Saturday, September 27, 2014

Goodbye Fenu-farts, Hello Major Milk Makin' Cookies

You know you've entered a new phase of life when you begin singing "99 Bottles of Milk on the Wall" along your daily walks with baby. Hey, don't knock it. It's a great time kill when you need to entertain for an extended period of time. And while there may not exactly be 99 bottles on the wall (or in my freezer), I'm still sweating like an Iron Chef to sling the liquid gold across the counter just as fast as I can make it.

Unfortunately, it turns out the supplements I've been taking to increase milk supply (Fenugreek & Blessed Thistle) may have actually been causing, or at least adding to, the toot-a-thon taking place in Preston's pants. How do I know this? Well, I am not 100% certain, but I'm pretty sure it was causing some of the tummy trouble.

This week, we had a couple really good days as far as mood and lack of fussiness goes. I thought maybe it was because I'd been able to give so much breastmilk those days, but then it continued into a day in which I'd given quite a bit of formula as well. Maybe he's just growing up into a completely well-balanced mature child already?! Ha! Doubtful at this stage in the game.

I realize it could all be due to chance, but it just so happens I'd run out of my milk making supplements and was awaiting a new shipment from amazon. I didn't think anything of that piece of the puzzle at the time. Then, the new supplements arrived, and I began taking them again as usual. To my chagrin, the tummy trouble seemed to begin again almost immediately. I could literally hear the air pinging in Preston's belly. One night at the wee hours as I was snuggling him,  our bellies growled really loud at the exact same moment...which is when a light bulb went off!

Could it be more than coincidence that the worse of this ceased when I stopped taking the supplements and re-emerged once beginning them again? Why were we both having rumbling in there? It wasn't bothering me much, because I'm a grown adult and growling isn't that big of deal. But to his tiny tummy, it could be a pretty painful feeling I'd imagine. I just had this intuition it might be a factor.

From then on I became a fart detective and was noticing every little reaction to eating and how his belly was doing. I starting googling more about tummy trouble related to both Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle and wouldn't you know it; it's a very common side effect to have increased gas and watery stools...both things we've commented on several times as a concern. I already cut lactose out of my diet weeks ago, so I knew it wasn't that. Apparently, these supplements are well-known to be hard on the stomach, in both adults and breastfeeding babies (even though Blessed Thistle is also touted as a "digestive tonic") and even though it's so highly touted for milk production.

Strangely, I learned a couple other things I hadn't initially noticed...like the fact my pee smelled like maple syrup? Yes, very weird! Apparently, fenugreek can cause false readings of maple syrup disease in babies, and sure enough I realized I smelled like maple syrup every time I hit the loo. I am not being a hypochondriac either. It's like when you eat asparagus and can clearly smell it in your urine...except I actually smell like an IHOP! It's unmistakeable and so very strange.

Needless to say, I decided it's simply not worth taking these supplements if there's any chance it's causing any doo-doo disdain for Preston. They have definitely helped increase my supply, as I went from pumping only 0.5/1 oz. on both breasts per session, to now averaging 3 oz. However, many times a supply can be well established by 6 weeks, and we will be 6 weeks on Monday. Worth noting that I also rented a hospital grade pump for a month (Medela Symphony) to help bring in my stubborn to flow milk.

It's equally important, if not more important, to just keep creating the demand for milk by pumping, and that is something I'm continuing to do of course. I just returned the Symphony yesterday, because we don't need the $75/month rental fee. Instead, I will still be using my spiffy little Medela Pump In Style Advance that I got for FREE thanks to the Affordable Care Act. It's a $300 pump itself, so I will take what I can get even if it's not the very best available.

And because I'm one of those people who feels they need to be doing something more, I began searching for other natural ways of increasing milk production through nutrition alone. I made these Major Milk Makin' Cookies last night for the first time. Jackpot!!!



These cookies are seriously good, and I would feel pretty good about eating them even if I wasn't lactating. Outside of being full of galactogogues, they are pretty healthy for tons of other things...heart health for one. Maybe I shouldn't have told hubby they are for makin milk, because he needs these in his life too! I'm hoping he likes them, because unbeknownst to me, the recipe made almost 5 dozen. We've got some cookie eating to do!

Yum
This could be dangerous.

The magic milk making ingredients are oatmeal, brewer's yeast, and flaxseed meal...



You can read about all of the amazing properties of these foods here if you're interested. The blogger who posted this recipe @ DrMomma.org gives some fantastic info on how it works to increase prolactin, the key hormone related to milk production.

Only time will tell if/how my supply is affected, both from the dropping of the fenu-fart and discontinuation of the hospital grade pump, as well as the addition of the cookies to hopefully balance it all out. I couldn't help but notice after making the cookies last night (and proceeding to eat a few more than I'd planned) that my next pumping session I got 5 oz! It could be coincidence, but I rarely ever get 5 oz, so I'm hopeful they're a decent enough replacement. Hopefully I won't turn into a total cow eating them like candy either. Cow's are good for milk making yes, but not good to fit in my shorts. ha!

We've been using this really convenient iPhone app to track Preston's feedings and my pumping sessions. There are a ton of apps out there, but if you need something to help organize I highly recommend iBaby Feed Timer.

This is what the log looks like...




This is what data for our last 24 hours, week, and month look like...

Bottle Feedings
Pumping

The app allows you to input anything related to breastfeeding, pumping, feedings, dirty diapers, sleep, and make notes anywhere needed. You can share the account across more than one iPhone, so that means hubby or a caregiver/babysitter can track while you're not with baby. You can view all the data in real time as soon as the other person inputs something. Then, it also analyzes data so you can see trends over time. And, you can even email/print a spreadsheet of all the data at the click of a button...pretty handy if you need it to show your LC or pediatrician for any reason.

Fingers crossed I won't see a huge decline in supply due to the dropping of supplements and downgrading my pump, but if I do, I'll just drown my sorrows in cookies and almond milk.

23 comments:

  1. Wow. I could not be more impressed. Just the effort that you have put into this - from baking to charting to pumping to supplements, etc - your baby has got to feel the love. So much of the magic of breastfeeding is all the love that goes into it, and you've got that in spades. I couldn't be happier for you. I couldn't be happier for Preston. He has one cool mama.

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    1. Thanks Em! I'm so happy you popped over here. Good to see your smiling face! I need to catch up on your happenings as well. :)

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  2. I worked at GNC for years and I always sold fenugreek and blessed thistle for milk production and I never knew they had those side effects! Why does it seem like so many supplements cause gas? I haven't tried it yet, but a girlfriend is giving her baby probiotics (made especia─║ly for babies) for gas and she said it's working really well for them. I want to try it out because probiotics are so good for you anyway...

    Thanks for sharing the recipe! I think I'll try them out this week, I'll let you know how they turn out :)

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    1. Crazy that it's not talked about as much as the benefits, but do a search and you might be shocked how many people experience issues with those supplements. Some don't at all of course.

      We are using Culturelle probiotics for kids daily. Our pediatrician said it's one of the only lactose free ones...since I've cut out lactose too. I totally believe in probiotics!

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  3. That ap looks awesome!!!! I am impressed you had time to make cookies (super glad you did)!!!!!! You are a momma rock star - that is FOR sure!!! Praying your supply continues!

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    1. Oh I totally screwed up our evening by making those cookies, because I let him sleep late while finishing them...dinner and bedtime was not fun! Of course, happy I have them now though, because it saves me 5 min every morning from making hot oatmeal and scarfing it down.

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  4. I always know you were organized and a researcher….but damn girl! LOL. You're ON top of it. Preston is lucky to have mama who is so attentive.

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    1. Very sweet of you Jessah, but I can't take all the credit. Gotta give some to google. And what did moms do before cell phones and apps?

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  5. Really glad you noticed that connection. Very much hope the cookies do the trick and work out great for you and his poor tummy.

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    1. Thanks Amber. I know you understand how frustrating the tummy issues can be.

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  6. I am so downloading that app! Amazing! If you haven't already, try pumping every 2 hours. It can help up your supply! I am so proud of you for pushing through and trying to provide as much BM for Preston as possible! We do what we gotta do!

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    1. OMG Ashley, I'd rather hold a gun to my head than pump every two hours. That sounds like torture compared to the every 3 hours that I'm already doing!

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  7. The cookies look amazing!!
    Preston is so lucky to have such an amazing mom!!

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    1. Thank Jennifer! Cookies are yummy! Try 'em out!

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  8. I made lactation cookies until Liam was almost 5 months old :). I also put Brewers yeast in my oatmeal every morning. The fenugreek bothered Liam's stomach too but I thought my supply was low since he was going through 24-30oz in 10 hours while I was at work. Turns out the nanny was giving him 7-8oz every 2-3 hours! After I figured that out I stopped taking the fenugreek and our tummy troubles got better...not gone but better :)

    You've got plenty of milk! If you want a boost without taking anything power pumping has always helped me. It's hard when they are really little though. You need an hour of uninterrupted time to pump for 10min then off the on for an hour.

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    1. Holy crap, no wonder you thought you were behind. lol Glad you weren't after all and glad his tummy issues resolved after stopping the Fenugreek. I don't think removing it will resolve ALL the gassiness and regular newborn issue, but I've already noticed a difference, so that's good!

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    2. You're doing great Emily! The first few weeks are hard as you're both getting to know one another!

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  9. Ha ha I'm still laughing at your term fenu fart!! That's amazing that you pumped 5oz after the cookies!! I really wonder if they are the magic recipe?!

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    1. I noticed a drop in my supply when I wasn't eating them!

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  10. Those cookies look yummy!! I'd be happy to take some off your hands if I was closer! haha It sounds like you are doing everything you possibly can for Preston and that is awesome!!

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    1. So wish I could share. Waaay too many here!

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  11. Keep up the good, hard work Mama! You're doing great!

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    1. Thanks Allison! Thinking of you this week and until the babes are born!

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