If you've been following me, you know that I had a hard time with both of my kids latching even after seeing several lactation consultants both in the hospital, the pediatrician's office and on my own dime. And this is the reason I ended up being a full time pumping mom.
With JOE, I pumped for about 10.5 months and had enough milk to carry her through her first birthday.
My initial plans when I had issues with JAE latching was just to pump until I went back to work at 3-months. But then it was going much better than it did with JOE and I decided to make it to the 6-month mark. At that point, I was pumping about 5-times per day and making 40+ ounces. I couldn't justify not continuing because I obviously was not having a supply issue. So I decided to continue pumping through her first birthday.
I have been dropping one pump each month and so far, my supply has gone down but not as much as I thought it would. Because I am still making a relatively good amount for my little munchkin, I feel guilty for stopping. But I know that I can't do this for too much longer. J & the girls have made sacrifices to ensure I am able to keep it up and I'd like to get back to some semblance of normalcy.
So, JAE turns 1 in a little less than 2 weeks. I thought I would be THRILLED to be done but now I feel like I am unsure. As of today, I am pumping twice a day and making on average 23.5ounces total between both pumping sessions.
JAE is thriving and I can definitely see the benefits she's had as a result of getting breastmilk.
She is such a happy go lucky child that just looking at her face reminds me of why I put up with the long pump times and nipple blebs.
My plan is to go down to 1-pump per day in the next couple of weeks and eventually to completely wean (can I still call it that if I didn't directly nurse?) by the end of April towards early May.
My joy is that I truly have cherished this journey and am thankful for the support I have received in the last year.
My guilt is that I feel bad that I will be stopping pumping while I am still making a good amount of milk knowing that there are women out there who wish they could make as much as I am making.
My uncertainty is that I don't know if this'll be the last time I go through the breastfeeding/nursing/pumping process. J and I have not decided on if we'll be going for a 3rd or not. The jury is still out on that. Yes, we know we are no Spring chickens and having 2 under 4 has certainly been keeping us very busy :-D. At the same time, we are still talking.
I'd like to take this opportunity though to acknowledge the HUGE sacrifice made by my family. Especially J. Nursing isn't easy but pumping exclusively is 2 to 3 times the amount of work/time because there are constantly bottles to wash and pump time takes more time than nursing. This has been a LOOOONNNNGGG journey and I couldn't have done it without having 250% support from J. He has taken the kids when I have to pump. He's fed and comforted them during my sometimes long pump sessions to get rid of clogs. He's gotten my heating pad so that it can help ease the pain and increase my flow. He's spoken sweet words when I felt really down and tired and he's thanked me every night for "pumping for Jenna."
In a few weeks I will be "hanging up my horns" as they say in the Breastfeeding/Pumping community. It will be bittersweet because it means this phase for Jenna is over. She will be transitioning to almond milk as the milk supply in the freezer slowly dwindles. I will get back time in my day to focus on other things such as my growing business and on getting fit.
For any moms out there reading this who may have had a similar journey like I had, my advise is "do what works for you!" Don't feel pressured to go one way or another. You know your family dynamics and know what will work for you. Exclusively pumping is hard but doable! Support is key to success.