THANK YOU for all your support
I am down to twice a day, once for 15 mins, once for 10 minutes. I am weaning, slowly but surely. I'm down to less than 2oz/day. I am HUTH.
It has been 27 months, and I have pumped every. single. day. Multiple times per day. I woke up in the middle of the night, even when Katie was sleeeping through to pump. I had nipples so painful I sometimes cried when I first put the horns on each session. I took everything under the sun to increase supply. I love to say I smelled like the IHOP on Sunday mornings for months. I altered my social life, racing home every two hours to pump, trying to figure out if I had enough time to go to both the grocery store AND the library without having to go home to pump. I carried a pump with me on vacation, I stored pumped milk in hotel sinks filled with ice. Bags of "emergency" milk fell out of our freezer. I sobbed hysterically on the phone to my best friend over "starving" my daughter the first few days when I didn't realize I literally did not have enough milk (tubular breasts, for those who don't know). I tried for months to "woo" my daughter back to my breast (she's no dummy - much easier to take Mama-milk from the bottle, and I didn't know about SNSs and all that jazz back then). I cried over spilled milk, literally.
And, I found untold support. I found it in the likeliest places - from MDC - especially from you guys, who understand that sometimes, it's NOT the easiest thing in the world to breastfeed and that NOT everyone can do it completely problem-free. From my best friend -who easily breastfed her three kids, and COMPLETELY supported me, even when I had to supp. with formula. She even dealt with my hysterical phone call at seven in the morning on a Saturday with compassion.
I found it from my mother, who breastfed me for a week or so, and quit, but always understood when I visited that I'd have to "get back home to pump". I found it from my grandmother, whose response to my tentative admission that we weren't getting Katie the MMR vax was, "Well, you're still breastfeeding, right? She'll be fine."
I found it in the unlikeliest places, too. From my daughter's optometrist (who, God love him, supports non-vax and extended breastfeeding). From my employers - who told me to take whatever time I needed to pump, even AFTER Katie was a year old. One memorable night, I found support for pumping for my nearly 2 year old from my husband's male, childless, unmarried Army buddies (didn't see that one coming).
And most of all, from my husband and my Katie-bird. My *husband* has had to deal with the pumping for these 27 months as well. The rushing to get home. The planning vacations and driving and all that around when I'd need to pump. Taking the baby while I pumped. Understanding that if we went to a party, I'd need to be home at a certain time. Understanding that he'd have to move some bottles of milk out of the sink to shave at the military ball. Washing pump parts, and carefully handling the milk. The "Don't touch me there! I just pumped half an hour ago - they hurt!"
And my Katie, who is absolutely the best support in the world for me doing this. She is healthy, intelligent, funny, and probably more self-sufficient than most 27month olds, just due to the fact that "Mama has to pump now" is a stock phrase in the house. Heck, she can assemble and disassemble a pump on her own, probably blindfolded if necessary.
She is beautiful, in every sense, and I like to think that my milk helped to make her that way.
It has been a long, hard 27 months. There are times when I absolutely resented it. I absolutely wanted to quit. If you had told me two years ago, I'd still have this pump on my table, I would have laughed hysterically. But, it's time. I think it's so hard for me to quit, because for 27mos, I've known that this is a "noble" thing to do for my daughter, and I could take pride in it. I knew my milk helped to keep her healthy, and strong, and helped her grow. And, now, I won't have that "sure-fire" good stuff. I'll need to find other ways to help keep her healthy and strong, and that's kind of scary. I know it isn't that logical, but, in many ways, I think pumping has become a bit of a crutch for me, and *I* need to find new ways to grow, if that makes sense. But I will always be able to say with pride that, despite obstacles, I breastfed my daughter for over 27 months.