Friday, February 27, 2015

Weaning from the pump

So everyone's goal while pumping is simple, make enough milk for my baby to drink for however long your personal goal is. 

My original goal was to pump until I had enough milk in a deep freezer to get her to a year... Simple, right? So I thought. 

I started pumping a couple days after Clare was born because of latch issues and since that day I was an over producer. I was making 30-60oz (at my peak) of milk a day. I worked my butt off for it! I woke in the middle of the night, pumped through mastitis, missed out on spending time with family, instead spending time with my pump. Listened to countless people tell me, "You should drop a pump, you don't need to pump that much! You're making so much milk!" "You're over stimulating you're breasts, you shouldn't make that much milk." And countless other accusations and comments. Those types of comments  come with the territory of being a mom I guess. You're going to be criticized, critiqued and looked at with a weird eye no matter WHAT you do. So I say, do what makes YOU and baby feel good.

Anyway, so starting around 9-10 months postpartum I started having major anxiety just thinking about dropping pumps and eventually quitting. What was Clare going to drink? I had this ridiculous thought in my mind that I didn't want her to drink frozen milk because the antibodies were not as prevalent as they were in fresh. Personally, I'm crazy. I admit it. 

I talked about weaning with a friend and my pumping group on a weekly basis. I'm surprised they didn't kick me out and she didn't defriend me. That's why it is so important to have a good, solid support group; to talk with people who UNDERSTAND how you are feeling and going through or went through what you're currently going through. 

On Novemeber 3rd, 2014 just past 11 months post partum I dropped to 3 pumps per day. (3ppd) I was able to maintain 28-30oz per day (30opd) until the middle of December when I dropped to 22-25opd. But I was still making JUST enough milk for Clare to make. I would make it to my goal of a year!!! 

The feelings I was having really weren't what I expected. I was expecting to feel proud of myself, happy, excited to wean! I made it!! I did something that probably less than 5% of the world can say they did... Yet I was feeling almost empty inside... Anxiety was at its highest. 

Everyone around me was asking me, "When are you going to stop pumping?" "Why don't you just quit? You made it to a year. Not many people can say they did that!" That made me feel SO MUCH better... NOT! 

No one in my life could really understand what was going on in my head, in my heart. I was feeling guilt about dropping to 2ppd in fear my supply would tank, as so many people stated when you drop to 2ppd that's when you tell your body you're weaning. 

But on December 27th the day before Clare's birthday and party I only did two pumps. I barely felt engorged (that means my breasts didn't feel like they had a ton of milk in them) I felt a little full, but wasn't in any kind of pain. I dropped my mid day pump and never looked back. 

That's when all of the symptoms of weaning started. I started getting headaches, moody, and sad. I knew all these symptoms could happen but I didn't think they were going to happen to me. I NEVER get headaches and now I started getting them daily. It was like I was pregnant all over again. I am so thankful for the essential oil PastTense because it took away my headaches and tension almost immediately! I didn't want to take any medication for it. It could mess with your supply and I'm not one to take any type of medication unless I'm about to give labor. :)

So as I sit here 14mpp doing my morning pump before work, I still have the guilt (hence why I'm still pumping). I still have the anxiety, but because I have no idea what kind of milk to give Clare. I have a deep freezer with about 1,600oz in that I try to use 1 bag a day (normally an 8oz bag). Clare is drinking anywhere from 12-18oz a day. That means I have enough milk to get her to about 18 months old. 

So why am I still pumping???? I want to get her through flu season, and well frankly I'm a control freak and she loves her Mama's milk. If she see's a bottle she signs please, more! Maybe she just loves her bottle and if I were to put cows milk in it she'd drink that just fine too. But I'm not ready to figure it out just yet. 

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