Surviving the pump

When I was pregnant with Red1, my mother in law bought me a pump so I could pump milk at work and provide it for her while at daycare.  I never realized how much I would grow to love AND hate that pump.  And now that I’m coming up to the end of my second and last pumping season, I’m almost sad about it.

I pumped for Red1 until she was 9 months old because that’s when I quit my job to move and stay home with her.  She did nurse until almost 18 months, but I didn’t pump for her anymore after I quit my job.  She just nursed on demand.  And then at 18 months she was ready to give it up. She started drinking whole milk at 1 year, but still liked to nurse through the night and for naps.  And I was ok with that because I was home.

Red2 has been more challenging.  But I have 13 work days left of pumping.  The tricky thing with her is that I’ve had to also pump a lot on the weekends when she decides not to nurse.  I couldn’t risk my supply going down because she wasn’t nursing, so I would pump if she was refusing to nurse.  Sometimes she would then drink it out of a bottle, and sometimes she wasn’t interested.  It always evened out and I’ve never had an over supply or been short any milk.  I actually donated what I had at one time to a friend who was short because of work.  It wasn’t much, but it helped get her through a few days and get back on top of her pumping schedule.

If I had kept Red2 at the daycare we started at, I would have failed at the pump.  But moving her to a friend saved me and helped me survive the pump.  The daycare was over feeding her.  If she fussed a little, they fed her.  If she was tired, they fed her.  She was drinking 16 oz in 8 hours.  According to the research I’ve found, breastfed babies need 1-1.5oz of breastmilk for every hour they are away from mom.  So she was getting too much!  She would come home gassy and unhappy.  Since moving her, she drinks 10-12oz a day and is much happier.

As this school year comes to a close, and I’m getting ready to ditch the pump, I’m thinking back on how I survived it.  If anything had gone differently, I might not have made it, so I’m thankful for:

  • A pump provided by my insurance!  I had the one from Red1, but she’s 5 now, so it’s old.  It was good as a back up and I kept it at home and the new one at work so I didn’t have to carry ALL the parts.
  • My fantastic friend who takes care of Red2 who treats my milk like the liquid gold I think it is and feeds my baby at her pace so nothing gets wasted and she’s not overfed.
  • An understanding boss.  He let me have a mini fridge in my office, and has not given me a hard time at all about the time I pump.  He asked me to put an obvious sign on my door so he would know not to disturb me and he has respected that.
  • Friends who listen to me complain about endless pumping and nursing…I love nursing and providing milk for my baby, but sometimes it gets frustrating and overwhelming.
  • My body.  For providing for my baby through stress, sickness and a root canal.

And now that I’ve survived the pump, and my nursing will be coming to an end, I am thankful for:

  • The ability to take antihistamines when I’m desperate without worrying about drying up
  • Using any essential oil I want without fear of losing my supply
  • The extra time at work to run more groups and do more lunch bunch groups
  • The 10 less pounds I’ll have to carry to work everyday in supplies and bottles
  • Being able to go running without worrying about pumping before

I am done having babies, so this will be it for me.  I survived a year of the pump 🙂

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