I have been exclusively pumping breast milk for my son since he was about 3 months old, and I exclusively breastfed him up till that time. For some reason he went on a nursing strike at about 2 ½ months and never started nursing again no matter what I tried. I had the help of a lactation specialist. I read every blog and article I could find about breastfeeding and nursing strikes. They all told me to just be patient and usually after a week or so my baby should go back to nursing normally. Well I waited, and was as patient with him as I could be, and after 3 weeks of every nursing session ending with both of us in tears, I gave up! I realized that he was never going to nurse happily again. We both were miserable, my husband and daughter were unhappy because my son and I were always stressed and crying. It just wasn’t going to work anymore.
I was really upset about it for a while. I had wanted it to work out so bad. I felt like I had failed him and myself. I cried almost every day for a week. I missed my time with him. That was the one thing that only I could give him. When everything was going good, it was my favorite time of the day. I did not want to give it up, but I also didn’t want to keep stressing about it.
I was only able to nurse my daughter for 6 weeks before I had to give it up with her. I was so determined that I would make it work no matter what. But that apparently was not the plan.
I thought long and hard about what I was going to do now. I knew we couldn’t really afford formula, and I just didn’t want him to have it. I didn’t have any problems producing milk at all! I had way more than he needed.
I had read an article about a woman who was pumping exclusively for her baby. At that point she had been doing it well over a year! So after reading up on it some more, I decided that I would give it a try. If it became too much or too stressful, I told myself I would stop.
Then I became determined to make this work. I had failed at being able to nurse my son for his first year, so I had to make this work! I was a stay at home mom now, I didn’t need to deal with pumping at work. I could totally do it, right?!
Well it definitely wasn’t easy, but I am proud to say that I did it! On June 4th my baby boy will be turning a year old and I am still pumping!
In the beginning, when I was pumping every 2 hours, I felt like it was taking over my life. I had to plan everything around when I could pump. Then I would remind myself that I would have to do the same even if I was still nursing, so what’s the big deal!
I couldn’t think about how much longer I had to this for or I would get so discouraged. I took it day by day, and learned new tricks as I went. I am very proud of myself for sticking with it and not giving up! But I can honestly say I won’t miss it at all!
I hate pumping. There is really nothing to like about it. The only good thing is that my son is getting my milk, that is made for him, instead of formula and it has saved us a ton of money! But that is about it. And as the last pumping day nears, I can’t help thinking about all of the things I will get to do and enjoy again without the burden of pumping numerous times a day.
- I get to wear a normal bra. The word hate does not accurately describe how I feel about nursing bras! They are so expensive and yet they are still so uncomfortable and as unflattering as a cheap sports bra. And you even have to wear a “sleep bra” at night! The first thing I am going to do is go buy me a couple new, comfortable bras and throw away my nursing bra. Because if for some reason I decide I want to have another child in a few years, I can guarantee I won’t be able to fit into that one again!
- No more leaking. I can’t wait until I no longer have to wear those dumb nursing pads. No more waking up in the morning with a big wet circle on my shirt because I forgot to put the pads back in the terrible sleep bra.
- I won’t have to plan my entire day around when I have to pump. My days will be mine again! The only thing I’ll be scheduling around will be my son’s nap times. If I want to be gone all day long, I can be.
- I can go to bed earlier and sleep later. I always have to pump before I go to bed. And now that I am only pumping three times a day, I have to pump for 35-45 minutes or even longer sometimes. Now I’ll be able to go to bed an hour earlier, and sleep in as long as the kids let me.
- I can take any medication I want. No more having to worry about whether it’s bad for my son. I can take all the decongestants, pain pills, and cough syrups I want.
- I’ll have more time to exercise. Unfortunately, for me, it has not been easy losing weight. The milk making has not been enough for me to keep the weight off. But all of my free time has been dedicated to pumping. Now I won’t have an excuse not to exercise.
- I’ll never have to look at my pump stuff again! I think the day I can put all of my pumping stuff away and not have to look at it every day will be cause for a celebration!
If you’re a pumping momma and need some tips, you can read my post about how to make pumping work for you here.