Rylan turned 11 months yesterday (pictures & blog post soon). The day marked the beginning of the end of my pumping and nursing journey.
It is a much more emotional realization than I ever anticipated. I set out to try and make it six months. I assumed my return to working full-time outside the home, five days a week, would leave me dry and worn out by the six month mark. Reality? Quite the opposite.
Following my five and a half month nursing post, I received an overwhelming amount of encouragement and personal advice for how to keep going–if that is what I wanted.
I am grateful that my body cooperated with what my heart decided was best for Rylan and me. The ‘me’ is a very important part of this journey. Nursing before and after work has slowed me down. I can’t do dishes or pack us up for the next day. I can’t get online to work and ask Mike to give a bottle. Rylan and I sit alone in a quiet room and for those minutes, however long, it’s just us. And I am helping him grow and stay healthy. I feel grounded. I re-gain perspective.
Pumping twice daily at work hasn’t been easy but it is what I needed to do to maintain supply and store (i.e., hoard) milk. My coworkers have been extremely respectful of my “Personal: Block” calendar holds. And even though I work on my laptop through every pumping session, I am able to steal a few quiet moments to think about Rylan, our family and all that I simply love (or on some days, dread) about motherhood.
My body gave me the gift of a strong milk supply and I felt – and still do – like it was a sign. A sign that Rylan and I needed to be connected in this way. Breastfeeding and pumping ends in heartbreak for so many moms who want nothing more than to make it to one year, if not longer. I have tremendous respect for any decision a mother makes, because we’re judged for all of them regardless. “You’re still pumping? That is nuts.” “You went straight to formula? Hm.” We’re damned if we do, and damned if we don’t. Thank goodness our little bundles love us unconditionally, regardless.
I am hopeful that with enough Mother’s Milk tea, fennel essential oil and Fenugreek I can continue to nurse twice daily until his first birthday. However, if my supply continues to drop at the rate it is going we have enough milk stored to carry Rylan for several (we think) months past the big first birthday milestone. There is no denying my milk hoarding mentality when you look in our garage freezer.
I owe a HUGE thank you to my blog readers who have reached out via Facebook, text, email and more. Your encouragement and wisdom-sharing is why I am here at 6:15 a.m., pumping and blogging before I go to the gym. Morning gym days mean a 5:45 a.m. pump so Mike can give a fresh bottle. Thank you all so very much.
My breastfeeding journey is wrapping up…but the fun is just beginning around here! The countdown to one is on…