I’ve been MIA! Life has been BUSY! That’s how it goes with seven kiddos and a medically needy little one. I had initially hoped to continue to pump until Elizabeth’s adjusted first birthday (Sept. 9) which would have been 15 months actual. My milk supply dropped to only 10oz a day and it was still taking 90 minutes/session to get that. I decided it was time to give myself permission to stop pumping. Elizabeth was getting a decent amount of real food via tube (just like she would if she was eating orally)… and I had enough breastmilk in the freezer to help fill in over the summer. And just like that- I was done. I pumped one time at a week to relieve a little discomfort and then my milk was gone. This entire pumping journey was HARD. My body didn’t want to give up a drop of milk from the beginning. As I wrote about before, I was shocked that my body was so uncooperative! Afterall- this was my fifth breastfed baby… I had just weaned my toddler a couple months before Elizabeth’s extremely premature arrival. I assumed that my body would just jump back on the bandwagon and the milk would flow…
Here are some things I’m grateful for on this journey:
*my stubborn-ness- it kept me going no matter how hard it was (who wants to spend 8+ hours a day attached to a machine extracting milk???)
*my commitment to providing 100% human milk for Elizabeth. She has had a very healthy first year of life– which is NOT common for a baby born at 26 weeks. I can’t help but contribute at least a portion of that to human milk.
*access to breast pumps and supplies. In the NICU, I had a Symphony pump next to Elizabeth’s bed. I was able to bring one home for a while as well. My insurance provided a Medela Pump in Style (which wasn’t powerful enough for me) and I was able to pay out of pocket to rent a Symphony long term (and get reimbursed through our FSA plan). Eventually, Medela launched the Sonata which I purchased and was able to finish out my pumping journey with. I also had friends give me their Medela Lactina and Spectra to use.
*hands free pump bra– this is a must for anyone exclusively pumping. My preference is the Simple Wishes bra.
*a deep freeze. We ran out of room and I donated 3000oz (which in hindsight I wish I had saved for Elizabeth to have once I was done pumping)… I’m glad to have helped other preemies, but Elizabeth’s tube dependency isn’t typical and I would have loved to give her mamas milk for several additional months. I considered buying another deep freeze to use only for milk… if I was to repeat this experience, that is exactly what I would have done.
*Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter and coconut oil. Life savers.
I will write another post on what I wish I knew then. Hopefully it will help another mama on this journey.