It’s a love/hate relationship.

I’d like to preface this post by saying that it is about breastfeeding and pumping breast milk. If you know me in real life and feel that this subject may make you uncomfortable, STOP reading now! Otherwise, carry on. 🙂

When Little Miss was born, I had high hopes for our breastfeeding experience. I fully intended to exclusively breastfeed her for the first six months. After that I would slowly introduce solid foods while continuing to breastfeed. Little nursed for the first time at only thirty minutes old. It was such a strange experience that first time. It’s crazy that a just-born baby knows where to find her food and is usually pretty effective at getting it!

We met with the lactation consultant at the hospital who was very helpful. I learned lots of ways to hold my new little bundle while nursing and discovered the one in which we both seemed most comfortable. And then it was time to go home. We only stayed at the hospital for one night and were headed home the next day.

I’ve read articles about how in the Western world, mothers leave the hospital at a crucial time in  their breastfeeding journey: usually right around the time that the breast milk arrives! And boy did my milk arrive. I could have probably fed three babies with all of the milk that my body was producing. (I’m going to stop here and once again say that if you want to leave this post, do so now! I’m sure this is way too much information for some people.)  Right about the time my supply was finally under control (a week and a couple days postpartum), I got mastitis. High fever, headache, soreness. It was definitely not something that I wanted to deal with while caring for a newborn. Luckily, Daddio and our family were here to help, and I got over it fairly quickly.

I wanted to breastfeed Little more than anything else, but sometimes things just don’t work out the way you plan. Even with the hurdles that I jumped, my breastfeeding experience was not what I expected. Little Miss is and always has been very particular about her feedings. I continued to nurse her, but it was so difficult, and I was always stressed that she wasn’t getting enough to eat. When she was eight weeks old, I couldn’t take it anymore, and with many tears, I gave her a bottle of pumped breast milk. And so began my love/hate relationship with one of the most important Christmas presents I got in 2009: my breast pump.

I have been pumping milk for Little for at least ten months now, but the journey is coming to a close. I plan to drop a pumping session in the near future which will begin the process of drying up the milk. On one hand, I am very excited about this. I hate washing pump parts, pumping in the car, and waiting to go to bed until after my last pumping session of the night. I will be free from the bondage of the pump in just a short while!

But on the other hand, I’ll miss it. Sometimes, the only time I get to sit down and relax during the day is while I am pumping. Plus, the pump has given me an excuse to eat pretty much whatever I want and still lose all the baby weight!

Even though my breastfeeding experience didn’t  go as planned, I’m proud to say that Little Miss was exclusively fed breast milk for her first year and will continue to receive it until my freezer stash runs out. Maybe my next baby will love to nurse as much as I hoped Little would. If not, I guess I will have to rekindle the flame with my beloved/hated pump!

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