Friday, April 20, 2012

Pumping Isn't Easy

The idea for this post came from reading a post on Blacktating blog, one of my favorite & few blogs that I read (not even once a week!). However, now I cannot remember exactly what it was (it's now July when I'm actually writing this message!). I know I'm back at work a few weeks & I'm pumping 3 times a day, getting plenty of milk, at least 3 ounces each session, sometimes more, for a daily total usually of about 10-11 ounces, sometimes more (I started getting less some days by the end of May). The post was about how the author struggled to get much milk when she pumped & other women have similar struggle to express milk using a pump. There was a photo to illustrate how much the author got from pumping after 30 minutes - it looked like maybe 1 ounce. How frustrating that is for many reasons, 1 you know you need to feed your baby something tomorrow & 2 you need to empty to breasts in order to make more milk & the downward spiral (emotional & physical) created when you don't.

Luckily that has not been my issue, I usually get a decent amount of milk. Also when I didn't get enough at work (with Julia) I pumped extra sessions in am before work & pm before bed. Ironically with Jacqueline, I started pumping in late January & have a good freezer stash (over 120 ounces). My dilemma is using the freezer stash appropriately before it expires & protecting my current breast milk supply & communicating with Jai to make sure that happens correctly. I don't want Jacqueline to have less than she needs, but babies can overeat with bottle feeding. I also don't want to pump extra to make my daily total "right" when I have a freezer full of breast milk - seems so silly & complicated for the simple process of breastfeeding a baby. Yet when the pump enters the picture it's no longer a simple "feed on demand" - the pump is not natural & it creates a different dynamic with your body.

I am grateful to have been home on maternity leave for 13 weeks (1/2 paid, I wish all!) & only have to pump 7 weeks before summer break. Then I have 8 weeks at home to breastfeed Jacqueline, pump a little to store about 2 weeks before returning to work on July 24. Also she will be an older baby & maybe starting solid foods soon. I'll have 10 weeks of pumping before Fall Break & then about 8 more weeks to pump before Winter Break. After that 2 weeks vacation, we return to work on Jan. 7, 2013 & Jacqueline will be 1 on January 11. A year flies by & then I'll move on to feeding her at home only.

Lots of women pump for 10 months with no breaks like I have. If I have to go to the freezer stash more often & pump in the evening, I will. I want Jacqueline to have only breast milk so I'm willing to do the extra work. I just hope I won't! : )