The most unnatural thing I did today was to grab my pump while my baby was crying that she was hungry and I headed into our home office.
My frozen milk stash has grown. Grown to over 400 ounces (I stopped keeping track) It was hard earned and took many hours of lost sleep to obtain. When I was so obsessed with pumping, I was thinking I was building and protecting my milk production because my LilMiss was tiny (TMI - or I'm err uhh large?) and we both had a hard time with breastfeeding and as a bonus I was growing this stash of awesome milk for my baby to use when we started solids, or when I went back to work or in case of emergency or illness, so I thought it was a necessary evil but it was for the good of the baby and you'd do just about do anything for them. But a few things have happened since we started down this road:
#1 - I have a little bit of oversupply now so I HAVE to pump at least once a day usually 2-3x though since I haven't gone back to work yet and LilMiss isn't needing the extra I produce at the moment which is why the freezer stash grows an average of 6 ounces a day.
#2 - I have discovered I have an issue with excess lipase in my milk. Lipase is an enzyme which breaks down the milk fat to ease digestion for the baby. However at times I have produced too much of this enzyme so it causes my stored milk (even while frozen) to turn a little, and sometimes a lot, funky. Ok fine, it's worse than funky, it tastes and smells of fish. Sweet fish, but still fish. Yea, gross I know. The degree of smell/taste change seems to be totally variable as I've thawed out some from different times that smelled a little different than fresh and some that were outright gross to my nose. They say this milk is still perfectly fine to give to the baby if they accept the taste/smell change. Luckily LilMiss seems to still take it just fine in a bottle but I have opted not to use it when making her cereal and thinning out her purees as I don't want her to think all her food has this same fishy taste.
Since I've discovered this (MONTHS LATER), every night I scald the milk which I'm going to store and not use within a day. The scalding process stops the enzyme but also kills off some of the beneficial elements of the milk. Not all, but some. Since I haven't returned to work yet (3 more weeks), I am freezing almost everything I pump. I have been freezing in 4 and 2 ounce bags, so if there is any over that then I save it for the next days cereal.
Frankly I feel lucky I only have to do the whole scalding process once a day. Some women's milk gets the funk on within minutes or hours of pumping. I seem to have a little over 24 hours though I haven't time tested it lately.
#3 - The earliest milk in the stash has hit the 3-4 month freezer expiration, so even though I haven't returned to work (WHOA IS ME! I GO BACK IN 3 WEEKS) we don't really need to give her a bottle at all but I don't want to throw out this milk. So this brings us to me pumping even though we're together.
Eric is now giving her a bottle in the afternoon from the freezer stash and I pump to maintain my supply and replace the milk in the stash on the other end of the date range. Realistically, this would be the time he would be giving her a bottle when I'm back at work so it seems to make sense. Sure he could give her this freezer stash bottle at night, but I actually cherish that time I have with her and when I'm at work, her nighttime feeding(s) will be a special time I still get with her (so I say now while I can still nap and sleep in late. I might feel differently when I'm expected to be able to think at 3 in the afternoon instead of nap).
#4 - Our fridge freezer filled up with milk a few months ago, um yea.. that's a lot of milk, so we went out and bought a manual defrosting chest freezer. Milk primarily stored in this type of freezer can be held for 6-12 months! I don't know how long I'll be able to keep up this whole pumping thing, and I've heard way too many stories of moms not being able to keep up with the demand once they are back at work or just have voraciously hungry babies or both. So maybe this freezer stash will help keep us in booby milk for her as long as we can, preferable to her first birthday. It's perfectly fine if it doesn't but might as well give it a shot.
I knew you were all dying to know what's going on with Cherry and her boobies, so that's the current story. I'm not a die hard breastfeeding maniac at all, to each her own. I feel lucky it worked out for us and honestly I have enjoyed this time with her even though, yes, it does still hurt just not as bad as those excruciating first 2 months where the sleep deprived state put me in a terrible place to deal with such pain and frustration. Plus, it's pretty darn convenient when we are out of the house a little longer than we had planned and she gets hungry.
Why look.. I have a little snack for you right her darling. nom nom nom.