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  1. #11
    psophia17 is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    >OK, I have sat here a long time thinking about whether to
    >post this or no, but I can't just let this go by..

    I don't think that my points disagree with the research you've posted much at all, actually.

    >Milk is not the same all the time - even in cows the
    >composition of milk changes over time. (See chart at bottom
    >of page
    >http://www.delaval.com/Dairy_Knowled...mary_Gland.htm)
    > The fat and protein content changes. Anyone who has pumped
    >on a regular basis can show you this - the milk I pump in the
    >at different times has different amounts of fat - it is
    >obvious just looking at the separated milk. Does BM change
    >instantly? No, but it does change throughout the day and over
    >periods of weeks and months. Yes it's based on the needs of
    >the baby. There are many studies showing that BM naturally
    >becomes less fatty as the baby gets older and the milk
    >produced by mothers of preemies is different than that of
    >full-term infants.

    Exactly - it is a system based on time - it is not instant, and it is not independent. A breast does not know that the baby is going to be extra thirsty or need more fat on any particular day. However, when the weather is hot, and the mother is drinking a lot of water, the breast will respond to the mother's cues, and produce accordingly. If the baby is also drinking more from thirst, that is a cue. But it's not independently happening. The two elements of milk production, stage of lactation and mother's nutrition, work in sync.

    >In cows, yes - they have a milk or teat cistern, which humans
    >don't.

    No, humans don't have a teat cistern, but even in cows, the teat cistern doesn't fill up until milking has begun. Before the cistern fills up, let-down has to happen. And it's the same hormones causing let-down in humans and cows. And I for one know that when my let down happened, that wasn't when all the milk was produced. It was pouring out from boobs hard to the touch. When I was done pumping (or BF, for that matter), I was soft again.

    >Do a search in pubmed to find out who has been milking women -
    >there are plenty of research articles out there.

    I did a quick search looking for info on foremilk and hindmilk production. I didn't find anything that said hindmilk is produced as the breast is emptying, only that it appears after the foremilk in any given BF session or BM sample. If there is one, I didn't know which it was - and I tried various articles to see the sampling methods.
    >
    >Here is an overview article:
    >
    >http://www.pennhealth.com/health_inf...ncy/000115.htm

    Neat article - I enjoyed comparing it to the one about cows from De Laval. But my take on it is that it draws attention to how similar the two processes are, not how different they are.
    >
    >If I have time next week I'll try to track down some
    >references.

    I'd love to see more - I've been thinking about this subject for a long time, and now that TTC is on the horizon, I need to educate myself.

    >You are confusing producing for a pump with feeding the
    >offspring. I would bet that a good portion of those cows that
    >"can't produce" for the pump could feed their calves.

    This is one I feel very strongly about. Cows are animals. They are bred for their dairy ability - their milk production. In most herds, a cow will last only a few years as a milk producer before its time is up. My family farm did not work that way. We kept cows for as long as they were happy and healthy, and it was very rare that we would get a cow that couldn't produce. After all - this is what they are bred for. However, there were times when there was no milk. A trickle, a drizzle, nothing more. We did not get rid of that cow, like many farms would, we would put the cow with the calf, we would keep the cow through another lactation and give it a chance. We would milk by hand throughout the day, hoping that something would work. My very favorite cow ever, Delilah, my animal whom I showed at the fair, who won several awards for her perfect dairy composition, never gave more than a few pounds of milk at a time. Most cows would easily produce at least 30lbs at a milking. My parents felt bad that my cow did so badly, and kept her for years, and nothing ever upped her production. The only daughter she ever had, Daisy, is still at the farm and still a high producer.

    >I'm not going to say every single woman can BF, but I see far
    >too often where the normal newborn evening fussies is taken as
    >a sign of "not enough milk". And there are plenty of women
    >who cannot pump a single ounce but breastfeed their babies
    >just fine.

    I agree completely. But the pressure many women put on themselves to get BF going, and the pressure they get from elsewhere, doesn't do anyone any good. Putting pressure on a woman to produce, and making them feel guilty when they are unable to, is mean-spirited and unsupportive, whether they are trying to BF at all or trying to pump. BF, pumping, and milking cows have some major things in common, and the importance of relaxation is one of them. This is why I focused my OP on pumping - that's what I have seen the most of with the cows. If that helps anyone, that's awesome.

    >and we should all spit up and rechew our food,
    >since it's all about stomachs, right?

    Stomachs are entirely different - if cows were omnivores instead of herbivores, I might we willing to go here, but alas, they are not :)
    Petra
    Mother of Two
    Owner of BaDumBums

  2. #12
    barbarhow Guest

    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    >You are confusing producing for a pump with feeding the
    >offspring. I would bet that a good portion of those cows that
    >"can't produce" for the pump could feed their calves.


    And there are cows who can't produce for their offspring as well. That's where the bottle fed calves come in. It happens. I have bottle fed cows and lambs on my brothers farm because the mothers were unable to nurse them.

    Barbara-mom to Jack 3/27/03, a Red Sox fan
    and Anna 5/12/05, my little Yankee fan!

  3. #13
    barbarhow Guest

    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    Petra-this is pretty fascinating! I wish I had read this before bfing the first time around. I was under the impression that it was this easy natural process-the baby came out and you slapped it on your boob and went on with your day. What a rude awakening for me. The music trick for let down I learned several months in when I started pumping in the lactation room at work and there was a radio I would play. Definately helped.

    I wonder if anyone ever tried making fenugreek tea and oatmeal cookies for the cows? ;-)
    Barbara-mom to Jack 3/27/03, a Red Sox fan
    and Anna 5/12/05, my little Yankee fan!

  4. #14
    psophia17 is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    >I wonder if anyone ever tried making fenugreek tea and oatmeal
    >cookies for the cows? ;-)

    Well...I don't think fenugreek tea has been tried yet, the hot water bills would be insane, since a cow drinks gallons and gallons of water every day, but oats are in a ton of the different feeds that cows are given. Cows like sweet things, and there's this one kind of pellet feed that tastes like oatmeal cookies, without the spice. I know that because I have eaten it. That's something farm kids do sometimes, before they know better. Other feeds have ground up (expired) candy bars in them, wrappers and all, and loaves of bread often make the cut as well. And the powdered milk we fed the calves smells and tastes like dry vanilla frosting - a delicacy for farm kids, I would say. Nothing like how gross baby formual smells and tastes...
    Petra
    Mother of Two
    Owner of BaDumBums

  5. #15
    phirey Guest

    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    OK, I have a question on the music thing...

    After reading this today, I was nursing DD and trying to see if she had any rhythm I could try to mimic with the pump later, and also hum to. She must have her mama's genes! I wanted to be a singer and I have perfect pitch but I have absolutely NO rhythm -- I could never even follow a metronome.

    So are you saying pick one or two songs that fit your baby's or your pump's beat and you'll be in the zone? If so, can anyone name theirs so I can have an example? I'm just stumped here... Doesn't is get just GLUED in your head until it drives you crazy.


    Ooooh! Wait,before I hit post I realized it doesn't have to be like rock or anything. I pictured "My Favorite Things," from the Sound of Music. Do you mean something like that? By George I think I've got it! duh!


  6. #16
    psophia17 is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    >Ooooh! Wait,before I hit post I realized it doesn't have to be
    >like rock or anything. I pictured "My Favorite Things," from
    >the Sound of Music. Do you mean something like that? By George
    >I think I've got it! duh!

    Sounds like you've got it - yay!

    I never had an actual song, I'd kind of go "da dum da dum da dum" in tune with the pump as it did its thing. Anything that has a repetitive back beat will do, I think...My Favorite Things would be perfect, most waltzes would work out, I think, and marches would be okay too, if you could find a relaxing one. I'm thinking about it now, and I'm pretty sure I sang a lot of "O come all ye faithful" when I pumped...luckily DS was a Christmas baby :)

    In the barn with the cows, we were forever singing in time to the pumping action.
    Petra
    Mother of Two
    Owner of BaDumBums

  7. #17
    kath68 Guest

    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    Thank you for posting this -- I think the cross-species analysis is really interesting. FWIW, I was a pretty good pumper in my day, and while I rarely listened to music, I found myself getting lost in the rhythm of the pump. It was more of a waltz type rhythm and I always thought it sounded like it was speaking to me in pump-language. Silly but true. So the music thing makes a lot of sense to me.

    It is intuitive to me that mammals -- bovine, human, whatever, have similar processes for developing milk and feeding their young. Sure, there is going to be variation (boy am I glad I don't have an udder!!!!), but of course the systems are similar. The system works!

    Thanks again!

  8. #18
    elliput's Avatar
    elliput is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    Thanks for posting, Petra! This and the responding posts have been very interesting. I got a good chuckle out of the suggestion to massage the breast before pumping as I have been doing this from almost the beginning. I don't know if I read it somewhere else or just started doing it instinctively, but it does work!
    Erica
    DD 1/05
    DS 9/08

    Since one just does not simply walk into Mordor, I say we form a conga line and dance our way in.
    Excuse me, are you in a play​?

  9. #19
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    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    Thanks for your post, Petra. I majored in Animal Science and worked on cow reproduction, but I never thought about the cow-human comparision quite as in depth as this before. :) And I am one of those cows, er, humans, who can't produce enough milk. I assume I have lack of sufficient glandular tissue, due to my PCOS. Many women with PCOS have undersupply (some have over supply as well). Percentage-wise, no there isn't a huge percentage of women who can't breastfeed (or can't breastfeed enough). But number-wise? There are a lot of us. I am pro-BF, but there are times it just doesn't work. And for mamas like myself who really wanted to BF and can't we can use all the support we can get. You're right, it isn't always about trying harder.

    Jennifer
    mom to Jacob 9/27/02

  10. #20
    psophia17 is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Default RE: Milk production from a dairy farm perspective

    When I was initially trying to keep myself awake while BF DS in the early days, and having issues with BF because it was nowhere near as easy as I figured it should be, I was looking for tips in books and online. It took a plugged duct (I think that's what it was - the right side of my right boob was hot, hard, and close to painful) for me to call my BF guru (I was lucky I had one - the mom of the 4 kids I babysat for BF all of them), and she said to think about how we would treat a cow with the same problem...it was a total DUH moment, and I've been thinking of other similarites every since.

    And I see no reason not to apply info about cows, tons of years worth of research completed for financial gain on the part of the dairy industry, to BF, which doesn't have an industry funding research behind it. If it doesn't apply, well, no loss, but if it does why not capitalize on that?
    Petra
    Mother of Two
    Owner of BaDumBums

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