Saturday, July 16, 2005

galactagogue

I love the sound of this word! It makes me think of giant sea turtles. I know why. Phonetic association. We had a radio in our kitchen when I was growing up and my mom used to listen to NPR and the radio reader, Dick Estelle. I recall fragments like “archipelago” and some “g” word. At first I think it must be The Gulag Archipelago, but no, that’s not about giant sea turtles. Maybe Dick Estelle read the Gulag Archipelago on the Radio Reader. That would have taken quite some time. The “g” word must be “Galapagos”. The Galapagos Archipelago has giant sea turtles. I wonder what book that was. It makes me think of James Michener.

Alas, galactagogues have nothing to do with giant sea turtles. A galactagogue is an agent that promotes the secretion and flow of milk. I’m trying to boost my milk supply. Buggaboo started daycare this week and suddenly his formula consumption is up to 12 oz/day and he has a runny nose. He IS teething, so perhaps his immune system is compromised a bit, and he is now exposed to five other wee ones on a daily basis. I want him to have more mother’s milk and less supplementation.

I’ve sported these double-D’s for nearly three decades, and in my time of need when they were called into duty, who would have thought that they wouldn’t produce? My poor hungry Buggaboo. Nursing was a nightmare. He wouldn’t latch properly and got angry that nothing was there anyway. His weight dropped alarmingly and off to the hospital we went. The lactation specialist had me pump and after 30 minutes I had only 28 cc. I opted for a prescription galactagogue –Reglan. It’s not actually a galactagogue by design. That’s just a bonus side effect. I think it’s normally prescribed to reduce nausea in cancer patients. It has other undesirable side effects as well, namely lethargia and depression. Just what a mother needs in those post-partum days. I took it for two weeks. I recall that I couldn’t talk to anybody for two weeks (depression) and I would literally pass out for a little while each night. I know those first few weeks are a blur of crazy mood changes and exhaustion anyway, so don’t know how much of that was exacerbated by the Reglan. It helped with the milk supply though. I still had to supplement, but I was able to produce about 750 cc/day, which is a dramatic improvement from the measly 250 cc I was able to pump prior to that.

I need to make more though! I read up on Fenugreek and started taking it last week. It seems to be the
wonder cure for many things. Why didn’t I try this earlier? I might have been able to avoid supplementation altogether. I hope it works for me. I’ve been able to pump around 825 cc/day this week. My Buggaboo eats a lot! He started out at 10 lbs 7 oz, and is now around 25 lbs. He is six months old now, healthy and beautiful. I am very blessed.

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