Your Body is Not a Lemon (it’s just a little confused) aka 21st Century Wet Nursing

I had a breast reduction when I was 16. I had weight loss surgery when I was 29. And all of my children have gotten some breastmilk, although only My Masterpiece and Porcelain have gotten it exclusively. (Someday I’ll post about mothering my “practice children,” aka Animal, Mineral and The Informant.)

Between the breastfeeding after a breast reduction and the breast feeding after a Biliopancreatic Diversion with a Duodenal Switch, I’m breastfeeding after a reduction and weight loss surgery — and not making much milk. Or maybe I am but it’s not fatty enough. Either way, Porcelain isn’t gaining enough weight. I have been weighing her and she’s averaging 3.5 a week. The standard is 4-8oz per week, so she’s just not quite there. She only poops maybe twice or three times a week, and it’s not the seedy-curdy breastmilk poop. I think she needs more milk.

Luckily several of my Jugs are lactating and nursing, and have graciously offered to give me their frozen breastmilk — or just to nurse Porcelain themselves. Thank goodness for my wonderful friends! And of course I’d do the same for any of my friends — or anyone at all, really. Human milk for human babies.

And it’s fine, they’ll wet nurse her, or I’ll buy a few bottles and feed her (although I’d prefer the wet nursing because breastmilk has more nutrients when it’s fresh, and that way is easier for me) and she’ll start gaining and be happier. I have a call in to a friend of mine who is a RN and IBCLC who can make suggestions so that supplementing with breastmilk won’t hurt my supply. Because I really want to continue to nurse, for as long as Porcelain wants — and I hope she wants to for years!

But, but, but…

I’m a little sad that I can’t sustain her on my own. As a doula, I’ve always told women that their bodies can do it, usually without any “help” from aggressive doctors or well-meaning people who give terrible advice. And here I am, on my fifth kid, and my body can’t do it.

My Chemical Romance told me, I’m a special circumstance. (Yes, I’m special. Very few people have had their guts rearranged in such a way that they don’t absorb any protein or fat. I love my weight loss surgery and I’m glad I did it every day, even with some complications.)

 My Chemical Romance reminded me, what’s the most important thing? (MY EGO! I mean, the baby. Yes, of course the baby is the most important thing. I want her to grow and thrive and be as delightful in real life as she is in my post-partum hormonal eyes — which is verrrrrrrrry delightful, mind you — and develop properly and be sated.)

But, I admit, it is a blow to my ego and a change in my perspective.

Tomorrow Nice-Nice is coming over in the afternoon to nurse her.

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