We’ll be glad for this later!

October 13th, 2011






[That was me catching my breath.]



The past couple of days I’ve been in the clutches of a freezer-meal fiend, and I can tell from experience that this is only the beginning.  The more I feed it, the bigger that greedy thing grows.  I begin to lay plots for the humblest of leftovers.  Surely I can get another freezer meal out of this if I put it with that and the other.  And then there are the mixes…too easy to put together…this is addictive…

We are in baby-will-be-here-before-you-know-it mode, except there’s no baby belly, sore back, or swollen feet begging me to stop and take a nap in the afternoons.  I am relishing this part of our preparations to the full.  I love being in the middle of a huge, creative, productive, messy kitchen day.  But the results of it are even better.  I chose the word “greedy” on purpose.  Freezers full of relatively healthy and inexpensive homemade meals and mixes will be worth more to me than money in the bank when the storm hits, and even then I will be loathe to spend them unless we really have to.

We took a date night to assess and revise our family routine, making it as watertight as possible.  Watertight, you understand, to help keep the ship afloat when that aforementioned storm hits next month.  As usual, we began testing the new routine immediately.

Switch from crockpot meals to freezer-friendly cooking, check.

Make three, eat one, label and freeze two, check.

Then make more, check.

Tweak the little boys’ activities, check.

Tweak family mealtime routine, check.

Cut Verity’s therapy visits back to once per month, check.

Mom get up an hour earlier, check.

Mom drop a pumping, from four down to three, check…


Apparently that last innovation was going too far.  After six months of holding steady at four pumps per day, after cutting back to three, my milk supply dropped drastically in a short time.  It only took a couple of days, and I was barely keeping up with Verity’s appetite, let alone putting a supply away for Katie.

~We had been hoping that I could supply both little girls at least until the end of the upcoming flu season.

~We are planning to keep both girls off of dairy, gluten, and refined sugar, simply as a preventative measure.  Also, soy is not recommended for individuals with Down syndrome.

~Alternatives to my milk are costly or otherwise unsuitable even without the dairy-free factor, and would not provide the girls with my immunities.

~What do the immunities have to do with it?  Even for our relatively healthy family, Verity has been healthy beyond our most unreasonable hopes.  Some of you may remember that she spiked a fever one night last spring.  That was it for her first fifteen months of life.  We can’t prove her health is a result of mama’s milk, vitamin D, probiotics, fish oils, grapefruit seed extract, Sambucus, extra-virgin organic unrefined coconut oil, superfood fruits and vegetables, staying away from dairy and groups of peers with runny noses, or any other factors!  But they can’t be hurting, either.  Her regimen may seem intimidating from the outside, but in reality it is just a small part of our daily routine.

~Why are we so vigilant over Verity’s health?  When typical babies get sick, even repeatedly, it doesn’t affect their overall development.  They will still meet their milestones effortlessly.  When babies with special needs are repeatedly ill, it can have a serious negative impact on their long-term development.  Since her birth, we have done our best not to let Verity have any “down time,” no break from being challenged and stimulated in some way, unless she is asleep.  Again, this has become part of the collective family consciousness.  We all help to keep her engaged and working, to keep her from sitting and doing nothing, or “blobbing,” as I call it.  As I hope I have made very clear, this is one of the most fun and rewarding “duties” that we have, and does not feel like a burdensome chore!  She is so precious to us!  Keeping her healthy is part of helping her progress, and she is making remarkable progress.

~We are aware that we could look into the possibility of human milk donors.  But the best milk for my girls is from my own body, and my body does work.  It produces plenty for both of them with the four pumpings per day.  Even with the stress of the travel to see Katie, and Verity drinking two weeks’ worth of frozen milk, our freezer stash has been growing since our friends stopped coming once a month to pick up milk for their baby.  We have a freezer full and were starting on the second one when we attempted to cut back.

~So now we know.  At this point, if we deliberately choose to keep me at three pumpings per day, we would be deliberately choosing a hasty weaning.  In other words, if we choose to buy a little more time for the rest of the family by cutting back on my pumping time, we would be choosing to do it at the expense of the two smallest and most vulnerable members of the family.

And we are not willing to make them sacrifice for us.

So there you see our decision, laid out in black and white.  It’s all there but the foundational reason, the why underneath my last statement.

But that’s a story for another day.

Share it!

20 Responses to “We’ll be glad for this later!”

  1. Ginger says:

    I wanna learn how to freezer cook. I tried it once and it the food tasted awful when we reheated it. 
    How fun to be nesting AND have the energy for it! I’ve only got 2 months left of this pregnancy and still a good-sized to-do list, but not the energy to match it. ;) 

  2. The Kaya says:

    I am glad you decided to use breast milk for your children. It’s the best thing.
    Many people don’t realize how overrated cow’s milk really is.  People have gotten their children off cow’s milk to get rid of ear infections and allergies and it works.  Even has helped asthma.

    I wish you good luck for the rest of the adoption.

    Your blog has been a help to many people!  Some children in Katie’s orphanage have gotten families. Of the children listed on RR, only “Tommy” is still waiting, yet he should be scooped up soon! 

    Some other children from the same country who need families fast are Tanner (who has both DS and deafness), Marlowe, Sandra, and Dawn.  So many others though.

  3. Susanna says:

    Ginger, I had sort of a feeling someone would ask. That will go on the list right under Books We Like. :) Congratulations on your pregnancy! :)

  4. Deanna says:

    So exciting reading about your preparations!  I used to do the once a month cooking and wonder at times why I don’t do it more!
    I am glad you made the decision you did about the pumping…it will be a blessing to Katie and Verity….

  5. Shari~hotfudgecustard says:

    I have to echo what Ginger said — Nesting WITH energy!!  What a blessing!!

    And I can’t find the “Books We Like” list.  Did I miss it somewhere?

    I can feel your excitement in this post and I’m getting excited with you for the Lord to turn the page in your story and begin a new chapter.  It’s like reading a very exciting novel, knowing that Something is coming, but still having to read on to get to It.  : )

  6. Shanel says:

    Hi Susanna< i just had to chime in. When I had my little guy 9 weeks early and by c-section I had a hard time trying to get my milk in . Try googleing (is that a word?)lactation cookies. They have brewers yeast and flax seed and oats all of which are good for milk supply. I’ll add a link to the recipe I used. I did less sugar and half whole wheat flour too to keep it a little healthier.


  7. Susanna says:

    Shari, no, you didn’t miss it! It has gotten as far as Daniel and Laura and I collaborating on a handwritten list that traveled throughout the house to all the bookshelves. Now Daniel is working on typing it out in his “spare time.” ;) (If we’re going to do it anyway, we’re going to do it right.)

  8. Susanna says:

    Thank you so much, Shanel! It looks like I could just add the two “magic” ingredients to our usual recipe for oatmeal cookies (raisin, choco. chip, or coconut)? Have you tried doing that, and if so, how well did it work? We use all whole wheat in our oatmeal cookies too, and like them better that way–more flavor and better texture! :) Thank you for sharing this good info!

  9. As I toy with the thoughts of attempting to relactate, I can see that our schedule will need to be made watertight as well.  EEKS.. God give me the strength!

  10. Carol says:

    Do you store your frozen milk in glass or plastic containers? I’ve read mixed things about how many leukocytes are preserved in either method.
    Are your family meals in general dairy, gluten, and sugar free? Or do you cook separately for Verity (and later Katie)? What do you do about things like eating at someone else’s house? I’m thinking we should be practicing some of the same dietary restrictions and I’m not sure if the extra cost of having all of us off of those things is worth not having the inconvenience of cooking separate meals (and dealing with the complaints about fairness which might arise). It probably would be good for all of our health to be off of those things, but besides the cost, it’s hard to find the time to radically change how I cook and view food in the midst of other learning and changing (and my kids aren’t always great about trying new things!) To complicate matters further, I’ve been seriously questioning the ethical status of eating meat from the supermarket (not necessarily meat in general but meat from animals who have had a remarkably poor life). For this Mennonite girl, once you cut out meat and dairy and gluten and sugar, it’s sometimes like, what can you eat?! I know there are lots of great vegan recipes out there, but it’s definitely a learning curve. Grocery shopping can be rather the trying experience now – do I buy organic which is 3 times as much and comes from South America or local food that is contaminated with pesticides? Do I buy milk from cow’s who spent their entire lives in barns with gigantic udders causing sores on their legs or double the price soy milk? And some folks say soy is really bad for you so maybe it should be the rice milk but that’s not high enough in protein for kids is it or… You get the idea. :)

  11. Carol says:

    I have to correct the “cow’s” above to cows. One of my husband’s pet peeves is incorrectly placed apostrophes. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read this blog, but there is still some sort of family honour to maintain. :) I’m sure there are a gazillion other grammar mistakes in the comment above and this one too. Perhaps when I start teaching my children grammar, I’ll actually learn to write correctly myself.

  12. Susanna says:

    You made me laugh out loud! I’ll try to write more later!

  13. Missy says:

    Time to make oatmeal cookies with real oats, not instant ones!!!

  14. Susanna says:

    Great reminder, Missy! Thank you!

  15. Trish says:

    I hear you on the meat from the supermarket quandary! We ended up purchasing a 1/8 share of a cow from a local beef farmer who raises the beef organically, but doesn’t bother with the certification because of the expense and red tape. But the animals are raised ethically and slaughtered humanely. So we’re ok with that. Organic, free-range chicken is where I have my problem. We have to buy from Costco because I can’t find it in any of our local markets… But it is expensive!

  16. Susanna says:

    Trish and Carol, we have done that, too, with both whole chickens and beef (we get 1/2 a beef at a time, though), from the same farmer. Same deal–he raises it organically and free-range or grass-fed rather than grain-fed, but keeps his prices down by not getting the certification. We get our organic cracked eggs from another local farmer for cheaper than we could raise chickens ourselves ($2.25 for a flat of 2 1/2 dozen). Milk is also local. I don’t know what your respective areas are like, but if you spread the word locally that you’re looking for a farmer who sells this stuff, you may just find that there are some within range.

  17. Carissa says:

    Hi Susanna,
    I have been following your family’s story since learning about Katerina through some friends from Reece’s Rainbow.  Your family is very inspirational to me! 

    I thought I might offer some advce concerning your low supply.  I, too am a breastfeeding mama.  I have 4 girls, ages 10, 7, 3 and 6 months.  I am also a Certified Breastfeeding Educator, so I am just ecstatic that you are collecting breastmilk for your tiny Katerina!  I am hoping this will speed her recovery and growth even more than formula! :-D  Have you tried some herbal supplements to boost your supply?  There are two herbs specifically that you can try–blessed thistle and fenugreek.  You can find these in tablet form at many health food stores. Take two tablets of each twice a day.  They really work! I have experienced a sudden low supply before and tried it skeptically and was amazed!  You can also boost supply by eating oatmeal, but the change is not as dramatic as the herbs.  You can also email me if you have more questions :)

    I am praying for you and for your family and for sweet little Katerina.        

  18. Susanna says:

    Carissa, thank you so much for offering this excellent advice! I first learned about fenugreek and blessed thistle from another wonderful LC when our twins were struggling with bf’ing. Ever since then, I take five capsules of fenugreek and three of blessed thistle with each meal from the day each child is born until the last day of bf’ing. I can attest that it works! I also know it only works if I am regularly being “emptied.” Sorry if that is TMI for anyone. :) I also drink a mug of MM tea each day, and try to eat my share of oats in various recipes. I think that four pumpings a day may just be my minimum, and I have heard this from other moms as well. Oh well, it was worth a try, and now I know what my body’s limits are! But just because I was already doing all these supply-building things, I am no less grateful for your willingness to speak up and share your expertise! :D

    P.S. My supply is now back up to where it was before, after a few days at four PPD. Hurray!

  19. Carissa says:

    You are so kind and gracious! I am glad you knew about the supply boosters! And I am REALLY glad your supply is up again! Praise the Lord!  I have never had to pump, and didn’t learn much about it in my certification class.  I DO know it’s all about supply vs. demand, though.  I am glad you shared that with me about many moms having a minimum, so I can learn more and share with other moms :)

  20. connie says:

    I was wondering how the milk supply was going, so I was so happy to read this tonight.  I believe God will supply your girls’ milk needs for much longer than you can imagine.  It means a lot to a mom to be able to be the one who can do this, and it is the simplest way of all to obtain it, so I continue to pray for this way that He continues to provide.  It’s very close to my heart, so it’s easy for me to remember. :)

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