Monday, October 22, 2012

I'm all dried up

Not to be confused with drying out. Last week I decided that the time had come to ween and put the pump away.  My goal was to make it to 6 months, and let's face it that is hefty goal for someone that has a baby who is actually breastfeeding the natural way, but for someone who is doing it all hooked up to a machine I think it's even more insane (good thing I'm crazy). Well, I made!! (Pardon me while I pat my own back) and at 9 months I was actually 3 months past my goal.  When I think back to my beginning nightmares with the whole breast feeding thing (you might remember this post) I cannot even believe I made it to 6 months let alone 9. Screw metals, I think I deserve a large piece of Yurman for this beyond noble effort. After blowing past my first goal, I was then thinking that maybe I could make it a year (cray-cray).

 Frankly though, by month 8 I was so over it and just about every day I thought "I'm not doing this anymore." I mean really do you know how annoying it is in the middle of a work day when you're wearing a dress and have 10 minutes to spare between meetings to have to go upstairs into a little closet (right outside of where our IT guy sits I might add), take off all your clothes, and pump. I'll tell you, it's REALLY annoying.  Equally annoying occurred just about every night lately when after a full day at work, cooking/serving dinner, cleaning up dinner, doing bathtime, and finally getting the baby to sleep, I had to  freaking strap "my puppies" onto the pump and deal with it for 15 minutes when all I wanted to do is go to bed (I fell asleep more than one time with those things sucking away, only to have John elbow me to wake up). Mornings had become a challenge when trying to get ready for work, while entertaining the baby, and pumping. The other night before bed per usual I was getting ready to pump while sitting on the edge of the bed, and John who was about to go to sleep saw the pump bag yelled out "NO! NO! No, NOT the pump! I don't want to hear it." As though it is just my favorite sound and I love it. Right. Clearly, we all loathe the thing at this point.

I actually started to ween a bit after Ian hit 6 months. I wanted to introduce Ian to formula for the first time after being exclusively breastfed for the first 6 months, and get him on board with the whole idea. He could have cared less, it was as though I was giving him the same thing I always did.   Most recently I'd dropped down my pumping to 3x per day (which might not sound like a lot but it trust me it isn't a walk in the park). Honestly doing any more than that had become impossible to do anymore with working full-time. Pumping is a full time job, don't be fooled. Since dropping down my sessions my milk output per session had dropped substantially too. I think it's the body's natural way of weaning - I swear the body is so crazy.  It makes sense though, as the body is further along postpartum, the baby starts to eat more solid foods your body knows to make less milk. Often times at this point some babies start to self-wean, because as they become busy-bodies they are not as interested in breastfeeding except for maybe the early morning feeding and the bedtime feeding when all is quiet.
So, point being, my supply has been on the decline and it had actually become stressful to have enough b'milk for each day at daycare (because you really have to make more than what the baby would actually drink because they always end up discarding some left in the bottle or heck probably even spill some from time to time). Just to put it in perspective back in the "hay-day" I used to produce like 12 oz per session and I was doing like 5-6 sessions a day (that's like 60oz a day), and now I'm doing 3 sessions and I'm lucky if I make 4 oz per session (that's a total of 12 pathetic oz's). I finally had the "ah-ha" moment last week when I realized all this effort for such little output really makes it pointless (especially when Ian is much less interested in his milk anymore... he's all about the real food now). Plus thinking about  having to travel for the holidays with the pump and all the extra crap (ie: bottles, coolers, ice packs, freezer bags, etc) gives me the shakes.

So over the past weekend, I dropped down another session. Then on Monday I only pumped once. And GET THIS... on Tuesday I didn't pump at all and haven't looked back!!! Woohoo! I am a free woman! My body is now MINE again, and I am no longer a slave to that little *!?$%#@! black pump bag. I cannot even tell you how liberating it is. I feel like I have regained hours worth of free time in the past 6 days since I'm not having to constantly undress, clean pump parts, bottles, etc.   After almost 1 full week we are officially....

Actually it's sort of funny every few hours I have this sinking feeling of panic that I've forgotten something (much like how I felt after I stopped having to wear a retainer in the 5th grade and I'd freak out about an hour after eating that I'd thrown my retainer away and then I'd remember I didn't have it anymore).  Just the other night I sterilized all the parts and pieces and packed the pump away... I still hear it's sucking sound in my head from time to time...and soon enough it will just be a distant memory.  I can't say it isn't bittersweet (though I'm sure it would be much more emotional had we done it the natural way)...I am so happy to have feed little Ian for for 9 months, it's an awesome (and not easy) thing. And it's crazy to think that for the first 6 months of his life he solely lived off of what I produced for him. Despite all the struggles I'm happy I stuck with it and can't believe how quickly time has gone. While it's sad to think that we're moving onto the next phase (and my baby is getting bigger!) I'm pretty damn excited  to say "I'm dried up."   Equally exciting... I can once again take a decongestant when I get a cold, drink freely without having to "dump" anything & can hook the caffeine iv back into my arm...bring it on!

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