I have been through struggling to make enough milk with my second daughter (first that I breastfed for an extended period of time) and struggling to STOP making so much with my third baby. I have been that mom that WISHED for an oversupply, thinking that it would be so much better than making too much. Let me tell you, you do not want an oversupply.
When I got pregnant with my second baby, I wasn’t supposed to be able to have any more children. I was in school full time, working full time, and stressed beyond belief when I found out that I was pregnant. I scheduled an induction date during a time where I was out of school, and returned to school 6 days after giving birth. I wanted any chance I could to bond with her, so among that and other reasons I decided that I HAD to stick with breastfeeding. There were times I chose to pump instead of eat because I only had time to do one. So, I get it. It’s stressful spending all your free time milking yourself like a cow.
Flash forward to my third baby, I expected the same issues. I thought nothing of pumping to relieve engorgement when my milk came in because no matter how many people told me differently, I thought oversupply would be like this magical milk fountain and could never cause any issues. WRONG.
- It’s Expensive. I go through a crazy amount of storage bags a week. I don’t do the exact math for fear of losing my sanity but I definitely store at least 50 bags of milk a week. We recently bought a deep freezer that is almost full because even after donating to four other local moms, I still could fill my swimming pool with milk. But what can I do with over 1000 ounces of breast milk? I have to buy bags to clean/sterilize my pump parts. I have spent money going to the doctor to try and decrease the amount of times I’ve had mastitis. I’ve ruined my favorite shirts by leaking through them. The list goes on and on, but you get it. I spend money on storing milk that my baby will likeley never drink.
- It’s Stressful. I was super happy to donate milk to other moms, and I still am. But the same stress that goes along with making enough milk for your own baby somehow turned into making enough for 5 babies. I still felt like I wasn’t enough if I made less during a pumping session even though I was making way more than enough. I work night shift and stay up with my kids during the day. I don’t get very much sleep as it is, but on my nights off, I have to wake up to pump or I will get mastitis. So now we’re at I’m stressed, exhausted, and sick all while my baby is sleeping through the night.
- My life revolves around nursing and pumping. This one kind of speaks for itself but I can’t just give my baby a bottle even though I have plenty of milk to spare because I will get mastitis. I can’t skip a pumping session without becoming extremely engorged. I’ve literally had to pull over on the side of the road and squeeze my boob until enough milk squirted out of my human water gun that I could function again. And you can’t complain about it because people make comments like “that’s like complaining about having too much money”. No, it’s nothing like that. I get that breast is best but too much breast milk won’t put my kids through college or pay for the Bahamas.
- Mastitis. I would rather deliver 15 babies in a row than ever have mastitis again. And that’s all I have to say about that.
- People don’t understand. They don’t understand why you’re constantly milking yourself, or why you need to take a break when you have plenty of milk already. They don’t understand that pumping is NOT a break. And they most certainly don’t understand that for the next year, you have to plan your life in 2 hour intervals. Oversupply comes with all the same problems as pumping in general plus worrying about engorgement and mastitis ALL the TIME. Why can’t you just give her a bottle? You have plenty of milk. Yeah, you’ve never had mastitis before. It feels like death.
As much as I love my baby, I’m ready for the milk factory to shut down. I feel less than human sometimes. Moooooooooooo.