It’s been my goal since before I even got pregnant to breastfeed for the first year. What started out as entirely financial reasons (Consumer Reports say that the average baby goes through $125 worth of formula a month) has become so much more than that. I never expected to feel the amount of pride and accomplishment over being able to single-handledly feed my son through just my body, which has failed me so many times before. I also was not expecting the amount of commitment and time that breastfeeding would take. So many people say it’s so much easier to breastfeed than formula feed, but I’ve never found that to be the case. I spend more time with my breastpump than my dogs or my husband it seems. But, breastfeeding has become so very important to me.
A few weeks ago, I decided that I was going to cut my middle of the night pumping out. Mason has slept through the night (usually) for a long time, but I’ve continued to get up and pump because it’s one of the more fruitful pumpings of the day. I decided that extra bottle of milk could be sacrificed for the joy of being able to sleep all night long for the first time in 16 months (because let’s face it, getting up to pee 23 times a night while pregnant wasn’t exactly good sleep either). That would drop me down to 4 pumpings a day, which seems to be the norm for someone 9 months in to this whole working and pumping thing.
Now, I’ve been sick before – days where I could barely pick Mason up to feed him, days where I felt so toxic I was sure that any milk I made was probably deadly (I know it wasn’t, it just felt like it should be) But I kept nursing and kept pumping through it and a few days later, I felt fine again and everything was back to normal. But apparently, this time was different. Because my milk went away. Seemingly overnight.
On Friday, I pumped my usual 20 ounces. On Monday, I pumped less than 5. Tuesday? Much of the same. For the first time ever, I had to give Mason a bottle for bedtime because he wasn’t even close to satisfied after I got done breastfeeding him. I ran screaming to my lactation consultant and she told me to settle down. That my body was so weak and so trying to fight off the pneumonia that it had stopped thinking about making milk and was focusing on trying to get better. Makes sense but oh my god oh my god oh my god. Again, she told me to settle down. Asked me if I wanted to come to yoga with her. Told me to just keep plugging along.
Well, it’s now been nearly two weeks. When I used to pump 5 ounces without thinking twice, I’m now pumping two ounces. I celebrate when I get three ounces. I immediately stopped trying to cut out my middle of the night pumping. And I’ve added two more pumpings in the evenings. The pump and I? It’s like we’re back on our honeymoon, except for all the lovey dovey feelings that come with a honeymoon.
I’m popping fenugreek like they’re Skittles. I’m eating “booby cookies” that I found recommended online. I’m taking a calcium supplement since my period decided to show up for the first time since Mason was a twinkle in our eyes. I’m attempted to choke down Mother’s Milk Tea and just couldn’t do it. I’m massaging and power pumping. I’m eating bowls of oatmeal that make me gag. And I’m pumping and pumping and pumping. And pumping.
I’m waiting this out. I’m going to win this. We’re going to make this last 13 weeks of breastfeeding. We can do this. I can do this…..