I posted this picture to Instagram last weekend of my boys helping (“helping”) me pack up my pump parts and bottles, which was my official declaration to myself and to the world that I was DONE pumping!
It feels like quite a milestone and achievement once again, to have gone this long and to have provided exclusively breast milk for my baby for his first year, and to now be on the other side of that – or at least the crappy part of it, which is the pumping part. No more having to pump before I go to bed, no more having to close my office door and pump at work, no more having to worry about pumping a bottle before we leave to go somewhere. No more washing bottles and pump parts each night, no more having to remember to pack those things up for work each morning. No more freezing milk and organizing it and worrying about whether we’re cycling through it correctly.
I looked back today and read this post about when I pumped for Henry for the final time. It was almost his first birthday and I decided that I had to pump one last time so that I knew it was the last time, to make it more official and to have a sense of closure.
I’m a bit more relaxed this time around, and I had no idea that last week Monday (almost two weeks ago now) would be my last time pumping for Ben. I had no engorgement issues this time, nor any huge drops in supply – it’s sort of been smooth sailing weaning off the pump this last month or so.
My breastfeeding experience with Ben is the total opposite of what it was with Henry. With Henry, he’d given up, for the most part anyway, on nursing by about eight months old. By the time he was one, he would still nurse for a minute or two in the morning but that was it, definitely preferring the bottle over the boob. I was almost an exclusive pumper for four months for him.
With Ben, he has no real preference. Bottle, boob, sippy cup – just give me the milk, lady.
Actually, he seems to be MORE into nursing these past few weeks than he’s been in months, happily taking the boob and nursing several times a day – in the morning when he wakes up, after we get home from Lori’s (which is my favorite time, since we’ve been apart all day and since it’s light in his room and I can watch his sweet face), and before bed, either along with or instead of a bottle.
Last night he woke up at 11 p.m. (don’t even get me started on how he’s completely forgotten how to sleep all night since he got sick a few weeks ago!) and he refused a bottle or a nuk – he ONLY wanted the boob. But I’d just nursed him before bed a few hours earlier and I really don’t have much milk left, so I had nothing for him. He was MAD! And I felt terrible. Now I’m wondering if maybe I stopped too soon, since little man is still so into it but I’m not producing much anymore. But oh well – no turning back now.
It’s kind of strange to nurse a baby who’s almost a year old, since I didn’t do much of it with Henry at this age and Ben just feels so big laid out across me compared to the little bitty guy he was when we first started on this journey! (tear…) But I love it and obviously don’t find it weird at all – I’m going to let him keep it up as long as he wants to! I imagine he’ll get frustrated and uninterested soon, since he’s probably not getting much at this point, but we’ll see.
I’d tried to do the forward-facing thing with Henry once and it didn’t work out, but last week Ben made the choice for me to give it another go. It was after work and I sat in the rocking chair and was lifting up my shirt with him on my lap and he just attacked before I could lay him down. It was really funny, and I enjoyed it for a few minutes, since I could keep eye contact with him and watch how his eyes get all sleepy and drunk looking. It’s not as comfortable for me, though, so while I’ve let him nurse like that a few more times, I still prefer when he just lays across the Boppy.
So that’s that. Even though I’m still nursing, I feel like I’m pretty much at the end of this journey again, since pumping and all that goes with it is such a huge part of it all. And as happy as I am to be done, there are two downsides: First, I can’t believe how small my boobs have gotten again. It’s been nearly two years again that I’ve been pregnant and then nursing so I’m used to them being bigger, but oh, it’s all coming back to me now. When I was finished nursing Henry I actually had to go out and buy A-CUP bras for the first time in my life. I love breastfeeding and wouldn’t trade the experience for the world, but man, it does a sad number on the formerly round, perky girls! I always thought I’d never even consider any kind of cosmetic surgery, but I won’t lie – once I’m done breastfeeding (God willing) baby #3, I may have to change my tune on that one … And secondly, I am seriously going to miss the calorie-burning power that comes with pumping and nursing. I mean, who wouldn’t want to burn an extra 300-500 calories every day without any effort?! One of the best parts of the whole deal, for sure.
Thank you, my sweet Benny, for being such an awesome little eater these past 12 months. The bonding has been amazing and I’m proud of what a beefy, healthy guy you are!