Let me get all the fluff out of the way...
- I'm so thankful for being able to feed my child.
- I'm so thankful to be able to produce enough to feed my child.
- I'm so thankful my body has cooperated from day one and breastfeeding has come more natural than I ever imagined.
- I'm so thankful that I'm a human cow and have over-produced from the beginning affording me to have over 500 bags of frozen milk stored in our freezer.
Is that enough pat on the back statements? Good.
Now let's get to the truth...
Breastfeeding in the single most sacrificial thing I've ever done in my life.
From day one I quickly realized why so many women give it up for whatever reason. How come the person who just pushed a human out of a pin-sized hole then has to turn around and have their boobs mutilated for God-knows how many months? All the while everyone else gets to just hold the baby.
I quickly became one of those people who envied all those around me who got to hold Graham without having to whip a boob out. So many people would say, "Well you just held him for 45 minutes while you nursed him" and I'd have to pull a b-move a tell them that I'd love to hold my child while is isn't literally attached to my body.
As time went on, and things got easier, I still hated it. I dreaded the fact that I was the one who had to leave the room, cover up, eat a cold meal, get up in the middle of the night, etc. because I was his sole source of nutrition. I hated (and still do) that my wardrobe has to be nursing friendly. I dreaded the pain that came with it and the fact that my world truly revolved around whether or not my boobs would explode.
It was right when G turned three months that I was going on 4-5 hours of broken sleep for about a week, when I had a huge breakdown and told Chris that I just couldn't do it anymore. I would get up to feed G for 30-40 min (when things were all said and done) and then I'd have to pump because he wouldn't fully drain me, and by that time it would be only an hour or so before he'd wake again. I was miserable.
Luckily, Chris had a plan that literally saved me. He suggested that he just give G a bottle while I pump, that way I wouldn't have to do both. Duh! What a genius I married, right? Haha!
So, from 3 months on, anytime G needed a nighttime feeding, Chris would hop and give him a bottle while I pumped.
Now, here I am 8 months into this motherhood thing and I'm still pumping. I haven't nursed Graham in about two months (or maybe more? I can't remember) and I don't miss it one bit. He takes a bottle in about 3 minutes and I can pump around 12 ounces in 10 minutes. This is so much better than nursing him for however long.
Here's my theory on why I'm still a human cow: pumping saved me.
I never thought I'd say it, because I despised it at first, but if it weren't for pumping, I'd have given up on this whole thing a long time ago. I've been exclusively pumping for a few months now and, although I still dread it each time I hook up to that stupid machine, it has become such a part of my routine that I am hardly even phased by it anymore.
If you know me personally, then you know I am not the mushy-gushy, sentimental type so, no, I'm not sad or sentimental in the least about never nursing Graham again. I'm actually elated because I seriously hated it that much. I am Graham's favorite person, we've bonded (blah blah blah), and I think that has nothing to do with the fact that I breastfed him for the first three months of his life. I think it has to do with the fact that I'm his mom, period.
Bottom line: do what is best for YOU. I've always been Team Sanity and if that means pumping, good. If that means formula, good. If that means, exclusively nursing until they're 5, gross, but yay for you.
Breastfeeding is the hardest and, in my opinion, worst part of becoming a new mom. I'd have five more babies by now if boobs weren't involved. So, new moms, just know that it might get better, but it might not, and that's okay. Just know that your baby will love you and that you are doing a great job.
Now, I'm off to count down the days until I've weaned myself off of this milking machine.
PS: My child is 8 months old today and I'm going to find out how to slow down time. Wish me luck!