On top of being a busy mom of 3 kids under the age of 4, I am an over-producer of breast milk. It may sound wonderful, but it isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Sure, it feels great knowing I can provide my baby all the breast milk she wants, but there are many downsides.
I had an oversupply with all 3 of my kids. The first time around as a new mom, I had no idea it was not normal to produce as much as I was. Not only that, but my son had latch issues so I exclusively pumped anyways. I simply froze the extra milk and stored it with the intention of weaning early and using up my stash to supplement.
Fast forward two years later when my oldest daughter was born and she was a great latcher. My breastfeeding journey with her was completely different. I felt more experienced yet new to the whole thing since she was my first baby to actually breastfeed from the breast. I remember the nurse in the hospital being so shocked by the OUNCES of COLOSTRUM I was producing as soon as I delivered my daughter. She said she had never seen someone produce so much! She asked me if I ever thought about donating my extra breast milk and that is when my breast milk donation journey began.
Just a few months after I stopped breastfeeding my oldest daughter, I was pregnant again! I knew without a doubt I would have an oversupply again and could not wait to get back to donating. This time, I have more milk than ever before. Maybe it is because I have learned the best ways to manage my oversupply and have been more strict about staying on schedule with my around-the-clock pumping.
Now onto the downsides of having an oversupply…
1. I’ve had mastitis multiple times. Once I had it so bad I needed IV treatment in the hospital for 3 days. I simply could not keep up with the demand and empty fast enough. That blows!
2. I get clogged ducts, hard lumps, pain and leaking quite often.
3. I have to pump every 3 hours no matter where I am. I pump in the car, I pump at Disneyland, I will even pump at a party.
4. I do not sleep much. 5 hours to be exact. That is the longest I can go at night without being woken up in pain. This is no fun when the baby sleeps much longer than that! I have an alarm to get up in the middle of the night to pump EVERY SINGLE NIGHT! Even if I go to bed late, you bet I am up to pump around 2:30-3am ish.
5. Overactive letdown. This is no fun for baby either.
Ok, so now onto the super rewarding part: donating!
I LOVE donating! Do not get me wrong there. I figure if I need to pump for relief and have all this extra milk anyways, why wouldn’t I? The only way I could/would reduce my supply is by slowly weaning to avoid mastitis. But why stop now?!? I am supplying preemies in the nicu with the nutrients they need to thrive! I can just cry thinking about it!!!
So…a day in the life of me!
I pump anywhere from 60-90 ounces of extra breast milk per day. This is after my baby has eaten as much as she wants, whenever she wants. I can get anywhere from 7-22 ounces per session, depending on the time of day, how much my baby eats, and if I am pumping on my normal schedule.
I label and store at least 12 bags of milk per day, averaging 5-6 ounces per bag. I wash and sanitize all pump parts after every session and my extra milk is then stored in my extra large freezer in my garage. I own 4 pumps, 3 pumping bras and a ton of pump parts. It truly is a labor of love! I spend a significant portion of my day pumping/cleaning/storing breast milk. But I don’t let it get in the way of my daily routine, my morning stroller workout, taking my kids to preschool and soccer, etc. I still love having fun with my family! I try not to let it get in the way of the things that matter most.
If this interests you, be sure to follow my journey on instagram at: Liquid Gold Mine