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I Breastfed My Daughter For One Year Without Nursing

img_9041Let me take a moment to give myself a giant pat on the back. After battling a tongue and lip tie that caused a painful latch and my ever-fluctuating supply, I did it! I met my goal and was able to provide my daughter with breast milk for her whole first year!

The first time I hooked up to my pump, I was terrified. I had no idea how the pump actually worked, or how much I was supposed to produce, and emotionally I was a wreck. Aside from the newborn sleep deprivation, I just felt like such a failure as a mother and as a human being – that I couldn’t provide my daughter the one thing I was biologically programmed to give her.

Although I immediately felt physical relief after switching from nursing to pumping, coming to terms with this decision is still something I occasionally struggle with even a year later. Read more

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The Best Laid Plans…

A couple weeks ago in my Setting Goals post, I mentioned that I would like to drop a pump when Peyton turns six months old. I was so excited about having an extra hour in the evening to spend with her or make dinner (or take a shower, or clean something..).

Well of course, I found out a couple days ago that apparently it’s common to experience a drop in milk supply around 6mpp (months post-partum). I’m anticipating a drop in supply from either dropping to 4ppd (pumps per day), or starting to exercise (haha), but I’m not willing to risk a HUGE drop that may trigger my body to start weaning since my most important goal is to give Peyton breast milk for a full year. So there goes my original plan!

I’m following my own advice and giving myself some flexibility. I’ve decided to continue with 5ppd until I’m 7mpp to give myself a full four weeks to see if my supply drops. If it does, I may actually throw in an extra pumping session for a few weeks. In preparation, I’m going to eat lots of oatmeal, drink lots of water, and maybe power pump a couple times a day. Hopefully this will keep my supply from dropping too much, if at all, and I will be able to try dropping a pump at 7mpp instead.

It’s disappointing that I was so close to being one step closer to getting back to a “normal” life. But weighing the pros and cons, I’m not at all ready to give up pumping just yet. So for now I’ll just keep hooking myself up to the pump, daydreaming about the day I’ll finally have my freedom back!

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Today Is A Good Day

I have another post planned for the end of this week, but I was too excited not to share some good news.

I’ve been pumping for about four months now, and for the first two months I always made just enough to keep up with Peyton – a “goldilocks”. Then in December, my supply dipped. I think it was a combination of getting sick, the stress of going back to work in January, and Peyton going through a growth spurt. In January I ate lactation cookies almost everyday and power-pumped as much as I could, but I wasn’t seeing an increase. It was hard enough leaving Peyton everyday to go to work, and the added stress of not producing enough milk was overwhelming. She was quickly going through my entire frozen stash, which wasn’t much to begin with.

Reluctantly, at the end of January I decided I had to supplement with formula. In the breastfeeding community, formula often gets a bad rap. But babies have been fed formula for years, and when they grow, it’s impossible to tell the difference between a breast fed baby and a formula fed baby. It’s unfortunate that those of us who have to use it have to tell ourselves over and over again “It’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with giving her formula. Fed is best.”

At the same time, I realized I needed to reach out for more help if I was going to meet my pumping goals. I found a Facebook group for exclusive pumping moms, and it was the biggest relief in the world. It’s hard not to get emotional as I write this. (That’s being modest – I’m totally crying right now) Most breastfeeding groups don’t offer much support for long-term pumping moms. Most moms that directly nurse just don’t have enough pumping knowledge. In the EP group, I found moms who offered real solutions. They taught me that pumping doesn’t have to hurt or be uncomfortable, and it doesn’t have to consume your life.

Today, one month later, I have enough milk in the fridge to last Peyton all day, and it’s not even 10am. I have more milk in the freezer than I had before my supply dipped. Today, I don’t have to make a bottle of formula.

I’ve got a long road ahead if I want to keep pumping for Peyton’s entire first year. I know there will be times that my supply will dip again, and I know I might not be able to get it back next time. But today, we are celebrating. Today is a good day 💗

P.S. I’m writing this from home on a weekday because I am so sleep-deprived that I had to take a day off from work. Ah, the never-ending ups and downs of life with a baby!

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A Quick Note

I have been back to work for just over a month now. I will go into much more detail about that later, but I wanted to share this quick little post right now.

After a very long, busy week, I dropped my daughter off this morning feeling like I had barely spend two minutes with her. So tonight I postponed my 6:30pm pump and dinner (which will be leftover frozen pizza because it’s quick and I forgot to take the meat out to thaw) to spend an extra thirty minutes snuggling my sweet baby girl while she napped. Read more