Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My love hate relationship

I have a love hate relationship with my breast pump.  Guys, if you are reading, go ahead and tune out here....go check the score at espn.com (Nate probably didn't even get this far...he's already there).

Why a love hate relationship?  Love: because pumping allowed me to bring Griffin anywhere, anytime, with anyone and allowed Nate and I to get away on a few mini-vacations during his first year, all the while feeding him breast milk the entire time.  Hate: Pumping sucks.  Cleaning the pump sucks.

And after over a year of both breastfeeding and pumping, I'm finally calling it done.  It was very important to me that if possible, I wanted to be able to nurse Griffin throughout his first year.  First and foremost because of the nutrient and immunity benefits of breast milk.  Also because of the bond it could create between us, the convenience of it, the price of it, etc.  Thankfully nursing went well (if you exclude the first few torturous weeks which I won't even go into, and if you're there right now, I promise it gets better) and Griffin took to a bottle well (as long as it was warm).  So the plan to nurse with the occasional pump session in place so we could be pretty mobile and flexible in making plans.

Then came 8 months and so did his teeth.  All the blogs, websites, books out there say that you can teach a child not to bite while nursing, that with a few "No!"/hand flicks, they will get it.  My child thought it was funny, and I wasn't willing to risk the consequences of forging ahead with a discipline method that didn't seem to be working, as I would reap the consequences.  So, with an abrupt finish to nursing, I was left to pump for 4+ months.

At first I just pumped when Griffin would have nursed, but somehow my body knew there was no baby nursing anymore and my supply started to wane.  I tried everything.  Malt, Nursing Time Tea, extra water (like gallons a day), getting my Caribou's with 2% rather than skim....nothing seemed to work.  The only other option I had was to increase the number of times a day I had to pump.  So I upped it....to 6 times a day (from 4, which was how many times Griffin nursed).  I was able to maintain, but that's when I really started counting down the days to being done.

When Griffin was about 11 months old, I started to decrease again.  First 5, 4, 3 then 2 times a day.  Then the week before his birthday I was down to once a day.  I pumped on his birthday, then every other day for a week, then every two, 5, 6, and now it's been a week.  I'm pretty sure I have pumped my last, but I'm leaving it out just in case.

I have pumped everywhere.  In my car, in a bathroom stall, at a wedding, in a rental car in the Big Sur with 6 other passengers, in the airport, but mostly on my couch while playing Word With Friends.  Each time I pumped was about 10-15 minutes...I don't even want to calculate the total hours I have spent pumping in the last year.....just enjoying all of my "free time" now that I'm done.

While I really am thankful for the technology available to me, that allowed me to continue to feed Griffin breast milk when nursing became difficult, it was a huge commitment and time suck over the past year.  I would not take back my commitment to do it and am so glad that I did it for Griffin, but if I never have to hear the "hmmm, hmmm, hmmm," sound again, that would be just fine with me.

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