What is the law in your state?

The states in the US vary widely in the implementation of laws that protect a breastfeeding mother and baby...

Breastfeeding gift ideas for an expecting mom

A reader asks: I am attending a baby shower for a friend. I'd like to get her something that will help make her breastfeeding experience more comfortable. What should I buy?

The sole requirement for NIP

During my pregnancy with my youngest son, one of the parts of motherhood that I looked most forward to was nursing. ...

International and Religious views of NIP

Think nursing in public is only a concern in the United States? If so, is it our religious roots that has instilled our country's prudish (and misguided) desire for "discretion"?

Where are our breastfeeding role models?

I saw a woman breastfeeding her three month old son while walking around the busy farmer's market yesterday morning...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Today I Stop Pumping

It is a momentous day for me, and for my seventeen month old son, Josias. Today I will stop pumping breastmilk. At the height of Josias' breastmilk intake, I was pumping four times per day. One time early in the morning before work, and then three times at work. For the last two months I have been slowly eliminating one pumping session every few weeks. 

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?

Photo credit: Author

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Call for Volunteers

We want to continue growing here at NursingFreedom.org, and we want to make sure that we are listening to our readers, incorporating your suggestions, interacting and answering questions, and furthering our mission (to normalize breastfeeding - anytime, anywhere).
We are looking for a few good volunteers to help us stay connected with our readers and continue with the work we've started here at NursingFreedom.org.
Do you have a passion for normalizing breastfeeding and educating the public about breastfeeding issues? Do you have approximately one hour each week to volunteer? We need your help! Here are some of the volunteer positions you can get involved in:
  • Manage Social Media: Help manage our Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and other social media accounts.
  • Lactation Consultant: NursingFreedom.org would like to work with one or more volunteer lactation consultants who will agree to answer one or more reader questions each month about breastfeeding.
  • Authors: We always need new content to feature on NursingFreedom.org. If you write about breastfeeding issues, we would love to publish your work. Please see our contributor guidelines for more details.
  • Miscellaneous: Do you have a particular talent that would lend itself well to our community? Are you a political guru? Help us change some of the draconian breastfeeding laws! Are you an organizational genius? Help us organize our resource page! We will try to plug you in to utilize your talents.
If you want to help, we want to work with you. Please email Dionna {at} CodeNameMama {dot} com if you are interested, and we will send you our "volunteer expectations." 
Thank you for reading and supporting NursingFreedom.org.