Monday, May 14, 2007


I took my last doses of domperidone, fenugreek, and blessed thistle on Friday. Over the last week I've been slowly dropping pumping sessions, and I'm now down to 5x/day, from 8x/day a week ago.

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!


Blogger Isabel said...

I for one think that a decision like this that is good for you has to be good for your kid in the long run. Your doc probably isn't steering you wrong: the benefits probably do peter out with time. I think of all the time you'll save not pumping: time to be with your kid, your husband, time to do stuff. That's got to be worth a tick in the 'pros' column.

Hang tough and go easy on yourself.

1:58 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

Rather than beating yourself up and having to do all or nothing, why not try a compromise? See how you feel pumping 5x a day. If you still hate it, go down to 3x a day. Again, see how you feel. You may find that a couple of times a day isn't so bad. Or you may find that every minute strapped to that milk- and soul-sucking machine is one too many. There are benefits to long-term breastmilk but there are also major benefits to having a mom who's happy and feels good about what she's doing for her baby. BatGirl will be fine either way--see what works best for you. Maybe that will help you stop beating yourself up!

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time lurker here wanting to jump in with some thoughts. I found your blog just as I became pregnant after a long period of infertility. I feel like you are speaking for me as we have had many of the exact same problems - even with breastfeeding. And I wanted to let you know that I couldn't agree more with Isabel and Erin. Both have great points. My main thought is that if it is taking away your enjoyable time from your baby (even time thinking about it when you are away from your baby anyway) then you should trust your decision and quit. Seriously - wouldn't you rather be spending your time thinking about how cute your baby and your husband are together then the whole pumping thing? And thank the lord that there is such a wonderful thing as formula that your baby can thrive on. Yeah - there are lots of studies that show breastmilk is best, but you aren't abusing your daughter if you stop. In fact, you are probably going to be in a better state of mind altogether. I'm just saying...

3:42 PM  
Blogger MoMo said...

Oh Electriclady..I know how this decision is really hard for you. But as everyone is saying, you have to be happy. As Erin says, maybe pumping 5x a day will work for you and if not, try 3. But it is all up to you--you have to come first.

I am starting to wonder if those herbs/medicine just gives us a mental reaction...I am not drinking my tea anymore and I barely take the fenugreek....and my milk production is the same as when I was taking them!!

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another lurker here. I've been following your pumping saga and, unfortunately, have experienced much of the guilt that you're wrapping yourself in right now.

I have two children and my supply was never the issue, but my anatomy was and neither kid could ever latch effectively. The first time around I pumped for five weeks before throwing in the towel and the second I only made it about three weeks. You've done great work in making it this long. It's really, really hard both mentally and physically.

I totally understand the mommy guilt that comes with stopping when you don't HAVE to, but I can also tell you from experience that you'll enjoy your baby more when you're not so darn tired and aren't feeling tethered to a machine that you're resenting. Breastfeeding is awesome and amazing and I wish beyond belief that it would have worked for me and for you, but the truth is that it doesn't work for everyone. Don't beat yourself up here. Be really proud of how far you've made it and go enjoy that baby!

11:53 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Well, certainly find a happier medium than that! Either quit and be happy about it, or pump morning and evening for a few minutes and be happy about that. But don't beat yourself up, because as you know, this is the right choice for you. You've done a fantastic job at the pumping thing, and now you're ready to take the time, effort, and angst off to some other project.

Courage, this will all be a distant memory far too soon (thank God).

12:06 PM  

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