11.5 months and the end of pumping (!!!)

November 29, 2018

I have two more days left before reaching my goal to pump until December 1.  Yesterday I pumped x2 at work for the first time (instead of x3), and I plan on doing that again today and tomorrow.

And then that’s it.

I can taste the freedom.  I cannot overstate how annoying it was to continue doing this at work.  The pain was multidimensional:

– the annoyance of being interrupted – it was always hard to start any bigger project knowing that I’d have to stop to pump

– the anxiety of figuring out how to fit the sessions in while not angering patients by making them wait (if I got behind, or didn’t time things exactly right)

– the frustration of not getting as much milk as I felt was ideal on any given day (HUGE stressor / area of pointless self-flagellation)

– the physical pain of the stupid pump itself

– the actual time taken away from my work, leading me to get behind on charts nearly every single day (and the subsequent stress of when I was going to make this up).

Answers to some FAQ (even if maybe some of them were only frequently asked inside of my own head . . .)

YEESH.  That sounds terrible.  Was it worth it?

I don’t know.

Are you glad you did it?

At this juncture, yes.  In part because I had never made it this far before, and I am glad to have had the experience.  Being able to nurse an 11 month old on demand is a sweet and convenient luxury that I never had with my other 2 (Annabel: I quit pumping at 9m, and she did AM/PM nursing until 13m; Cameron: I quit pumping at 6m, and he rejected the breast entirely at 9m leading to an abrupt end before I was ready).

Would you do it again?

We are not planning on any more babies (bittersweet, but definitely the right choice for our family!), so it’s hard to answer this.  But maybe not.  I think the Annabel plan (pump until 9m, then AM/PM nurse) might have been the sweet spot for me.

Did your freezer stash last?

Yes.  There are probably ~40 oz in there, but since I elected to mostly give her fresh rather than thawed milk, most of it is from Feb/March and I do not have a deep freezer, so I’m not really sure if it’s good.  We have been giving Genevieve some cow’s milk during the day starting last week (our pediatrician suggested this to phase it in gradually) and she is now liking it okay after an initial rejection, so I don’t know if we’ll even use the old freezer stuff (!).

Why do you think you were able to keep up this time?

1) Night nursing (ugh).  No sleep training = better stimulation to supply.  She still eats every night.  More on that to follow.

2) Not overfeeding her pumped milk during the day.  Example: by this point, she is happy — and not failing to thrive in any way — eating ~9oz (2 x 4.5 oz bottles) during the day.  She also nurses morning, evening, and once overnight, so all together who knows how many oz.

Are you still going to nurse?

I’d like to transition to just morning, bedtime, and maybe before a nap on a weekend if I’m home.  But I’d like to not have to schedule around it anymore.

So . . . she still wakes up at night?  That sucks.

I KNOW, right?  Last night she woke up TWICE, despite a really good feeding (since I had last pumped at ~1 pm) at 7pm.  I no longer think she’s doing it out of hunger — I think it’s that she wakes up, and then wants to nurse for comfort out of habit.  Which is understandable and sweet, since I’ve reinforced that habit for her entire life!  But — I am really ready to stop.  I want to sleep through the night.  I want to sleep more than 5 hours in a row on a regular basis.  So, I think it’s going to be time to sleep train very soon.  However, I need to figure out how to do this without waking the entire house (esp since we are not living at home).  I may have Josh go in* with a pacifier and just stop going in to offer milk at night.

What are you going to do with all of the extra time?

Finish my charts at work!
Have lunch with colleagues.
Go for the occasional mid-day walk or lunch out
Read, but not while attached to a pump
Lose that scattered feeling of constant task switching and clock monitoring!!!

11.5 months old

* He doesn’t start his new job until January so now is probably the time . . .