Thursday, April 1, 2010

On Demand Routine

So we've been having these discussions in an e-group about breastfeeding our babies and I find out that:

- for those who have over supply of breast milk in the first few months, the milk could taper off by the 5th month (eek!)

- pump every 2 to 3 hrs to increase supply, every 4 hrs to maintain supply and every 6 hrs to decrease supply

- that sadly, most establishments still do not have lactation rooms

First off, I (and my baby) have always enjoyed the abundance of my breastmilk. We've never had to cry over spilt or spoilt milk because there's always more where it came from. There were times when I even entertained the thought of throwing away the excess because we didn't have enough room in our refrigerator's freezer and I didn't want to buy more storage bags (kuripot ba ?). Hearing about the possibility of losing my supply in the discussions made me a bit more concerned and I had also been pumping less these past few days and ergo, got less milk stored - whereas before I would have 4 to 5 bags (6oz bags) of excess breastmilk for freezing, I was only getting 3 bags these past few days AND note that Swe-cha has been drinking less too.

So here I am, trying to establish a good supply again by being mindful of the pumping schedule. I'm trying to go from my usual 6 hr cycle to 5 hrs. It's not so easy sticking to a schedule because I have to take Swe-cha's schedule into consideration too. If he's awake and wants to be entertained, there's no way that I was going to be able to pump so the 6 hr wait suddenly becomes 7 or 8 hrs and my milk supply starts decreasing. I hope I can keep this up just until I fill up my deep freezer with milk, it shouldn't be long now as we're already past the halfway mark. When it's filled up, then I can see about milksharing again and probably donate a (ziploc) bag at a time - 54 oz) and I should be able to make that up eventually even if my production goes down. I do want to have a full freezer for when I eventually go back to working again, whenever that will be.

Coincidentally, I had just come across a magazine article about babies' sleep & nap requirements. Apparently Swe-cha is still supposed to nap 3 to 4 times a day (forgot how long each nap is but should be more than 20 minutes). Take note of the time he wakes up and his next time should be on or about 2 hrs after that. I never took any notice of his naps before and would just wait till he falls asleep, it never occurred to me that I could try and take control and establish a sleeping pattern for him as the article suggested. When people ask me about our daily routine, I always say that we go "on demand" - Swe cha demands, we follow. May pattern naman pala. I learn something new each day :)

So before, when I feel the need to pump, we'd go through a painful process of me forcing him to sleep and baby crying / fussing until he'd fall asleep from exhaustion. I'd be tired too because I'd usually have to sing, rock and lull him to sleep. Today, armed with the knowledge that he'd be napping in 2 hrs, I didn't even try to force him anymore and just waited for it to happen and it did! Swe-cha fell asleep on the dot. Saktong 2 hrs!

Now, I wonder how long this is going to be true ? My baby likes to keep me on my toes by changing his patterns just when I've gotten used to them or when they've gotten predictable. It's a game that he likes to play with mommy and daddy. Say, he's steadily feeding on a 4 hr cycle and you set an alarm for 3:30am to start heating his milk for his 4am feeding. He'll wake up screaming at 3 or 3:15am and mommy will have to rush about in a panic.

Motherhood is the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life. It's also the most fulfilling and the most wonderful.


Berryblitz said...

inggit ako! so inggit! ako walang breast milk!!!

AEC said...

congrats on what you are doing--i read that you have a lot of supply! :) i hate to pump. kaya i got a nice pump so it won't take forever to pump. good thing my little boy learned to latch (mastered it after a month!). he just turned 2, he's still breastfeeding & he takes a couple glasses of fresh milk everyday. hope i can wean him soon. good luck to me. haha.

Anonymous said...

sooooooooooooooooo true re the hardest thing! i salute u. dunno how u can do it ALL at once. this is dee