Saying Goodbye to the Breastpump

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Categories Breastfeeding, Emotion, Grief, Infants, Mommy Issues, SAHM, Working

The time has come. School starts in about 5 weeks, and I go back to work in less than 4. I can’t believe it’s already upon me. I had thought back when the twins were 8 weeks old that I had quite a lot of time to decide how I would handle the breastfeeding thing. Making it to 8 months was always the ideal goal, the one that would happen in the best of possible worlds. More realistically I thought I’d stop when Husband went back to work, or at most 6 months perhaps. But somehow, I’ve been able to keep up with pumping every two hours while I’m awake for over 7 months now.

Of course at times this has been incredibly challenging, like taking the pump with me while on outings longer than 3 hours and pumping in the car/bathroom/other weird location, or pumping while one or two or all three kids need my attention. I’ve woken up in a pool of leaked milk, stayed up late to wash pump parts that I forgot about, and threatened to take a hammer to the darned contraption when I was done (might still do this).

But mostly, it’s just become a part of my life. I have learned to live it in 2-3 hour increments. After that amount of time, I get to take a “break” to go pump, and allow myself 10 minutes of me time. Sometimes Toddler comes along and plays on my bed next to me for a quiet chat– time to spend alone with her. It’s a chance for me to get caught up on the news, read some blogs, check in on Facebook– I’ve recently even started reading Game of Thrones.

Now that this routine is about to change, I feel a bit lost. I weaned the pump when Toddler was 8 months old. Working and pumping definitely took a much bigger toll, and I couldn’t wait to be done. But this time I feel different. I’m sort of mourning the loss of something that has become such a big part of my life. I read somewhere that the pump is like your third child, and in a way it is, and that child is kind of hard to let go. I know I should be excited that I will no longer need to wash all those pump parts, my family can get all that time back, and pumping will not be one of our schedule constraints any longer, but I’m actually more… sad.

Or maybe I’m projecting my emotions about returning to work onto pumping. I think I would happily trade continuing to pump if it meant I could continue to stay home.

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lunchldyd is mom to 3 year old boy/girl twins and their 5.5 year old sister. She is now teaches part-time to juggle the needs of her young children. When not at work and the kids are asleep, she is addicted to watching TV and sometimes sacrifices sleep to read in bed. She lives in the Los Angeles suburbs with her husband, three kids, and two dogs.

5 thoughts on “Saying Goodbye to the Breastpump”

  1. I exclusively pumped with my twins also, all the way to nine months. My goal had been a year, but when I realized that I was no longer doing it because I felt so strongly that it was “best for them – and more because of my own stubborn determination – I decided it was time. For me, quitting was easy. I was already down to three pumps daily (with an output of about 48 oz) so I started with 3-4 days of dropping the afternoon pump, and then dropped the before bed pump. Within a week, I hardly had any engorgement and was FREE! I understand the emotion though, but trust me, it passes quickly and you’ll enjoy your days so much more without it!

    1. 48oz?!? Whoa. I never got that much even when I was pumping around the clock. If I had that kind of output on 3 pumps I’d never stop :)

  2. I pumped for 14 months with my guys. When the boys were 5 months old, we drove across country to visit family and I pumped in the car more than out of the car. It’s an amazing invention that allows us to continue to give our babies breast milk even if we are not breastfeeding, but I can’t say I miss a second of it! Just picture yourself washing those pump parts and it should be pretty easy to say goodbye 😉
    Good luck with the back to work transition.

  3. Aww…I remember pumping with my first while working full time. It’s tough. But, I think maybe you are right…it certainly sounds like, for you, the end of pumping signifies the end of being home full time. So sorry, Mama…it really is a very difficult adjustment to make!

  4. Breastfeeding was one of the hardest things I have ever done. But quitting breastfeeding was harder. We made it to 9 months but I had gone back to work at 6 months, and my pumping output was getting worse and worse. My doctor even gave me a Rx for something to help, which it did, I had never pumped so much! But the side effects were terrible, I could not sleep in the small increments of time available for sleep, which simply would not do. I was down to pumping 3x a day during work, literally taking an hour out of my workday, and pumping 5-6 oz, which would not feed one baby one bottle.
    I was so upset I called my lactation consultant who had been there every step of the way and cried and cried. She told me I had permission to stop and told me to pump for comfort. I pumped one more time. :( Then it was done.
    Every part of the entire experience was challenging, latching, meeting demands of two and pumping. I felt like quitting breastfeeding was giving up on my mom duties. I was sad for a few days but then I had so much more time to spend with them. It is hard sometimes to just step back and realize “the best thing for them” is whatever you decide.

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