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?