Mammary Whey

Clinical Miniseries
ESTIMATE 9-MINUTE READ

EPISODE 1 – MOTHERS

A couple of industrious moms discuss what to do with the abundance of excess breast milk they are freezing.

Gestation

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Arlene and Sonya are neighbors who met during daily walks in the park. Sonya became pregnant six weeks after Arlene, who already has a 1-year old son. The expectant mothers bond over their rapid bodily changes. They share photos that range from a slight abdominal bump to a mas­sive protrusion. Another marvel that excites them is the engorgement of their breasts.

Colostrum production can begin as early as the second trimester of pregnancy. This thicker yellowish milk is packed with nutrients for newborn babies. One to two ounces daily is common until day three, when more voluminous lighter viscosity milk production begins.

Frozen

Even small breasts can feed babies. Breast size depends much on their volume of fat, not the amount of milk-making alveoli. Smaller breasts do not have a vast storage capacity but they may produce as much milk as larger ones.

Recognizing the many health advantages for children, Arlene and Sonya express excess milk with breast pumps. Then they meticulously, package, label, and freeze their milk.

Arlene is breastfeeding two babies, so her freezer is not as crowded as Sonya’s. Arlene offers space to store Sonya’s excess. Then, while sitting down to nurse their respective infants, they discuss their bodies and what to do with their excess milk.

Pulling up her blouse to reveal an abdominal scar, Sonya inquires, “If you don’t mind me asking, was your last birth vaginal or cesarean?”

“I’m glad you asked. The first child was vaginal. I could have done without the episiotomy but the sutures healed in a reasonable time. With my last child, the doctor performed cesarean,” bemoans Arlene.

“Even though Roger was my first, he was delivered via cesarean. Is that the standard practice now?

“I wish there was more consultation about how to slice up our bodies. I rather go through more pain during delivery than bare lifelong scars.”

“They gave me a bikini-line incision. I guess it’s better than a vertical cut. But I agree, we should have options.

“Maybe it’s psychological or perhaps I’m obsessive, but when I’m not nursing or pumping milk, my breasts ache. I feel compelled to get every drop of milk out,” confesses Sonya.

“It could be clogged ducts. I can’t complain of frequent aching. But my obsessions take over too.” Arlene replies.

“Most of my feedings are straight from my breasts. What I freeze is only useful if my husband needs to feed little Roger while I’m sleeping—but when do I ever sleep?”

“Untouched immediately-frozen milk has a shelf life of five months. So what do we do with the leftovers?” asks Arlene.

“I dunno. Maybe we should look for Pinterest recipes. We might make some smoothies,” Sonya interjects.

“Yeah, or savory mac ’n’ cheese!”

“I had a lemonade stand as a child. I guess a grownup version would be a Mammeraide stand,” Sonya suggests.

“You joke, but I want to see if there’s a market for any of this,” Arlene says while doing a quick search on her smartphone.

Taste Test

“According to the internet, both moms and dads drink mother’s milk. Many enjoy it straight. Others use it as coffee creamer,” Arlene continues.

“Now I’m curious!” says the eager Sonya.

“To taste your own?”

“Sure, if it’s good enough for little Roger. I may be able to pull and, stretch a little… like… this. Oh, that’s sweet!” Sonya remarks with a look of satis­faction. “You have to try it!”

“Girl, you are either a contortionist or have an advantage with a larger cup size.

Sonya admits, “This one has always been a half cup size larger than the other. Before my lactation began, it was out of reach. Taste your own first. Then, let’s try each other’s for comparison.”

Let’s express a little in a couple of glasses.” After doing so, Arlene asks, “Do you taste any difference?”

“Our milk tastes about the same to me. Now I know why little Roger smiles during feedings. What do you think?”

Arlene continues with her assessment, “Focusing on the milk, you’re just a little sweeter, but I could get used to either. Beginning lactation 6 weeks later than me—are about level 5 in sweetness. That’s like vanilla almond milk mixed with a teaspoon of honey. I am closer to level 4.”

“My mind is swirling with possibilities. As much as I bake sweets, why am I even buying milk when my freezer is full of mine? Speaking of swirling, do you have any bananas and chocolate syrup or some strawberries?”

“Yes. What are you thinking?”

“Let’s take our tasting up a notch! Blend some frozen milk with the fruit or syrup and I’ll split a smoothie with you.”

“Right now? Okay, first let me put the babies in the cribs…. I can’t tell yet if the path we’re ascending is bizarre or brilliant.” Arlene blends a colorful fruit smoothie and pours it into two cups. “Bottoms up! Oh, this is good—sweet and nutritious.”

Sonya sips and replies, “It’s like a smooth gourmet ice cream.”

“There must be a way to monetize this,” Arlene suggests.

“Let’s regroup to compare notes after researching options. For now, I’m going home to experiment with some pies.”

“Sounds like it would be good with some coffee or cappuccino.”

“One combo dessert order coming up!” Arlene promises.

“We won’t lactate forever. So we need to optimize this golden opportunity,” Arlene stresses before her mind wonders a bit. “Tonight, I’m going to get creative with my husband. That should wean him into the smoothies I plan on having every day.”

“I see what you just did there, and I may need to do the same. If at least three people in the house are drinking my milk, the supply will remain fresh. Seems like we’ll have much to talk about tomorrow.”

The next morning Arlene and Sonya are busy reading tips for selling breast milk and online recipes for pancakes, ice cream, popsicles, pies, and mac ’n’ cheese. It turns out that savory dishes are more difficult to perfect because of the breast milk sweetness.

Many recipes are for infants. But some are for adult consumption. While Sonya is at home experimenting with pies, Arlene decides to make pancakes for breakfast. Without revealing the secret ingredient, Donald remarks that they are the best he has tasted.

Later in the afternoon, Sonya brings her dessert over for Arlene to sample. “Here it is. Be honest. Should I serve it to my husband, Greg, tonight or not?”

After tasting one tiny bite, Arlene’s eyes light up as she quickly downs two heaping forkfuls before expressing her enthusiasm, “Girl, you nailed it!”

“It’s a cheesecake topped with a layer of sweet potato. I also made biscuits and a mini cherry pie but ate them all while testing. Your confirmation builds confidence before serving the cheesecake after dinner tonight.”

“As I said, it’s rich and delicious! Either give me this recipe or bring me a slice at least once a month.”

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