Massive Dedication

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BBC Radio 4 have just broadcast this article about Kim Palmer’s induced lactation and the social taboos surrounding this topic.  Also discussed are medical professionals’ reaction to this woman’s choice.  Most interesting.

All power to this woman … we know some of what you went through!


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We’re planning a trip abroad in the next few weeks - hopefully Iceland but possibly France.  Pumping shouldn’t be too much of a problem now I’m down to three times a day.  Wherever we end up, we’ll have a car so I can pump-on-the-road.  Trouble is, Babybum will be 11 1/2 months by then so I should really be starting the weaning process.  I think I’m going to leave it and start when I get back.  I’d rather keep the routine going while I’m away.  If we go to Iceland, we’d be staying in a hotel and, unless there’s a mini fridge in the room, I’m not sure how I’m going to keep the milk fresh.  I just couldn’t bring myself to ask the hotel staff to store my milk in their fridge.  I suppose it is Iceland after all so I could just use that age-old trick of a carrier bag hung out the window!

Hot Weather - Bad For Milk

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Grr.  I love the heat but it makes the milk goes sour so quickly.  I’m having to taste (yeuch - why is this so abhorrent to me?) each bottle just to check it’s not rancid and, when it is, boy does it make me gag!  It makes going out for the day somewhat tricky.  

Four Times A Day

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Yay!  I am now, and have been for the past three weeks, pumping just four times a day and the difference it has made to me is immense.  I seem to have so much more freedom and time now.  I express at 7am, around 1pm, around 6pm and again just before bed.  My supply has scarcely dropped which has made me think that dropping to three pumps is going to happen in the not too distant.  Babybum is nearly eight months now and is taking around the 500 to 600mls a day which means I’m freezing about 400mls a day.  We have milk coming out of our freezer’s ears - so much so that we have actually discussed buying a chest freezer!


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Here are some articles I’ve found whilst trawling the net.  All are about breastfeeding and / or expressing milk.  I have found them all interesting in one way or another.  See what you think…

Support, Ha!

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This is what the NHS web site has to say about expressing milk:

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this is utterly useless when compared with the massive amount of information available about breastfeeding. 

Believe me, I was not supported when in hospital after my daughter was born.   She was doped up on pethedine which had been administered far too late (I was 8 cm dilated), she was jaundiced and therefore sleepy, she was tongue-tied (this was not picked up until she was three days old) and she was force-fed vast quantities of formula against my wishes.  This and my flat (ish) nipples meant that breastfeeding was no easy task and Babybum would get furious waiting for it to happen. Result?  One screaming, hungry and angry baby and one distraught, tired and crying mother.  The midwives were too busy and couldn’t give us the time we so badly needed.  At the same time, they wouldn’t discharge us until she was feeding.  The pump became my way out of the hell that was the post-natal ward of hospital. 

When we got home from hospital, my own midwife was great… for a couple of visits but, she too had a massive workload and just couldn’t give us the time we needed.  Perhaps it was already too late for us.  

I tried and tried and tried but we never managed to work it out for ourselves.  I even went to a breastfeeding support group in the local birth centre when Babybum was 6 weeks old and there the lovely midwife got her to feed for ten minutes (Oh! the joy I felt!).  However, I was dismissed because it was considered we were too far down the line to properly establish breastfeeding. 

If I had to do it again I would shout so much louder than I did at the time… You live and learn.

The best support I’ve found is that on the Internet - forums, especially.  The search term that turns up the most info is ‘exclusive expression’ or ‘exclusively expressing’.  For me it was an almost overwhelming feeling to find that other people did this and that I was not the only one.

“Doing So Well”

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Grrrr… I am sick of this being the only support offered to me.  Well-meaning people (doctors. midwives, health visitors, relatives etc) frequently say this to me.  It’s true.  I am doing so well!  What irritates me is when I’ve asked a specific question (for example, how and when do I wean myself off the pumps?) and I get told that it’s the same as if I were breastfeeding and not to worry, I’m ‘doing so well’.  

What WHO says…

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“Breastfeeding is the ideal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family and the health care system”

This comes from the World Health Organisation site



Who wants to fit in anyway?

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This has been hard.  Now this is probably me ‘reading things into things’ as I am wont to do, but, committed breastfeeders seem to think you could have tried harder and committed formula feeders appear to assume that you are  somehow critical of their choice.  It’s so easy to feel paranoid (maybe this is just me).  Personally, I think how you feed your baby is entirely your choice and I judge nobody at all.  Having said that, my choice to breastfeed was taken away from me for reasons scrawled elsewhere on this site and so I chose what I considered to be the next best thing.

Despite my health visitor’s kind advice to ‘ go to the breastfeeding group - they’ll be very welcoming’, I haven’t been yet.  It’s not welcoming I want.  It’s advice and support from someone who knows what doing this is like.  A lucky lady for whom breastfeeding has worked out beautifully simply cannot understand when I’m having a ‘bad pump’ day however much she wants to.   

As far as formula feeding is concerned, I understand why people give up breastfeeding and begin to mix the powder.  Not succeeding with breastfeeding is worrying and formula gives you the guarantee that your baby is getting the sustenance he or she needs.  If I’d listened hard to the various medical types who told me pumping could never last, I’d have moved on to formula myself. But I didn’t and here I am, doing what I do every four hours, every day, every week.  One day, Babybum had better show some appreciation!