Well…. today is the day… the last day of the birth control regimen. Tomorrow begins the wonderful world of pumping. If you are wondering what I am talking about – you can read the first post here- (Part 1)
I have been working both with my OB and a doula/lactation consultant to come up with my process. Here is what my protocol will be:
**as always – I am not a doctor, my protocol is purely for informational purposes. Please consult a professional before starting an process **
- For the last 12 weeks I have been on a high estrogen level birth control (skipping the placebo week). This is designed to tell the body that you are pregnant and help you develop proper breast tissue – the high dosage of hormones also simulated pregnancy.
- 6 weeks before the baby is due (where I am now!) – I will go off of the birth control causing a sharp decrease of estrogen. This will mimic the concept of giving birth (hormone wise 😉 )
- Once you go off of the bcp (birth control pills) – you will want to start pumping every 2-3 hours with a hospital grade pump. This stimulation plus other aids will tell your body to begin increasing production of both oxytocin and prolactin.
- Oxytocin- The love hormone- known to be plentiful in lactating women.
- Prolactin- produced by the pituitary gland – also known as luteotropic hormone or luteotropin, is a protein that is best known for its role in enabling mammals, usually females, to produce milk.
There will be of course other aids along the way that I will utilize – I have outlined some of those below:
- drinking LOTS OF WATER – at least one ounce per lb of body weight is suggested for proper hydration
- LACTATION COOKIES – who doesn’t love the ability to eat a cookie everyday? My wonderful mother who makes me all sorts of gluten free items (http://thecrossroadsbaker.blogspot.com/) is making me a large batch of lactation cookies! I will post the link to recipe soon!
- FENNEL ESSENTIAL OIL – Prolactin is not the only hormone that Fennel helps with. It’s a good idea for ALL people, especially mamas, to have this in their arsenal. A little bit massaged each day can help the body increase prolactin production and in turn, increase production. (get your starter kit – here! )
There will be absolutely nothing like the actual process of having a baby at the breast. Most people find that the baby is really what kicks their production into gear. The body just sort of “knows” that this baby needs you to produce.
So what if I’m not producing enough yet to feed her when she arrives? Here are the wonderful options we have:
- The Supplemental Nursing System (aka: SNS) – This system is designed to allow the baby to still be at the breast, receiving that contact, while still also getting enough nutrition! With the help of some wonderful milk donors, we also have a large stash of breast- milk that our baby can have even if I’m not there enough yet! Incredible yes? Check it out:
- The SNS can also be used for:
- Inducing lactation
- Keeping special-needs babies at the breast
- Premature babies
- Weak, ineffective or lazy nursers
- Failure-to-thrive babies
- Impaired babies
- Low-milk supply mothers
- Relactating mothers
- A teaching tool to “fingerfed” babies who have difficulty latching onto the breast.
There are many other options and protocols you can follow – this is where I will be starting. I will update with any new protocol added – but.. today is the day… every 2-3 hours…. pray for my sanity!