Thursday, June 9, 2011

moo. part of my postpartum series.

warning: if you don't care about nursing and/or it freaks you out, don't read. hehe

as mothers, we strive to provide the ultimate best for our child.
as mothers, we are told in more ways than one, that breastfeeding is best.
as mothers, we endure an obscure amount of guilt, on a regular basis.

with that said, my experience in feeding roman has been wonderful, and stressful at the same time. it's been rewarding, yet complicated. it's been fulfilling, yet full of guilt.

i'd like to share it with you, mostly for my pregnant friends, and those who know nothing about this topic, but someday might use what now seems like useless knowledge.

i remember walking into our breastfeeding class, the one you take along with the childbirth classes a couple months before you're due. i had one goal. it was to figure out how to pump and store milk and how much to tell your babysitter to feed them, and yadda yadda yaaaa. it was all about how it would relate to roman's experience at the sitter. i was freaking out. yes, i would spend 3 months home with him before taking him to the sitter, but that was meaningless to me. i was bound and determined to be completely prepared for my time back at work.
so i asked questions.....
when do i have to start pumping before i go back to work?
how much should i save?
how do i know how much to send for him to drink?
how often do i have to pump at work?
what do i do with it when i'm at work?
what are the rules for handling it?
what is mastitis, and how can i avoid it?
(the underlying noun here is milk, fyi)

i left breastfeeding class feeling slightly more prepared.
i knew what i had to do.
pump like a madwoman and save save save.
so i did.
and it worked.

then i went back to work.
did you know you have to pump at the same time your baby eats to stay on his schedule?
did you know that it takes 15 to sometimes 45 minutes to pump. and that's three times during your work day.
did you know that if you don't pump soon enough it gets very painful and you might not be able to pump (and thankfully my boss let me zip over to roman's babysitter's to nurse a few times)
did you know that when you don't have enough time at work to pump, you will slowly lose your supply?

well, now you do :)
so i went from being a freaking milk cow, to hardly having time to pump at all.
my schedule went something like this (in the beginning).
5:30 am nurse.
6:15 change, clothe, and get roman ready, myself too
7:00 drop romes off and go to work.
(8:00 roman would have a bottle)
maybe by 9:30 i'd have time to first pump
(11/12 roman would have his second bottle)
maybe by 1, or sometimes 2 depending on my schedule and amount of 'crisis' happening at school i'd have to pump for the second time.
(3/4 roman would have his third bottle)
i wouldn't have time to pump again.
4:30 i pick up roman (and need to either nurse or pump, but he has just eaten an hour prior so he's not hungry....)
try to pump, but i'd rather hold and play with him.
nurse him around 6:30/7
night time.

so while that might be way more detailed and most of you could care less, i'm needing to document this stuff somewhere, hehe....

slowly, but surely, i was losing my natural supply.
slowly, but surely, i used up my whole freezer supply.
slowly, but surely, supplements were not working.

march hit, and i got mastitis. ouch. OH MY GOODNESS. i felt like i got hick by a truck.
high fever.....very high.
but i recovered and got right back on :)

the end of april came, and i needed to start supplementing with formula.
roman was throwing up everything i gave him.
we were back in nebraska for a wedding shower, i had nothing to feed him and he was throwing up everything i tried - panic attack.
moments like those are so hard for mothers.
it's an immediate rush of guilt, and worry, and panic, and what-if's.

after many phone conversations with our pediatrician, we finally found a formula he would keep down.

supplementing with formula only increased roman's desire to drink from a bottle because it's easier, and decreased my supply even more.

our trip to colorado came and went, and well of course, it was way to easy to just give him a bottle......

so here we are.
roman is almost 100% bottle fed now (he sounds like a calf)
i can nurse him only in the morning.

even typing that makes me think, oh crap?! am i really going to give up??!
but at the same time, as i type this, it feels like closure.
as i type, i'm declaring what's best for us :)

i'm not looking for any hard feelings or milk wars.
to each their own.
however, breastfeeding has been an amazing experience. a beautiful bond.
it's about to end, and i am so super sad.
but i'm relieved at the same time.
i've been nursing/pumping/taking supplements for 2 months now......and i'm ready to just whip up a bottle and relax while we cuddle :)

i think i'll have a burn the pump party.
i've been pumping for 196 days.
for a total of 794 pumping sessions.

back when i was preggs, and i saw that pumps were about $300, i about pee'd my pants.
now i realize it was worth every penny.

i've literally been hooked up to this thing for 800 sessions????????
no wonder i want to have a BURN THE PUMP! party.........

i'm sure that was a lot of useless info for most of you, i'm sorry.
breastfeeding for working moms is just such a complicated and difficult thing to endure.
it's worth it, but i'm ready to relax.
i'm ready to enjoy the freedoms of not having to stop and nurse 5 times a day, but rather use a bottle when we are out and about on all our summer field trips :)

but as i said before, i'm not intending for a milk war.
each woman has the right to choose how she will feed her baby.

a friend once explained to me (hi molly!) that what's best for the mom is what's best for the baby. if the mother is stressed, and struggling with nursing, it's truly not what's best for the baby.

and as mr leif says, a happy momma makes a happy family :)

for me,
for roman,
for our family,
formula is now our decision.
it's what's best.
i said so :)

.....and stay tuned for a future post about why i'm not feeding roman typical 'baby food', well, ahem.......why he's not letting me........and what i'm doing about it :)

ok, thanks for letting me get this out there.
i've been wanting to document it for a while.
you know, so that someday when i'm on kid #4 i can look back and laugh at the refining process i endured as a new first time mommy :)

oh, motherhood.


  1. i think you did great and tried your hardest. i cannot imagine keeping that up while working. i pumped like a feind with Finn and hardly pumped again for the others. it always seemed to mess with my milk supply. anyhow, it's true that what is best for mommy is ultimately best for baby:)

  2. Dude, you have some resolve! This baby isn't third...I wad so hardcore about nursing and pumping w my first...and now I give this baby formula sometimes and dong feel guilty at all! Ha..

  3. well, i of course love every pregnancy-related post you write :-) that's the only thing i'm taking a class on before baby F comes and i'm making jonny come!! breast-feeding need lots of've done a fantastic job in hard circumstances. gotta love all the milk dogma out there...yucky people. <3 you.

  4. *breast feedings moms i mean to say

  5. i HATE pumping so kudos to you for enduring it as long as you did...i don't know that i could've have done the same.