I had the most optimal work environment imaginable - a supportive boss, a private office, and a flexible schedule, all of which allowed me to pump three times a day, every day, right on schedule. And it was still excruciatingly difficult.
I just couldn't seem to make enough milk to satisfy my beautiful, healthy, intelligent, growing boy. I took Fenugreek and Goat's Rue; I ate oatmeal everyday; and I sipped Mother's Milk Tea. I ate well, I drank a lot of water and I exercised. I breastfed as much as possible when Josias and I were together, including up to six times per night. I saw a lactation consultant, who advised me to engage in breast compressions while pumping.
There were times when there was nothin' left in the freezer, and I wasn't sure if I had enough milk to see him through the day. I was so stressed about not making enough milk that I was surely preventing myself from making enough milk. Even though I realized this, I just couldn't stop worrying about it. Somehow, though, we squeaked by.
Whenever I turned to someone for support, they always said, "just give him formula." If I had to supplement, I would have, but this was almost everyone's go-to response, and it was not helpful. What would have been helpful? Just listening, and maybe telling me I was doing great. Looking back now, I wish I could have eased up on myself a bit. I believe babies should get breastmilk whenever possible, but I also think sometimes conditions just don't allow you to meet the ideal, and us mamas need to be kind to ourselves and each other.
Now that I'm done pumping, Josias will drink organic almond milk at daycare along with the tons of food he consumes, and we'll breastfeed when we're together. I am so relieved not to have to pump anymore. I can finally admit that although it was my greatest desire to give Josias all the breastmilk he needed, pumping was a difficult and stressful thing for me.
In addition to relief, I have other feelings coming up. I feel a bit weepy that my baby is growing up. I feel proud that we both hung in there and I provided for him as best I could. This also makes me think about the day when he will no longer breastfeed. That may be a couple years away, but I'm sure it will bring with it the same mixture of relief, sadness, pride and recognition that my baby is growing up, which is as it should be. Pumping has been a hard row for me to hoe, but the end result is my joyful son, my sweetheart, who we affectionately call Josias Pie.
Did you pump breastmilk? For how long? What was your experience like when you stopped?
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