My wife has proven to be an amazing woman. We have come to find that women are dealt different cards when it comes to lactation. My lovey was dealt some weak cards. Our little boy has not been a strong sucker, and the lactation process has been... lacking.
From the start of her pregnancy she has been dedicated to, focused on, and committed to providing our little bundle of joy the absolute best when it comes to nutrition and overall health. We both believe that the absolute best comes from breast milk with a properly nourished mama as the source.
So why were we dealt these cards? If it has simply been God's will, then we must bow down to his sovereignty and let him guide us through with the tools available to us. The tools we have placed in use thus far have been a Supplemental Nursing System (SNS), a breast pump, various herbs, and donations from mamas who were dealt cards on the other end of the spectrum. A person could make their head spin trying to decipher God's will, but at times I wonder if the types of cards dealt to different women are a means by which God gets his children to interact with one another by forcing us to ask for, and/or to provide help from our fellow brothers and sisters. Food for thought, but not the direction I'm going in today.
If there were a biology or anatomy class focused on milk production, I think that with all the research my honey has done on the subject - she could nearly teach it. We have taken in so many different medical opinions on the subject that trying to decide on a path has been very difficult.
We had to make a decision, so we introduced our first tool, the SNS. The goal of introducing this tool was to encourage our boy's suck, as it was rather weak. The idea was that since the lactation was lacking, there wasn't much incentive for him to suck strong. Add incentive via the SNS, and the suck should strengthen so as to increase the stimulation for the milk production. Made sense in theory, so we did it. At first we had to do the 'unthinkable' and supplement with formula. This didn't set well with either of us.
So the research continued, and we introduced the second tool, the breast pump. This tool served a dual purpose. For one, it provided stimulation to encourage her breasts to produce more. For two, it provided a supply of the good stuff to feed the SNS. Again - made sense in theory, so we did it.
The success of all this has been bittersweet. Our son is strong (walking prior to his 10-month 'birthday') and seems quite happy and healthy. In and of itself this is a tremendous blessing as he was not gaining weight very well prior to these interventions. The drawback is that my wife, our boy's mother, has effectively chained herself to these tools like a production dairy cow. From 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. she has a STRICT schedule where she must hook herself up to this pump for 20 minutes EVERY 2 hours. She will not stray from this schedule, and on the fear of feeling her wrath, I dare not ask her to.
A few months ago, she began searching for donations of breast milk and hit the jackpot. We saw the reality of our situation compared to those who are struggling with producing too much milk. In addition to whatever milk a certain mama provided her child on one of the dates marked on her donated bags, she was able to donate to us eight 6oz bags. We were in shock. My wife is almost filling up one 6 oz bag per day with all of those pumping sessions she puts herself through. So now we have a deep freeze full of breast milk. In my eyes, problem solved...
My wife has a goal of nursing our son for a year. Not only for the nourishment aspects, but for the bonding aspects as well. Did I mention that I applaud my lovey's determination? I do applaud her determination, but now I fear for her sanity. For the last month and a half or so, we have a deep freeze full of breast milk, and know of sources for additional donations should that supply prove to need replenishing. Yet the pumping schedule has continued at full strength.
I beg and plead for her to stop with the pumping, and join the rest of us humans. When I ask her why she continues, her reply is not direct. But it always comes down to her goal of nursing one year. Not about a year - at least a year. I think she is afraid that the pump is the only thing keeping her boobs in production mode. On a positive note, she has agreed to begin weaning herself from the pump here in the next few days. A process that she has decided will be the dropping of certain sessions, one or two at a time.
We share a common philosophy that the baby leads the weaning process. Our boy has taken well to solid foods, enjoys drinking from my cup (with help of course) and still loves to snuggle up to the boob.
To me it seems well beyond obvious that the SNS and the pumping sessions are completely and entirely unnecessary, from the standpoint of trying to increase milk supply. I would think the pump could be put away and the only time it should come out of its storage place would be for relief if little dude isn't available to provide that relief.
Should I stay out of it, or does my wife need intervention to stop the madness?