Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pump No More

I knew that if I was lucky enough to be able to provide breastmilk for my twins after they were born, I would. And I have done just that for the past 6 and a half months, thankfully.

But - I must say one thing - breastfeeding twins is HARD! Kudos and God bless yous to all who solely breastfeed without use of bottles/pumps. Unfortunately, I never made enough milk for the both of them, so I always had to supplement with formula.

Because they stayed in the NICU for just under 3 weeks, I became very intimate with a hospital-grade pump. Since I had to pump for them from the start, it became my third baby, taking up at least 2-3 hours a day in order to provide for them the nutrients, immunoglobulins, and love that only a mother can give. This was a burden I was more than happy to have.

We always knew I would return to work in some capacity, so we knew that the babies would have to learn to take a bottle, so from the start all their "scheduled" feedings would be from a bottle (a mix of expressed breastmilk and Neosure formula.) Sometimes, they would get a treat and be solely breastfed for a scheduled feeding, but that was rare. And sometimes I'd find myself doing the double football hold with the twins reaching over my breasts to hold hands -- an act that would melt my heart every time. But most of the time during my four months of maternity leave, I would only breastfeed on demand in between their feedings.

When I went back to work, the on demand feedings started to wane. At around 4.5 months old, Colin lost interest in going to breast. Ava also started to lose interest, but would still want to from time to time until a couple of weeks ago.

Four weeks ago, after going back and forth on the issue, I decided to start weaning myself from the pump. You can't just stop pumping or your breasts would engorge, you'd get plugged ducts and the pain would be unbearable. Maybe people do go cold turkey, but even doing it slowly, I had some painful moments. At this point, I had trained my body to only have to pump 4 times a day to get the same amount of milk out as when I used to pump 8 times in a 24 hour period. This would mean I'd have to pump at least once at work, which was difficult to do since I work in a lab, and have to leave my bench in order to pump in privacy. When I started weaning, I would reduce the time at each session, with the longest sessions being the first and last of the day. Eventually, I eliminated the middle two sessions and then I was down to just my nightly one. This took 4 weeks. I tried to speed it up, but my body wouldn't allow it. I would be in pain and be leaking (not fun).

And then 2 days ago, I didn't have to pump. That was it. I'm sad. I'm torn. But I tell myself that I provided my babies with nourishment for over 6 months, and I still will, just in different ways. So I pack up my Ameda Purely Yours pump. I say goodbye to my Lansinoh and breastmilk storage bottles. I say hello to a life with my twins (er,um, "things") where I'm not chained to my pump anymore...just in time for summer.

(Thanks to my friend and co-worker, Morgan, for the fabulous Dr. Seuss onesies!)


Mommy, Esq. said...

You did great for them! Congratulations.

Nicole S. said...

I'm secretly a little jealous. A summer of no pumping would be nice :)

Julie said...

6.5 months is amazing. I admire your dedication, especially providing for two.

Amanda said...

I have 7 month old twins and stopped pumping and breastfeeding at 6 months after I was making such little milk. I was happy that I made it six months but it did feel liberating to be done with it all! I enjoyed checking out your blog and the cooking one because I love to try new recipes and also have a new site dedicated to ideas for around the home and hope to include some menu ideas! Amanda @ http://thelittlelilypad.blogspot.com

Just Kristen said...

Awww...**HUGS** The hardest part is just being OK with your own decision! Once you let yourself off the hook you will feel so much better!
Then before to long, all those worries seem very distant! Congratulations!