June 28th, 2013

planet

Surplus milk plans

I really wanted to breastfeed Josie was was all geared up for the WAR to create milk... pumped during maternity leave to build up a freezer stash, ate whole grains and lactation cookies, would even pump if I woke up engorged at 4am, and you know what it got me? Waaaay more milk than we knew what to do with. When the freezer was full, I went on Milkshare and found random strangers on the internet to donate it to. This was not as fun and noble as it sounds. You give your medical records to someone you've never met, set up a time for them to get milk, constantly wonder what state your freezer is in (too full? just donated?) to determine whether you can buy ice cream today. One family I donated to just could not seem to figure out a time to come get the damn milk, they stood me up twice and were finally way late when they did show up for an appointed time... what a mess. You get the feeling that families who want milk are doing YOU a favor, so you aren't throwing out something you worked hard on.

So this time, I did not pump on maternity leave unless I had to, did not make special cookies, and dammit there's still a ton of milk. I probably froze an extra 40 ounces this week that the baby just cannot get to, despite me asking marc if he fed her enough (he says he's doing his best). She drinks 8-12 ounces a day, I pump 14-20, that's just what's happening.

I feel okay bragging about this special talent of mine because other women on birth boards brag that they're running marathons, or have babies who sleep 12 hours straight, or had sex with their husbands three times a day starting when they were still in the hospital. None of these gifts have fallen to me. But I sure can lactate.

The problem is the milk. It only lasts five months in the freezer... so what do I do with it? Here are the options.

1) Random strangers on the internet. There's not as much demand as you'd think, and it's a logistical challenge, but I've done it before.

2) Milk bank donation. There's a place for that now here in Wichita, there wasn't in 2010. The website says: "milk is donated to a central milk bank for processing, then is made available for purchase by hospitals and individuals for feeding sick and fragile infants".

Okay tell me if this makes me an awful person... why is someone selling my donation? I understand that they process it, but if I'm gonna be non-profit, why aren't we ALL non-profit? Doesn't the medical industry have enough profits?

3) Spike Josie's milk. I've already kinda done this, she doesn't notice. I don't think it'll make her super fat. She does drink a lot of milk. Hey, this is free.

4) Pump less. Is this possible? Right now I pump 15 minutes, twice a day. In the morning if I don't pump I'll leak. I can't just pump for 8 ounces and stop, because then it's all foremilk and the fat doesn't balance out... or am I overthinking? Maybe I should just turn the pump off and see what happens?

So those are my options. I think breastmilk is probably like a lot of things nature works on... there's a normal distribution involved, half of all women will make too much milk, half will not make enough, and a tiny sliver in the middle are right on target. I'm ahead of the curve, yay, just need a plan.