My husband and I planned a beautiful trip to Rome. Seven days in one my favorite countries...to which I had never visited. As an art historian and a lover of all things ancient and old, I could not have been more ecstatic to take this trip. My husband had already been twice, so I pretty much had a personal tour guide who doubled as a wine tasting buddy.
Now if you've been reading my blog, you know that I'm an exclusively breastfeeding mom; going on about five months now (which I'm pretty proud of). Exclusively breastfeeding means no formula, and also no rice cereal or solids of any kind. So yeah I don't get a lot of sleep, but Athena gets everything she needs which is ten times more important. So this begs the question: what did I do to prepare to go out of the country for a week with no baby to nurse? Well first of all, I had quite a stash of milk in the freezer to begin with, which we had barely tapped in to at all. Off to a good start...or so I thought. I started to do the math to figure out how many more ounces I needed to pump within two months (our departure date) in order for her to have as much milk as she could possibly need. After the calculations, I need to pump at least six ounces of milk to store each day until we left. At this point, my supply had leveled out and was accustomed to just what Athena ate within a 24 hour basis. Commence the increase of my milk. So here's a few things I did to get those extra six ounces.
1.) Fenugreek: I took my in capsule form. It's an herb that's probably most closely related to clover. So there are many things that it's used for; everything from skin issues to (apparently) erectile disfunction. I can't necessarily vouch for these things, but I will tell you that is DOES help increase your milk supply. Two capsules a day, and you'll definitely notice that extra ounce. Um, and a weird pro: It makes you and your sweat smell like maple syrup...so that's cool.
2.) WATER WATER WATER: I literally think I was peeing out my eyes.
3.) So much food. Mostly greens and protein.
4.) Pump, nurse, pump, nurse, pump, nurse. Around and around you'll go.
So needless to say I achieved my goal of upping my supply and getting enough milk to last Athena the week I'd be gone. Well then there's another issue: your breastmilk works on the function of supply and demand...how could I expect to keep up my beautifully established supply if I had no baby to nurse? And you can be sure I wasn't going to bring along a huge pumping backpack all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Which brings me to my handy dandy manual pump. This bad boy had been sitting in a drawer, waiting for his chance to shine. I was dedicated to keeping a pumping schedule in Rome. I even had an alarm set on my phone for every four hours to pump (with the exception of a few nights...momma needed to remember what eights hours of sleep felt like). And I stuck to it man. I would pop in to a random store's bathroom off the street and occupy their single stall for about 30 minutes (sorry people) and then go about the day. Sure it's a sad sight to see that liquid gold being poured down the drain, but I was drinking lots of wine, hehe.
Obviously my supply dropped a little bit during this trip, since a nursing baby is more effective than using a pump. And sure enough, when we got back, Athena was nursing around the clock to get the supply to where it needed to be. I also think she missed me a whole lot and didn't want me to leave her at all. Which made me happy.