Posted in Parenting

Demand Before Supply

In the world of breastfeeding, demand always precedes supply.  I never doubted that truth, but in the past two weeks, I was actually able to observe it.

You see, near the end of June, my mom asked me if I wanted to come with her and a friend to New York for 4 days in July.  Having always wanted to visit the Big Apple, I impulsively said yes.

“Impulsively” being the key word here.

You see, when my mom asked me, seven months into this motherhood thing, I was still exclusively nursing my son.  I had never tried to give him formula and my freezer contained no breast milk.

Does anyone else see a problem with this situation?

I didn’t.  I do now.  But hey, what can I say?

I started out by thinking “hey, I could wean my son.  I mean, I’ve already surpassed my breastfeeding goals.”  But I couldn’t.  I just wasn’t ready to wean.  Not.  At.  All.

It’s crazy how attached I’ve grown to breastfeeding.  I’m even thinking of extended breastfeeding.  Haha, 8 months ago, I would have shuddered at the idea.  I mean *I* was going to nurse for the recommended minimal period of time and then switch to formula.  Easy peasy.  *I* was not going to breastfeed a baby with teeth.  *I* would not nurse past 1 year of age.  I mean, *who* does that, right?

Yeah…back to reality…I’m still at it after 8 months.  And I don’t see why I should stop any time soon. 😀

But I digress.

I had one month to prepare for my time away from my son.  That meant that I needed roughly 96oz of expressed milk to ensure that my son had enough for when I was away from him.

I did decide to buy some formula though (some veryexpensivenondairyandnonsoyformula), just in case I couldn’t express enough because there’s nothing worse than trying to express or nurse when you’re feeling stressed.

Days went by and I was pumping here and there, managing about 4oz every two days on top of nursing.  It quickly became apparent, though, that I would have to pick up the pace if I wanted to have a good stash of milk and so, I embraced one of the breastfeeding “rules”: If you want more supply, you need more demand.

I started by drinking more water.  A LOT of water and would pump for 20 minutes on each side 2 hours after my son had nursed.  This meant that it was as though I was breastfeeding every 2h from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed.  It took about 48h and it WORKED!  It worked so well, in fact that in the last few days, I was pumping 8oz on top of nursing full time!


I still didn’t have quite enough milk though, but hey, I figured that MIL and my partner would just mix formula and breastmilk together and they’d make it.  (Of course, when I was gone MIL decided that she would forsake the expressed milk altogether and just give formula because she is stubborn and had been waiting for this moment from the time she learned that I was pregnant but that’s ok because I still love her, but that is another story altogether).

Then, I left for the trip.  Eight hours in a bus.  Eight.  Hours.  Can anyone guess what happened with my breasts-that-were-used-to-nursing-every-two-hours?


I thought of offering my fellow travelers some free milk for their coffee, but quickly discarded the idea.

I did bring my pump with me, but I felt much too uncomfortable expressing in the middle of the bus.  It was also rather unsettling to pump in the bus washroom (because, lets face it, everyone always looks at the person who spends 20 minutes locked in a washroom once they come out…).  But I hardly had a choice.

The first 48h were torture.  Thank goodness I was able to pump in the mornings and evenings because it’s kind of hard to do in a city that doesn’t seem to have ANY washrooms or nursing rooms while following your sightseeing group.

But I got through it.

I’m still alive, (despite the fear of mastitis because on day 2 I ended up with a clogged duct urgh…).

And the next time I leave for 4 days, I will either be leaving with my baby if I’m still nursing or leaving without an organized sightseeing group on a tight schedule.

I had a great time though.  And when I came back, I realized how quickly they really do grow up.  Because now my son is babbling quite a bit and is crawling!



Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

10 thoughts on “Demand Before Supply

    1. Peeved doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt especially after spending so many HOURS pumping and HOURS feeling the result of my increase in supply. Not much I can do about it though, what’s done is done. Except, the next time, I will make it clear that the formula is the “just in case” milk, not the other way around…

      1. She’s a tad overzealous lol. About a week after finding out I was pregnant she had already bought a crib, stroller, high chair and car seat. She means well, but yeah…overzealous.

  1. “I thought of offering my fellow travelers some free milk for their coffee, but quickly discarded the idea.” – ROFL!!
    Wow, well done on all that pumping! I didn’t know that was possible, honestly. I thought there were women who normally pumped all the time, and those who pumped occasionally (so only got a few ounces per time). I’ve never pumped 8 oz at one time! I bet your chest HURT!!!
    I missed ya on WP!

    1. Oh! I wasn’t pumping 8oz at once, but I was able to express 8oz in about 3 pumping sessions throughout the day. But still, yeah, I was in quite a bit of pain for the first two days. Luckily, I didn’t have any issues with my supply when I got back home so I have a feeling that my supply just went back down to what it was BEFORE I started pumping like mad.
      Missed you too!

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