My Milkshake

This post is about my breasts. Sort of.

They’re working great! I’m so very, very happy to be breastfeeding Asher. For a while there, when I was so sick just days after Asher’s birth, my milk either dried up or failed to come in. On top of being extremely ill, this was emotionally devastating for me. It seems my body couldn’t fight the infection and make milk at the same time. And I was separated from my newborn for six days. Without the pumping I did every three hours around the clock while I was in the hospital and for several weeks, my plans to breastfeed Asher would have failed completely. I remember many pumping sessions where nothing emerged. It was painful, weird, and disappointing. Then eventually I got a few drops. Then a few milliliters: 5, 12, 17, 20! I pumped and dumped the milk down the drain for three weeks (too many drugs in my system to give the milk to Asher).

Nursing Lucas was one of the greatest pleasures about becoming a mother. After a few weeks of learning how to do it, we enjoyed a beautiful two-year nursing relationship. It was comforting and relaxing for both of us, a perfect bonding opportunity. Lucas still goes to sleep each night with his little hand down my shirt (nipple tweaking is not allowed). He rests his palm on my breast and relaxes into slumber.

So when I didn’t have any milk and was freaking out with anxiety, fear, loneliness, grief, and pain, I imagined never being able to nurse Asher. I imagined that without nursing, we’d have trouble bonding, that we’d always have problems communicating and trusting each other. I imagined a 4-year-old Asher asking me why his brother got two years of mama milk and he got none. I was really out-of-my-gourd crazy during that time.

The fact that I now CAN nurse this baby makes me so happy. None of my doomsday thoughts came to pass. With tremendous gratitude in my heart, I decided that the perfect way to give thanks would be to donate extra milk to the local milk bank, which is at The Birth Center where my kids were (supposed to be) born. The milk goes to feed premature and critically ill infants. Human breastmilk (obviously) is a far superior food for human babies. Incidentally, my mother gives blood consistently. She has given 50 gallons of blood in her life so far. I admire her for it very much, and I thought, Cool! I can give milk!

I applied to be a milk donor, and everything was going great until someone read on my questionnaire that I lived in Europe for 9 months in 1993-94. I am automatically disqualified from donating my milk because I have been exposed to Mad Cow disease! It’s weird and kinda funny. But it’s also deeply disappointing. It’s surprisingly disappointing.

Oh, and I’m now wearing a D cup.

3 Responses to “My Milkshake”

  • toxgunn
    March 30, 2007 at 1:18 am

    I’m sorry, that’s a shame. I’m not allowed to donate blood for the same reason.


  • kimkimkaree
    March 30, 2007 at 2:16 am

    I’m in the same boat regarding the blood. I did hear about a milk program for infants in Africa who have been orphaned by HIV positive parents I don’t know if they have different requirements or not. You might check it out. So glad to hear the news!


  • dakini_grl
    March 30, 2007 at 9:56 am

    Aw. I got that sense of how important this was for you, and I was also really struck by your determination to use the Evil Machine. Well done!

    And you know, I haven’t been able to give blood because of my UK studies. 20 years ago. At the end of this year, I will finally be able to do it again.


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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

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