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Saturday, 10 November 2007


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Drowned Girl

I used to store about 30ml in each bottle, and warm a second if needed. I was a rubbish expresser though, it was like liquid gold to me!


I remember that happening, and it is painful. All of that pumping (which for me would have taken ages) for nothing. Ugh.


I remember standing there, wondering idly if it would *really* hurt him to drink it later. I mean, how germy could a baby's mouth be?

Liquid gold. Absolutely.


Yes, plenty of BM down the drain here, too. But I had a "friend" who had a baby who looked worse than the baby in the pictures. He weighed 2 pounds more than birth, at 4 months. Crusty eyes. Sad. All of our mutual friends were shocked into silence when we saw him. I can't even be around that woman anymore, even though the baby (toddler, now) is apparently better. The sad thing was that he was a donor embryo baby. I wonder, if the donors would have given their precious embryos if they had known he was going to be starved. I just don't understand that breastfeeding mentality, but maybe that's the infertile in me. That baby is what kept me pumping, too, and I consequently didn't feel bad about the girls using formula. They are turning out perfectly. And you're doing a great job, Thalia. Pob is beautiful.


I've never thrown out breastmilk, although one babysitter did once, and I freaked. You can rewarm it over and over again. Just put it back in the fridge, and sit it in some warm water to warm it up a bit. Hell, leave it on the counter, it will be fine. It is NOT formula, none of the same rules apply. As long as you don't microwave it and destroy the antibodies, you never have to throw it out.

Breastmilk is a living entity which destroys germs. In test after test at the Hospital for Sick Children here in Toronto, researchers have tried to culture bacteria and viruses in breastmilk to see what would happen if a mother with SARS, for just one example, breastfed a baby. To the surprise of the scientists, NOTHING could grow, because the breastmilk antibodies killed it. In fact, the breastmilk killed the SARS virus so fast and so efficiently, Doctors here gave asked women to donate breastmilk to give to adult victims who were still suffering.

I do not know where those pictures came from, but children go through lots of changes in growth and unless a Doctor documented that this child had this issue, my inner skeptic is left with questions.

I do know that the Ontario government has documented formula fed babies in Walkerton, Ontario who became dramatically sicker than breastfed ones after the town water supply became accidentally contaminated with E coli 0157. All the breastfed babies came through with no long lasting effects, and all the formula fed babies are still ill with kidney damage years later.

Horror stories abound on the internet, Thalia, listen to your inner scientist, and rely on medical evidence sweetie, don't give yourself nightmares by looking at things like this.


I never threw it out either. I just stuck it in the fridge and fed it to them at the next feeding. If it went more than 24 hours, then I'd toss it, but that rarely happened.


Wow. I can't imagine how things got that bad - most pediatricians panic when a baby changes percentiles, and that one looks as though it wasn't even on the chart. You're doing the right thing in offering plenty, I think, but I agree that you can keep the remainder for the next feed. I probably wouldn't keep it more than 24 hours, but the next feed is likely just a few hours away :)


Check with your doc or LLC before reheating BM. I was told by all my docs, LLC's at home and in the NICU, not to reheat BM. Unfortunately I had to throw away a lot of BM I pumped for my twins. It was frustrating!!

Do what you feel is best for you and your child. It's not her fault, or yours, that she isn't sucking properly. Just because she can't get everything she needs from the breast doesn't mean she should go hungry.


I don't know about reheating/rerefrigerating BM, but I do know that it is one of the bodily fluids that can (if a mom is infected) transmit HIV. So the idea that "nothing can grow in it," must, it seems to me, be wrong.

As for pouring away BM, I feel your pain. When my DS was tiny, tiny and I had just started pumping and trying to store, late one night (like 1 a.m.) I pumped and then poured the result into a bottle sitting on my kitchen counter. Except it was a bottle that didn't have a bottom -- the kind of baby bottle designed to hold those plastic bags. Which it didn't have in it. To hold the BM. Which went all over the counter. Though it was only maybe 20 mls? But very hard come by. And I was so tired! Oh, it was frustrating.

And it is certainly true that in undeveloped (and, rarely, developed) parts of the world, unsanitary water makes formula dangerous. As I've posted before, I am grateful to live in a time and place where safe water is (generally) available.

Motel Manager

When we look at photos from my son's first month, he looks so gaunt! It did turn around for him pretty fast once we started supplementing. I feel somewhat guilty in retrospect that we starved him for a solid five weeks. Ah, well. He seems to have recovered!

I once knocked over a bottle of 5oz (which was like one million pumping sessions' worth) of breast milk. I had to just keep moving and not think about it or I would just have dissolved into tears and perhaps never stopped crying!

Within reason, I kept/reused bottles of BM. It is indeed liquid gold! I also always separated the BM bottle from the formula bottle (whereas some people I know would mix them). If he wasn't going to finish something, I wanted it to be the formula, not the BM. It was a pain in the ass, but I was going to get every painfully earned ounce of that stuff into him, whether he liked it or not! :)


For some reason I have not been able to post on your blog lately. I am glad the breastfeeding is going better. I know how hard it is when you want to give your baby the best and it just isn't working. I hope it continues to get better.

Betty M

Have to say I always avoided warming/heating b/milk (due to my inner sloth couldn't face a trip downstairs in the middle of the night etc)- they had it cold from the fridge or room temp - so I avoided the wastage issue. Dont look at those pictures. It looks to me like there was a lot going on there other than difficulty breastfeeding.


Here's some info on using reheated breastmilk again. http://www.kellymom.com/bf/pumping/reusing-expressedmilk.html

J knew that if P didn't take a whole bottle of milk at a feeding, under no circumstances was he allowed to discard more than 1/2 an ounce. It was too precious. I would pump 5-6 times a day to get the 12 oz that P needed for the next day, not to mention that there were extra sessions to build up some extra to keep in the freezer for occasional weekend days that I would have to work. There was no way I would let that go to waste.

I hope that you're doing well.


I never tossed breastmilk either. I would never mix with formula, and if she didn't finish a bottle we stuck it back in the fridge for the next feeding. We never really *heated* it--just stuck it in warm water long enough for the fat layer to remix easily--so I felt better about the risk, and we also never used one bottle for more than two feeds.

Breastmilk is hardy stuff. Both LCs I saw (including one who was an MD) said it was OK to pump multiple sessions into one set of bottles/horns and leave everything at room temp in between, as long as you refrigerated/washed every 6 hours.


Ouch yes, the liquid gold that is bm. I too have heard that they can't grow things in bm...HIV is a virus, not a bacteria, which is very different. I think you are doing brilliantly Thalia.


Oh how I feel your pain. I was always so psycho about my breast milk--especially since I pumped and feed the entire 6 months! I felt so bad when I had to throw it away, knowing that I wasn't producing enough for B to begin with.


Sadly I think I can top any story when it comes to wasted breast milk. When our trio was in the NICU for over 2 months, I had nothing to do but pump. I pumped and pumped and pumped. Since preemies don't eat much we had a terrific stock pile going. I felt great and a little cocky about my stellar boobs. We even bought a deep freeze. Once we filled the first one, we bought a second deep freeze and filled that one too. About 2 months after the munchkins came home, I was no longer able to keep up with their needs. No problem, we thought, We'll just start supplementing with the frozen breast milk. NOPE, ALL (yup ALL) of it had gone bad! We still aren't sure how. We might have lost power to that outlet and just not noticed. I sobbed and sobbed as I dumped bottle after bottle down the drain and threw a couple at DH for telling me not to cry over spilt milk. It was horrible. At my highest point I was pumping over 40oz a sitting 7 times a day (remember I had NOTHING else to do), so you do the math at how much went down that drain. It's been 4 months and I still feel sick!


Oops. I hit the wrong key. Not 40 oz a sitting. Even my boobs trying to keep up with 3 weren't that amazing! It was slightly over 20oz each pumping session. But hey that's still a lot down the drain!


I've just re-discovered your blog after not looking for a loooong time, so long that I have been reading back over the previous posts discovering you were pregnant, going for scans, giving birth and now breast feeding and I just wanted to say i'm over the moon for you :-)
This has all made my day and i'm sending many positive vibes for your little one!


I can't bring myself to pitch breastmilk either, so I stretch it the same way so many previous commenters have mentioned. It's too hard-won to just pour down the drain!

As for the starved baby, wasn't there a doctor monitoring that child's growth? Were there no red flags at her two-month vaccination appointment? There must be more to the story.

I think you're dong wonderfully with your little girl. She's got an amazingly well-informed, concerned mother who will do nothing but the best for her. Every child could only hope to be born to such a wonderful parent.


Oh shit. Oh those photos totally freak me out.

I don't know if I have been feeding Poopee well, I rely on top-ups anyway (just to make myself feel I have fed her properly), but alot of people, especially the Breastfeeding Association people always tell me I am doing well enough and I should let the top ups go.



Those interested in the story behind the photos can find it online -- just cut off the before-after bit on the URL so that it reads like this: http://www.emmazing.com/bfg. If you read the letter linked there (http://www.emmazing.com/bfg/mothering.html), it provides information about the mom working with an LC and with a pediatrician. (I do realize that like anything else on the internet, those sites may or may not provide the full story behind the pictures, but for those who are interested).


I never threw out milk. If not eaten, into the fridge, out for the next feeding. We also didn't do a lot of heating milk up. Didn't mix it with formula, though, since then we couldn't save it. And I would let it sit out (not eaten from yet) even past 10 hours and never had a problem.

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