More About Pumping, Breast Milk and Guilt

26 07 2010

I am still pumping my ass off – well, I wish I literally was – although I am 15 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight, I am about 40 from where I really want to/need to be.  So yes – the babes, my sweet, sweet amazing, coolest people to ever exist, are still getting all breast milk.  And I am still complaining about pumping.

I will preface the upcoming b.s. by saying I know that some of you are shaking your heads and thinking what a sorry, complaining bitch I am and that with the supply I have, I should be grateful, that I should just shut the hell up and keep going.  And there is a part of me that thinks that too, that if I quit pumping and giving them breast milk, that is for me, not for them.  And that makes me a selfish cow.  At any rate, I had two freezers full of extra breast milk and it was stressing me out – there was no room for frozen groceries and I did not want to spend money on another freezer (I know – I sound like an ungrateful cow) so I gave a ton of my extra stash to my good friend K who had her sweet twins prematurely – she pumps her ass of too (except she really does, the bitch looks really skinny – K, I know you are reading this – you look good, girl!!) and is short on breast milk for them.  I have a read quite a bit about casual sharing of breast milk – and luckily, I am disease free and was tested for everything under the sun for all of my IVFs…but I put it out there, just curious about what all of you think.

Another friend of mine, H, just quit pumping and her gorgeous boy is on formula – and I asked her if it felt like freedom – and she said she feels guilty for quitting.  That is what scares me – no matter how tired I am, no matter how sick of pumping I am, I do not feel guilty and I am afraid I will…maybe I have mad co.w di.sease.  Sigh.  I have to just get over it, one way or another…H and I are doing WW together and she is keeping me honest – although she owes me her food diary from last week…

My kids are simply amazing and I could not be more in love with them.  I cannot believe they are 4.5 months old!!!

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12 responses

26 07 2010
LastChanceIVF

I think sharing is awesome! I just read about a woman who adopted from Ethiopia and her little girl was 10 months old when she brought her own, but tiny tiny from orphanage life. One of her friends have a bio baby and had pumped and stored extra breast milk from her (and had herself tested for whatever they test for at milk banks) and gave the breast milk to help supplement…I just thought that was so fantastic.

26 07 2010
Genevieve

2 freezers full???? Holy shit!

26 07 2010
strongblonde

i felt super guilty even giving them one bottle of formula a week around the 5 month mark. but then it went away. maybe b/c i was able to exclusively bf again? who knows. you do have a huge supply. could you stop pumping and give them from your frozen supply? how long would it last you? you could store enough to feed them for the first year, then stop pumping?

as much as i love bf’ing and having kids who get only breastmilk, i *hate* pumping. 🙂

maybe i should try weight watchers? i’m still at least 20# overweight. i think you told me before that you loved it. i’m worried i’ll starve!!!

26 07 2010
Christie

I’m ususally a lurker of your blog but I thought I’d post a comment.
I was working nights (still am) and since I would sleep during the day while DD was at daycare my supply tanked. I tried taking supplements and waking up frequently to pump during the day. My massive freezer supply went bad around the 6 month mark also. Anywho, the point of my comment, DD ended up self-weaning at the same time. I felt terrible at first but at the same time it was liberating. I felt making it to 6 months under our circumstances was pretty good. I didn’t feel like I was depriving her of anything. If you had asked me a few months earlier, I would have felt terrible but for some reason around 6 months it just clicked for both of us. It’s hard not to feel guilty but at the same time you’re not a failure or a bad mommy. You’ve done great making it as far as you have.
As far as weight, I am STILL 15 lbs away from my PP weight. BF’ing did nothing for me weight wise. I am on WW now and have lost 12ish pounds since starting. Thanks for listening to my rambling. GL in your decision!!
PS, YAY for donating your extra BM!!!

27 07 2010
It is what it is

4.5 months. Holy sh*t! Where did the time go?!

And, I joined WW in June (for the first time in my life). Weight loss is very slow going even with copious hours working out. But, it’s better than not doing anything (I have a weigh in tomorrow and am NOT feeling good about my eating behavior over the last week).

Congrats on the breastfeeding. As I have learned along the way, so many things I fretted about were for naught. Do what you think is and what feels best.

27 07 2010
Sue

I think that breastfeeding initially takes the weight off but then your body instinctively keeps more weight on it to keep the supply coming. If you are too skinny, you won’t be able to produce enough milk…so that is something to consider.

I will be one to say that stopping breastfeeding early SUCKS. You feel horribly guilty and it is very hard to let yourself stop. I just recently cut down on feedings and gave my daughter her first taste of formula at 5 months old. I hate it. Ideally I would BF until she was at least a year old but I am going to do another IVF cycle to see if I can get her a sibling sometime in the future and I am so scared of my fertility issues that I don’t want to wait long….and I feel awful about this decision, though I know she will want a sibling one day. Ugh. BUT, that said, I know that pumping sucks. It is a wonderful thing you are doing for your kids for however long you do it for.

27 07 2010
Heather

I don’t think anyone could possibly think you are a sorry, complaining bitch. Pumping is hard work. Annoying, hard work. Anything to do with breastfeeding is hard work. No question. You have every right to feel the way you do. I can’t imagine there is a woman out there who loves to pump and talks about how wonderful it is. Sure, feeding a baby breastmilk is wonderful. But pumping sucks.

If you build up your freezer stash again, could you stop pumping soonish and just let the babies live off of the stash for the next 5-6 months?

Orrr, since your supply seems to be plentiful, could you pump less to maintain a smaller freezer supply? That way, you’ll get more of a break from the pumping, but still be keeping it up enough to keep feeding the babies breastmilk. I felt so much freedom every time I dropped another pump session. (I used to pump several times during the day and night at home and twice every day at work. Currently, I only pump once every day at work. Period. Never at home. My girl is 11 months now. My supply is still just fine… but I realize everyone is different.)

I think sharing your breastmilk is awesome. We have a full freezer, and if I knew someone who needed some, I’d share it in a heartbeat. And if I was short on breastmilk, I’d totally be open to receiving some from someone else. Although, I’d prefer to get it from someone I know and trust.

27 07 2010
Heather

P.S. I should have been clear that while I only pump once per day at work and never at home, I do still breastfeed while at home. Baby nurses once in the morning, once right after work and once before bed.

27 07 2010
erika

Aweome you shared you BM.!

28 07 2010
Amanda

First off….your post and it’s quirkyness about pumping is quite amusing. I have to say I wasn’t much a fan of pumping either, though I liked breastfeeding and the convience it was, pumping was sort of a pain in the ass. That being said you are doing a great thing for your babies to keep on going. Just do it for as long as you can…but if it starts to build up resentments or depression than I would quit. Honestly, formula is better than an unavailable mommy. You may feel guilty in the beginning…I know I did when I stopped breastfeeding at 18 months!, but that’s just a natural process of being a mom. You’ll feel guilty for going out to dinner alone, or taking a long bath, or going back to work, or giving them their first time out. Guilt is one of those things that mothers have that reminds us that we love and care for our kids and do want the best and try for the best for them.

Hang on to the fact that your not super mom, your doing the best you can…and if you keep pumping and bitching…hey whatever works. We all need a safe place to vent right. And if you finally decide to quit, know that you still did the best you can.

Hugs hon

28 07 2010
Sunny

I think it’s awesome that you shared breastmilk. I would share if I had any extra (oh to have some extra!!!!!) and I wouldn’t hesitate to take some from a friend if she had extra.

I just hate that we feel guilty for giving our kids formula. All three of mine got formula in the first few weeks of their lives because of supply issues. My singleton never got any formula after I was able to wean him off of it, but every now and then my twins will get a couple of ounces if I have to do something (go to the dentist) and I am unable to pump enough before I go. The guilt is especially ironic because my toddler doesn’t eat all organic healthy foods… yes, he’s pretty good with fruits and veggies, but today he had Chicken McNuggets for lunch and my mom gives him those tiny powdered donuts sometimes.

The tough reality is, nursing a baby for a full year (or longer) is not easy in our society. As modern women, some of us work and all of us have so many more obligations than women in days past. It’s great in some ways, but also hard in some ways — like how it’s more difficult to give breastmilk. I know it’s easier said than done, but I really do my best not to feel guilty when my twins get formula so that I can get my hair cut. You are WORKING and trying to provide for TWINS… I personally don’t see that it’s selfish if you want to go through your supply and call it good. I think it’s amazing that you made it this far, and you’ve certainly hit the critical mark for maximum benefit for your babes. Go you!

28 07 2010
B

First time commenter. I exclusively pumped for 4 months. I was pumping 6 times a day and pumping about 45 to 50 ounces each day. I complained every single day. I had a horrible nipple infection and had to put ointment on every day. I couldn’t work out because my ladies were huge and hurt when I would do more than a slow walk. So I made a goal of 4 months. I made it. I had a supply in the freezer to give him atleast a bottle a day for the next month. I quit. And now I feel guilty. Almost 5 weeks later I feel regret. But I realize that the grass is always greener on the other side. I couldn’t wait for this time to be here and now that it is, I feel horrible. Yet I felt horrible when I was breastfeeding. I realize that I can’t win. I know this isn’t encouraging, but realize that no situation is perfect. It sucks now. It will suck when you quit. And this all will eventually pass. At least that is what I keep reminding myself 🙂 Good luck with the choice. I know it is not an easy one and I commend you for doing what you have done till now. Being a mom is such hard work!

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