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.
Why did I really do it?
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.
Is there another reason?
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.
How did I wean from the pump?
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 🙂