My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weaning off the pump

I'm finally committing to weaning off the pump.  For the last 2 months I've been waffling on the subject.  I hate pumpin, but I get upset when I think about running out of breast milk, so even though I say I'm going to go 5 hours between pumps, I seem to hook myself up between 3-4 hours anyway.  I think I've been keeping myself at 4-5 pumps a day because in the back of my mind, I felt like if I really wanted to push my supply back up, I probably could, but dropping down to 3 pumps per day is where my supply will tank beyond the point of no return.

But we've already passed so many of our original goals.  At first, I just wanted to have enough give some to both of them.  Once that was established, I thought it would be awesome if their first 6 weeks was nothing but breast milk.  Ok, we passed that so I figured 3 months, then until they start solids, and now it's a year.  Ya know what?  They won't die if they have a little bit of formula.  I don't have to be all or nothing (I keep telling myself that because by nature I'm an all or nothing kind of person).  Yes, if I pumped my ass off, I probably could supply a full breast milk diet for twins for an entire year.  No, I don't want to spend my entire first year of parenting sitting at my desk with a machine pulling on my boobs while the girls are stuck playing by themselves.

It's time.  Those 4-5 times a day has had diminishing returns with my supply slowly dropping by a couple of ounces per week.  Screw it!  I'll pump when I wake up in the morning, once in the middle of the day, and then before bed at night.  Going about 8 hours in between pumps means I will probably never be in an "oh crap, I need to pump soon!" panic again!  For a week or two, those three pumps should give me approximately the same daily yield but with a lot less work, and then I'll see my daily output drop.

In recent weeks, I've barely been keeping up with their appetite, occasionally thawing a bag here and there from our stash.  Seeing my supply drop a little bit below their needs, we've cracked open a can of formula to make sure they will drink it in case I dry up and we finish off our freezer stash before the year is up.  They don't like it on its own, but if I do a bottle of half breast milk, half formula, they take it just fine.  So I've been mixing up 4-6oz of formula a day and sneaking that into their bottles to reduce the amount of milk I need to thaw.

Now that I'm committing to only pumping 3 times a day, I'm sure my supply is about to completely tank and I'll only be producing about half of what they need every day.  But that's fine.  Between a few ounces of formula and thawing out a bag every day or two, we should be able to give them some breast milk every day until their first birthday.  We'll probably have enough that it will still be a good 75% of their liquid diet until it's time to move on to cows milk.  Perfect?  No.  But pretty damned good.

So the plan is to be at 3 pumps per day for about a month, then drop to 2 for about 2 weeks, and then one, and return the pump I'm renting when the girls turn 10 months.  After that, we mix our frozen stash with formula and see how long it lasts.

I'm trying to be ok with this.  I'll be a better mommy when I can spend more time with the girls without worrying about my damned boobs.  But for the last year and a half, what I do with my body has a direct relation to the girls.  I'm still taking prenatal vitamins, I'll be able to stop those.  If I need anything medically, I won't have to give the doctor the caveat that I'm either pregnant or breastfeeding.  My body just becomes me again instead of being me and the girls.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, you've done an AWESOME job. I pumped for 1 kid for 14 months, but DAMN it was a lot of work. It was so freeing to be done, and it's amazing how fast you get use to your body being your own again. Congratulations. Even if you were to stop tomorrow, I'd say you did a fabulous job.


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