For pumping moms: The funny truth about weaning.
From the very first day I began exclusively pumping it was difficult. The stress of not making enough, feeling sore and engorged, and all the time it took, drove me nuts. It’s probably the most stressful thing I’ve had to do. In the beginning, like most women, I pumped every two hours sometimes 7-8 times a day. So naturally I’ve dreamed of the day that I could be free of my pump. But it’s so strange to work so hard to achieve “pumping success” whatever that may be to you, to suddenly be near the end of my journey. There are some things that are surprising me as I dwindle down to the end of my pumping journey.
It took weeks until I produced enough milk. Then it took a few more weeks until I had enough to always be at least 1-3 bottles ahead. I was always anxious of not making enough or not having enough for my daughter. I always wanted to make way more than I needed especially after spilling milk and other disasters that come along with pumping. Now that it was time to drop pumping sessions and go down to pumping less, I grew anxious that I wouldn’t make enough all over again. I had security in finally being able to have enough that I was afraid that cutting down on pumps would leave me back at square one.
I felt terrible for being so excited to reach the finish line. Though pumping is super stressful I knew it was for my daughter and it was all worth it. My original goal was to make it to 4 months, then 6. Now my new goal is to make it to a year but who knows I may feel so guilty I may continue until she’s in college.
Like most of you, I went through so much pain to make it this far. I’ve had clogged milk ducts, sore nipples, and whatever else you can imagine. I knew it wouldn’t be effortless to drop down a few pumps but I had no idea it would be more tricky than increasing milk supply. Right now I’m stuck at pumping 4 times a day and desperately trying to get down to 3. Apparently my breasts haven’t gotten the memo and they’re in protest about this decision.
I’ve been judged for pumping by formula moms. I usually don’t take them seriously because I think they need to defend their decision even when I give support. I think with all of the attention and pressure on women to breastfeed, formula moms feel the need to defend their decision. Not all formula moms, but a lot have called me nuts or crazy, some have said it makes no sense to go through so much. So, I thought now that I’m getting ready to end this pumping journey I thought I was closer to the end of the formula vs breastfed drama. Now moms are questioning my one year goal. Why not continue? Now it’s cows milk vs breast milk moms. I swear, you can never win.
Whatever you decide to do, you have to do what’s right for you and your family. This post is not intended to bash formula feeding moms. I’m simply on my last leg of this crazy journey we call exclusively pumping. This journey has tested me like no other and now I’m dealing with the anxiety, guilt, pain and judgement as I’m nearing the end. I know when I get to that day I’ve been dreaming about for a year, my last pump, it’ll be bitter sweet.
For more on pumping read my previous posts: