Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why Buy the Cow When You Can Get the Milk for Free?

My Grandmother, Elena’s Great-Grandmother, whom she’ll call GiGi lives with us. She was born in 1918 on a small farm in New Brunswick & when I say, “on a farm” I mean she was born in the farm house. She grew up on said farm with few luxuries, she had to be frugal & couldn’t be wasteful. She married & had 6 children…money was always tight & she had to make it stretch between a family of 8.

To this day, she will cut mold off cheese & eat the rest of the brick, she’ll make a sandwich with stale bread (including the ends) before she’d even think of throwing it away. She keeps napkins that, “weren’t used much” for a second go. She has bought at least 3 new winter coats since moving in with me but she refuses to get rid of the old ones…because you never know. She has practically every dress she’s ever worn to various family weddings, events, etc & she always resists when one of her daughters insist she get a new outfit saying, “I can just wear what I wore to so & so’s wedding/birthday/retirement.

I believe that her upbringing & adulthood molded her into this frugal, prudent women & having lived thru periods of hand-to-mouth has made her reluctant, nay loath to take anything for granted…even though she’s financially comfortable now she still wouldn’t think of being even the slightest bit wasteful…because you never know.

With everything Elena & I went thru when she was born, her losing so much weight & my milk taking almost a week to come in, I believe it’s made me a little bit of a breast milk hoarder. I have obsessively pumped at least once a day…at first I pumped to encourage my milk to come in, then I pumped to build up my production & then to build a stash & aside from a bag or 2, I haven’t used any…if I was going to be away for a feeding, I’d pump a fresh bottle rather than dip into my stash.

Now that Elena is almost nine months old, a bunch of the bags will expire being older than 6 months. I’m having trouble dealing with having to throw them out…it’s silly, I know! Aside from the bags, it has cost me nothing to collect this milk, yet the thought of throwing any out makes me feel so wasteful.

So I have officially stopped pumping…it was a difficult decision…thoughts of, “what if I run out?!?!” & the more irrational thoughts of, “Elena’s going to STARVE if I stop pumping!!!!” I know it is the right thing though…I have to go back to work soon & I never planned to pump then so it’s better to stop now than spend my 1st day back at work engorged & uncomfortable. Soon enough I’ll have to wean Elena from her 2 afternoon feeds. Once I’m back to work, I’ll still nurse her in the morning & at night until I dry up & switch her to cow’s milk. It was just a little scary getting here.

We’ll cover the emotions over weaning in another post ;)


  1. LOL...when I was pumping, I didn't freeze any, I just stored bottles in the fridge for their 7 days. It was only in case I was out and my parents needed to feed S. In any case, I also would not want to "waste" the pumped milk - it was so hard to come by. And so I would call my mom and say I was coming home and DO NOT feed her the bottle. Needless to say, I had so many bottles that I would just pour down the sink. And also, S stopped taking the bottle. LOL, it was totally my fault.
    How many feeds is Elena on now? I loved the way you told the story about your grandmother :)

  2. The pumped milk.. don't know if you knew, but at one time I gave Butterfly some breast milk another mother donated to me* [but actually felt so guilty I didn't really much of it use it]. So why don't you donate what you would anyway throw away? I'm sure that would make some other mother who for whatever reason cannot breastfeed her child, happy!
    http://www.nationalmilkbank.org/ (a random site I came up through a google search, don't know if it's relevant to you)

    * I hardly had milk. For nurishment on the first few months I bottle fed her. Fortunatly I haven't given up on breastfeeding, so I do still breastfeed today..

  3. I was unable to nurse my first child. When my second child was born and we were successful nursing, I was really scared to skip a feeding or not pump at work. I didn't want anything to jeopardize the positive experience I had fought so hard to have. My son lost complete interest in nursing around 20 months. Truth be told, he wasn't that interested after age 11 months but I was the one who wasn't ready to stop. I get what you are talking about.

  4. @Little One - Elena won't use a bottle now either when she was so good about it at first!!

    I feed Elena about every 2 hours alternating between nursing & food so she nurses 4 times a day & has a meal 3 times a day.

    @ Billy - I did think about donating but unfortuately the stuff I'm throwing away is more than 6 months old & expired. I wish I had thought of donating sooner.


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