Friday, December 3, 2010

It Feels Like the End of an Era

I'm having mixed feelings about quitting and I think blogging about it will be therapeutic for me.

There is something so fascinating about naturally providing for my babies. From the womb through 10.5 months with us, my very own body has been providing them with the nutrients they need. I'm seriously fascinated! I'm emotionally connected to my sweet boys. I feel needed. I am their provider.

I highly and passionately recommend nursing to EVERY new mother.


1.  It is a natural way to feed your babies all of the nutrients necessary.

I don't need to share all the research about the benefits of nursing. But it is out there!

2.  It is challenging and rewarding to the max!

Learning to breastfeed was very difficult and overwhelming. I was clueless. The nurse handed one of my brand new babies and told me to try and I failed miserably over and over again. My babies lost weight and when I thought we were getting it, they lost more weight. It was emotionally draining and I was full of fear. I felt like I was their lifeline and I was failing. For at least two months, Nolan and I took two steps forward and one step back. That means, in the long run, things continued to improve despite setbacks here and there. I had a misconception about breastfeeding. I thought you position the baby and everything just happens. Some women make it look easy. It isn't. My milk didn't come in for 6 days when it should take 2-3. I'm sharing that because I feel like I want to shout out, "Don't give up!" That said, there are some women who truly struggle far more than I did and simply cannot breastfeed. If you just can't do it, whether the issue is the milk or the emotions associated with having just had a baby, you should never feel bad for making the decision to stop.

3. Your body burns about 20 calories to make one ounce of milk.

Seriously. At 40 ounces a day, I'm burning 800 calories! What?! And I was definitely making more than that a few months ago! I'm also feeding two, but still! I'm 80 pounds less than I was when I checked in to deliver my babies! My weight is the lowest it has been as an adult. Besides carrying 30 pounds of baby plus carrier in each arm, I don't get much exercise. I feel wonderful (despite recently being told that I look "run down") and I'm incredibly scared of how I will burn those calories when I quit. I'm thinking I won't so I'll have to stop eating chocolate mini donuts so often.

4. It saves you major money!

Okay, before my boys started eating food, I simply could not make enough milk for both of them. They were drinking so much and growing so fast, that I couldn't keep up. Each boy had around 8 ounces of formula each day. We bought the cheapest brand at around $15 per canister. If we were only feeding them formula, we may have chosen a more trusted brand at near $25 per canister. Friends and neighbors have shared that their children would go through one can per week. For us, that would be 2 cans or $50 per week. For 42 weeks now, we would have spent $2100 on formula! I have spent a one-time maximum of $300 on my pump and supplies. That's it!


So I'm about to stop.


Because it was so tough to nurse both babies at once and so time consuming to nurse one after the other, I started pumping very early on. I would pump then turn around and feed the milk to the boys simultaneously, in bottles. I still pump 5 times a day and only nurse once in the morning. At 15 minutes per pumping session, 6 times a day on average over 40 weeks, I've spent a loving, 25,200 minutes with my dear pump. That is 420 hours! I'm over it! My family, pump and I have traveled 7 times together. It is a pain to bring the pump, especially when flying. So, the day before Christmas Eve, we are flying to Kentucky and I will finally be separated from my pump. The weaning process (for me more than the babies) will begin December 18 and I am counting down to that day with excitement for a certain sense of freedom I have missed.

I've been planning this quit date for a few months now. As it approaches, I'm feeling sad. Seriously! SAD! It is weird but I'm going to miss providing for my babies this way. I can't even describe the emotions accurately but it feels like the end of an era. Maybe it symbolizes my babies growing up too fast. Maybe it is the first of many times I will feel like my children need me less. Some may ask why I don't just go on to 12 months. My reasons are selfish but it just feels right.

It is time.

Until we meet again, goodbye dear pump.