My name is Jennifer and I'm a milk hoarder. There. I said it.
If we were playing the "which item would you keep?" game, and my frozen milk stash was matched up against my shoes, my iPhone or my DVD collection, hands down, I'd choose my milk stash.
If it was paired up against my computer, my car or my house... I'd still probably choose the milk, as long as I had a place to store the frozen milk.
What can I say? It's my pride and joy, right after my daughter herself. But lately my obsession has gone a little too far.
I don't belong on a reality show about hoarders or OCD. I don't have mini freezer boxes behind the toilet to store an extra three ounces or anything, but my freezer does hold more breastmilk than food.
My husband knows the routine when it comes to using milk from my frozen stash, but every week I drill him anyway. My first day after the weekend we rotate, so he digs for and uses about 11-13 ounces of the oldest milk in the freezer. Usually I try to set it out for him so he doesn't get overzealous and defrost more than he needs, but sometimes I'm running late and leave the task up to him.
When I come home the drilling begins:
My attitude for much of the remainder of the night depends heavily on these answers.
I frequently remind him not to feed her within an hour of my coming home. I'm usually pumping just enough -- if I'm lucky, and I'd like to save as much fresh milk as possible for the next day. Lately this has backfired because my sweetheart has become terrified of me.
A few nights ago I called an hour before I left from work. She had eaten an hour before and I'd be heading home in an hour.
"Hold her off," I told him. I knew she could go two hours without eating and often I wonder if he's too quick to feed her when she may be wanting something else like a cuddle, diaper change, playtime, a nap.
I rushed home and she was happy to see me and ready to eat when I got home.
"She's been screaming the last 20 minutes," he told me. There was a hint of something else underneath his obvious annoyance.
"Yeah?" I asked. "But she's not crying now."
"Yeah, well, that's cause I fed her."
DING! The emotional hint I couldn't put under his previous statement was guilt. He had to admit that he hadn't held her off as promised. Of course I wasn't mad, if she was hungry she was hungry, I just hoped he had checked her diaper, and tried playing with her a little before popping a bottle in her mouth.
That's not the only time my husband has felt like he needed to hide the fact that he had to break into our freezer stash, or use more fresh pumped milk than I had set out for another day. Really, it's for my daughter, and she's the one eating it, so what's the big deal?
This is something I'm trying to get better at. The frozen stash is serving its purpose. I always hated when people would tell me the frozen stash is just for emergencies. I feel like saying "well, duh! Do you think I'd defrost a pack when I'm at home and would rather read People Magazine than nurse my baby?" I think the word "emergency" in my brain registers as "last resort" and "hoard me" apparently, because now I'm very stingy about what we use.
Luckily it just makes me more motivated to add in extra pumping sessions when I'm falling behind, or take some fenugreek supplements if I feel like my supply is taking a dip.
Ultimately it's making me more accountable for keeping up with my pumping at work, but I'd be lying if I said it's not also making me a little bit crazy. I'd say the trade off is worth it.