Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Reflections on pumping

Well, here we are at 7 months, and I'm still a "full-time pumper," meaning that I use a breast pump every 3 hours. I had planned on doing it for 6 months, and to be honest, thought that was rather heroic. But then I joined an online group called "PumpMoms," and the first couple of messages I read were sobering: there were two messages from moms who had been exclusive pumpers for a year, and were writing to say they were finally calling it quits.

Damn. A year.

Well, if they could do it... I felt wimpy for stopping at 6 months. The APA recommends breastmilk for a year, so these women were determined to provide it. It was like coasting along at the end of a race, only to have someone pass you and tell you they're going to run the race again.

A personal challenge. Or peer pressure, depending on how you look at it. Either way, I decided I would try to make it to a year, too.

I can't pretend that it's fun, though. I've pumped in the oddest places-- including in the middle of a McDonald's, when the manager refused to let me into any private space at a rest stop. The car's cigarette lighter didn't work, so I was unable to use my adapter, and I was on a 5-hour trip. I had no choice but to stop somewhere to "hook up," so I seriously found myself plugging in at a crowded McDonald's with a blanket covering whatever I could. People still could see what I was up to, though.

I've also pumped at a funeral, in other people's houses, in the car...

Sometimes I feel frustrated because of my low supply-- it's really quite sad now. I just pumped for 16 minutes and got an ounce and a half. I understand that most normal women would take that as the sign that it's time to give up, but I think, "That's an ounce and a half more than she'd get if I didn't do it."

She eats solids three times a day, and usually 1-2 formula bottles, depending on how much I was able to pump that day.

The thing that gets conflicting, though, is that I want time to move faster so I can be done with pumping... but I want time to stand still so my daughter doesn't grow up too fast. Every time I catch myself counting down the days until 12 months, I have that moment of, "No! Don't even wish that!" I'm already nostalgic for her newborn days. It's already all going way too fast.

She has four teeth. Two on bottom, two on top.

She crawls up steps.

She's cruising. (Walking, holding onto furniture.)

It's all so exciting, and I wish I could make it last much longer.