Sarah the Milk Goddess.  Not the Sleep Goddess.
October 13, 2009

As a nursing mother, I have run into two HUGE problems with sleeping.

The first problem obviously concerns my boobs.  I may have mentioned this once or twice or ten billion times, but I produce too much milk.  I am a one-woman dairy.  If adult humans drank breast-milk, I could probably single-handedly supply all of North America and a good chunk of Russia.  THAT is how much milk I produce.  I know it’s hard to believe, but this morning?  THIS MORNING I PUMPED HALF A QUART OF MILK.  And that was before ten.

If I ever reincarnate, I am coming back as a cow.  MOO.

I am certain that being an over-producer has its benefits.  After all, I never doubt that when my daughter suckles, she receives more than enough milk.  But when you’re a co-sleeping moron like myself, it’s a bit of a hassle.  I almost always wake up drenched because I leak through every breast pad known to mankind.

And I’m not even exaggerating when I say that I wake up drenched.  I’m talking about changing my sheets every day because I wake up in a pool of milk large enough to give Lake Hudson a run for its money.  A few hours into the night, all it takes is a dream about a child crying or a sleep grunt from my baby and I let down.  Over.  And over.  And over again until morning.

Oh holy goodness hallelujah are my udders nipples happy when that kid wakes up.

The second problem also concerns my boobs.  And that problem is that when the sun goes down, my baby morphs into a truffle pig.  For the first eleven weeks of her life, Charlotte slept like a champ.  She’d go down around 8:30 in the evening and wouldn’t bat her eyes at us again until around 5:30 the following morning.  IT WAS AWESOME.

Last week, though, she found out that those glorious milk bags from which all good things flow sleep a mere four inches from her face.  Every night since then, I wake up to the sound of SNORT! SNORT! SNORT! as she searches for the goods, followed by the OOF! of her pushing fabric aside with her face and the SQUELCH! and WHOOSH! and SLURP! of her latching and sucking.

So not only am I producing enough milk to feed my baby and your baby and that baby over there, but I am also being MILK RAPED every night.

I guess there’s no need to reincarnate, is there?  MOO.

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  1. By Katelyn on October 13, 2009

    I never had that problem!  Good for you, I guess?

  2. By Gena on October 13, 2009

    I know. What. You mean.

    I gave up on the milk pampers for the boobies. I sleep on a few prefolds (sorta granny incontinence style). In the morning I can just wring them out into my coffee for an extra special treat (haha I kid, I kid!) I ‘m bringing sexy back, I know…

    I have like, 4 multi-layered shirts that are public approved leave-my-house-decent. Three layers is just enough to contain the floods when Lizzie cries or a baby sighs three aisles away. Well, long enough to get to the car anyway.

    I believe the term is called “Overactive Letdown”.
    Yeah…. I has it….
    She doesn’t even cry anymore when the spray gets up her nose or in her eye, but I still feel bad. I try to pump a few ounces before she eats, and that really helps. The only problem is that she doesn’t always want to wait while I engage “her” boobies elsewhere. She’s really territorial, just ask my husband :)

    It’s udder maddness, this boob business. I would say I feel like a dairy cow, but I’m pretty sure dairy cows get to have hours and hours to themselves, chillin in the pastures, lazily munching grass and making milk. None of that sounds like my day. Except the making milk part.

    It’s so good to see another person in the trenches. Thanks for blogging. I always look forward to reading your Mommy propaganda :)

  3. By Megan on October 13, 2009

    I don’t hear too many women with that problem!  Consider yourself, or your daughter/future children LUCKY, and well fed.  Would you consider donating it?  I’ve heard of a lot of mothers that adopt and want breast milk for their babes, or moms that just can’t nurse…just a thought!

  4. By on October 13, 2009

    Megan - I’m already all about the donation =)  Just mooing it up while at it.

  5. By andrea on October 13, 2009

    I suffer the exact opposite issue, underproduction. I work for every ounce that my body produces, Luckily with a hospital grade pump and a little Fenugreek and Domperidone, I’ve been able continue with the breast feeding for almost a year now, although this cows udders are starting to revolt. All that said, I couldn’t imagine dealing with overproduction and the waking up in a pool. It is all I can do to change my sheets weekly, so I fear my home would have taken on the stench of sour milk very quickly (kidding, kind of). From what I hear from my friends with the over production issue, it does eventually start to regulate itself but in the meantime maybe you could just start your own creamery ; )

  6. By Kate on October 13, 2009

    I have no idea how this feels, so I can’t commiserate. But the image of your sweet little girl as a truffle pig totally cracks me up.

    I guess you should count your blessings… there are worse problems to have!

  7. By erin on October 13, 2009

    Yay, I am so glad you are donating!!  Isn’t it a wonderful feeling?

    I know I have been talking around this for a while, but in the next week I’m putting in an order to the place where I got the diaper soaker fabric, so I can make more soakers.  I remember you were interested.  That soaker fabric, also, is AWESOME, and I had been thinking maybe I could make some super heavy-duty nighttime nursing pads out of it, with a waterproof backing.  Interested?

    Also, I have read that wool nursing pads are pretty awesome.

  8. By Stephanie on October 13, 2009

    Well there is a good side to this!! At least you know she’s getting enough milk, at least you can produce enough milk and the good news is.. she can latch on and get it herself without you having to do much else to help, lol. Better than a screaming baby who’s HUNGRY and you can’t get there quite fast enough.

    Sounds like you’re doing pretty good, to me!

    PS: I do have a cow costume if you’d like to burrow that for halloween, LOL!

  9. By on October 13, 2009

    Ever been able to express and have it stream across the room like a water gun?  My husband was awed and grossed out at the same time.  Yes, with all three of my sons, I awoke in a puddle every morning.  Let downs were fierce and I’d soak breast pads in seconds, which would make outings interesting.  For being soaked most of the time while breastfeeding my boys, it was all worth it to know that I alone was nourishing my babies and helping them grow like weeds.

  10. By Tabitha (From Single to Married) on October 13, 2009

    That’s so funny!  Well, for me, probably not for you!  As someone who has not yet breastfed a baby, I have no idea what to expect so the idea of leaking is a strange one.  But it sounds like feeding itself is pretty cool so I’m guessing the benefits out weigh the side effects.  At least I hope so!  :)

  11. By kbreints on October 13, 2009

    Yes, you should be proud. It is not every mom that can produce like that. ;)

  12. By on October 13, 2009

    I was the same way, until baby reached about 5 months old. My milk finally adjusted and my hair fell out. I thought I was so cool, because I didn’t get the hair loss, but apparently my hormones just took longer to adjust. So, if you keep at it I think you’ll even out.

  13. By on October 13, 2009

    When I was nursing they always told us that our bodies make what they are asked to me. In other words, the more nursing, the more milk production. I doubt it has changed over the years…so you might consider not pumping and only going with nursing. I bet you’ll see a reduction in the volume!

  14. By Sarah A. Schlothan Christensen on October 13, 2009

    Lynn - There are three reasons that I keep pumping.  First, I like to keep a store of extra milk.  Second, since I can make enough to donate, I like to do so because I know that not everyone who wants or needs breast-milk can produce it in the quantities that I can.  Third, I’ve already dealt with antibiotic-resistant mastitis once, so I want my breasts to always be fully drained out of sheer terror at repeating that experience.

    I don’t actually mind the overproduction or Charlotte’s nighttime rooting.  It’s just the way it is for us right now and I’m okay with that.  Hopefully as time goes on, my body will slowly adjust to a more normal production rate, but right now c’est la vie.  I just wanted to record it as it is - and let’s face it, when the kid snorts like that in the middle of the night, it’s pretty funny.

  15. By Dagmar Bleasdale on October 13, 2009

    Oh, I just discovered your blog, and I love it!

    I KNOW what you mean, my son loves nursing so much he is still at it at almost 3 years old :) And he loves to nurse the most before going to sleep, once during the night, and an hour or so before getting up. I seem to only sleep on one side EVER! But I can’t think of anything I’d rather do that snuggle with a sleepy little boy.

    Do you want to exchange blog links? I’d love to!


  16. By Lauren on October 14, 2009

    It took 7 months till my over-active let down and oversupply settled! That was without pumping, so there you go :)
    I still remember breast-pads not working at all. I had to use a folded up cloth nappy in the other side whilst feeding for some months. No public feeding capabilities there for awhile!
    And btw, milk raping is THE BEST expression I’ve heard all day, and will use it frequently now.

  17. By caramama on October 14, 2009

    OMG! Hysterical!

    The night waking and feeding? Likely a sign of the 3 month growth spurt. At least she doesn’t wake you crying but instead finds the food on her own! That’s what I like to call a do-it-yourselfer!

    Awesome that you are going to donate! I knew I liked you!

    I can’t stand it when I leak through the cloth nurse pads I use at night. Sometimes I strategically place a folded up, thick burb cloth to help. I think I remember someone saying that they used cloth diapers or inserts or something?

  18. By Clare on October 15, 2009

    I am not a mom yet, so really, the only thing I can say about this post is how great a writer you are. I was worried that the quality of my laugh from your writing would diminish once you had said baby in hand. It didn’t.  This was a gem!

  19. By April on October 15, 2009

    LOL, better than underproducing… right?  i remember waking up soaked, though… no fun!

  20. By on October 16, 2009

    My Charlotte has been sleeping with us lately. Instead of milk raping, I call it “eating at the all night Mom buffet.“ I actually like it because she is now eating so much at night that she isn’t drinking much milk at daycare anymore, which means that I don’t have to pump at work as much anymore.

    One pumping session per day at work and I’m still freezing a ton. Love it.

  21. By Mary @ Parenthood on October 16, 2009

    Yeah - I had that problem too.  I know it’s a “nice” problem to have but I found it pretty difficult to cope with at first.  Particularly because it was so unexpected.  And especially the splashing.

    I’m not even able to donate my milk (lived in Europe during the 80’s - so not only do I feel like a cow, but they think I’m at risk of being a MAD cow…)
    I ended up throwing out so much.  Sigh…

    For a while I was using a prefold at night stuffed in a bra and changing my pj top at least twice.  I would put a prefold under Elizabeth during the night (also co-sleeping), which I’d change when it got wet through.  The sheets got wet, but we put a mattress protector on the mattress and then I just used prefolds to avoid lying in puddles.  The nursing pads weren’t a success - I ended up using Lilypadz which helped me a lot. 

    I never bothered with a pump after the first month - I could get several ounces just through passive leaking.  Sometimes my nipples become so over-enthusiastic that the one gets stuck “on” and it’ll just spray and spray and spray.  I never read anything about this in the breastfeeding books.

    I found my production stabilized more or less around 5 months and I don’t have as many puddles, although now (7 months) Elizabeth is back to eating a ridiculous amount every couple of hours.





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