Good gracious! If I could only make up my mind sometimes! I think I've made a decision about something, feel good about that decision, and then BAM, I start second-guessing my decision! It's tiresome to be me some days! Seriously!
So here is my latest wishy-washiness when it comes to decision making.
Before I was ever pregnant, I knew that I wanted to breastfeed my child. There are so many benefits to the baby that the list goes on and on and on as to how a baby can benefit from being breastfed. And the mother benefits, too. (Click HERE for articles on the benefits.) It's such a natural thing for a mother to do with her baby. It is amazing to think that I can provide and produce all of the nutrition my baby needs from my own body.
And when it came time for me to breastfeed, I was lucky. Breastfeeding came pretty easy and naturally for me, and Baby Q seemed to latch right on (no pun intended)! I didn't have a lot of the issues many new mothers have in the beginning when trying to get breasfeeding going. My nipples never hurt or got sore; my milk supply came right on in; Q took to it immediately. And I haven't had any real issues with breastfeeding other than one bout of mastitis and a slight case of thrush.
My goal in breastfeeding has been to do it through the first year of Q's life. It seemed like a doable and reasonable goal to me. Besides the most important benefits to Q and the comfort I get from doing it, breastfeeding is really, really economical. I figured I could transition Q from the breast to cow's milk once he hits the one year mark. Since I knew I would be returning to work, I made sure that I had my breastpump equipment ready to go before Q even arrived.
For those who have never had to pump their boobies, let me tell ya, it's an interesting thing to do. I first started pumping at home during my maternity leave to build a supply to freeze and use later once Q started daycare. Besides my nipples and boobies being sucked into tubes making them look really enlongated and feeling like a cow hooked up to a milking maching, pumping was easy enough to handle. Well...it was easy enough to handle at home.
Pumping your boobs at work is a whole other ballgame. It's not fun! And I hate it! I really, really hate it! I am sure that for some mothers, pumping at work is no big deal. And it wouldn't be a big deal for me if I had my own office where I could close the door and truly relax. But I am in a job where I don't have a real office, and I am at a different school every 1.5days. And did I mention how heavy the bag is and how much of a pain in the ass it is to carry around the pump and it's related parts (especially when I have to carry my office with me since I am in a mobile position)? It's a lot of work. It's stressful!
I started to notice that my supply seemed to be diminishing during the time I was pumping at work. To be able to produce enough milk to pump, you have to be relaxed and let go so that your boobies will let down and produce the milk to be pumped. It's hard to relax when you're at work and away from your baby. It's hard to relax when you're doing it in a bathroom and nothing seems really clean. It's just hard to relax. Period.
And along with the difficulties of pumping at work, there is also the added dimension of having to keep up with all of the various parts. There are quite a few small parts, and these parts have to be cleaned and sanitized after each use. So each evening entails a great deal of time washing and sanitizing the pump parts to get them packed and ready to use the next day. It's exhausting!
About 2 weeks ago, I decided that I needed to wean Q off the boob and switch him to formula. I felt my supply wasn't keeping up, and I was just tired of all of the difficulty and stress created by the pumping. I made a plan to start introducing him to formula and to wean him off the breast, so that I was completely done with breastfeeding by the time he is 6 months old (3/22/11). I felt good about the decision. I felt relieved! I was relieved that I wouldn't have to bother with pumping or cleaning the parts anymore.
Last weekend, I fed him bottles of formula during the day (as if he was at daycare). And when I did pump (because the boobies get so full), I started pumping less so that my boobies would think they didn't need to make as much milk. The weaning process was in full effect.
It was going well until...I went back to work this past Monday. As I sat in the bathroom listening to the loud pumping noise of the machine and the milk dripping into the bottles, I started questioning my decision to wean him. Why? Why am I really doing this? I like breastfeeding. Q likes breastfeeding. It makes me feel close to him after being away from him all day. It's comforting for both of us. Breastmilk is so much better for him than formula. Why am I being so lazy about the pumping? My goal is to pump for a year. Why am I giving up so easily on this goal? All these things were just swirling around in my head. And the decision that I thought I had made was no longer made at all.
As I came out of the bathroom with all my pumping baggage, I briefly mentioned something to the school psychologist. She sat me down and really encouraged me to keep perservering if breastfeeding is what I really wanted to do. She said that I could use her office when I am at that school. She helped me realized that I could keep doing this if it was important to me. And realistically Q is going to start weaning himself from the boob naturally as food is being introduced.
With a few words of encouragement from a person I barely knew, I knew that I had to change my mind about my decision to wean. I wasn't ready to do it. I was forcing myself into something that didn't feel natural. I let my own selfishness get in the way of what my goals were when it came to breastfeeding. I was being selfish because I didn't want to keep lugging around the pumping bag, or stopping work to take the time to pump, or cleaning the parts each and every single night. And it just didn't feel natural that whole weekend I was feeding him formula when I could have been breastfeeding.
So just like that I changed my mind and returned to breastfeeding. Q deserves nothing but the best from his momma. It may be hard work, tiring, and time consuming, but he is worth all of it! I feel so much better and more confident in my decision to continue breastfeeding. I am not complaining about the pumping anymore, but instead, I am embracing it. This pumping is only temporary anyways! And I can do it! I really can!
Seriously, what were you thinking Momma? Give me that Boobie Milk!