The Mighty Ducts

Amazingly, I just pumped four ounces of breast-milk. Not amazing for most, I'm sure, but for me? It's a genius accomplishment and one I'm quite proud of. Knowing that with Archer I was only able to to pump a mere 20 ml per feeding, it's almost miraculous. Breast reductions are pretty much sworn to fuck up your ability to breastfeed and/or produce enough milk to substantially feed a babe. In fact, I'm pretty sure I had to sign a form when I went in for my surgery. An "I understand this surgery will kill my breasts and their ability to feed" agreement. Add a second reduction into the mix and forgetaboutit. Or at least that's what the doctors told me.

Except actually, as it turns out, it isn't so impossible. At least not the second time around. Perhaps my ducts have become mightier in their old age. Or perhaps I'm just more of a rockstar.

Sure, It's a hell of a lot of work, I've been pumping every two to three hours to up my supply and I currently have no life beyond running around my house topless, but I'm proud to say that for the last week I've been able to feed her almost exclusively with breastmilk. So for those of you who have inquired, breastfeeding after two breast-reductions is possible. It's hard as fuck, takes a bit of supplementing, patience and a whole lotta pumping but it's possible...



...And totally worth it.

GGC

63 comments:

Tami in NY | 7:58 AM

That is awesome that your ducts are working! Since they are flowing good I wanted to suggest oatmeal. Eat lots of oatmeal, it will increase your milk flow.

mandy | 8:00 AM

*sniff* Those pics are too sweet. I just had an involuntary phantom "let down". I haven't breast fed for 5 years.
Congrats!

WaltzInExile | 8:01 AM

Good GRIEF, you're so right. There is nothing like nursing your baby. So here I am, thinking I'm all done having babies, when BOOM, your pictures hit me right in the ovaries. I'm going to need a warning next time. (One might think I could infer the topic of the post from the title. But one would be giving me too much credit.)

ImpostorMom | 8:02 AM

That's awesome! Way to go and good for you for sticking to it. I wondered if you'd ever been to this site http://www.bfar.org/ It's a good resource for breastfeeding after a reduction.

Oh and btw, Fable is by far the most beautiful newborn I've ever seen. Including my OWN! And that's saying something.

Meredith | 8:02 AM

WHat a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing and keep up the hard work.

superblondgirl | 8:04 AM

Yay for you!! I miss breastfeeding (4+ years later...) There's something so freaking special and beautiful about it. The pics are gorgeous, too. Hurrah for Miss Fable and Miss Rebecca and those mighty ducts!

Amelia Sprout | 8:11 AM

I suspect that perhaps there was some healing that happened thanks to Archer and the mashing they took last time. It is so good to hear, and those pictures are just awesome. Totally messing with my post weaning hormones though.

Shelley | 8:34 AM

Good for you girlie! And congrats on Archer's newfound sleeping habits! My toddler continues to wake - and scream and cry and bargain and be a general pain in the ass - during the middle of the night, several nights a week. Thankfully the baby is a 'wake once or twice to eat and then sleep' kind of gal.

caramama | 9:02 AM

Wow! You go girl! You are a rockstar!

I applaud all your hard work to do this thing that you really wanted to do. Breastfeeding isn't easy for most of us, but what you are overcoming makes it exponentially harder! Way to go.

Amie | 9:51 AM

You inspire me to keep going with the breastfeeding. And also to count my blessings at the ability to do it. I find it really difficult and even kind of scary but this post reminded me how special it is and what a wonder of life. It's also nice to imagine that there are other mothers running around their houses topless feeding a baby every two to three hours.

Leigh | 9:57 AM

congratulations! thank you for inspiring and motivating others to breastfeed, even under challenging circumstances. love your blog, and your baby is divine!

MU | 10:00 AM

Go boobies go! I shan't complain about my own pain (no breast reductions -- fully functional ducts here) because your dedication is unbelievable.

I am biased though. There's something super special about bfing that goes beyond the food thang.

Christine | 10:02 AM

Congrats. I'm so happy for you and Fable.

Fraulein | 10:19 AM

Congratulations -- that's wonderful. I gave up I think a bit too early with my babe, who had latching-on problems and other issues, and even though she's 4 now and totally healthy, I still regret not trying harder to breastfeed.

mommymae | 10:47 AM

huzzah to your boobies!! after nursing 4 kids, i found that my son nursed with much more ferocity than the 3 girls. my 4th babe is nursing quietly as i type. she is the easiest since there's only one of her and she is gentle about it.

Amber | 11:05 AM

oh wow! yay, that's awesome! way to go mama and fable!

kgirl | 11:15 AM

right on. you two are fierce.

Ashley | 11:20 AM

You ARE a rockstar. And those few ducts you have left are kicking so much a$$ it's unbelievable.

I, personally, don't know how you do it. I pumped for 14 months, but only during work hours. I CANNOT imagine what you are going through. Go, Mama, go!

And those pictures are breathtakingly beautiful.

Keri | 11:34 AM

I am SO happy and SO proud of you for working hard to make breastfeeding a success for you and Fable! The bond between the two of you will be beautiful. Love the pics!

Maggie May | 11:37 AM

I loved nursing so so much. It's the most amazing bonding experience. I nursed Lola for over two years. :)
I love your pictures.

gina | 11:37 AM

I have no comment about the breast reduction since I on the lower end of the spectrum where boobs are concerned. I just wanted to comment about how fascinating it is that women showing tits is totally acceptable only when there's a baby hanging off one. Right? lol

The Mommy | 11:44 AM

congratulations! I'm so glad you're having a good experience. Not sure if you've tried Fenugreek, but it always did wonders to boost my supply.

Yay for you and Fable to have this wonderful time.

Julie | 12:06 PM

What a beautiful post...my son and I are eleven months BF and going strong. Never thought I would/could BF period...so glad it's working out for you and Miss Fable! : ) SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!

liz | 12:07 PM

those pics gave me goosebumps.
way to go, Rockstar!!

Badness Jones | 12:39 PM

Yay you!

Owens Family Adventures | 12:47 PM

As I clicked on your post I turned to my daughter to tell her what you named your baby (lurvvs it!!) and then I saw the pictures. Beautiful. Just beautiful. I remember when I nursed my own daughter. Words fail me. Hold on to her tight and enjoy every minute. Mine is almost 12 now. She was worth every sleepless night. I envy you this time.
dawn

Brooke | 12:48 PM

I stopped breastfeeding in the spring, and I felt "butterflies" in my bossom reading this post.

You rock! Gold stars across the board for you! What a great accomplishment.

kittenpie | 1:36 PM

Go, you! As a fellow pumper, let me just say - you get into a rhythm. Yes, the rhythm pretty much precludes anyhting more than pumping, feeding, changing, and the occasional snack or pee break, but you hit a stride, and it will carry you for however long you decide to do it for. I pumped every 2 hours for Pumpkinpie's year of feeding, and it works out. I'm being more relaxed about timing this time because I realize more what I actually need, and fortunately, every two hours is mor than I need, but is doable. A big metal sign from up north!

motherbumper | 3:15 PM

Damn you two are rock stars. Beautiful rock stars.

CaraBee | 5:12 PM

Good for you. And your rockstar boobs.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 5:15 PM

Ha, Gina! I'm all for boob-flashing, breastfeeding or otherwise. This site is after all called "Girl's Gone Child" (Welcome to the NEW titty-flashing all-nighter.)

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 5:15 PM

And thanks, all! Woo!

Mama Seoul | 5:30 PM

Congratulations! It took guts to even try again after your first experience. So glad that it is working out much better this time! 4 oz is not just good, but better than normal for full-time nursing moms who aren't separated from their baby. Check out this link for the normal amounts. Most moms think they should be able to pump 4-8oz per pumping, but most can't unless they build up to it, have oversupply and/or are separated from the baby.

http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/pumping_decrease.html#normal

You are doing great!

April | 6:27 PM

yay for you! i'm so addicted to breastfeeding. i know *weird* but i am. i'm glad my baby's addicted too LOL.

mfk | 7:06 PM

I'm so happy for you both!! way to hang in there, seriously... that's love :). Fable looks milk-stoned. so cute.

jjlibra | 7:18 PM

how much for the baby? she's cute. i want her.

Angela | 7:22 PM

Awesome for you and Fable! What an amazing experience, huh?

Beautiful pics too! I have a couple of breastfeeding my daughter and they are by far some of my favorites. You'll cherish these someday! My post preg. hormones make me want to tear up I'm so happy for you!

YAY BOOBS!!!

Shannon | 8:34 PM

Those pictures brought tears to my eyes. Eli suddenly weaned this week. Cold turkey, just decided he was done. He is almost 15 months, so it was time, but it has been very emotional for me for some reason. I am so glad you get to experience nursing Bec. I completely think it is a personal choice, and isn't the end all be all, but damn it is such an amazing experience. And honestly,it is SO much easier than washing/packing/storing bottles and making emergency trips to buy formula.

dee-ah-nah | 9:13 PM

OMG, Congrats. Reading your post just made me want to have another baby- ASAP. I miss the breastfeeding months. :)

Enjoy your beautiful, beautiful children.

www.restlesshousewife.com | 11:33 PM

Have you tried O'Douls??! Seriously - it works!

Aaahh - I miss breastfeeding...and drinking!

amber | 4:14 AM

rebecca, i thought i would pass this on to you (you may have already found it, it's a pretty popular site): http://kellymom.com/

such a great BFing resource, and they have lots of boost your supply tips, including all the ones people have mentioned here. maybe there will be something on it that's useful to you guys!

anyway, i'm always so insanely impressed with the pumping mamas. that's some serious dedication, that's for sure.

Mary | 4:42 AM

Congrats! :) I just love your blog and those pictures are beautiful!!

chantalart | 6:02 AM

Good for you! That is such an accomplishment. I had a huge struggle with breastfeeding but I imagine if I had a second I'd know so much more...but I didn't have the obstacles you do. One of the things I love about Fable is that she is one of those babies born looking like a small, fully formed person- wise beyond her years.

marissa | 6:39 AM

You forget how beautiful it is too look down and see your baby at your breast until you see photos like these. It brought me back to a sweet time that feels so long ago. So happy for you. She is perfection.

Heather | 10:26 AM

I just read an excerpt from Rockabye in Babytalk magazine and it was so weird to read about your first days with Archer when everything with Fable has been so different. And it's weird to think of Archer as a baby again. No matter what it was beautifully written and one of these days I'm gonna buy the book. It reminds me so much of my first days with my oldest. I can only hope this second homecoming will be as blissful as yours.

Erin | 12:18 PM

4 oz is incredible! I pumped at work until my son was a year, and although I have absolutely no supply problems at all when nursing straight from the tap, I had the worst time pumping. A session with four ounces was something I considered good, so I'd say your ducts are kicking ass.

The Broken Man | 2:09 PM

Wow, that's amazing! And your baby is just beautiful! Hope ours will be that good looking when it finally arrives!

The Broken Man

Chickenjulie | 8:11 PM

Congrats. Breastfeeding is the best. And sweet Fable has a lovely latch. You're very lucky...

pamela | 9:47 PM

i'm so happy that you are having success! and i laughed out loud at the thought of you running around topless... i feel like i did that all summer. the neighbors had quite a show i'm sure.

tallgirl | 7:03 AM

Rock on little ducties

And just reading down in your blog I often remark how odd it was I wanted peanut to grow up so fast where I want to keep baby P little forever.

bmclikesggcsbreastisies | 8:18 AM

i want to nuzzle up on those beasts too. hey fable, move over.

Momma Me | 10:14 PM

Go mama! First hand I deal with women on a daily basis who struggle to get started w/ breastfeeding and it breaks my heart to see that society/our medical establishment/etc. don't support moms enough from the get go to encourage how amazing this process is. It's hard as hell - bloody nipples, blocked ducts, engorgement, constant leakage, it's tough but so was giving birth! Give it a chance and I've never heard a mom regret it. Thank you for endorsing something that continues to be "controversal" - seriously WHAT??!!! - and being a fighter about it. Mommas make this world go on! Okay that's my rant for the day ;)

courtney | 10:34 PM

Go you! You're doing better than me and I only had one reduction! I pumped the other day for about ten minutes on each side and got two ounces. I'm impressed by your ability to get it done- seriously, go you!

Woman on the Verge | 7:06 AM

Yay for your boobies!!! They are champions in their own right!
I had to quit feeding J Dog after 2 months but decided a few months after that (He had major stomach issues) when his belly settled that I wanted to start it again. My pediatrician (all natural homeopathic kinda Dr) gave me some herbal supplements and the names of some teas that would increase my milk supply and I must say it worked very very well. I'm sure that you, being as internet savvy as you are, have exhausted all types of information on the topic...just thought I tell you what worked for me!!!
Congratulations on breastfeeding! There's nothing like it in the world.
Oh just a random thought that just popped in my head...maybe it has to do with your anxiety level? I know with the 1st babe, it's hard as hell and nerve wracking. The 2nd time around is easier..maybe with the stress of A being #1 and your concerns and anxiety about the boobs exasperated the situation?

Rhea | 2:42 PM

You go, girlfriend! You totally rock, pumping up a storm. I'm impressed. That's tough work.

I loved nursing. I miss it...but I'm glad to have my boobies back. :o)

BOSSY | 4:33 PM

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Anonymous | 7:23 PM

Go Rebbeca, go Fable. That girl has an awsome latch. I second the oatmeal advise and would like to add rooibos, otherwise known as red tea. You can get pure red tea at breastea.com (no affiliation, just a satified customer :) or drin snapple red tea or any other herbal tea, celestial seasonings, that have rooibos in it. Just make sure you don't get one with acctual tea, like the stash red and white tea, because the caffine in the "real tea" might make the babe forsake her sleep. Also, fennugreek works wonders too. You can get the pills at GNC. If you get clogged ducts, take some lecithin.

xoxo,
chochomom

Jaelithe | 9:08 PM

Man, that kid is so cute, and you are so badass, I think that looking at pictures of her nursing could make me relactate more than two years post-weaning.

Good job, you two.

Shutter Bitch | 7:51 AM

Those pictures are priceless. Beautiful.

allison | 1:55 PM

Congrats to you & your milk makers! Your beautiful photos bring are bringing back tons of wonderful & amazing nursing memories. What a joy!

Sus | 9:45 AM

oh, how you will treasure those pictures someday... and all the effort that went into them. Go you.

Rachael | 8:13 PM

Amazing post! It makes me smile so much to hear how well things are going with Fable and the boob (that sort of sounds like a band name...). I remember talking to you at your book signing in Seattle about breastfeeding issues, and I'm just really happy for you right now!

womantowomancbe | 10:55 AM

Just noticed how old this post was -- sorry! -- I thought it was recent. Oh, well, maybe somebody will be able to use that info. :-)