Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm done.

Before I had the baby, I set a short term goal to breastfeed for three months, then six months, with the ultimate goal of giving him breastmilk for a year.  Well, I don't know if I'm going to quite make it to a year, because Miss M is done.  Just DONE.

In all honesty, it hasn't been that bad.  I was never really fortunate enough to get that baby to latch so I've been exclusively pumping since he was born.  That means that every day, several times a day, I get to hook my body up to a machine like a common dairy cow to extract milk for my child.  At first, it wasn't that big of a deal.  It sucked in the middle of the night to have to get up to pump. If I had been actually breastfeeding though, I would have had to do that too, so I sucked it up and just did it.  Yeah, I had to wash bottles and pump parts, but that took all of what, 3 or 4 minutes each time?  

Also, there were the perks of a) not having to whip out a boob in public to feed the baby, b) getting to see what he was eating so I never worried if he was getting enough, c) making enough extra that I was able to help out two other babies e) and d) no chapped/ cracked/ bleeding/ sore/ gnawed on/ painful nipples.

So, I pumped and didnt' think much of it.  It was just part of my routine.  But lately, the last month or so, things have changed.  Part of it has been that my hormones must be tapering off, so that feeling of  "I need to pump NOW" is pretty much gone.  Part of it has been that the baby is napping less, which provides me with fewer opportunities to pump.  (if I do it when he's awake he screams the whole 25 minutes because I'm not holding or playing with him)  Part of it has been that my supply is dwindling due to the reduced hormones and pumping less, which is causing stress and guilt.  Part of it is that most nights when I decide I'm tired and just want to go to bed, I can't, because I have to stay up another half hour to pump, and that makes me cranky.  Part of it is not wanting to pay the $55 a month pump rental fee anymore, because goodness knows that money could be better spent elsewhere!

So, I decided that I'm done.  I'll pump once or twice a day until the milk is gone, and I won't worry about it.  I have a freezer that is halfway full of the stuff still, which ought to give me another month or two of milk for the baby.  He's 7 1/2 months, which means that we just might make it to nine or ten months.  That's not a year, but that's longer than the six months that I was initially setting as my goal.  I'll have to try to not feel guilty because nine months is a hell of a lot longer than most women who CAN actually breastfeed make it, let alone those like me who end up having to pump only.

Sure, I worry that he won't like formula, or that it will make him sick, but it's only going to be for a few months.  He's eating more solids now, and will be eating quite a few more by then, so it should be okay, right?




Blogger Lindsay Teague Moreno said...

yea, he'll be fine. the first 3 months are the critical "get it while the gettin's good" time anyway and you're way past that. Now your milk is a lot like formula anyway (give or take a few things). He'll adapt and guess what, he'll never remember any of this! :) Good job. Breastfeeding (via pumping or not) is HARD WORK.

1:00 PM  
Blogger kingsqueen said...

I think that you are awesome for doing it for as long as you have. That's more than a lot of people do (myself included - my babies were formula babies). He will be fine, and honestly, they don't drink as much milk anyway once you've introduced solids into their diet. That supply you've got my last longer than you think.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Samara Link said...

You did great. You sound disappointed a bit, but like you said, you really did this and you have more in the freezer so you're really not done, even if you stopped pumping today. I think what you did was awesome for your body and his.

2:54 PM  
Blogger Hooptee said...

You may be surprised, Sawyer probably won't even blink at formula. Sami didn't even make a face, just sucked it right down!
Kudos to you for doing this as long as you have!
oh - btw, when you are ready to start finger foods, the Gerber puffs are awesome. They dissolve in their mouths so they are less likely to choke. They still gum on them to break them down, but the things just melt.

4:18 AM  
Blogger Susanne P. said...

i never breastfed at all so i know that he will like formula. i think you did an amazing job. and like you said, you have a lot of breastmilk frozed so you will be able to "continue" for awhile.

8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I nurse my kids for a long time, but I don't think I'd last even a few weeks if I had to pump.
So I'm really impressed and amazed that you were able to pull it off for so long.

If you are worried about how he'll take formula, try mixing the first few bottles with your milk, and slowly change the ratio to include more formula.

You can also start to introduce whole milk at 11 months (the baby's body doesn't have a switch that flips as soon as he hits 12 months. It's just a guideline)and start mixing the formula bottles with cows' milk until he is solely on whole milk by age 1.

As a result, he will only be on formula for what, 4-6 weeks? That's great going on your part.

8:13 PM  

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