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Yeye's Engorging Experience

I was that vegan that got on everyone's nerves during Thanksgiving and at cookouts. If you or especially your child coughed to many times around me you had to hear about changing your diet to reduce the mucus causing this and that. What most people didn't know are the health issues I overcame by adopting a natural lifestyle. I didn't like seeing people suffer so needlessly. My passionate stance on Holistic Health may have been aggressive, but it was from a loving place.

Obviously, when I was expecting my first child I made a conscious choice to breastfeed exclusively. In spite of people criticizing me for my decision, we held to it. She latched on and we were off! I was on new terrain as a mother, and it was very humbling. There is no way to measure how much they consume with breastfeeding. So I had to rely on her falling into a "milk coma" after nursing to satisfy the question of “is she full?” There wasn’t anything more satisfying than having her fall asleep in my arms while nursing. It's a bonding experience I hope every mother and child can have.

During maternity leave, it was easy to continue eating and drinking properly to maintain my milk. However, once I returned to work it became challenging. I despised pumping! It was like my body knew my child was not present. I would spend my whole lunch hour in the supply closet attached to my breast pump. I would only have a few ounces to show for it and my breast would still be swollen and uncomfortable. Thankfully I had other natural mothers in my corner. (Love you Nzinga and Irijah!) There was a time when fear set in that she wasn’t getting enough. There were no healthy options for baby formula even at so-called health stores. I found a formula made with goat milk online but still wasn’t comfortable with its ingredients. I remembered from my studies a baby formula shared by Dr. Sebi. Back then, hemp seeds were not as available so I began researching and creating a formula for my daughter. I found tonics and other supplements like Mother’s Milk to help my production. I ditched tap water for good and only used filtered or bottled water. Within a week there was really no need for my formula but kept it frozen as a backup. I accumulated a nice stash in the freezer and was very proud of myself.

The changes were so effective I had to go home to change a few times because I began to leak milk at work. My breast pump required an outlet, so I bought a hand pump to keep in my purse to pump more often. I recall traveling to Georgia to visit family. I FORGOT both my pumps! I was producing more than she would take and so I became painfully engorged. The warm compress and hand expression offered some relief but the milk was not coming out fast enough! The pain was like nothing else.

Desperate but too stubborn to buy another pump, I remembered an old Mason Jar method. I was skeptical but rushed to a store to find a wide mouth mason jar. Slowly filled it with hot water as to not crack the glass. Once the whole jar was warm I poured the water out and allowed the rim to cool. I placed the jar evenly and firmly around the areola. As the jar cools a vacuum effect is produced, which PULLS the milk out of the breast. I didn’t have to press it out which would have been excruciating. I remembering tearing up in relief as the mason jar filled with liquid gold. That jar was better than both my pumps! To this day WIDE mouth mason jars are always in my kitchen. It's wonderful to have the technology to aid us in caring for our families. However, his Yeye will always appreciate the old ways!

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