Saturday, July 31, 2010

Not Pumping

This time last year I was on the verge of starting my new job, which was my return from almost 4 months of maternity leave.  I had an infant that was nursing every 3-4 hours and refused to take a bottle.  And when I say refused ... there was not a woman in the tristate area that could get that child to take milk from a nipple that wasn't her mommie's.  Believe me, they tried.

I had pumped a freezer full of extra milk for my mom, who was going to take on the saintly duty of comforting the nursing addict for the 6 or 7 hours that mommie would be away.  I would be pumping at work, also,so many days she had fresh milk available also.

Every day I packed my work bag, and my pump bag.  Early on I forgot some important parts, so I quickly developed a routine that would help me to remember.  I carried my Pump-In-Style Advanced Backpack like a camel's hump day in and day out from August to May.  Except for the day I forgot it and had to meet a friend on a street corner in downtown Louisville during lunchtime for her to drop it off to me.

I have written about my decision to continue to nurse my daughter past her first birthday, often referred to as extended breastfeeding.  One of my very favorite bloggers in the whole world dedicated a post to answering some of my questions about extended nursing.  I decided that I would continue to nurse her, and let her lead the way on weaning, with the target being the 18 months to 2 years mark.  I had read many mothers' accounts of extended breastfeeding who said that "they will let you know" when they are ready to wean, and often they will just stop on their own.  I read some things written by one mama who said that she thought her son was weaned because he hadn't nursed in weeks, whenever he asked for nursing she gave him a cup and that did the trick at the time so they kept going with that.

Yea, good luck with that around here.  My girl is addicted to the b00b, and it doesn't seem like much will get her off of it.

We are only nursing on average twice a day.  Once in the morning when she wakes up, and once in the late afternoon.  On Thursday we were running late for daycare, so I managed to get out of the morning obligation, but when I picked her up she made the sign that she wanted to nurse (we use the sign for "milk" to mean "nurse") so repeatedly that I sat in the rocker in the infant room to nurse her rather than listen to her scream all the way home in the car.

My milk supply is adjusted well.  I don't wake up with fullness in the morning, which I did the first couple of days when we dropped the evening/bedtime nursing.  The only time I'm ever uncomfortable is when I forget which side I nursed on last and go almost 24 hours without nursing on that side.

What all this means is ... I will not be pumping when I start back to work on Monday.

Really, there isn't any need to.  I can nurse her in the morning before I drop her off to daycare (three days a week) or my mom (two days a week).  My guess is that when we get back into the daily routine of drop offs, that we will begin to drop the morning nursing.  I can nurse her when I pick her up from daycare/mom's in the late afternoon.  After being gone all day she really loves to nurse when I come home.  I imagine it will take a while to drop that nursing time.

I won't need to pump to keep my supply up.  (If I do start having supply issues that might help encourage her to wean anyway.)  I won't need to pump to give her milk during the day, since she has regular (cow's) milk in her cup during the day at daycare.  I haven't pumped all summer (I have one lone bottle of milk in the freezer right now that is just about to expire but I can't bring myself to throw it out.)  It makes complete logical sense that I don't need to pump at work anymore.

Part of me is elated.  My pump bag sits in the corner of the kitchen with parts strewing out of it, unused since the end of May.  I don't need to wash parts, I don't need to pack everything up, I don't need to start a scavenger hunt through my kitchen for the caps to the bottles.  And I don't need to worry about dropping it all on the way out the door in the morning.

But while I am celebrating one less heavy bag to schlepp around daily, making sure I have all the necessary supplies, and not having to watch the clock to make sure I remember to leave enough time to pump before my class ...

... still, I'm really quite sad and feeling a little disoriented that I won't be pumping at work.


Laraf123 said...

It was inconvenient for me to pump at work and I HATED washing all the parts every day when I got home--only to pack it up again. So why did I miss pumping when I stopped? Well, I just did. Just like I miss the morning nursings with my son who decided he has much better things to do at the crack of dawn. When they are infants you feel like the endless cycle of physical care will never end. Then it does and we moms wonder what our role is next. The kids don't wonder, they just continue to grow and explore their world because they have a safe home base to return to.

MommieV said...

So, a faithful reader pointed out the incongrous nature of the statements I made in this post. I can clarify. She wouldn't take a bottle. So why was I pumping? Mostly to keep my supply up during the day. But she did start taking a sippy cup around the time I went back to work, so she would have milk in that. The worst-case scenario used a cup to pour small amounts into her mouth, or a straw with a finger over one end to dispense small amounts of milk into her mouth.

This is also why I caved in and started her on solids at 4 months even when I didn't want to.