My baby turned one yesterday. I've heard countless times mom's exclaim with sadness "boy, time sure flies!" I've been here before, I know how fast time moves...I get it...I do, or rather I’m trying to…
But really, I've never been in these exact shoes before. With Irelyn I exclusively pumped and at 11ish months of pumping pretty much around the clock I just couldn't do it anymore, I couldn't bring myself to hook myself up to that machine. I was sick of the ball and chain, it was time for me to stop and I did so with a smile.
I’m in a new unfamiliar situation and I’m not quite sure how to manage my next step. I know she likes cow’s milk…but will she LOVE it so much that she won’t need me any longer? My old fears of bottle preference bubble to the top and in the back of my head I wonder if working full time and being away during the day is going to damage our breastfeeding relationship.
And as crazy as it sounds, will I miss pumping? Sure, it’s a pain in the butt, sure I don’t enjoy it…but let’s be completely honest here, I know that a small part of me is going to miss it. I carried Ellie for 40 weeks, I’ve nurtured her exclusively with my milk and now during the day she’ll be getting something else…something not of my making. For many moms I know this isn’t a big deal, in fact most moms think it’s both commendable and crazy that I’ve pumped for a year, most moms would argue I’ve “done enough”. I carry the WOHM guilt and I doubt I will never feel as though I’ve done enough. I hold myself to too high of a standard and my perfectionist tendencies have a tendency to contribute to feelings of anxiety.
My plan with Ellie has been to stop pumping at work during the day once she turned one. In preparation of this momentous event I dropped a pumping session two weeks ago. My last pumping session at work was on Monday. By the time I got home yesterday I was feeling quite engorged. I nursed Ellie for a quick snack and still needed relief. I pulled out my trusty Medela PISA and as much as I hate the pump the relief it offered was near orgasmic. I anticipate I will pump a bit again when I get home to take the edge off.
Weaning from the pump this time is totally different. With Irelyn I stopped pumping and I stopped lactating. With Ellie I will still continue to nurse. I feel as though I’m walking a tight rope of sorts and everything is new…different…and I don’t have a stack of experience under my belt to guide my way…I’m playing it by ear, following my body and going with my gut. If anything I’ve learned from breastfeeding it’s been to follow my intuition. It hasn’t failed me yet!