer considered hands free, I seriously would like a large portion of my counter back, and finally, I am sooooo tired of washing parts and bottles.

So the end is near. I am actually at a place where turning around and trying again might bring heartache because the milk may not increase at this point. But I do worry about a few things.

Will my son sleep without the milk? Will my fertility remain? Logically, I shouldn’t be that fertile while pumping but I often wonder if this was part of my fertility renewal and I worry my fertility will dwindle even as I struggle with the decisions that come with the fertility.

So here we are, you and me. What do we do? Is it really time to say goodbye?

I was hoping I would have some special words. Words of wisdom or just a parting statement, but I don’t. You got me where I am today and I nourished my son for 27 months because of you. I was able to enjoy the looks of satiety as he drank my milk from the bottle, rejecting anything else we put in it, only accepting the fresh milk and not the frozen. I was able to see him grow and develop because of this special nourishment. I can still envision him drinking that liquid gold and enjoying it.

“I want milk mama,” is what he says now. “No sweetheart, there is no more milk,” I reply. He begins to cry, “I want milk mama! “I know, no more milk, would you like a pacifier?” I reply. He begins to wriggle and kick a bit, unable to truly comprehend what this means. No milk for now or for all time? He pushes me more, “I want milk mama!” The longing in his eyes digs deep within my soul, reaching inside to force an expression that I cannot provide.

“No milk,” I say and I begin to shush him and rock. I rock as he cries for the milk. I cry too. Because as much as I want to stop, I want to keep going. He starts to settle a bit but the wrinkles of distaste remain on his face…until sleep finds him and he becomes weightless.

STATISTICS

32,083 ounces of milk over 27 months. Roughly 250.6 gallons of breastmilk provided. I pumped for 34,568 minutes or 24 days straight.

Breastmilk Pumping Chart

Why I Chose Private Breastmilk Donation Over the Milk Bank

Nearly 20 months ago, an amazing person came into my life; my little man was born. I never imagined that I would be providing breastmilk to him for this long. My goal was to breastfeed for at least one year and just go from there but he was born tongue-tied, just like his brother and just like his father.

His father and brother don’t have any real issues with their tongue-ties but my little man does. If you want to know more about tongue-ties, click here. I am not going to go into all the details that come with this condition. Because of his tongue-tie though, I wasn’t able to breastfeed him for very long.

With his brother, I made it to six weeks and then we switched to exclusively pumping. It was a hard choice and I grieved the loss of my breastfeeding relationship but I felt good that I would be able to provide him breastmilk. I never knew if we would ever have another child but I felt strongly that I would breastfeed that child for as long as we could if the time came.

When my little one came, I was excited when he latched on just 45 minutes after he was born. I felt confident that we wouldn’t struggle at breastfeeding. Even when he was nursing constantly on day two, I didn’t think we would have any problems. There were a few indications that things weren’t going well such as the lipstick shape of my nipple when he was finished nursing and the clicking in his jaw.

It wasn’t until he bit my nipple and ripped it off that I decided I needed to stop nursing him. There is a procedure that can be done to release a tongue-tie but my husband did not want to put him through the surgery. There was no guarantee that it would help his condition. Not only did our little one have a tongue-tie, he also had an upper lip-tie which contributed to his problems.

This though, began my journey of exclusively pumping. With my first son, I was an overproducer. I had heard of donating milk but at the time, thought it was disgusting and didn’t believe anyone would really use human breastmilk. It wasn’t until I was faced with dumping my milk that I began to research human donor milk and applied to be a donor.

Once I learned all that the milk goes through, I knew how safe it was and I loved that I was helping premature and sick babies get through difficult times. I donated over 16.5 gallons to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Denver. I volunteered for them and processed labels to be sent to hospitals all over the metro area.

At the time, human milk wasn’t an option in the hospital and was only dispensed from the milk bank. Their goal was to have some donor milk on hand from the moment a baby was born and needed it. Their work paid off and human donor milk is now available at local hospitals.

While loved how rewarding donating to the milk bank felt, I also longed for a more personal relationship with the recipients. I mentioned this longing to the director and talked about milk donation pins as well as possible an “adopt a baby” program but due to patient privacy, this was not an option.

When I became an over producer this time, I applied as a donor again but sought private donation as well. With the private donation, I was able to meet babies that were receiving my milk. I did not take any payment for my milk although some women do. I gave my milk in exchange for milk storage bags (for the most part) and also donated to the milk bank.

Last April though, I met a wonderful family. Their daughter was 10 weeks old and mom couldn’t provide all the milk her daughter needed due to a medical condition. It is a rare condition and despite her diagnosis, she tried hard to breastfeed her daughter and pump extra for her when she could.

I rarely had people pick up milk from my home but I felt called to welcome them to my home and they came. I was able to hold her and witness her nursing with her mother. I usually just donated one time and never saw the recipient again, but I felt different with them and knew there would be more donations.

As months passed on, I donated more and more to them. Every time, this mother brought her daughter. Even when I was being a hermit and didn’t want company, she encouraged me to hold her daughter or at the very least, peek in while she was sleeping in the car. I don’t think there was a time where she picked up milk without her daughter. There were times when I met the rest of her children and her husband.

I had several other mothers that I donated to more than once but no one as often or as long as I donated to this family. They prayed for me and provided so much for me that I never could have imagined. They funded a beautiful keepsake of preserved breastmilk for me as well.

In fact, I had given this family my very early milk that I had pumped which was full of beautiful colostrum. It was pumped just a few days after my son was born and I had a hard time giving it to them. When I decided to make a keepsake with my milk, I asked the mother if I could have some of my early milk back. I had told her I had been crying about the fact that I gave it to her even though I was happy that her daughter would benefit from it.

That’s when she said that she too, had cried over this milk. She was crying for me because she knew how special the milk was. She gave me the earliest milk back and paid for a keepsake. I will cherish it forever. It was created by Baby Bee Hummingbirds in Australia; although I cannot support her work any longer as she has decided to preserve embryos. Embryos are human babies and are not jewelry.

In October, I had planned on “weaning.” I shared this with the family and explained I wasn’t sure how much more milk I would be able to provide, but October came and went and I was still pumping. I couldn’t seem to stop. I knew my son needed the milk. Even after cranio-sacral therapy, chiropractic work, and now food therapy, he still wasn’t eating solids well enough for me to give it up.

And here I am, at nearly 20 months, still pumping for him. But, my private donation to this family has come to an end. Last weekend, the entire family came to pick up the final donation. I didn’t know this would be the final donation but I knew it was coming. I felt that her daughter was approaching her first birthday and asked her when they arrived.

That’s when it happened. That’s when I got sad and the tears started to flow. I didn’t realize how special this was until this particular relationship was coming to an end. While I had an oversupply of milk, I had no idea how important it was for families who were receiving it. I had no idea how thankful a family could be. I had no idea that someone like me could provide something life saving to another family. I didn’t think I was anything to anyone and they showed me I was so much to them.

I hope we continue to be friends. I am sure we will in some capacity and I am so blessed to know them and to have been this baby’s milk mama. I am so honored to have been led to them and provide nourishment in a way that is so rare only few experience it. Women Marines are rare and I was one. This experience, was even more rare.

Here I am, with my milk baby. She is beautiful. She is so big now and I can’t wait to see her grow even more. Thank you for sharing her with me and allowing me to help you reach your goal!

You connected me in a way I have never been connected to someone. You are why I chose private breastmilk donation. Thank you for everything! I love you both.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage


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