It’s a given! Stressful? What? No way. It’s natural.. instinctual.. I’m literally built to do it.. it’s free.. why would anyone not?!
^All thoughts of mine before birthing a child and trying to feed him.
After breastfeeding turned out to be not as magically easy and natural as I assumed it would be, I decided to rely on my pump. I am firmly team #FedIsBest, as long as your baby is eating and gaining weight, formula is great nowadays. My delivery didn’t go as I had planned, though (Surprise! C-Section!), and I was determined to do something the way I wanted. And I wanted him to have breastmilk.
So my first ever momma journey turned into one of exclusive pumping, which was and is a hate-love-hate relationship, but one I’ve been very proud of overall. My initial breastfeeding goal had been a year, but after starting EP-ing, I quickly realized a 6 month goal was much more attainable and it was encouraging to have an “end” in sight.
By the time I got to about 6 1/2 months, I’d felt like I’d had several really successful weeks in a row. Baby boy was above average weight and happy as could be, my liquid gold was going above and beyond. I had finally got into a schedule of sorts, and my supply was well established, but I just couldn’t get over the resentment I had carrying my pump with me everywhere I went. I felt like I was living my life in four-hour blocks revolving around this machine and tubing. So we started tapering his bottles towards formula, until around 7 months when he’d take a full bottle of formula, with night feedings being the breastmilk I’d saved from the day.
Now that I knew he’d take formula and wasn’t having any bad reactions, I decided I would start to wean myself. YAY!! SO EXCITING!
Weaning myself was more uncomfortable than pumping had become. I was engorged, had clogged ducts, I even think I had a touch or two of mastitis – NOT FUN. And on top of this, after buying my second container of formula after mere days, I was hit by some formula sticker shock.
So.. here I am now, about two weeks into trying to kill my milk supply, having doubts about quitting.
My husband has encouragingly told me to quit if I want to, “it’s just money”, knowing that this process hasn’t been the easiest on my sanity. But it’s hard for me to imagine spending over $500 these next few months on something I’ve been getting in return for my time. I also think of all the health benefits I believe there are, and the stubborn part of me wants to meet my naive self’s goal of breastfeeding his entire first year (even if EP-ing doesn’t quite live up to everyone’s definition of “breastfeeding”).
I’m typing this now as I’m sitting here pumping in the smallest gap of a timeframe I have for two weeks.. to see if continuing is even an option, as now I would have the lovely task of RE-establishing my now-diminished supply.
My new challenge to myself, if I do continue, is to look at this experience in a more positive way, and to really strive to stop complaining. I know that there are a lot of women who may have been thankful to have had this experience at all, and I am so blessed for this able-body that I’ve been given.
So for now I’m going to take the weekend to enjoy my family and friends and [currently] low pumping demands while I contemplate!
So thanks for bearing with me through my first “mommy post”! And to all the other mommas stressing and wearing themselves out trying to feed and take care of their babies the best they can – I’m cheers-ing my glass of wine to you tonight!
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2 posts in one week!?
This one was just hitting me hard today, and I couldn’t wait! (please forgive my errors from my lack of proofreading, this one was pumped out quick) (pun, ha)
I’d love to hear stories of your own experiences, or advice or questions, leave a comment or use the contact page!