What would you do if you had ninety more minutes to spend every day? Perhaps you might need a moment to think about it. If you're a full-time mom, however, your answer should only take about a second!
I, on the other hand, have been dreaming about the answer to that question for a whole year!
Okay, not quite a year. 361 days, actually.
When the boys were first born, I tried my hardest to breastfeed them. I did alright for a few days, but my milk production wasn't kicking in fast enough and they needed the nutrition or they would have had to spend some time in the hospital. They were such different eaters - Jack was aggressive and Ben would fall asleep every few minutes - and I was going insane. I worked with a lactation consultant who encouraged me to feed one at a time, give his brother breastmilk in a bottle and then switch at the next feeding. Just until I got the hang of it and then I could try both of them at the same time. Well, guess what? Doing that every three hours for two weeks made me exhausted, run-down and discouraged. I felt like I was doing double the work! I was uncomfortable from my c-section and my emotions were running high. I really wanted my boys to have breastmilk (especially since my body was finally doing well in producing it!) but everything coming together at once made me feel like I was a lost cause. Rather than giving up, I decided to exclusively pump and give them breastmilk in a bottle. I've been doing that every single day since, ever since they were three weeks old.
Every single day. Six times a day. Fifteen minutes (at least) at each session. That's at least ninety minutes a day.
If only Benjamin knew how valuable that Liquid Gold really is, he might not be so quick to let it spill to the floor!
I would feed the boys bottled breastmilk in the middle of the night, put them back down, and pump. Even at 2:30am and then at 5:30am, I'd drag myself to my breastpump in order to give my boys The Good Stuff before I could crawl back into bed and get a few minutes sleep before having to wake up and do it all over again. When the boys started sleeping through the night, I wouldn't wake up on my own to pump in the wee hours of the morning, but instead, tried pumping more often during the day. I bought an adaptor and would pump in the van (while Andy drove) on the way to church, my mom's house, and dinner; I got really good! And that was some good milk. I was able to produce around 50 ounces a day, supplementing with 1-2 bottles of formula as well to keep my hungry boys fed.
I never regretted it. Pumping has given me the flexibility to feed my boys on-the-go, in front of anyone and with the possibility of someone else holding a bottle, too. But honestly, this is one of the biggest reasons I am SOOO excited for my boys' first birthday! No one said I had to do it for one calendar year. It was my own personal goal. I've wanted to quit many times and came close, but with the support of my husband as well as the satisfaction of knowing I was doing the best I could for my two little ones, I continued.
And now it's almost a year!
I've been decreasing my pumping lately, only doing it three times a day in the past week and supplementing with whole milk, so I can gradually let my milk supply dry. Even having that extra 45 minutes a day has been excellent! I honestly can't wait until I have an 'extra' ninety minutes!
I told you I've been dreaming of what I could do with my 'extra' time each day. And I wasn't lying!
I could clean my bathroom. Prep dinner. Watch the boys play without having to use any independent time to make an escape to pump. I could wear a normal bra. A NORMAL BRA! I could put all of my old shirts back into circulation and move the shirts with the 'extra allowance in the bust' to the back of the closet. I could read a book. Organize my purse. Write a note. Cut my toenails. Tweeze my eyebrows. Blog. Sleeeeeeeep! I could go to sleep less than an hour after we put our boys down for the night! Oh, the joy!
Other benefits include the fact that I will not have to consume an inhumane amount of water each day, carry this silly pump around wherever I go, wash a massive amounts of bottles and nipples every day, and eat something every few hours. On the other hand, I won't be able to eat my additional 1,000 calories a day to keep up my milk supply.
Hmm. I won't be able to eat my additional 1,000 calories a day.
Maybe I'll pump a little while longer.
Sorry, Medela Pump-in-Style Advanced Breastpump. We've had a good run and I'm grateful you exist, but it's time we severed our relationship. This girl's moving on!