To Pump or Not to Pump
Here I am again. Writing a post while pumping in a 12 passenger van going 65mph on the highway.
I wish I could say that lactating and nursing was something I enjoyed. It’s not. I’ve been pregnant or lactating for 7 years now.
Reliably, all of my children experienced some level of difficulty nursing. Whether it was a tongue tie, latch issues, thrush, or nipple confusion, nursing has never been easy.
Of course, the fact that my body seems to reject the idea doesn’t help. I’ve had milk supply problems with all of my children. I either produce just enough (second child, J), or nowhere near enough (twins, all of them).
I’ve tried all the things. Herbs, pumping, pharmaceuticals, thyroid testing. Nothing allows me to exclusively feed my babies breastmilk. They eat close to 60 Oz of milk per day. I make nowhere near that amount. And I do not have time to pump six times a day. That’s not going to happen unless I can acquire a clone or a few more arms.
What I’m trying to say is that I am a lactation failure. My body refuses to produce the milk I need to feed my babies as an exclusive pumper.
I was not able to nurse them effectively because they were born late preterm and could not adequately transfer milk. So, I started pumping.
For the first month of GJ and W’s lives, I was sequestered in my bedroom, pumping 7x a day. Anxious. Depressed. Grief-stricken.
That’s no way to live.
I mourned the loss of a nursing relationship with my babies. I mourned that I was simply unable to give them what they needed.
But I couldn’t quit.
So, here I am, pumping in the van.
Wondering if it’s even worth it.
Wondering why I bother.
Wondering why I won’t stop even though I am only producing 15oz a day of the 60oz they drink.
Perhaps I am stubborn. But more than that, it’s the best thing for them. This is a small thing, a small sacrifice. It’s a year of doing something I really dislike to benefit my babies in a way only I can.
I have great compassion and empathy for women struggling with nursing. I’ve been where you are. I’m still there. I’ve lived there for years.
And sometimes it’s okay to let go. To stop trying all the things. To accept that you can’t produce enough. To accept that your baby won’t nurse. To accept that it’s.not.working.
Mourn the loss. Do what you can do. This is the blink of an eye in the life of a baby. It hurts. But as my husband would say, it is what it is.
Know that He gives us peace for our grief, joy for our sadness.
If you just need to talk to someone who has been there, who has walked that road, I’m here. Shoot me an email. I’ll walk with you. Sixtimesgrace@gmail.com