Thursday, June 25, 2015

Adventures in Breastfeeding: I'm Done Pumping!

Even though it wasn't an intentional decision, after our trip to Chicago, I officially stopped pumping milk for Penny.  I had envisioned recognizing the occasion at work with some sort of ceremony once Penny hit a year-providing cookies and milk (not mine, of course) to my coworkers who never complained (to my face) about the extra time I took away from our shared duties so my baby could eat the next day.

Instead, long story short, I didn't have any milk to send with Penny to daycare one day.  We had already started to replace one bottle of milk with cow's milk in a cup so I had her switch over the other two bottles and she didn't even seem to notice.  We were so close to a year (less than two weeks away) that I just decided I was done.  And it was a momentous moment, knowing I would never have to pump again.

I hated pumping with a passion.  I was extremely blessed to have an oversupply so I never had to worry about having enough milk to feed my baby, that is until Penny hit about nine months and I was hitting just enough provided I also pumped over the weekend.  It was stressful and I resented the sucker and couldn't wait to be done.

Milk from one session on my oversupply days.  Oversupply=stress free pumping.

I did have some amusing times as a pumping mom though.  One time when I was pumping for Evelyn I was wearing a dress which in order to have free access to my breasts, I actually had to take it off all the way.  As I sat there in a chair wearing only my undies and sandals with my electric milking machine hooked up, I heard the bone chilling sound of the door becoming unlocked.  In slow motion I started to yell, "Nooooooo!!" but the damage was done as our mailroom guy walked in on me in my almost nude state.  He immediately turned and ran out the door as I finished pumping.  

The door was locked (he had a key and decided to ignore the "in use" sign) and I told him I wasn't upset because quite honestly I didn't care but he actively avoided me the rest of the time I worked there.

Then there was the time, as a brand new employee in my now department (literally in the first week) one of my new coworkers was displaying his "talent" for us, crying like a baby.  I felt the telltale signs of my milk letting down and quickly crossed my arms over my chest to hide the now huge wet spots where I had started to leak.

I've now hit what I call the sweet spot of breastfeeding-it is on my terms now. I have night weaned Penny and she nurses anywhere between 2-3 times a day for five minutes tops.  Nutritionally (and emotionally) it still is beneficial but I am no longer responsible for all of her nutritional needs and have the ability to say no if I don't feel like it.  I enjoy our nursing sessions now, a slow moment in our busy household to connect.  And while many days Penny eats more than her older sister, I feel comfort in knowing that she is still receiving some of her nutritional needs from my milk on the days she doesn't eat much.

I don't know how much longer she will continue to nurse.  I have said I will breastfeed until two, per the WHO guidelines  but I am hopeful she will naturally wean on her own between now and then. I'm not in a rush though and am going to savor the sweet spot before it is over all too fast. 


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