I Broke Up With My Breast Pump
Our post today is from Aili Smith, a Bright Horizons employee and first-time mom to baby, Cab:
I recently had an Oprah-like “aha” moment and broke up with my breast pump. It wasn’t easy, but it was the right choice for me. Will it ever see the light of day again? I’m not sure, but for now, it is tucked away safely, and I have made peace with that.
Whether a soon-to-be mom is having her first baby (or second, or third), a lot of things run through her mind during the 40 weeks that her little one is “cooking.” Will my baby be a boy or girl? Will he or she have my nose? Can I handle the labor I am going to have to endure? Or the most recent “hot button” question of them all: breast or bottle?
What stressed me out? My baby’s delivery. I wanted it to be a calm, natural process in which my little one was welcomed into the world and lucky for me, it was. What I was not prepared for was something that I assumed would come naturally (although not easily): breastfeeding.
HOW MY RELATIONSHIP WITH MY BREAST PUMP BEGAN
That question of breast or bottle reared its ugly head only a few hours after my little man was born. As a 37-weeker, my son, Cab, was extra sleepy and not quick to latch well, as explained to us by the first lactation consultant we saw. Breastfeeding was a struggle, one which he and I were losing together, along with, for him, weight. The second lactation consultant we would see helped support us in the choice to supplement with formula to help balance out our supply and demand issues.
That is when I started pumping. Cab was four days old and even though Google and the doctors told me that it was early to start and my milk supply would pick up, I was determined to force nature’s hand.
Funny thing, nature is not a fan of being forced.
In total, we saw six lactation specialists, two pediatricians, and even a homeopathic doctor, all with the hope of making breastfeeding work. My pump started to follow me around everywhere I went. I did everything I could think of, and that Google told me, to increase my supply. I tried pumping after every feeding, “power pumping” sessions (where for days straight I pumped 10 mins every hour of the day), I ate oatmeal, tried massaging, popped all kinds of herbal supplements, and drank more water than I would ever like to drink again. Nothing happened, my supply never grew.
Cue the tears.
MAKING PEACE WITH A NEW PLAN
By this time, my little man was four weeks old and all I could think was that I failed him. My body couldn’t do what it was supposed to do naturally and it was maddening. Then one day my husband, to at this point supported me and my crazy ideas, just looked at me and said, “You know, you can stop if you want to.” That simple comment gave me a sense of calming self-permission to take a step back, let the realization that this was my breastfeeding experience sink in, and embrace it.
I kept pumping all throughout my maternity leave. As I got closer the date I was to go back to work, I slowly dropped pumping sessions until the day that I had the courage to tell myself to let it go. Nothing was more freeing than breaking up with my breast pump. It acted as a reminder that I needed to move on from my original plan and make room for a new plan, and focus on what was really important.
No one told me breastfeeding would be easy, actually, more times than not the advice was on how difficult it would be. For me it was the journey, not the end result, that mattered. Giving up on my breastfeeding dream was 100% worth it for my little guy to be happy and healthy.
That is what is truly important.
- E-family news: Breastfeeding – A Personal Choice
- Online Community: Parent Conversations about Breastfeeding
- Read more posts about infants and posts about breastfeeding and pumping from the Family Room bloggers
I am Aili, a first-time mom and lover of cloth diapers and cute baby fashion. As an avid bargain shopper who will stand in line to snag the right deal, if I’m not searching out an outfit for my little man, you can find me in the home décor. I am excited to share with you all my mishaps and successes as I navigate this thing called parenting.