And I'm making more milk than ever.
Seriously, I pumped an all-time high of 11.75 ounces on Friday. I had a little bit of a dip over the weekend, but I've only been pumping long enough to soften my breasts (and you have no idea how hard it is to stop pumping when the milk is still dripping, after three and a half months of conditioning myself to wring out every last little drop). I have a feeling that if I completely emptied my breasts, I would get a lot more. And I feel like crap about it. First of all, because it makes me think that I could have been pumping 5x/day for weeks without any appreciable drop in supply, instead of torturing myself to pump 8-9x/day. And second, because it makes me think that if I'm making all this milk, it's just unbelievably selfish of me to quit. I even think sometimes that I could still change my mind and decide to keep going after all. Maybe I could make even more!
Is this some sick joke the universe is playing on me?
My husband and I got into a big fight last night because he is sick of hearing me complain about pumping and question my decision to quit. (As are you all, too, probably.) He really wants me to keep going if I can, but his take is that if I want to quit, I should just decide to quit and do it, instead of endlessly wringing my hands about it. He got annoyed last night when I was marveling over how much I had just managed to pump, because it made him think, "Well, it's obviously not that bad, why CAN'T she keep going?"
And of course I CAN keep going. I am physically capable of continuing to pump. I just don't want to.
I know quitting is the right decision for me. But that's just it--it is the right decision FOR ME. What I don't know is if it is the right decision for Bat Girl. My OB told me that there's no additional benefit to breastmilk after three months, so I can quit if I want. But I know that's not true--if it were, why would every reputable authority recommend breastfeeding for at least six months to a year?
I keep reading this post and this post over and over again, hoping to find the key that will unlock these chains of guilt I've wrapped myself in.
I would never, ever judge or criticize another woman in my position for quitting. I have told many other women not to feel guilty, that their babies will be healthy and beautiful on formula. Why can't I show myself the same kindness and compassion?
I'm still quitting. But apparently I'm going to beat myself up and feel like shit about it. It's the best of all worlds!