I have discussed my breastfeeding journey a few times here and there, how my goal went from 6 months to 1 month to 1 year to however long Mav wanted to nurse. How I (quoting myself) “hate it”. As well as my pumping schedule as a working mom.
When I first went back to work, 3 months PP, I was pumping pretty much around the clock. Around 6 months PP I dropped to pumping 2x/day, 1.5 months ago (8 months PP) I dropped to only pumping 1x/day.
I knew that this was going to drop my supply but I didn’t realize how quickly and just how much. I thought this would be my natural way of weaning. I would eventually stop pumping during the day but still nurse him in the mornings and nights.
I have always been able to pump more than enough, a normal session would be 10-12 oz in under 12 minutes. Being able to pump so efficiently left me with this mind set that I never had to pump til’ I was empty. My previous job was pretty demanding when it came to meetings, there were some days where I would be in various meetings 6 out of the 8 working hours. So the “time” method worked out for me. I could squeeze in a 10 minute session and I was set.
Once I dropped to pumping 2x/day, I was starting to be lucky to get 10 oz and it seemed like as my oz were decreasing, the time span was increasing. 8 oz…14 minutes, 6 oz…16 minutes. You get the picture, I was trying harder, and producing less.
Mav typically drinks 6-8oz a bottle, and has 2 bottles while I am at work. My freezer supply was quickly dwindling so it was at this point we started supplementing half of his bottles with formula. We were still continuing to nurse in the mornings and night.
But then we’ll add this into the equation…For the past week, Mav has been hit or miss during his night feed. He has either been rejecting nursing, or wanting to nurse less. If you care enough to be reading this post about breastfeeding, I’m going to assume you know that breastmilk is a supply and demand situation. So you can put two and two together here. Less pumps…less nursing…undoubtedly…killing my supply.
And then last Thursday happened, he wasscreaming in hunger after a full nursing session.
And I had to give him a bottle. I didn’t have enough milk.
I cried. Legit. Cried. The same girl who in the beginning said she probably couldn’t last 1 more month. Cried. The same girl who had over 1000oz in her milk stash, didn’t have enough milk for one nursing session. Cried.
I felt as if my body is failing my baby.
Sure, I could take supplements, eat some lactation cookies, pump pump pump, build my supply back up. But truthfully, I just don’t think I have it in me to fight for this anymore. It’s bittersweet, but this is the beginning to the end of our journey.
I will miss holding Mav so close. I will miss the way his sleepy milk drunk eyes look at up me. I will miss his innocent groans of contentment while nursing. I will miss the milk comas, the way his body melts into mine.
I am regretful for the times I didn’t realize what this moment would feel like. The times I could have pumped 5 more minutes. The times I took advantage of having an abundant supply. The missed opportunities when I decided to give him a bottle instead of letting him nurse. The times I said I hated it.
But at the same time I am relieved. I am relieved I won’t have to worry about my milk supply anymore. I won’t have to watch the clock for my next pump session. I can wear whatever I want, when I want (hello dresses!) I won’t have to look at ingredients, or question if I can consume something. I wont have to lug around my pump bag and cooler everyday. The list goes on.
Although I can say that my sadness is outweighing my “relief”. I am so thankful I was able to have this journey. Breastfeeding has been no joke. It’s been probably the hardest thing I’ve done in my life, well… besides birthing him, of course. But aside from any difficulties, it really has been the most incredible experience I have ever been blessed to be a part of.