Breastfeeding – the pumping, the stressing and the stuff many moms don’t publicly talk about
I’m here… I thought I would be more excited. I haven’t pumped in over a month and I haven’t nursed in exactly one week. I thought the weaning process would be more difficult. Austin actually weaned himself…lol He stopped being interested at about 10 months. I pressed him to night nurse for about another 3 weeks and after that, he was really over it. He just stopped… all by himself *insert dramatic cry face here* My baby has grown up waaaay too fast on me. I’m happy to have my boobs back, but a little sad at the same time.
I absolutely MUST salute ALL breastfeeding moms, whether you exclusively pump, exclusively nurse, or a combination of both; whether you breastfeed for a week, a month, a year or longer – this breastfeeding life is no joke! It’s amazing what our bodies are able to do to grow and nourish our little people. We are awesome! I will share my story in hopes that it will encourage and inspire someone. Please share your story in the comments so we can all encourage one another and keep each other going.
First of all, I have to give a shout out to my good friend, Shatia. She was with me from the beginning – from washing pump parts & showing me how to operate that thing – to showing me how to properly hold the baby while he’s nursing. She still answers any of my questions to this day!
I was one of the fortunate mothers whose baby latched perfectly from birth. My milk came in within 3 days of delivery and we were good to go. BUT… my nipples, oh my sore, sore nipples *insert cry face here* They say the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding are the toughest and whoever “they” are was NOT lying. Every.Single.Time the baby latched in the beginning was painful. This is the process of your nipples adjusting to the nursing life and its no walk in the park. The Lasinoh lanolin ointment was definitely my friend in those weeks.
I was told not to pump within the first 2 months because my milk supply was regulating itself according the baby’s needs. I did, however, pump here and there so daddy could feed baby. I pumped enough for a bottle and that was good enough for me.
Returning to work…
When I returned to work, Austin was 3 months old. My milk supply was wonderful. I was pumping enough for him to take 16 ounces to daycare and I still had another 4 ounces left from my pumping session most days. I was pumping 3 times a day (9am, 12pm and 3pm). This enabled me to build the coveted “freezer stash”. I built my stash without thinking about it, but I know most moms do stress over producing more than enough milk.
Producing milk and having a stash can become quite the obsession if you’re not careful. You will find yourself creating unnecessary stress and stress will affect your apply. If you are producing enough to send with your baby while they’re away from you, YOU’RE FINE!
I was fortunate enough to return to work and have a really good lactation room set up. My pumping schedule wasn’t impacted in any way (initially). However, when Austin was 6 months, I got a new assignment, which meant a different working environment and a new team. At this point, my schedule got busy, I got stressed at work, Austin was on solids and my milk supply tanked.
Nobody tells you about the dusty lactation conditions in some work locations. Or the funny looks you get when it’s time for you to go and pump. Or the stress you create when you feel like you’re taking too long in the lactation room. Or the stress you feel when you can’t produce enough milk for your baby like you once did. It got rough for me. But I set a goal to give my baby mommy’s milk for at LEAST 12 months and I almost made it (until he weaned himself…lol).
Oh the milk boosters – lactation cookies, smoothies, and teas – were my friend! Most moms don’t mention the struggle to get out enough milk to send to daycare with their child, but I’m here to tell you… I did a LOT! I was:
- Stuffing my mouth with lactation muffins, cookies, teas and anything else that helped me produce enough (I did everything but pills… I’m not a big pill fan)
- Putting brewer’s yeast, flax seed meal and oatmeal in EVERYTHING…lol
- Pumping in the car to stay on schedule
- Avoiding clothes that prevented me from easily accessing my boobs
I made it…
I almost reached my goal of 12 months. My cycle returned awhile Austin was 10 months and I believe that played a major part in my decreased supply and Austin’s disinterest. But I went 11 whole months and I am proud of me. Breastfeeding isn’t hard, but the pumping IS! The hardest part was the sacrifice – stopping for 30 minutes at least 3 times a day and physically hooking yourself up to a machine to pump milk for your growing baby.
Its tough… but its worth it! I don’t need to go into all the benefits of breastfeeding here, but there are PLENTY! If your body is able to produce milk and your baby can latch or if you can pump, please do your baby a favor and make the sacrifice. Find yourself some people who will support you in your journey. I would not have been able to go this long if I didn’t have the support of my breastfriends. If you have no support and you’re reading this, reach out to me and I will make myself available for tips and advice; I will also point you in the direction of a great support group on Facebook. If you’re pregnant, PLEASE try breastfeeding FIRST! Your baby will thank you and you wont regret it!
As always, thanks for reading and leave comments below