It started earlier this month. Following HFMD, the Beats weaned themselves from breastfeeding and my milk production took a hit after I became sick too. Originally the plan was to continue pumping, expressing breastmilk until they were 12 months age-adjusted. But then reality caught up with me and those middle of the night pump sessions became harder and harder as I was no longer riding them out on the blissful moments from the nursing sessions. Ad in the fact that the pediatrician okayed transitioning to cow's milk (which they've been rocking), the fact that they are drinking less milk in general, a change in work coming in September and that He-Beat has decided that the pump station is FILLED with previously undiscovered toys otherwise known as pump parts, and the decision was pretty much made for me.
It's time to wean from the pump.
I'll be honest, I'm having mixed feelings about this transition. On the one hand, there's some major benefits that are just around the corner: regaining time during the day, no more pain and discomfort associated with pumping, less dishes and (the BIG one) having extra time to spend with my family instead of secluded in a room with the pump. At this point, just the idea of regularly sleeping through the night seems so delicious.
But there's also a sense of loss. After a crazy delivery and month spent in the NICU, breastfeeding became the one thing I could trust my body to do right. As the Beats were hooked up to feeding tubes and monitors, knowing that I was lucky enough to be able supply them with the nourishment they required to grow helped give me a sense control in an otherwise powerless situation. Later on, after they had mastered drinking from bottles, training them to breastfeed helped me bond with them and overcome some of the pending depression that was hovering. The fact that we've made it one full year of them consuming breastmilk truly is something I'm in awe of. After all, my supply, though good, has never been excellent and constant pumping as well as supplementation with formula has been required just to meet the daily demands for feeding two babies. Still, there's pride there that we have been fortunate enough to be able to have all the tools needed to make this happen. Knowing we're at the end is bittersweet.
Yesterday I started doing research on how to reduce milk supply and have worked out a schedule for reducing pump sessions. Grey practically cartwheeled when I outlined the plan, offering to buy every material needed to help move this transition along. Currently I pump 7 times a day (I know, it's a crazy schedule). The plan is to drop the midnight pump session and then the one at lunch. Based on how I'm feeling, we'll figure out the order of the next two, but I'm hoping by the end of August we are completely done. The big problem I'm worried about it the pain I experience when I don't pump. With Raynaud's syndrome, I get shooting breast pain if I don't drain regularly, so I'm hoping this transition will work.
So many emotions come with just thinking about this. So much trepidation that I know Grey and the Beats aren't experiencing. I know it's time; the beginning of the end of this phase. And that it is the right thing for my family. But it doesn't make this any easier.
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