Motherhood: The Most Difficult Journey Yet (Part 1)
Motherhood: The Most Difficult Journey Yet (Part 2)
Motherhood: The Most Difficult Journey Yet (Part 3)
Motherhood: The Most Difficult Journey Yet (Part 4)
Do what works best for you and your family.
I repeat: Do what works best for you and your family.
Books, articles, and internet forums are great sources of information and advice. But don’t drive yourself crazy trying to follow everything to the teeth.
Because as soon as I decided to take my mother’s advice and cut down on my marathon pumping sessions, I actually started producing MORE milk. Additionally, I was better-rested, less stressed, and gave my nipples a chance to heal.
I gradually cut down my pumping sessions from every 2 hours to every 3-4 hours…then every 5-6 hours.
The Medela Pump In Style® Advanced Shoulder Bag: my best (breast?) friend and worst enemy
Today, at 19 days post-partum, I only pump 4 or 5 times in a 24 hour period, and I am producing 2-3 times the amount of milk that my baby needs…and my supply shows no signs of dwindling. I have a hefty stock of pumped breastmilk in the refrigerator and am starting to amass quite a collection in the freezer as well.
And now that my milk supply is sufficient for my hungry daughter (she continues to consume above the average amount for her weight but she seems healthy and happy so we are not concerned), I am ready to try taking her to my breast again. I have even purchased nipple shields and bottles that most closely resemble the human breast in order to make the transition as smooth as possible.
However, I will not worry too much if she ends up never taking my breast again.
Because at this point, exclusively pumping is working for us. Other people are able to take care of Claire while I nap, take showers, and — eventually — go out and have some “me” time away from the baby.
Sure, exclusively pumping has some drawbacks. Breastmilk loses some of its nutritional value once it is cooled, and even more so once it is frozen. A mother and child may not bond as well as they may with directly breastfeeding. And it is a lot of work cleaning and sterilizing all the pumping parts after each session.
However, they say that pumped breastmilk is still better than formula. Exclusively pumping is starting to gain in popularity and I have found much support and resources in sites like The Lactivist and Exclusively Pumping. So if this is what ends up working for me and my family, neither J nor I will have any problems with this solution. (Besides, J loves feeding Claire!)
This will be the last post in this series.
I am sure that I will have additional — and probably more difficult — challenges ahead of me as a new mother.
I still struggle at times, especially in the middle of the night when Claire won’t sleep for more than 30 minutes at a time and will only stop crying when I walk around with her in my arms.
Or when I catch myself in the mirror, baby in my arms, and I ask myself, “Whose baby am I holding?” (Nope, she doesn’t quite feel like MINE yet…)
And I still feel silly talking to her. Did/does anyone else have this problem?
But at the moment, I am starting to get the hang of it…being a mother, that is.
And I hope that I have helped new and future mothers by sharing this journey.
Next up: my labor story! (I know I seem to be going backwards, but bear with me here!)
Thank you to everyone for your support, advice, and prayers!