Wow, time flies, even when I’m not pregnant anymore!!
Baby girl is now 13 weeks old and growing so fast! The past 13 weeks have flown by, even without having a baby around to distract me. I have been pumping and will continue to do so for one more week, but I think people forget how ridiculously time consuming pumping is. I was pumping every 3 hours up until a few weeks ago and I just couldn’t handle the sleep deprivation anymore and switched to every 4 hours, but it’s still hard, especially working nights. I have such an insane schedule and I have two kids with their own insane schedules so it’s becoming hard to stay consistent with my pumping routine.
It’s not just the actual pumping that is time consuming, you also have to factor in cleaning and sanitizing pumping parts, organizing and shipping milk, and finding time to go out to buy all the supplies like nipple cream, storage bags, nursing pads, etc. There is also a lot of time that goes into increasing and maintaining a good milk supply. You have to consider how many added calories you need and how much water to drink. It’s not as easy as just nursing a baby and moving on to the next task. For me, I pump for 30 mins every 4 hours and then I have to pour my milk into storage bags and freeze it, then thoroughly clean my pumping parts for the next time. Each pumping sessions takes me about 45 mins from start to finish. And that doesn’t include the time needed to organize all the bags for shipping and get it to UPS to be shipped.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I knew what I was getting into and was willing to do the work to a certain point, I’ve just reached that point. When all is said and done, I will have pumped for baby girl for 14 weeks. Ideally I would’ve liked to pump longer, but life happened and I’m trying to accept that.
I went back to work 6 weeks after delivery. My team is very supportive of my pumping, I mean they have no choice so… I have an alarm set and every time it goes off they all yell “titty time” like it’s a game. I bought some freemie attachments for my pump so I can pump as my desk and I don’t feel guilty about having to get up and disappear for 30 mins every 4 hours (we work 12 hour shifts so I pump 1.5 hours each shift.) That would be a lot of time away from my desk and a lot of added work for my team. Plus, we work overnights and the pump makes a very rhythmic noise that doesn’t bother anyone too much. It’s not obnoxiously loud. It has been working out better than I expected.
I spent a lot of time eating lactation cookies this go around. I have found a recipe that I really like and seems to have worked great. I was up to 48oz/day at one point. I liked them so much and felt they worked so great that I even started an Etsy shop to sell them to other nursing moms.
With all the added stress of life, my supply has begun to decrease. I was down to 30oz yesterday. 18oz/day drop is a lot and it’s hard to see that when I’m pumping. I try not to get discouraged, but it’s a sign to me that life is taking over and my supply is suffering so it’s time for me to move on. I can not tell you how much I struggled with guilt over the decision. It’s hard knowing I won’t be able to provide it when I know my IM was counting on it. It’s also hard because pumping is really the last connection I have to this journey so ending my pumping phase means the final end to this journey and that is always hard to absorb.
I will enjoy my last week pumping for baby girl and move on to life, again. I’m hoping to have a fun and stress-free holiday season with my family. Who knows what I’ll be doing this time next year, but my husband and I have decided on a third journey and are looking forward to starting the process over in a few months.
Until then, thank you for your continued interest and support. I can’t wait to be writing again!