The Beginning of the End

Yesterday I forgot to pump when I was home on my lunch break, and I didn’t bring the pump to work as a backup. That means I went from 6am-6pm without pumping or nursing. EEK.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that big of a deal – I was planning on stopping day nursing/pumping next week anyway. I know it’s only one week earlier (though I’m freaking out about it inside right now), but it was shocking to me to realize that I could just FORGET to do something that I’ve done every single day for nearly a year.

I used to pump 3x/day during work in the beginning when Stella was eating every 2.5 hours (or once mid-morning, once mid-afternoon, and I’d run to the daycare and nurse Stella on my lunch break – my gosh I love living and working close to the daycare).

Around 7 months old (after solids were getting pretty well established), she switched to nursing/taking a bottle every 4 hours, so I cut out the lunch time nursing because she just took 1 bottle after her morning nap and one after her afternoon nap.

Then Stella started sleeping through the night a few months ago, and my body adjusted to no nursing from 7:30pm-7:30am, but I’ve still been consistently nursing/pumping 4x per day since then (7:30 nurse/11:30 pump/3:30 pump/7:30 nurse).  A week or two ago I cut down to 1 pumping while at work (around 2pm) because my supply was dipping enough to only get 4-6oz total out of the two mid-day pumpings, and it just wasn’t worth my time away from my desk. I’d still get 4 oz from one early afternoon pumping, and I figured it was time to start cutting down on day pumping anyway because HOLY FUCKING SHIT do I hate pumping.

I mean, I love it. I love that I live in a time where I’m able to work 35hrs/week outside the home, away from Stella, and yet here she is – on the threshold of being a 1 year old EBF kid. I am proud of that.

SO FREAKING PROUD OF THAT.

I know that I owe the ability to do that to the advances in double electric hands-free pumps. I also owe my 300+ oz freezer stash to that damn machine. Thank you Medela PIS.

However, I am SO ready to be done with that thing, and it’s kind of bittersweet to realize that I did my last pumping session last week without even realizing it was going to be the last. Adios. Au revoir. Ciao.

*****

I’m starting to cruise through my freezer stash. I still send two bottles to daycare (4 oz each), so those are coming straight out of my stash now. For the last two weeks I was having to pull one from the freezer and one fresh, and somehow it’s almost painful to be suddenly going through that stash at double the speed of last week. She started out eating 12-15oz at daycare…then around 7 months when she was eating more solids, that dropped to 8-12. The last couple of months I’ve only sent eight, and that’s been plenty (child LOVES her solid foods – thank you Baby Led Weaning!).

For now I’m going to keep nursing morning/evening, and I really have no idea if I’m going to set an “end date” for that or just let it happen naturally. I’m ready for my body to be mine, but I’m not ready for nursing to end either. I love nursing and the relationship it has given me with my daughter.

I am SO thankful to be in this place… with a healthy (nearly) 1 year old and a freezer full of great antibody filled [free!] milk.

It’s just a little sad at the same time, that’s all. :(

Our first time <3

Our first time <3

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37 comments

  1. I’m not sure why this post made me cry, but it did.
    You are such a good mama, JJ.
    love you forever.
    xx

    1. It made me cry to write too. <3 you Mom.

  2. This is such a hard transition. My heart hurt for you as I read this. It’s such a hard balance – being ready to have your body back but not being ready to quit nursing just yet.

    And oh the freezer stash – I felt so awful as it started getting depleated (even though that was the purpose, right?). I cried when we used the last bag.

  3. I stayed home for 14 weeks with my second son and nursed him 9-10 times a day the whole time. I pumped while working until he was about 9m old. I supplemented with formula along the way as i was never able to keep up with his demand. I was thrilled to be able to nurse him morning and night for 4+ months after I stopped pumping. My supply dropped, obviously, but it was plenty to keep him happy. He nursed 2-3 times a day (before school, after after school. bedtime) during the week and whenever he wanted on the weekends. Then at 13m he decided he was done. It was very bittersweet but I was thankful for a smooth transition! As for the freezer stash – I never had one because i couldn’t keep up with him, much less freeze anything. But he was hospitalized at 6m for a few days and i had to pump for him because he was too sick to nurse. I still, 2 years later, have a little jar of milk in the freezer with his hospital tag on it. I just can’t bring myself to throw it away!

    1. I definitely nursed 9-10 times a day those first few months as well!! It was comforting to both of us, and I figure it meant she was eating every 2.5 hours or so, and I was okay with that. Eventually it spaced out to every 4 hours, but not for a long time.

  4. What a beautiful picture. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I too have a love/hate relationship with pumping. I’m already counting down the months until I can stop pumping for Olive. But so thankful I’ve been able to successfully nurse my babies. Congrats on a year, mama! You SHOULD be proud!

  6. Firstly, wow, I just love this picture!! Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. You must be so happy you have this memory. I wish someone had taken a photo of Alidia and I on that first day of this breastfeeding journey.

    Secondly, you should be sooo proud of making it a year… with all that pumping!! Amazing! I don’t think I could have done it. I’ve only pumped a few times and with a hand pump, but really did not enjoy it. Way to go you!! And that stash?? Also something to be very proud off! :)

    Finally, I too am going through the stage of not knowing what my breastfeeding journey holds from here. It breaks my heart to even think about it being over so I don’t think that will be happening anytime really soon. We will see, I guess.

    1. Yeah, Charlie snapped that picture. Pretty stoked he did! At first all I could see was the double chin on me…and now in retrospect, I am SO thankful to have this precious moment captured!

      Stopping is definitely a hard decision. UGH. So thankful I was able to make it to a year though.

  7. PS – Just the title of the post got me teary. See, this is how not ready I am for the end! :/

  8. mcmissis · · Reply

    Great work!

  9. That is an incredibly beautiful picture!!!!!

    You are a rockstar…good on you for doing what you felt was going to be the best thing for Stella even if it meant you were attached to a machine during the day!!! :)

  10. Oof. I’m already not looking forward to 11+ months of pumping, so yay for you for making it! We lasted with me pumping at least twice a day to 12.5 months, then I scaled back pumping (first a week of once a day, then a week of not at all, then only night nursing, then I was done). Maybe I’ll luck out, build up a freezer stash, and I can quit pumping a little bit early… in my dream world. I’d better add “figure out pumping” to my to-do list before I forget.

  11. Oh, my gosh. I don’t think that “I” am ready for you to be done. :) It’s the end of an era. You’ve made it so far, and have done such an awesome job with Stella. You should definitely be very proud. Let’s hope the nighttime nursing holds out for a while until you both feel ready. I would be freaking out about the freezer stock disappearing so quickly too. :) But it should make you happy that every drop has gone to such great use, and she will be ONE when she is done with EBF. Awesome!

  12. I felt the same way for awhile, but ha ing my body back and putting that pump in the closet was sooooooo nice. I’m getting ready to do it again now and am dreading it (the pump part, not the BF) but know how important providing that to M was and know I’ll do the same for this baby too. Good for you for making it this far. <3

  13. Miss Mac · · Reply

    You should be very proud! BFing and pumping is hard work. Good luck with the transition when and if it is in the near future. I quit nursing/pumping at 8 months and those first few days were the hardest… now, that (same exact) pump is up in the closet and I am happy it stays there! I do miss the price difference:] Good job mom & Stella!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing! You should be incredibly proud! I enjoyed reading this because it mirrors what I, myself, have been going through. Maddox is 11 months old and just last week was the last time I had to pump at work! I’m still nursing in the morning before work and a couple of times after I get home. I think those will be the hardest ones to end for sure! It is an incredible bond and a wonderful feeling to be able to do this for our children.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  15. Oh my goodness – your picture made me cry. Beautiful post.

    1. Thanks! That’s my AMAZING WONDERFUL AWESOME midwife in the picture with me. She was so integral in helping us have a perfect birth experience and first few hours with Stella.

  16. Look how little Stells is in that picture! Oh, the sweetness! Agreed: really, really priceless picture.

    “I’m ready for my body to be mine, but I’m not ready for nursing to end either.”–> THIS. We’re at a different juncture in our BFing journey, but this really resonated with me. I have no milk, but Arlo is still nursing about twice a day (down for naptime and down at bedtime). His latch is different (painful, honestly), and I know part of this to do with the fact that it’s non-nutritive sucking–just comfort nursing. It’s a lazy latch, and no matter how many time relatch him, it always ends up back at that same latch. He needs it though, I guess. He asks and will cry if I refuse. But I’m…about done. I’m starting to dread it each time, and this is a really unfamiliar feeling. BFing has been something I *loved*, something I am deeply respectful of and proud of. I don’t want to stop, but…I really do.

    Proud of you, Mama, for your amazing BFing journey! (If I can be!)

    1. I cry when Charlie refuses to get me another beer. ;-) Totally kidding. He always gets me another one. hehe

      Yeah, it’s a fine line to walk, because when you start resenting something that should be so precious and special, you start turning a corner towards a negative relationship, but I totally get how it will be hard to end that specific chapter that you have had with Arlo. Good luck with the transition!

  17. sniff sniff sniff

    Firstly, I am so damn proud of you for EBF. You know how much it would have meant to me so hell, if I can’t have it then damn it you can!! Stella says thanks mum / mom ;)

    Seconly, whilst I am not there yet the idea of not breast feeding – eek oh god. I know there will be a time when it might only be a morning feed and then she wont want me anymore and what if she is my only child. Can I really still have her on the boob at 6 years old and starting school? sigh.

    You have done an amazing job. Congratulations! Here’s to booze with no regrets!

    1. Thanks! I originally hoped for 1-2 years…then when reality set in of going back to work at 8 weeks and having to pump, I was going to shoot for 6 months. Then at 6 months I realized I was nowhere near ready to stop, so I upped my goal to 1 year again! Now we shall see…

      It’s interesting that before BFing, I never contemplated extended BFing and thought it was a bit odd to go beyond a year or two MAX…now, if I was a SAHM, I totally see how you’d want to continue that relationship!

  18. What a beautiful picture!! And congratulations on making it to a year with just your milk for your sweet girl!! The pumping SUCKS. I was so ready to put that damn thing away, but it made me nervous too. A year or so of conditioning is hard to get over. But it’s worth it. Your nursing relationship will change a bit in the coming months but you’ll adapt. It sounds like you’ll do wonderfully because you just want to listen to Stella’s cues.

    I’ve been meaning to post on this, but we are, officially, weaned. It happened on Sofia’s terms, probably before I was really ready, but, all in all, it was a gift. We made it over 17 months and she decided that was that. It’s a strange place to be, but I’m thinking her timing might have worked out to perfection.

    1. Hm…I can’t even imagine being fully weaned. It’s already bizarre to just do 2x/day. Then again, when I start getting the itch to TTC again, I’m thinking that might change. We shall see. That reminds me, I need to start my inositol. Eek!

  19. Phew… if I wasn’t all EMOTIONS reading the post, the photo just nailed me. GAWD. I regret not having these memories captured… stay tuned!

    Girlfriend, I hated pumping with the fire of a thousand suns. I am in AWE of mamas who pump like you have for their babes. That is some serious commitment right there. You should be proud!

    This transition is hard, no matter what the circumstances are – mutual weaning or not. It’s just HARD. It signals that they are getting bigger, more independent… it’s a wonderful kind of hurt. :)

    1. I know, I’m so stoked that Charlie snapped a couple of those key photos in the first hour!! Very thankful. I hope you get some of those pics this time!!

  20. Wow I am proud of you. You did awesome! Stella is a lucky baby. I can see completely how this is bittersweet. Of course you want your body back but it also marks the time passing and your little girl growing up.

  21. elizabethkbaker · · Reply

    Beautiful picture. And what an amazing accomplishment!

  22. That is a major accomplishment, Momma! Be proud of yourself!

  23. It is so so emotional! Awesome job on a year, mama, and hooray for kicking that pump to the curb! You’ve done so well, I know pumping is freaking awful and tiresome, so the fact that you kept it up so long is amazing.

    Great photo!

  24. So sad, but how amazing! I would like to breastfeed as long as possible and have been thinking I should pump more to develop a stash. When did you start freezing and saving it? I feel nervous every time I go to pump because what if he freaks out and is super hungry and I’ve just pumped it all away?! (He’s still not very keen on the bottle, we’ve only tried a couple times and he only drank a little from it). I hope I can get a stash like yours!! Congrats on such an accomplishment :-)

    1. I started pumping at 4 weeks and pumped every morning until 10+ months. Start now for sure – your supply regulates fairly early, so if you don’t build it up now, you’ll never have “extra” to store. I pumped in the morning b/c milk supply is the best in the early morning – depending on her schedule. i either nursed and pumped 1 hr later or vice versa. BTW – don’t freak out if you “pumped it all away” because you can always give him the bottle you just pumped! Also, we started a bottle at 4w as well and gave her a bottle every couple of days after that to make sure she would keep taking it. It buys you SO much more freedom for (1) if you have to go back to work, (2) want to do errands for more than an hour without the baby, (3) want a night to drink/go out. Good luck!

  25. St. Elsewhere · · Reply

    I loved this post. I read and re-read this on my Reader.

    You are a BF-hero!

  26. I LOVE the photo! Little K was EBF until one year; I wanted to keep going but it just didn’t work out for us. Regret is there, certainly, along with an amazing amount of pride for making it that long. Congratulations to you!

  27. Wow, do I hear you. My daughter weaned herself at 15 months and although in so many ways it is so freeing, I cried. I cried a little bit every day for a week.

    And how awesome are you for all the pumping? So awesome! :)

  28. [...] – The Beginning of the End is one of my bittersweet favorites of the year for sure. It marks the change in my relationship [...]

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