I think my half crabby balance post yesterday was stemmed from a milestone that my daughter and I have recently reached and it’s hit me like a pile of bricks.
Yesterday, I retired my pump. I hung up the horns and I’m officially partially weaning her. Right now, as I typed that it became all the more real and upsetting.
I’m sure you’re wondering why I would do this if it was upsetting to me and part of me wonders that very thing. But, the truth is, I don’t have enough time and balance in my life to continue pumping anymore. I feel guilt and relief all at the same time about this as I sure many moms before me have.
I can’t keep up with everything at work and still make the time to pump. Sure, I’m protected by law for a year but guess what? It’s been one full year to the day (today) that I’ve been back to work plus being a salary employee means I have oodles of work on my desk that needs to get done, period.
I need to get rid of the pressure to get milk for the next day. There is a constant fear that lingers in a pumping mother that cannot be silenced. Every single time my daughter has a drop of my precious milk I need to express… the pressure to keep up my supply stressed me out so much some days I couldn’t eat and then I couldn’t pump because I hadn’t eaten. It’s a vicious cycle.
I nurse my daughter on my lunch hour. I’m lucky enough that my sister-in-law who watches J during the day lives within 10 minutes of my office. Now instead of crunching 2 twenty minute pumping sessions and a half hour lunch into my day to go nurse her for ten minutes, while hoping that she doesn’t want to nurse longer, I take a one hour lunch. I can grab something to eat or prepare what I’ve brought in, drive to see her, play with her, talk with her, then leave to get back to work without being rushed.
Well, in the beginning I had to pump 6+ times a day. Yeah, that’s right. I had to pump on my way to work, 3 times at work, once on my way home and another time in the middle of the night. I did this for months just so my daughter could continue to be exclusively breastfed. As my daughter got older her bottles spread out a little more through the day, then her need for milk when she was away from me decreased so I’d gradually work out a pumping session. Midnight pumping first, then on my way home, then on my way in, then my middle of the day, then my morning and finally I just stopped.
Luckily, I never had an oversupply so skipping a session or two was never really a big deal for me. When I wanted to drop a session I’d just pump for 5 minutes for a day or two during that session then the next day I’d drop it. I’d let me body adjust for 2-3 weeks and then onto the next one. For the longest time I was down to a morning session and an afternoon session until I finally found a good substitution for milk during the day.
J is lactose intolerant. I cut dairy out of my diet when her reflux was at its peak and I wasn’t surprised when she threw up after we gave her an ounce of whole milk. We tried rice milk a couple days in a row one week but she balked at it. A couple weeks later we tried almond milk but she would have nothing to do with it. The stress of having to pump and not having something to give her during the day was intense. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with life and I was drowning.
Then, in a last ditch effort we gave her soy milk. She loves it. She loves it so much I was actually hurt that it only took 1 cup of soy milk to sway her. She does still come to me for “mmmm” (nursing) right away on my lunch hour so I can’t be too heartbroken but part of me really is. She doesn’t need part of me all day anymore and it’s a weird feeling.
Part of me is happy to see my little independent toddler yet part of me wishes I could have my little newborn baby. So, this is the beginning of weaning and it stings a little. But, at least I still have the nighttime snuggles and we’re not giving up nursing anytime soon 🙂
Finding life balance is a constant struggle we all face. Everyday we’re told [by someone, maybe ourselves] that we need to accomplish more, consume less, keep up with the Jones’, be all we can be, parent more, stop helicopter-parenting, keep a clean home, stop wasting time cleaning, simplify our lives, buy the newest gadget, take care of ourselves, give selflessly, do more more more more more more….but remember, do less less less less less.
Some days I feel like I have my world under control. I feel accomplished, loved, loving, and helpful and that generally my life is the way it was meant to be. On these wondrous days I usually have 0-2 loads of laundry in the queue waiting to get loaded into the machine.
The other days I feel like I can never get ahead, never be good enough, never be myself, never take care of myself let alone my family and my laundry is in piles throughout the house taunting me. Coincidence?
Most people will say to take time for yourself and you will find the balance that you need to preserver; I’m telling you that most people are full of it. People dish this out but putting it into practice takes effort, something that a lot of us struggle with.
To help myself find balance I’ve decided to make a shift and make a plan of action. I need to discover why I’m unhappy with myself. Being unhappy is a hard thing to admit and own up to, actually. I’m not unhappy because I’m not skinny enough, not the best wife, not the best mother; although, sure, being better and skinny might be nice.
I challenged myself to discover myself alone. I am a mother, I am a wife, I am a worker, I am all of these things but they do not define me. They are simply part of who I became due to my situations in life and because I lacked a plan. I realize now that when I became a wife and thereafter a mother I didn’t know what I truly wanted out of life and therefore who I am right now often feels forced.
Oh, cry me a river, right?
Sometimes I don’t understand why I can’t be happy and I feel like my life is all out of wack because I know I have it pretty good. But, I feel so stale because I never let myself out. I never took the time to really discover what makes me who I am, what makes me tick, what keeps me going. My kid does, my husband does, and these are fantastic parts of who I’ve become but really, who am I?
Today I’m just trying to catch up on my laundry, keep the loads balanced like my life, while reminding myself to be true. Even though I have responsibilities, duties and I’m expected to do certain things I still need to remember who I am aside from it all.
Who are you? How do you define yourself? How do you balance your life and laundry?
Pumping sounds like a really simple procedure, right? Just put on the horns and it’ll suck the milk right out of you! HA, if only. I personally know a mama who is a high-yielder, a mama who has struggled then eventually supplemented with formula and I’m right there in the middle getting only what I need, more if I do a special milk rain dance (more on that later).
A pumping mothers’ breast are as unique as the babies we’re pumping our liquid gold for. There is no manual that will tell you how you’re going to respond to the pump and how to adjust things – it’s all about trail and error. I’m breaking this down into a series of posts because there is just SO much information I’d love to share regarding pumping. I’ve seen the ins and outs, been through the ups and downs and there are many, many things I wish I would have known in the beginning.
First things first, you need a pump. Unfortunately, most insurance policies will not cover a pump unless it is “medically necessary”. It makes my blood boil typing that out. Personally, I believe there should be a program at every hospital which provides mothers with a good manual pump free of charge no matter what and also full coverage or a discount program for mothers who require a double electric pump. Instead, Big Formula has their foot securely wedged in the door still and most of the time you just get free product “just in case” you need it. !*$&#
If you want to save some serious cash on your pump and you have insurance talk to your provider first. Maybe, just maybe, your insurance is awesome and they’ll tell you how to file a claim to get your pump covered. Our provider told me that the pump needed to be “medically necessary” and I’d need a letter with the ICD-9 code for the reasoning from my doctor to submit for a claim. I asked my midwife to write a letter for me to submit just in case I needed it down the road.
|Breastfeeding Related ICD-9 Codes|
|Abnormal tongue position||750.1|
|Neonatal candida infection||771.7|
|Other transitory neonatal||775.5|
|Feeding problems in newborn||779.3|
|Abnormal loss of weight||783.2|
|Feeding difficulty – infant||783.3|
|Failure to thrive||784.4|
|Suck reflex abnormal||796.1|
|Twin pregnancy post-partum condition or complication||651.04|
|Abscess of nipple||675.03|
|Infections of nipple||675.04|
|Abscess of breast||675.1|
|Other specified infection of breast and nipple||675.8|
|Unspecified infection of the breast and nipple||675.9|
|Engorgement of breasts||676.2|
|Other and unspecified disorder of breast||676.3|
|Other disorders of lactation||676.8|
|Unspecified disorder of lactation||676.9|
Since my hosptial [is awesome!] has lactation consultants and a lactation “shop” I decided to wait until I was at the hospital to see if they would provide a pump. Luckily, they did and they also submitted the claim for me deeming it “Engorgement of breasts 676.2”. Sounds silly that my boobs being engorged were good enough reason to cover a pump but going back to work was not!
If you don’t have insurance have no fear – you can find an affordable solution. I know that we’re all trying to save money but there are two items in which I advise you to buy new not matter how good of a deal it is: car seats and breast pumps. Personally, I would NEVER suggest buying a used pump even if it is a closed system. You don’t really know how old the pump truly is, how often it was used, if the motor is in tip top shape plus you have to buy all new flanges, valves, tubes, bottles, etc.
There are plenty of options out there that will meet your needs and won’t break your bank. Think of it this way – instead of paying $20+ a week on formula once you go back to work you can buy a brand spankin’ new pump for under $150. The savings could be at least $600 in formula alone PLUS there are amazing benefits to continued breastfeeding!
Single or Double and Manual, Electric or Battery Operated
Generally if you’re going to be seperated from your child for 3 or more hours daily or over 10 hours a week you’ll want a high-quality double-sided electric pump. It’s important to extract enough milk to maintain your milk supply while you’re working and here are the pumps that meet the bill.
This was the pump I received from my lactation consultant. The Ameda Purely Yours Ultra comes with the cool ‘n carry tote, 6 bottles with lids, 3 flange sizes, pump motor, pump pieces and a huge fancy bag to carry it all in. If you’d like to try this pump but you’d like to save some cash I’d suggest just getting the Ameda Purely Yours which comes with the pump motor, pump parts and two bottles. Then use your own cooler, freezer packs and bring a few bottles that your child uses to store your milk in. A great bag to carry the whole lot in is one of those green grocery bags you can get from your supermarket.
PROS: Closed system, great suction/power, easy assembly, bottle/flange holder built into pump motor, adjustable suction & speed unique to user’s needs, small, lightweight, easy to clean, Playtex Nursers pump adapter kit available to pump directly into Playtex Nurser system.
Personally this pump worked fine but it wasn’t very comfortable for me. I couldn’t use petals to make this more comfortable because the only size that was available was too small for my nipples.
My new favorite is the Avent ISIS iQ Duo. This pump is amazing for me and fits everything I wanted/needed from a pump. The “massaging” petals are soft and comfortable. The hand control makes it so easy to mimic my daughter’s nursing and once I have a let down I just hit the blue button on the handle and the pump takes over. I couldn’t say better things about this pump and it’s available at Target instore if you want to register for it!
PROS: Comfort petals (removable), very quiet, flange covers included for travel, manual expression turned to electric with the trigger and button right at your fingertips instead of on the pump motor, and a great travel bag. Plus, pump, store and feed from same Avent bottles!
CONS: No bottle stands (I’ve spilt milk, and yes, I cried)! More parts to wash and assemble. Tubing is kind of stiff and ridgid.
I’ve never used a Medela pump so I cannot give an accurate review on one of these pumps. From other moms I’ve talked to I gather that the Medela Pump in Style is the best of the Medela options but this is not a closed system pump and the pricing is steep. It’s a very good name but I’ve also hear that this under $150 Lansinoh Affinity Double Electric Breast Pump works just as well for over half the cost.
Check back for ideas to make pumping easier, how to pump hands free, how to increase your output and how to deal with co-workers and bosses!
Ok, so I’ve been slacking on the blogging front after that awesome giveaway I had. Sometimes life just gets crazy, other things take priority, and I get lazy! But, this past week has been H-E-C-T-I-C. My main job is as a buyer for the SE region of the states but I’m located up in Wisconsin, for those of you not in the know. Did you hear about The Snowcopalypse that came barreling through here!? It was insane.
But, since we knew it was coming Monday & Tuesday I had to go into hyperdrive trying to get caught up on work to leave early Tuesday and then have Wednesday off for our impeeding doom. Here’s what it looked like for those of you that didn’t experience the most amazing snowfall I’ve EVER SEEN.