Wednesday, October 8, 2014

No More Pumping, No Regrets

I know this title may come as a shock if you've been following and know how much effort has gone into providing breastmilk day and night for little P. Let's see...there have been at least 3 lactation consultants at the hospital and 1 at home, renting of a hospital grade pump, supplements that were causing more gas than good, baking of enough lactation cookies to feed an army, and a virtual non-stop rotation of feeding, burping, calming, pumping, hand expressing, and washing pumping parts 7-8 times per day...and yes, I am tired just reading my own writing.

So, how does playtime and snuggling with a newborn fit into all that chaos? Well, it doesn't very easily at all. Even if baby adhered to some predictable sort of schedule (which he shouldn't be expected to this early) the whole pumping routine would be difficult. Add to the mix days when baby is going through a growth spurt and cluster feeding (eating every hour practically). It's extremely difficult to maintain...at least for me.

Correction: It's been difficult for US. I have an extremely helpful husband who has cared for P countless times so I could pump.  He's been soooo amazingly supportive, from being up all night helping with those dreaded SNS feedings, to being part of the LC consults, to dropping whatever he's doing at a moment's notice to support my ability to pump. I was spending about 4 hours each day on the entire process, so without hubby it never ever could have worked as long as it did.

4 hours. That's a lot of time that could be spent in a precious snuggle or reading a story or singing Itsy Bitsy Spider....the list of things I could be doing with Preston and would RATHER be doing with him just became much too long to ignore. And if I can be just a tiny bit selfish, there would also be more room for SLEEP, eating better, and caring for myself and our home...all things that would help me be a better mom anyway.

Anyone who knows me knows that I do not do things half-ass. I put a lot of energy into things I set my mind to in general, and giving P as much breastmilk as possible was one of those things. However, there were enough rough and sleep deprived days that both hubby and I had to re-examine what we could do to make things less stressful. And while I realize it didn't have to be all or nothing, without a doubt we agreed that pumping was just something no one would miss...not even Preston.

I felt guilty at first that breastfeeding was not the picture perfect experience I'd hoped for, complete with rainbows and butterflies. Pumping wasn't nearly as sustainable as I'd hoped either. Of course I want the best nutrition for my child, but I am also open to the fact that giving him formula (the most expensive kind on the market might I add) does not make me a bad mom. As my dear friend Amber reminded me, "Want to see a bad mom? Turn on the news!" Right you are my friend!

I began the process of weaning off the pump last week and was already down to 1 pump yesterday. I do believe I'm officially done as of today, and I don't think my body was fighting me much on the decision to stop obviously. It seemed very happy to hang a "closed for business" sign on the door and begin getting back to normal in record time. Other things I won't miss are arthritic hands from all the hand expressing, rashes on my boobs, blisters on my swollen nips, and the uncomfortable heaviness of boobs my body wasn't designed for. I can tell you with 100% certainty now that I will not ever be getting breast implants. I have never been so grateful to be an A cup again and regain admittance into the IBTC!

Furthermore, I am beyond content with our decision and won't allow myself to feel guilty for making the best choices I can for our family...even if it's not someone else's path. Our path to parenthood was not conventional in the first place, so I am used to rolling with the punches by now. Surely there will be many more things that turn out differently than what I envisioned at first...and that's O.K!

The past week has been much easier and more enjoyable to say the least. Now when I feed Preston nothing pulls me away afterwards. I'm not watching the clock and can just cradle him in my arms and take an afternoon catnap. I will admit though, that most times I stay awake and just watch him nap and snore and breathe. I notice every little hair on his head and wrinkle on his chunky little fingers. Many times I just sit there with tears in my eyes, grateful for every last thing about him. I couldn't have asked for a better little boy, and I'm going to cherish every free moment I have with him.

These little piggies = Perfection

Snuggling in my lap as we speak

44 comments:

  1. A fed baby is all that matters, and it sounds like you are doing what matters. I was able to bf and HATED pumping, like hateditsodarnmuch hate. I applaud you for sticking it out for so long. If I were in your shoes, I would have tossed out the pump much sooner.

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    1. Hail to the pump haters! haha! Thanks for making me feel I gave it a good go. I will NOT miss pumping whatsoever!

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  2. I am still on the EPing crazy train. I really want to get to the mental place you have. For me it's hard because I'm still holding on to this delusional hope that she will nurse eventually. It's hard letting go of a lot of things because so little has gone as expected or planned. I applaud you for being able to let this go and make the right decision for yourself and Preston!

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    1. I feel you Lisa. I even put Preston back on the breast one day just to see if he'd take it or if I felt any differently before I made my final decision to stop giving BM altogether. He did take the breast easily at first but the session did not last long, and he became frustrated rather quickly since the delivery was much less and much slower. It was just one more reassurance that our path of using bottles is working better, so why change it? He's happy with a bottle and so are we!

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  3. No need to feel bad...my mother want able to breastfeed either. One because two of us didn't like it and two she didn't produce much. A healthy baby and mama is what matters. Enjoy the previous time you have with Preston while he's still small.

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    1. Thanks Jo Jo! I kept telling myself that he is only this little once, and I need to enjoy him this little while I can. Now I can definitely do that more!

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  4. Oh Emily - You are a rock star! You definitely gave breast feeding your ALL!! That is for sure. I have had several friends just this year that had a lot of problems with it too, but I can tell you that NONE of them put in all the effort that you have. You are amazing. They too had to stop, and all realized after that the decision they made was better for everyone. You are not selfish at all for wanting sleep - that is a legit need! You are one amazing momma! Don't let the enemy tell you otherwise! Those cute snuggle pic at the end - too much xoxo

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    1. Thank you for the validation Caroline! I know there are people who manage to EP for 1 yr+ and those who BF for even longer, but it's nice to hear I'm not alone and so many of your friends have had similar difficulties. I do feel content knowing I gave it a really good shot for almost two months!

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  5. Great job mama! Your friend is absolutely right in, "want to see a bad mom, turn on the TV". There are plenty out there and you are not one of them! Having a happy, fed baby is all that matters and if formula is the route to go and what works best for your family then so be it! I had the same internal argument with myself! With my first, I lasted only 5 weeks and it was difficult, I wasn't producing, I was BLEEDING (a lot!) so we stopped and my daughter did GREAT on formula. The second time around, I was determined ahead of time to make it work. And at first it did. My daughter latched well, she seemed to like it...and then we went home. And it all fell apart. It is one thing to devote SO much time to making it work when its only you and the baby...throw a toddler in the mix and I began to feel it wasn't fair to big sister that I was having to spend SO MUCH time BFing and pumping. You gotta do what's right for your family dynamic, and sounds like you have that down perfect! Again, great job mama, I applaud you (and hubby) for the amazing job you are doing! It's a tough job!

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    1. Now that is just a whole extra can of worms. Pumping with a toddler would be SO not even possible for a SAHM! I applaud YOU for trying as hard as you did too in both cases!

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  6. That's how you know you made the right decision. You found things more enjoyable. Trust your gut, it's always been right. And, um, he's pretty stinking cute!!

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    1. Yep, everything about the decision feels right. I'm surprised it was so easy to feel content, because I tried so hard for a while, but I am CONTENT with it!

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  7. He is perfect... Breast milk fed or not :)!!!!

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  8. Sounds like you made the best possible decision you could have made for your family. That's the definition of a good Mom! So happy for you :)

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    1. That's what I'm learning one lesson at a time. So many different ways to do this mothering thing.

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  9. You really have tried everything to breast feed and you should be proud of that! How wonderful to have more time with him now! Love the pics! So precious!

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    1. Very sweet of you Jennifer. I am proud for how long we made it. Not like things were exactly in my favor to do it at all, so I am thankful for the amount of time he got breastmilk.

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  10. I have a hate hate relationship with my pump. I pump 3x/day if I work and once when I don't. If I hadn't been able to bf I know I would've gone to formula with no hesitation. As a friend of mine who had ep'd for both of her kids said, it is a gift to be able to pump and a gift to know when to stop.

    Awesome job of being able to pump for Preston and knowing that it was best for you and him if you stopped!

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    1. What great advice from your friend. Thanks Elizabeth!

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  11. Pumping sucks!!!!
    I'm so glad you're much happier now. Yippy!

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    1. High Five to that one. Pumping does suck!!!

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  12. I think you did everything you did and gave it a great effort. The most important thing is that P is getting fed and nourished. The fact that you can now take care of yourself better is wonderful too! Don't feel bad at all, you're doing what you need to do to take care of your child!

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    1. Still working towards taking better care of myself. Guess that means I need to get my hair cut at some point. I am really ready to re-enter society once he has his shots next week!

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  13. I am not a mother but I say whatever works for YOU and your family is all that matters!! It sounds like things are going so much better now :)

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    1. They are going better for that reason, and you will know soon enough yourself, Amie! I have no doubt in that!

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    2. Oh also on the implants, you aren't missing a thing!! Wish I wouldn't have gotten them in the first place because now 11 years later I either have to have them re-done or just take them out. More $$$.

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  14. If you look at other animal species, they breastfeed for a much shorter duration, so I think stopping early is respecting evolution! If you want a laugh about it, read Tina Fey's book Bossypants, she struggled with breastfeeding and pumping. As a fellow A cup, welcome back to the IBTC!

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    1. Oh, I've read her book and laughed my ass off. However, it was before even TTC'ing, so I should probably go back and re-read it. I bet I'll like it even more now. Very interesting about the animals. Strangely, that makes me feel even better too!

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  15. First, I want you to know that I read all of your posts from my phone but for some reason, I am not always able to comment. So with that said, I always say to myelf, "self, you can comment later when you get to the computer." But then it slips my mind. However, I remembered today! WHOO HOO! LOL!

    I want you to know that I am so proud of you for doing all that you could and going above and BEYOND for your precious baby! You are such an inspiration to me and I wanted you to know that! I hope you have a great weekend! xo

    waitingforbabybird.com

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    1. Well aren't you just the sweetest?! YOU, my friend, are an inspiration to me and a ton of other women who read your blog too!

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  16. I think this is empowering to women. I know so many friends that feel so guilty and get so obsessive and buy into the "nurse till they are 10" theory that seems to be so intense here in the Portland, Or area. There are GREAT formulas on the market and several babies are only fed formula from day 1. You have provided a lot (I heard 1 monthish=amazing). Thank you for writing this. You are an amazing mommy and now have some more free snuggle time.

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    1. Oh I bet there is a lot of pressure to BF in Oregon, with how crunchy everything is. Thank you for the kind words!

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    2. I just had to LOL at this comment, because I so agree and I've so been there. My full blown "hippie" little sis lives in southern Oregon. It's a whole different world lol. While I was no longer feeding my daughter the "horrible powder" when we visited I DID bring her microwavable mac n cheese (gasp!). At the time she was very picky, and this was a go to. Well, I was dumbfounded when my sis didn't have a microwave in her house for me to "cook" up this delicious meal. non-hippie fail!

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  17. You're an amazing mama! I love reading about this stage in your life because I remember when you didn't think you'd ever get here. You did! And he's perfect.

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    1. And I can't wait to read about all your FTM moments as well Jessah!

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    2. I couldn't agree more, Jessah :)

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  18. Sounds like you made a good decision. Breastfeeding ceases to be beneficial when it's just stressing everyone out! Thanks for sharing this story with such openness and honesty. I love that now you have extra cuddle time and you're not always dashing off to pump. Sounds like a win-win situation all around.

    Keep up the good work!!

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    1. Exactly...the extra stress wasn't helping anyone. There is cuddle time galore now!

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  19. Proud of you Emily. You have to do what works for your family. Even if that means going against the grain. You're a fantastic mama.

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    1. So funny that when our parents were growing up, giving breast milk was going against the grain, and I think that changed in the 70's to the opposite....that breast milk was embraced again. I think Ina May's Guide to Childbirth or The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding goes pretty in depth on this...can't remember which one. So interesting though the cultural norms and studies that are put out there, and how they change through time.

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  20. Good for you. I don't think anyone could/would argue with your decision. And you could not possibly have a more beautiful baby, my friend.

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    1. Thanks Em! He is beautiful. I think I spent at least an hour just gazing at his eyelashes yesterday. They are growing so long and starting to curl up now. So cute. :)

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  21. Oh Emily....... how many times I have I read your blog and thought to myself "I can relate 100% to this"????? So many times!!!!

    PUMPING SUCKS!!!!!! I'm just going to come right out and say it! I hate it with a passion! When bf'ing became to hard for various different reasons with Taylor (around 3 months old) I started EP'ing. Well, that lasted all of a couple weeks before I decided it just wasn't worth it. I then switched to pumping a couple times a day and then finally threw in the towel. So, I've kind of been there. And, I feel ya. Taylor has had formula (Kirkland brand at that) since she was 3 months old, and can you tell as a 4.5 year old? LOL. NO you can't.

    The mommy bashing with breastmilk vs. formula, and breast is best drives me INSANE!!! We need to stop bashing one another and empower one another. okay, rant over :)

    Anyways, like Jessah said above, I LOVE LOVE LOVE reading your posts. I LOVE that you are now a mommy! I'm so happy for you!

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