10 Months, 1 Week, 1 Day

Generally weekends are quiet time on the blog-- time for me to catch up with other chores and projects and marvel at how quickly the two days flies. I have a "story idea" backlog though, so i thought i would go ahead and post this evening.

For me, a big part of mothering has been breast feeding Henry. Even back in the dark days when i was suffering horribly from depression, feeding him helped me stay close to him. When Henry was about 8 months old we started supplementing with formula, but i continued to nurse morning and night and pump multiple times a day to provide milk for his feedings at daycare. I've been very slowly phasing the pumping sessions out. It's been slow, because making the transition is so fraught with self-imposed meaning and guilt.

Full-time pumping involved 3 sessions during the day and then one at night before i went to bed. By pumping this often i was able to get enough milk to keep up with Henry's increased demand. But, if you've ever known a pumping mom, pumping that much (especially during work) is tough. It's tiring, and to be honest, it's annoying. I think the fact that i work at home made it possible for me to keep it up as long as i did. Even still, when you're busy at work, wrapped up in a project or deadline or on the phone, it's not always easy to stop what you're doing to gather all your supplies and pump.

Awhile ago i cut back to pumping twice during the day and then more recently started thinking about phasing it out all-together. I'd go back and forth though, skip pumping all-together when i had a busy day and then get back into my routine the next day, because i felt like i didn't have a good enough reason not to be pumping. I know that 10 months is a long time to keep breast-feeding, and i also know that supplementing with formula is fine, actually necessary in Henry's case. As we've been providing one bottle of formula for months now, rationally i feel like it's not a big deal to provide all three bottles of formula and keep up nursing night and day.

But i had to struggle through feeling like if i can do more for him i should and this is why i would go back to pumping the next day. It took a few weeks, but i think i've made peace with our new routine: nurse day and night and bottles of formula during the day. I haven't packed the pump away yet but i have sorted out all the accoutrement that goes along with pumped milk and am starting to think about storing it in the burgeoning "Henry's outgrown" closet.


Tabitha said...

It's funny. It is all about making peace with yourself. Letting go is wrought with self-induced guilt. I think especially for us working moms but maybe even for SAH moms.

I can say the second time was not any easier. I went through the same steps and guilt. Just more quickly.

Interesting that I think your experience was very similar to mine.

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed that you've continued nursing this long! If you are both ready to cut-back, in preparation to eliminate nursing, go for it! A big part of it is the closeness and loving, both of which Henry gets (and gives) lots of and will continue to get from both you and JT. And I think there is always some sort of self-induced guilt going on, even when the babe is grown. I think it's great that you have enjoyed nursing, but perhaps it's time to let go of it and move on to the next phase. Henry will always have something new in his "closet" for YOU!