Once again, the lovely job of pumping at work is finished.
|Chowing tacos with big bro.|
I actually can't believe how fast that went by. It seems like I was just going back to work, super overwhelmed with everything. I'm not sure I'm any less overwhelmed now, but at least this is one thing I no longer have to worry about! I'm packing up the pump completely. I have mainly used it exclusively at work for a few months now. At home, Royce and I just nurse. I hope to get to at least a year with that, but Royce is so similar to his older brother in this - he's already lost interest quite a bit, and is only into it when he's really sleepy. Time will tell.
|Nursing: out. Exploring: in.|
When I returned to work when Dalton was 12 weeks old, I set the goal to nurse/provide breastmilk at daycare for a year. It seemed insurmountable at first, and I drove myself crazy at times trying to reach it. When I did, I was probably equally proud and relieved. I truly believe that fed is best, but, I won't lie, the breast is best rhetoric got to me. As I've discussed here, I struggled badly with returning to work, and in retrospect that was probably where I channeled all my guilt, since it was something I could control. Logically, I knew (know?) formula is perfectly fine. If a friend had come to me and described feeling this way, I would have told them to calm down immediately and buy some Enfamil. But hormones are powerful, mom guilt is powerful, and I knew that if I did have to resort to that, I would feel that I failed. So, for better or worse, I did everything I could to avoid it.
I returned to work with Royce when he was 13 weeks old. I was in a much better place emotionally, but, this time I had the sibling comparison to stress about. If I never gave Dalton formula, how could I give it to my second child? So, I set the same goal for myself.
While we aren't at a year yet, I've done the math and, barring disaster, we should make it. Honestly, while there's always a sense of accomplishment achieving a goal, I'm not nearly as proud this time. Partially because of the perspective that comes with having a (slightly) older child. Feeding a baby is (relatively) easy, and it's a tiny moment of time in the grand scheme of things. I fed Dalton nothing but breastmilk his first six months of life and....he's still begging for cookies and eating goldfish he finds under his car seat cover like every other toddler. I still have the true challenge ahead of me - raising him to be a good person, just like every other parent, regardless of what they fed their infant. So yes, yay, I didn't have to buy formula for Royce, and while I certainly appreciate being able to route those funds to my wine budget, I know the true work is yet to come.
The other reason I don't feel super zomg proud and amazed this time is that it was just a lot easier in round 2! The whole reason I can stop pumping 2 months before his first birthday is because I stocked up on my maternity leave and when I first returned and was pumping more than he needed to eat each day. My supply was better with the second child, and I also knew that it would drop at work, so I worked on freezing what I could. While I was still putting pressure on myself, I was much more relaxed about it than I was with Dalton. Finally, with Dalton, I taught elementary school, and now, I teach middle school. Fact: teaching middle school is just easier all around. So much easier. I had way less time without students in elementary, which of course made pumping more challenging. One constant that I didn't expect was that my coworkers were amazingly supportive both times. When I went back to work with Dalton, I was on one of the best teams I'd ever been on in my career, and I truly never thought I would find coworkers as supportive. Somehow, at my new school, I did, and I'm so thankful for good people!
The hardest part this time has been stopping! I'm extremely prone to clogs and, this time around, mastitis. I had to very very slowly cut back on my pumping times. I was down to once a day. Friday, our schedule was off, and I didn't pump at my normal time. Something came up when I was going to pump later, and I decided to just see if I could make it the whole day and I did, so I decided I was done. Emotionally, it's exciting but also a little sad. Even though I hated it, even though we are still nursing - it's still a sign that he's growing up. Always bittersweet.
Dalton is almost two and a half, and I am not currently with child, so there's officially no chance of #3under3. While I do hope to be breaking the pump again sometime in the future (well, not so much the pump, but you get my drift), I will be packing it deep in the basement for the time being!
Other pumping/breastfeeding posts:
First update (my experience pumping as a teacher when I returned with Dalton)