My Breast (Pumping) Is NOT Best!12/01/2014
I’ve always tried to officially breast feed or pump for my babies when they were born. My body however, has had other plans for me. I get about three weeks into a rhythm of pumping and then BOOM…gone. Dried up. No more milk for momma to pump. I’ve also noticed that with each new baby we bring into the world it is harder and harder to try to pump and breast feed.
Now with three babies it’s almost impossible. So I’m kind of happy my milk gave out this time about right on track with my previous births. We made it three and a half weeks. The first week was a breeze of sorts. I mean, we were in the hospital the first week while Caleb was in the NICU. The only thing I could do was pump, get dressed, go to NICU, feed him, hold him, leave and come back to pump. That was the routine every two hours with an hour in between to eat something or take a shower.
Once we got home pumping for Caleb became increasingly more difficult. One big issue was that my pump left me attached to the wall. If he cried or one of my toddlers had an issue I had to lower my settings, detach, fix the issue then come back and try to pump again. It was hard to keep a rhythm and routine but I was keeping it up. At my best I was getting four ounces collectively between both breasts. I had just enough to stay two or maybe three bottles ahead of feedings which I was very proud of.
Then this past week something happened. I started getting shooting pains in my chest. I figured it was a clogged duct so I tried to up my pumping to help relieve it. That only made my nipple pain worse. I changed my flanges. I was just about always in sensitive to keel over pain from pumping. I got to a place where I threw my hands up and said I was done. But that was easier said than done. Stopping pumping hurt even worse with engorgement factored in. Then I realized when I was pumping I was getting less and less milk. Was this the issue I was having? Was I drying up?
I did what I could. I bought Mother’s Milk Tea since I couldn’t find Fenugreek to save my life. It seemed to work for one pumping session then the pain was back. The pain made me take more pain killers which I think killed my supply even more. The result was that two days ago I’ve gone down to one pump a day to release any last milk and relieve any pain that I can. I’m getting maybe 15 mL between both breasts. I’m still very sensitive but I’m feeling slightly better today. Both of my girls were formula fed babies and they did perfectly fine. Caleb will now be exclusively formula fed. It’s sad that I was able to make it a little longer pumping with him but now it’s all dried up. Every woman is different. Some have a supply that lasts forever and produces a lot. Some women never get but a little bit of milk. Me…I’m just happy that I was able to through his NICU stay and first couple weeks at home give my boy everything he needed of me that I could. I’ve seen him grow and put on weight so I know it was the best thing for both of us.
The plus side to not pumping any more. My kids can have my attention again. I’m not hooked up to a machine in a wall and I finally get my body back and can enjoy a glass of wine again! I’m not saying formula is better than breasts or vice versa. I’m saying that each mom has to listen to her body, her baby and her family and know what’s best for all of those factors. For me, that means it’s time to formula feed. Props to those who can do it the other way but without making any excuses this is just the path that my body has made for me as a mother and I’m perfectly okay with that.