motherhood

For pumping moms: The funny truth about weaning.

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. 

The anxiety.

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. 

The guilt.

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. 

The pain.

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. 

The judgement.

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: 

Why Pumping drives us crazy!
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5 comments

  1. I exclusively pumped from day 4 of my seconds sons life. He wouldn’t latch correctly due to tongue, lip and cheek ties. With a pound of weight being lost, I cried out to my midwife who happily brought me a pump. I didn’t have one. didn’t have bottles. nothing. I had zero intentions to use anything beside my boobs. I started pumping and quickly found t was much more difficult than simply breastfeeding. Clogged ducts hit me more times than I can count. We battled thrush. Once my sons ties had been lasers after a failed clip, I tried once again to nurse. Another fail. His upper lip would not stay unattached. I remember getting hit numerous times with “why don’t you just give him formula?” “Why are you trying so hard?” When I was are my peaks end I researched even more and discovered my fear:dairy and soy allergies. At the time I was not eating much and it seemed impossible to cut out dairy and soy and possibly gluten. I had started giving formula. But refused to give up pumping. I worked so hard getting my supply up. I fought through so many obstacles. Many nights of sleep had been missed. Tear’s and tears had rolled down my cheeks. All from the stress and love of pumping. I can relate to a bit of what you are saying. You do what you feel is best momma. That baby is your baby! Whether she is a 6 months old or 18 (;

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  2. I’ve exclusively pumped since my son was a week old. He has a tongue tie that made it difficult for him to latch properly and as a result he was never eating enough when breastfed. So, pumping became the alternative.
    He’s 11 weeks now and every day i contemplate stopping pumping. It’s difficult, and takes up so much time that I would rather spend playing with him. My supply has never gotten high enough to feed him exclusively either, I’ve always had to supplement with formula.
    My plan is to wait until he’s four months old and reevaluate how I feel. But even now I feel guilty and anxious since he has to take formula anyway. Mom guilt is no joke, and nobody quite understands the exclusive pumping decision. Because it is so difficult.

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    1. I agree. I wanted to quit as well so I could spend more time with my daughter. Some things that may help…I joined a few Facebook groups for exclusively pumping moms and they offer a lot of support and tips. I also power pumped and was able to increase my supply and now I make more than she needs. I’m almost at the end of my pumping journey. You can do it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve tried everything. Power pumping, lactation cookies, supplements. My little guy is just huge and so I’ve never been able to keep up. (16 pounds at 11 weeks, he eats 6-8 ounces every 3ish hours)

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