These words changed my life. Let me take a minute and tell you my story!
19 years ago, I gave birth to a little boy who changed my world. I was very young when I had my son and did not take the time to educate myself about pregnancy, birth, or raising a child. No one came to me and gave me advice on how or when or what to feed him, diaper him in, or how to get him to sleep. I learned every inch of being a mom day by day, joy by joy, mistake by mistake. The birth of my son (emergency c-section) was a little traumatic for me and nursing him became a side thought. I nursed him when I felt like it and gave him formula when I didn't. I did not even know what a breast pump was and certainly never had the chance to use one. Throughout his first year there were problems with his health that I never even considered connecting to the choices I made when feeding him. Over the years those problems have grown larger and I have many regrets.
In June 2009 my beautiful baby girl was delivered by VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I had spent over a year educating myself on every topic possible in preparation for her birth and life. I was determined to breastfeed her for "at least a year" and I "knew" that just setting my mind to it would make all the difference. In less than a week after her birth, I realized how wrong I was. I spent every minute around the clock with my baby. I held her chest to chest, I wore her in a sling, I offered her the breast constantly. I could NOT figure out why nursing was such a struggle. I still did not know what a breast pump was and no one suggested that I try to use one. Her pediatrician and several other opinionated voices strongly suggested that I supplement with formula because she was "simply not getting enough milk". These suggestions ignited a fury in my heart that I recognized as (what I felt like was) failure. I was not going to give my daughter formula! I spent endless hours on the internet searching for pills and teas and anything that would increase my milk supply so I could continue nursing, when one day a friend suggested "Lactation Cookies".
The recipe I received for Lactation Cookies was a very basic, get-it-done type recipe. The resulting cookie was horribly dry and had an intensely bitter after taste. It was only after eating about TWO dozen that I saw results (in my breast milk AND in my thighs!). Only once I could relax and nurse quietly because the cookies had done their job did I realize that the cookies did not have to taste so bad, be so bad for you, and take so long to work! I began little by little altering the recipe. The first few (hundred!) batches were a mess. The cookies either tasted really bad and worked really well or they tasted like heaven but gave little results. Eventually.... eventually.... I found the perfect recipe. Today, after consuming my own package of Lactation Cookies I am able to pump 11-12 ounces* at one time! My youngest son doubled his birth weight by 7 weeks old* without EVER having a drop of formula.
My husband and I were blessed a third time, with a little boy in December 2010. Since his birth I have not take any supplements or pills other than my own Cookies and nursing him is nothing but a joy. I do not have to worry about my supply, if he is hungry, or whether or not I need to keep formula in the house. I was finally taught how to use a breast pump and I have an entire freezer full of my pumped milk and it is a feeling of security unlike anything else. I provided breast milk for my son for 3 years and 9 months -- completely formula free! What an honor to be able to watch this little person grow knowing he has been nourished from my own body. Isn't life amazing?!