Friday, April 1, 2011

I'm Free!

As you know, breastfeeding has been very important to me.  Before having Baby I read tons of material on it, heard horror stories about it, and stressed over it.  Wanting to breastfeed is part of the reason I chose to have a natural childbirth.  I had read that babies born naturally (no drugs involved) had an easier time latching on.  It worked out for Baby and I, and I never had any major problems nursing her (besides the one clogged milk duct about six months in, but that's all).

When I went back to work Baby was nursing quite frequently (she was six months).  Therefore, I pumped during my prep time (between ten and eleven in the morning), during lunch (between 12:45 and 1:15) and after school (between 3 and 4 in the afternoon).  Then I would go get Baby, nurse her before we left daycare, take her home, nurse her again a bazillion times, put her to bed, nurse her some more when she woke up, you get the idea.  I was a milk making machine.

My goal was to nurse Baby until she turned one, at the bare minimum.  One was the magic age when she could start having regular cow's milk and breastmilk was no longer going to provide all the nutrients she needed.  I planned on pumping until that time.

Well, Baby turned one and she showed absolutely no sign of letting up.  However, I was still going to follow through with easing off the pumping.  I highly admire those people who do it for long periods of time.  It's such a hassle. In the morning I would have to pack up the supplies (cooler with ice packs, cleaned bottles, and pumping accessories) all in my oversized bag.  Once at work I plugged everything in and set it up so it was ready to go when my prep period came.  Then I would pull out the supplies, hook myself up, sit there for at least ten minutes (I usually only pumped until I had my necessary three ounces.  Sometimes it took twenty minutes, some times it took ten), then clean myself up, clean my supplies, and store everything until I could take it all home.  Once home, I put the milk in the freezer bags, which then went into the freezer, and sanitized the pumping equipment and bottles.  Repeat the process the next day. 

After Baby turned one, I started to slowly ease off when I pumped.  Since I was doing an after school program, I cut out the after school pumping first.  That went okay and I didn't feel too uncomfortable.  I did that for about two weeks. Then, I started cutting out the lunch sessions.  It would have made more sense to cut out the morning sessions first, but timewise I needed my lunch more.  I did that a couple times a week, working up to all week.  Then I cut out the last session (the morning one).  This was the most uncomfortable.  It was usually at the morning session where I collected the most milk.

The first few days of not pumping at all I was definitely feeling it.  I was also having letdowns in the middle of lunchtime (thank goodness for nursing pads!).  I had to hurry to daycare to feed Baby so I could feel comfortable again.

I have to say, it feels great not lugging around all my equipment and hooking myself up multiple times a day.  I felt guilty about not providing Baby with my own milk while she's at daycare, but I know she's able to still get it from me at home.

Did I mention I'm free?

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