Pump Pump, Get it Get it

Breastfeeding is coming to an end for us… forever. So weird.

No more babies? <insert face of panic here>

No more pregnancy? Sore nipples? Expando body? Decreased time? And increased obligation to others? <insert sigh of relief here>

This time around was better than with Gabe. It was fine with Gabe, I think I made it to 4 months before supplementing and close to 5? before drying up completely? I wasn’t sure what the problem was. I didn’t have any supply issues before going back to work, so I figured it was a lackluster pump. Maybe not enough time at home establishing a good supply? Maybe it was because I only had time to pump twice a day at work instead of three times

Well this time I had 4 months at home exclusively breastfeeding before shipping Fae off to daycare. And this time I have a very very sucky pump. Sucky in a good way. Super suction with a dial I can CRANK UP. And do. Often. I am at home and pump FOUR times a day. But… if I hadn’t had as big of a freezer storage as I had, I would already need to supplement. In the first few weeks everything was fine. I pumped plenty and sometimes she would leave a bottle untouched and I would carry it over to the next day. But as show grows, she get’s hungrier. I can pump 16 oz a day on average. Sometimes 18. But sometimes only 12. And on the low days Fae needs another 3-4 ounces. She needs another pump, but if I also need to be able to nurse her when she gets home, that’s the best I can do. Otherwise, she’ll be hungry before bed. Blech.

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So pumping and me? We just don’t get along. I have absolutely no issues when it’s just nursing. But when I add in a mechanical contraption… slowly, over a not-so-long period of time, my supply drops and drops and drops.

On top of that, pumping SUCKS. I am trapped to my machine! If I am not in a place to pump, I am for sure dipping into my freezer storage, with no ability to replenish.

So for the stress and the time commitment, I am so excited to be done. But for the end of this cuddly baby era, the falling asleep on my chest, the magic of being able to sustain another human with my own body (and it is so bizarre, truly), I’m sad. I know that once weaning is done I will have a new level of freedom and Fae will still be fed and all will be well… but for now, womp.

Formula and starting solids is just around the corner. I will have made it to exclusively breast feeding until 6 months. This was 100% about my own personal “See if I can actually do it this time around” game. Feeding your child is always the most important part of this, no matter how you go about it.

So long pumping. You mean mean necessity. So long breastfeeding. On to high chairs and making my own baby food and and… growing up.

9 thoughts on “Pump Pump, Get it Get it”

  1. I commented on Twitter but I totally feel you on this. C takes about 16 oz per day at daycare and I make 8-10. I’m lucky that when she’s home we don’t supplement at all but is she hungry idk? My guess is that she’s not due to a combo of her drinking more out of a bottle and my boobs hating the pump. My goal is to quit pumping by a year; by 11 months I’ll be starting the switch to whole milk and weaning to bf only morning and night and that’s ok! I turn 30, 3 weeks before she turns 1 and I think my goal is to be done pumping then.

    Id probably have already quit but I love the snuggles and my husband has been surprisingly vocal this time around about giving her any amount of bm to get through cold/flu season since we have a germ factory toddler in the house so I continue.

  2. Your time with Gabe sounds exactly like my time with Oli. We made it 4 months without supplementing and now we do a dream feed of formula every night. When I went back to work my supply was flushed down the toilet. My pediatrician thinks that my awake/asleep hormones are all fucked up bc I work nights and that it is affecting my supply but it seems like everyone’s supply tanks when they go back so who knows.

    I thought I did so much research about breastfeeding but I really had no idea that once you established a supply you could lose it so easily. It makes it really hard for me not to kick myself for not pumping more when I was on maternity leave. I was so so lazy about pumping at a time when I was getting 10 oz per session!! What!! These days I pump 3x a 12 hour shift and get maybe 15 oz, meanwhile on those same days he goes through 30 oz.

    My goal is to make it to the end of February. Partly because of the 6 month mark and partly because we are flying to Texas for a week and it feels like having immediate, easy food will be very helpful.

    Yay feeding babies!

  3. That’s such an emotional transition! Good for you for making it so long. Fae is such a beautiful chunk, you’ve obviously done well! Pumping certainly does suck – I’m not looking forward to resuming that soon. Although I did read a lot of books that way once I figured out how to turn the page on my kindle without breaking suction 🙂

    1. I wish I could! I’m too busy mentally WILLING my milk to flow. Like how I have to fly the plane for the pilot while sitting cramped in coach? Totally legit.

  4. So proud of you, Lauren!!! Fae is lucky to have a mama pushing so hard for her! I have been fortunate to not have many times where I’ve needed to pump, but know from others what a struggle it can be to keep up supply while being away from babe. May I ask if your daycare is doing paced bottle feeding with the breastmilk? This is often something that goes unknown and can greatly affect the earlier introduction of supplementing. Just something to consider! Keep on doing your thing, Mama!!!

  5. congratulations on almost making it to six months!! it’s so awesome when there’s an end in sight! pumping is awful. i did it for five months as my supply slowly, then very quickly dwindled when i went back to work. how does the technology suck so much? (both the supply issue and the being chained to a pump issue.) there has to be a better way!

  6. Yay for almost making it to 6 months! Pumping sucks. But you know what? The amount of milk you pump actually doesn’t reflect your supply because a baby is always more efficient than a pump. I could never pump large amounts but always had enough milk for Luella x

  7. Just reread this post because I’m throwing in the towel on BFing. Baby seems over it when he’s awake and I’m so tired of being chained to the pump. I feel really guilty. Like I’m being such a jerk to my 7.5 month old baby. I wish there was a magic wand to move me past these emotions to more useful ones! Thanks for writing about this because there aren’t many people who would be this honest about a topic that everyone is so judgey about.

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