Back in May I wrote this post about my pumping / milk supply experience the 2nd time around. It’s so frustrating to realize I was getting 7 ounces in two pumping sessions at work back then — and now I’m struggling to get 3. It doesn’t help that lefty has basically said adios and quit responding to the pump at all. Obviously Harvey’s milk intake has dropped some since starting solid foods 3 months ago, but he’s still drinking 5-6 ounces in the 2 bottles he has while I’m gone (compared to 8-9 before).
Hm…I write that and realize how long I’ve been operating at a deficit when it comes to pumping output vs. ounces consumed in bottles. Dammit.
At any rate, I used to do an extra pump in the mornings from time to time to make that deficit up (I’d get 3-4 ounces), but it’s really hard to do that anymore. Being home alone with 2 kids in the morning and getting myself ready for work while I feed them breakfast — yeah, who wants to pump too, especially when I’m only getting 1-2 ounces max? I’m gone from 8am-5:30pm (plus I usually nurse Harvey at lunch), so it’s not crazy that he’d want/need a mid-morning and mid-afternoon bottle. Basically, I don’t think it’s that the Nanny is offering him milk too often – I think I just don’t respond well to the pump (Harvey seems fine the 3d/wk that I’m home with him).
I just can’t keep up, and my freezer stash is quickly depleting.
Stella was exclusively breastfed until 13 months and still nursed a couple times a day until 17 months (we did add solid food in starting at 6 months with Baby Led Weaning). I’m super proud of that fact because I work full time and it involved a lot of pumping, but we were able to make it happen. I hate pumping, but I love nursing, and it was important to me.
Ego is a huge part of this. I get that. So is providing the best I can for my baby.
**PUMP BREAK AT WORK – 1 oz in 20 minutes. *HEADDESK*
I’ve tried everything I can think of to increase my supply (short of ordering meds from overseas):
- I drink 100 oz of water per day.
- I take Fenugreek pills & smell like maple syrup.
- I drink More Milk Plus, even though it’s disgusting & makes me want to gag.
- I eat lots of oatmeal & I increased my daily caloric intake and said screw weight loss for awhile to make sure I wasn’t sabotaging my own supply.
- I nurse on demand & try to always nurse him BEFORE meals to make sure he gets milk in him and doesn’t just fill up on solids.
- I’ve tried 3 different pumps (two of mine plus a hospital grade one that I borrowed from a friend).
- I’ve tried 3 different flanges (angled ones and different sized ones – who knew I should have been using a 27mm instead of 24mm this entire time? SO much more comfortable, though it didn’t really change the output).
Nothing has really made a whit of difference.
So here’s where I’m at now: Harvey is only 9 months old, and oh man do I want to quit pumping.
I am so stressed out about it — I think I need to quit pumping. I have 176 ounces in my freezer. I work 4 days per week. I have 40 more workdays to get through before we go to MN for Christmas (where I left another 24 oz that I can use for the few days we are back in CO before he turns 1).
If I leave him two bottles per day with 2.5-3.0 ounces in each, that means I have about 30-35 days worth of milk in my freezer right now (assuming all the bags have as much in them as I think they do). That means I’m only about 25-50 ounces short of making it to 1 year EBF with Harvey as well. So close, yet so far away.
I don’t know what to do.
I know that not everyone can breastfeed. I know that not everyone wants to breastfeed. I know that not everyone feels it’s important to get to one year EBF. I get that.
It doesn’t change the fact that it’s important to ME and it’s the best thing for my child if I can stick to breastmilk instead of formula.
I’m at a loss…literally and figuratively.
- Do I stick it out at work and pump for 2 more weeks to make sure I have enough to get him through?
- Do I say f*it and throw that pump out with the trash tonight and just start topping off his bottles with goat’s milk?
- Do I pump until my coworker has her baby (she’s 38+5 today) and just quit pumping once I have to take over her job as well b/c there is no way in hell I’ll have time for pump breaks when I’m doing her job and mine?
- Do I quit pumping at work but try to do some extra early morning & weekend pumps to add to my stash?
- Do I look on milk boards and see if there is anyone who lives decently close that I can buy some milk from?
I hate this. I hate struggling with this. But I hate the idea of formula even more. What would you do?
*Note: Please don’t tell me to get over it or that you were a formula fed baby and you were fine. I get it. I get that there are healthy people all over the world who drank formula and I don’t think you’re a bad Mom if you gave your baby formula. I just don’t want to go that route if it’s not absolutely necessary.
But I still don’t know what to do. I wish I could let go and just not care about this so much. But I do. It’s such a love/hate relationship at this point, and I really want to get back to the love side of things.
So now what? Advice? Commiseration?