Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's coming to an End

My set up at work: the "mothers" room.

Only I can do that.
My breastfeeding days are coming to an end.  I knew it would happen and I knew I would have conflicted feelings.
As time oh so quickly goes by I want to try and remember all of it with my special little girl, and I feel like breastfeeding has been such a struggle and a milestone all at the same time.
Let's start with the pumping.  Oh the pumping.  Pumping was not part of the plan.  I got a pump for the sole purpose of going back to work.  I can still remember the lactation consultant bringing in the pump and instructing me on how to put all of the pieces together.  She said "You can't put it together wrong."  Which makes medela pretty smart.  I remember her telling me that Helena had a good latch, but she was quick to point out her tongue was tied (as was mine, but I didn't get mine clipped until I was 16).  We got her tongue clipped (which she thankfully slept through the whole thing) and I started pumping when baby girl wasn't gaining enough weight.  We supplemented with breast-milk in the hospital, and I pumped and pumped.  I remember getting a tiny bit of colostrum, and my mother accidentally threw it out.  I cried.  They advised that we should get a hospital grade breastpump to rent for the house.  My vision of having my newborn lay next me, and being able to pick her up in the middle of the night to lay with me and eat was slowly dwindling. That's the one memory I really wanted that never happened. 
Our first trip out of the house without Helena was to go get a pump a couple days after we got home.  I remember pumping and see the milk actually spray out.  I had called my friend Dena for advice, and I said to her "It's spraying out!  What does that mean?!"  She advised me, my milk had come in!!! 
Helena immediately got used to the instant gratification of the bottle and really wanted nothing to do with me.  We tried the breastfeeding group at the Mamahood when she was 5 days old, along with the group at St Anthony North, where (after a couple of weeks or so?, who knows I don't remember) she finally latched on with a nipple shield.  I continued to pump and she stayed latched to the nipple shield until she was 10 weeks old.  I still remember the first time she latched without it, by total accident on the 4th of July.  I cried because I finally felt the bond I was yearning for.  With the nipple shield gone, I finally got a glimpse of what I wanted my breastfeeding days to be like.  I've really enjoyed being able to feed her in public, to know that all she really needs is me.  Feeding her, along with pumping at work gives me a weird feeling of empowerment.  That I'm doing what's best to care of my daughter.  But oh, pumping at work.  And pumping period, just isn't fun.  On days I'm at work I pump twice, and I always pump at home, once at night before I go to bed,  and again in the morning.  Loading the pump to work back and forth, it's just a pain.  I definitely won't miss pumping. 
With all of these struggles I had decided six months was enough.  My pre-baby self said I would breastfeed for 1 year.  But then we decided to fly for Christmas, and a friend told me that nursing her would give her comfort on the plane, and to feed her during take-off and landing, to help with the pressurization of her ears.  So now that's the plan.  I'll nurse Helena through the end of the year.  Which means I have a little bit more than a month left.  As I think about it now, actually typing it out, I'm about to cry like a baby.  I know I'm going to miss it.  I'm going to miss the closeness and comfort it brings to both of us.  I obviously, won't miss the pumping.  I also won't miss those times (usually after a nap) when she's too distracted to eat and wants to play, and moves her head while trying to take my nipple with her.  Ouch!  My favorite time to fed her are the times she's tired.  She just lays there and cuddles.  We both get to enjoy it.  I also wonder that once I'm doing breastfeeding how in the world I'll clip her fingernails?!
I've read some information on how to stop breastfeeding, and honestly I'm not too concerned because my supply has always been low.  I think the whole process will be pretty easy.  I'll just fed her less and pump less.  I hope to be completely done by my birthday which is January 19.  I'm looking forward to truly sleeping in.  Right now I have to get up and pump after about 7 - 8 hours of sleep because I'm so engorged.  Being able to sleep a whole night without having to pump! 
Oh but I'll miss my baby girl falling asleep eating.  The past two nights we have had some really good feedings, and I just want to bottle them up and treasure them forever. 
I feel proud knowing that with all of the struggles, for the first 7 and half months of her life she primarily got me.  My batch of frozen milk that I saved up for when I returned to work on Labor Day was finished on Monday.  Almost a 3 month supply, not bad.  I honestly don't think I would change anything.  I of course, wish my supply had come in sooner, and that I had more to give, and that I wasn't attached to my breast-pump as often as I have been.  But all of that was so worth giving my daughter me and feeling that closeness for as long as we have.

1 comment:

Emily Foley said...

This is so interesting to read, I never felt that way about nursing (the bonding, important moments). I did it with Isaac because we were poor and couldn't afford formula, and with Noah because I had PPD and was crazy. I have to say I was completely relieved when Zoe weaned herself at 9 months and we had to start using bottles. It's SO much easier and so much faster! I had forgotten just how long nursing takes and find myself losing patience because Finn is still eating and I have other things I need to be doing. So in that way, it's really good for me in that it makes me slow down and take time to just be with him when he needs me. And that is very sweet.

I'm sorry you're feeling sad about it all ending!