Today is a very, very exciting day and hopefully I am not jumping the gun. Today marks two days since I have pumped. I have weaned down very slowly and then skipped a day, pumped 2 mornings ago for about 8 or 9 minutes and its been two days since.
I pumped, and not just pumped but exclusively pumped for my twins for 12 months and 3 weeks. And today I hang up my pumping cups and say goodbye old “friend”. I have written about exclusively pumping but I want to reiterate how hard it truly is.
For around 4 or 5 months in the beginning, starting while I was still in the hospital from having the bubbies, I pumped every three hours around the clock. Let that sink in for a second because it is easy to just read past that. That means I got up in the middle of the night not once but twice to pump. But back then I wasn’t just pumping. I was also feeding babies. So I would feed a baby and back then it would take them oh I don’t know 30 minutes to eat a couple of ounces, put them back to sleep and then hook up the pump for 15-20 minutes. So basically I slept for about 1.5-2 hours and then would feed and then pump in a never-ending cycle. When the babies came home from the hospital, my husband barely had a week off work and then I was on my own. And I mean literally on my own. No one else was here. So, besides feeding the babies every 3 hours, I was left to some how take care of the babies while trying to pump. There was many of times I would have them surrounded around me with boppies as I tried to get them to take a pacifier (although that never really stuck but one less thing I had to break later on so I am okay with that but it might have made my life easier back then).
After the first 4-5 months, I dropped one overnight pump and was able to sleep a bit more. But I also encountered 2 rounds of mastitis and one round of thrush. Making it harder to just stop because well when you get mastitis from a clogged duct you can’t just stop. I may have been faced with having to drain abscesses, so to me it only made sense to keep trudging along. After that I started slowly dropping a pump here and there, up until last month when I dropped down to one pump a day and then dwindled down that time. It was so painful to drop down. I had worked so hard in the early months to get a good supply in order to feed these babies that I think it was hard for my production to slow down, even with all the tricks I tried such as Sudafed, cabbage leaves and ice. So, here I am 12 months and 3 weeks later and I think (I hope) that I am done.
Now, above I mentioned how hard it was but let me not mistake you that I could not be prouder of myself. I am proud because I provided all of that breast milk for my tiny 5 pound babies (size at birth) and now they are 24 pounds and some change. I obviously cannot attribute that to all my breastmilk but I am sure it had a lot to do with it. Also, I set out to do something and I saw it through. I have been notorious in my life for starting something and it only lasting a month or so but this I held to my convictions and saw my journey through even though it was hard as hell.
Along the way I got a lot of slack for exclusively pumping. I know a lot of people don’t know exactly what it entails or understand it but many, many people along the way said why don’t you just latch them? Why don’t you just give them formula? Well because they are my damn babies and this is my damn body and I will do whatever the hell I want to do is what I wanted to say. The honest truth, I didn’t want them to latch. I didn’t feel comfortable. But in the beginning Gabe was not a good eater, it was nice to see and be reassured by seeing how much he consumed with the bottle but the main reason is I did not want to nurse. People would get frustrated because I refused to really go anywhere in the beginning or hang out with anyone because I was pumping every three hours. Many times I would pump in the car if Kyle and I would go somewhere but I did not want to do that around any one else. In a way I don’t care if my friends or family understood. It’s a small part of my history and if someone couldn’t understand that then they are just selfish. It’s over now and a year later, I am no longer a prisoner to my pump.
Also, there is not much information on exclusively pumping, lactation consultants don’t educate people on that being an option and misinform people that they will never be able to maintain a supply by doing so therefore I found it important to learn, teach myself and write some about it in my blog in hopes that I could help just one person. Because exclusively pumping is possible with dedication. If that is what you chose to do set a good schedule and you may be able to accomplish the same (although I know not everyone’s body is the same so it may not be that easy).
Although before I wanted to go Office Space and smash my pump with a baseball bat, I will put a little birthday hat on it for now and say thank you old “friend” but hit the road. I am ready to close this chapter, be able to sleep in a bit more and spend more time with my bubbies because they are growing so fast I don’t want to blink and miss any of it.