02 August 2011

Pumping to Nurse: Make It Fit

I recently stopped pumping and not because I didn't want the extra milk. I was nursing Jaron and pumping off my oversupply to donate. On the surface it seemed to be working out great. Then Jaron hit a growth spurt and started needing all my milk; I took a break from pumping because he was eating so often I just didn't have the time.

When I stopped using the pump I found out several things. Some of then had crossed my mind, but I had refused to really consider them as issues.

First, I was blaming Jaron for pain caused by the pump. I thought maybe his latch had regressed, or it was that he was nursing more frequently, or that his teeth were rubbing. Some days were better than others, at worst it hurt for him to latch and then continued to hurt for the entire feeding, not nearly as bad as the tongue-tie pain from Aedyn, but it was more than just uncomfortable.

What was really the issue was the the flange was too small. Even though I had ordered the large size, I need the x-large. I didn't want to admit to myself that I was really that big. I didn't want to be at the top of the size offerings. I didn't want to think about what if I get bigger the next pregnancy and there's nothing for me? I've already done that with nursing bras, now almost with regular bras, and the large size was fine for pumping with Aedyn, so there's a precedent.

Second, I never realized how much it stressed me  to try and and make the daily pumping quota I set for myself. I realized that I might have been limiting Jaron so that I would have enough to pump what I wanted to be pumping for the other babies. While completely unintentional I was putting the babies I was pumping for ahead of my own child.

So I decided to stop pumping. I could've ordered new flanges, but my pump's about to give out and I'm on the fence about which pump I want for the next baby, so they might not be needed. But mainly because pumping was what was best for MY baby.

One of the babies is now getting donated milk from another mom that my friend found through Human Milk 4 Human Babies. The other has gone to formula. I'm not thrilled about that, but that's her parents decision. I can't compromise my own baby's health and deprive him of my milk because I'm trying to feed someone else's child. I can't save the world.

There has to be balance. Maybe if Jaron and I had had a good nursing relationship from the beginning I would've maintained that balance a little better, had a better grasp on what he really needed instead of always feeling like I had so much extra. Who knows?

What matters now, is that all of our nursing problems have been solved. He nurses beautifully and eats until he's satisfied. I don't walk around feeling yucky because I'm never empty, and I know that he's getting what he needs now. Not too much foremilk, not too little milk overall. It may have taken us 9 months to get here, but breastfeeding is finally enjoyable, not just tolerable!

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  1. I know it took a lot of work to get there, but I'm glad that you and Jaron have finally found an enjoyable feeding relationship for both of you. Yay!

    I noticed that once I stopped pumping I had a lot less discomfort too. My pump is not the best, but I'm starting to wonder if a certain amount of nipple pain and pumps just go hand and hand when compared to a well-oiled BFing relationship. But you gotta do what you gotta do, and I for one am very impressed with your commitment to feeding your babies the natural way. Not that I am surprised, just impressed ;D


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